Council and Ministry
Spoilers: HP - everything up to the end of Goblet of Fire. BTVS/ATS, everything. This happens after both television series end. Slight AU in that Spike left LA three seconds after he got solid again and rejoined the Scoobies, and Wesley survived the megabattle.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything to do with Buffy or Harry Potter. I wish I did, because then I'd be a quadrillionaire, but sadly, I don't and never will.
Rating: 15 for language and action.
Summary: They came. They saw. They conquered. Now, can two disparate groups learn to work together? Can the British Wizarding World become something other than the anachronism it has always been?
Notes: This is a Sequel to White Knights and Dark Lords. It will make NO sense whatever unless you read that first!
September 22, 1995 Hogwarts
In the end, it took three days for the Wizarding world to calm down enough to begin to think again. Just think. Actual sanity and rational behavior was probably a good month away. Three days of wild, frantic, relieved partying and more gossip and rumors than you could shake a stick at, with no two accounts of the battle agreeing on anything save that Voldemort had exploded. Owls were everywhere. It all made the partying that happened the first time Voldemort disappeared look tame. This time, it was for real, and forever. Most folks didn't quite know what to do with themselves in their relief and joy.
Hogwarts was, by far, more quiet in its celebrations. They'd had that little get together the evening after the fight, but everyone had only just been ambulatory, and the 'party' necessarily brief and quiet. They had too many hurts to do otherwise. Besides, they had work to do.
Harry was currently in the owlery, sitting in one of the arches with Hedwig in his lap, gazing out at the forest and stroking her feathers. He felt ... very odd. Every year for the past four, he'd been in an ever-escalating race against ... something ... that didn't settle down until near school's end. Here it was, the middle of September and ... Voldemort was dead. The big race was already over. It hadn't really sunk in yet. Didn't feel real. Voldemort had been such a huge factor in his life since the moment he'd stepped into the wizarding world that it seemed impossible for him to be gone. That for once, he might actually get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the school year.
That last thought made him grin. Yeah, like he'd ever actually have a normal year. Hah. "Things are so different, Hedwig. And there's so much to be done. But for once, I think maybe I won't be the one having to do it all. It feels kind of nice."
Hedwig hooted at him and nibbled his fingers gently, making Harry grin again as he resumed petting her.
Xander spent most of those three days involved in the solemn duty of informing the parents of the dead, making sure the few remaining demon bodies were disposed of and that the animal corpses were dealt with by means of a large bonfire. There was also the very necessary task of de-readying the castle ... undoing all the bombs and traps and barricading that had been done in preparation for the battle. He, alongside McGonagall, spent a lot of time keeping the ravening hordes (also known as the press) out of the school and away from the kids. After the cock-up that had been the TriWiz and Rita's vicious smear campaign, McGonagall was in absolutely no mood to tolerate the press's presence, and unlike Dumbledore, entirely willing to enforce her right to protect her (mostly underage) students.
Most of the staff had, however, given interviews, to keep the press from screaming too loudly. Most of them, that is, save the Council crew. Xander was more than slightly weirded out by the whole thing. He wasn't used to fame, notoriety, and acclaim for world-savage. Oh, sure, you earned yourself a name and people quivered in fear later, but press interviews right after it happened? Not so much. That he, thanks to the whole axe chop thing, was being hailed as the hero of the hour just made him want to hide even more. This wasn't his role, wasn't how it was supposed to be. He just got done what needed doing, thanks kindly. Somehow (mostly by dint of hiding whenever the press was around) he'd actually managed to avoid giving an interview so far, though it'd been a close call a couple of times. Spike, of course, was having the time of his life twitting Xander about the whole thing. Faith wasn't far behind him, either. Xander was currently debating the wisdom of smacking the crap out of two people who could kick his ass without half trying.
The only Hogwarts resident to avoid the press like the plague was, predictably, Snape. At first, some of the press tried to vilify him as being a bad guy and still loyal to Voldemort or whatever they could come up with. That had resulted in some rather impressive fireworks, Xander heard later, from McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout. Harry had been equally pissed and voiced his displeasure quite loudly when he found out about it, but since he was trying not to get eaten alive by the press, his objections made it to the papers secondhand.
Now, for the first time in days, he had a bit of time to hang out with Harry, and with a bit of help from Dobby, tracked him down to the Owlery. He ducked a couple of low-flying owls and headed for where Harry was sitting.
"Hey, Harry. How you doing?" He asked.
"Pretty good." Harry admitted. "I just ... it feels a little weird, is all. Usually, about this time, I'm only just getting started dealing with the trouble of the year, and yet this time ... " He shrugged.
"You keep wanting to look over your shoulder, waiting for the other shoe?" Xander guessed.
"Yeah. Something like that. I mean, I'm not stupid enough to think that everything from here on out will be smooth sailing, but compared to stressing out over staying alive and/or one step ahead of whoever it is that's up to no good this year ... "
Xander laughed. "Yeah, I can see where that'd be damn strange. How're Sirius and Remus?"
"Scary. They're both healed up and starting to get a bit stir-crazy, but Pomfrey's refusing to clear them for normal activity until tomorrow."
Xander grimaced. "Now that's just asking for that pair to do something reckless."
Harry laughed. "Tell me about it! Though I think I managed to distract them for a little bit when I mentioned wanting to go to the Potter Manor. Now Voldemort and his goons are gone, us living there shouldn't be a problem ... and Sirius has mentioned, repeatedly, how much he despises his parents' place. Not that I blame him, from his descriptions of it. Lord knows that if it was still standing, I wouldn't want to move into Privet Drive if the Durselys had moved out. Anything happening over at the Ministry?"
"Other than a building-wide party, you mean? Not much. Giles says that lot's entirely too punch-happy at the moment to be entrusted with remembering their names, nevermind getting themselves straightened out, though things are starting to slow down. Give it another few days and they might actually be ready to put our troublesome trio on trial." Xander told him.
"That's going to be interesting." Harry said. "Lucius managed to wiggle out of trouble last time."
"Not this time he won't. Not if we have anything to say about it." Xander said. "Besides, I don't think there's anyone left in positions of power that he could bribe."
That made Harry grin. "I'd forgotten about that. I mean, I remember you said Giles yanked Fudge out of power, but I'd forgotten the rest of it."
"Not like there hasn't been a lot going on over the last week or so, is it?" Xander asked.
"Nah. We only staged a revolution. Nothing much at all."
Xander gently gripped Harry's shoulder, grinning. "Hey, it's only a revolution if you're a part of the same governed body. What we did was pull an 'only mostly' hostile takeover. That we plan on giving back, eventually."
"Right, right, my mistake."
It was amazing, really, how quickly the world could change. A few weeks ago, if you were Slytherin, you were evil. And if you were evil, you only had one choice of job career ... Voldemort's stooge. It had not been a future to look forward to for some, but with no support from on high, they'd seen no other choice. And then life got turned on its head. Snape stalked in after a day-long absence and laid out the facts of life.
That in and of itself had been enough to rattle most of the Slytherins. There had been a good deal of quiet conferencing among the more moderate members of the House, and, eventually, it had been decided that, come what may, they were not going to be anyone's stooge.
Daphne admitted to herself that she'd fully expected to get killed making that stand. But Merlin help her, it had felt good to make that stand, to declare herself her own person. And seeing a muggle, of all people, kill the Dark Lord without getting so much as a scratch in the process had blown away a great deal of the ingrained belief that wizards were inherently superior to muggles. The extremists (Draco and two or three of the sixth and seventh years, mostly) had gone utterly silent in the face of Voldemort's defeat, and from the look of things, were desperately trying to figure out what to do now.
It was a question that Daphne found herself asking. She'd only come up with a partial answer. Slytherin House's reputation had been in the gutter for a long time. In the eyes of most, it was the home of Dark Wizards and needed to be abolished. Daphne decided it was time to change that, and she would do what she could towards that aim. And maybe bring a few of her fellow Slytherins with her. The question was, how?
A very quiet Draco was tucked into a corner of the common room across from Daphne, only his hair giving away his position in the shadows. He'd been doing a lot of hard thinking since he'd talked to Mr. Harris in the aftermath of the battle. His father was ... well, finished. Whether he was killed or incarcerated didn't really matter in the final analysis so much as the fact that he'd be out of the picture. Draco honestly didn't know where his mother's loyalties lay, and after the last week, he was not inclined to put himself in a position where Mr. Harris and his friends would feel they had to deal with him. They were, quite frankly, scary as hell. And brutally efficient.
One thing Mr. Harris said kept rattling in Draco's very busy head. 'Get to know the people you're badmouthing' He'd said. But why should he? Muggles were so ... pathetic? That last word came across as a mocking question in Draco's head, accompanied by a rather lurid and exaggerated mental picture of Xander beheading Voldemort, as told by the myriad witnesses. Ok, so maybe one of them wasn't helpless, but he had, by his own account, spent a lot of time around people who had magic, if not proper wand magic, so he was probably an exception to the rule. Right? Right. There was no need for him to go slumming it with muggles. At that point, Snape stalked into the common room, which made everyone scramble into more appropriate postures.
"You will be pleased to hear that classes will resume as normal on Monday." Snape growled. "As such, it would be wise of you to ensure assignments you have ignored in favor of other matters are completed. Additionally, each of you will present me with a four-foot essay on the battle, with special emphasis on where traditional Slytherin values could have been used to attain similar or better results by the end of the week. If you were not there." Here he bent a dark look on the Slytherins who had abstained from the battle. "Speak to those of your classmates who were. A pensieve will be made available for you to get a clearer view of what occurred if necessary."
He swept back out without waiting for anyone to say anything or giving anyone a chance to ask questions. The essay was but the first on a long line of them that Snape planned to require of the Slytherins, all designed to get them thinking and analyzing, critically necessary skills for a Slytherin. Guile did one no good without the intelligence and information to back it up. Brute force bullying was at best an exceedingly poor substitute for a well-thought-out and subtly executed ploy. The long, hard, and painful process of retraining Slytherin House had begun in earnest.