All the little angels
Author’s Note: This is the direct sequel to Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon do. Thanks very much to my Betas , Letomo and EllandrahSylver, but all mistakes are still mine. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# Right, hopefully I’m now on a bi –weekly update schedule. Sorry about that. Many thanks to shazamfan for recommending this story. 17 All the little angels Thursday, December 21st 1995, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
It was the day before the school closed for the Christmas Holidays and the Gryffindor Common room was full of excited chatter and friends making plans. “Okay. This may be dumb, but why does Penelope look like she’s walking on air and why do all the other girls look at her and sigh and go all doe eyed?” Harry asked as he rather exasperatedly listened to the exaggerated sighs of Lavender and Parvati.
Hermione shook here head. “Honestly, Harry! Didn’t you read Hogwarts: A History
Harry gave his friend wry look. “I think we’ve established by now that I haven’t. So, by not reading it, what did I miss?”
Hermione huffed. “Very well. Though I suppose Ron could tell you, too?”
Ron went very pale. “Not touching that one with a ten foot wand! It’s bad enough what Percy did!”
Hermione shook her head. “Boys,” she muttered, before looking at Harry. “A long time ago a very powerful wizard or witch, nobody really knows, planted a rosebush in the Forbidden Forest. The Rose would not bear blooms however and the man he planted it for was angry. The Wizard told him that the bush would only bloom for those who truly loved.”
“Okay, so Percy went out there and the bush bloomed? That’s what everybody is so excited about?” Harry looked rather surprised.
“Well yes, but you see the rose is still a rose. It doesn’t bloom very well in winter, in the snow. To get a rose to bloom in December, well that takes really deep, heartfelt love. To get one like Percy got, that deep red colour, so large, at this time of year…” Hermione let her voice trial off, slightly wistfully.
Harry blinked. Then his eyes went over to the table in the corner where Percy was doing his homework, so he would have less work over the holidays. His serious face was no different than before and he still looked slightly prissy. Ginny walked up to the table and put a cup of hot cocoa by his hand and he looked up and smiled at her. Harry noted that Percy had a nice smile, a brotherly smile. It seemed to hold none of the promise of manic action that the Twins’ smiles did, and was more sedate, yet underneath that placid brotherly smile… Harry grinned. He was going to enjoy having Percy as a brother, he really was.
Draco sat silently in the compartment of the Hogwarts Express that he had claimed. Goyle and Crabbe sat opposite him, haggling over Chocolate Frog cards. Draco looked out the window at the snow covered landscape and wondered what the holiday would bring. His parents’ recent letters to him had been oddly reticent. He had thought they approved of his regard for Luna, but now he was no longer sure. There were hints of great personal changes, and Draco feared that his father had had an offer he could not refuse from the parents of some Pureblooded girl with no brain and less beauty. He shuddered slightly as he considered the girls of his year, who were… not fortunate in the possession of either. Pansy was the best of them, but she was too underhanded for him to feel comfortable with. His Mum might be capable of incredibly convoluted plotting, but never against his father, always with him.
“Hey, Malfoy, hear you’re getting married!” Marcus Flint sniggered as he waved the Daily Prophet in the younger boy’s face. “To Loony Lovegood!”
Draco considered the possible answers he could give to that. Then he lifted an eyebrow. “Yes? And?”
Flint stopped grinning at the decidedly unbothered answer. “What, you want to marry a silly bint who sees creatures that aren’t there?”
In answer Draco rolled up his sleeve. “Like the ones that were eating me alive? Those creatures that weren’t there?”
Flint scowled and barked. “Crabbe, Goyle, go do that somewhere else!”
Crabbe and Goyle looked uncertainly at Draco and then at Marcus Flint’s frightening grin and huge hands. They looked about to protest but Draco nodded and they rose reluctantly.
Flint grinned nastily at their departing backs. “Loyal little goons, aren’t they? Ready to kick Muggle arse at the drop of a hat?”
“If need be,” Draco replied coolly.
“Ready to hold a girl down so you can do what is necessary to-” Flint caught Draco’s wand before he could send a hex into his face and then laughed.
“Hah! Not political then, is it? Well done, Malfoy! Always stand up for your lady.” He sat by Draco and folded the paper. He took off his Prefect’s badge and placed it carefully on top of it. “The Lovegoods are an old family and as for the D’Albanes, well, I needn’t explain that to you. I just want you to understand one thing. She’s lost her mum and now her dad. If I hear you abused that fact and took advantage of her…” He cracked his huge knuckles menacingly. “I’m your second cousin twice removed on my Dad’s side, Malfoy, but my mother’s family is from Transylvania. They served the D’Albanes since the thirteenth century, all the way up to the Revolution. You hurt Her Royal Highness and we’ll have a far less pleasant conversation, understood?”
Draco smiled. “If I hurt her, I won’t even dodge.”
Flint grinned again. “You ever wooed a lady, Malfoy?”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “No. Have you?”
Flint’s face became serious. “Not really a lady
, no. But if you need advice, come and see me.”
Draco’s eyebrow edged up again. “You’ve never wooed a lady and you want to give me advice?”
Flint grinned. “I’ll tell you how not
to do it,” the older boy rose and pinned his badge back on. “From what I heard from my Dad, your
father should be more than able to teach you the finer points of wooing,” he leered.
Draco groaned. Flint waved the Daily Prophet again and left, leaving Draco alone with his thoughts.
Luna Lovegood was to travel with her new foster brothers and sister to King’s Cross station. She sat with Ginny, Hermione and Ron in a compartment and looked out the window. Fred and George joined them; jesting and joking, but she ignored them. Percy was staying at Hogwarts, to look after Harry. There would be a rotation of Weasleys doing so each day of the holiday until the new wards were in place. Most days there would be several Weasleys at Hogwarts, only returning to the Burrow to sleep. Headmaster Dumbledore had made special arrangements so they could visit. He’d warned that building the wards around the Burrow might take time, so Harry might not be able to go to the Burrow over the entire holidays, but he’d personally see to it Harry would be there for Christmas and Boxing Day.
Luna was quite happy for Harry. Harry would have a home, a real one, which he’d obviously never had. She bit her lip and looked out at the wintry landscape, biting back her tears. She felt someone sit next to her. “Luna…” Penelope Clearwater’s soft voice startled Luna out of her contemplation of the scene outside her window. She realized the hills of the Highlands had become the Lowlands. “Luna, your lip is bleeding.”
Luna blinked. “Huh?”
“You’ve bitten through your lip,” Penelope pointed out gently. “You’ve been sitting like a statue, looking out of the window for hours.”
Luna tried to answer, say she was alright, but the words got stuck in her throat. All that came out was a slight whimper, and then the tears she’d held back came out in a flood. Penelope put her arms around the sobbing girl and gave her what comfort she could.
Draco Malfoy descended from the train with an anxious expression on his face. At least, those who knew him well might recognize it as anxious. To most people he would have seemed to be perfectly composed, slightly bored and utterly blasé. There had been no further interruptions of his journey since Flint’s visit and he’d slept while Goyle and Crabbe bickered over the value of various Chocolate Frog Cards.
He looked around and spotted the tall and blond couple standing… right beside the rather dumpy red-headed couple. Draco sighed. Apparently there really was a friendship building between Arthur Weasley and his father. He almost shuddered at the thought. Then the stampede of redheads began and Draco’s parents steppes aside with alacrity. Ginny was the first to reach her mother to get hugged and passed on to her father. Draco rather sedately walked to the place where his parents stood. They were Malfoys and had certain standards to maintain and… Draco’s train of thought was disrupted when his mother swept him into a hug that was at least the equal to the one that Molly Weasley bestowed on each of her children.
“M-mother?” Draco asked, shocked. “Is everything alright?”
“Everything is fine, Draco. Come on, it’s time we got home. Right after you say goodbye to Miss Lovegood,” Lucius replied. Then he grinned slightly as his son’s expression became slightly downcast at the realization that he wouldn’t see the Lovegood girl over the Holidays and added judiciously, “But no need to worry, we’ll visit her on Boxing Day.”
Draco flushed. “Thank you, Father. I’m sure it will be a pleasurable visit.”
Lucius smirked. “I’m sure it will be. Come, my son.” He led Draco to the Weasley huddle, nodded at Arthur and Molly and watched with a certain amount of amusement as Miss Lovegood tensed, flushed, drew all the haughtiness of her lineage and training around her like a mantle and looked Draco straight in the eye. He also noted that Draco robed himself similarly in training and heritage.
“Lord Draco,” Luna nodded stiffly.
“Your Highness,” Draco inclined just the touch more to show she was his nominal superior in rank.
“I understand that you will be visiting on Boxing Day?” Luna sent a sideways glare at the smirking collection of redheads and the fond expression on Molly and Penelope’s faces.
“Yes, Your Highness, I understand that is so. No doubt we will be able to deepen our acquaintance,” Draco drawled. Then he seemed to realize what he had said and flushed.
Luna did the same, looked in panic at Molly, nodded at Draco and scurried to hide behind the biggest and oldest of her foster brothers, Bill. Bill proceeded to glare at Draco, as did all the other boys. Lucius and Arthur merely shook their heads while Narcissa and Molly smiled knowingly. “We may be by earlier, Arthur. I do want to see that portable music thing you were talking about.”
Arthur nodded. “Of course, Lucius, you’ll be welcome. Come on, children, let’s go home.”
Luna nodded at Draco and his parents, face still flaming, and fled. Her foster brothers glared at Draco, nodded grudgingly at the older Malfoys and followed her. Ginny appeared to be torn. Then she nodded too and left. Molly gave Narcissa a hug. “It will be fine dear, don’t worry,” she commented, winking at Draco, and left. Arthur shook hands with Lucius and followed.
Lucius smiled at his son. “Well, that was smooth.”
Narcissa put a hand on her son’s shoulder and glared at her husband. “Lucius!”
Lucius smirked. “Yes dear. I know. I’ll behave. Come on, let’s go home.”
It started slow and soft, like the purr of a cat. Then it became louder and louder, the roar of a lion, the rumbling of a herd of buffalo, the noise of all the many waterfalls of Niagara. The earth seemed to shake. Albus Dumbledore exchanged looks with his colleagues. Not a single one of them knew what was happening. Severus had his most bored look on his face, a sure sign he was tearing himself up with curiosity. Filius had never felt a need to hide his, so the little wizard was practically jumping up and down on his chair.
Albus looked at the goblets on the table. Not a single one of them shook, not a ripple showed on the surface. Yet the magic around them vibrated and hummed.
There was a gasp and all eyes went to the goggle-glassed figure of Sybil Trelawney.
“Slain, stolen, bound and tortured, come be free. Prisons broken, stones shattered, souls be free. We your mothers, we your fathers, by our love, we set you free.” Trelawney took a deep, harsh breath and continued in the same dark, droning voice. “With whip of fire, scourge of anger we lash, you who took them, stole them, kept them, feel the pain our children felt, punishment is dealt.”
Trelawney slumped on her chair and would have fallen had Hagrid not caught her. Sybil vomited – the bottle and a half of sherry she’d drunk, the Firewhisky, the crackers from earlier. Her eyes were haunted, misty with tears. She looked up into the half-giant’s eyes. “They’re free… All the little children, flying free.” Sybil started to sob and Hagrid’s huge, gentle hands cradled her to his chest like a child.
“Professor Dumbledore?” the big man asked the Headmaster.
Dumbledore stroked his beard and looked at the people gathered around the table. The professors were all there, except for Remus, who was in his chambers, once again attempting to brew Wolfsbane. “You all felt it. But I’m tied to Hogwarts through the Headmaster’s Oath, and the Castle responded. A great deal of magical energy was just released.”
Severus Snape snorted and looked at the gathering as well. The only one who looked confused was Sybil. “You mean the Nexus under Hogwarts just released a vast amount of energy, Albus.”
Albus raised an eyebrow. None of his colleagues, friends, looked surprised. “And how did you find out that little fact?”
Minerva shook her head in exasperation. “Really, Albus. You didn’t hire us for our pretty eyes! Well, except for Silvanus of course, he’s useless,” she smirked at Kettleburn, who scowled at her. “But all of us have been here long enough to have figured out the truth. And even if we hadn’t, that Nexus flare would have told us.”
Dumbledore looked at Hagrid, who shrugged. “I could feel it the minute I stepped o’ the train the first time.”
Dumbledore chuckled. “So much for the Secret of Hogwarts. Students?”
Minerva shook her head. “Most never realize it, some do. But they figure out pretty quickly that the Headmaster controls it.”
“It’s too powerful a thing to hide,” Filius piped up. “Even the strength of the Wards doesn’t come close to draining enough for that.”
Severus pulled his lip. “That’s neither here nor there. We need to know what happened. What was powerful enough to-” he stopped, his eyes widening and he stumbled to his feet, ran to the great fireplace of the teacher’s lounge and threw in a handful of Floo powder from his pocket. “EGRESSO! MALFOY MANOR!” he screamed as sprinted under the great mantel without even ducking.
Minerva blinked. “Did Severus just really create an emergency Floo?”
Albus rose, his face pale. “I’ll follow him. Poppy, come with me please.”
“Albus? What’s wrong?”
“I may have an oath to uphold. I’ll be back as soon as possible and I’ll send news.”
“We’ll go from the Infirmary, Albus,” Poppy said firmly. “I only have my Dire Emergency First Aid Kit with me, and if something is really wrong, we need more than that. And Severus carries one of those himself.”
Albus nodded. “Yes, of course. Let’s go.”
They hurried off and with a sigh, Hagrid rose, Sybil still in his arms. “I’ll take Sybil to the Infirmary, there’s Pepper Up and such.”
Minerva shivered as the half giant followed the Headmaster and Matron. “How much does she really see?”
Kettleburn sat back. “Too much for comfort. Far too much,” then he grinned. “So, you think my eyes are pretty, do you? Perhaps like twin lakes of amber ice?”
Minerva made gulping noise, blushed furiously and ran from the room. Filius raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’ll be. Seems I owe you a Knut, Silvanus. She really did write that.”
Aurora Sinistra shook her head. “Don’t make fun of her like that. She was fourteen for heaven’s sake.”
“And mighty arm of Crystal strikes…” Filius murmured.
Aurora blushed. “You two are impossible!”
Albus and Poppy arrived at Malfoy manor only to find the master of the house lying on the couch being fussed over by his wife; his son sitting, pale and silent, in a chair. Albus blinked slightly as the boy moved away from the man who was holding him in a comforting hug. It was very rare for Severus to show physical affection and he looked away quickly to spare him and his godson embarrassment.
“Forgive my intrusion, but I felt that I might be called upon to fulfil my oath.”
Narcissa blinked, and then her eyes narrowed. Severus and Lucius both winced slightly. No one but a Slytherin or a very experienced politician would have seen it.
Poppy ignored the byplay and ran a quick wand over Lucius and Narcissa, then Draco.
“You’re both exhausted and Draco is not much better. Whatever did you do?” Poppy asked as she took a number of mild stimulant potions from her purse
Narcissa looked up, her face a mix of terrible sadness, unutterable hope and incredible joy. She looked directly at Dumbledore. “They’re free.”
The old wizard blinked and then reached behind him with a trembling hand, to locate a seat and sat suddenly looking old and tired and yet immensely pleased. “When Sybil spoke... I hoped so,” he took a deep breath. “However, that does not release me from my vow. Poppy?”
Severus growled. “She’s fine. No need to worry. Do you think they’d all still be here if it was more than just exhaustion?”
Albus chuckled. “No, I didn’t. You really are-”
Severus rose, cutting off the headmaster with a gesture. “Very interested in knowing what went on. I’ll go question Trelawney.”
Narcissa rose and, like the Pureblood Lady she was, let him out the Floo in the front room. Albus and Poppy followed.
Once Severus and Poppy had left, Narcissa put a hand on the old wizard’s arm. “I do wish you would stop pushing Severus.”
Albus shook his head. “I try not to. The problem is that I’m used to instant gratification.”
Narcissa blinked. “I beg your pardon, Lord Dumbledore?”
Dumbledore smiled sadly and snapped his fingers. A beautiful red and yellow rose appeared in his hands. “Magic is not the cure for everything. Sometimes there is no cure. And on occasion even old wizards forget that.”
Narcissa nodded slowly. “I think… I understand that.”
Albus handed her the rose and tossed a pinch of powder in the fire. And then he was gone.
Percy Weasley was walking through Hogwarts with Harry Potter and explaining things. Percy, Harry realized, was actually a lot like Hermione. He made lists and plans and schedules, and therefore he knew things. Things Harry did not know, because he had been raised by Normals, and by Normals that didn’t like him very much at that. He knew things, or guessed them, that Harry very much preferred he didn’t. Like why he was so thin and tended to flinch when people made sudden movements near him. And what things he did and did not know, being essentially a Normal-born.
“Percy?” Harry asked, rather diffidently.
“Yes?” Percy stopped his lecture on the proper use of cleaning charms on fingers and blinked at his newly acquired brother through his horn-rimmed glasses.
“Why? Why are you being so helpful? I mean, I’m not complaining, but why?”
“Well, you’re my brother now, and I look out for my brothers, and my sister. It’s what I want.” Percy pointed out reasonably.
Harry nodded, accepting that. “Why do you act like a prat? You know, with Fred and George?”
Percy snorted and then to Harry’s surprise, started to laugh, if a trifle bitterly. “Harry, can you imagine growing up with those two? Before they came to Hogwarts, things here were fairly peaceful. When they came, it was like my younger childhood all over again. Everything I’d built, all my friends, the jokes, the pranks, they all paled before Fred and George. I knew I could never match them as pranksters. So I set myself up against them, to stop them. The anti-prankster if you will. To get at least some notice,” he smiled, still rather bitter. “I’m not cool like Bill, or focused like Charlie, or like Fred and George, insane geniuses.”
Harry made a disbelieving noise. Percy smiled. “Oh, they are. Have no doubt about that, they are geniuses. Half the things they do and think up, wizards twice their age could not imagine. And Ron? I don’t think for a second I would have the sheer bloody-minded courage to crawl through a tunnel under a lake half-dead and charge at a full-grown wizard. Or you and that bloody Basilisk. And how long do you think I would have lasted if I’d have gotten that diary and not Ginny?” Percy shuddered.
There was a snort and both boys whirled to see Professor Kettleburn step awkwardly out of the shadows. “You’re wrong, Weasley Major.”
“What?” Percy almost jumped out of his skin at the professor’s sudden appearance.
“You are cool, as you young ones call it, and focused and a genius in your own way, and stubborn as well, and I think Riddle would have been kicked out of your mind in minutes. And you love
. You think what you just said makes you a bad person? You love your family and you love Penelope Clearwater. You are a good person, a good man
in your own right, Weasley. You’re a good big brother.”
“Professor, I –”
“You may not think so now, but trust me on this, you are,” the old man smiled at the two boys. “And now you have exactly…” He made a show of digging out his watch, “four minutes to get back into your dormitories unless you want points docked before the vacation is over…”
The brothers exchanged looks, hoisted their robes to their knees and took off as Kettleburn chuckled.
Albus Dumbledore stood in front of the Burrow and extended his senses. He was a wizard of great power and he’d studied the wards of Hogwarts for more than half a century. He still did not fully understand them, though he thought he understood them better than possibly any other man before him. And yet, never before had he felt the power that now surrounded him, the power of Mother. The wards of the Burrow hummed with it, invigorated them. The blood wards Lily had created with her dying love had been attenuated by the hatred and indifference of the Dursleys for their nephew and cousin. He smiled down at Filius, who was in exactly the same pose. “Christmas will be enough.”
The Charms Master smiled. “Yes, it will,” He looked a bit sad as he said it. “But I will miss the influx of Weasleys. It has been a lot more, well fun
, at school this vacation, Albus.”
Dumbledore nodded. “I quite agree,” he looked crafty. “We may have to wangle an invitation to the Boxing Day festivities.”
Filius looked around rather wistfully. “They have a Quidditch field…”
Albus grinned. “An excellent notion! Let me see, I haven’t been a Keeper in a long time, but I think I should manage, Pomona was a Beater for Hufflepuff, you and Minerva were both Chasers…”
Filius eyes lit up. “Oooh, it’s been far too long since I last played. Think we can get Severus to play?”
Albus winced. “After the incident at his own try-outs?”
“Ah. I forgot about that,” Filius looked sad. “We failed him terribly, did we not?”
Albus nodded. “That we did, old friend. That we did.” Albus sighed, reached down and patted his suddenly downcast friend’s shoulder. “Let’s go and see Arthur and Molly.”
He turned around and walked to where the Weasley parents were watching as several workmen finished the latest expansion of The Burrow. Molly and Arthur looked at them with expressions of happiness and worry. “We really can’t afford…” Arthur began.
Albus interrupted the younger man before he could “Harry can. And not accepting this would cause a debt to build up. And do you think that he really wants any of his brothers or sisters to have to suffer discomfort because of him? Harry can afford this, and loves to do it. And these are all changes you wanted, would have made could you have afforded them before,” Dumbledore pointed out gently. “The Potter fortune may not be as great as that of the Malfoys, but it is still sizeable enough that all this can be easily paid from a few months of Harry’s annuity.”
Arthur sighed. “I feel as if I’m taking advantage of him.”
“Nonsense! I mean, Humbug!” Albus twinkled. “You’re his family. Are you going to tell him to leave and never come back once he reaches seventeen?”
Molly bristled. “Don’t be ridiculous, Albus! He’ll always be welcome here!”
“And then he’ll be in his own room,” Albus smiled. “Which will be a lot easier on him and Ron once they start bringing home ‘little friends’.” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Molly sighed. “We get enough of that from the papers, Albus. Poor Luna has been driven to distraction by all the reporters who want to interview her on her various possible fiancés.”
Albus nodded, thoughtfully. “I’ve been working on a proposal for the Wizengamot regarding the way the Press is allowed to publish about underage wizards. As Draco has been targeted as well as various other young wizards, I think it has a fairly good chance of passing swiftly.”
Molly perked up. “Oh, that’s good.”
There was a shout and one of the workmen fell off the roof, only to be caught by Flitwick’s wordless ‘Wingardium Leviosa’.
Albus shook his head. “Young Cattermole, still jumping at shadows. Or ghouls.”
Flitwick smiled. “Silly fellow.”
Luna Lovegood trembled. Behind her the comforting warmth of Molly Weasley soothed her. Luna took a deep breath, the sterile, disinfected air of the Janus Thickey Ward. Then she opened the door and stepped into the room. And froze. She whimpered and turned into Molly, who hugged her, looking at the body on the bed.
Xenophilius Lovegood was gone. The hospital authorities had cut his long, white-blond hair and as his eyes were wide open it was easy to see that his squint was gone. His slightly crooked yellow teeth – that had always quirked into sweet, crooked smiles – were clean and straight.
“That’s not Daddy! They took away Daddy!” Luna wailed.
Molly Weasley growled in incoherent anger and led the girl away.
A small area of wall that looked slightly shimmery became a man clad in black robes. He looked down on the drooling, vacant eyed body, wiped off a bit of the drool carefully with an immaculate white handkerchief and left the room, muttering, “Dunderheads!”
It was Christmas Eve and Harry Potter stumbled through the Floo at the Burrow, dressed in an emerald green jumper with an H on the front. There was a swish-flick of a wand and then he was enveloped in Molly’s arms. “Welcome home, Harry.”
Arthur beamed at him. “Hello, son.”
Harry blinked as he was hugged and manhandled by Weasley after Weasley. Fred and George messed his hair up, Bill and Charlie thumped his shoulders. Percy shook his hand before dragging him into a hug. Ginny hugged him as well. In the corner, looking wan and tired, sat Luna, wearing a sky blue jumper with the letter L on it in gold. After hugging the Weasleys Harry sat down on the old couch and faced her.
“Hello Harry,” Luna’s voice was small and cracked and Harry instinctively shifted to sit next to her, putting his arms around her. Then he felt the couch move, and Molly and Arthur hugged and comforted them both. End note: The Title of this chapter is taken from the Terry Pratchett novel Night Watch.