Sequel to UnExpected by Amerie. Major plot points set up in that first story so ya might wanna head on over there before taking a bite out of this one :) UnExpected Story Link
It was bleeding out into the Muggle World.
The Brockdale Bridge. The Bones and Vance murders. The mess in the West Country. The Muggles didn’t know that these matters were the result of something much more sinister. They didn’t know of the evil behind them. They didn’t know that the reason it had become so misty and cold as of late were because Dementors were breeding at a rapid pace. It was getting harder to conceal these things, and it was becoming frightfully clear that if the Ministry of Magic didn’t find a way to stop them soon the Muggle World would no longer be deemed a blissfully, naive place to how dark magic could truly be.
Recently sacked Cornelius Fudge and new Minister for Magic Rufus Srimgeour had paid a visit to the Muggle Prime Minister to discuss such things and to, above all, warn him. The Wizarding world was at war. Although it may not have come directly down to it yet the Muggle world was in jeopardy as was the Prime Minister himself. It wouldn’t do well for Muggle morality if the Prime Minister were to find himself under the Imperious Curse now would it? That’s why it had come as a surprise to the Prime Minister at being told that his new secretary, the best one he’d ever had, was in fact Kingsley Shacklebolt, highly regarded Auror, placed in the Prime Minister’s office for his protection.
It was a long arduous night with more stress than the Prime Minister thought he could handle. He had finally been left alone after Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour left amidst the green flames in his fireplace. He walked over to his window, a tumbler holding a small amount of amber colored liquid in his hand, and looked at the mist that seemed to have grown thicker. He imagined all the horrors that could came his way, come into their world, and it sent a chill down his spine. If they only had a taste of what dark wizards could do, God only knew what would be in store for them if this Voldemort succeeded in his goals.
The Prime Minister sighed and took a hard drink hoping the burning aftertaste would help to burn away the knowledge of wizards, giants, Dementors and the entire mess. Whoever said magic wasn’t real, at this very moment, knowing everything he knew, had the Prime Minister’s deepest sympathy.
The Unbreakable Vow.
It was done.
There was no turning back.
Everything was set in motion.
Snape stared at the empty spot where Narcissa Malfoy had crouched before him, begging for his help just over an hour ago. He remembered the tears in her eyes, the desperation in her voice. He could still feel her hand in his. Still see the tongue of a fire that wrapped around their clasped hands with each vow he made . . . “Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord’s wishes?”
“And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?”
“And, should it prove necessary . . . if it seems Draco will fail . . . will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?”
It was a vow, a deep rooted promise he’s being forced to keep to more than one person for very different reasons.
If – no – when Draco failed in his mission, Severus would fulfill the Dark Lord’s request in his place. And Severus hoped with all his might that Draco will fail. Spoiled and arrogant as he may be, Draco was still very much innocent to the world. Sheltered and smothered by his mother all his life, he had never faced true horrors, true hardships. But Draco was being forced into that world now as punishment for his father’s failure. Narcissa was right, the Dark Lord was expecting Draco to fail, to humiliate the Malfoy name even more, and in doing so, inadvertently, he will be destroying Draco’s innocence as well. Severus may not care for many things, people especially, but when he did that care surpassed all measure. Draco fell into that category. He may be his godson, but Severus recognized talent and intelligence when he saw it, and Draco was as bright a student as they came. It was a shame that talent was often overlooked and how that lack of acknowledgment was causing Draco to overlook it himself. Draco had the tools to succeed in his mission, but the question was if he had the nerve. A cruel bully he may be, but in his heart Draco was vulnerable, scared and lonely. He had never been allowed any real, close friends. He was a product of his pureblood, elitist upbringing as no one was deemed appropriate
enough for Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy’s precious boy. Except of course for one. Someone Lucius and Narcissa had previously thought of as a proper match for Draco. And as Snape thought about her, he couldn’t help but remember Bellatrix’s words.“What about that Summers girl?” Bellatrix sneered. “You must know the Dark Lord has plans for her?”
Severus paused, his expression stoic.
“I was made aware, but I was ordered by the Dark Lord to focus my attention solely on Dumbledore and Potter. The Dark Lord has his own plans for the Summers girl, plans he intends to keep to himself until the appropriate time arrives.”
Plans that made Severus curious and very nervous.
Severus was positive no one knew of Lord Voldemort’s exact plans for Buffy Summers. The Death Eaters were not privy to that information yet, not until they would be needed, but they knew what he was after. They knew what made Buffy Summers so special to Lord Voldemort. They knew who she was – what she was. But what they didn’t know was how the Dark Lord planned on getting it out of her. Severus could only imagine the horrors that awaited Buffy Summers if the Dark Lord were to have her in his grasp and it sent a chill through his veins.
The night had been a tumultuous one of promises, accusations and wonderings. Bellatrix again questioning Snape’s loyalty to the Dark Lord, the Vow he had made to Narcissa, the worry of Draco and the mysteries of Buffy. The outside coldness felt as if it had seeped through the walls. He could feel it wrap around him, trying to strangle him. But the temperature did not bother him. Not when there were more troubling matters that chilled his bones.
If it is convenient to you, I shall call at number four, Privet Drive this coming Friday at eleven p.m. to escort you to the Burrow, where you have been invited to spend the remainder of your school holidays. If you are agreeable, I should also be glad of your assistance in a matter to which I hope to attend on the way to the Burrow. I shall explain this more fully when I see you. Kindly send your answer by return of this owl. Hoping to see you this Friday, I am yours most sincerely,
And at precisely eleven p.m. on Friday Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore arrived at Little Whinging.
Dumbledore and Harry made themselves comfortable in the sitting room of number four Privet Drive, behind closed doors and silencing spells as what Dumbledore needed to say required immense privacy. And Dumbledore was positive the Dursleys were not ones to offer that privacy willingly.
“Well, Harry,” said Dumbledore, “a difficulty has arisen which I hope you will be able to solve for us. By us, I mean the Order of the Phoenix. But first, I must ask if you have spoken with Sirius recently?”
“I got a letter from him yesterday,” Harry replied, his expression brightening at the mere mention of his godfather. “Said he’s really enjoying Sunnydale. He’s starting to think of it as a second home.”
Dumbledore smiled and nodded thoughtfully.
“Such a wondrous place Sunnydale. Despite its heavy demonic presence it is magnificent to see Muggles and magic coincide so harmoniously.”
It may be done with a healthy dose of denial, but the Muggles in Sunnydale knew that there was something extraordinary about their little town, and it gave Dumbledore hope that one day the Muggle world will become aware of the Wizarding world and live in peace as one.
“Not to mention it’s a Wizarding blind spot,” Harry said with a smile.
“Beneficial to underage wizards and wizards in hiding alike,” he said, the twinkle in his eye disappearing as soon as it had come, and in its place was a solemn expression. “Harry, as much as Sirius is enjoying his time in Sunnydale there is a crucial reason he has been, and will continue to stay there for the remainder of the summer. After what had occurred in the Department of Mysteries, the Order, with Sirius’s permission, had come to a decision. For his protection, for the time being, we’ve decided it would be best if everyone believed Sirius never returned from the Veil. It’s imperative that the Ministry, that the rest of the world, believe that Sirius Black is dead.”
Harry didn’t like the sound of that, it bothered him. He knew that Sirius was very much alive, and he didn’t like the idea of having to pretend he wasn’t. Why would he need to? Sirius wasn’t a fugitive anymore. He didn’t need to hide.
“But I thought it was alright now,” said Harry. “The Ministry realized Sirius was innocent all this time, didn’t they?”
“Yes, the Ministry knows they were mistaken, but it is still a very complicated matter,” he said gravely. “Although they know of Sirius’s innocence he has yet to be formally cleared of all his charges. He will most likely be placed back into Azkaban until his innocence has been officially proven.”
“But that’s not fair!”
“It is, however, the most logical step. Though, if he is to return I believe his holding conditions will be vastly improved and I am assured that there will be no Dementors involved. But that is the least of our worries.” As worrisome as it was of Sirius’s possibility of returning to Azkaban, there was someone who needed to be protected much more. Someone’s whose secret identity could be unraveled with just a pull of thread if not careful and would most assuredly be put under Ministry surveillance if they were to discover the truth. “The Veil of Death is a mysterious thing, Harry. We know so little but so fear its power. We all know what happens when one passes through it but it has never been thought possible that one could return from its archway. What Buffy and Sirius have done is more than a mere curiosity, and the Ministry would press to know more if they knew the truth, unraveling information some of us would rather keep hidden.”
Buffy Summers, Witch, was a Vampire Slayer, it was a title very few knew in the Wizarding world, despite Buffy’s grumbles that the whole world knew her so-called secret by now, and it was a title Cornelius Fudge had been informed of six months ago, and if the lack of interest in Buffy Summers was any indication, Cornelius Fudge still kept that secret to himself despite stepping down from office. But nobody was willing to the risk the chance that whispers might be heard if the Ministry were to find out the truth about Buffy and Sirius’s return from the Veil of Death. Not only was it a curious thing having the first witch-slayer in centuries, but it would also put Buffy’s abilities into question. Abilities that had close ties to Voldemort, and how close those ties to Voldemort were knotted. Something everyone was desperate to avoid.
“What about Buffy?” Harry asked, her face coming to the forefront of his mind knowing she was the one Dumbledore was referring to about information having to be kept hidden. Buffy and secrets went together like brooms and flying, cheese and crackers, trouble and, well, Buffy. “She passed through the Veil, too. Does that mean she’s also dead?”
“No, Buffy Summers is still very much alive to the world. She never passed through the Veil as far as the Ministry is concerned.”
Harry furrowed his brow. “I don’t understand.”
“It is a rather confusing situation and we would have kept all this a secret had it not been for the fact that there were witnesses to Buffy and Sirius’s return from the Veil.”
Harry didn’t need to be told who they were, and his jaw clenched. “Death Eaters.”
Dumbledore nodded. “And they were more than willing to share their information with the Ministry in hopes that it could have provided some sort of leniency, any sort of distraction, but as you can imagine, the Ministry was not quick to offer any kind of mercy toward any followers of Voldemort.”
“So the Ministry didn’t believe them about Sirius and Buffy?”
“They questioned it, but their investigation was very limited due to the circumstances of the situation and they let the matter be. However, we soon realized that Sirius’s presumed death provided us with a great opportunity to protect both Buffy’s secret and let Sirius keep his freedom.”
A great opportunity it was but what a horrible way to achieve it, although it did provide Sirius with anonymity from the Ministry a bit longer, and there was no better freedom than being invisible and right under the noses of the very people who were looking for you.
“Does everyone else know about this?” asked Harry.
“Yes, they’ve all been informed in one way or another, but I thought it best to convey the message to you myself.”
Harry wished he could see them both. The last time he saw Buffy was in Sunnydale, post-apocalyptic battle, and the last time he saw Sirius was when he, in Padfoot form, and Mad-Eye dropped him off at the Dursleys. Harry would give anything to be in Sunnydale right now. To eat dinner around the table with them. To walk, carefree, around the town. He’d even go hunting for vampires with Buffy . . . if she let him of course.
“ . . . must tell you about Sirius’s will and that he left you everything he owned.”
Harry had only been half listening to Dumbledore talk while he let his mind wander, but his attention focused sharply on the Headmaster on that last sentence.
“Will?” asked Harry.
“Yes, in order to keep the pretense of Sirius’s passing we must follow through to the tiniest of details. He has of course, as I have mentioned before, agreed to all of this,” said Dumbledore and then proceeded to list all of Harry’s new acquisitions. A large amount of gold had been added to his account at gringotts (which Harry had no plans of touching), and he inherited all of Sirius’s personal possessions (which Harry also planned on never touching), there was, however, a slightly problematic part of the gifted legacy.
“Our problem,” Dumbledore continued to Harry, “is that Sirius also left you number twelve, Grimmauld Place. Though it was used as Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix, we, along with Sirius, have vacated the building temporarily.”
“Well, Black family tradition decreed that the house was handed down the direct line, to the next male with the name of ‘Black.’ Sirius was the very last of the line as his younger brother, Regulus, predeceased him and both were childless. While his will makes it perfectly plain that he wants you to have the house, it is nevertheless possible that some spell or enchantment has been set upon the place to ensure that it cannot be owned by anyone other than a pureblood.”
Harry briefly recalled the shrieking portrait of Mrs. Black that hung in Grimmauld Place and he frowned. “I bet there has.”
“Quite,” said Dumbledore. “And if such an enchantment exists, then the ownership of the house is most likely to pass to the eldest of Sirius’s living relatives, which would mean his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.”
“No,” he said firmly.
“Well, obviously we would prefer that she didn’t get it either,” said Dumbledore calmly. “The situation is fraught with complications. We do not know whether the enchantments we ourselves have placed upon it, for example, making it Unplottable, will hold now that ownership has passed from Sirius’s hands. It might be that Bellatrix will arrive on the doorstep at any moment. Naturally we had to move out until such time as we have clarified the position.”
“But how are you going to find out if I’m allowed to own it?”
“Fortunately,” said Dumbledore, “there is a simple test. You see if you have indeed inherited the house, you have also inherited —” Dumbledore flicked his wand. There was a loud crack, and a house-elf appeared, with a snout for a nose, giant bat’s ears, and enormous bloodshot eyes, crouching on the Dursleys’ shag carpet and covered in grimy rags. “Kreacher,” finished Dumbledore.
“Kreacher won’t, Kreacher won’t, Kreacher won’t!” croaked the house-elf, stamping his long, gnarled feet and pulling his ears. “Kreacher belongs to Miss Bellatrix, oh yes, Kreacher belongs to the Blacks, Kreacher wants his new mistress, Kreacher won’t go to the Potter brat, Kreacher won’t, won’t, won’t —”
“As you can see, Harry,” said Dumbledore loudly, over Kreacher’s continued croaks, “Kreacher is showing a certain reluctance to pass into your ownership.”
“I don’t care,” said Harry again. “I don’t want him.”
“Won’t, won’t, won’t, won’t —”
“You would prefer him to pass into the ownership of Bellatrix Lestrange? Bearing in mind that he has lived at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix for the past year?”
“Won’t, won’t, won’t, won’t —”
Harry stared at Dumbledore. He knew that Kreacher could not be permitted to go and live with Bellatrix Lestrange, but the idea of owning him, of having responsibility for the creature that had betrayed Sirius, was repugnant.
“Give him an order,” said Dumbledore. “If he has passed into your ownership, he will have to obey. If not, then we shall have to think of some other means of keeping him from his rightful mistress.”
“Won’t, won’t, won’t, WON’T!”
Kreacher’s voice had risen to a scream. Harry could think of nothing to say, except, “Kreacher, shut up!”
It looked for a moment as though Kreacher was going to choke. He grabbed his throat, his mouth still working furiously, his eyes bulging. After a few seconds of frantic gulping, he threw himself face forward onto the carpet and beat the floor with his hands and feet, giving himself over to a violent, but entirely silent, tantrum.
“Well, that simplifies matters,” said Dumbledore cheerfully. “It means that Sirius knew what he was doing. You are the rightful owner of number twelve, Grimmauld Place and of Kreacher.”
“Do I — do I have to keep him with me?” Harry asked, aghast, as Kreacher thrashed around at his feet.
“Not if you don’t want to,” said Dumbledore. “If I might make a suggestion, you could send him to Hogwarts to work in the kitchen there. In that way, the other house-elves could keep an eye on him.”
“Yeah,” said Harry in relief, “yeah, I’ll do that. Er — Kreacher — I want you to go to Hogwarts and work in the kitchens there with the other house-elves.”
Kreacher, who was now lying flat on his back with his arms and legs in the air, gave Harry one upside-down look of deepest loathing and, with another loud crack, vanished. And that settled that matter.
“Wait, if Sirius can’t go back to Grimmauld Place, where is he going to stay? He will be coming back won’t he?” Harry asked, nearing panic at the thought of not seeing his godfather in the foreseeable future.
“Yes, he will return to England once school starts again. He’ll want to be as close to you as he possibly can I imagine,” Dumbledore assured him. “I believe he will be staying with Joyce. She has a lovely home in the countryside with fresh air, lots of space, privacy and plenty of quiet.”
Harry breathed out in relief. “Good. He’ll really like that,” said Harry, glad that Sirius would be close and no longer ordered to stay cooped up in dingy, cramped Grimmauld Place. Sirius would not only be, but, feel free in the open country and Harry hoped he’ll be able to visit as soon as possible.
There was one last inheritance matter that needed to be dealt with and its name was Buckbeak. Hagrid had been looking after him since Sirius had ‘died,’ but Buckbeak belonged to Harry now, and Harry preferred Buckbeak, or Withersings as he was now known to be called for his safety, continued to stay with Hagrid knowing both Hippogriff and the half-giant would prefer it that way.
All matters were settled and it was time to depart, however, before they left number four, Privet Drive, Dumbledore relayed one final statement to the Dursleys whom they had found standing awkwardly in the hallway outside the living room.
“Now, as you already know, the wizard called Lord Voldemort has returned to this country. The Wizarding community is currently in a state of open warfare. Harry, whom Lord Voldemort has already attempted to kill on a number of occasions, is in even greater danger now than the day when I left him upon your doorstep fifteen years ago, with a letter explaining about his parents’ murder and expressing the hope that you would care for him as though he were your own.” Dumbledore paused, and although his voice remained light and calm, and he gave no obvious sign of anger, Harry felt a kind of chill emanating from him and noticed that the Dursleys drew very slightly closer together. “The magic I evoked fifteen years ago means that Harry has powerful protection while he can still call this house ‘home.’ However miserable he has been here, however unwelcome, however badly treated, you have at least, grudgingly, allowed him houseroom. This magic will cease to operate the moment that Harry turns seventeen; in other words, at the moment he becomes a man. I ask only this: that you allow Harry to return, once more, to this house, before his seventeenth birthday, which will ensure that the protection continues until that time.”
None of the Dursleys said anything. Uncle Vernon looked as though he had something stuck in his throat; Aunt Petunia, however, was oddly flushed.
“Well, Harry . . . time for us to be off,” said Dumbledore at last. “Until we meet again,” he said to the Dursleys, who looked as though that moment could wait forever as far as they were concerned, and after doffing his hat, he swept from the hall.
“Bye,” said Harry hastily to the Dursleys, and followed Dumbledore, who paused beside Harry’s trunk, upon which Hedwig’s cage was perched.
“We do not want to be encumbered by these just now,” he said, pulling out his wand. “I shall send them to the Burrow to await us there. However, I would like you to bring your Invisibility Cloak . . . just in case.”
Harry extracted his cloak from his trunk with some difficulty, trying not to show Dumbledore the mess within. When he had stuffed it into an inside pocket of his jacket, Dumbledore waved his wand and the trunk, cage, and Hedwig vanished. Dumbledore then waved his wand again, and the front door opened onto cool, misty darkness.
“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
***** Have you lost your bloody mind?! What in the hell’s the matter with you?!
That’s exactly what she would say, and then she’d smack him upside the head and walk away, arms crossed, refusing to speak to him until she calmed down. He could picture it perfectly. Sighing, he sank deeper into his bed and stared at the flower, twirling it at the stem between his thumb and forefinger. The pressed lilac that was enchanted to forever retain its color and potent scent. “Boys don’t like flowers.”
“Then don’t go skipping around with it then,” she said and shoved the lilac back into his hand. “It’s enchanted for your information. My mum put a spell on it so it’ll always be bright and violet and so that it’ll always smell good.”
He stared at it and firmly said again, “Boys don’t like flowers.”
She rolled her eyes and took it back, speaking to him as she placed the flower inside the pages of a book, “You said you liked the way it smells here, well it smells like this because of the lilacs. They’re everywhere.” She snapped the book shut and gave it to him. “Just take it out whenever you want to smell it. No one has to know.”
Draco begrudgingly took the book while he continued to frown, and Buffy scowled.
“See, this is why I try not to be nice to you,” she said, and flipped her hair as she marched back into her house.
Draco watched her go and he smiled. He didn’t want her to be nice. People were always nice to him, because of his father, because he was a Malfoy. He liked it when she was Buffy. Spoiled, bratty, demanding, and, above all, honest. That was much better than being nice. He tightened his grasp on the book and removed the smile from his face as made his way back into the Summers house; not wanting to let Buffy know how much her present actually meant to him. How much he missed the smell of lilacs, of the tress and air that engulfed Buffy’s warm home while he was away.
Draco treasured that lilac, and the book it came in, ever since he was eight-years-old. He brought both of them out and stared at the flower more times than he ever imagined he would have. It was a source of comfort when he felt isolated in the large and cold mansion he lived in. It eased his sadness and loneliness all those months Buffy was gone with no clue of where she was. The lilac had become symbolic, bright, beautiful, warm, in what Buffy meant to him, and as he looked at it now Draco felt a sudden urge to crush it between his fingers.
A knock on his bedroom door stopped Draco from any further action, but he continued to glower in silence at the flower in his hand without offering so much as an ‘enter’ to whoever was on the other side. Nonetheless, the door slowly pried open, just enough, to make room for a house-elf that looked very much like Dobby, but was a tad shorter and had great, big, brown eyes.
“What?” Draco snapped impatiently, without looking at the house-elf.
“Young master, your mother wishes to speak you, sir.”
“Tell her I’m busy.”
“Yes, young master, sir.”
The house-elf lowered his head and slowly backed away, but he only managed a step before Draco called out, “Wait. Forget what I said. Where is she?”
“Dining room, sir.”
Draco gave a sigh and brusquely ordered the house-elf to, “Get out.”
The house-elf closed the door and was gone before Draco finished saying the last word.
Draco knew what his mother wanted to talk to him about and he didn’t want to hear it. He made his choice. He wasn’t a child anymore. The Dark Lord had chosen him for a reason, and Draco wasn’t going to fail. And he wasn’t going to hide up in his room either. He would need to face his mother to prove that he wasn’t her little boy anymore. To prove that what the Dark Lord saw in him was genuine and that he knew exactly what he was getting into.
Draco stared at the lilac again. He had that sudden urge to crush it again but the very idea that it could be damaged formed a lump in his throat. It would be much simpler if it didn’t exist. If he didn’t have a reminder that meant so much to him. If it didn’t smell like . . .
Gently, he placed the lilac back onto the pages of its book and slammed the book closed. He slipped off the bed and reached underneath it to pull out a medium-sized, metal box and placed it on the mattress. He unlocked its enchanted lock with the flick of his wand and after it opened he tossed the book inside. And it landed on top of the three, unopened letters Buffy had sent him last month. Letters he could barely look at. Draco slammed the lid closed, locked it and shoved the box underneath his bed once again. It was time to put all foolish things aside. It was time to grow up. It was time to draw the line between alliances . . . and enemies. And Draco had chosen his side.
Note: I can think of no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to do what you love for the pure love of it and to share it with the people who appreciate it :)
Happy Valentine’s Day you Muggles you!