*~* Places Everyone *~*
Dawn had her eyes squeezed shut, and she was cringing. Yet Buffy just kept on with the talky talky. She so did not want to hear this.
"If I promise never to have sex with Harry... ever, will you shut up and you and Angel... and Parker... and Riley... and Spike? Please?"
"Don't make promises you can't keep, Dawnie. I've seen Harry, and I've seen how you look at him. I've further seen how he looks at you."
"Things just got out of hand."
"How out of hand?"
"It was just the once."
"How out of hand?"
"Willow didn't tell you?"
"How out of hand?" She said more forcefully.
"We were like an insertion away from actual sex." Dawn said with a cringe.
"What kind of school is this?"
Dawn jumped to her feet. "It's not the school's fault. I was scared... and it... just happened. I didn't mean to."
"Didn't mean to? So what... you slipped and all your clothes exploded off?"
"It wasn't like that. One minute we were kissing... and I was so scared of losing him... I love him so much... just the very thought... I didn't mean to."
"I didn't mean to."
"No... before that."
Dawn's eyebrows furrowed. What? Oh. "Oh." She'd just admitted, aloud, to loving Harry. That was a fairly scary thing to be feeling at her age.
"Did you mean that?"
"I... I think so. Yeah."
"You think so?"
"Fine then. Yes. I meant it. Wholeheartedly. I love Harry."
A slow smile crept over Buffy's face. "Does he know this?"
"I think perhaps you should have told him before you told me."
"Nobody thought I knew what I was about with Angel... but I knew I loved him. I knew it the way I know slaying. The way Cordelia knows about shoes."
"So... so you don't mind?"
"Why would I mind that you loved someone?"
"Look, Dawn, I can tell you the reasons why sex before you're ready is bad 'til I'm blue in the face, but you're gonna do what you're gonna do with Harry. Someone very wise told me that I had to trust you to make some of your own decisions, so that's what I'm gonna do here. Just make sure the insertion doesn't lead to the conception."
"Buffy..." Dawn was making a face.
"I'm serious. As wonderful and brave and adult as Harry can be, I don't think he's quite ready to be a daddy. Hell, Angel's been around like two and a half centuries, and he's barely fit for fatherhood. I can SO tell there are like a million issues with him and Connor."
Dawn was about to agree to that about Connor and Angel when Spike darted past them... followed by a mob of people shouting hexes. It comically reminded Dawn of a mob scene from a black and white Frankenstein movie she'd caught on late night TV years ago.
"I think there's a problem."
Connor had sprinted ahead of everyone and was gaining quickly on Spike. Lily, despite everything, wasn't slacking either. But her intent was different. She had her wand out and was deflecting hexes from Connor and Spike.
Connor took a flying leap and tackled Spike to the ground. The two of them rolled. Lily got between them and the mob... then she turned her wand on everyone else.
"Miss Rosenberg...." Madam Pomfrey said in a neutral tone.
Lily didn't even notice she was shaking.
"Lily..." Draco gasped.
He hair had just turned as blonde as his was. No longer streaked. No, she could have been Draco's green-eyed sister with that hair now.
"Whoa." Ron muttered.
Draco swallowed. "You're as blonde as I am. Your hair just changed color."
Lily picked up an end of her hair and shrieked.
"What happened?" Buffy asked as she moved through everyone.
"They think I'm crazy, and they're trying to hex me, slayer!" Spike shouted, then he turned to the empty air right next to him. "Will you stop talking when I'm trying to talk? It's giving me a headache, you pillock. No one else can hear you. Might as well wait until I'm finished before you start yammering on like a ten year old girl with a new kitten."
Buffy exchanged a look with Dawn.
Connor was shifting nervously when he entered the rooms the AI team had been put into for their stay at Hogwarts. Dawn was with him, but he was still nervous. Too much was happening in too short a time. They'd managed to get Spike back to the infirmary with the promise of not strapping him back to the bed, so long as he stayed there.
Angel was glaring at Fred. "What if I need you for something?"
"Then I guess you can come and get me."
"What's going on?" Connor asked.
"Fred's decided she's staying at Hogwarts to help Dawn with her portal thing." With that Angel sent a hard glare at Dawn.
"Now just a minute, mister." Fred snapped. "It is not Dawn's fault. She didn't ask. I offered."
"Yes." Angel said to Connor. "Apparently she's asked Professor Dumbledore if she could stay and everything."
Connor seemed to shrink into himself. Now he REALLY couldn't tell his father what he needed to say. Dawn nudged him in the back.
"What?" Angel asked, sensing something was wrong. "What is it?"
"Do you want me to?" Dawn whispered.
"What?" Connor whispered back.
"I can say it if you can't."
"I can say it."
"Then say it."
"Say what?" Angel said, his voice gathering some panic.
Connor sighed. "I think I should stay here."
"I... should stay here... at the school."
"Is life with me so horrible, Connor?" Angel whispered.
"What? No. It's not that at all. There's this... thing that's happened..."
"That Willow-looking Lily girl?"
"What? No. I mean, she is sort of-"
Dawn elbowed him.
"That's not what this is about."
Dawn sighed and took out her wand. "This might go easier if you show him."
Connor made an unsure face at her but took the wand.
"Swish and flick, Con. Just like I showed you. Try the book on the table. Wingardium leviosa."
Connor took a deep breath. He sliced Dawn's wand through the air before him in a manner that would have made Professor Flitwick weep with its accuracy. "Wingardium leviosa!"
The book AND the table lifted.
"Oh!" Dawn said in slight alarm. He really DID need to train up. His focus was all wonky... and holy poop did he have the power going on. She sure couldn't levitate anything that big.
Fred was staring at the table with her mouth open. Angel was having much the same expression. Gunn and Cordelia walked in and froze when they saw what was going on. Connor was starting to sweat a bit as the table stayed about a foot in the air, suspended by whatever he was putting out through Dawn's wand. He lowered his arm suddenly, let out a rush of air, and seemed to sag. The table crashed loudly to the floor. Dawn grabbed Connor to keep him from falling.
"He kinda has this whole mojo thing going on." Dawn offered feebly.
Professor Dumbledore sat behind his desk. His eyes were slightly amused. Several people were trying to shout at him at once. His office and outer waiting room were filled with people. Most of the staff and most of the 'visitors' were there.
Lily Rosenberg was changing hair colors without a charm or being any sort of brand of shape-shifter.
William Malfoy was crazy and should be contained.
Connor Angel could do magic.
The vampiress Drusilla was crazy and should be contained.
Winifred Burkle wanted to stay and do portal research.... because she felt it was important.
The vampire double of Alexander Harris, Alex, might be crazy and should be contained.
Cassie Newton needed to stay so that Madam Pomfrey could work with her.
And the Ministry of Magic would have an absolute fit about most of it.
He did so like visitors, but Albus Dumbledore was thinking he would like the mild bit of calm that would cover the school once the groups were gone.
"I have decided...."
Everyone was still talking.
"I have decided...."
"SHUT IT!" Hagrid hollered.
The room went still.
"Thank you, Hagrid." Dumbledore said. "I have decided that if Miss Burkle and Mister Angel would like to stay, they are most welcome."
Angel started to interrupt, but Dumbledore leveled his blue gaze at the vampire, and Angel snapped his mouth closed.
"I believe Miss Burkle's portal research with Miss Summers could be key..." He chuckled. "No pun intended."
Buffy rolled her eyes, but there was a big smile on her face. If Dawn wanted to know more about this portal business, Buffy was all for someone helping her out in that area.
"Connor Angel needs to learn control. I would rather have him here where he is among friends. If the American Association of Magic got wind of it, they'd make him go through a training process. There's not a lot of way around that now. He's been outted, so to speak."
Angel sighed heavily, recognizing defeat when he saw it. But Dumbledore was right. Better here with friends. Didn't mean he had to like it though. Well, Buffy did it because it was good for Dawn. Maybe it'd be good for Connor too.
"I do not like the idea of locking up William, but we will certainly keep eyes on him. I do not believe him dangerous to anyone at Hogwarts. Drusilla I am not so sure of. Nor Alex. They will need to be watched more closely. Private rooms will be set up for the both of them here. I would not like seeing them elsewhere either. I do not think they would be cared for in the same manner if handed over to the Ministry. They will, of course, not be allowed to roam free until we are sure they can be trusted to do so."
"I'll help wit Miz Dru." Hagrid offered.
"I thought you might, Hagrid. Thank you." Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Miss Buffy Summers has agreed to release Cassandra Newton into our care, so that Madam Pomfrey may strive to repair what is ailing the girl. She is directly under my care while here. Make it known to the students that any assault on Miss Newton will be considered an assault on myself. Yes, she is a muggle, but she is here for our help. I will not tolerate intolerance of her non-magic status."
He had been looking at Snape while he said the last bit. Severus wasn't offended. He knew many of the students in his house would take offense at a muggle being allowed to stay here. They would need to know any rule-breaking concerning Miss Newton will be punished with severity.
"As for Miss Rosenberg... she will begin spending time with myself... and Professor Snape every few days to see if we can not discover the reason for her hair."
Severus was scowling. Willow, though still tired, patted his arm reassuringly. He still didn't understand why Dumbledore specifically wanted him working with Lily.... and he sensed there was a very specific purpose.
"Now, you all know the floos are being set between Aberforth's headquarters, Sunnydale, Angel Investigations, and Hogwarts. Use the network wisely. We have work to do."
Everyone was talking at once again, but they seemed reassured. A little.
Severus and Willow remained back a bit.
"Albus?" Severus asked.
"I want you to go into her head."
"You can do that?" Willow asked with excitement. "I didn't know you could do that."
Severus just looked at her in that way he had about him that said 'I merely tolerate you'.
"Oh! Do me."
Dumbledore choked with laughter.
Severus rolled his eyes. "I despise you for making me love you."
Willow giggled. "I love it when you go all growly bear. Let's go to our cave and snuggle."
Dumbledore let out a very loud crack of laughter.
"We should see your friends off first, don't you think?"
"I suppose." Willow said, as she linked her arm through his.
"Must you do that?"
"You're serious about my walking you through the school on my arm?"
"Darn tootin', Cranky Pants."
Dumbledore started laughing yet again. Severus glared at him for it... which made Dumbledore laugh with all the more gusto.