Auras and Assumptions
*~* Auras and Assumptions *~*
Willow gave a shiver as Dawn got to her feet and numbly walked to her house table. That sorting hat still gave her the wig.
"Aw, is my poor dear annoying pixie frightened of the little old sorting hat?" A certain someone hissed rather velvetly in her ear.
Snape grunted when Willow ground her heel into his foot.
"Lick my ass." She gritted.
"Here? In front of Dumbledore and everyone?"
She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "You are SO gonna get it later, mister."
"Is that a promise, Professor Rosenberg?"
"It's a guarantee, Professor Snape."
"Would you two mind terribly not being so childish and vomitous?" Giles whispered harshly without looking at either of them. "We ARE about to eat here. I've been looking forward to this all day. If you two ruin my appetite, I shall be VERY put out."
Dawn was so stunned that she barely noticed herself making it to the Slytherin table. She didn't dare look at Harry. Her hands were shaking as she sat down. Draco took one of them in his own.
"Everything's going to be all right."
"Nothing's EVER going to be all right."
"Sure it is. Look at Potter."
Dawn raised her eyes slowly to the Gryffindor table. Harry was smiling at her. Dawn blinked. Everyone else in Gryffindor was staring at her in shock and horror, but not Harry Potter. No. Harry was smiling that lovely smile of his at her. Like she was still glorious and beautiful and wonderful. Dawn smiled back.
"He's living up to his rep." Lily said. "Pretty balls of brass to go after a Slytherin when it's obvious your house is gonna be against you for it."
"Potter always did have more balls than brains." Draco muttered.
"And you know this how?" Lily said with a mischievous grin on her face.
Dawn snickered. Draco gave Lily a glare that would have peeled back paint.
The sorting came to a close and Dumbledore rose to give his start of term announcements.
"Welcome back to Hogwarts, or to our first years and a few others..." He looked at Dawn and Lily. "Just welcome. Please note that the dark forest is still out of bounds to all students. This means you, Miss Rosenberg."
Lily tried to look innocent. Guess he'd heard about her wandering off and getting lost in it over the summer. Dumbledore leveled his piercing blue stare at her over the rim of his glasses. Lily shrugged and grinned.
"Also, I would like to introduce the two young ladies who were sorted tonight with the first years. They are Miss Dawn Summers who is sister to Buffy Summers whom some of you met last term. The elder Summers being the current vampire slayer, so any mischief against Miss Dawn would be ill advised. The second being Miss Lily Rosenberg. Who is our Professor Rosenberg's sister by decree of the Ministry of Magic, and as Miss Lily Rosenberg is a former vampire, any mischief against her is also very ill advised. I've been told she still bites."
Lily couldn't help the bubble of giggles that spilled out of her.
"Now, I would like to inform you of some of the staff changes as of this year. Professor Rosenberg will be assisting Professor Giles in the Defense Against the Dark arts classes, as she is quite qualified. Professor Maclay will be assisting Professor Snape with potions class. Mr. Filch will still be doing grounds work inside the castle, but outdoors and the game keeping will be maintained by our Care of Magical Creatures professor - Hagrid and Mr. William Malfoy, but I do believe Mr. Malfoy prefers the name Spike. Mr. Oliver Wood has returned to assist Madam Hooch with flying. Now there are two familiar faces to some that will be taking over the History and Lore of Magical Creatures classes.... Professor Remus Lupin and his assistant Professor Anya Emerson."
Harry jerked around to look at that end of the table. He hadn't noticed them there. Remus and Anya were both smiling. Professor Lupin waved at him. Harry blinked. A demon and a werewolf teaching a magical creatures class. Well, it fit. He looked again. Anya had changed her hair. It was short and brown. He realized she was mouthing something at him. Harry squinted.
Are you wearing the boxers?
He went bright red and ducked down. Bloody hell. A whole year of her and her comments. What WAS Dumbledore thinking? Dawn was having the same thought as she stared openmouthed at Anya. Willow was leaning around Snape gaping. Apparently she hadn't been aware of this either.
Dumbledore cleared his throat to continue. "Just after last term, Professor Binns decided to give up the ghost and his History of Magic teaching, and after a search we found a new History of Magic professor, but..." Dumbledore looked around. "I do not see him here."
Just then the doors to the great hall banged open. And two people strode in. Well, one of them strode. The other thumped and scraped.
"Holy shit." Dawn muttered.
Draco went a bit pale. "Oh fuck."
"Ah there you are, Professor Wyndham-Pryce. I was a bit worried, and ah, I see you found, erm, Alastor Moody."
Willow leaned around Severus to Giles. "Did you know about this? About Wesley?"
Giles gave her a withering look. "Certainly not."
"You know him?" Severus asked.
Willow rolled her eyes. "He was Buffy's watcher after Giles got fired. There are issues here."
"The one who was going to let you die rather than let the mayor of Sunnydale get his hands on the little box with all the nasty spider things in it?"
Willow had brought Snape up to speed on the gang's Sunnydale history over the summer.
"That's the one." Giles snapped. Though he had heard Wesley had changed since leaving Sunnydale, he still had grudges against the man that would need to be worked out soon. He'd hate for the two of them to be snipping at one another all year.
Snape glared at the new History of Magic professor. Willing to trade his little pixie's life rather than find another way, was he? Well, he'd better not step out of line here. Severus Snape found himself quite disliking the other watcher simply because he had held so little regard for the life of his Willow.
Tara was looking at Mad-Eye Moody with the oddest look on her face. She was shaking a bit and taking in great gasps of air. Willow turned from the glaring Severus and leaned over to her.
"It's not... aura's all wrong."
"What?" Willow whispered.
"Aura's broken. He's not right. Can't put my finger on it, but that's not him. He's someone else."
Willow nodded. Back a day and already they had a mystery on their hands. "We'll handle it, sweetie. It'll be ok."
Tara nodded. Willow took one of the blonde witch's hands under the table and squeezed in reassurance.
"Everything all right, pet?" Spike asked from Tara's other side.
"I'm fine, Spike."
"Your heart's racing, luv."
"Can't hide anything from you." She said with a weak smile.
He took her other hand. "What is it?"
"That Moody man. He's not who he says he is. His aura's all wrong."
"It'll be all right, pet. We'll get to the what of it."
"As most of you are aware of the return of certain dark wizards to these parts, Mr. Alastor Moody will be hanging about the castle looking for... " Dumbledore's eyes twinkled far more than usual. "... trouble."
Moody turned to the teacher's table, looked straight at Tara, and winked. She toppled over backwards out of her chair.
"Tara!" Spike yelled.
"Oh dear!" Madam Pomfrey rushed over.
"Professor Maclay, are you all right?" Dumbledore asked, throwing a harsh and reproaching look at Moody.
Spike and Madam Pomfrey were helping Tara back into her chair. "F-f-f-f-f-f-f-fine." But her eyes were wide as saucers and glued to Moody.
"Tara?" Willow asked in concern.
But she was still staring intently at Moody who was staring back at her just as hard.
Oliver was laughing so hard that Willow wanted to smack him.
Actually everyone was fairly amused save Willow and Snape. Dumbledore had given the redhead and the potions master adjoining chambers. Oliver was heartily amused by this. So was Anya. She kept saying things with the word 'nookie' in it that was making Giles clean his glasses quite a bit, and Remus Lupin shift from foot to foot uncomfortably. Tara would have been laughing, but she was still looking rather intently at Moody.
Willow looked at Anya. "I have questions for you." She looked at Wesley. "And you, but not tonight. I'm rather tired."
"Willow..." Anya said leaning in. "That's not the sort of thing your lover wants to hear at night."
Snape rolled his eyes. "Bloody hell."
Oliver snickered. Everyone started to make their way to their rooms.
Anya looked at Wesley. "I have to ask. What happened to your neck? And when did you stop shaving or brushing your hair?"
"I got my throat slit. I quit shaving because have issues with sharp objects near my neck, and I don't brush my hair because I don't bloody well feel like it." He snapped.
"Me-ow. Issues much? It was just a question, stuffy. Or should I say scruffy? Grasp pole firmly and remove from ass. Geez." Anya cast Giles a look that clearly said 'talk to him about what his trauma is' before stalking to her room and whispering what sounded suspiciously like 'penis' for her password.
Tara looked at her father. "And she's your assistant, Daddy."
Remus was starting to have a bad feeling about this year. Albus had mentioned that Miss Emerson was a bit outspoken, but great Merlin! Mad-Eye Moody was chuckling. Remus looked at him oddly.
Everyone else pretty much dispersed to their chambers.
Oliver gave Tara a light peck on the cheek before heading off. "See you in the morning?"
That left her alone in the hall with Moody. She arched a brow at him. "Why don't you come inside?" She turned to her door. "Dogstar."
"Clever." He grizzled.
The door closed behind him and Tara stalked to the window before whipped around to glare at him. "Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?"
Her pet bat Little Spike gave a loud screeching and flapped his wings a bit. He always got very distressed when his mistress was upset. Tara moved over and began slicing an apple into very small bits for her pet. She stroked his little furry body with a bit of reassurance and fed him a piece of the fruit.
"Well?" She snapped.
"Keeping a close eye on Harry."
"You are completely INSANE!" She screeched, pointing the paring knife at him. "Does Dumbledore know-"
"It was his idea."
"The both of you are completely crazy. The freakin' Mad Hatter and March Hare!" She stabbed the knife violently into the remains of the apple. Little Spike gave a loud screech.
"What's the matter, Alice? Don't like your tea party?"
"Don't make jokes. This is dangerous."
"I know. In more ways than one."
Before her eyes he began to change. The scar and rough leather of his skin became somewhat smoother. The wooden peg leg fell off and another of flesh and bone grew in its place. The beady eye became stark blue, and the gray and grizzled hair turned to a silky black with only a few strands of gray.
"You'd know me anywhere, I suppose."
"Sirius Black, you have one of the most distinct auras I have ever known. It took me a minute, but yes, I knew you. Even with all this."
He looked away and grinned. "You've been avoiding me."
"And you know why."
He took a step closer to her. "It's not very ladylike of you."
She looked up at him with that Malfoy smirk of hers. Funny how it irritated him on Spike, but on her it was just sexy. He tried to close even more of the space between them when her hand shot up and stopped him. It was burning this fabulous imaginary hole through his clothing right to the center of his chest.
"Who else knows?"
"Just you and Dumbledore."
"And the real Moody?"
"Is here. He's hiding out in some secret chambers of Dumbledore's, teaching me how to be him."
"Don't worry. I won't go dogging your steps or anything."
"No pun intended."
He grinned. "Look, no one's going to think you're having some lurid affair with Alastor Mad-Eye Moody."
"I dunno. That might make for some good gossip."
"Look, Tara, I'm not here to bother you or distract you or 'anything else' you, all right. I'm here to watch over Harry. He's my whole life right now. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to him. Dumbledore thinks bad things are coming. I'm inclined to agree. Especially with what went down last term. I just want to keep an eye on my boy. This is a way to do so. That's all I'm here for. Nothing else. So you don't have to worry about me."
"Famous last words."
"You know..." He said taking a swig from the flask that had been at his hip. "One day I'm gonna trick you into kissing me again. Perhaps more."
Tara watched as his skin bubbled, and he went back to the form of Moody. She reached down and grabbed his peg leg. Tara handed it to him.
"Not looking like that, you aren't."
He grinned at her. Which, considering his appearance, was truly scary.
Sirius stepped out into the corridor and was instantly grabbed. Spike had one arm. Remus had the other.
"What the devil-"
"Save it!" Spike growled.
They pulled him into Remus's chambers and flung him on the floor. Well, Spike did most of the flinging.
"Not so rough, William." Remus said in an even tone then he looked at the man sprawled at his feet. "Funny thing about vampires and werewolves is their sense of smell... Padfoot."
"Oh bloody hell, you two. Dumbledore told me not to say anything."
"Dumbledore?" Remus said in shock.
"Yes. Good God, man, I'm here to watch out for Harry, not try and shag your daughter!"
Remus raised an eyebrow.
"I mean it!" Sirius sighed. "I know that's what you were thinking, Moony. Would I really go through all this just to get into Tara's knickers?"
"Consider the past."
"Fair enough, but believe me when I say that's not what this is about."
"I believe you."
Remus gave the vampire a baleful look before turning back to Sirius. "So she knows."
"Saw right through it to me. Said something about my aura being unique."
"Damn that girl is good." Spike said. "Thinks she's all average when she's got power in spades."
Remus and Sirius were staring at Spike.
"Sorry. Malfoy pride." Spike grinned. "Potions my arse. They ruddy well ought to let Tara take up divination. Chit's got the eyes on her."
"Are you quite finished?" Sirius said dryly, which sounded even dryer in Moody's raspy voice.
"What? I can't take a little pride in how well my blood's turned out? Between her and Draco I'm banking double coupons in the beaming with pleasure department. Even though the soddin' little git wants to be a watcher. Of all things! A watcher!"
"And I say again... are you finished?"
Willow came through the door connecting her room to Snape's, hairbrush in hand running it through her long red tresses. He was still scowling.
"Now don't go getting all happy because we don't have to go sneaking in and out of each other's rooms or anything, Severus."
He glared at her.
"Oh come on, Cranky Pants. It's not THAT bad."
"I resent the assumption!"
"Even if it's a correct assumption?"
"That is not the point!"
"I think I resent your resentment. What is SO wrong with everyone knowing you and I are... well, you and I?"
"Stop being annoying." He snapped. "That has nothing to do with it."
"It does so."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"It does not."
"Does so!" She stomped her foot.
"IT DOES NOT!" His voice had rattled the windows.
Willow just stared at him in silence for the longest time before she spoke in very low and overly even tones. She even had her hairbrush pointed at him in a rather menacing way, which let Snape know how irrtated she was with him. "All right there, growly gus. I'm gonna be in my bed... naked. You know where the door is if you decide to stop being Mr. Pouty Pants and come on over and well, do that thing you do that I like so much."
Snape watched as she spun on her heel, red hair flying, and stalked to her room. He waited all of two minutes before he headed off after her. Damn her annoying and irresistible pixie hide.
Dawn sat on her bed in the room she shared with Lily alone. Draco had reluctantly left them at the entrance to the girls' dorms as he headed to the boys'. She couldn't forget Harry's smile. He wasn't going to ditch her just because she had been sorted to Slytherin. Gutterflower climbed up on the bed and pounced upon her lap.
This wasn't gonna be so bad.
How little she knew about what was to come.