All Btvs and HP characters belong to their respective owners and as always I'm not making any profit from this fic.
Chapter 31: The Offer
Christmas time had once again come around, and as always the entire Lupin/Black/Potter family and all their friends came together for the holiday season.
Sirius had let them all stay at Grimmauld place and just like the year before, Mrs. Weasley and Buffy, with additional help from Tonks, had prepared the feast for them all. Although this year was slightly more special.
For starters Arthur had finally been allowed home from the hospital after his injuries, and the entire Weasley family were especially grateful to Harry for having his vision of the attack in the first place.
And secondly everyone was quickly catching up on the ongoing 'will they, won't they' situation with Remus and Tonks. Something that amused Buffy to no end as it gave her ample opportunities to tease her big brother.
But no matter how much she teased him, no matter how many times they laughed together, her mind always went back to her dream. To the growing darkness that would soon smother them all.
So when the sun finally set and the half moon rose high into the night's sky, Buffy was glad to be able to get out of the house, to breathe in some fresh, cool air and to hunt down some vampires. Because beating on the undead was a sure fire way to get her back in a good mood.
Barely five minutes into her usual patrol route and she came across two vampires that had been arguing over a young, unconscious girl who had obviously passed in shock out after seeing them.
Buffy waited patiently behind them while they argued over who was going to get the first taste of the girl, completely unaware of their silent observer.
“You know I actually think you vamps might get even more stupid every year...” She commented, just as the two were about to start fighting each other.
They spun to face her, looking alarmed that someone had crept up on them. “Who are you?”
She let a long sigh leave her as she absently twirled the wooden stake in her hand.
“What's that?” The second vampire asked, pointing to the stake with a look of fear.
“Oh, this?” Buffy paused her twirling, holding up the stake for them to see. “This is Mr. Pointy II, and I'm here to introduce him to your heart.”
The first vampire growled, charging forward with hunger and madness in his eyes, but that only made him sloppy. Buffy easily sidestepped him, sticking her foot out to trip him up.
The second vampire, which she assumed was the smarter of the two because he looked as if he was contemplating turning and running from her, stepped forward slowly, as if he was going to circle her.
But Buffy had other ideas. She leapt forward, jumping straight over his head and landing a kick on his back, sending him sprawling head first to the floor just like his friend.
“This is way too easy,” Buffy said as she watched the pair of them get back to their feet slowly, “At least make it a challenge for me.”
Buffy spun at the new voice, instinctively ducking low to the ground and rolling to the side. She watched as a flash of light sailed through the air, missing her by miles thanks to her slayer reflexes.
As she lifted her head she took in the newcomer. A tall man, dressed in all black, with a dark mask covering his face and a wooden wand in his hand. Yup, no mistaking it, he was definitely a death eater.
A snarl came from the man as he shot his wand forward again, and Buffy dived to the side, hearing an explosion from where the spell had hit behind her. One of the vampires was screaming, now covered in flames from head to toe after being caught in the crossfire. The other one gave the pair of them a wide-eyed look before he took off at a run, getting as far a distance from them as possible. He really was the smart one.
The vampire that was on fire slowly crumbled to ash as Buffy stood again, staring off her new opponent who was not quite as strong or fast as the vampires, but had the advantage of magic and long distance attacks.
“What do you want?” She said, glaring at the man. Of course Voldemort's followers were out and about killing people who opposed him, which she supposed put her on the very top of his hit list, but still she hadn't thought they would know where to find her.
“We want you to come with us.” Said another voice, and there was a rush of wind from behind her. Buffy rolled her eyes, taking a step back and to the side until she could see the two death eaters, one of them on either side of her.
“Huh, that's a new one.” She said, more to herself than to them. “Unfortunately I have places I need to be, so how about I don't?”
“We didn't ask you to come with us. It is an order.” The first death eater told her with an air of arrogance.
“Oh, an order is it? Too bad. I don't usually get along with people who try and order me around. And it usually ends badly for anyone who does... Feel free to run away screaming in fear, now's your only chance.”
The pair of them laughed together, ignoring her words completely as if they knew something that she didn't.
“You will come with us.” The first said, and she could almost hear the grin on his face even if she couldn't see it through his mask.
Instantly there was another whoosh of air, another plume of black smoke that hit the ground and another death eater stepping forward. She moved positions again until she could see all three of them, and grimaced as she realised the third death eater was none other than Barty Crouch, her least favourite death eater...
“So we meet again, Slayer.” he said, grinning like a mad-man.
Buffy's eyes widened in surprise and she saw Barty's grin grow even bigger. So he knew what she was then. That wasn't good news. Voldemort obviously knew now too, and that was why he'd sent out his death eaters after her. Not to kill her, but to take her to him.
"You will come with us, or we will make you." He said, repeating what his friend had said earlier.
As far as she could see it, she had two options. Either to stand and fight, or to willingly be dragged to Voldemort...
"Like Hell I am!"
Hoping to take them off guard, she sprung forward, barging straight into Barty who stumbled backwards. She fell with him, but used his body to break her fall, rolling away and back to a standing position.
Two shots of light flew past her, but she dodged to the side of them, throwing her stake away and pulling out her own wand. She fired off her own blast of light, which connected with her enemies next spell, cancelling it out in mid-air.
Jumping to her feet again Buffy rushed towards the first death eater, running at full speed.“Everte Statum!”
Her spell hit him in the chest, and he immediately doubled over in pain. As soon as she reached his side, her fist connected with his head, and he fell to the ground unconscious.
The second death eater and Barty were advancing on her now, but she didn't give them much time to act.“Impedimenta!”
The second death eater's steps stopped suddenly, looking very much like he had just walked into solid but invisible wall.
Buffy grinned, turning her attention to Barty, the last remaining enemy. He was staring at her with something akin to fear in his eyes and she knew exactly what he was thinking. He had thought she would be easy to defeat, that the three death eaters would have no problems bringing her in to their master, but he hadn't bet on her learning more, on her being stronger both magically and physically than she had been when they'd last met.
She saw something pass over him, and she knew she wasn't going to like what he was about to do. He held his wand up in the air, pointed up towards the heavens, and screamed out.“Morsmordre!”
Instantly a flash erupted from his wand, shooting high into the sky. And seconds later a dark face formed in the clouds above. Dark, black smoke swished into the dark mark right above their position. He was sending out a signal, a cry for help and she just knew that the other death eaters, and maybe even Voldemort himself, would come to his aid.
Buffy cursed as she ran for him, ready to tackle him to the ground. But she never got there. A cry echoed around her, and the next thing she knew her entire body was writhing in pain. It shot around her like electricity, a never ending circuit.
She saw Barty standing just out of her reach, grinning crazily as her legs collapsed under her own body. She hit the ground hard, seeing the flash of black smoke as more death eaters arrived nearby.
The curse lifted from her as a cloaked death eater stepped up next to her, grabbing her by the arm as if he was going to drag her up to her feet. But she wasn't going to let them catch her that easily.
She grabbed the mans arm, twisting it painfully until she heard a loud crunch and the man backed off immediately.
“Out of the way!”
She turned at Barty's shout and saw a group of maybe six or seven death eaters approaching her, all with their wands held out at her. She sprung to her feet, charging right at them as if they were bowling pins and she the ball. But once again she never made the hit. As one they cried out a curse that had her tripping, falling back to the grass as the currents of pain shot through her entire body.
It didn't take long for her will to give up. She willingly welcomed the darkness that followed.
When she finally awoke Buffy winced at the sudden pain that sprung through her mind. Her head felt as if someone had smacked her with a troll god's hammer, and her entire body ached.
She slowly lifted her head from the ground, seeing that she was lying on a cold, hard concrete floor. She was in a cell, in a dark room that had no windows, no light apart from a few torches lit by flames, and it was freezing cold.
There was a single figure standing watch in front of the door to her cell, a tall intimidating form dressed all in black. But this time there was no mask, and she recognised who it was instantly.
Despite the pain in her head, she couldn't help but grin at the fist sized bruise that was spread across the side of his face, and she knew then that he had been the first death eater to talk to her in the graveyard, the one she had knocked unconscious with a single blow. It seemed like his mask had stopped the majority of the force behind her hit, but it had still left a very obvious mark.
“You're awake then, finally.” He said as crossed his arms over his chest, looking unhappy.
“Hm, how's your face, Lucius? That looks painful.” She laughed, noting how her voice sounded croaky, probably from the lack of water. And who knew how long she had been cooped up in that cage for.
Lucius didn't seem to appreciate her joke. Instead of answering he simply pulled out his wand. The clink of chains was the first clue to what he was up to, and then just as suddenly her hands were tied in front of her, bound by a thick chain that she instinctively knew she wouldn't be able to break by force.
He used his wand to unlock the cell door and stepped forward, his wand pointed directly at her head.
“If you really think that this,” she nodded towards her now bound hands, “is going to stop me from attacking you, then you're a lot dumber than I thought you were.”
“Unfortunately for you, I'm not.” He replied, gesturing to something further into the room, to something that she couldn't see from her position. The sound of footsteps announced the arrival of six more death eaters, all of whom stopped in front of her with their wands held out. Obviously none of them trusted her.
“Up.” Lucius ordered, keeping his wand trailing on her as she stood. She had no chance to fight back now. One death eater at a close range she could handle with no problems, but seven? There really wasn't much point in getting herself injured further.
When Lucius gestured for her to step out she complied, suddenly being grabbed on either side by a pair of death eaters. The others held their wands at her, watching her intently as they moved through the room.
Lucius grinned at her, loving that he had her caught and helpless. “And you are obviously smarter than I gave you credit for.”
Buffy ignored him, keeping her eyes focused on where they were taking her. The room she was being kept in was lined with cells, just like the one she had been in, but all of them were empty.
At the end of the room was a metal gate, which she was roughly shoved through, and then a set of stairs that led up to a door. Once they emerged outside, Buffy realised that they were actually inside someone's home.
The room they were standing in now was so obviously a living room. There was a huge couch, a coffee table and lots of decorations on the walls, mostly old canvas paintings of various people. Briefly Buffy had to wonder on just whose house this was, and why they had a set of dungeons in the basement...
She was pushed through another set of doors, these ones big and wooden, until she entered a large room that she guessed had once been the dinning room. A huge table spread through one side of the room, chairs placed around it, and at the very end was a single high-backed chair that was draped in a black satin throw. It all looked very throne-like.
There were various people standing in the room, no doubt waiting for her, and as she was dragged to the throne and ceremoniously dumped there by the death eaters, she let her eyes wander the room.
Lucius had gone to stand at the side with a blonde woman, who Buffy vaguely remembered to be his wife, Narcissa, and his son Draco who stood just between them. Draco looked up and for a split second their eyes met from across the room, surprise and concern eating away at his expression.
As if it wasn't bad enough that he, a kid, had been dragged into this, another figure stepped up besides the family and Buffy felt her jaw drop. Severus was standing there with them, looking completely neutral as if he had been in this situation many times before.
Her mind tried to come up with a reasonable excuse for him to be there, but in the end it always came back to the fact that he had lied to her. Obviously he was a death eater, and it made her feel sick that she had stood up for him for all this time. Was he the reason she was there now? Had he told Voldemort what she was? Where to find her?
Her thoughts were cut off abruptly by the sound of high-heeled shoes clicking against the cold marble floor, and a set of black boots stopped in front of her.
Her gaze followed the boots upwards, seeing the long, black dress that had various rips and tears in it, the pale, almost grey coloured skin, the dark curly hair that seemed to stick out in every direction and finally, the craziest grin she had ever seen. And that was saying something, she'd seen her fair share of craziness from Faith to last a lifetime.
Buffy smiled, although it didn't reach her eyes as she looked over the familiar woman. Once upon a time she had thought her to be beautiful, as flawless as a doll... but now she was barely a shadow of her former beauty. “Bellatrix Lestrange. I guess I should have known you'd be here.”
Bellatrix's grin grew even wider, “And I never thought I would see or hear of you again, Isabella.”
Buffy kept her face neutral, “How was Azkaban? I hear it gets a little cold this time of year.”
“Azkaban could not hold me, dear Isabella.” Bellatrix laughed, her shrill cries echoing around the room.
“Yeah, I heard about that.” Buffy told her with a straight face, “I bet it sucks to know that your cousin broke out all on his own while you had to go and call for help...”
Buffy watched as Bellatrix's laugh faded away, replaced by an icy glare. “Don't you speak to me of that traitor!” She lifted her hand as if to slap Buffy but someone caught her by the wrist and stopped her.
Bellatrix looked behind her with surprise, but her eyes softened immediately. “My Lord.”
Voldemort let go of her then, stepping around her to stand in front of his throne and look down at Buffy, who was still sitting on the floor. “Our guest is not to be harmed, Bellatrix.”
“I apologise, my Lord.” The dark haired witch stepped back, holding her head low, but her eyes remained glued to Buffy as if she was waiting for her to make a move.
“Guest?” Buffy repeated incredulously. “This is how you treat guests? Wow, I'd hate to see how you treat your real captives...”
Voldemort ignored her words, taking a seat at his throne and settling himself in as if he was king of the castle and he had all time in the world. And then his gaze shifted to her, his eyes suddenly looking very serious, his lips pressed together tightly. “Do you know why I have brought you here, Isabella?”
She let out a small breath of laughter, “What's with everyone here calling me that?” No one answered her so she looked up, meeting his crimson eyes head on. “I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that you want something from me.”
He sat forward in his chair, leaning his elbows on his legs so that he could stare down at her. “I have an offer for you, an offer that you will take if you have any good sense. You are the Slayer, and I want you to join me. Do so, and I will leave your family alone. I won't try to find them, and I won't attempt to harm them.”
“My family? Do you mean my literal family? Or does that extend to anyone I
consider to be my family?” She already knew the answer, but she wanted to see what he would say. How far would he go to get her on his team?
Voldemort only stared at her, before he sat back in his chair, never taking his eyes off her.
“I guess there's my answer. What a surprise.” She said quietly to herself.
“If you join me I will spare your family,” He repeated, his tone suddenly sounding harsher than it had a few seconds ago. “This is a fair deal. Do you not wish to guarantee the wolf's safety? Will you join me?”
“Well it is a pretty good offer, I must admit...” She started, doing her best not to sound too sarcastic, “but there is one teeny, tiny little snag... I don't work with crazy evil guys. That plus I really don't like your dress sense, I mean seriously you need to change your wardrobe. All that black is doing nothing for your complexion.”
Voldemort stayed as still as a statue, but it was Bellatrix that gasped and stepped forward, an angry scowl on her face. “How dare you insult the Dark Lord! You will pay for your insolence!” She grabbed Buffy by the hair and pulled her to her feet, the tip of her wand pressed right against her cheek.
“Bellatrix, do not make me repeat myself.” Voldemort said, stopping her from actually doing anything to Buffy. With a look of pure disgust, Bellatrix let her go, glaring when Buffy smiled sweetly at her.
“I apologise. But she will not bow down to you, Master. Let me take care of this and I will ensure that she does not cause you any more trouble.” Bellatrix told him with a small bow of her own.
“No, no harm will come to her from you.” He replied, lifting a hand and clicking his fingers. In response the death eaters straightened and stepped forward, some of them grabbing her by the arms and restraining her again while others pointed their wands at her.
“I see we are getting nowhere today. We shall try again tomorrow. And if she still resists then she is all yours, Bellatrix.”
The dark haired witch grinned, “I can't wait.”
Buffy only rolled her eyes and willingly walked as she was shoved back the way she had been brought, back to her cell.
She was given a hard push into the small cage and the door was slammed shut behind her, the death eaters laughing as they magically locked the door and removed her chains. Within moments they had left her alone in the dark.
She understood that having a slayer on his side would benefit Voldemort, she would be a useful ally in the war, but why would he go to such lengths to ensure that she join him? Why didn't he want her to be harmed? What was so important about her?
And most important of all, how was she going to get herself out of this?