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Colliding Worlds: Buffy in the Potterverse

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Summary: The PTB are merging the Potterverse with several other timelines. Buffy, Willow and Xander get to be the pre-merger clean-up crew. AU. Set mostly in the Potter World, but Scooby-centric.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-CenteredPJxxxxxFR151372,96677834,4076 Dec 122 Feb 13Yes

Snakes Alive, Part I

Disclaimer: BTVS owned by Joss Whedon, et. al.; HP by J.K. Rowling. This work is for fun, not profit. I own none of the characters. Any failure on the humor front is, of course, mine.

A/N: Maybe 5 years post-Chosen for BTVS. Ignores Season 8-9 comics. Starts with HP Book 1 and is mostly AU, non-canon after that. All significant action takes place in the Potterverse.

Chapter 11: Snakes Alive, Part I

Fenrir Greyback had been on the run for months. Never dapper, he now looked like something the cat had dragged in. Post-Wolfmeet, he'd been blackballed by every pack in Europe. Even his own special brand of followers had deserted him with startling alacrity. Worse than that, the European Alpha had his special security wolves tracking him. If they caught him, he was through, that was for certain.

All because some stupid bint called the Slayer showed up in Prague and kicked some arse over the holidays. He couldn't grasp what she might've done that had them all running scared. History was not his strong point, but surely one girl, no matter how powerful, couldn't take on the whole Wolfmeet? The Alpha was losing it; if Greyback wasn't so outnumbered, he'd demand a one-on-one showdown and take the whole organization away from him. As it was, he'd been lucky to stay ahead of the security wolves by changing towns constantly and living as much like a Muggle as possible.

But he was almost out of steam now. He'd even tried to contact the Vampire Council, but they'd warned him off directly. They had no desire whatsoever to deal with anyone on the Slayer's hit list, they'd said. This meeting with the upstart Hogwarts Professor looked like his last real hope for finding a patron and protector. A Muggle bar in a rundown section of Glasgow -- was there any other kind, he sneered to himself? -- was an unlikely spot for a wizard and a werewolf to get together. But he'd have to take the fool up on anything reasonable. Greyback was out of money, out of strength, and nearly out of time. The last thing he wanted was to be in the woods for the next moon; he'd barely lived through the last one.

Things had to improve; they literally couldn't get any worse than this. Famous last words, he thought bitterly, but here comes the Professor.

Quirrell found Greyback in the darkest corner of the unwholesome dive where they'd agreed to meet. He got right down to business.

"I need you for a job," he told Greyback. "If you don't cock it up, then we'll both be in the money and I'll protect you after that."

"Who the hell do you think you are?" sneered the dingy werewolf. "I'm blackballed, mate. Banned by the wolves, shunned by the vampires. It would take powers like Voldemort's to get people off my back."

"Precisely," said Quirrell.

Fenrir looked at Quirrell with contempt. "You? You're doing a wind up!" he scoffed. "You couldn't touch the power that Voldemort had!"

"Give me your left arm," said Quirrell. "I'll demonstrate."

"What are you on about? Demonstrate what?" asked the wolf.

"You are still in awe of Voldemort, correct? Yet he never deemed you worthy of the Dark Mark, did he?" asked Quirrell calmly.

"That's right. Werewolves were just good for the dirty work," replied Greyback bitterly. "I suppose that's what you want me for too."

"I'll give you the Mark," said Quirrell. "Will you work for me if I do?"

"No one but Voldemort could manage that," said Greyback sourly. "'s why so many Wizards fell under his spell. Once he put it on, no one could get it off. Or dared to even try after a while."

"So if I were to give you the Mark, you'd believe me then?" asked Quirrell.

Greyback inspected the innocuous-looking Quirrell. Diffident. Unprepossessing. Almost stuttering out his words. Nothing of the Dark Lord's weird glamour, no feeling of power emanating from him. As boring as a Muggle shop-worker, to be honest.

"Look, mate," he offered almost kindly, "you can't go about pretending to be the Dark Lord's successor. For one thing, you don't look the part. For another, you're working under Dumbledore's thumb. And finally, no one who knows anything about it even believes he's really gone. When he's back -- and he'll be back -- you're dead, and anyone with you'll be dead too."

"Voldemort IS gone," said Quirrell with conviction. "I AM his successor. After this job, we'll be shut of Dumbledore. And I'll give you the Mark to prove it."

Quirrell stared at Greyback with a weird intensity, but held back his power. He needed Greyback as a willing follower, not a hexed tool. The werewolf inspired a great deal of fear even amongst the ranks of the Death-eaters, as it was widely known that offending him caused violent revenge upon friends and family members. He was also fanatically loyal to Voldemort. If he were to join Quirrell, it would open the door to recruiting Dark creatures of many sorts who might otherwise spurn association with yet another wizarding upstart.

The werewolf had been contemplating his position. Not pleasant, no matter which way he turned. Quirrell might be his last shot out of this situation. "You may be a whack," he said, "but what choice do I have? If you can really give me the Dark Mark, then maybe you can handle the Slayer."

He held out his left arm to Quirrell, eyeing him beadily. "So, let's get on with it, what?"

Quirrell gathered his powers slowly. He knew the theory from what Voldemort had left in his brain, but he hadn't tried it yet for obvious reasons. He began to concentrate. He could always stun Greyback and make his escape. If need be. Might as well be hanged for the dragon as for an egg, he thought. And one dragon egg was all he needed to open the way to the Stone, after all. Greyback could help him with that, among other things.

When they heard about the detention Hermione and Harry had with Hagrid, the Scoobies had laughed long and loud. Hagrid's foolishness with the dragon's egg had been why they'd been up in the Astronomy tower in the first place. They didn't think it much of a punishment, not compared to the 150 House points that it'd cost Gryffindor. Hermione had been resigned to her fate of keeping total silence when they went out into the Forest. Hagrid had them searching for the 'lost' acromantula population. She knew very well where they were and what had happened. Buffy had happened. But she couldn't tell Hagrid or the others about last fall's Slayfest. Hagrid had a peculiar attraction to dangerous creatures; witness the baby dragon, after all.

Their subsequent encounter with the centaurs was a bit odd, however. While Hagrid questioned Bane about the acromantulas, only receiving vague and misleading replies, another of the centaurs had seemed to focus on Harry and Hermione. Firenze had mentioned many vague portents concerning Harry, most of which seemed too woolly to bother interpreting. But he had then turned to Hermione and offered her a greeting by name. He asked that she take his regards to her sisters, the mistresses of light and dark. Hermione had been about to ask what that was all about when Bane had burst between them and chastised Firenze.

Hagrid looked bewildered by this and was quite leery of the centaurs, who seemed rather harmless to Hermione. It was hard to decipher whether he remembered anything of the were-pig incident, the denouement to which Willow had described to her in some detail. But he seemed content to stay out of near-arrow range while he shouted back and forth with Bane. And Firenze's comments to Hermione, which he'd questioned her about afterwards, had him rolling his eyes in a marked manner. Harry, Draco, and Neville had no idea what was going on, obviously.

"'Mione," said Hagrid, "if you know those two folks Firenze is talking about, you need to stay away from them. They're dangerous."

"Know them?" asked Hermione, faking a confused tone. She knew well enough who they were, of course. "How would I know anyone called the Mistress of Dark or Mistress of Light?"

"I dunno," said Hagrid, "but centaurs are wicked smart creatures. If they think you know them, then mebbe you do, even if you don't know you do, if you know what I mean."

Hermione tried to parse this and failed. She looked over at Harry for help. He just shrugged his shoulders. Even when he was making perfect sense, Hagrid's conversational techniques were often obscure.

"Fine, Hagrid," she replied evenly. "I'll keep that in mind if I run across them."

Harry leaned in and whispered to Hermione, "What's he on about, then?" gesturing with his chin towards Hagrid.

She hated to lie to Harry, but Scooby business wasn't really his business. Not yet, anyway. Harry had developed an unfortunate habit of questioning her relentlessly about everything to do with them, ever since the pranking incident was explained to him. It was proving very tiresome. No way could she give him a hint about what really went on the last time Hagrid was out in the woods.

"He's talking about the were-pig thing again, Harry. The centaurs, you know," she replied in a low tone, hoping to deflect him a bit.

"Yes, I got that," said Harry. "But who's he saying is so dangerous?"

"That's not entirely clear," said Hermione, crossing her fingers reflexively at the almost lie. "It's difficult to know what Hagrid is talking about most of the time."

Draco shouldered past them just as she said this. "That's for sure, the great oaf! Thank God we're almost out of these woods at last. Spiders, bah!"

The interruption distracted Harry, fortunately. Hermione spent the rest of the walk nodding her head while her friend disparaged Malfoy's character and antecedents. She was somewhat relieved when he veered away to ask Hagrid a question as they neared the Castle.

Now, she thought as they finally were released by Hagrid, just what had Firenze meant by calling Willow and Buffy her sisters? She almost asked Neville what he thought before catching herself; the less Neville knew about the Scoobies, the better, and he still wasn't over that blasted crush on Willow.

'Stupid boys and their cursed curiosity!' she said under her breath. 'They must improve over time. Otherwise, we'd all be extinct!'

Harry was near dumbstruck when he came down for breakfast the last Saturday before exams. Sitting at the Hufflepuff table, animatedly conversing with Hermione and her three mad friends, was the unmistakeable form of Dudley Dursley. Visitors to the Castle were rare enough; young unaccompanied visitors even more so. Muggle visitors? Unheard of. Yet, there he was. Large as life. Though, looking him over, Harry could see he'd lost quite a bit of weight and shot up somewhat in height, making him less of a tubbo since he'd last seen him on the way to London in August.

Without thinking, his feet led him over towards Dud, Ron trailing behind with a typical look of confusion on his face. Hermione noticed them coming and rolled her eyes, but Harris shot him a glare that was fairly easy to read. Harry ignored that. He had no plans to make a scene; he just couldn't believe Dudley was actually here at Hogwarts, looking not only happy but comfortably impressed with all the magic going on around him.

He stopped alongside the table and spoke somewhat harshly, without thinking, "Dudley! What the bloody hell are you doing here?"

Dudley's face -- which had brightened on seeing Harry approach -- fell when he heard this. He glanced at Hermione, then the rest of the Scoobies. They shrugged collectively. He decided to ignore the accusation in Harry's tone. Be chipper and upbeat, like Pops had said.

"Just popped up for a visit, old man!" said Dudley brightly. "Brilliant place this! No wonder you didn't come home at Christmas!"

"But how'd you get here?" asked Harry. "I mean, who invited you? They don't let Muggle folks just show up in Hogwarts, you know."

"Well," said Dudley, a little embarrassed. "I sent you about 5 letters trying to cadge an invite, but you never replied. So Willow and Buffy accommodated me, sorry to say."

"That's right," said Buffy. "We asked him, since you wouldn't even write him back. Rude much?"

That hit Harry hard. He had read all of Dudley's letters and still, in fact, had them in his trunk. But he hadn't been able to bring himself to answer them. I mean, it was DUDLEY. How could Dudley ever be nice to him? With Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia behind him, he'd made Harry's life a little slice of hell. So NOW he wanted to be friends?

"Look, Harry," said Dudley, shooting a warning glance at Buffy, who promptly stuck out her tongue at him, "I understand that the parentals and I have caused you a fair amount of aggro over the years."

"More than just that, I think," snapped Harry.

"True enough," said Dudley. "But they're done with their anti-magic thing now. The old boy is over the moon about his new job. Living the life. And he gives you all the credit."

"So what does that means for me?" asked Harry.

"You're the new, new thing, cousin," replied Dudley. "They want you to come home this summer and give them glorious insights into the magical world. And I don't have to treat you like pure shite anymore just to stay in good with them."

"It sounds good, Dudley," said Harry. "But why should I believe it?"

"No reason you should," said Dudley agreeably. "But where else are you going to go? And if we can't convince you over the summer, you'll never be convinced anyway."

"Give it a try, Harry," urged Hermione. "The Dursleys are right down the street from us in Hampstead now. We can see each other every day if you want. And you can stay with us if things go wonky at home."

"That's right, mate," Dudley concurred. "We're in this topping townhouse that the MUGLTECH folks are providing to us for free. Rather grand. And Hermione and her folks are just across the park from us. V-e-r-y posh, their digs."

He looked at Hermione meaningfully, who blushed furiously while the Scoobies laughed. Harry looked at the whole group, who were all obviously having a good time together. He was not convinced that the Dursleys could ever change. But where else was he going to go? And if Hermione was really that close, he could always escape to her place if they started abusing him again. Had to be better than Mrs. Figg and her cats if it was in Hampstead.

"Look, Dudley," he said. "I can't believe anything Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia could say to me. You know that, and you know why. But if they at least treat me better, I'm not going to be blinding and stiffing about it either. The same goes for you."

"That's the spirit!" laughed Dudley. "We're giving you a chance for once. Maybe you'll return the favor in a few years."

"So why are you here, then?" asked Harry. "For real, I mean."

"Why, they invited me for the Quidditch," said Dudley. "Harris over there promised me at Christmas to kick the arse of those Slytherin sods you dislike so much. I've never seen a match, so why not? My school is done with exams. I've got bugger all to do the next few weeks at school, so up I came."

Buffy looked at Harry a tad grimly, "Got a problem with that, Potter?" The Hufflepuffs all peered at him intently, while Hermione braced herself as if she was about to receive a blow. Dudley, just sat there, smiling as if butter wouldn't melt.

Harry looked around at the members of the Hufflepuff group, then at Ron who had trailed over to the table and then just stood there, staring rather gormlessly the whole time. No help there, obviously. Hermione had already given him her opinion. The Puffies looked like they were ready to pound him into oblivion if he challenged them.

So, then, DID he have a problem with that? He still couldn't believe in the Dursley's change of heart, but he had to admit he was stumped at the moment. Why should he have a problem with Dudley being here? With Dudley being nice to him for once? With Dudley bigging him up in front of the Puffies? In front of Hermione, Ron, and maybe the whole school? Why, indeed?

"No," he said to Dudley, smiling a bit for the first time. "No problem at all."

The party in Hufflepuff that evening was raucous. The black-and-yellow Badgers had squeaked out a victory over the hated Snakes of Slytherin. Xander had a key role in the whole affair, playing another mature game as a Beater and then clueing Madame Hooch into repeated attempts by the Slytherin Chasers to snitch-nip to help out there hapless Seeker. The first foul had cancelled out Slytherin's initial catch of the little winged ball and the repeats had let Hufflepuff rack up an excellent lead on penalty shots. Slytherin had roared back, out-flying them by a wide margin but Diggory finally grabbed the 150-pointer and put the game to bed.

Hermione, Harry, and Ron had been invited to the victory celebration as they'd sat with the Puffs for the match along with Dudley. All the Puffy first years had been gracious to the Gryffs in their midst, while they were almost fawning on Dudley. Once you got past the spoiled brat mode he'd always played up with Harry, Dudley had been wickedly funny, making up songs to sing during the match like the ones for the big Muggle football clubs. Hermione caught on quickly and had belted out modified versions of her Arsenal repertoire. Buffy had done a more restrained version of her typically madcap cheerleading, and between the three of them and the burgeoning success of the team, the whole House had been grabbed by the bank holiday-type atmosphere. The stands had literally been shaking and nearly came down when the Snitch was at last brought to ground.

The mood had carried over in the Common Room as the Scooby trio sourced a huge amount of food from the kitchens and drinks of all sorts from god knows where. A MUGLTECH boom box was blasting out hip-hop tunes and Dudley and Buffy had organized a large group to do the Humpty Dance. Some of the "of age" students -- 17 years and up -- had contrived to bring in some real mead and bottles of ale and a number of the younger Puffies had taken advantage to sneak their first taste of an adult beverage. By Hufflepuff's typical standards, it was turning into an epic night.

It was almost unbelievably hot in the room, despite attempts at cooling spells from a variety of the witches and wizards present. A rare warm day for Hogwarts in the late spring had turned the basement into a swelter-fest for the packed crowd, not helped at all by the fireworks that many insisted on lighting off inside the basement, or the roaring fire at one end of the room where various famous Puffy Quidditch greats were flooing steadily in and out once word had gone out about the victory over Slytherin. The 'first time in almost 30 years' everyone kept saying, though no one seemed to know whether that was really true or not.

Harry had been pulled into dancing with Hannah Abbott, Megan Jones and another friend of theirs named Leanne, whom he barely recognized. Dudley and Xander were dancing with Buffy and Hermione respectively, while Ronald was off in a corner trying to convince Willow that she must really be a Weasley because of the whole red-haired thing. Even with the looming specter of exams coming up, and his lingering worries about Snape and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry was having a brilliant time. This was a long way from Little Whinging, in more ways than one. That Dudley was actually here too made things just that little bit more surreal.

He wouldn't have cared if the party went on all night, which seemed likely enough. Well, until all the screaming started, anyway. Sorta killed the mood, when you got right down to it.

"What is it, Buffy?" yelled Hermione, as she raced into the hall behind the Scooby trio.

"Basilisk," said Buffy tersely. "Big one. It's heading towards the Slytherin dorm. Just got a glimpse of it as it snaked through the turn down there. Looks like a few folks out here in the hall caught the full blast though."

She pointed to several still forms lying at intervals down the basement corridor. Shocked, Hermione realized that they were most likely dead. She looked at Harry and Dudley, who had very serious expressions on their faces. It was all she could do not to burst into tears.

"Willow, see if they can be helped," snapped Buffy. "Xander, get someone to seal the Puffy Common Room, then follow us towards the Slytherin dungeon with your weapons. Harry, Hermione, Dudley. With me. But stay back a bit unless I call you forward. Wands out. Hermione, give Dudley Willow's sword. Quickly now."

She started loping in the direction the basilisk had gone. She spoke calmly over her shoulder, without stopping for much breath, as they moved through the now utterly silent basement towards the Slytherin dorm.

"Basilisk. Very bad, very big, snake-demony thing. Bite is fatal with very strong poison that has maybe one antidote. If you can find a Phoenix. Which are not only rare but may actually be mythical. Can't look a basilisk in the eye; they'll blast you into smithereens if you make eye contact, or turn you to stone if they have the gorgon mutation. I'll fight it, but I may need you guys to distract it or keep it off the Slytherins while I kill it. Wands won't do anything directly, but you can use the magic to throw things at it or knock things over onto it. Stunners and such are worthless. Hermione, you may want to cast some disillusionment spells. I don't know if it can't blast you if it can't see you, but it's worth a shot."

"How are YOU going to fight it, Buffy?" asked Harry. This whole idea of a group of first years, and one Muggle, taking on a basilisk, seemed a bit foolhardy. Where on earth were the professors?

"Blindfolded," said Buffy.

"Blindfolded? Are you joking?" asked Harry warmly.

"Nope. Blindfolded is the best bet. It's a big clumsy snake, way slower than me. Not the first time I've done this," she added.

Hermione looked at Harry, who was about to lay into Buffy, and whispered, "She grew up on the Hellmouth, Harry. If she says she'd done it, she has. Best leave her to it."

Harry closed his mouth with a sharp click. Hermione sounded as crazy as Buffy was acting. Still, the four of them plus Harris might slow the thing down. But jumping into its mouth blindfolded was NOT what he planned to do, no matter what Buffy might say.

They continued down the corridor at a high pace, then down a flight of stairs that showed the evidence -- crumbling stone, paintings knocked askew, some burn marks where apparently a few of the Castle rats had unfortunate encounters with the monster -- of the basilisk's rampaging presence.

"Ok, slow up," hissed Buffy, "it's just around the corner. Right in front of the Slytherin Common Room."

"How do you know that?" whispered Harry. "I can't hear a thing."

"My senses are a bit better than yours," smirked Buffy. "You wanna run around the corner in front of me and test my theory?"

Harry bit his lip at that. No, he did not want to do that. He watched as Buffy ripped the hem off of her robe and efficiently made it into a blindfold. Hermione tied it tightly around her eyes.

Buffy turned directly to Harry, as if she could see him plain as day. "Punch me," she said.

"What are you playing at?" asked Harry.

"She's going to demonstrate," said Hermione resignedly. "She doesn't want you getting all heroic just because she's blindfolded. Do as she asks."

Harry looked at Dudley dubiously. Dudley, holding Willow's sword -- and why did Willow even HAVE a sword, Harry wondered? -- just shrugged and rolled his eyes. All right, Harry thought, test her then. He suddenly kicked at Buffy without warning.

Buffy leaned away imperceptibly as the kick whistled past her thigh, then pivoted and slammed her elbow into Harry's midriff. He was off-balance from the missed kick, and as he started to go down, she grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and the seat of the pants and spun him back onto his feet. Dudley steadied him as he staggered a bit, winded. He hadn't really even seen her move, just a blur of motion right as he kicked out at her.

"Ok," he gasped. "No idea how you did that, but I'm not going to argue with you about who has first go at a basilisk anyway."

Buffy smiled widely. "No one ever does. Now, don't look around the corner until I tell you it's safe. If it gets by me, don't look directly at it, just use the corner of your eyes. But, don't worry, it won't get past me."

She held out her hand and suddenly there was a menacing-looking and oddly shaped axe in it. She ran around the corner yelling "Hey, slithery-snake. Come over here and pick on someone your own size."

Harry looked at Dudley. "She's totally mad, isn't she?" He could hear a fight starting as the snake's giant hiss was turned on the tiny Hufflepuff.

"Well, mate," replied Dudley. "Confidence to burn, I suppose. Hope she can back it up."

Buffy leaned into the fight with an almost rapturous look on her face. Someone had woken this guy up. It had to be the same one she'd sensed months ago, but it had been dormant and way down beneath the castle. Now she could kill it without worrying about the consequences. And then she could go find the one who'd woken it up and clap a stopper over him too. Things were looking up.

The basilisk tried to catch her gaze initially, but seemed to realize she was blindfolded because it instantly hissed out a challenge and came directly at her. The corridor was tall enough that it could raise itself to a fairly impressive height as it loomed above her. She knew what it would do next, strike downwards at such an angle that even if it missed its bite, she was likely to be trapped under its massive body, which would then coil around her, crushing her while holding her still for the fatal bite.

She stayed loose and ready, in her element. As the snake struck she stepped back abruptly, then jumped straight up, swinging the Scythe in a vicious blow that caught the basilisk squarely in the left eye, destroying it completely. The snake roared its outrage, music to Buffy's ears. She waited, in almost the same spot, to see if it would try the same tactic again.

This time it stayed low; a direct rush right at her body. She waited until the last second, then ran around the striking fangs to leap onto the snake's back. Before it realized where she was, she sprinted to the head and struck the snake in its right eye. As it reared, she was thrown backwards off of the snake, rolling as she hit, and landing just past what she knew was the entryway to the Slytherin Common Room.

One more pass should do it, she thought. I need to get it to raise that neck off the floor again. Otherwise I'm gonna be all night long trying to hack through it from the side or the top. She eyed the snake as it turned in fury and rushed straight at her again.

When Marcus Flint suddenly stepped through the door to the Slytherin Common Room, Buffy was totally shocked. The basilisk knocked Flint aside and plunged directly into Slytherin House, bursting the entryway wide open with its bulk.

Buffy yelled mentally to the others, including Hermione, 'I've blinded the basilisk, but some fool came out of Slytherin house while I was fighting it and now it's gone straight down into their dungeon!'

Willow replied gravely, 'That's bad, Buffy. Really bad. But I've got a problem here too. Looks like Quirrell is into distractions tonight, cause he let a werewolf loose upstairs.'

'OMG,' projected Buffy, 'not Greyback?'

'Fraid so,' replied Willow. 'Xander was chasing him, but now it's got him treed on a platform near the Ravenclaw tower.'

'I've got to deal with Greyback,' thought Buffy to the group. 'Hermione, the snake is yours. Or, more specifically, Harry's. Don't ask, just get after it. I'll come as soon as I take care of Greyback.'

Buffy took off in a full sprint up the nearest staircase. Hermione looked at Harry and Dudley. She gulped nervously, then took a deep breath and announced, "Buffy has blinded the snake, but it's down in the Slytherin Common Room. We've got to go after it."

"What? I thought Buffy was going to fight it. Where's she off to? The hair salon?" demanded Harry.

"There's a werewolf upstairs. Willow thinks it's Fenrir Greyback." replied Hermione. "Willow says Quirrell is doing this to distract us from the Sorcerer's Stone. And it's working," she added.

"Quirrell?" asked Harry. "I thought Snape was after it?"

"No, Snape isn't really a Death Eater anymore," replied Hermione. "Look, long story, no time. We need to focus. The snake is wounded. We need to try and deal with it until Buffy can get back."

Damn Buffy, thought Harry. He should've known he couldn't rely on her. Hufflepuff loyalty. Right, he snorted to himself. Ok, then. Man up time. The three of them might be up to the task. It was a bit much to think he'd be rescuing Slytherins though.

"Well, Hermione," he said grimly. "Not exactly the plan, but we seem to be making this up as we go anyway. Come on then."

He made a hand gesture to get Dudley's attention, who was helping a dazed Flint up off the floor, then plunged determinedly into the dark and silent entryway of the Slytherin dorms.

Interlude 11: Up a Tree

The sloth formerly known as Voldemort was placidly eating a leaf on his favorite tree. This was pretty much the extent of his daily activities. Sleeping about 18 hours a day was his hobby. The rest of his time was spent tracking down the next closest leaf, moving towards it at a leisurely pace, picking it delicately, then a slow, measured sort of mastication that could take hours if done correctly.

It was a glorious sort of life, he had to admit. No pressures. No competition. Little or no urges except the desire to reach that next, juicy piece of vegetation. He had finally sorted out his sloth senses a bit and realized where he was. If a sloth were capable of being overcome by the bitter irony of it all, he might've wept to realize he was back in the Slytherin Common Room, being cooed over by the most fat-headed Hogwarts girls he'd seen in many a long year.

But the great thing about being a sloth was that he simply wasn't capable of reacting to bitter irony like that. It really wouldn't change anything. He would still be a sloth, and sleeping and then eating (and occasionally relieving himself) were the only truly important things left to him. He might've take some degree of pleasure at running his sharp little claws into a particularly annoying girl's hand while she was petting him, but the thought of doing so simply wouldn't come to him inside this brain.

He even liked his name. They called him Lord Voldesloth or Slothy. Seemed appropriate. And at least reminiscent of his past grandeur, which was extremely hard for him to recall now anyway. He was happy, truthfully. Life was good. The days stretched out in front of him filled with juicy leaves and plenty of sack time. He couldn't complain. Literally. No point to it really, even if he could.

When he became aware of the basilisk bursting into the Common Room, his first thought was simple: '?'. Straining for it, his second thought was even simpler: ' '. Finally, as the snake started weaving its way through the deserted common area, he came up with something more constructive: '!?!?!?!' He hadn't been a sloth long but obviously jungles were full of tree-climbing snakes and this one was big enough not to need to climb. Option A was to try and run for it, only sloths didn't do running. Option B was to climb higher, but the tree he was in wasn't big enough to get very high up. Option C was to do nothing and hope the snake went away.

Option C won, naturally. He could see someone had blinded the snake. Good for them. And good for him too, as long as it didn't recognize his scent or hear him moving. He was surprised then to feel a faint sense of recognition; the basilisk was from the Chamber of Secrets, of course, but he barely remembered anything about it. Just the name, the snake, some involvement he had. His human side memories were blurring and falling away. His sloth side didn't really do memories anyway.

When some students burst in and lured the snake into his habitat, therefore, he wasn't pleased. He opened his eyes a little wide when he saw the one student in the lead: that was that Potter boy! He couldn't quite remember why he knew it, but he knew somehow that Potter was his enemy. Fat lot of good that would do him now. My basilisk is going to get you, young Potter, he thought contentedly. At least he had a ringside seat for it, though he wasn't sure why or even if it mattered anymore.

He was quite surprised and disappointed when Potter used a spell to pluck him off his favorite low-hanging branch and hurl him directly at the basilisk. Bugger it! I guess he really was my enemy, thought Voldesloth as he spun toward the enraged reptile. As the snake snapped at his flying figure, putting a fang right through his tiny chest, a last though ran through his tiny brain: 'Damn! Potter's done it again! And it hurts even more than the last time!'
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