Buffy the Owlslayer
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 Potterverse.
Buffy lounged back on the deep leather couch in a far corner of the Hufflepuff common room. In the week they'd been here at Hogwarts, she, Willow, and Xander had made the brass and leather couch and two matching chairs into "their" little corner. Buffy had enforced it initially with a few Slayer glares, but Willow had gone one better by putting an invisible pentagram around the area that not only denied 'uninvited' others access, but also cast a permanent Muffliato around the choice location. The neat thing was that the charms only went into effect when one of the trio was present, meaning others could use the corner without suspicion when they weren't around. Willow had added a unique spell that caused anyone else to leave once one of them chose to enter the corner area, unless they were invited to stay.
Secure in this relative privacy -- at least until they found a place where they could really spread out -- Buffy wanted a situation report on the castle, its inhabitants, and the environs. They were here to facilitate the worldline merger; that meant cleaning house to some extent. They didn't really need anyone catching on to what they were doing before it got done. Plausible deniability would be key for sometime going forward. They needed to get their base here at Hogwarts sorted before going onto the big stuff.
Buffy called their meeting to order. "Ok, guys, out with it," she said briskly. "What's our status looking like? Let's start with the castle itself."
"Well," said Xander, "Structurally, the castle is solid but there's a lot of places where explosives and modern weaponry could make some heavy dents in it. It may be well protected magically, but any modern artillery would bring it down around our ears. And even a few well-placed C4 charges could wreak havoc."
Willow raised her head and said, "It's also not as well-secured as I thought. There are wards, and some of them are really good, But there are holes in the wards. I was able to identify a bunch of tunnels leading out of here when I did the mapping spell, only two of which are warded. There also seem to be some magical rooms which can be connected to the outside world without reference to the wards. I also sensed some objects that can be used as portals."
"So, bottom line," said Buffy, "We can't trust the overall integrity of the Castle?" Willow and Xander nodded their heads in agreement. "Unfortunate," commented Buffy, "but not unexpected. What about the Common Room and our quarters down here?"
"I ran a spatial analysis of the tunnels and decided that we could put a short magical passageway between our room and Xan's," said Willow. "Problem is, the House wards would go off if he shows up on our side, plus we'd have to hide it pretty good given the multiple roommates on either end."
"So strictly emergency use, eh?" asked Buffy.
"I don't see any other option, Buffy." replied Willow. "If they'd given us singles or even 2-person suites along a corridor, it might work better but this place isn't coed-friendly, not in the dorms anyway. What's your thought, Xander?"
"Gotta agree, Wills," replied Xander. "This deep basement is good in the sense of overhead protection, but there's nowhere in the Puffy-zone that meets our needs unless we start digging. Which is another point. Unless we want to get trapped down here if a big bad planted himself in the doorway, we need another exit. I don't think Buffy and I can teleport through the wards the way you do, Wills, and you can't be everywhere at once. We may HAVE to dig, if it comes to it."
"Noted, Xan." said Buffy crisply. "So, engineering-wise, we're looking for an escape hatch from Hufflepuff and we need to find a Sunnyhell-type hangout that only we know about for research, meetings, etc. This corner setup is fine for quickie meetings, but we need a command center. I particularly need a training room, too. A fat Slayer is not a happy Slayer."
"Yup," said Willow, popping the p hard, "especially if you don't want to freak our Puffy friends out by doing Kata in the common room. Loyal they may be, but these kids are more nervous than Xander was freshman year in high school. And that's saying something."
Xander stuck out his tongue out at Will, "Negative five donuts for mentioning our old lives, Willow. I'm not that Xander anymore. Plus, I had reasons to be nervous in Sunnyhell, in case you've forgotten."
"That little nervous nerd is still in there, Xan," said Willow gleefully, "and I'll never let you forget it!"
Buffy rolled her eyes at their goofiness. "Let's go over the other items again then," she said. "Can't hurt to review. Ok, Professors and related staff?"
"Your evil-dar has id'ed problems with Quirrell and Snape," began Xander. The discussion trailed off into technical topics as the trio batted around what could be done with the two obviously evil teachers. Their planning went late. Afterwards, Buffy had a serious jones for going out into the Forbidden Forest and looking for a good slay, but it was already 4 am. Sighing, she went back over some of the material they'd just been working on, trying to nail down some options before grabbing a little shut-eye.
Ok. Gotta watch Snape and Quirrell. Maybe I can Slayer-thrall the house-elves she thought. Get them to tail the two around. But that could create other problems. When she'd snuck into the kitchen late yesterday looking for a snack, the elves had fallen down on their knees and practically worshiped her. It was all she could do to get them to stop bowing and find her some sugary-goodness. Using them for something more important obviously had risks, thralled or not. They were excitable and emotional creatures. Not the best for spy work.
Then there were the damn ghosts and the portraits. Peeves she could appreciate. She'd already had a little chat with the iconoclastic little poltergeist and he was square with her. But the other ghosts were too chummy with the Headmaster and too nosey for their own good. Fortunately, the last active Slayer in this timeline seemed to pre-date any of them. So no one really recognized a Slayer presence. The same went for the Hogwarts pictures. But she suspected they all reported into the Head and other staff members. The trio needed to be able to move freely without this horde of watchers tracking their every step. She wondered if the Castle itself was sentient. She'd have to ask Wills about that. They might need to come to a meeting of minds with the incorporeal intelligences around here before getting too ambitious.
Re: beasts and night-time bumpties. The Castle seemed clean except for a Cerberus that was guarding something on the 3rd floor. Dumbledore mentioned staying out of a certain corridor but Buffy had sensed the monster dog as she wandered the passageways a couple of days ago. No need to investigate what was being guarded, as of yet. A Cerberus, 3-heads and all, was no problem for her Slayerly skills. But she still thought it was a crazy-bad thing to have inside a school with little kids running around all over the place. What the heck was old Double-doof thinking?
She'd also sensed something reptilian, deep, deep down below the Castle. Whatever it was, it felt very old and virtually motionless. Hopefully, it wasn't a dormant snake-demon but just something simple, like a basilisk or a nest of giant cobras. If that's all it was, then easy-peasy, if indeed they ever surfaced. It was tricky, though. If the thing or things were sleeping, then having Will do an identification spell might wake it/them up. Better to go slow there.
Unlike the Castle, the Forbidden Forest was chock full o' nasty. There were vamps and a bunch of other demons out there. She needed to go into the forest to figure out exactly what kind, but there was a spidery feel that bothered her. Clearing that place up was going to have to be their first real chore here. Anyway, sleepy time, she thought. Breakfast in a few hours and lots of hot coffee, made the right way now that she'd had a chance to indoctrinate the house elves into the cult of Dunkin' Donuts.
And at least those damned owls were leaving her alone...
...Buffy flashed back to yesterday morning.
The Scoobs were talking quietly at the far end of the Hufflepuff table, as far away from the teachers as possible and nearest to the east wall -- always keep your back to a wall in a public place, demon fighters! -- when the main doors opened and the breakfast owls started swooping in.
Willow and Xander bent their heads down, trying not to laugh. They knew what was coming. Buffy was seriously freaked by having owls flapping around during her food-inhalage time, and one of them had made the near-fatal mistake of letting some droppings hit Buffy's robes on their first day at breakfast.
Buffy had snatched the owl out of mid-air and scolded it severely. Apparently, this was not a good idea, and since then, multiple owls each morning were making fly-bys towards Buffy whenever she wasn't looking, making a game of trying to splatter her. The Buffster was getting more and more frustrated. A frustrated Slayer equaled an angry Slayer and a frustrated, angry Slayer was amusing, as long as she didn't take it out on them.
The first owl dropping of the morning Buffy ignored. She'd cast an "Impervius" spell on her robes after doing a little research the second day into the siege. But when the next one missed her robe and landed in her hair, the look on her face was truly frightening. It was obvious to Xander that she'd skipped DEFCON 5 thru 2 and had moved straight to DEFCON 1, nuclear war imminent. The Scythe of Destiny appeared in her right hand. Xander managed to grab the back of her robe just before she tried to leap up into the air to initiate slayage.
"Buffy, no!" he hissed. "Itness-ways. Put the Scythe down, please."
"They've gotta be demons," said Buffy stoutly. "Nothing else would try and taunt a Slayer. My sacred duty is to kill 'em all, let the PTB sort 'em out."
"No, Buff," Willow chimed in, "they haven't seen a Slayer here in thousands of years! They think you're just a random student with an attitude and they're teasing you."
"No reason not to slay them. Dead demons are good demons," Buffy replied stubbornly.
"They're not demons, Buffy! They're just really smart magical animals," said Xander heatedly.
"Besides, you can't go on an owl-killing spree in front of the whole school. You'll blow our cover, not to mention getting feathers and guts all over our morning snackage," Willow replied, putting on her resolve face.
"A few hundred demon owls is not a spree!" cried Buffy. "That's just a warm-up!"
"Buff, the fact is you've killed maybe 50,000 vamps and another 25,000 or so demons in your Slayer days. Well, let me put in this way," said Xander soothingly, "that might have slightly distorted your definition of what constitutes a spree."
"Fine," huffed Buffy, letting the Scythe disappear from her hand. "I'm done here anyway. But we're going to this owl barn or coop or whatever and have a word with these demon birds."
"And I mean now, you two," she added forcefully, as Willow and Xander groaned and followed her away from the table.
10 minutes later, after a little locator spell from Willow, the Scooby trio were at the top of the West tower, just outside the Owlery. They could hear the owls hooting at each other in a way that sounded suspiciously pleased with themselves.
"Seal it as soon as we're in, Willow," Buffy whispered. "No exits, muffliato, and no power leakage. I'm going to show these feather-pillow wannabees just who's in charge here."
"No, killing the cute miniature postal workers, right Buffy?" said Xander.
"Right, Xan. Just a little come-to-Jesus moment for them. Or a come to the Chosen one anyway," she amended. "Ok, here we go."
They stepped into the Owlery, much to the surprise of the morning owls, who weren't used to seeing students here directly after the breakfast deliveries.
"Sealed!" called Willow almost immediately.
Seeing Buffy's Scythe appear in her hand, the coop exploded into motion, heading for the windows. But the unsuspecting owls bounced hard into Willow's invisible barrier, causing them to crash to the ground, the spell freezing them there in place as Buffy began speaking.
"W-e-l-l, looky here!" she drawled, "home sweet home for a bunch of demon birds! Who'd a thunk little ol' Buffy the Poop Target would wander in here with the Scythe of Destiny in her hand?"
"Nobody, has an answer?" she asked, grinning in a rather terrifying manner. She leapt 30 feet straight up into the air, to the shock of the owls, landing with her feet planted firmly on two perches high above the grounded avians. "Well, let me show you then who you've really been messin' with."
She concentrated for a second, then lowered her shields completely. An immense wave of power rolled through the room, fluffing the feathers on the owls until they seemed to have been in an apocalyptic-level hurricane. Buffy's true form shone through as the power source, 20 feet tall and blindingly bright to the mostly nocturnal birds. Even Xander and Willow were wincing from the intensity of the light and the level of sheer power streaming from the ticked-off Vampire Slayer.
"I am Buffy The Vampire Slayer! Apex Predator of this Planet!" she roared in an immense voice. "I. Will Not. Have. Owls. Shitting. On me. At. Breakfast! Or at any other time, you bird brains! Do. You. Understand?"
She rotated in a circle atop the two perches pointing the Scythe at each of the several hundred owls in turn until they were all nodding vigorously, which was a truly odd sight to Xander and Willow.
"For that matter," she said, without lowering the volume, "you will henceforth cease and desist from making your deliveries at ANY meal, particularly all you newspaper birds. It is unsanitary for you guys to be flying around in there in the middle of all the food in the first place. Deliver it before, after, whenever, just not at mealtimes in the dining hall. Got it?"
Again, more nodding owls. Willow and Xander were laughing out loud now. Buffy had a certain way of dealing with things when she was angry, they had to admit!
"Finally," said Buffy in the same huge voice, "since we're all about the Tweed-land vibes here, lemme give you some food for thought. One slip up, just one slip up on me, near me, in the same hemisphere as me, and I'm gonna come back up here and go all Guy Fawkes on THIS little Parliament, And I'm not gonna be waiting 'till November to start in. Capisce?"
The owls nodded even more vigorously. It was amazing how human and terrorized a bunch of owls could look when faced with a pissed-off Slayer. Anthropomorphic, much?
"Thank you for your time," sing-songed Buffy in her normal voice, as she raised her shields, released the Scythe and jumped down on the floor by Willow and Xander.
They turned and left, Willow letting the shields down as they left. "Kudos for the cool cultural reference, Buffy!" chirped Willow. "I didn't think you had it in you!"
"Thank Andrew," smiled Buffy. "He made me watch V for Vendetta about 5 times in a row last year. Still loving the knife work in that one!"
The ruffled birds shakily resumed their perches. An hour later, Harry Potter was disturbed to find Hedwig shaking as she perched on his headboard in his room in Gryffindor tower. She wouldn't go back to the Owlery for a week. No one on the staff ever figured out exactly why all the post owls started delivering everywhere in the Castle except the Great Hall, and no one -- not even Dumbledore -- could convince them to go back to their previous routine.
Privately, Minerva McGonagall was pleased that the damn birds had finally figured out that pooping all over the place during meals was appreciated by very few people. She liked having her paper before she went down for breakfast too. She wondered who she should thank for that. Somebody must have had a word with them, she thought, but Albus scarcely would've. He'd ignored her complaints on the subject for years, liking the sight of the owls as they swooped in each day. Thank God someone else seems to be stepping into some problem-solving around here, she thought. The quirks of this Castle are enough to make Bedlam itself seem an inviting vacation spot, she grumbled to herself. Maybe things were about to change, for the better. She could only hope. Only 50 more years 'till retirement, she thought with a sigh. Now there was a real incentive to get up in the morning, eh?
Now the mini-Scoobies were in class with Snape, the professor from the train. Willow thought he was a brilliant teacher, for all his crankiness. He absolutely knew his stuff, inside and out, that was clear. Since Potions were a likely weakness for the Scoobs, even for her, it was the class she was most interested in of all those required for the first years. Snape managed to make it both fascinating and intimidating at the same time. His opening day speech about 'bottling fame, brewing glory, and stoppering death' was obviously a classic.
But Buffy had gotten the serious evil 'wiggins' off of Snape, both on the train and in class last week. He had barely noticed them the first few days. Buffy's forget-me-now spell seemed to still be going strong. He'd even let them work as a 3-person group because of the odd number of 1st year Puffies in the dungeon. Every time he came near the table to check their work, he'd been prepared to say something snarky, but then quickly wandered away under the influence of Buffy's lingering spell.
The potions themselves had been no trouble. The book was exact and the Wands of Sineya seemed to make sure they followed instructions precisely so they wouldn't be in any danger. Keeping those puppies in hand meant they almost literally couldn't go wrong; every false step was halted by a surge from their wands. Willow was feeling real optimistic about their grades at this school, though she was a little let down by the fact it didn't seem like they were going to have to push themselves to keep up The opposite, in fact. If they didn't want to stand out too much they might need to start messing up on purpose, a prospect that bothered her way more than Snape's little problem with evil.
As to that evil, Buffy had whispered to her a minute ago as Snape drifted forgetfully away from their table again. "It's his arm, Wills."
"What?," she had replied.
"He's not wholly evil," Buffy said. "I'm picking it up mostly from his left arm. I pinpointed it when he reached past me to grab those supplies."
"Well, that's plain weird," whispered Xander. "Who the heck has an evil arm? I mean, was he Dr. Strangelove in another life or something?"
"Cut the geeky references, Xan," said Buffy. "Or I'll cut up your Star Wars fan club magazines. We're trying to assess an evil professor here and you're talking old movies."
"Ouch," said Xander, "that reference was totally called for. Didn't they have Hitler in this dimension? Nuclear standoffs with the Russians? Did they go through the 1960s?"
"Guys!" whispered Willow urgently, "Hold it down. The Ravenclaws are looking at us funny."
Buffy whirled towards the Ravenclaws in question, "Whatsa matter? See something green?" she asked malignantly. The Ravenclaws looked away hurriedly. "Eavesdrop much?" she said, rather loudly.
"That's settled them," smirked Buffy, as the Ravenclaws blushed deeply. "Now we need to work on an approach for Snapey-snape."
"Calling him Snapey-snape isn't gonna do it, Buff!" laughed Xander. Buffy swung at him half-heartedly, but he dodged the cuff smoothly. The power-up he got before coming to this worldline was mucho handy in avoiding Slayer smackdowns!
"So what's the answer then, Wills?" asked Buffy. "How do we get him to let us take a look under his black, billowy, I'm-channeling-a-vampire robe?"
"Hacking off his arm with the Scythe -- which I know is what you're thinking Buff -- is not the way to win friends and influence dark professors," warned Xander firmly.
Willow snickered. But then added more seriously, "That's gotta be that Dark Mark thing we read about, you know, Voldie's tatoo. Must be some Dark Magic in it to keep it from being removed."
"Do you think you can mojo it off him?" asked Xander. "Voldemort's gone for now, but that's gotta be like having an eyelash stuck permanently to your eyeball. Irritating and cranky-making."
"Well," said Buffy, "He's still got the forget-me-now spell on him. When he comes back by, I could grab him and Wills could lean in and make with the earth-magic while I pin him. Waddaya think?"
"Those Birdfoot folks over there are gonna notice," said Xander. "How about we make a smokescreen with our potion first. That'll get Snape's attention and everyone else will be coughing too hard to see what we're doing."
"Nice!" said Willow. "I love it when a plan comes together."
After the class, a confused Professor Snape was staring at his left forearm. His Dark Mark -- bane of the last 20-odd years of his existence -- had vanished. Weirdly, he couldn't remember anything about how that had happened. He needed to talk to Dumbledore about this, he thought, this was monumental, stupendous, unheard of...Now, what had he been thinking about again? Oh, never mind, next class starting in 30 seconds. Need to go out there and bully some Gryffindors, after all.
Interlude 3: Hermione
Hermione Granger was lonely. More than a week into this magical adventure called Hogwarts, and she was beginning to wonder if it was all a mistake. The first-year Gryffindors were treating her like she had the plague. Like her primary schoolmates, they didn't seem to value her intelligence and eagerness to please the teachers.
She had been alone at the very end of the Gryffindor table with her back to the west wall at breakfast the other day when she saw something strange. An owl had swooped and dropped his poop into the hair of a tiny blonde-haired Hufflepuff whom she had barely noticed before. That was amusing. However, what was startling was the girl had surged almost out of her seat with a strange, sharp-looking axe in her hand immediately thereafter. She appeared to be arguing with the dark-haired boy and the red-headed girl sitting with them, then suddenly the axe simply disappeared into thin air!
Intrigued, Hermione studied the trio. Where had that axe gone? Where had it come from, for that matter? What kind of magic would that be? When the three suddenly got up and started away from the table, but also away from any direction towards the usual first-year classrooms, Hermione decided to follow.
When they got to the Owlery, Hermione was stuck. The door wouldn't open and some spell seemed to be blocking any sounds from the inside. She put her ear to the door and strained. She decided to cast a small eavesdropping spell. It worked for a second, but then stopped, blocked by the spell surrounding the Owlery, which somehow seized her to her magical core. That was real power, she thought! Whew! She was shaken for a minute or so, but then she sensed the spell dissipating and she hurried away. Lord knows she didn't want to start making enemies in other houses by following them around. Particularly not ones that knew spells as powerful as that!
She had managed to hear only one word from using the eavesdropping charm. Is she wanted to know about whatever was going on in the Owlery, she was going to have to research it. The term was completely unfamiliar to her, but it had come through so penetratingly clear that she was sure it was important some how. She went directly to the library, took out an encyclopedia of magic, then turned to the S's, and read:
"Slayer, The. Also known as The Vampire Slayer. Mystical warrior reputed to have fought the darkness, particularly vampires and demons, from pre-history to approximately 2,000 years ago. No references to a Slayer in or near the magical or non-magical worlds since 94 BC. Possibly mythical. Also known as 'The Chosen One.' Cross-reference with prophecy known as 'The End of Days.'"
Hermione turned to the accompanying volume on prophecies. What she read there was unnerving, to say the least:
"End of Days. Prophecy made in approximately 94 BC by the Oracle at Delphi. Text: 'When the Slayer returns, thus begins the End of Days.' Last known prophecy of the Oracle. Original in Greek. Identified as True Prophecy by Pliny the Elder using the Proffisis Spell for confirmation in 79 AD, shortly before his death."
O-k-a-y, thought Hermione, just what the heck is the End of Days? She looked all afternoon for a reference, but found nothing. If I didn't know better, she hummed to herself quietly, I would think someone was trying to keep anyone from knowing about this. They wouldn't do that now, would they? Or, WOULD they? Still, they didn't know Hermione Granger. She darn well wouldn't rest until she found out what this 'End of Days' business was all about! She'd have to start with those Hufflepuffs...hmm, what would be the best approach for that?