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 5: Recruitment
It was about 9:30 PM and Buffy, Xander and Willow were ghosting silently through the Castle, headed for the Astronomy Tower to meet Hermione.
"So, what exactly do we tell her, Buffy?" asked Xander, "This was your plan, right?"
Buffy snorted, "Didn't hear you arguing against it, Xan."
"I just didn't expect her to go quite so crazy mad about it," he said, "I mean, she hasn't been here long enough to get really attached to these ghosts, has she?"
"No," said Willow, "But Binns was a teacher. And I think that makes her feel like we were doing something against authority. She respects authority; I was a lot like her at her age."
"Something against authority?" smirked Buffy, "Like overthrowing it? At least Peeves is still here to help with that."
"Why didn't he leave?" asked Xander. "The one spirit that most of the teachers campaign against, and he doesn't go 'whoosh' with the spell?"
"Different kind of spirit, Xander," said Buffy, "poltergeists aren't here because of the whole 'wizarding choice' thing. They're here because somebody did something wrong to them before they died, and they're sticking around to get payback. That's why they look corporeal. Even our world has poltergeists."
"Well, Hermione can't be too happy with it. She doesn't look much like she enjoys being an anarchist like Peeves. Well, except for the burning eyes, wild hair, and uncontrollable rage...Ok, check that, maybe she does look an anarchist," admitted Xander.
"Yeah, well, I'm not sure that she sees it that way. I mean, remaking Wizarding society from the ground-up was probably not how she envisioned her time at Hogwarts," sighed Willow. "It's like when Xan and I met you: who knew we'd be fighting vamps and saving the world for the next 12 years or so?"
"Enter Buffy, enter the Chaos Zone," joked Xander. "So, Buff? Does the trouble just follow you around or are you just magicking it up to entertain yourself?"
"Watch it, Xander!" answered Buffy. "The axe swings both ways, if you get what I mean! You don't want me to put a clumsiness hex on your favorite one, do ya?"
They reached the top of the tower. Hermione was already there, tapping her foot and looking dangerous. Willow did her shield spell to seal the top floor of the tower. 'Time to talk her down," she thought to the other two, 'but it doesn't look like it's going to be easy.'
An hour later, Hermione was back in the Gryff dorms. How did she fall into this mess? She'd gone up to the Astronomy tower with one thought in her mind, venting serious rage on the demented Puffy trio. Oddly enough, it seemed they fully accepted her anger, and they'd made no effort to divert her from her one-sided rant. Finally, when she'd calmed down enough to actually converse, they'd started in on her, all quite subtly at first.
"Hermione," Willow had said, softly. "We know what you're going through."
"That's right," added Buffy, "we're all about the feeling betrayed here, especially me." She shot a suddenly venomous look at Willow and Xander, who looked somewhat chastened.
"But," said Xander, "you shouldn't go off half-cocked. We offered to train you up a bit, right? Let's look at some of the mistakes you just made."
"Mistakes," cried Hermione wonderingly, "I made mistakes? I wasn't the one who cast maybe thousands of ghosts out of this world!"
"Ah, my dear, but you were," said Willow. "Your magical signature is all over it. If they had good magical detectives here in England, you'd be up for the perp walk in no time. Unfortunately, they wouldn't have even detected Xander, Buffy and I, which is why you need to learn from us if you're going to keep getting away with this kind of thing."
"This kind of thing?" burst out Hermione. "Magical crimes? Is that what you're talking about?"
"Well, it wasn't actually a crime," said Willow soothingly. "There's no law in Magical Briton about exorcising ghosts." Not that anyone here ever imagined a casting-out on this scale, she thought. "It's more the using-of-certain-dark-rituals-unsupervised-by-an-adult thingie you need to worry about. Could lose your wand for that, unfortunately."
"My wand?" moaned Hermione. "I just got it!"
"Right," chimed in Buffy helpfully, "that and the getting expelled from school thing. I've s-o-o been there and have the perky waitress uniform to prove it!"
"Expelled?" said Hermione bitterly. "I could be expelled?" Expelled, she thought to herself, I just got here! No way am I getting sent down because of this insane trio.
"But we can help you avoid that," spoke up Willow brightly. "In fact, we already did! When the spell bonded the 4 of us, it diffused your signature, mixing it with ours. They won't be able to trace you even if they get a good read on the clean magic you used."
"You're so missing the point being mad at us, though," said Buffy. "We've been 100% honest with you. You just didn't ask all the right questions before we did the spell."
"It's a shame," agreed Xander, "the Hermione Granger we know and believe in wouldn't have gotten so excited that she failed to hit some of the key points before going ahead."
"Peer pressure," nodded Buffy solemnly, "it's a terrible thing."
"No shame in it," assured Willow, "we've seen it, lived it, had a vengeance demon tear folks apart because of it."
Xander scowled at Willow for that crack, but then Hermione laughed wildly, "Shame! Shame? YOU were my peers! I was trusting you! Not some shady gang of characters! The three of you have more magical ability than I've seen from anyone so far in this crazy world! If I can't trust you as my peers, I may as well go back and live in the Muggle world."
"Ah, ha," said Buffy. "Play back those words in your head, if you would."
Hermione'd been confused. She was thinking over what she'd said, alright. Who could she trust here? She didn't really know anyone in the magical world. As much as she admired Dumbledore and her teachers, what did she really know about them or this world? Did she know any more about them than about Buffy, Willow, and Xander, who at least were taking some pains to show her things and explain things to her? She'd caught her breath at that point, realizing that she indeed HADN'T been asking the right questions. Not their fault, she understood. MY fault, for being greedy for knowledge.
She'd then asked the core thing, the thing she knew they couldn't hide from her, not if she really concentrated as they answered. "Are you evil?" she almost whispered.
Big smiles from the Scoobies. Now she was getting it!
"Nope," said Buffy, "Not a little bit. Champion of the Light here."
"Me neither," said Xander, "and you can trust me on that. I'm the One Who Sees." ("And an occasional reluctant judge of redemption," he muttered to himself.)
Willow had blushed a bit before answering, "I almost was, I dabbled a bit too deep in the dark. But no worries now, despite my dark side. I'm the Supreme Sorceress now," she admitted, "I keep the magical balance."
"I don't understand," admitted Hermione, "but I have a sense about these things, and I can tell you're not lying. What I don't get is what you want from me, why you included me in that spell and bound me that way."
"We're recruiting you," said Buffy bluntly. "Recruiting you for our non-evil-type-plot that's still gonna piss off a bunch of people in this whacked-out Wizarding community!"
"Why is it any more 'whacked-out' than the Muggle world?" asked Hermione wonderingly. Was there anything she should take for granted in this magical world?
"Listen to your words, again," said Willow, with her resolve face on. "You said it right there. Muggle. Have you ever heard a term more arrogantly racist used so widely in this day and age?"
"Well, no," said the startled Hermione.
"And the technology," said Xander, "We understand that with the mojo things are easier, but these folks are using it to put toilet paper on the roll. We told you that all magic has a price. Overuse of wand magic depletes the magical core of the user, which means it drains other talents from you. Mental, physical, emotional. Haven't you noticed how dirt-dumb some of the pure bloods around here are? Like those lumps in Slytherin, Crabbe and Goyle? Yet the wizarding world blithely ignores what the non-magical world has accomplished by USING their brains, not depleting them through magical addiction."
Willow winced at that term, but nodded. Hermione wondered about that, but was pre-empted by Buffy.
"Think of all the oddball things you've heard them talk about that are taken for granted," she said without pause. "Polyjuice Potion, for example. It's legal to brew it in this world. Yet the major uses it sees are so that people can have sex with other people's husbands or wives without them knowing. Bottled rape juice! That and you have porn stars selling their hair so that men and women can get a power-up in the bedroom, which is all about the ICK if you ask me."
"Unrestrained magic use is corrupting this world in many ways," said Willow. "We want to reform it, make people understand that the conditions for something like Voldemort's return are endemic in this world, so those things can be identified and fixed."
"And we're gonna work our way here through Hogwarts, a key part of most of the troubles, until we make people see what the problems are, like the ghosts," said Buffy.
"That's right," said Willow. "Binns was occupying a position that an unemployed or underused witch or wizard should have had, someone alive, who needs the job and can give the students the proper intellectual stimulation. More importantly, so many wizards have taken the 'ghost option' that the astral plane is becoming unbalanced, as the number of ghosts here pull it closer to the physical world. That makes it easier for demons to enter this reality."
Hermione gasped. "That's the real reason we did the spell, then?"
"Yea-up," said Buffy, hard popping the P, "this world has been heavily penetrated by demons that look human. It's worse than the Death-eaters. They're in every segment of Wizarding society, undetectable to anyone but a Slayer, unless you know they're there. Grathnars. Not the worst demons out there, but their long-term plan is to take over and leech off ALL humans in this world, not just the wizards. Just look at Spiro Agnew in America. Right next to Nixon. We're just lucky he got busted out before Nixon resigned, or a Grathnar would've been President."
"That's, that's horrible," cried Hermione. "But if only a Slayer can detect them, how do you know..." her eyes got big. "You're the Slayer? You're bringing the End of Days? An apocalypse?"
"I'm 'A' Slayer. And we're not bringing it, it's happening," said Buffy. "It's really someone else's job to bring it on. We're here to make sure it goes the way it's supposed to."
"Right. A kinder, gentler sort of apocalypse is what we want," said Willow helpfully, "not the 'bend-down-so-the-demon-can-eat-you-easier' kind, but more like the 'take-them-to-the-woodshed-with-a-switch' kind."
"We do what we gotta do, Hermione," said Buffy commandingly. "We just need to know one thing from you. Are you in or not?"
"Why me?" asked Hermione, "Why me, why not any of the first years or teachers or anyone else in this world?"
"Number one, you're both powerful and smart," said Willow.
"Number two, you were raised non-magically and have a good truth-sense that lets you understand the problems of this world," said Xander.
"And number three, I have prophetic dreams," said Buffy. "You're in them. We need you, and this world needs you."
Hermione had gazed back and forth at the three. Was she wide awake or not, she wondered. I'm only 11 years old and...
"And," said Buffy, "basically it's your destiny."
"The Powers That Be have you by the short hairs," said Xander crudely, "even if you haven't grown any in yet."
"We can help with that," said Willow. "We're on the same side as the PTB, but we know how to have a life and still do friends and family and fun. We can show you that too..."
The talk had continued on this vein for awhile. They broke up at midnight. Now she was back in the dorm. She couldn't keep going over and over this in her mind if she wanted to make class tomorrow, she thought. She'd promised to give them her answer, but not before she felt sure it was right. They'd indicated there was no rush. Go out and make some other friends, they told her. Have fun. Look at the magical world with a critical eye. They'd given her another example. The kitchens. Go look at the house-elves thralled to the Castle. 1991 and wizards were practicing slavery still, though Buffy had squirmed a little when the thrall was mentioned. Look at the world, learn about it, make your own choices.
It really didn't make her feel any better, but apparently her destiny could wait a while.
"I thought we weren't going to read her in fully," complained Xander.
"We didn't," laughed Buffy. "We left out a few really big points that she's probably going to choke on when they finally happen."
"She'll figure it out," said Willow proudly, "Hermione's like a mini-Me at that stuff."
"Right," snarked Buffy, "completely naive right through age 18." Willow stuck her tongue out at her and that had a little tongue contest after that, until Xander interrupted.
"Let's start planning our next action, if you would guys," said Xander.
"What do we hit next Xander," asked Willow.
"Gotta be the portraits and photographs," he said. "Buffy says they are made fusing a demonic essence into them. We have to get that out in order to clean up this world."
"Agreed," said Buffy. "It's creepy to walk down these halls with my Slaydar telling me to hit every picture. These people don't realize how that essence is influencing them either."
"Okay," said Willow, "I'll start working on a spell. We need Hermione to start getting close to Potter and Weasley also, though. Any ideas about that?"
"Uh, prophecy girl here," said Buffy. "We can wait on that. Something's about to happen. But once it does, we need to deal with Quirrell."
"Why?" asked Xander. "I know he's evil somehow, but he can't be getting up to much around here, can he?"
"Slayer hearing," smiled Buffy. "I caught him talking to himself before class the other day."
"Yeah," said Willow, "so what?"
"I figured out why he wears that so-not-fashionable turban all the time," said Buffy.
"I wondered about that," said Xander. "He doesn't look Moorish or anything."
"He's not. That turban? So hiding something? And guess what it is. He's got Voldemort sticking out the back of his head. Now there's fashion for you," snarked Buffy.
"Whoa," said Wills, "how weird is that? Like two brains sharing a host body! Totally Twilight Zone material."
"Will," said Xander gently, "we've been fighting demons and monsters for 12 years. We're de-aged in another dimension carrying pointy magical sticks and plotting the take-down of an aging, self-indulgent culture. Two words."
"I get it, Xan," sighed Willow. "WE ARE ...the Twilight Zone."
"Got it in one, Wills," smirked Buffy. "And now we're the Kings and Queens of it."
"You're the Queen, Buff," said Xander, "It's your Zone, Wills and I are just living in it."
"Not any more, my friend," said Buffy, "We've all got a destiny now. I just hope Hermione comes to grips with hers before wigging out."
"She's strong," said Willow, "way stronger than me emotionally. She'll do just fine."
"She'll have to do better than fine," snapped Buffy, "we really should've warned her about Harry."
"No," said Willow in horror, "The PTB said no way, showstopper if we do that."
"Well, the PTB can go suck on it, for all I care," said Xander. "We have to DO something."
"Now you're talking," said Buffy. "Prophecy-Breakers-R-Us, right Xan-man?"
"Ok," sighed Willow. "But not soon. Later. When it matters more."
"Coolio," said Buffy, "now that we have that settled, let's get back to it. What have you got lined-up, Xan?"
"Ok, here's what I've learned about finding us a hangout..."
Interlude 5: The Historical Society
The offices of the Historical Society were in a rather innocuous building in an anonymous side-slip off Diagon Alley. The building was ancient, worn by the years, and saw very few visitors. The occasional history buff made his or her way to it, as it had a rather outstanding bookstore off the main lobby, full of ancient texts unattainable anywhere else in the British Isles. These included a wide array of first-person history accounts, magical texts, prophesies, and books about the supernatural. It was known to very few outside those graduates of the British College of Supernatural Studies, although it was legendary there.
Upstairs in the first 5 floors were many grand offices; all empty and dusty at this time. The 6th was locked, and had been for centuries. No one ever inquired as to why. In the basement was an astonishingly well-equipped gymnasium/training room, with a variety of edged weapons, clubs, bows, cross-bows, bludgeons of various sorts, staffs, and other training aids. All had the well-oiled look of tools that were used every day, though they rarely were. The floor of the gym was badly in need of being swept.
The east wall, or the trophy wall in this case, was completely covered by a set of odd plaques. Each plaque bore a single name, a date, and had as its centerpiece a sharply carved wooden stake -- sometimes with yet another name on the stake. The dates were represented in an odd variety of ancient dating systems. None of them mapped to anything as remotely quaint as Anno Domini.
Upstairs in the book store idled the sole proprietor of this rather odd operation. A Mr. Robert Giles, Esq. His family and four others -- the Travers, the Wyndhams, the Prices, and the Merricks -- had run this operation for some 2500 hundred years. The building had looked rather different then, he imagined. Now, he was the last descendant of the Giles branch of the business, and only one other relic of the Price family still lived. Old Man Price had trained him, but rarely came into the office anymore. At 147 years of age, Wesley W. Price, had earned his leisure time, no matter how spry he still might be.
That they both still made a living off the Historical Society was an oddity to some. To those in the know, namely the two of them and several Gringotts goblins sworn to secrecy, it was not surprising at all. The vault of the Society held a vast fortune, left over from the ancient days of its most significant operations. They and a small army could comfortably live off merely the interest for uncountable years. It was a bit disturbing to think of what was going to happen to that vault if he were to die with no progeny. A fortune like that in the hands of the goblins was trouble, but he was sworn to keep it intact by the strictures of the Society.
2000 years without serving its real purpose, Robert was idly thinking, when suddenly there was a flash of green and a spinning wheelchair appeared in the main hallway fireplace. He didn't have to ask who it was; only two outside fireplaces connected to this floo, and his was the other. Old Wesley had come to call, last of the Prices.
He was happy to see the old gent and hurried across to help him roll out of the fireplace, when he was startled to hear him say, "Never mind that, young Bobby. Lock the shop. We have business to discuss."
"Eh, what?" was all he got out.
The Old Man stood up from his wheelchair, towering above Giles, and gave him a contemptuous look. "Lock. The. Shop. And the front doors. We're going up to the 6th floor. For BUSINESS," he said.
"The si-si-si-sixth Floor?" Giles stuttered incoherently. He went and locked both the front doors and the shop. "The sixth floor, did you say, sir?" Giles had never been further than the landing of the 6th floor. Nor did he know what was in the room up there. The door had not been opened in 500 years, according to Wesley. It was one of the last mysteries of the Historical Society and Wesley had flatly refused to tell him what was up there because of certain failings in his training, as the old man was wont to do when angered.
"Yes, you young fool! Now apparate us into the hallway up there. My knees can't take those infernal stairs anymore," said the old wizard.
"But, sir," protested Giles, "What's happened? Why are we going up there?" Robert was filled with a sort of nameless dread. Why would that door, closed for 500 years, now need to be opened?
"Shut up and apparate us, you impertinent young pup!" roared Wesley. Giles did as he was told. He stood there on the landing, polishing his spectacles while Wesley searched an ancient key ring for the right combination of keys.
Wesley was calmer now, as he inserted one key after another into the various magical and mechanical locks on the door, using a sequence that was bewildering in its intricacy. "So, Bobby, you want to know what has me so upset, eh?"
"If it pleases you to tell me, sir." replied Giles formally, getting back into business -- his real business -- mode.
"The chief Goblin of Gringotts reported something to me yesterday, something very interesting. Earth shattering in fact, for you and I at least," said Wesley. "And possibly worse for everyone else," he muttered under his breath.
"What was that, sir," asked Giles hesitantly. He couldn't possibly mean...
"Vault Prime, the vault of the Slayer, the vault of the End of Days, was opened approximately 3 weeks ago today. You must've missed the bell going off here. The goblins did not realize at first their requirement to report it immediately to me."
"Vault Prime, sir? Are you serious?" asked Giles, his mind blown open. 2000 years waiting for this, and now it comes on his watch.
"Yes, Vault Prime. And the goblin who accompanied the person who opened it, returned to his desk and committed suicide," said Wesley.
"Suicide? Why sir?" Robert's face was genuinely shocked.
"Per protocol. He must have seen the face of the Slayer," said Wesley.
"A Slayer? Are you sure, sir? Is it truly possible at this late date?" wondered Giles.
"You know the prophecy. Come along. We must confirm it." Wesley opened the last lock and pulled open the shuddering door. When the door closed, the room exposed was absolutely pristine under a domed ceiling that suggested the hidden grandeur of the long-forgotten operation here. On the floor was a map, of the entire world. A railing surrounded the perimeter of the circular polar projection. Candles were set at interval along the top of the railing. At the peak of the dome was a mirror, with crystal focus points spread evenly around the map itself.
Wesley took out his wand and muttered a quick incendio, lighting all the candles in the room at once. Taking a silver knife, he asked for Robert's hand. He pricked his thumb and drew off about an ounce of the Giles blood into a small silver chalice. Then he turned to Robert.
In a formal voice, he gave voice to an ancient ritual, intoning "Robert Giles, prospective Watcher to the Slayer, the Chosen One, Champion of Light, Protector of all Humankind against the darkness, the Warrior of the People, do you solemnly swear to aid and support her against all enemies, to train her to fulfill her role, and to guide her with all the precepts learned and passed on to the Watcher's Council by the Shadow-Men these 10,000 years ago?"
Robert was spooked. He had never thought it would really come to this. Still, there was a chance the Slayer wasn't really here, that someone had fooled or magicked the goblins. He hissed at Wesley, “Are you sure I need to do this?"
Wesley gave him a glare and repeated, "Do you, Robert Giles, of the line of Giles, who can trace your line back to the Watcher of Sineya herself, do you solemnly swear yourself to the Slayer?"
Giles was trapped and he knew it. Damnit, in for a knut, in for a galleon he thought. My family and its generations have been living high on this hog for a long time. He put on his most solemn voice and stated forcefully, "I do so swear."
Wesley without pause hurled the blood towards the map. Oddly enough, the droplets were caught and gathered by some force in mid-air. The blood formed itself into a shape not unlike a stake, which hovered there unmoving, waiting for a command.
"Watcher Giles," said Wesley, "You are now bound to the Slayer line. You may use the map now to find your Slayer."
"What do I say, Wesley," Giles asked in an undertone.
"How the hell should I know," whispered Wesley. "There's not a manual for the damned thing. Do something. That thing makes me nervous."
Wesley stretched his senses. Nothing. The magic of the map did not speak to him, newly-bound Watcher or not. He brightened, maybe there wasn't a Slayer after all? Cheerfully, he called out, "Map, point me to the Slayer."
A bell sounded briefly in the room. The stake plunged unhesitatingly into the map, startling both of the men. They ran to the wood rail around the map and looked down. Scotland. As they stared at it, the map seemed to zoom in, rushing from hundreds of miles high above to just a few hundred feet off the ground, showing them a building they both instantly recognized, and recoiled from.
"Hogwarts, bloody hell" breathed Wesley, "the fecking Slayer is at Hogwarts."
Giles said nothing at all. He merely fainted dead away.