The Time TurnerA/N:
Firstly, I'd just like to say thank you so much to everyone out there who is reading and/or reviewing, I truly do appreciate every single one of you and I love to hear all your comments and suggestions :).
Secondly, I wanted to warn you all in advance that in a few months time I might have very limited access to any internet, or none at all. Hopefully it won't be that bad, but just in case I randomly disappear, I wanted you guys to know. If it does come to that, I'll make sure to keep writing so that I can get back into uploading as soon as I can :).Chapter 8: Explanations
Buffy held her hand across her mouth as she yawned, blinking her tired eyes several times until they re-focused.
Almost immediately afterwards a mug of steaming hot coffee was placed in front of her on the table, the rich odour instantly waking her up a little. Lily giggled at her reaction as the witch pulled out the opposite chair and sat down, her own hands wrapped around a mug of tea.
“I'll never understand how you can drink that stuff.” She said with a smile, watching as Buffy grabbed up the mug, blowing on the hot liquid before she took a sip. “It's much too strong for me.”
Buffy grinned, “Well it would go against that stereotype if you did, anyway. And besides, I told you, you have to lay off the caffeine now remember.”
“I don't see what the big deal is with that. Surely a little bit of tea isn't going to hurt the baby?”
Buffy didn't have a chance to answer the witch as James stepped into the kitchen, fully dressed unlike the two women who were still in their sleepwear.
“Lily, when the woman from the future says to avoid something, you should probably do as she says. And morning.” He said grinning down at Buffy as he leaned over to kiss the top of Lily's head.
“Morning to you too. You seem awfully chipper today?”
He shrugged, swiping the mug of tea from his wife's hands just as she had lifted it to her lips. “Why shouldn't I be? I have a lot to be happy about. I have an amazing wife and a little one on the way. Not too mention some great friends and...” He took a mouthful of tea and his face lit up. “Wow this is some great tea!”
Lily rolled her eyes as he finished off the mug and put it back to the table. “All right, all right, go take your happy self off to work already. Your good mood is giving me a headache.”
“Actually, I have the morning off.” He told them, his expression suddenly faltering. “I thought that you guys would want to talk some things over from last night. I spoke to Remus and Sirius earlier and they agreed to ask Dumbledore to come and help explain things...”
Buffy sat up straight then. Lily had told her the night before that they would talk about the Death Eaters, but she hadn't thought it was that big of a deal. At least not so big as for them to call in the reinforcements.
Seeing Buffy's wide but interested eyes, Lily nodded, turning to her husband. “Sure. But I'm not nearly awake enough yet for that conversation.”
An hour later the three of them met back in the kitchen, Lily and Buffy now dressed and wide awake. Sirius joined them a few moments later, busying himself with making drinks for all four of them while the others sat down around the table.
As eager as she was to know what was going on, Buffy felt a little uneasy about what she was about to learn. If the looks the others were giving each other it didn't look like very good news.
As Sirius finally sat down at the table, the room fell into silence with everyone looking at the other, not knowing where to start or if they even should.
Just as James was about to talk, the sound of familiar voices reached them and two figures walked into the room. Buffy recognised Dumbledore instantly, what with his long robes and beard, and Remus stepped in after him, giving his friends a nod of greeting.
“Albus, it's good to see you again. Can I get you anything?” Lily asked as she jumped back to her feet, only to be pulled back down by her husband.
“I can get it, Lils.” He told her, “We don't need you rushing around after us all.”
Lily looked as though she would protest, but the older wizard held up his hands with a friendly smile. “No, that's quite all right, you two.”
Buffy took a deep breath to calm her nerves as the man sat at the far end of the table. As much as she wanted to know everything that he and the others could tell her, there was something else, something a lot more important on her mind that she wanted answered first. She sat in silence, twisting her fingers in anticipation until Dumbledore finally looked up at her, seeming to realise what was going through her mind.
“Go ahead, Buffy.” He said with a knowing smile, drawing everyone's attentions to her.
“Oh, uh... I don't want to interrupt or anything but I was just wondering about the time turner..?”
Dumbledore nodded as if he had been expecting the question. “I have continued to work on the time turner, but it is proving to be quite difficult to break through the spell on it. I'm afraid I haven't had much luck yet.”
Buffy's shoulders slumped as she sat back in her chair, her gaze returning to the table.
“But I am far from giving up on it, Miss Summers.” Dumbledore continued, giving her a significant glance. “I believe that we can figure this all out one way or another, we just have to find it first.”
She nodded back in reply, knowing that he was probably only saying it to make her feel better, to make her feel less helpless. She took in a deep breath, turning back to the others, “Okay, so about the other night..?”
Once again her friends all looked to each other, unsure of who should speak, but it was Dumbledore who took the initiative.
“Remus and Sirius have kindly filled me in on the events of that night, and I have agreed to come here to help explain this all to you. Perhaps we should start at the beginning, Buffy, in order to explain everything to you properly.” At her gesture for him to continue, he went on.
“In the magical world, much like the muggle world, there are both good and bad people. No one person can be defined by who or what they are; a demon can be as much a force of good as a human, and a man can be just as capable of death and destruction as a demon. This I presume you must have some experience with. But what does define people are their intentions, their opinions and the acts that they commit for those opinions.
There is a specific view-point within the magical community that magic should be reserved for those who are born within magical families, those with 'pure' blood in their veins. Many of the old families, some that can trace their lineage all the way back through the generations, have very strong opinions about this.”
Buffy frowned, not understanding why it was important for her to know the information, but she wasn't about to interrupt or stop him. If her own impression of Dumbledore was correct, he wouldn't be telling her something unless it had some relevance to the information she had asked for.
“These people believe that any witch or wizard born from muggle parents, or with muggle blood in their family, are of a lesser status than they. They believe that they are special because of their family history, and anyone who is not of pure blood, is beneath them. And this is where our problem begins.”
James spoke up then, holding Lily's hand on the table surface as he did. “Not all of them are so bad. My own family would be considered as pure, and yet no one objected to me and Lily marrying, even though Lily's entire family are muggles.”
“No, but your family always were the nicest of people.” Sirius added quietly, “Unlike my family who are the worst kind of pure bloods you can find. They despised anything to do with muggles or half-bloods, and I hated them for it so much that I ran away from home and ended up here. Because I was friends with muggle borns, my family were ready to disown me.”
“They would really do that? Just because you didn't believe the same things as they did?” Buffy asked, horrified that any parent could do that to their child. She had had a falling out with her own mother before leaving for London, but she knew deep down that mother would never abandon her for something so small as a difference in opinion. Suddenly she felt a whole lot more understanding towards Sirius, for everything he had obviously gone through in his childhood.
He nodded back, “I probably didn't help matters much, I was always talking about muggle things, and collecting posters of motorcycles and muggle sports just to spite them. My parents hated it.”
James grinned, “Let's not forget all those pictures of half naked muggle girls you had stuck on your wall...”
Lily let out a gasp, her eyes narrowing into a glare. “Sirius! I don't believe you!”
He shrugged, “What? I was a teenager...”
Dumbledore cleared his throat to get their attentions back, but Buffy could still see the slight hint of amusement in his eyes. “Back to the story, yes? Where were we? Oh, yes. You see, Buffy there are many people within the magical community who have this opinion, and when opportunity knocks, of course they are going to answer.”
“That's when... Voldemort first appeared.” Lily said, nodding along to the headmaster's words. “He was a normal wizard once, a powerful wizard. But he didn't stop there, he wanted more power, so he turned to dark magic. It changed him, turned him into the monster he is now.”
Buffy nodded along, she'd had a feeling that something like this was coming up, it always did when a big bad was involved. “Okay, so big bad wizard gets juiced up on lots of power and decides he wants to rule the world, right?”
Dumbledore folded his arms atop the table as he talked, his expression returning back to the serious mask that he had worn at the start of the conversation. “Voldemort is a particularly dangerous man, Buffy, and unfortunately for a lot of people, he also holds this particular opinion about muggles. He gathered an army of followers, people who shared his views, his lust for power and dark magic, and they became the Death Eaters.”
Remus stepped forward from his place leaning against the wall, coming to a stop beside the table where the others all looked up at him. “Voldemort and his Death Eaters began terrorising people, killing and torturing anyone who he thought was unworthy of magic. A lot of good, innocent people have died at his hands.”
“And it gets worse every week.” Lily added, her voice laced with sadness. “So often now all you see in the newspapers is one death after another, or people mysteriously vanishing. There's death and destruction everywhere.”
Buffy frowned across the table at them all, “Okay, I get that. That all makes perfect sense, but what I don't understand is how no one has tried to stop him. I mean, when I fight against evil, I'm the Slayer, it's my duty so I'm the one who has to stop it. But here, everyone has magic. You're telling me that no one has tried to stand in his way? Not even your magical police?”
“It's a lot more complicated than that, Buffy.” Dumbledore said. “People have tried, and they've failed. Voldemort is not to be underestimated.”
James nodded, jumping back in. “The Ministry does know about him of course. But there's not so much that they can do about it. They can send as many Aurors after him as they want, but they won't be able to stop him. At most we've been able to take down a few of the Death Eaters, and put some of them to justice for their crimes, but it's just not enough. The Ministry has to keep order and control all the while trying to fight off an impossible enemy. And to make matters worse, the people who follow Voldemort are everywhere, hiding in plain sight. It's a horrible thought, but for all we know, half the people who work at the Ministry could be loyal to him.”
“So no one's doing anything?” She asked, half in disbelief and half in anger. It wasn't her home, wasn't her world and it certainly wasn't her fight, but she couldn't ever just stand back and let innocent people get hurt. It just wasn't right.
“It's not that. We're trying, Buffy, but it's hard.” Lily told her, her expression a mix of sadness and worry. And Buffy's interest grew at the annoyed looks that the witch received after her short statement.
Lily held up her hands, almost in surrender to the rest of the table. “I think she should know. We can trust Buffy, I know we can.”
James nodded after his wife, giving her hand a squeeze once she rested it back on the table. “I agree.”
Buffy watched in confusion as Dumbledore's gaze shifted to Sirius and Remus, his expression suggesting that he was waiting for an answer from them too. An answer to what though, Buffy had no idea.
After a moment or two, Sirius nodded and Remus sighed, also giving a nod of approval.
Dumbledore turned back to Buffy then, smiling. “I had hoped that would be the case, I too believe that we can trust you, Buffy. So I must ask something of you, something important.”
“What I am about to tell you is highly secretive. In fact, it is so secretive that it is hidden by a spell. Once I tell you, you will be a part of the spell too, and I'm sure that Lily or one of the others will be able to explain it all to you in detail later, but know this: even though I will tell you the information, you will not be able to pass it on to anyone who does not already know it. In this way, the secret can never be revealed unless I will it so.”
Buffy nodded, not really understanding what he was talking about but wanting to know the big secret anyway.
“There is a secret organisation, called the Order of the Phoenix. We are all a part of it, and together with the rest of the order, we fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. You said yourself a moment ago, that when you fight evil, it is your duty to do so. Well all of us, as the Order, we believe it is our
duty to stand up for what we believe in, to fight against darkness.”
Buffy's eyes widened as she took in the new information, her brain in overdrive. They were fighting, doing their duty to save the world. They were just like the Scoobies, only fighting for a different world.
“So that's why they came after us?” She mused as she thought it all through, “The Death Eaters came after us because they know you're trying to stop them.”
Lily nodded, “I'm so sorry that we put you in that position, Buffy. We should have told you right from the start that there was a chance of it happening, we all knew that there was.”
Buffy shook away Lily's concerns with a shake of her head. “No, it's all right.”
“Are you okay?” James asked, watching as she held her head low, her eyes closed.
Buffy didn't answer for a few long seconds, her mind too busy with her thoughts. Somehow she couldn't push away the idea of her new friends fighting for their lives. The very image of them being hurt, pained her as much as it would seeing her friends from back home getting injured.
In that instant, she knew. She had to fight with them, because she couldn't stand by and let them get hurt. It wasn't just a matter of making sure that Harry was born into a good family, or that her friends survived the ordeals she knew would eventually come. Now it was about saving the world, about doing her duty as much as the rest of them.
Finally she lifted her head and smiled at James, before turning to face Dumbledore. “I'd like to be a part of it, the Order. I can't just stand by and watch people fight and die. I want to help, I have to help.”
Dumbledore seemed happy with her response, and he nodded back at her with a kind smile. “Of course, Buffy, I would be more than happy to have you along. We always change the location of our meetings so as not to gain any unwanted attention and the next isn't for a few weeks, but I shall let James know when the time is right, as per usual, and you may come along and meet the rest of the Order. I would be glad to have you join us, Buffy.”
She nodded back, knowing that she was doing the right thing even if the tiny voice at the back of her head told her she should be concentrating on getting home, not getting involved in others' problems. “That's great, I'll be there.”
“Good. Now have I gone over everything?” Dumbledore asked, looking around the room, “Is there anything else I can help with?”
James shook his head, smiling at his friend. “No, I think you've covered everything.”
Buffy agreed with him, “I think I understand everything, so yeah.”
“Perfect. In that case, I should be heading back to the school.” He grumbled in reply, “I'm afraid that with all these unplanned meetings and the added research I have been neglecting my students far too often lately.” He sighed as he stood, and after giving Buffy and the others one last smile, he vanished into thin air.
Lily instantly grabbed Buffy's hand from across the table, giving it a squeeze. “Thank you. I know you didn't have to join us, or try to help us, but I appreciate it all the same.”
Buffy smiled back at her, “Of course. I'm the Slayer, it's my job to fight the bad guys. And besides, I'm not about to let anything bad happen to-”
The kitchen door opened with a loud creak and Buffy's gaze whipped across the room to see the dark figure that now loomed in the doorway.
The man was familiar to her, although she couldn't quite place where she had seen him before, with short, sandy-coloured hair that looked like it needed a decent brushing and bright, icy blue eyes.
The moment he spotted them all, his face lit up into a giant grin, one that Buffy recognised from her own reflection sometimes. It was the fake one she had used whenever she had had to lie to her mom about her Slayer duties, or when she was fed up of seeing the sympathetic looks on her friends faces...
Buffy frowned, but the others didn't seem to notice the smallest of details.
Lily was instantly on her feet, unintentionally snatching her hand away from Buffy's as she stood, smiling up at the newcomer.
“Peter! Welcome back!”