Ch. 7: Aiding those in Need
Worlds Wrought & RuinedChapter 7: Aiding those in Need
Spoilers: Buffy Season 7; Angel Season 4; Harry Potter, Books 1 thru 5
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all associated characters, settings, etc., belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, etc. Harry Potter and all associated characters, setting, props, etc., belong to J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Inc., etc. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thanks to my brilliant Beta Lady Lestrange ~ aka Voldie, the tablecloth cape wearing man
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~@~Chapter 7Aiding those in Need
Time: ~19:00 GMT
Location: Edge of the Forbidden Forest, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
“Spike, what else did you see in your vision?” Angel asked, ignoring the witch’s question.
“Oh, you know, the usual. Deep, dark forest. Things that go bump in the night. A circle of masked men worshiping a red-eyed demonic being,” he chuckled. “But hey, at least the masked men are just that: men and not more demons.” He rubbed his head and moaned, “Why me?”
Connor laughed at his Uncle’s lament and Angel even smiled. Connor patted Spike’s shoulder reassuringly and answered, “Why you Uncle? You are a Champion for the Powers That Be.”
“Don’t remind me,” Spike grumbled and both Connor and Angel’s smiles got bigger. Spike pointed at the smiling vampire and violently protested, “Hey—I did Not ask for this complication or irritation! Whatever Being that decided to make me a champion was off their bloody rocker.”
Angel coughed, trying to cover his laughter, before he cleared his throat and answered, “Actually, Spike, you technically did ask for this.” Spike’s perplexed look just made Angel’s grin bigger as he crouched down next to his son and the Seer. “You did ask for your soul.”
“So? You have one,” Spike answered grumpily.
“I was cursed with mine and they still made me a Champion. When a demon comes along and actually asks for his soul back, of course they are going to make you a Champion too.”
Spike growled at him. “Stop finding this so amusing! And you know I was talking about asking for the visions, not that Champion business. I’ll leave that to you and the kid.”
Angel just nodded and stood, his face becoming serious. “So what else did you see in your vision?”
Spike put his arm across his face and sighed. “Did you not hear me?”
“Yes, but I don’t believe that the wizards did.”
Spike uncovered his eyes and tilted his head to look for the Headmaster. “Albus?” A moment and then Dumbledore came into his sight.
“There is more to the vision and since I saw you in it, you probably want to hear about it.” Dumbledore chuckled and nodded. “Well, like I said earlier,” here he glared at Angel, “I saw a circle of masked men: black cloaks and white masks, surrounding a red-eyed demon—“
“That’s not a demon.”
“He sure looked like one,” Spike said doubtfully.
Connor asked, “If it isn’t a demon, what is it?”
“A wizard,” Dumbledore said sadly.
Spike stared at him for a moment; face screwed up in confusion, and then smoothed out in understanding. “That’s your Dark Lord?” Dumbledore nodded. “And the Potion Master, he has black eyes, right?”
Minerva answered perplexed, “Yes. Why?”
“Bloody hell!” Spike muttered and then turned to Angel. “That’s why Dru turned him.” Angel raised his eyebrows in question, so Spike continued, “Dru’s new childe is a follower of red-eyed bloke and a spy for Albus here. Seems the demon is a Legilimens and a bloody good one too.”
“How—“ Minerva gasped.
Without turning, Spike answered her. “It was in my vision. Those followers have a tattoo on their arm—their left forearm where Dru was holding her arm—right? A skull and snake—“
“Ye-yes, that’s correct,” Minerva got out, cutting off the Seer before he said anything more incriminating.
“A Legili-a-what?” Connor asked.
Connor absorbed this answer, thought for another moment, and then asked, still confused, “Why does that have anything to do with Drusilla turning him?”
“I was also wondering about that,” Albus put in.
“Uhhh—“ Spike absently rubbed his leg near the brace as he thought about what to say. “Well, it’s like this, as far as I can tell: to be able to break into someone’s mind, you have to know how to get pass the mind’s defenses. And to understand someone else’s defenses, you have to know and understand your own mind’s defenses. In other words, you have to know how to protect your own mind to be able to break into someone else’s, right Albus?”
“That is correct William, but what—“ Albus trailed off as Spike sported a Severus-like glare directed at the Headmaster.
“I’m sure everyone here knows that some vampires can thrall their victims. Well, thrall is, simply put, is a vampire breaking into the victim’s mind, like a Legilimens does, and then planting an image or a command or even taking control in some instances. A vampire’s ability to thrall depends on the person’s natural gifts, the greater the gift, the stronger the potential thrall is. However, to use the gift the way a vampire does, to take over so completely, the controlling mind must be impenetrable.” Spike stopped to take a breath, still unused to constantly needing to breath.
Dumbledore verbally followed Spike’s reasoning to its logical conclusion when Spike paused. “Then, so that the vampires with the gift have the proper strength of mind to use their gift to the fullest – to thrall – all vampires have that strength of mind: impenetrable. Intriguing,” Albus finished with the famous, but irritating, twinkle in his eye.
Everyone seemed to just stare at the Headmaster, except Spike, blankly. Tonks was the first to rouse herself from the stupor and expressed everyone’s confusion in one eloquent word: “Huh?”
Albus chuckled at the young Auror’s expression and even Spike smiled at the utterly confounded look Connor was giving to him. “I know, its complicated kid,” Spike told Connor. “Let’s see if I can explain it using an example.” Spike paused, looking around to see if anything inspired him to an analogy everyone could explain. The Headmaster looked down at the Seer, also frowning in thought. Spike returned Dumbledore’s gaze and smiled almost immediately.
“I think I have it. Thrall is an ability to do something, right?” Connor nodded along with everyone else, so Spike continued, “But to use the ability, a vampire has to have a mind unable to be broken into.” When no one made a move, Spike sighed and said exasperatedly, “Trust me on this, to use the thrall ability, the mind must be iron strong.” Connor nodded slowly, a skeptical look still on his face.
Spike drew in a long breath before continuing, “Another ability that people have is the ability to see. No, don’t interrupt, just hear me out,” Spike said as Tonks opened her mouth. “Not everyone can see, some people are blind, or, like Albus and me, have a limited ability to see. Glasses help us to see better, but it doesn’t change the fact that that our natural ability is less than others.
“So that makes three kinds of humans: ones with perfect vision, ones with imperfect vision and ones with no vision – varying degrees of ability to see. But we can only use this ability if we have eyes to see with. People with no ability to see still, normally at least, have eyes even though they have no way to use them. No ability to use them.
“We all have eyes, even though some have no ability to use them, so that those with the ability to use them can. So in the same way, all vampires have an impenetrable mind even though only some have the ability to use it.”
Everyone seemed less confused with the explanation, except for Angel. “What is it Peaches? Didn’t like my example?”
“Don’t call me that Spike,” Angel admonished automatically as he shook his head negatively. “You example was fine. It’s just—“ Angel paused and met Spike’s gaze. Spike was shocked; Angel still no longer looked confused, but troubled and worried. Spike frowned as Angel continued slowly, “Does a soul make a difference?”
Spike’s frown deepened. “No, it shouldn’t—why?”
Angel looked even more worried at Spike’s response but answered him. “The First—“ Spike groaned in understanding, causing Angel to cut off abruptly and glare at the Seer. “What?” Angel snapped out.
Spike tried to smile, but it came out as more of a grimace; he was so tired. “Having a mind that is impossible to break into doesn’t mean that the mind is impossible to break.” Spike managed to get out a small sad smile. “Isn’t Drusilla still as insane as she was before she was turned?” Spike asked Angel.
Angel flinched at the reminder that he, as Angelus, had driven Drusilla insane before making her a vampire. “Yes. I think the 150 years as a vampire has made her even more insane truthfully.” He sighed sadly; and it was his entire fault too.
“The First messed with our minds, driving me insane and then brainwashing me, and simply driving you insane, trying to work you into a murderous rage or suicidal grief. The First never broke into our minds, it could read our memories, but had no way to change them or control our actions. That’s why it drove me insane first, so that it could program me to do what it wished. But it is an excellent point,” Spike conceded to Angel and then turned his head towards Dumbledore, addressing the next statement to both of them. “A soul with the demon tends to make a vampire a little mentally unstable.”
Angel scoffed, “A little?”
Spike scowled at him, but reluctantly agreed, “Okay, not a little then, a lot. Bugger, how are we going to keep him from going insane?”
“We’ll think of something when he wakes and we get a chance to talk to him,” Angel said, just as unhappy as Spike at the prospect of trying to keep the newly turned vampire with his soul from going over the deep end. Angel and Spike both went insane after being ensouled.
“Does that mean we are staying here?” Connor asked petulantly.
“It appears so young man,” Albus said.
“At least until tomorrow Con,” Spike said. “Help me stand kid.” Connor lifted his Uncle’s shoulders from his lap, hooking his arms under Spike’s, and stood slowly.
Angel nodded his head. “Then we will retrieve Drusilla and her Childe and take them, as was agreed upon.”
“Do we really have to?” Spike grumbled halfheartedly.
“Wait—you can’t just take Severus,” Minerva objected.
“Yes, we can. He is—family, and we will not abandon him here. Also, Drusilla will not leave without her Childe and I will not leave her here. No matter how she may act, she is still a cold-blooded killer.” Angel crossed his arms over his chest and then angrily added, “Also, I will not leave my family here, alone, where they are vulnerable.”
Connor finished standing, Spike leaning heavily against him, his left arm around the Destroyer’s shoulder. “My brace?” Spike asked, groggy from standing too soon after the vision, glancing at Connor. Remus bent down and retrieved the brace from where it had fallen when the Seer had collapsed.
“Here,” he said as handed it to Spike.
“We need Severus!!” Minvera almost screamed.
“At least allow him the choice,” Albus said diplomatically.
Connor looked at the wizards confused. “I thought you wanted us to take them and leave, that our kind isn’t welcome here,” he snarled.
Albus bowed his head in agreement. “While that was true, it seems that we must reevaluate our beliefs. If I understand what Miss Drusilla said correctly, Severus being what he is now is the only thing that will allow his continued survival—and ours.”
“I’m sure the he will be glad to know that he will be tolerated as long as he is useful to you,” Spike said snidely, but he couldn’t manage a sneer as he was still tired.
Minerva whirled on him, grabbing onto the Seer’s shirt. “Tolerated? He will not just be tolerated, he will be Welcome! And if your think I am going to let you—“ Albus stopped Minerva from continuing by putting a hand on her arm, gently removing her hand from the Seer.
Softly he said, “Minerva, please.” She turned her eyes after a moment longer of staring at the Seer to the Headmaster and looked into Dumbledore’s eyes. Dumbledore looked into her mind slightly and was overwhelmed with helplessness, sorrow, fear, frustration and desperation—all for their Potions Master. Albus was surprised; he had not thought that their feelings had gotten so deep. Evidently he had underestimated the strength of their emotions.
She crossed her arms firmly across her chest, making her displeasure clear. Albus thought that he had clamed her, but she would not be out off so easily. “I am willing to trust your judgment Albus, but I want to know one thing.” At her pause, the Headmaster nodded at her to ask her question. “Why do you trust these people?”
“An excellent question Minerva,” Albus answered as he rubbed his temple. “We really do need to move this inside. If I tell you a good enough reason to trust our visitors, will you work with me? I truly believe that they have Severus’ best interests in mind.”
The Seer growled and made a despairing remark under his breath. Albus whipped his head around and glared at him. “William tonight is neither the time nor the place.”
“I know. Doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it,” Spike said petulantly, sounding very much like Dawn whining to her older sister. At that thought, Spike froze: he was whining? He shook his head, he was a grown-up and they didn’t whine like children, unless they were Angel. He turned to Minerva and, seeing her worried face, the frown melted from his face, saying earnestly, “No matter what, your Potions Master is now family and our responsibility and we all take both of those very seriously.”
She acknowledged him, but was still waiting on an explanation. “Albus, what is your reason for trusting our guests?”
“Oh yes. Well, simply put, I went to school with the Seer here, William, and was also in the same house.”
The Seer smirked at this, grinning broadly at the Head of Gryffindor. She scowled back at him and said, “You were a trouble maker, weren’t you?” Albus laughed.
“Actually no, he was very similar to Miss Granger: studious, shy, brilliant and occasionally led astray by a trouble making friend. In William’s case, it was Aberforth doing the leading.”
Remus’ eyes widened at that. “Really? A Dumbledore that was a trouble maker?”
Spike looked over at the werewolf and winked. “Oh, don’t let Albus fool you, he was just as bad and he had Richard helping him. Add in Charles Weasley and those three became the Headmaster’s biggest headache. Aberforth and I were just…an afterthought.”
“Richard—you mean Richard Potter?” Minerva asked, slightly in awe.
The Seer frowned. “Ya, Potter,” he said, slightly bewildered. He turned back to Albus. “So, we goin’ inside or what?” Albus nodded and Spike took a step, wavered, and would have fallen if Connor had not caught him. Spike put a hand to his head, shaking it slightly, and mumbled, “Damned vision—took more out of me than I thought.” He took one step supported by Connor and a second before crumpling.
“Shit! Uncle!” Connor called as he tried to catch the Seer as he lost consciousness. “Father,” he called once he realized that the Seer was totally unconscious. By himself, Connor knew he was not big enough to carry Spike.
“What happened?” Albus asked.
As Angel crouched down to pick up his prostrate grand-childe, he explained, “Having visions like Spike does is extremely hard on the body. It will kill a human body in less than five years. Even on a half-demon like Spike, it is horribly exhausting.” Connor moved the brace as Angel slipped his arms under the body. “Only a few hours of sleep, traveling magically when his body is unused to it and having two especially hard visions simply exhausted his body.” Angel stood slowly and, after ascertaining he had his balance while holding the Seer, shrugged his shoulders lightly. “Add the fact that Spike is still getting used to his new body, his body simply shut down. It isn’t the first time it has happened.”
Angel frowned in thought for a moment before adding, “And I don’t think the magic of this place is helping either.” Angel started walking back to the castle and called over his shoulder, “We are going back now, right? Because he needs somewhere to rest as he won’t wake until morning, your time, at the earliest.” Connor trailed after his father with the brace thrown over his shoulder and twirling his axe with his other hand.
Albus followed after the two with Minerva at his side. “Are you satisfied then?” he asked her.
“Almost,” she said. “How did he know Richard Potter that he would simply refer to him as ‘Richard’?”
Before Albus could say anything, Connor answered without turning around, “Because Potter was Uncle’s last name too. I assume they were related.”
Remus just stared at the unconscious form being carried, mouth slightly agape as he walked behind the Headmaster. “William Potter,” he said softy. “Are you saying that he is William Potter? The great-uncle that disappeared?”
Albus smiled, “You know about that, do you?”
“Yes, James and Sirius were always intrigued by his disappearance.”
Minerva frowned. “I can understand Mr. Potter’s interest in his ancestor, but Sirius?”
Remus chuckled. “Sirius had some wild idea about how the disappearance of William Potter was somehow related to a string of murders in the wizarding world. Utter rubbish I said and pure speculation on Sirius’ part, but it still caught his fancy, so he joined James.” He laughed sadly and shook his head. “Just one of those things that caught their attention for a little while, keeping them occupied and out of trouble.”
Albus smiled at the antics that intelligent and bored boys could get into. “Richard was William’s older brother,” he said slowly and, after a moment, added thoughtfully, “Making him Harry’s only living relative in the magical world.”
“But where has he been all this time? And what was all that about getting used to a new body?”
“That is a long story,” came from the front of the group.
“We seem to have time,” was Remus’ droll response.
“Yes, but it is not our story to tell,” Connor said, still twirling his axe. “You’ll have to wait until Uncle wakes.”
“Besides, we have other things to do,” Angel said firmly. “I need to call the office to update them and make arrangements for our apparent overnight stay.”
“Well, that should be simple—use the Headmaster’s fireplace,” Tonks said reasonably.
Connor turned around and looked at her with a quizzical expression. “Why would we need a fireplace? We have our cell phones, or I do at least.”
Dumbledore’s eyes began twinkling with amusement.
Time: ~19:00 GMT
Location: Abandoned Hallway, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
She looked down at him. Damn. What did she do now? Could she just leave him there? Her conscious didn’t seem to mind that thought, at least until she saw the blood.
She growled out automatically, “For Salazar’s Sake!” Then she quickly snapped her mouth closed, appalled that that had been so natural for her to say and that she didn’t realize she had said it until she heard herself say it. Bloody Merlin! she swore to herself as she crouched down and examined the blood, along with the person it had evidently come out of.
Blood. Did she really push him that hard? She shook her head violently, pushing the thought from her head. She had done what she had had to in order to stop him from dragging her outside and getting both of them killed. She had saved both their lives. If she had been a little rough about it and he got hurt in the process, oh well. They were both still alive, no thanks to Malfoy.
“I should just leave you here,” she groused as she tentatively put her hand under his head and withdrawing it a great deal bloodier. She wiped her hand on his robes and took out her wand; beginning to methodically use a shearing charm to, well, shred his robes while continuing to talk aloud to herself. “It would serve you right. But,” she sighed dramatically, “I guess I did help contribute to your current condition and having you die would so ruin my weekend.”
She took the first strip and soaked up the excess blood from his head, shaking her head,
“Head wounds are so tedious, all that blood for a little cut.” She took the next strip and wrapped it firmly around the wound and his head, covering his face in the process. She giggled at the picture he made. “I feel bad about covering your eyes, but you are unconscious and you look very similar to the mummies we saw in Egypt…” she drifted off and then scowled, wanting to hit Malfoy for again reminding her of her first year and Riddle, but huffed instead. “Can’t really hit you again as I haven’t yet properly patched the previous wound,” she said as she started to wind another strip around his head, making sure to keep pressure on the wound.
“At least being around the twins for so long has taught me first aid. When you wake up, you’ll have to go visit their shop and thank them.” Then she grinned at the irony and added, “They are also the ones who taught me to hex as well as I do. Can’t have your big brothers think they can push you around.” She wrapped another strip around and then, upon examination, tied it firmly and patted his head. She said with a smile, “There you are, all wrapped up like a present.”
Then the smile fell and she swiftly stood as she pocketed Malfoy’s wand, saying, “Can’t have you causing trouble, can I?” She frowned in concentration and then cast a soft, “Mobilicorpsus,” with her own wand on the knocked out boy and began mumbling irritably as she made her way to the Infirmary, being careful to avoid the high-trafficked hallways, with the body eerily floating in her wake.
“Madame Pomfrey is not going to like the present she is going to have to unwrap. Damn you Malfoy, getting me in trouble even when you aren’t awake. Think I could just knock and then leave you at the door?” She stopped and looked over toward the boy as if expecting him to answer. Then she shook her head solemnly, and began walking, facing forward, again. “I didn’t think so either. My Weasley luck, you would bleed to death before Madame Pomfrey found you some time tomorrow morning because she was dealing with another patient and didn’t hear my knock. No, no, I’ll have to bring you in myself. But then I have to explain what I am doing dragging your prone and bloody body into hospital for.”
She shrugged. “The truth will have to do. We were doing what we usually end up doing when we come in contact: fighting, you grabbed me, I shoved you, not hard mind you, and you cracked your head on the wall. And then again on the floor when you fell.” She laughed and added, “Considering how big your head is, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise.”
She walked for a long length saying nothing, simply fingering her wand lightly as she maintained the spell and playing with a small bloody shred of Malfoy’s robe in her left hand. As she came upon the Infirmary, she mused aloud a thought that had just popped into her head, “I wonder what you will remember. The knock on your head probably erased the last fifteen minutes, at least, of our encounter. You will probably remember the beginning of our talk…oh, I hate when I know things I shouldn’t have a clue about for Salazar’s Sake!! Oh—!” She clenched her mouth shut again and gave the floating boy a glare.
“This is all your fault Malfoy,” she ground out viciously and stopped, stomping her feet, in front of the Infirmary doors. A last sideways scowl and a muttered, “I didn’t hit you hard enough for all the trouble you are giving me tonight. I should leave you…” before Ginny growled and knocked on the Infirmary door, continuing to mumble, “I didn’t hit you that hard.”
While she waited, she thought of something. A smile slowly crept across her face, the same smile Draco had earlier compared to that of a demon, and she hummed happily, “I think I’ll just keep it.”
Time: ~14:00 EST (GMT-5)
Location: Temporary North American Headquarters, Watchers Council
Hellmouth, Cleveland, OH USA
“Shouldn’t we call Angel before we leave?”
Buffy scowled at her for asking that question again and responded with the same answer. “Because we can’t tell him,” she stated simply.
“I could email Fred—it wouldn’t take two seconds—“ Willow started, but Buffy cut her off.
“No!” Buffy rubbed her head, trying unsuccessfully to stop her forming headache. “I know you think I am being irrational—“
“Just a little,” Xander put in and then cringed at the look Buffy gave him.
“Not helping Xander,” Willow said.
Buffy continued as if no one had interrupted her, “But I’m not being irrational—I am going on pure instinct with this and my gut is telling me we cannot contact Angel or any of his group.” She shook her head and sighed. “I wish I could explain it—but I can’t. And it’s not that I don’t want to tell Angel—it’s just that, that telling Angel is not what we are meant to do. We are meant for something else and that something is what the Coven felt.”
Buffy dropped to the couch, rubbing the still sleeping Dawn’s back. “I know I sound crazy—I feel like I’m going crazy. I swear that dead slayers are haunting my dreams. We can’t call Angel because what we need to do doesn’t and can’t involve him.” Then Buffy added as Willow opened her mouth, “Or his employees.” Then Buffy just laughed cynically and put her head in her hands. “If we tell them, they will want to help and we simply can’t take their help.” She looked up at her friends, “This is something that we need to do on our own.”
Xander simply shrugged his shoulders, he hadn’t really wanted to call the vampire, and he was just supporting his best friend. Willow, after a moment of scrutinizing Buffy, acquiesced, nodding. Buffy smiled and murmured thanks.
Willow resumed typing and said, after a moment of thinking about the Demonic Law Firm that Angel was in charge of, “And it isn’t like they won’t know where we are. With the entire firm at their disposal, they can easily locate us.” She stopped typing and gave Buffy a smile of her own; shaking her head at the realization she just arrived at. “So I guess it really doesn’t matter if we tell him where we are going. If they want to find us, they can use their resources to find us.” Her mind placated with her logic, she resumed typing, reserving their flights and locating suitable housing to set up another command post.
Willow paused again in her typing, but didn’t look up from her screen as she asked, “How many of us are going Buffy?”
Buffy frowned, calculating. The Hellmouth was here and was a constant danger, but what the Coven had felt was…worse, she just knew it. “The core group to start with—everyone from Sunnydale, except Robin and Faith.” She paused long enough for Willow to look up at her questioningly. “Then it depends on what we find and what you can feel, Wills, when we get there, but make sure to acquire accommodations large enough for the entire group.”
Willow’s mouth formed in a silent ‘O’ and Xander’s eye was wide. Xander recovered first, blinking heavily and asked, “Do you think that everyone will really be necessary?”
Buffy smiled sadly. “Unfortunately yes and even that may not be enough.”
Willow snapped out of it and put in smoothly, “Well, if we aren’t enough, then we will just have to find people to help us.” She began typing again while adding, “But they will have to find their own place to stay.”
Time: ~19:15 GMT
Location: Infirmary, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The Infirmary doors opened with a bang. At the noise, Poppy said irritably, not looking up from her current patient, “Quiet, please!” When she received no response to her admonition and there was no sound of footsteps approaching her, she looked up. Then she promptly screamed.