Chapter Three - Of Slayers & Invisibility Cloaks
Chapter Three - Of Slayers & Invisibility Cloaks
The halls of the student dormitories were silent, not a figure stirring, save one petite blonde girl who had just slipped out of her room, armed with a gleaming battle-ax and several long slivers of wood.
Panels of moonlights spread onto the floor of the hall through the large windows as she tiptoed along, trying not to disturb any students who might still be awake.
She was halfway down the stairs, on the way to the main door, when a tingle of unease shot down her spine. Something soft brushed passed her ankle and she whipped around, searching for whatever had caused it.
The hall was deserted.
"There better not be anyone here." Buffy muttered, half to herself, half to anyone who might be sneaking around - invisible - hefting her ax in her hand. "I've fought invisible things before and killed them all."
No one answered and the feeling passed.
The Slayer shrugged, continuing on her way down the staircase and out, into the grounds of the university, for her third nightly slaying session. As always, she knew there would be plenty of uglies for her to deal with.
In the hallway that she had just vacated, something very strange was happening, though.
With a rustle of soft material, a head appeared from nowhere, floating in the air. Long silver hair and the top of a silver beard surrounded the face of an old Wizard, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement.
"A Slayer..." He remarked to himself with a chuckle.
Somehow, it didn't really surprise Dumbledore to know that the Weasley's youngest daughter had managed to end up connected with one of the most powerful variety of muggles. Even if it was just a matter of going to the same college and living in the same dorms.
Nevertheless, he wasn't here to watch a Slayer going about her duty.
Continuing down the hallway, pulling the hood of his invisibility cloak back over his head, he came to the door of the room that should - if he remembered the address correctly - be that of the girl who was known as Willow Rosenberg.
One hand dipped into one of the capricious pockets of the cloak, withdrawing another hand-written letter sealed into a parchment envelope. This one was marked with his own seal, as opposed to that of Hogwarts.
Bending, he gently pushed the envelope under the door, unwilling to risk using too much magic while he was newly arrived on the Hellmouth. He would have to let himself adjust to the mystical imbalance he felt.
With the kinds of creatures he knew inhabited such a place, the chances of them being drawn to his power was high and he really didn't want to find himself fighting for his life again, when he was only meant to be insuring the safety of the eighth Weasley.
Returning down the moonlit hall, he exited into the main darkened grounds of the silent campus, where he could hear the sounds of fighting and the voice of the girl who had passed him on the stairs.
Making his way across the grass, he followed the sounds, rounding some bushes, where he came upon the ongoing fight.
While he had heard the rumours of Slayers and their innate physical strength and prowess, he had never seen one at work in all his many years. Now, he could understand why their reputation was so reknown in the upper circles of the Magical World.
Two large male vampires were fighting with the little muggle, but she was still beating them with a practised ease that spoke of years of doing the same. Roundhouse kicks, punches and tosses left the two vampires fallen and her stake was plunged rapidly into each heart in turn.
Straightening up and brushing the dust from her clothes, she froze, looking around. "All right, this isn't funny." She rotated full circle, looking around. "I know someone is here. Will you just come out so I can kill you already?"
Dumbledore slowly started to move backwards, away from her, fascinated by the acuteness of her senses. For a muggle to pick up specific mystical vibrations in a place filled with such a tangle of powers, it was little less than a miracle.
Hazel eyes suddenly locked onto his position and she took a step towards him. "All right, buddy. You've got til I count to five to show yourself. If you don't..." She shrugged. "I'll find you and beat you senseless any..."
A crash in the undergrowth distracted her and she whipped around as a large furry creature exploded out of the brush, lunging straight at her.
"Oz! How many times do we have to tell you to lock the cage properly?" The blonde yelled, tossing the creature that Dumbledore had recognised as a werewolf. One of her hands went behind her back and she withdrew a pistol from her belt.
The wolf, though, seemed distracted. Lips peeled back from fangs, he sniffed the air, his shaggy head swinging in the direction of the concealed Wizard. He broke towards the hidden Dumbledore, but before he got five paces, the gun was fired.
The Slayer sighed, pushing the pistol back into her belt and walking towards the tranquilised wolf. "Let's get you back to your cage." She said, bending and heaving the drugged beast over her shoulder.
She didn't kill it.
That surprised the old Wizard, as he turned and walked away in the other direction. Most normal Wizards and Muggles would simply kill a werewolf, if it had lunged out of the bushes at them when they were armed with a gun, but this demon slayer didn't.
He would have to find about that, after.
But first, he would wait until he had sorted through the situation with the young Weasley.
Pushing the door of the dorm open, her hair mussed and grass stains all over her clothes, Buffy hurriedly closed the door behind her, hoping that she wouldn't wake her sleeping room mate and friend.
Grinning apologetically at the red head, the Slayer shrugged, flicking the lights on. "Blame your hunny." She replied. "He decided that he wanted to play tag with me, so I had to put him back in his cage."
"He escaped again?" Willow groaned. "If he keeps doing this, I'm going to start considering chaining him up again." Buffy raised a brow and Willow immediately raised a hand. "Don't even think that!"
The blonde chuckled, tossing a handful of stakes and her small tranquiliser gun onto her desk, her ax propped against the wall. "Weird..." She bent down to pick up something lying on the floor at her feet. "Will, did you hear anyone outside?"
Straightening up, Buffy waved a parchment envelope. "Looks like our mysterious letter-writer dropped something for you."
"H-he was here?" Willow blanched, throwing back her blankets and swinging out of her bed, her feet landing neatly in her slippers. Crossing the floor, she snatched the envelope from Buffy and turned it over, staring at the seal. "Double 'D'." She said, eyes narrowing in confusion.
"So this guy is well endowed in the chest?" Dropping her dirt-smeared jacket on her chair, Buffy kicked her shoes off and under her bed. The red head gave her a look and the blonde grinned again. "My bad." She waited for a moment. "Are you going to open it?"
"I guess..." Breaking the seal, one eye pressed shut, as if she expected something bad to erupt from it, the young witch opened the envelope. Nothing happened, so she opened her eyes, carefully pulling the fresh parchment out. She walked back towards her bed as she read, sitting down on the mattress.
Downing half a glass of water, Buffy tilted her head as her friend's brow wrinkled. "Well?"
"What does it say, Will?"
The red head looked nervously up at her friend. "He...uh...he says that he wants to meet me tomorrow." Her expression was one of worry and concern. "He's in Sunnydale and he'll drop by about noon, if that's okay with me."
"He hasn't even left me an address so I can write to him and tell him no." The young witch re-read the letter again, her face a mask of panic.
"You don't wanna met this guy?"
"I don't know, Buffy." She smoothed the letter on her knees, raising her eyes to Buffy as she did so. "What if he's like Moloch again? What if he's a demon?"
"I could hang around when he shows up and if he turns out to be a demon jerk, I could kick his ass for you." The blonde offered, donning her nightshirt as she talked. "You can't contact him, so you might as well see him." She pulled the blanket back from her mattress, revealing a small stack of blades. "I'll wait in the hall for him and if he looks demony..." She gathered the knives from her bed with wicked grin. "That sound okay?"
Willow sighed. "I guess."
The room looked impeccable.
The rugs were so straight that it looked like they had been laid to measure.
The covers on the beds were flat and smooth, the pillows fluffed to perfection.
The red-haired witch was pacing frantically from one side of the room to the other, trying to feel safe in the knowledge her friend, the superhero, was prowling the hall outside. Somehow, even that didn't hold much comfort.
It was nearly noon and she kept glancing at her watch ever few seconds.
"Okay...okay...calm and cool...distraction. Need a distraction..."
She scanned the room, finding the books she had started reading after the first letter. She was halfway through the second one already. Snatching it up, she sat down on her bed, opening it to the page she had marked.
"All right..." Running her finger down to the paragraph she had reached, she pushed strands of red hair back from her eyes. "Ron and Harry have taken polyjuice potion and are on the way to the Slytherin common room..."
"Good to see you taking such an interest in our world." An amused voice said.
Willow looked up at the opposite bed and shrieked in fright, jerking back across her bed and falling straight onto the floor. "BUFFY!"
The door swung inwards, the Slayer standing there, armed and ready. "What is it?" Then she noticed what had shocked her friend.
A disembodied head was floating about three feet above her bed. It turned towards the petite blonde and smiled. "Ah, Buffy Summers." He said, blue eyes twinkling. "Would you mind shutting the door. Some people aren't so..liberal about seeing Wizards in invisibility cloaks."
"Mind telling us who you are?" The Slayer demanded coolly. "And how you got in here? And what do you mean an invisibility cloak?"
Willow had picked herself up and warily rounded the bed. "Are you...Dumbledore?"
"That I am, my dear." The head rose another couple of feet and there was a swish of material, then the most outlandishly clad body that either of the girls had ever seen came into view.
A vivid combination of crimson, emerald and sapphire, the gold-threaded velveteen robes looked expensive and wouldn't have been far out of place in an expensive television adaptation of Merlin.
"Going to give me a reason I can't kill you? Or at least beat you very hard?"
Dumbledore smiled broadly at her, as he placed a scarlet velvet cap on his head. "You could if you liked, but it really wouldn't accomplish very much, considering that I am as human as your Witch-friend here."
"But you...invisible...I mean, your head was floating and...what's that?" She pointed to the silvery sheet of fabric that he was holding.
"This is an invisibility cloak, my dear." He replied. "Many wizards in our World have them."
"You mean they're real? I mean, like in Harry Potter?" The witch cautiously approached. "May I?" He nodded, holding out the cloak. The girl carefully placed it on her shoulders, pulling the hood over her head. Moving to look in the mirror, she stared at it, but could see no trace of herself. "Wow..."
"So you were the guy watching me last night?" Buffy eyed the Wizard, recalling the odd sensations she had felt during patrol.
He folded his hands, nodding. "I'm afraid that was me. I had just been to deliver a letter to our friend, here."
"Wait a second..." Willow tugged the cloak off, staring at Dumbledore. "If you're real and this invisibility cloak is real..." She stared down at the book on her bed, sitting down heavily. "Oh God...I'm having one of those dreams again, aren't I?"
"This is no dream, Willow." Dumbledore reassured her, smiling. "Everything in those Harry Potter books is as close to reality as a muggle spy could get." A flicker of mischief shone in his eyes. "Of course, some things are purely fictional...for example, that scene with the earwax flavoured bean...I would never be foolish enough to pick a yellow bean."
"I think I need to sit down."
"Will, you are sitting down."
"Oh...good for me..."
Dumbledore, though, was eyeing the large cage that stood in the corner. "Your familiar?" He inquired, then frowned. "What happened to her to leave her a rat?" He looked across at the red head. "Was she attempting to become an animagi or did a transfiguration go wrong?"
"We were going to be burned at the stake." Buffy supplied, still holding her blade. "She turned herself into a rat to escape. She turned me into a rat before."
"A bad attempt at transfiguration, then." He bent to look in at the rat. The rat stared back at him. "Do you recall the spell she used?" Willow shook her head. "Perhaps Professor McGonogall and I might be able to help her…alas, so many inaccurately performed transfigurations can never be corrected."
The Slayer looked from her friend to the old man in the strange robes. "Uh..excuse me...I still wanna know how you got in here."
"I disapparated from my Motel." The wizard cast a sidelong look at her. "It takes a lot of effort on the Hellmouth. Its very difficult to centre your power."
"You find that too?" The red head piped up, turning to look at him.
Dumbledore felt relieved that she had not been stunned into utter silence. "I am assuming that you have practised a few spells, then?" He asked, sitting down on the bed opposite her, eyeing her with interest.
It would be intersting to see how far she had got with the amateur, muggle ideas of magic and spells. Some were incredibly accurate, but only people of a magical persuasion and with enough magic in their blood could perform them.
"Uh, I've done a few charms and made a few potions." She nodded at the cage. "Amy and I were part of a small coven, but it kinda...stopped when she became a rat. It made doing spells kinda difficult, when all she could do was squeak."
Dumbledore laughed softly. "Yes, I can see how that would be a minor difficulty." He gazed at he from behind his half-moon spectacles. "Do you happen to have a wand?"
"Uh...no." Dumbledore was impressed. "Should I have?"
The old wizard nodded. "Most spells are impossible without a wand, unless you have very acute mental control and power. Tell me, can you levitate objects?" In response, Willow looked at the desk and a pen floated off it. He was surprised that she didn't even have to use an incantation. "Ah. Remarkable, most remarkable."
"That's about all I've done." The red head ducked her head, her cheeks flushing.
"Apart from resouling Angel and closing the Hellmouth a few times." Buffy added helpfully.
Dumbledore's eyes flicked from one girl to the other. "Pardon me, but could you repeat that?"
"She...resouled a vampire and closed the Hellmouth. A few times." Dumbledore's eyes had widened with astonishment, turning back to stare at the now-crimson Witch. "I guess that is a pretty big thing to do, huh?" Buffy murmured, watching his expression.
Nodding, the Wizard drew a breath and exhaled it. "Tell me, Willow, have you had any training in magic? Apart from your friends, have you met any adults witches and wizards?"
"Amy - the rat - was a witch and her mom, I guess." The red head shrugged. "There was a guy Giles knows, Ethan."
"One moment," Dumbledore held up a hand. "Giles...Ethan...Would these two be Rupert Giles and Ethan Rayne, perhaps?"
"You know Giles?" Buffy demanded, finally lowering her weapon.
A broad, bright smile had spread across the old Wizard's face. "You could say that, Miss Summers." He replied, shaking his head with a chuckle. "Never met a pair of scallywags who could quite match them, although James and Sirius came very close."
"So you arrested them, then?" The thought seemed to amuse the Slayer and she grinned. "I always knew that playing with weird magic stuff would get them in trouble with...uh...important magic people."
"You misunderstand me, Miss Summers." The Wizard laughed. "I didn't arrest them. Quite the opposite in fact." He smiled at the memory. "I was their House Master, teacher and Head teacher when they were at our School."
"Our school?" Willow echoed.
"Yes," Dumbledore replied, his eyes dancing. "Rupert Giles and Ethan Rayne first met while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."