Let Sleeping Dragons Lie
contains some violence and mild sexual situations - nothing worse than the books or series.
pairings: will eventually be Willow/Charlie Weasley
disclaimer: I don't own anyone that you recognize from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter. There will be some original characters.
distribution: Bite Me, Twisting the Hellmouth, WLS, NHA, anyone else just ask.
"Weasley! We have a problem." The voice of Devrah Khamsin rang loudly through the twilight air, startling birds into flight and tiny animals scurrying. She was a large woman, standing a bit over six feet tall, with muscles like a rugby player and voice that would have been well suited to a military drill ground. It served her well for making herself heard in the wilderness, or anywhere else that she strode.
It had a similar effect on the various people employed at the Romanian Dragon Preserve. They scattered, trying to vanish or look very busy, all feeling very glad that they weren't Weasley. All except for the man summoned, a lean red haired man dressed in scuffed dragon hide pants, boots and jacket, the left half of his hair almost three inches shorter than the right, the bottom singed and twisted from some source of flame. His eyes twinkled as he walked over to what passed as an office for the woman who ran the preserve like a tyrant.
Charlie Weasley looked at her, feeling almost small in comparison. "What's wrong, and I most likely had nothing to do with it."
"Cute. One of the Ridgebacks is missing. Old Maleficent's not in her cave, and nobody can find claw or scale of her. More disturbing, there's a strong magic trace at the stream she drinks at." Devrah's dark eyes were grim.
Charlie gaped, feeling the sudden urge to sit down, refraining because there wasn't a chair. "Someone stole Maleficent? Why would someone steal a full grown Romanian Ridgeback dragon? Where would they put her?"
Devrah shook her head, the short locks of her hair, never more than chin length, flopping a bit with the movement. "We don't know who or why, but the magic feels... It felt like there was a transportation spell in there. Not only that, but the residue gives anyone who goes into the area the collywobbles, so I'm guessing whoever did this belongs to the Dark. Maybe even to He Who Should Not Be Named. I want you to go find that dragon and bring her back. Preferably before the breeding season."
"Why me?" He'd meant the question rhetorically, not expecting an answer.
"Because you're resourceful, in good shape with no injuries right now, and with all those younger brothers of yours, you're devious. Resourceful, devious, and you're lucky. I don't know who took her or where she is now, but I have confidence that you can get her back. Bend the rules if you have to, step on official toes, I don't care. Just bring Maleficent back. Here's your travel visa." Devrah's voice carried a tone of command, and the implication that he should get going immediately, if not sooner.
When she got into one of her moods, he'd rather try to argue with a thunderstorm. "Yes ma'am. I'll just pick up a few things and try to get a heading from that residue."
Charlie stopped long enough to grab a few more things, including a chest of possible supplies, shrunk small enough to fit into his jacket pocket, and a few papers, claiming quite truthfully that he was on official business for the Romanian Dragon Preserve. Just to be safe, he also grabbed another jar of burn ointment. Maleficent might have vanished, but there were other dragons around the area. It was good to be prepared, especially considering the range that they could send their fire.
The more he thought about things, the more certain he was that whoever was responsible was up to something very bad. Very few groups or organizations would even have the power to accomplish something of this scale. And anyhow, there wasn't a lot that you could do with a dragon. Granted, the various parts were used as ingredients in all sorts of potions, and most of a dragon could be used, but... the idea of someone attempting to poach Maleficent was absurd. The reason why she'd been named after the foul tempered evil fairy in a fairy tale was the simple fact that even for a dragon, she was foul tempered, cunning, and she seemed to take enjoyment out of trying to scorch people.
Carefully, he went to the section of stream where Maleficent drank, the undergrowth scorched away, the ground clawed and turned, the tree trunks scored by claws. There was no doubting that a dragon frequented this place. There was also no mistaking the residual magic traces. They gave him a shivering feeling, like something skittering over the back of his neck. Closing his eyes, he gritted his teeth and tried to read the layered mess of magic. There was some sort of paralysis spell, probably to keep her still while they took her away. There was also something else, a big silencing spell, probably to keep anyone from noticing what they were up to. He recognized the general type, having mastered a simple, small area silence spell during his time at Hogwarts, having found that it made setting up pranks so much easier. Then there was the transport spell.
He sighed, coming to the conclusion that no matter how heroic the idea of charging off alone to defeat the bad guys and rescue the... ahh, well, the dragon happened to be, he just couldn't. He had only a vague 'that way, and very far' from the traces, and that just wasn't good enough.
Sighing, Charlie wondered if there was any possible way to avoid having to deal with Suzie. She was a whiz at all sorts of divination, but she was just... weird. It was as if she'd seen a few things to many, or maybe a few of her wits just hadn't come back from one of her vision trances, but whatever the cause, she was a rather odd woman. He made his way to the small cottage that she stayed in, knocking on her door.
"Come in, you burning hunk of love." Her voice sounded at the same moment his knuckles connected to the wooden door.
He really wasn't looking forward to this. Suzie was loopy, unpredictable... and she seemed to delight in flirting with him. He was doomed.
end part 1.
Charlie opened the door slowly, slinking into the cottage. Everything was draped in soft, pastel gauze, delicate china and crystal nick knacks lining the mantle and filling shelves. A fragile looking porcelain tea set with a lacy pattern in pale rose sat on the low table, and wisps of fragrant steam rose from its spout. Suzie sat in one chair, almost reminiscent of a queen on her throne. Her gown was a pale green accented with pink ribbons and lace, looking like something that belonged on the cover of one of those dreadful historical romances that girls liked to read so much. Her hair was a dark brown, most of it caught up in elaborate curls, with thin wisps falling around her face.
Suzie was one of those people who craved drama and excitement in her life. She couldn't stand the idea of a calm, normal life, and if there wasn't enough drama, she would stir some up. She also kept trying to shape her life into something that belonged on one of those bad romances. If she wasn't such a spot-on divinator, he had no idea where Suzie would be right now. Maybe acting.
"What brings you here, handsome?" Her voice even fit the part, a somewhat high, breathy voice. A gesture with one slender, elegantly manicured hand indicated that he should seat himself on the couch across from her.
Trying not to sigh, Charlie settled himself gingerly on the pale green draped couch, sinking into soft, slightly mushy feeling cushions. "There's a problem, Suzie. Somebody stole one of the dragons, and they used a long distance teleportation spell. All I can tell is that they went sort of west, but... that isn't very helpful. I need... I need you to help me find them so I can get Maleficent back."
Suzie nodded, looking thoughtful. "Why Maleficent? Why not one with a sweeter... well, not so vile temper?"
"I wish I knew, but I don't think it can be anything good." Charlie tried to figure out the fastest way out of this cottage.
She sighed, tapping one finger against her chin. "Drink your tea, and then after I read the leaves for you, we can go to the place where the spell residue is."
Rolling his eyes slightly, Charlie drank the tea, some sort of sweet blend that tasted of apples, cinnamon and ginger. She took the cup from his hands, looking intently at the dregs on the bottom.
"Lets see now, a long journey... hmm, danger, threats to your life... oh, romance! You're going to meet a lovely young lady who'll make quite the impression on you." She looked up at him, batting her long eyelashes suggestively.
Charlie winced. "Just what I always wanted to hear... Let's go check out the residue."
Somehow, the trek back to the stream felt four times longer than the trip from the stream to Suzie's cottage. When they arrived, Suzie frowned, staring at the area, her eyes looking rather unfocused as she swayed back and forth, humming slightly as she read the remains of the spells. One hand was outstretched, hovering over the ground as if seeking out the currents of power, seeking to read their secrets.
"Far away, over land and sea... where have they taken you? Far away, to a place of darkness and shadow and death... to burn and destroy... Silly people, you can't bind a dragon's will for very long..." Her eyes had this unfocused look that gave Charlie goosebumps, and her voice had taken on a lilting, almost song-like tone.
She shook her head, another wisp of dark hair falling out of the elaborate style. "First, they tried a spell to bind the dragon to obey them. That won't last very long, dragons are very strong willed creatures. Then, they took her away, far away... umm, sorry. They took her across the ocean, somewhere over in America. If I had a map, I could show you... the emanations of the other end of the spell are unmistakably dark. It's not going to be fun, but I did say that I needed an adventure."
Charlie sighed yet again, hating the fact that he did that so often when Suzie was around. "I have an atlas. If you can give us a continent to start with, we can start there and narrow it down."
"North America." Her voice didn't contain a single ounce of hesitation.
He held open the pages, watching as Suzie let her eyes unfocus, and her hand came to rest on a coastal section of the California. "I need a map of here. This one's too big to get a good location."
Flipping to a page that was mostly just the state of California, he watched as she went through it again, this time able to pinpoint a town. Whoever had stolen Maleficent had taken or sent her to somewhere called Sunnydale, in California.
He just had to wonder what was important enough about one small town almost halfway around the world that anyone would go to that much trouble.
"It's a good thing that I had my swimsuit packed. I'm going with you." Suzie's voice interrupted Charlie's thoughts.
"What?" He felt something not quite the same as fear, more like a sinking dismay flow through him. She wanted to go with him? He'd be forced to endure her company for... he was doomed.
"Now to make our arrangements and go to Sunnydale. We have a dragon to find." Charlie's voice wasn't exactly cheerful. Then again, he didn't see anything to be particularly cheerful about.
end part 2.