Title: My Friend in Misery
Pairing: Willow/Charlie Weasley
Category: Harry Potter/BtVS
Disclaimer: Joss owns everything Buffy and Angel related. J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter, I’m just borrowing them.
Spoilers: This takes place after the Series Finale of Buffy and post Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, there *are* spoilers for the fifth book, so be warned!
Feedback: Please, oh please! But be nice, I’m a horribly sensitive person…
Summary: The newly formed Watcher’s Council and the Order of the Phoenix need to work together to defeat their biggest threat.
1: Watchers…What the Hell Do They Watch?
Harry watched as Mrs. Weasley paced the floor, her anxious eyes occasionally straying to the front door and then falling back to the floor. Seeing that she wasn’t about to abandon her frantic movements, the boy gave up observing her. His gaze slowly swept across the room, taking in the various changes that had been made over the past few months. This didn’t look like the same place he had been escorted to a year before. The former home of the Black family and the headquarters of the Order was now spotless, not a tattered curtain or layer of dust in sight.
It was still hard for him to stay here, with all the memories of his late godfather lying about, but now more than ever, he needed to remain in the safe-house. Even though a good number of Death Eaters were now residing uncomfortably in Azkaban, there were still many on the loose, not to mention their leader whose mission in life was to kill him. Normally he would try to avoid being left alone with his thoughts, but both Ron and Hermione were asleep, taking a much needed rest and that left him to his own devices. Tired eyes drifted back to Molly Weasley who had finally stopped her pacing and was now staring at the front door, waiting.
He could hear voices, all very familiar to the young man now. The door swung open and relief shone brightly in Molly’s eyes as her husband, Arthur, and eldest sons, Bill and Charlie, strode into the living room, speaking quietly amongst themselves. Harry did his best to fade into the background, determined to remain unnoticed by the newcomers. The trio had just come back from another ‘secret’ meeting and they had a tendency to hide worrisome information from him, as long as no one remembered he was in the room there was a chance he could find out what was really going on.
“Well?” prompted the plump redhead, hands on her hips as she turned to Arthur.
“Things went very well, very well indeed,” the usually jolly man replied with a grateful smile. “They were very receptive.”
“Were they now?” wondered Molly in surprise. “Usually they shun us, but I suppose there is a first time for everything. So Dumbledore was able to schedule a meeting with the head of the Watcher’s Council? Quentin Travers never used to be eager to speak with us before.”
“Travers is dead,” sighed Bill wearily as he leaned against the nearest wall, his feet starting to ache. “It happened a few months ago. Actually, most of the council was eliminated by something they call ‘The First’.”
“The First?” she grimaced in confusion.
“Source of all evil or something,” shrugged Charlie, “normally I’d say the Council was exaggerating about their foe, they always did have a penchant for the dramatic, but it wiped out hundreds, if not thousands. Watchers, potential slayers, allies, it killed the lot of them before they managed to stop it.”
“So who on earth did you boys speak with?” the normally serene woman demanded with a touch of annoyance.
“Oh, a man named Rupert Giles,” Arthur responded with a grin. “Apparently he and a handful of others are attempting to rebuild the Watcher’s Council, and succeeding,” he added brightly. “I liked him, he’s not so obsessed with politics and the like, as Travers was.”
“He was a decent bloke,” agreed Bill. “And he’s willing to help, even if his group’s involvement would be…limited.”
“What does that mean?” Mrs. Weasley asked in confusion eyebrows knitted together. Charlie, sensing his brother’s exhaustion, answered for him, motioning for his parents and brother to follow him into the kitchen so they could sit and talk at the table. Harry followed at a distance, glad for once to be unnoticed. This seemed like a conversation he didn’t want to miss.
“Right now Mr. Giles is trying to find all the slayers that have been called around the world. He is doing a good job of it but you can imagine how long that takes,” Charlie frowned and then shrugged. “Most of the slayers with him are untrained and are in the process of adjusting to their newfound strength. I doubt they’d be of much help to us. Probably only add to the body count,” he muttered darkly. “Ow!” he barked when his mother promptly smacked him upside his head.
“That’s not a good attitude Charles,” she reprimanded him sternly. He raised his hands in compliance.
“He’s not even sure his people could really be of help at all,” Bill broke in, garnering a grateful smile from his brother. “Most of the girls there can fight hand to hand, even with weapons, but…You-know-who doesn’t fight with weapons. But, he does have a witch,” he said with a nod to himself.
“So,” added Arthur with his usual bright grin. “He’s offered to send her here, to…oh what was it he said? Oh yes! She would assess the situation, see if they can help. If they can,” the elder Weasley shrugged, “then they will assist us as best they can. For once I believe the council is to be trusted to keep their word.”
“Oh that’s good,” grinned Molly in relief, “very good to hear indeed. Dumbledore was quite insistent we give them a chance, maybe he was right. Wouldn’t be the first time?” she considered with a cheeky grin. “When does this witch arrive?”
“Tomorrow actually,” Arthur replied with an eager grin. “I believe Remus is to pick her up from her flat, and then he will bring her here. Probably sometime around noon,” he guessed.
“Wonderful, we may win this just yet,” Molly murmured excitedly. It didn’t usually take much for the elder Weasley’s to get excited about something, but in dark times such as these reasons for celebration and good news were few and far between. Bill and Charlie shared a sad smile at their mother’s exuberance. Seeing her smile like that was a rare occurrence as of late.
“Well, since that’s settled, Bill you set the table,” Molly ordered politely as she stood, switching back into her mothering mode, “Charlie, check on dinner, it should almost be ready. Arthur, there’s some post for you on the counter, something from the Ministry. And Harry dear,” she called out, not even bothering to look away from her work. “Do stop hovering behind the door and help Bill.”
“Yes ma’am,” the young brunette answered, blushing madly as he pushed open the door to the kitchen and shuffled inside. Here he was, thinking he was being so sneaky, and she knew he was there the entire time; bruised his ego that did. At least she wasn’t angry with him for snooping. There were times when she would snap at him or Ron, but that was usually more from stress than true anger.
These were not easy times at 12 Grimmauld Place. It was summer in London, warm but not uncomfortably so, but the nice weather did not produce a serene nature amongst the people living in this house. Harry had left the Dursley’s two weeks before, joining Ron and his family, with the exception of Percy, in the old Black home. Hermione joined up with them soon after, but there were always more and more people rushing through the house. Dumbledore made a point to appear at regular intervals and Harry thought that was more for his own benefit than anything else. After all, no one could make the boy feel quite as safe as Dumbledore.
Severus Snape was also a regular visitor, although he expressed his displeasure with their company whenever possible. That didn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the house. Remus Lupin practically lived there as well, even though he had a flat just outside of London. He only bothered to go to his home occasionally in case someone was watching his apartment. It wouldn’t do to have people be even more suspicious about him and his comrades. Tonks, Mundungus, Moody all strolled in whenever the mood struck them, as did a handful of others as well. But no matter how much life the old house was filled with, it was a grim and dreary place to live.
They all had their own reasons for thinking so. For the Weasleys, it was simply because this wasn’t their home. No matter how hard they tried to hide it, it was glaringly obvious to Harry that they missed the Burrow. Truthfully, he missed it too.
For Hermione, it was because she was away from her parents. They feared for her safety, as she did for theirs. They were only muggles after all and Voldemort was notorious for his hatred for muggles. It only came second to his hatred of Harry, himself.
For Snape it was because he was forced to endure the presence of Lupin, whom he hated with a passion since his school days at Hogwarts. Although, his behavior had improved recently since Sirius’ death, that surprised the boy. Snape loathed Sirius as much if not more so than he did Lupin. And he had his reasons. But ever since Sirius had vanished beyond the veil, he had noticed that Snape no longer went out of his way to antagonize him, to wound him with harsh words. It spoke of a capacity for compassion that Harry was not even aware Snape had. Plus it was kind of unnerving.
But for Harry, this place could never be anything more than a building, because the man who owned it, his godfather, was never going to grace these halls again. Harry had this theory, you see. To him, it wasn’t walls or roofs that made a home; it was the people inside it. The Dursley’s had never been his home, because he truly loathed those people. The Burrow was home, because you could feel the love pouring from the foundation. And 12 Grimmauld Place was home, because Sirius made him feel for the first time in his life that he too was as loved as Ron, Ginny, Percy, Fred, George, Bill, and Charlie. He too had a family. And now his family was gone, not even a body to bury. No, this building would never be home again, it was just the place he lived.
“Harry? You alright?” mumbled Ron sleepily, obviously just woken from his late afternoon nap, Hermione at his side, rubbing her eyes. They stood in the open doorway to the kitchen, looking at him with such concern that he nearly lost it, all his composure, and broke down from the pain in his heart. He shook his head to force himself out of his depression, only now realizing that he had just spent the past five minutes standing in the middle of the kitchen staring off into space when he was supposed to be helping Bill.
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine,” he mumbled, eyes downcast, nearly jumping out of his skin when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He hesitantly looked up into the eyes of Mrs. Weasley. Her very expression radiated understanding and compassion.
“Why don’t you take a seat dear?” she suggested softly, giving him a warm smile. “I’m about to put dinner on the table.” He nodded and took his usual seat in between Ron and Hermione.
“Things will be different soon,” Molly assured them all with a forced grin, “things will be better. You’ll see; maybe even as soon as tomorrow, after all, company’s coming.”