Title: Guardian of Hogwarts
Fandom: Buffy/Harry Potter
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter.
It was the Last Battle, and it was taking place in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. Voldemort had had the doors sealed so that none of the children could escape, so there were plenty of screaming students running around or huddling behind tables that had been thrown on their sides. Things looked very bad for the side of Good.
Snape knelt near Harry Potter, his wand clutched in his hand as he tried to peer around the edge of the table in front of them. "This is a very ignoble way to fight a battle, Mr. Potter."
"Well, this is what we’ve got," Harry growled, his eyes flashing green fire at Snape for a second before he turned back to what he was doing.
Snape sighed a little. Potter had lost all fear of him, a process that had begun to snowball the closer the final battle had come. The boy was so focused on Voldemort that nothing else could fit in his head. It made their battle of wills in the classroom that much more frustrating because Harry felt free to say anything that he wanted. It wasn't like the Boy Wonder was ever going to be kicked out of school, especially not before Voldemort was defeated.
"We're getting our arses kicked," Ron complained, still holding onto his shattered right knee. At least the pain-blocking spell was keeping him from screaming his throat raw. The pain was still there, but it was very much a distant thing.
"Thank you for telling us that, Weasley, it's not like we noticed or anything," Snape snarled. He leaned out a little from the dubious protection of the spell-strengthened table to shoot off a quick bone-growing curse. He ignored the screams of agony as the Death Eater's bones began growing out of control and burst out of his skin, killing him painfully.
"Whoa, that was a good one," Harry said. He tossed off a spell of his own, sending someone else screaming to the floor.
But no matter how many Death Eater's the two of them brought down, it wasn't enough, because there were plenty of the good guys that weren't doing even half so well as them. It was only a matter of time before they were all overrun and Voldemort got his victory.
"Potter," he said, reaching out to grasp Harry's shoulder, forcibly turning him around to face him.
"What? I'm busy," Harry hissed, his eyes flicking from side to side and it was only will alone that kept him from jerking out of his teacher's hands and facing the battle.
"There's a very powerful ancient spell that might possibly help us now. We are losing, and the spell is perhaps our last hope," Snape said.
"What’s the catch?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"I don't have enough power to perform it alone," Snape said. "I'll need both you and Mr. Weasley to help me. And while we're doing the spell, we won’t be able to fight off the Death Eater's. All of our energy and attention will be focused on the spell. Before we start, you will have to decide where your priorities lie: with saving your friends in the short term, or defeating Voldemort in the long term. Every moment counts. Choose."
He knew it was a fool's choice, but it was theirs to make. To sacrifice a few of their friends now for the greater good, or to lose badly and have everyone die. Then there was the chance that the spell wasn't even going to work.
Harry and Ron looked at each other for a long moment, silently communicating. It was obvious that they were thinking of their friend Hermione Granger who Voldemort had tortured and killed the year before. The girl had died screaming along with her whole family, killed while she was in the muggle world without her friends or anyone else to save her.
The death of Cedric Diggory had made the children of Hogwarts realize how dangerous Voldemort could be, that going against the Dark Lord was not an adventure or a game they wanted to play. The death of Hermione, though, that had really enforced the lesson, because she had been one of the Terrific Three. Her dying was a proof of the Dark Lord's power and the weakness of Good against Evil. She had become a symbol of Voldemort's eventual victory.
"We're in," Harry said firmly.
"Whatever you need us to do, we'll do it," Ron said.
It had taken years, but the boys had eventually learned to trust Snape. He was on their side, and he had proved it time and time again, even if he refused to suffer fools gladly in the classroom. They would probably never like him as a person, but they respected him, and that was good enough.
Snape slid across the floor until he was next to Ron, then waved his hand at Harry, gesturing him over to his other side. "Each of you will take one of my hands," he said. "When I begin the spell, you will begin feeding energy into me, and thus into the spell. It should only take around fifteen minutes for the spell to be completed, but in that time we will be largely helpless. Potter, lay a protection shield around us. It wouldn't do for us to be killed before we can even really begin."
Harry nodded and swished his wand, the words to lay a protective ward falling from his lips with the ease of long practice. The boy had really learned his defensive and offensive spells in the last couple of years, though he was still a little shaky on the everyday charms that normal wizards always thought were so helpful. After the War, however it went, he would have the time to learn all of the things he needed to know. That, or he'd be dead.
As soon as Harry had finished and sat down beside him, Snape reached out to grasp Ron's right hand and Harry's left. He wished that he didn't need to touch them, since he had never liked the boys and probably never would, but this spell was more important than any petty concerns.
Reaching deep into his mind for the spell he had hid there months ago, he fell into a light trance state. The outside world fell away and he felt as though he was swirling up into a starless dark, the only light the gentle glow of Harry and Ron's life energies. Words bubbled up to his lips, softly at first, then louder and louder until they thundered through the silence implacable. He could feel the magic growing in him, filling him up even as it consumed him.
The spell tumbled from his lips faster and faster, taking on a life of its own, growing larger and larger. It began to grow beyond his reach, he could feel his power wavering, trembling from the strain and beginning to collapse around the edges.
Sweat trickled down his forehead as he reached out and grasped the strands of power that Harry and Ron offered him. As he fed his power with theirs then pushed it all out and into the spell, he could feel the framework he had built being strengthened and enlarged.
Beings of Light we beseech Thee that in our time of need You send to us a Protector of Light lest we fall to the Darkness and be consumed. We offer this power as our gift and open a gateway to Your realm so Your champion may pass through. Please do not forsake us.
The possibility that had been growing inside him burst out and zipped off to do what needed to be done. He collapsed weakly backward on the floor, his chest heaving as he tried to draw in enough air to breathe.
"That was... intense," Harry gasped.
Realizing he was still holding their hands, Snape painfully uncurled his clutching fingers. His palms were sweaty and hot and his flesh stuck to the boys' unpleasantly.
"Yeah, I feel like I was just run over by a rampaging troll," Ron said. "What was that?"
Snape forced his head up and looked around. The battle still raged and there seemed no sign of anything different from before... no ring of burning energy, no raging spirit bent on destroying everything evil in the room. There were just bodies laid out on the ground and even more falling with each moment, some on the good side, some on the bad.
"Nothing seems to have happened," Snape said, cradling his head in his hand. "All that magic wasted and nothing happened."
He could feel the defeat seeping into his bones, dragging him down and down. They were going to lose the war.
The touch of a hand on his shoulder surprised him. He looked up at Harry.
"It was a good try, sir," Harry said, that new maturity entering his voice. The boy had grown up a lot in the past year, had become a man when no one was looking. "Now we have to get back in it."
"Yes," Snape said, forcing his shoulders straight, pulling a cloak of resolve around himself. There was still work to be done, and they would not allow themselves to go gently into defeat, not when they could struggle all the way down.
* * *
She appeared in a muted flash of light and a complete sense of unreality.
One minute she was in the kitchen pouring herself a bowl of cereal, and the next she was standing in the middle of a battle, the cereal box gone from her hand. It was very strange and unusual, but unfortunately wasn't the weirdest thing that had ever happened to her. She'd grown up on a Hellmouth after all, and had fought side by side with more than one Slayer as a founding member of the legendary Scooby Gang. She knew what she was all about.
"What the hell is this?" she murmured to herself, looking around.
With an instinctive kind of finesse, she surrounded herself with a shielding spell. There were so many curses being tossed around that she really didn't want to end up with hairy eyeballs or something just as ridiculous. She'd learned a lot since the closing of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, things that would have done them all good back when they were teenagers and facing down hell goddesses and cybernetic killing machines.
It didn't take her long to realize what was happening here, just a single glance in fact.
She was standing in a large room with long tables that had been thrown on their sides, food splattered all over the floor and smeared by charging feet. What she really saw, though, were the hundreds of children huddled against the walls and in the corners, the older ones trying to protect the younger, while figures dressed in black with their faces covered were trying to break through their shielding. It was obvious that those bastards were trying to kill the children, and that was just something she could not allow to happen.
"I don't think so," she said, pulling herself up to her full height and letting the magic fill her.
Ever since that whole trying to end the world thing, she had been pretty suped up powerwise, and then when she'd activated the Slayer line, she'd been changed forever, and there was definitely no going back, not for her.
She wasn't quite a goddess, but she could really give one a run for the money. All the changes she'd gone through still hadn't all been mapped up, but she knew that she was never going to be quiet and meek high school Willow Rosenburg again. Sometimes she had to wonder if she was even human anymore, though she didn't quite dare ask anyone else their opinion for fear that they would tell her she really was a monster.
Now, though, faced with the evil of masked men killing largely helpless children, there wasn't any question in her mind that she was on the side of good.