A Haven For Freaks
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me except for Diablo and the mansion. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon, X-men belong to...someone...I have no idea who - please help - and Harry Potter belongs to JKRowling. Post series seven BtVS, series five AtS, book 5 HP and post-Antartica/X2 X-men. I really can't keep up with X-men, so you're probably gonna have to make some allowances for me.
Chapter One: Arrival At The Mansion
The young man looked up at the mansion doors with relief. He was exhausted, and drenched through from the sudden rainstorm that had petered to a stop mere moments before. Over one shoulder he had slung a threadbare backpack, and his clothes looked equally worn. Underneath his bedraggled blonde hair his eyes were bloodshot with tiredness. He had heard about this place on his travels, and had slowly, but surely made his way to what could possibly be a small ray of hope. Raising one hand, he knocked slowly.
The door swung open with no visible means of assistance and the young man stepped through warily, glancing around as if he expected to be attacked at any moment. The hall was shadowed, and candles were flickering pitifully in wall brackets. A shuffling startled him, and he whirled around, coming face to face with a cat, balanced precariously on the end of the banister. As suddenly as he had turned, he relaxed, although it wasn’t for very long.
“Well, you certainly took your time getting here.” The youth’s eyes widened, and he took an involuntary step back.
“Y-y-you…” The cat rolled its eyes and licked a paw, its entire attitude suggesting that it was very bored indeed. However, since most cats look this way most of the time, this was hardly anything to be astonished about.
“Yes, I can talk.”
“But…you’re a cat!” Once more the cat rolled its eyes and gazed at the human.
“Actually, I prefer the term ‘dimension-hopping demon’, but whatever works for you.” The human took another step back, only this one was entirely intentional.
“I think I need to sit down.” The cat leapt down lightly from its perch and turned, stalking off down a side corridor.
“Follow me. You took long enough to get here. We have no time to waste.” The young man began to follow the cat in the face of a complete lack of anything better to do, before pausing.
“Wait a second. How did you know I was coming?” The cat stopped and glared over its shoulder.
“Will you hurry up? A dog would be more obedient!” And with that, they left the hall, moving further down the dimly lit side passage.
Eventually, after so many twists and turns that the young man was quite sure he would never be able to find his way out, at least without a map and a very experienced guide, they came to a doorway. When the man stopped, the cat let out a sound that sounded very much like a sigh, and circled back, butting at the back of the adolescent’s legs to get him to continue moving. Hesitantly, the young man pushed against the door, and it swung silently open.
The room beyond the door was brightly lit, and the man’s eyes were dazzled for a minute by the light. When he was able to see into the room, he noticed that it was lavishly furnished, unlike the rest of the house that he had walked through, and a roaring fire provided heat for the whole room. The cat seemed to notice him looking longingly at the fireplace, and an expression appeared on its face that might have been called pitying if it had been seen on a human.
“Go and get dry. You’re soaking the rugs.” The human nodded distractedly and moved forward in a kind of daze, stumbling over tired feet to reach one of the chairs.
After a few minutes, he seemed to wake up slightly, and glanced around himself.
“Where am I?” The cat paused in the middle of washing one of its paws.
“Don’t you know? You were the one that arrived here.” The young man shrugged.
“I heard I might be able to find help here.” The cat cocked its head to one side.
“Who told you that?” The man shrugged again.
“Just people I’ve met.” He said evasively. “I don’t tend to stay in one place for very long.” There was silence for a couple of seconds and they listened to the fire crackling.
“What’s your name, boy?” The cat finally asked. The young man glared.
“I am not a boy.” He spat, insulted about the slight to his age, but still didn’t answer the question. Just as the cat was about to ask again, a musical voice rang out from the doorway.
“His name’s Draco Malfoy.”