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Destroying the Dark Nights

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Summary: Sequel to 'Destroying the Dark Hearts'. No money is being made, no copyright infringement intended.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Connor-CenteredmsgordoFR18112,429151,9296 Sep 046 Sep 04Yes
Title: Destroying the Dark Nights (1/1)

Author: Karen

Rating: R (language, violence and naughty bits.)

Disclaimer: Not mine, not a one.

E-mail: msgordo3@hotmail.com

Pairing: Dr/G, C/ go on, guess, I dare you.

Synopsis: Connor, Draco and Snape are charged with bringing in a fugitive from justice. Narcissa has other ideas.

A/N: This is a late fic-a-thon entry for Paulette Cooper and also a sequel to my Connor fic ‘Destroyer of the Dark Hearts’. Thanks to Jinni for permission to write a sequel instead of an original fic *again* and also thanks to JL, Luna and Sophia for their permission to use the Connor Snape ‘verse I created for them. I’m also aware that most of the AB characters are OOC, but it’s been a while since I read the books and all I can really remember is that I hated Jean-Claude as much as I hated Richard and I didn’t actually enjoy a male character until Jason and Nathaniel became more prominent. Basically what I’m trying to say is that – to my eternal shame – fandom and personal character prejudices are *extremely* obvious in this fic. Apologies to all who are annoyed by it. Oh, and the timeline is *totally* screwed for all fandoms involved. Other than that…enjoy!

Dedications: For Paulette, hope you enjoy and thanks for allowing your fic to be a sequel.

The previous fic can be found here: http://www.tthfanfic.org/story.php?no=4437

Name: Paulette Cooper

E-Mail: spicy_gurl_3003@hotmail.com

Author's Request

Genre: Anita Blake, Harry Potter

Max Rating: PG:13

Characters: Anita, Jean-Claude, Asher, Jason, Ginny, Draco, Narcissa, Snape

Type: romance, comedy or horror

Want To See: happy endings :-P

Not Want To See: Damien and Richard. They suck.

****************************

Professor Severus Snape glared at his ecstatic looking son and his son’s equally delighted looking friend and folded his arms over his chest. “I seem to recall you both promising me that after your graduation from Hogwarts you would cease and desist all leanings towards anything adventurous and heroic.” Connor Snape and Draco Malfoy tried to look chastened, failed miserably and then went back to beaming stupidly at the older man. “In fact you both swore on a stack of first edition potion books by Slytherin himself that you would absolutely *not* become involved in any kind of harebrained activity that would mean contact with former Death Eaters, their minions or anything even *slightly* tainted by evil.” Connor and Draco shuffled their feet and looked a little less delighted. They *had* done that, dammit. Snape glared harder. “And yet, at the very first opportunity, you both forget all about your promises to me and pack to go haring off to…to…”

Connor pointed helpfully to the muggle plane tickets lying on his father’s desk between them. “St. Louis. America.” He pointed vaguely at the far wall of his father’s office. “It’s that way.”

Snape’s nostrils flared angrily. “Well, I can see that all those valuable years spent in a classroom learning natural history and geography to equip you for the muggle world have paid off *wonderfully*.” Connor looked hurt and then a little surprised. Had he *taken* geography?

Draco stepped in to try and take some of the heat off his best friend. “Sir, this isn’t just a wish for some excitement.” He forced a look of reluctant noble suffering on his face. “Narcissa is after all my mother and I am one of the people who know her best. It’s my duty to make sure she is recaptured and returned to Azkaban at the first opportunity before she can do more harm to any innocents. Connor has agreed, albeit reluctantly, that for the sake of our friendship he will accompany me and aid in this unpleasant endeavour.”

Snape stared with cold black eyes at the blond for a moment and then curled his lip. “How very admirable, I am awash with paternal pride.” He waited a beat and then hissed scathingly, “Or I would be if I hadn’t come across the two of you singing a revoltingly cheerful muggle song at the top of your tuneless lungs and dancing around Connor’s room in disgustingly colourful shirts.” He watched as both boys glanced down at the lurid Hawaiian shirts they were wearing and coloured guiltily. “And I don’t know *what* possessed you to purchase that hideous attire.”

Connor scowled. “We’re blending in. Harry said…”

Snape closed his eyes in a pained grimace. “I *knew* that bloody boy would have a hand in this somewhere. He taught you the song as well, didn’t he?”

Draco smothered a grin. “Actually, sir, that was Hermione. She said she didn’t know any songs with St. Louis in the title but the Beach Boys were the epitome of American culture.” He grinned. “I thought it was rather catchy.” He rolled his eyes innocently up towards the ceiling and began to sing under his breath, “Everybody’s goin’ surfin’, surfin’ USA.”

Snape was not amused. “Do you even know what surfing is?”

Draco stopped singing and looked slightly perturbed. “No.” His downcast face brightened. “But Harry says that the shirts are essential for it, so at least when we find out we’ll be dressed correctly.” He touched the hem of his yellow and blue shirt and eyed the colourful parrots portrayed there in satisfaction. “I’m sure we’ll like it if the required articles of clothing are anything to go by. Who would have suspected that it would be so…liberating…to wear something other than black?”

Professor Snape sucked in a scandalised breath at the heresy that had just spilled from Draco’s mouth and pulled out his most intimidating scowl. “Purchase another ticket, I’m coming with you.”

*************************

“What on *earth* is that?”

Connor looked out of the airport window and sighed to himself as he looked at the plane they were due to board in a few minutes for America. He hadn’t been looking forward to this part of the trip *at all*. “That’s how we’re getting to St. Louis, Dad. We’re flying in that plane. You’ve seen them before, you know how muggles get around.”

Snape’s eyebrows hit his hairline. “I thought that was Arthur Weasley’s idea of a joke.” He shoved his hands in the pockets of the long black muggle trench coat he had purchased to wear in lieu of his normal robes and set his mouth mutinously. “I refuse to set one foot on board that ludicrous contraption.”

Connor sighed again and tried to ignore the muggles that had been steadily edging away from the three of them ever since they had arrived in the departure lounge and were now starting to look downright nervous instead of just uncomfortable at the two eager boys and their sallow faced escort. “Dad, we’ve got no choice. I can’t…y’know…and we haven’t got time to take a boat. We can’t risk anyone at the American Ministry finding out about us slipping into the country and extraditing Narcissa without going through the proper channels so port-keying is out as well. This is our only option.”

Snape glowered harder at his son and then at the surrounding muggles. “Then I suggest we return home and allow other -- more suitable – parties to take over our assignment.” He removed his hands from his pockets and folded his arms over his chest. “Obviously this little escapade has been ill-fated from the start and I fail to see how it could possibly get any more absurd.”

“Good morning, Professor Snape.” The cheerful, feminine voice from behind him had Snape wincing in pained disbelief and turning slowly to stare down at Ginny Weasley’s unbearably chipper grin. “How are you today, sir?”

Snape stared at the small girl in front of him, the guilty, defiant look on Draco Malfoy’s face and then at his own son’s highly amused expression. “*What* is the meaning of this?”

“I’m coming with you.” Ginny favoured her teacher with another bright smile and waved a faded carpet bag she had clutched in one hand and the sheaf of lurid muggle magazines she had picked up whilst hiding out in the airport gift shop in the other. “I thought you might be able to use a woman’s touch. Do you want to read about the woman who gave birth to triplets without knowing she was pregnant or the man who married his car first?” She leaned forward and lowered her voice to say, “I would offer you ‘Cosmopolitan’ but I’ve already had a look through it and some of the articles are quite shocking. What exactly *is* a ‘Brazilian’, do you know?”

*************************

Severus Snape ignored the two queasy looking boys and one distinctly green tinged girl behind him and plastered himself more firmly up against the small window set in the side of the plane. “This is most remarkable. Look, Connor, you can actually see the motions of the wing as the engine vibrates.” He barely heard the quiet moan from his son as the plane shook with turbulence. “I must say when you boys explained how this thing works I was quite sceptical but I can really see the fascination now.” The plane shook again and Draco lunged for his sick bag. “And the view! I would never have suspected that the cloud formations would look so lovely with the sunlight reflecting through them all the way up from the surface. My, the ocean looks terribly deep from up here.” Sounds of terrible retching came from behind him and Snape smiled to himself as he heard Ginny whimper and Connor moan once more. “Oh yes, we really must do this again.”

*****************************

Two days later they were thoroughly sick of St. Louis, no nearer to finding Narcissa and everyone was starting to feel more than a little twitchy. They had separated that morning and Draco had taken Ginny off one way to scout for any information on his renegade mother, whilst Severus and Connor had spilt up to cover the city centre and try to subtly find clues to Narcissa’s whereabouts. It was now lunch time and father and son were the first to meet back at the small sidewalk café they had designated their base of operations for that day and Connor had just presented his father with something that he had found whilst investigating a series of bars a few blocks over. Severus Snape stared in astonishment at the flyer in his hand and then at his son. “This woman claims to be a *what*?”

“Vampire executioner and necromancer.” Connor looked equally dubiously at the tattered advertisement that his father held and then leaned forward over the small café table and confided in a low voice, “But I’ve been asking around and apparently she’s sleeping with a vampire so I don’t think she’s very good at it.” He raised his eyebrows knowingly. “I mean, if you can’t spot one when you’re naked and…”

“Thank you, Connor, I don’t think further explanations are necessary.” Snape cast one more incredulous look at the piece of paper and then shoved it into his pocket and out of sight. “And the muggles here allow this? No one seems to find it even slightly irregular that a practitioner of the black arts is so open about her…skills?”

“Nope.” Connor shook his head and slurped his mocha latte with an intent expression. “Apparently she’s kind of well known around here, even got her own pet animagus’, except they call them were-animals here and they can’t do magic.” He looked accusingly at his father. “How come you didn’t tell me that there were more than one species of animal that people could turn into? I mean, I get the whole werewolf thing, but there’s like a *ton* of other stuff that humans can get bitten by and turn into when the moon’s full and no one told me. I thought you were meant to be some kind of dark arts expert?” His fingers tapped irritably on the tabletop. “And I haven’t even brought any silver stuff with me. I only got Dumbledore to ship my regular stuff over and that’s not even silver plated.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that.” The Snape men looked up as Draco and Ginny joined them and sank wearily into the remaining empty chairs at their table. Draco waited until a waitress came to take their order and then reached into his pocket to pull out a handful of small gleaming metal objects and drop them on the table. “Apparently they don’t kill monsters here like we do.” He picked up one of the metal things and held it up to the light as he studied it doubtfully. “This is called a bullet and the merchant in the shop I purchased them in assured me that they would kill almost any creature known to man.” He passed the bullet to Connor and watched as his friend squinted at it and then licked the cool surface. “I think you throw them at your opponent and then they explode somehow.”

Connor hastily removed the bullet from the vicinity of his face. “Really?” He carefully placed the silver metal on the table but couldn’t resist poking at it again. “How does it do that, is there some kind of spell you have to say?”

Ginny shook her head. “I don’t think so, you just throw and then take cover.” She shrugged. “They had loads of these muggle wands in the shop as well, but we couldn’t get them to do anything when we tried a few spells so we just bought the bullets.” She frowned down at the table and then shrugged. “They were all made out of metal instead of wood with these funny little hooks under the main part of the wand, maybe that’s why we couldn’t get them to work.

Snape scowled. “Hooks?”

Draco looked up from where he was conducting a dubious investigation of the coffee and muffin that had just been placed in front of him by their waitress. “Yes, I couldn’t work that out either. The merchant told us we had to pull on the hook with our finger if we wanted the wand thingy to work, but it still didn’t do anything but make this weird clicking sound so we paid for the bullets and left.”

Snape’s eyebrows rose in condemnation of all things muggle and American. “Good grief, it’s a wonder that these people make it through the day alive.”

Connor snorted through his mouthful of latte and liberally sprayed the table with foamy saliva. “You’re not kidding.” He nudged his father in the ribs. “Show them that paper with the necromancer woman on it.” He turned to Draco and Ginny as his father swatted in annoyance at him and then rooted in his pocket for the flyer with the vampire executioner’s details on it. “There’s this woman that actually *tells* the muggles she does magic and practises the dark arts and they all think it’s perfectly fine.”

Draco took the paper from his former head of house and stared in amazement at the writing and picture on it. “Sod off!” He stared some more. “Bugger me, you’re right.” He glanced up at Connor and Snape. “And no one’s tried to burn her at the stake or cut her head off?”

“Nope.” Connor shook his incredulous head and leaned forward as he lowered his voice and whispered, “Get this; not only does she kill vampires, she sleeps with them too!”

Ginny gasped and clapped a hand over her mouth in shock. “No!”

Connor nodded. “Yes. *And* she’s got all these people that can change into animals when the moon’s full, just like werewolves.” He leaned back in his chair and threw his hands up into the air in disgust. “I’m telling you, these people are all barmy.”

Draco threw an arm around the back of Ginny’s chair and squeezed her shoulders as she looked around herself worriedly. “And now my mother is loose in a city of dark arts practising lunatics.” He glared pointedly at Connor. “I *knew* we should have bloody fought on the other side in the war, they have access to all the best magic.”



***************************

Severus Snape stared up at the sign above the building his group stood before and then turned to glare at his son. “’The Circus of the Damned’? Connor, I am not awash with confidence.”

Connor shuffled his feet and tried to look more self-assured than he felt. “It’s just a name, Father.”

Severus’ eyes narrowed. “Yes. The name of a meeting place for the undead and other evil beings. This is not a happy place.”

Draco pointed helpfully to a couple of uncertain gender that seemed to be making a spirited effort to eat each other’s faces up against the wall of the club. “They look pretty happy.” He squinted in the gloom of the night. “*Very* happy unless that one in the tight trousers is carrying a really big wand in a very unusual place.”

Snape looked despite himself and then in a lightening fast move clapped a hand over Ginny’s wide eyes. “Miss Weasley, I insist you go back to the hotel and wait for us in our rooms.” He looked again and resisted the temptation to cover his own eyes. “You are still a student at my school and I cannot in good conscience allow you to…Sweet Merlin, what are they *doing *?”

Draco’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline. “Oh. Definitely *not* his wand.”

Connor’s eyes bugged out in his head. “The little one’s never going to fit all that in their…” His jaw sagged incredulously. “Wow. Maybe they can dislocate their jaw or something. I wonder how they keep breathing?”

Ginny tugged slightly frantically at Snape’s hand still clamped firmly over her face. “What? What? What are they doing?” She tugged harder. “I want to see!”

“No you do not!” Completely appalled, Snape kept a firm grip on Ginny’s face and glared at his mesmerised son and son’s best friend. “And you two shouldn’t be seeing that either. Look away this instant!”

Both boys obediently swivelled their bodies away from the display, but their eyes remained glued to the tableau in abiding fascination. Connor’s mouth sagged further open. “Hey, what’s the little one doing with their finger back there?”

Draco squinted and ignored the outraged spluttering from the elder Snape as his orders were completely disregarded. “Dunno. Looks like they’re going to…Bloody hell!” He winced and instinctively tightened his own buttock muscles. “Now that’s just wrong.”

“What?” With one more superhuman yank, Ginny finally dragged Snape’s hand from her face and then instantly blushed a deep, fiery red. “Goodness me. That can’t possibly be hygienic. I hope they remember to wash their hands.”

Connor nodded in shocked agreement. “And their mouth.” He looked closer. “And possibly their tonsils.”

Ginny shook her head. “It must be terribly uncomfortable kneeling like that on the hard ground.”

“Will you all just *stop it*!” Snape was torn between wanting to hex the very enthusiastic couple giving his young companions a crash course in the more advanced sexual arts and Obliviate all memory of the evening – and possibly St Louis – from his own mind. “We are leaving this instant and we will never speak of this again.”

Connor, Ginny and Draco ignored him and all tilted their heads to the left as the figure on their knees pulled back slightly and apparently did something clever with their furiously working mouth that had the standing figure howling and flailing wildly for something to hold them upright as their own legs failed them. Connor winced. “I think they just used their teeth.”

Ginny looked absolutely fascinated. “Really? What just raked them over the skin or actually bit down?”

Snape nearly passed out from mortified horror. “I don’t think that is something we need to know, Miss Weasley. Come!”

Draco nodded without taking his eyes from the show. “Yep. Any minute now.” He pointed as another howl shook the night air and the climax of the evening was reached. “Told you.”

Snape scowled furiously. “I meant we are *leaving*. Now!” He whirled around, took two steps and realised the rest of his party were moving in the opposite direction. “Connor!”

“Dad, we’re here now.” Connor picked up his pace to the entrance to the club as he caught a glimpse of a young girl wearing nothing more than a series of leather belts and a very welcoming expression just inside the door. “Come on. We’ll just have a quick look around and then we’ll go.” He glanced back over his shoulder and smiled reassuringly at his apoplectic looking father. “This is probably our best chance of finding Draco’s mum any time soon.” He darted another look at the very welcoming expression of the hostess on the door and bounced happily as he rubbed his hands together. “What could *possibly* go wrong?”

****************************



Draco, Snape Snr and Snape Jr skidded to a halt at the top of the corridor they had just sprinted along and looked wildly up and down the new corridor that their previous one had opened out onto. “Which way did they go?” Draco’s head swung frantically from side to side as he tried to see or hear a trace of his recently abducted girlfriend. “Connor, where is she?”

Connor sniffed the air and growled in frustration as he tried to sort out Ginny’s scent from the multitude of strong ones that overlapped in the confined space. “I don’t know. I can’t pin her down!” He punched the stone wall beside him in frustration. “Bloody hell, what do these people do here anyway, piss up everything?”

His father scowled darkly. “It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.” The sound of pounding pursuit had them all whipping around to see three heavily muscled men closing in on them wearing the minimum of leather to cover their equally generous genitalia and some very cross expressions. Snape sighed irritably. “I am reaching the end of my patience. Connor, Draco, I think it’s time to utilise the muggle bullots.”

The two younger men looked confused for a moment before abruptly catching on to what their companion meant. Connor shoved a hand in his pocket and grabbed a handful of the silver bullets Draco and Ginny had brought back that afternoon. “Finally. Take cover!” He and Draco let fly at the same moment and then ducked down into a tight crouch next to Snape, arms wrapped over their heads in anticipation of a truly awesome explosion. Which completely failed to happen.

Draco lifted his head and peered at the three men that were examining the small silver objects at their feet in bewilderment. “I think we did it wrong.”

“Impossible.” Snape snatched a handful of bullets from Connor’s jacket pocket and reared back to throw them at their adversaries. There was a series of sad little pinging sounds as the bullets rebounded off solid chests and bounced onto the floor. “I don’t understand.”

Draco screwed up his face in furious thought. “Maybe there’s some kind of time delay on them.” The three men ducked again and then straightened up when there was just the sound of an embarrassed cough from the men that had been pursuing them. Draco scowled. “Or maybe not.”

Connor drummed his fingers on his thigh and then turned imploring eyes on his father when their three adversaries grinned coldly and began to advance once more. “Da-aaad.”

Snape sighed and rubbed a weary hand over his eyes. “Oh very well.” He sighed again as Connor grinned happily and uncoiled to throw himself with hands outstretched at the leather-clad men. There was a scream of pain and then a sound very much like a melon slamming into the ground at high speeds. Snape wiped irritably at his cheek, which now held a streak of someone else’s bright red blood. “Connor, if you must make such a mess then please move further away” He waited until his son obeyed – drop kicking one opponent away from him and then using the unconscious body of another to bat the last man standing off his feet – and then turned to Draco. “I suggest whilst Connor is otherwise occupied you and I try to locate Miss Weasley and our wands, Draco.”

Draco nodded abruptly and took off to the left down the new corridor as Snape took the right. They had not been pleased when they were relieved of their wands at the door of the nightclub after the slender sticks of wood had been mistaken for simple wooden stakes, but all three men had reached a whole new plateau of angry when Ginny had been spirited away under their noses less than five minutes after gaining entrance to the main part of the attraction. Connor in particular had taken it as a personal insult and he had stalked through the crowd thronging the Circus with single-minded intent tracking Ginny’s scent when she had been discovered missing and had reduced a heavy wooden door to the backstage area to matchsticks when two large men and an obscenely muscled woman had tried to stop him passing. When the guards on the door had been thrown over his shoulder with barely a drop of sweat breaking his skin, the group from England had suddenly found itself the focus of some *really* annoyed preternatural creatures and they had no choice but to make a run for it and hope that the inevitable delays as they fought their way through people trying to stop them reaching Ginny cost the young girl no more than a few minutes of fright and a couple of bruises.

When Connor looked up a few moments later from where he now stood victorious over three unconscious bodies on the floor, he was surprised to find himself on his own. A quick sniff of the air reassured him that Draco and his father had left under their own power and hadn’t been forced and then he took a few seconds to decide to follow his father rather than Draco, rationalising that his dad wasn’t as young as he used to be and was less used to defending himself physically than Draco who had trained alongside Connor every day for seven and a half years.

He ran swiftly along the corridor stretching his hearing and sense of smell as far as he could to catch a hint of Snape or Ginny and the sudden whiff of Ginny’s familiar vanilla scent had him grunting in relief and picking up the pace when he also heard his father’s stringent voice loudly demanding that the young girl should be unhanded and her assailant step away from her. The sound of a fist striking face nearly gave Connor a heart attack before he realised that it was his father who had thrown the punch and then he was laughing in shocked pride when the unmistakable sound of a suddenly boneless body hitting the floor reached him. Well alright, Dad!

So caught up in his concentration in focusing on his father and Ginny was Connor, that he very nearly ran straight past a black door before registering the feminine grunts of anger and defiance and the unmistakable scent of heavy male arousal wafting from the room. He paused to make sure that his dad had everything under control and then back-pedalled to kick the door in and see what was going on. The scene that met his eyes was startling to say the least. A young woman was crouched on the floor barefoot and dressed in nothing more than the rags of a black lycra mini dress, chained to the wall and gagged, and energetically kicking out at a man who was wearing a brief leather posing pouch and a wide leer as he advanced on her helpless figure. Connor briefly registered that the young woman looked more annoyed than frightened – and also that she was a very attractive brunette – before he somersaulted across the room and punched the girl’s lecherous would-be assailant in the back of the head and the man fell to the floor with a pained yell.

Connor dropped to his knees beside the brunette and shot her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here.” He examined the chains

holding her to the wall and ignored the frantic sounds escaping from behind the gag. “Okay, it’s probably going to be easier to…” He took a good grip on the bolts to which the chains were fastened and yanked hard. “Pull these out of the wall. There!”

His triumphant smile was somewhat ruined when the brunette ripped the gag from her mouth and hauled off with one clenched fist to punch him on the jaw. “You stupid *jerk*!” The girl scrambled to her feet and kicked out at the stunned boy on the floor in rage. “You stupid, thoughtless, *prick*!” Blue eyes skipped away from his face as a movement by the cell door caught her attention and one rigid finger pointed at the optimistic man trying to slink unnoticed out of the room. “One more step, buddy, and I’ll cut your damn feet *off*.” The man froze as Connor’s rescuee stomped in high dudgeon across the room and lashed out with another fist and took her quarry to the floor. “You even breathe again without my permission and I’ll rip your stupid, preternatural head off!” She swung around to glare again at Connor. “What the hell did you think you were DOING?” She flung her hands up in the air and her chains dangled rather fetchingly from her delicate wrists. “Do you know how *long* I’ve been working on this sting? The hours I’ve had to put up with getting pawed by every slime ball in St. Louis and getting leered at by that French idiot with his ‘ma cherie’s’ and his ‘j’adore’s’? DO YOU?”

Connor realised his mouth was hanging open and hurriedly closed it with a snap. “Er, no?”

“A LOT!” The roar was shocking coming from the throat of such a delicate looking girl and Connor had a moment’s fear that he had inadvertently set loose some kind of were-creature, but a hasty sniff of the air confirmed that she was human. Definitely human and definitely very, very angry. “And that’d not even counting the holier-than-thou school teacher that kept coming down here and dripping his bleeding liberal heart all over the place trying to save me from myself.” The chains clinked again as her hands were flung up into the air. “And now -- thanks to *you* -- I’m gonna have to cut loose *months* of prep work and research and bail on my recon mission because some English wanna-be hero decides he’s gonna be the proverbial white knight whether the damsel wants to be rescued or not! And I was *inches* away from finding out where they’ve got my friends stashed!” Without missing a beat, the enraged girl turned and stomped down on the back of the man that was trying to take advantage of her rant at Connor and once more slip away into the night. “I told you not to move!”

Connor stared at the man on the floor who gave a strangled grunt as a boot heel was ground between his shoulder blades and observed somewhat innocuously, “I think you’re hurting him.”

“Shut. Up.” The girl actually bared her teeth at him before gripping the length of one of her chains and swinging the end into her captive’s temple. “Tell me where the girls are being kept.”

“I don’t…OW!” The chain swung again and the man abruptly changed his mind about lying and instead started to babble almost frantically, “In the woods. Cave. The English witch is there. They’re going to do the raising tonight. Don’t hit me again!”

Connor started in surprise. “The English witch?”

“I told you to shut up.” The girl glared at Connor, thwacked the man over the head again with the chain and ground her boot heel down. “WHERE in the woods?”

“Asher…OW!” The man started to cry as he was whipped again with the heavy links. “Asher knows.”

“Right.” The girl grunted and then removed her boot from the man’s back to kick him hard in the side of the head and into unconsciousness. “You’d better hope you didn’t lie to me, pal.” She tugged off the leather belt she wore around her waist and then knelt to efficiently bind the man’s slack wrists behind at the small of his back. “You do not want to see me angry.”

Connor blinked and scrambled to his feet as the mysterious young woman stood up and headed out the door. “This isn’t you angry?”

“Nope.” The girl broke into a run, trailing chains behind her and not bothering to look back. “This is me mildly vexed. Possibly a little snippy.”

Connor ran after her. “Blimey.” His eyes settled rather guiltily on her shapely bottom as she ran ahead of him. “I’m Connor.”

The shapely bottom veered off to the left and Connor dutifully followed it. The girl attached to the bottom snorted and picked up her speed. “Like I care.”

Connor cleared his throat and lengthened his stride to draw level with the girl. “I just thought we should be introduced if I’m going to help you save your friends.” He grinned as the expected snort came and managed to nudge the girl with one bony elbow as they ran. “Oh come on, it could be fun. I’m really handy for breaking down doors and stuff and my dad’s a wizard.”

The girl squinted at him out of the side of her blue eyes as they ran. “Wizard?”

“Yeah.” Connor tilted his head and listened intently for a few moments and then pointed up the corridor at a heavy door. “He’s through there rescuing my friend Ginny.”

“Huh.” The girl rolled her eyes, forced herself to run faster and punched out an unfortunate woman who had poked her head out of a room leading off the corridor to see what all the noise was about. “Wizard.” She frowned as she ran and appeared to wrestle with some kind of decision before giving an abrupt nod. “Okay, the only back-up I’ve got here is Andrew and knowing my luck he’s probably already booked back to Cleveland at the first sign of things going ass up.”

Connor looked politely curious. “Is Andrew your boyfriend?”

The girl grunted with laughter and shook her head. “Hell, no. He’s our prisoner.” They skidded to a halt outside the door at the head of the corridor and caught their breath. “Ready?”

Connor listened once more and then nodded. “Yes, just let me go…” He trailed off as the girl threw open the door with a loud battle-cry and dived into the room swinging fists that now sported links of chain wrapped around them as impromptu knuckle-dusters. “First. Let me go *first*.” He followed the girl and was unsurprised to see her pounding a howling man to the floor whilst his astonished father watched with his arms wrapped around Ginny against the far wall. “Hi, Dad, everything okay?”

Snape took his eyes off the slim brunette that was now kicking her victim around the room and calling his ancestry into dubious question and stared at his son. “Connor, who is this…person?”

Connor grinned and shrugged as the girl finished up her attack with a spectacular kick to the fallen man’s groin and the poor fellow howled and curled up into his own private world of pain. “No idea, we haven’t been introduced.” He grinned proudly at his father and the speechless Ginny. “I rescued her.”

Snape and Ginny stared at the girl with wide eyes and it was apparent from the looks on both their faces that they were wondering just what was so bad that this girl needed rescuing *from*. At the moment nothing was coming to mind.

The girl looked up from the man curled at her feet and eyed the wizard and witch curiously. “You his dad?” Severus nodded cautiously. “Great. Okay, let’s get this show on the road. Pack up your little wizarding bags and let’s get the hell out of Hellsville. Monsters to slay and damsels to rescue.”

“I beg your pardon?” Snape released Ginny with a little push and sneered down his nose at the girl. “I don’t think I like your tone, young lady.”

The girl sneered back. “Yeah, well I don’t like *anything* about you, but do you see me saying rude stuff? No? Because unlike some ooky-wizard guys I can mention, I have *manners*.” The brunette looked at Ginny’s pale face. “Hey, you okay there? Buttface here wasn’t giving you a hard time, was he?”

Ginny shook her head. “Oh no. Professor Snape was just making sure I was alright after that man, um…” A tide of dark colour swept over her white skin and Ginny shifted from foot to foot as Connor stopped grinning and started looking murderous. “He, ah, tried to…”

The girl nodded sympathetically. “Didn’t take no for an answer, huh?” She kicked her foe again. “I hate that.” She kicked him yet again and concluded brightly, “Still, all’s well that ends well and we should think about getting out of here now, there’s no telling how long we’ve got until someone calls in the reinforcements and we haven’t got the time to kick their butts and save the girls as well.”

Snape shook his head and tried to catch up with the distinctly confusing flood of words. “Save the girls?”

“Yup.” The girl looked up from where she was absently re-wrapping her dangling chains around her fists and nodded. “Bunch of my friends got snatched a couple of nights ago after we stopped some innocents getting taken and carved up. I’ve been undercover for a few months getting the feel for their organisation and checking out a new breed of vamps that my sister ran across in Europe.” She directed a baleful glare at Connor. “Or at least I *was* until the low rent Lancelot here decided to get all medieval on my captured butt and damsel in distress it out of here.”

Snape and Ginny stared, blinked and then turned as one to Connor.

“She didn’t want me to rescue her.” Looking thoroughly entranced, Connor grinned stupidly at the brunette as he translated. “She was just biding her time until she made her move.” The grin also very clearly said what he couldn’t put into words, namely ‘What a *woman*!”

The object of Connor’s admiration folded her arms over her chest and tapped her foot impatiently. “Hel-loooo? Can we go now please?” She turned with fists raised as the sound of pounding footsteps suddenly sounded and it was only Connor’s lightening reflexes that stopped Draco getting a faceful of metal and a hefty kick to his unprotected groin.

“Bloody hell!” Back-pedalling hastily, Draco stared in shock at the girl his best friend was hanging onto grimly and at the lethal looking fists that she was trying to free from his implacable grip. “What the sodding hell is *that*?”

Connor beamed over the girl’s shoulder proudly as she squirmed in his arms and swore foully at him. “I rescued her.”

Draco blinked at the pair. “What from, spontaneous combustion?” He looked the girl up and down and then his attention was caught by Ginny and Snape still standing by the far wall. “There you are, are you alright?” Two quick paces carried him across the floor to gather Ginny up into his arms. “Did they hurt you, sweetheart?”

Ginny smiled as she was cuddled against Draco’s chest and wrapped her arms around his waist. “No, I’m fine.” She gestured somewhat awkwardly to Professor Snape as Draco had his arms wound so tightly around her that it was difficult to breathe much less move. “Professor Snape found me.”

Draco nodded to his former teacher. “Thank you, sir.” He finally loosened his hold on Ginny and pushed her back slightly to look her up and down. “Are you sure you’re alright? No one touched you did they?” His look of relief faded at Ginny’s slight hesitation and a formidable scowl creased his face. “What happened?”

Ginny sighed as she caught sight of Connor finally release his captive over Draco’s shoulder and turn with a murderous look on his face as he was reminded of Ginny’s predicament before he’d shown up. “Nothing happened.” She wriggled until she got both hands free and could cup her boyfriend’s thunderous face. “Draco, please, we don’t have time for this. Don’t get all Malfoy-ish on me.”

Draco scowled harder. “What. Happened?” He looked at Snape and caught the flicker of eyes at the so-far disregarded man on the floor and spun in a whirl of angry robes. “What the bloody *fuck* did you do to my girlfriend?”

Ginny’s shoulders slumped. “Oh dear.” She made a futile grab for her boyfriend as he lunged across the floor at the bound man. “Draco!”

The brunette that Connor had released raised her eyebrows admiringly as Draco clenched one fist in the man’s shirt, raised him off the floor and slammed a punch into his unprotected jaw with the other. “Whoa, Draco has *left* the building!” She waggled her eyebrows at Ginny. “That your guy? He’s a hottie.”

Ginny’s expression indicated she was undecided about having a rather pretty stranger appreciate her boyfriend’s physical attributes, but considering the extremely capable way the girl had taken care of her assailant she wasn’t prepared to quibble over it just yet. Certainly not without her wand at the ready anyway. “Yes, he’s mine. Draco, stop that!” She moved to her enraged boyfriend’s side and grabbed at his upraised fist as he prepared to swing once more. “That’s enough, you’ll hurt him.”

Connor grunted and crossed his arms firmly. “I have no problem with that. Anyone else?”

Ginny glared at her friend. “Connor!”

Connor glared back and then rolled his eyes. “Oh *alright*.” He stomped across the room and yanked Draco away from his victim with one hand. “Save it, mate, he’ll keep.”

Draco kicked out and connected with a satisfying thump to the side of the moaning man’s head. “Bastard!”

“Agreed. Well spotted. Excellent work.” The unknown girl that had arrived with Connor bounced on her toes and made flapping motions with her hands towards the door. “Now can we *go*?”

Draco looped an arm around Ginny’s shoulder and stared at the girl in tattered dress and trailing chains. “Who *are* you?”

The girl paused in her frantic motions for them to leave and looked in surprise around the room. “What? Didn’t I tell you?” The four people from England shook their heads and to their amazement watched as a slight flush darkened the girl’s creamy skin and she smiled almost shyly. “Oops, sorry, Buff keeps telling me I need to work on my people skills.” She held out one hand and ignored the chains clinking across the floor with the movement. “I’m Dawn Summers, pleased to meet you.”

Connor caught her hand in his and smiled widely into sky blue eyes. “Connor Snape and the pleasure is *all* mine.” His own skin darkened at the pointed cough from his father and the muffled sniggers from Draco and Ginny behind him. “I mean, the pleasure is all ours. *Ours*.”

Dawn looked at him with wide eyes as she felt a buzz of something like electricity pass between them at the contact of their skin and then slowly smiled. “Wanna go kill some evil stuff?”

Slightly dazedly, Connor nodded and turned for the door still holding her hand. “Oh yeah.”

Severus watched his son leave the room and rolled his eyes. “Oh good grief, just for once can’t that boy do *something* in the normal way.”

Draco laughed and led Ginny from the room, making sure to get one more kick in at the man on the floor for good measure. “Look on the bright side, sir, he could have taken a fancy to Bulstrode or Parkinson.”

Snape shuddered as he walked behind the young couple. “Do not even bring that up in jest, Malfoy. Not even in jest.” He sighed heavily. “A muggle is bad enough, but an *American* muggle? By Slytherin I need a drink.”

***********************

Three quarters of an hour later, the newly formed quintet of companions pulled up at the top of a dirt road in a stolen jeep and leapt out of the doors to peer into the trees before them. Dawn glanced over her shoulder as Connor came up behind her and raised and enquiring eyebrow. “Well?”

Connor sniffed the night air and then tilted his head to the side to listen carefully. “This is the place.” He frowned with faint condemnation at the American girl. “Although I still say it was unnecessary to shove that holy water bottle where you did in that vampire. We should have just cut his arm off like I said and he still would have told us where to find the others’ wands and how to find this Asher guy.”

Dawn flashed an unrepentant grin. “Oh please. The worst the guy’s gonna have is a sore butt for a few days while he heals up, if we’d have gone with your way he’d have been out of action for at least six months and he’s a pretty decent guy for a vamp. Besides, he’s a dancer at the club the head vamp owns and he wouldn’t have been able to earn anything while his arm grew back.” She shook her head in reproach. “You gotta learn to calm down a little bit, buddy.”

Professor Snape drew up next to his son and Dawn and glared at both of them. “Words that I believe you should both take to heart.” He closed his hand around his recently restored wand and stared blindly into the trees. “Connor, can you tell if Narcissa is with the people Miss Summers is tracking?”

“Nah, I’m too far away to separate individual scents.” Connor shrugged. “Besides, I only met her a couple of times, I can’t really remember what she smelt like.”

Draco looked up from where he was fastening a dagger to his ankle. “Generally magic and deadly nightshade. Subtle the woman wasn’t.” He looked down at Ginny’s pale face. “I do wish you’d stay here. She’s not going to come quietly and if she realises she can use you against me…”

Ginny finished tying back her hair in a ponytail so it was out of her way and smiled lovingly at her boyfriend’s nervous expression. “Darling, I am *not* letting you face your mother all on your own.” She pulled her wand out and held it ready before her. “And if she has as many people with her as we think then you’re going to need every wand you can get.”

Dawn grinned approvingly at the smaller girl. “That’s the stuff, Red. Let’s give it up for girlpower!” She tugged the remnants of the dress she wore down as much as she could and sighed when it almost immediately rode up again to the bottom of her ass. “If Buffy ever finds out that I went slaying dressed like Faith on a three day bender I’m never gonna hear the end of it.” She glanced up at Connor and blushed as she caught him staring in mesmerised fascination as her creamy legs. “Yo, English-dude, a little less of the leching and a little more with the tracking of the bad guys, ‘k?”

Connor shook himself and flushed nearly purple. “What? Oh. Right.” He ignored the sniggering from Draco and the scowl of condemnation from his father and sniffed the air again. “This way.”

Dawn leaned in through the jeep’s opened window and grabbed the sword she had liberated from the Circus of the Damned during their determined flight. “Lead on, Smell-boy, last one to kill an evil, bloodsucking fiend gets the beers in afterwards.” She smiled impishly at Professor Snape and elbowed him familiarly in the gut. “Hope you got plenty of cash on you, Wizard-guy.”

Snape sniffed and followed his son into the gloom, his trusty wand held before him at the ready. “I can assure you, Miss Summers, I will not be found lacking in my duty.” He scowled at his son’s fast moving back. “I find I have a great deal of pent up frustration to vent after the last few days in your country.”

Dawn leered and tugged her dress down again as she began to move in an easy jog behind Connor as he picked up the pace. “Yeah? Man, you should have said. A few bucks would have got you some time with any number of undead hotties back at the Circus.” She laughed at the gasp of outrage behind her and concluded, “Enough cash and even your lemon-sucking-faced butt could have got some.”

**************************

Connor stared in confusion at the clearing ahead of him and sniffed at the air once more. “I don’t understand, there’s nowhere near enough people here to account for all the heartbeats I can hear and all the different scents.” He did a quick mental count and frowned harder. “I can only see seven people out there at the moment but I can sense at least another fifteen nearby.”

Dawn crouched at his side and peered through the bush that they were using as cover. “Where are the hell are the Slayers?” She bit her lip nervously. “God, I hope they haven’t killed them already, Buffy will go nuts if I lose a bunch of them like this.”

“Who *is* this Buffy you keep going on about?” Connor darted a look at Dawn from the corner of his eye. “Is she your boss?”

Dawn shook her head gloomily. “No, my sister. She’s the head Slayer for the Slayer Council and I’m one of the head Watchers that’s meant to be running a team of the newer Slayers.” She looked into the clearing again and sighed despondently. “Right up until my merry little band got their asses snatched the other night and Andrew disappeared back off to Cleveland.” She brightened momentarily. “Well, I’m assuming that he went home, maybe he got his ass snatched as well and he’s busy being some St Louis vamp’s bitch somewhere. That might cheer Buff up if I have lost the Slayers.” The brief happy moment seemed to be over as Dawn’s shoulders slumped again. “This was my first big mission on my own and I really wanted show Buff and the others that I could handle it.”

Connor quirked a bolstering grin and patted the smooth thigh pressing against his. “You look like you’ve been handling things pretty well so far. Don’t worry, we’ll get your friends back.” He suddenly tensed as a very familiar figure entered the clearing from the other side, tugging a protesting goat in her wake at the end of a rope. “Narcissa.”

Dawn stared at the haggard looking blonde woman that was now talking with a small brunette dressed in black jeans and matching vest top. “That’s Anita Blake, she’s bedding the head vamp and porking most of the rest of the preternatural people in St Louis from what I hear.”

Connor frowned as he remembered the flyer that he and his dad had found that afternoon. “That’s the vampire executioner?” He raised an unimpressed eyebrow. “Somehow I expected her to be bigger.”

Dawn shrugged. “In the Slayin’ game, size ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.” She pointed as four large men entered the clearing carrying a covered stretcher between them. “I don’t understand, what’s that?”

Connor sniffed the air and groaned as he recognised the unmistakable scent. “Dead guy.” He sniffed again and frowned in concentration. “The scent seems really familiar, I think I knew the corpse.”

Dawn rolled her eyes. “Great, family reunion time.” She turned to look over her shoulder to where Ginny and Draco were hiding behind a tree near Professor Snape. “Is he gonna be okay? The blonde chick is his mother, right?”

Connor shrugged, still pre-occupied with trying to remember where he had smelled the corpse that was now being placed reverently at Narcissa’s feet. “He’ll be okay. This isn’t exactly the first time we’ve tried to put one of our mothers away.” He continued frowning as Narcissa bent to touch the covered head of the figure on the stretcher and then his face suddenly paled. “Oh bloody hell, tell me she hasn’t.”

Dawn wrinkled her head in confusion as Connor took another deep whiff of the night air and then sunk his head into his hands with a deep, disbelieving groan. “What? What’s wrong?”

“Bloody, sodding hell.” Connor’s head rolled from side to side in his cupped hands as he showed his general despair at the insanity of it all. “How many times do you have to kill a frigging dark wizard before they actually stay dead? I can’t believe we didn’t suss out what she was doing in St Louis when we found out about the necromancer woman.”

Dawn looked even more confused. “Huh?”

Connor raised his head and glared balefully at Narcissa through the bush. “Bloody woman, I just bet this was my mother’s idea. Narcissa just got lucky with the escape plan first.” His head suddenly whipped around as he caught a whisper of sound off to his right. “What was that?”

Dawn looked in the same direction. “I didn’t hear anything.”

Connor tilted his head and then looked even more worried. “Shit, I think it’s your friends and they do *not* sound happy.” His eyes darted feverishly between the scene in the clearing that was now distinctly starting to look like the beginning of a dark ritual and the direction the yells of protest and anger were coming from. “Oh hell.” He watched as the necromancer raised a wicked looking knife above her head and looked rather tellingly at the goat Narcissa was holding tightly and abruptly solved the last piece of his mental puzzle. “They’re doing two sacrifices here tonight and I don’t think the necromancer knows about the human one.” He pushed Dawn’s shoulder. “Your friends are that way. *Hurry*!”

Dawn nodded and took off as fast as she could. “Hold the line here, I’ll be back with the Slayers as soon as I can!”

Connor erupted to his own feet as the guards that surrounded the two women and struggling barnyard animal shouted as they caught sight of Dawn racing through the trees and towards her friends. “Hey, fuckwits, over here!” He waved cheerily as Narcissa screeched with rage as she recognised him in the flickering light of the fires dotted around the clearing and his father and other companions exclaimed in surprise behind him. “Hi, Narcissa, long time no see!”

Anita looked up from where she had been preparing to send her bleating sacrifice to the great farm in the sky and stared in astonishment at the grinning teenage boy waving at her from behind a bush. “Who the hell are you?”

Connor waved again. “Connor Snape, I’m an old friend of…FUCK!” He quickly ducked out of sight as Narcissa suddenly drew her wand and pointed it in his direction with obvious intent.

“AVADA KEDAVRA!” Narcissa snarled with rage as Connor dived out of the way and she killed his bush instead. “AVADA KEDAVRA!”

Draco ran in a crouch to his friend’s side and flung himself down to fire off a return volley of curses at his mother as Ginny and Snape started to stun the yelling guards. “She doesn’t look happy to see us.”

Connor laughed as he grabbed Draco and jumped into the air to avoid another well-aimed curse. “Is she ever?” He took a couple of moments to catch his breath whilst Narcissa tried to push past Anita as the smaller woman demanded an explanation and looked over the clearing. “She’s trying to raise Voldemort.”

Draco grunted in annoyance. “Is that what that thing is?” He pointed at the body on the stretcher and suddenly laughed mischievously. “Well we can do something about that at least.” His wand slashed down and he shouted, “INCENDIO!” and then grinned at Connor as the body burst into flame. “Let’s see her bring his flambéed arse back from the dead now.”

Connor chuckled admiringly and slapped his friend on the back as Narcissa shrieked and tried to magic enough water out of the end of her wand to extinguish the burning body. “Sheer bloody poetry, mate.” His head snapped round as he heard the pounding of many feet and looped his arm around Draco’s waist. “Hang on, I think the bad guys’ reinforcements are here.” He coiled his legs and sprang from the tree, landing with pin point precision inches from Ginny and his father who were standing back to back and firing charms and curses as fast as they could at the remnants of Narcissa and Anita’s guards. “Everyone okay?”

Professor Snape chanced a look over his shoulder as his grinning son. “Do you have Narcissa?”

Connor shook his head and tensed as a crowd of snarling, fierce looking vampires pored out of the woods and headed straight for them. “Nope. Draco?”

Draco nodded and broke away from the small group. “I’ll fetch her, look after Ginny!”

Ginny scowled as he sprinted across the clearing and yelled after him, “I don’t bloody need looking after, you git!” She yelped as she got her first look at her new attackers. “Oh Merlin!”

Connor braced his feet. “Don’t worry, just…” He blinked as the crowd of vampires ran straight past him and he realised the looks on their faces wasn’t the killing fury but sheer terror. “Er, just take a breather apparently.” He scratched his head in puzzlement as the vampires continued to run in the opposite direction. “Well. That’s a bit bizarre.”

“COME BACK HERE, YOU BLOODSUCKING SCUMBAG!” The three visitors from England all turned jumped and turned as a female voice came from behind them and a young woman with pink hair and a murderous look on her face erupted from the darkened forest with a veritable horde of equally annoyed teenaged girls behind her. “I’VE GOT A GARLIC ENEMA HERE WITH YOUR NAME WRITTEN ALL OVER IT, YOU BASTARD!”

Connor raised an eyebrow at this blatant untruth, from what he could see – to a woman – the new arrivals were stark bollock naked and were armed with nothing more than some broken branches and their own anger. He grinned as he recognised the last girl out of the trees and waved a hand over his head as the girls split and began to deal out merry hell all over the clearing to any preternatural creatures they happened across. “Dawn, over here!”

“Hey!” Dawn waved back and altered course from where she was following the pack of girls and gave Connor a wide, bright grin. “Everyone okay?”

Connor nodded. “Yup.” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder to where vampires were running in frantic circles trying to escape some absolutely livid naked recent captives. “I see you found your friends.”

Dawn shot a fond smile towards the Slayers. “Yeah. They’re pretty pissed.” She caught sight of Draco chasing after a familiar slender blonde woman with an intent look on his face and raised her eyebrows. “Is he okay?”

Connor tore his eyes away from where he was watching a slender Asian girl batter a shrieking vampire to the floor with a thick branch whilst her small bottom was wiggling most enticingly. “I must say, this is the most enjoyable battle I’ve ever taken part in.” He sighed in appreciation as another wonderfully naked young woman spun in mid-air to kick a screaming vampire into a nearby tree. “And I really like your friends.”

Dawn glowered and opened her mouth to speak, but before she could say a word the muzzle of a gun was placed at her throat and a slim, scar covered arm came around her neck to yank her back and down until her much taller frame was held against the small one of Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner and the older woman glared forbiddingly at Connor. “Who the *fuck* are you, kid?”

Connor eyed Anita, eyed Dawn and then eyed the chrome gun with a frown of puzzlement. “Is that one of those weird American muggle wands?”

Dawn rolled her eyes irritably and tried very hard not to panic at the feel of the gun barrel pressed up against her throat. “No, you moron, it’s a gun. With bullets. That are gonna hit my brain in about thirty seconds.”

For the first time Connor looked worried. “You’ve got bullets too?” He eyed Anita’s other hand where it was pressed hard against Dawn’s shoulder in an implacable grip as she kept the younger girl in place. “If you blow her up, you’ll kill yourself too!”

Dawn and Anita looked at him with equally puzzled expressions and then both women – with limited success on Dawn’s part – swivelled their eyes to look at the gun which held the said bullets. Anita frowned in confusion. “Why would I shoot myself when I shoot her?” Her pretty face took on a vaguely insulted look. “I’m actually renowned for my good aim.”

“What a coincidence, me too.” Ginny materialised out of the darkness and pressed her wand up against Anita’s vulnerable throat. “So unless you want me turning you into a chamber pot and giving you to my new friends to piss in, you’ll let go of Dawn and drop your wand very carefully on the ground.”

Anita froze and snarled, “I don’t believe you.”

Ginny smirked. “Wrong answer.” She muttered under her breath, there was a brief flash of light and then two muffled thumps as Anita’s gun and then Anita – now a rather unusual onyx coloured chamber pot – hit the damp grass.

Dawn stumbled into Connor’s arms with a gasp and stared with wide eyes at Ginny as she nudged the chamber pot with her toe. “Oh my God!”

The three teenagers turned as another voice came out of the darkness. “Ma petite? Anita? Beloved?” Jean-Claude and his second in command, Asher, stepped out of the trees and looked around the rather busy clearing with worried eyes. “My love?”

Ginny gave the slender, dark haired man a beaming smile and snatched up the chamber pot for his incredulous inspection. “Present!”

***************************

Thirty minutes later and a kind of calm had been restored to the small clearing. Anita had been restored to her normal form – and after being strongly persuaded by her lover not to shoot Ginny full of holes – had been most annoyed to discover that the long lost human relative of Asher’s that had shown up out of the blue was a dark witch intent on raising her evil fiend of a master from beyond the grave and most definitely was *not* an innocent victim that had lost all her wealth as a result of the untimely death of her husband and needed his signature to release his assets.

Asher had been mortified that Narcissa had not only lied to him, but had also managed to gain a small, but powerful, coven of vampires under his and Jean-Claude’s noses and had used them to roll the minds of the Slayers when they had happened across them two nights before and thus sacrifice them at the same time as Anita’s goat to give Voldemort a little extra power when he arose from his grave. Likewise the information that Narcissa had been planning on killing Anita the minute the Dark Lord had risen did not go down a storm either. The blond vampire had given his abject apologies to Draco and Snape and then slunk off with the traitorous vampires that the Slayers had left alive to punish them with heavy emphasis on holy water in painful places and crosses inserted where no crosses had been inserted before. Dawn thoroughly approved.

Now the only thing left to do was to transport the finally subdued and unconscious Narcissa back to England, find the Slayers some clothes and explain to Jean-Claude why the girl that had insinuated herself into his operation for the past few months seemed to do nothing more than sigh impatiently and tap her foot when he stared intently into her eyes and tried to cloud her mind.





Dawn matched Jean-Claude stare for stare until the vampire started to look at little uncomfortable and Anita snorted with laughter. With one eyebrow raised, Dawn slapped her hands on her hips and looked the thoroughly discomforted vampire up and down. “Well, what’s the deal? I can stand here all day and have a pissing contest with you, but I’m kinda hungry and this dress isn’t exactly my usual slaying gear, okay?”

Jean-Claude drew back like he’d been slapped. “You do not feel anything?” He reached out with one hand towards Dawn’s head and had it briskly slapped away by the young girl. “There is no mist in your mind?”

“Any particular reason there should be, Frog-boy?” Dawn’s eyes widened in sudden understanding. “Oh I get it, you were trying to do that whole rolling of the mind thingy, right?” Jean-Claude nodded slightly incredulously and Dawn burst out laughing. “Yeah, that is *so* not gonna work on me. I’m from Sunnydale, buddy, we’ve got more master vamps there per square inch than you have lace on your shirts. Which, by the way, is *beyond* sleazy and makes you look kinda like a girl. You might wanna think about butching it up some, maybe cutting your hair and looking into getting some clothes that were actually made *this* century.” She looked at Anita pointedly. “The least you can do if you’re gonna bump uglies with a vamp is make sure he looks halfway decent when you’re seen in public together. I mean, my sister’s boinked a few in her time and she wouldn’t be seen *dead* in front of all the other demons with this guy.”

Anita looked startled. “Your sister’s a human servant?”

“A whoosit?” Looking equally startled, Dawn’s jaw dropped. “Say that again?”

“A human servant. Someone that has accepted a vampire’s claim of ownership and…what?” Anita took a step back as Dawn doubled over with laughter and clutched weakly at her stomach. “What’s so funny?”

“Sorry…” Eyes watering and face flushed bright red with mirth, Dawn waved a weak hand through the air. “Sorry. It’s just the idea of…” She collapsed in giggles once more. “The idea of…*Buffy*…being anyone’s servant!” Another round of laughter pealed into the night air. “And…and Spike and An-Angel being her…ma-masters!” Thoroughly weakened by her amusement, Dawn staggered sideways and leaned gratefully against a handy tree. “God, I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Anita slanted a look at Jean-Claude’s suddenly expressionless face and scowled thoughtfully. “I think you and I need to have a little talk.”

Jean-Claude darted a look down to where Anita’s hand was inching towards her shoulder holster and her trusty gun and winced. “Now, ma petite, calm yourself. It is not like it seems.”

Anita’s hand closed on her gun. “Oh you better hope not, Jean-Claude, or I am going to take great delight in shooting your damn kneecaps off.” She stalked towards the vampire as he moved backwards whilst trying very hard to look casual and not the least bit intimidated by the human woman stalking towards him. “If I took these marks when I didn’t have to and gone through all the shit of the Ardeur and all the other crap just because you were on some kind of goddamned ego trip…”

“Non, non!” Jean-Claude backed up faster. “Ma petite, Anita, my love…”

Dawn straightened up and punched the air supportively as Anita pulled her gun. “You go, girl! Make the slimy weasel spill his guts.” She looked at the surrounding ground piercingly. “Literally if you like. I’ve got a sword around here somewhere.”

Jason watched with interest as his master and his master’s human servant began to play an extremely undignified and high stakes round of tag with each other as they dodged through the trees and Jean-Claude’s strong accent faded into the night as he fled from Anita. “He is *so* gonna get it.”

Dawn smirked. “Oh yeah, and something tells me he ain’t gonna be making with the leering and sex talk so much when she’d done with him.” She flicked back her long hair off her face and stretched contently. “Well at least I can go back to Buff and tell her that the high fallutin’ new breed of vamps is a big wash. What a bunch of wusses.”

It was Jason’s turn to look startled. “You aren’t worried about Jean-Claude calling your sister and her companions out for the insult of sending you to spy on him as Master of the city?”

Dawn laughed. “Hell, no. The main reason being that if he tries to pull any of that territory crap on Buff, she’ll give Angel or Spike a call and they’ll have ripped the big, prancing lightweight’s throat out before he finishes throwing down the gauntlet.” She patted the werewolf’s arm confidingly. “We’re not so much about the posturing and more about the action. It’s a Sunnydale thing.” She shrugged. “Plus, you guys are in bed, like, *all* the time. Our main problem won’t be catching you guys with your pants down but catching you with them in the same *zip code*.”

Jason looked hurt. “We’re not that bad.”

“Uh-huh.” Unconvinced Dawn turned her back on him and then whipped back around with a yelp and a glare at his suddenly bland face. “And just so we’re clear, I’m not one of your little vamp, wolfy groupies that’ll whip my ass out the minute it gets groped. Touch me again and I’ll cut your dick off, wrap it in silver foil and feed it to you.”

Jason grinned and waggled his eyebrows. “Kinky.” The grin fell off his face as Dawn produced a wicked looking knife and stared pointedly at his groin. “Er, the whole pain gig is more Nathaniel’s deal. I’ll just be…uh, somewhere else.”

Dawn stared coolly as he backed away. “Good plan, go with it.” She glanced over her shoulder as she heard footsteps behind her and the frosty look on her face melted away into one of pure heat as she saw Connor approach. “Hey, you guys get the gal you came for?”

Connor nodded and jerked a thumb over his shoulder to where the figures of his father, Draco and Ginny could be seen standing tensely around the unconscious and bound figure of Narcissa on the ground. “Yeah. Dad’s just cast the port-key spell so we’ve got to get out of here before the American Ministry figure out what happened here tonight and start making things difficult for us.” He looked longingly into her disappointed eyes. “Will you be okay here?”

Dawn smiled weakly. “Oh sure. I’m pretty certain the only way any of these guys will come near me again is if they’re unconscious and chained up and I’ve got the Slayers back and everything so I should really get them home to Cleveland for the debrief.”

Connor smiled back. “Right.” He stared down at his feet and shuffled them awkwardly. “So…I suppose this is goodbye?”

Dawn also stared down at his feet. “Yeah, guess so.” She held out her hand shyly. “It’s been a trip working with you Connor Snape.”

“You too.” Connor took her hand and instead of shaking it, twined his fingers with hers. “I don’t suppose you get over to England much, but if you ever do then drop me a line.” His unhappiness increased as he realised that she wouldn’t even be able to see the Leaky Cauldron, much less find her way into Diagon Alley to access a public services owl. “Except you don’t have any way to reach me.”

The delighted smile that had covered Dawn’s face at his words died by the time he finished his last sentence. “Oh.” She reluctantly let her hand fall away from his. “Well I guess this really is it then. Bye.”

Connor smiled miserably. “Bye.” He stared for another long moment and then turned away with a deep sigh. Dawn’s shoulders drooped and she started to turn only to jump as Connor whipped back around and grabbed her arm. “Look, I er…”

“Yes?” Endeavouring to convey with every piece of body language at her disposal that she was up for absolutely anything and everything he might suggest, Dawn beamed a radiant smile up at Connor’s flushed and uncomfortable face. “Was there something else?”

“Well.” Connor snuck a look over his shoulder at his impatient looking father and then looked back down into Dawn’s expectant eyes. “Look, the thing is…” He swallowed uneasily and tried to remember that he was a feared killer of demons and dark wizards and therefore more than courageous enough to ask a girl if he could see her again. “Come with me.” Unfortunately he was also Connor Snape and a complete stranger to subtlety and the art of treading softly.

“To England?” Dawn’s jaw dropped in astonishment. “*Now*?”

Connor broke out into a light sweat and hurriedly stepped back. “Sorry, that was stupid, I’ll just…”

“Okay!” Dawn grabbed Connor with one hand and raised the other over her head to wave at the Slayers still chatting with the were leopards over the other side of the clearing. “Hey, Vi, I’m going to England, can you take the girls back and let Buffy know where I am? I’ll see you in about a week.”

Connor’s eyes widened and he blinked disbelievingly between Dawn and the Slayer with a spiked red hair that reminded him of an Auror called Tonks who shrugged and waved a casual hand in acknowledgement of Dawn’s yell. “That’s it? Just ‘come to England’ and ‘okay’?”

Dawn grinned radiantly. “Pretty much. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl.” She linked her arm through his and began to tug him towards Snape and the others. “Besides I can probably write this off as a business expense. I’ll call Giles when we get there and he can wire me some money for clothes and stuff and I can meet a few of your little wizarding pals and maybe we can set up some meets with the Slayer Council later in the year. It’ll be a blast.”

Connor licked dry lips and looked her up and down in stunned wonder. “I’ve never met anyone like you in my life before.”

Dawn’s step faltered at the husky tone of admiration, but she managed to recover well and her voice was very nearly steady as she replied, “Right backatcha.” She darted a shy smile in Connor’s direction. “I think this is going to be great.”

Connor’s face split into a wide grin and he ignored the horrified look on his father’s face and the shocked and surprised looks on Ginny and Draco’s as they realised Dawn was coming with them and pulled his arm free to loop it around her slim shoulders. “Me too.” He resisted the urge to whoop with joy and pulled her more firmly against him in the chilly night air. “So, you know anyone that might be interested in my dad?”



The End.

The End

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