Harry Potter and the Key to Glory
Title: Harry Potter and the Key to Glory
Summary: Ethan Rayne is up to his old tricks again, and Buffy and the others find themselves in a dimension even they didn’t believe in.
Disclaimer: I own nothing; Joss, the WB, and UPN own Buffy and its characters. J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter and its characters.
Spoilers: Buffy S/6. Harry Potter up until The Order of the Phoenix.
AN: I’ve made some changes, since this takes place at the beginning of S/7, but the end of S/6 was a little different than it did in the show.
Okay, so, Buffy and Spike did have their affair, but he left for the soul after they caught him and Anya in their…err, moment of weakness. So, he’s got the soul, come back, isn’t crazy, and is helping Buffy patrol again, but not trying to get back together with her. Also, as you can tell, Xander and Anya didn’t get married and Anya’s a vengeance demon again. Tara did die (sorry) and Willow went all Darth Rosenberg, but got help and is once again back in Sunnydale helping her friends again, but still very careful and weary about using her magic.
As for Harry Potter, everything up until the end of The Order of the Phoenix happened (Umbridge, the Prophecy, Sirius, the whole shebang). And, I know you might not be happy about the Sirius thing (I’m not thrilled by it myself) but it’ll be important later and, like a friend of mine once said, ‘nobody stays dead in the Buffyverse.’ :-P
It was raining hard outside; sheets and sheets of water spilling onto the cracked asphalt and the cars and stray people that littered the busy New York street. They had passed the proverbial ‘cats and dogs’ stage a few days before and were now moving steadily along into it raining barnyard animals. There were places that were already closed due to flooding. If it continued on this way, Ethan himself might have to move to higher ground with the other city rats.
Rayne frowned as he peered over the dusty, velvet curtains and out into the soggy street. Like the past few days, there weren’t many potential customers roaming around in this weather; unless the bum standing on the street corner had a couple of hundred dollars stashed on him that he was willing to blow on a rare or mystical – not to mention usually illegal – book or object. Somehow, he doubted that.
Stepping away from the window, Rayne strolled towards his glass cased counter.
The shop itself looked like a place you would expect to see Edgar Allen Poe reading in a high back chair with a raven perched on it or perhaps in an old Universal Studios monster movie where the hero would find out his dire future from Madam Strevcosti. Jars of strange, ominous looking objects lined the shelves, next to status of fertility gods and small figures of the Statue of Liberty with the words ‘I Love N.Y.’ written below.
He even had a monkey hand or two hidden in the back, but they were mainly used for ashtrays now instead of granting horrible, backfiring wishes. Besides, if P.E.T.A. found out he had them, he’d be doused in red paint before her could say ‘mystical artifact’. That was why he didn’t deal with spell ingredients; far too much trouble and hassle once animal sympathizers found out that you sold ravens feet and eyes of frogs.
No, Ethan specialized in something a little shadier; which could only be expected from someone who had once turned a human begin into a fural demon for laughs. But he had served his time – really one would think that turning a human demon for a couple of hours would have a longer sentence than a year and half with good behavior – and was now dealer of rare, mystical books.
Most of the volumes that lined his shelves weren’t even written in this dimension, nor were they supposed to be allowed in. But, there was always a way to get in what you want, if you want it bad enough. And when you have a couple of hundred thousand reasons, nothing can stop you.
He knew an inter-dimensional demon that would go pick up the books for him – for a commission, of course – so getting them generally was not that difficult. His biggest client was a huge law firm that had law firms all over the world and several others; so, if he did get caught, they would get him out of it for nothing else than to keep his mouth shut and continue their arrangement.
Ethan’s dank day brightly when the entrance bell echoed throughout his shop. A rather shabby-looking man stood at the door, shaking out rain that had soaked his hair and clothes in a dog-like fashion. A bit of the water flung free from his black hair splashed against the nearby merchandise, but not enough to do any damage.
Plastering on what he hoped was a friendly smile, Ethan moved around the counter once more and approached the customer.
“May I help you, sir?”
The man lifted his head, as if noticing that he was not the only one in the shop for the first time. His dark, graying hair fell into his face, pasting itself around his dark eye as he regarded the shopkeeper with a straight-line frown.
“You have some books for me,” he answered, giving his overcoat one last jerk to get the stray water off.
“Do I?” Ethan answered, tilting his head.
He had a feeling he knew who this man was, but he had to be sure. If he was the guy, the books he had requested for Ethan to gather were filled with spells and incantations that the ex-con found rather...fun himself. However, the Watcher’s Council – which, by the British accent, this man could very well be from – would not find so amusing.
“Yes,” the man growled. “You said that they should be here by today when I spoke to you over the telly-fone.”
Ethan raised an eyebrow, but chose not to comment about the pronunciation of ‘telephone’. Instead, he went back to his counter with the man following behind.
“Name?” Ethan asked, grabbing a clipboard with the papers ready for the transaction.
“Burns,” the man answered. “Sam Burns.”
Scribbling away, Rayne continued, “And you wanted 'Gardening in the Northeast' by Shelly Planter, a first edition of the 'Roses of New England' by Michael O’Collins, and 'A History of New York State’s Climate for Gardeners' by Kevin Steller. Correct?”
Mr. Burns narrowed his dark eyes. “There was supposed to be one more. Um…'Tea and…and Ground Roses?'” he asked, making sure that he had gotten the title right.
With an apologetic smile, Ethan said, “I’m afraid that one has not arrived just yet, but it should come in within the next day or two.”
Placing the clipboard and with pen onto the counter, Rayne locked his fingers together and leaned forward onto the glass.
So far, this guy had been right. He had given the name they agreed upon, and the altered names of the books he had requested – the last one left off deliberately so Ethan could be sure. Plus, he wanted to keep the book for a few extra days. Now, it was the final test to be certain this was his guy.
“You know, my mother’s birthday is coming up. She likes plants as well. What do you suggest I send her?”
Mr. Burns’ eyes cut to the side as he thought, then said, “A hibiscus, they’re very pretty. But you might want to send her a copy of…er…'Care for a Tropical Plant?'…because they will die very easily.”
The smile turned rather malevolent on Rayne’s face from the man’s answer. Yeah, it was him.
“If you would wait one moment, sir,” Ethan said, stepping away from the counter and heading for a curtain doorway. “I’ll get your books.”
Ethan strolled into the backroom that was filled with his more colorful merchandise, and retrieved three of the four books that were sitting inside a magically sealed trunk that only Ethan could open. Satisfied they were the right ones, he head back to the front of the shop.
“Here you are,” he said, placing the book on top of the clipboard. The book that lay on top, 'Exordium Porta', was humming with dark magic. “Well, sir, your total comes to…sixty-five hundred dollars.”
Many times when Ethan would give the customer their price, they would do an impression of a chicken choking on its own tongue. However, Mr. Burns’ lips became an even thinner line before he opened his coat to retrieve his wallet.
“This is robbery,” the man said as he pulled out his checkbook.
“This is business,” Ethan corrected. “And I had to, er, go out of town for your books.”
“I bet you did,” Mr. Burns muttered. He tore the check out of the book and began to hand it over to Rayne’s greedy hands before pulling it away at the last second. “My last book. You said it will be here within in the next couple of days?”
Staring at his pay, Ethan nodded. “Yes, yes. It’ll be here within two days time.”
He reached for the check, but Mr. Burns jerked it back further away from him. “And it is the exact book I asked for?”
“Down to the print date,” Ethan said.
Mr. Burns still appeared a bit unsure whether to hand that much money over to gray-haired man behind the counter, but finally did so. Ethan was beaming at the amount of money, and quickly slipped the paper into the cash register.
As he did so, Mr. Burns picked up his checkbook and opened his coat to place it inside when Ethan noticed a well-worn copy of a paperback book in one of the inside pockets. Though he had only caught a glance of it, he could tell that it had been read many times, and was torn in several places from to much use. And, right in the center of the book, was place maker. This usually would have gone unnoticed Ethan, except the title itself had made him do a double-take.
“'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'?” said Ethan. He raised an eyebrow at his customer, but Mr. Burns did not seem the least bit embarrassed by being caught with a children’s book. “A bit of light reading to balance out the –” Ethan held out the plastic bag with the books he had just sold the man. “– heavier stuff?”
“You can say that,” Mr. Burns said, grabbing his newly acquired books. Once they were safely in his hands, he adjusted his coat to go back out into the rain . “I’ll return in the next couple of days for my book. I expect it to be here. I’ve already waited six years. I do not wish to wait any longer.”
The false, friendly storeowner smile returned. “Of course, sir. It’ll be here, as promised, by Friday.”
“Good,” Mr. Burns said, then disappeared back into the stormy street with the ring of the shop’s bell.
The room was dark, only lit by a few candles that had been placed in a circle around him, the stand, and the small alter the chosen vessel had been placed upon. His voice muttered in the darkness, and rose in its firmness as he continued to chant. The small flames flicked from motionless wind, and the vessel began to glow blue from the power being bestowed upon it. His chants intensity grew, the blue deepened brightly until it finally flipped opened, pulled the blue light within itself, and snapped closed once more.
The candles stopped flickering. The chanter stopped muttering. And Ethan slumped over the book in front of him.
It was done. Now all he had to do was send it off.
Smiling to himself, he walked to the book he had just enchanted and picked it up, careful to keep it closed.
Mr. Burns had provided the prefect means for his revenge against the slayer for sending him to federal prison. Thanks to her, he had nearly been deported and spent more than enough quality time with a Calci demon that had mistaken him for his long, lost mate. No revenge he could come up with could make up for that, but the idea he had gotten from those books of Mr. Burns certainly would cause some lovely chaos and teach the slayer for what she did.
Yes, Mr. Burns certainly had good taste in books.