Home Sweet Home & Burning Marks
III. Home Sweet Home & Burning MarksHogsmeade, somewhere in Scotland
THE AMERICANS' JAWS DROPPED WHEN THEY saw the state of the 'house' chosen to
be their temporary headquarters while they think of a plan to prevent Voldemort
and his accomplice's attack. It was an old, rickety place that looked like
it hadn't been used for centuries. One strong wind and the whole thing
would fall apart!
"You have got to be kidding me!" Exclaimed a flabbergasted Cordelia
when she saw the state of the house they were to call home for the next little
while until this impending doom passed.
"The place looks so damn small! It's not gonna fit all of us,"
complained Dawn, her nose wrinkled in disgust at the sight of the filthy place.
Ron and Harry exchanged a look. Apparently none of these people has
seen the inside of bewitched tent.
Hermione cleared her throat and moved to the front of the queue. They
took the route, in the dead of the night to avoid any sudden bursting into
flames by two of their night-dweller companions, to the famous Shrieking Shack
in the small village of Hogsmeade via the least conspicuous way and now they
stood at the barricaded front door.
"It only looks like this on the outside. Consider it a camouflage in
case some unwanted people decided to wander here," she explained. "But
inside you'll see that it'll fit at least fifty people at a time."
remains to be seen," snorted Connor, his arms crossed firmly
over his chest while he leaned against a tall post support the barbwire fence.
Hermione shot the teenager a quelling look which was then returned by him.
Since their arrival in London the boy had been nothing but an obnoxious snot,
lacing everything he says with sarcasm and challenging everyone who dared speak
to him. What was his problem?
"Then I suggest we go inside and find out if Hermione's lying or not,"
announced Harry over the top of everyone's heads. He and Ron decided to
stay at the back of the group to keep an eye out for unwanted traveling
"There's no way I'm setting foot in that
house," Anya backed away and
in to Xander's arms. "What if there are rabbits hiding inside?"
Anya's out of the blue comment snapped Hermione out of her glaring contest
against Connor and turned to an obviously afraid Anya. Hermione chuckled and shook her mop of curly dark brown hair. "Don't
worry, Anya, we made sure to get rid of any unwanted rabbits that inhabited the
place since it was last used," she assured the former Vengeance Demon.
It took them a good five minutes before they convinced the stubborn Americans
that the Shrieking Shack was a safe place to inhibit despite of its less than
attractive exterior. Anya was adamant she'll check herself into a hotel if
she so much as sensed a rabbit's presence in the house. Cordelia
complained about the dust and whatnot they'd have to clean to make the place
look livable -- or until it passed her
Hermione showed them the other passage they created to avoid using the front
door. It was barricaded for a reason and they mustn't alert the villagers that humans
are living in the shack. They want to maintain
the myth that the shack was haunted.
There were still murmurs of complaints from the majority of the group until
Hermione unlocked the secret passage door and pushed it open, revealing a
state-of-the-art modern-day home complete with hardwood floor that looked like
it had just been recently polished. There was a winding staircase leading
to the second floor landing where the bedrooms were located.
"Holy crap! Now this
is what I call nice digs!" Faith
pushed aside the people in front of her and was the first to step over the
"It beats the Manor, that's for sure," observed Paige as she stepped through
the threshold and circled the large entryway.
"Now I'll know not
to judge a book by its cover," commented Buffy as
she entered the house.
"Aw, this place beats out my apartment in LA!" whined Cordelia as she stared
at the high ceiling where a large chandelier hung from it and lit up the room.
"The Hyperion ain't got anything to this first-class beauty," Gunn commented,
taking inventory of the furniture and decorations adorning the walls of the
extremely spacious house.
One by one the Americans entered the shack, each marveling at the
transformation from its outer look and what it was boasting inside. Harry
and Ron did a quick patrolling of the premises before joining the others inside
the shack and closed the door after them. They found Hermione pulled on
the side by the Charmed Ones and the two slayers while the men were gathered
around the living room, discussing amongst themselves. Upstairs they heard
some giggles followed by a burst of surprised shrieks. Whomever just
squealed like a school girl must've seen what they did to the bedrooms that was
to be shared by two people.
Ron pulled his best friend aside and asked, "Do you really think Voldemort's
back?" He'd been itching to ask his friend that question since they
left the Ministry to escort their guests up north to Hogsmeade.
Harry kept his eyes on their guests but answered his friend's question.
"It looks like it if two of the three people who had visions of the so-called
attack were powerful people. I mean, the strongest vampire Slayer and a
Charmed One. They battle demons, Ron, demons
-- monsters you can
Ron's gaze wandered to where Hermione stood with the two people Harry just
mentioned. They were deep in conversation discussing whatever they could
possibly discuss. Hermione being the Junior Assistant to his father meant
that she was gathering as much information as she possibly can to report back to
"Are you worried?"
Harry looked at his friend then and raised an eyebrow. "Of course I am
worried. Voldemort rising back to power and somebody equally powerful or
more alongside him as an ally? Wouldn't you
be worried yourself?"
"I'd be. But what I can't help but wonder is, how
survive?"Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, somewhere in Scotland
DRACO MALFOY DISMISSED HIS LAST CLASS OF THE DAY fifteen minutes earlier than
he was supposed to. He wasn't able to concentrate on what he was
explaining to his fifth year students since that damnable mark on the inside of
his forearm just below the bend of his elbow started bothering him. At
first it started as as a pin-prickly feeling that turned to an annoying itch and
now it was starting to burn a hole through his arm. He was surprised at
how rapidly the pain grew, from a pinprick to an all-out inferno on his arm!
He needed to talk to Severus about this. Why the heck was this damned
mark burning his arm? Was it suppose to hurt like hell even after the
person who branded him with the mark was dead?
Locking his classroom up, Draco headed straight for the dungeons where he
knew the Potions professor was just wrapping up his last class for the day.
He needed answers right away before he went out of his mind from the scorching
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, somewhere in Scotland
A MAN WITH LONG, WHITE BEARD DRESSED IN BLUE silk robes and has half-moon
specs perched on the bridge of his nose sat behind a desk cluttered with rolls
of parchment and an open book. He had four
visitors in his office, two of which were part of some higher being while the
other two were former members of the formidable Watchers Council.
Albus Dumbledore listened intently to what the four people in his office were
saying. Arthur Weasley sent him an owl explaining the situation before the
arrival of these four people in his office. Dumbledore was the one who
suggested to the Minister to use the Shrieking Shack as headquarters and
safehouse for their American guests for the duration of their stay in the UK.
If Lord Voldemort was indeed back, the last place he'd expect his targets to
hide was at Hogsmeade. He'd expect them to be either at the Ministry of
Magic or tucked away somewhere in the Watchers Council's offices, but the
thought of them seeking help from Dumbledore would be far from it.
Nevertheless, Dumbledore was inclined to put a concealing charm around the
shack's premises; they couldn't afford to risk alerting the villagers that the
Americans were staying at the abandoned, haunted
"So," Dumbledore searched the faces of all four men before him, "we still
have no idea who Lord Voldemort's ally is?"
"Phoebe had a clear view of his face in her vision and gave us a rough sketch
on what he looked like. We showed it to everyone, but his face didn't ring
a bell," explained Leo.
"Our resources in the Council ran the sketch over for comparisons, but came
up with zilch," Giles informed them.
"I had a meeting with the other Elders, asked them who the man in Phoebe
Halliwell's vision was, but we came up with nothing close to relating the
mystery man to," Zola, an Elder and Leo's closest ally, informed the group.
"And you asked everyone
in your groups if they recognized the man?"
Dumbledore directed his question to Leo. The mischievous twinkle in the
elder wizard's eyes said he knew something none of the others knew.
"Yes, we did." Leo nodded, but the way Dumbledore aimed the question at
him made the Elder wonder. Albus Dumbledore was an odd man, but his oddity
often served a purpose; a riddle that needed to be solved was often hidden
underneath his oddness.
"I suggest you ask them again, Mr. Wyatt," Dumbledore winked.
The doors to the Headmaster's office opened and two figure -- a greasy dark
haired man and a younger platinum blond haired man -- swept into the room, their
dark robes billowing behind them. They went straight to the Headmaster's
desk, each clutching their forearm.
"Pardon the intrusion, Headmaster, but this matter Professor Malfoy and I
need to speak to you with cannot be ignored," apologized the greasy-haired man.
One look at where the two men's hands were and Dumbledore didn't have to ask.
Speaking in an undertone that only his two professors who barged in to his
office unannounced could hear, the other four men present were confused at what
just happened. Dumbledore and the eldest of the men that entered were deep
in discussion; the blond haired young man with them had his face set to a deep
scowl. After five minutes or less discussing the matter of grave
importance, Dumbledore got up from seat and addressed the rest of the people
"Gentlemen, I'm afraid I have bad news to tell you..."To Be Continued...