Eye of the Storm
Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy: The Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter. They belong to Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling, respectively.
-- Set in S3 of BtVS – or rather through S3 – and post Half-Blood Prince, so SPOILER WARNING for that. They’re only vague, but still there. It’s actually set post Seventh book/year for HP.
-- This story does have SLASH and FEMSLASH, so if that’s not your piece of cake, leave. Pairings as yet are still being worked out, but Xander/Cordy and Willow/Oz are established relationships at the beginning of the story.
-- Not much swearing or violence yet, but it may crop up.
Eye of the Storm
Exile was perhaps too soft a word to use for their particular situation. Most people they knew thought them dead and the few (one) who did know of their still-breathing status had promised a long and tortuous death upon their unprompted return. The places available for travel and eventual settling down, therefore, were few and often unpleasant. Unfortunately, there was only really once place where they could completely escape notice from their own kind.
Boca del Inferno. The Hellmouth. Sunnydale, California.
It was the middle of June when they arrived and both exiles were severely overdressed for the occasion. Black being their favoured colour on top of the heavy clothing meant that a bath of sweat within five minutes of arrival was inevitable.
“So this is it?” All that Draco Malfoy had left was his dignity. Stripping down to his shirtsleeves in public was not something he would ever be seen doing. He did, however, loosen his collar slightly – in as dignified a manner as he could.
His companion, Severus Snape, did not so much as twitch at the heat, striding forward immediately to scope out the building they were to live the rest of their lives in. Or so their former enemies hoped.
“Yes, Draco,” he replied, “This is it.”
The fact that they young man beside him did not make a derisive comment upon this confirmation worried Severus greatly. The building before them certainly encouraged derision – dusty windows, weeds climbing cracks in the wall, and then there was the name.
The Magic Box.
Much as Severus hated his father, the man had some very useful contacts that were more than willing to deal with the younger Snape. One had told him of this place. The owner had died a few months back and few people outside of Sunnydale who knew anything about the town wanted to open up shop here. The building was cheap and the price included all stock inside (the real-estate agent not knowing the true value of some of the contents). It was a good cover for them both, incorporating any possible slip-ups they might make as quirks of being magic-shop owners.
Looking around at the slowly darkening sky, Severus unlocked the door with a flick and the two got a proper glimpse of their new life.
It was a rather dismal sight.
They cleaned out the back rooms first, making them ready for living. Severus warned not to use magic to enhance the building in any way. They couldn’t risk getting caught out, even if the only wizards living around here were outcasts like them. The rest of the building they left for the next few days. It wasn’t like they were in any hurry.
Draco didn’t talk much these days. Severus was just thanking any deities listening that the boy was not suicidal. He had reason enough to be. The war had pushed him to his limits and beyond, refusing to give him any rest. Losing his family was bad enough, but having to watch what happened to them was something not many could claim. Draco’s current reticence could well be understood. Draco was wasting away and Severus was not quite sure what to do with the boy or how to help with his silence and nightmares.
But then, he was a shell of his former self also.
Considering the completely muggle nature of their new home, Severus and Draco had both learned how to cook. Cleaning was somewhat ingrained into them as Potions Master and student and cleaning magic was easier to use and hide than most. Cooking actual food however took skill that, oddly, Severus did not possess. He could cook well enough not to poison the two of them, but his servings were often bland and unimaginative.
Draco, however, was quite gifted in the kitchen and became rather enamoured of the idea of cooking by hand. His first attempt Severus was sure would turn out disastrously considering the haphazard way in which he followed the recipe. Draco just glared and sent him out of the kitchen until he was done. Of course the meal turned out wonderfully and now, a week after their arrival, Draco had unofficially declared the kitchen his territory. Severus would just have to make do with his private basement lab for his Potions study. He grumbled about the decision, but seeing Draco engaged by *something* was worth the hassle.
Now there was just sone thing left to attend to.
It was nearing July when Severus finally decided to bring the subject up. They had finally set the store up to their specifications and would be opening in a week, after the final accounts were properly settled. He waited for the end of dinner one night before drawing Draco’s attention. His ward regarded him with wariness. The tone of voice he was using called for cautiousness.
“As I’m sure you’re more than painfully aware,” he explained, “We’re supposed to blend into the muggle community here as best we can.”
Draco frowned, not really liking how this talk was beginning. To blend in they had to create new identities and back stories. Draco had taken his mother’s maiden name, Black, knowing little would be thought of it and Severus had left his own name as it was, knowing he could use it to form contacts. The Malfoy name however was far too well-known and they couldn’t risk it being heard. Severus was posing as Draco’s uncle and formal guardian as his parents were dead. He had created papers for the muggle authorities if anything was asked about. He wouldn’t have bothered, but Draco was still considered a minor.
All of this meant that Severus, as responsible for Draco’s welfare, had certain responsibilities.
“In order to alleviate even more suspicion,” he continued, “I feel it would be best for you to complete your final year of schooling.”
“With you?” Draco looked confused, and a little desperate. “Severus, you know as well as I do that I have knowledge and experience far beyond any seventh year magical curriculum. Why would I need to …” He trailed off as the true meaning of Severus’ words sunk in. “You want me to finish my senior year in a muggle school.”
“Yes.” Severus waited for the explosion and eyed his young charge warily when it never came. Draco was staring at the table, his face even more pale than usual. “You’re of age,” Severus rushed to explain, “The children here would not dig too far into our back story if you acted in accordance with their expectations, which means …”
“High school,” Draco finished weakly.
Severus then proceeded to spend the rest of the evening placating the shell-shocked boy. Unfortunately for Draco, his education was a necessary part of their cover; and so, in September, Draco Malfoy – or Draco Black rather – would be attending Sunnydale High school.