Title: That Long Hot Beautiful Summer
Author: The Amazon Queen, Zara Ziti ( queenziti [at] gmail [dot] com )
Rating: PG-13 or T (I should say, whatever one of the books would be rated.)
Summary: The summer before Harry's Sixth Year, he gets an unexpected reprieve from the Dursleys, and from his own dark thoughts, when taken to Hogwarts to study with two new... and very unconventional... DADA professors.
Expect: cameos from most of the Scooby Gang. Lessons in trust. Healthy relationship-hopping before any settling down (is anyone else a little skeptical of this true-love-at-first-sight nonsense? There's this thing, it's called dating, it's made reality TV very popular). Pranks. Coming out of the closet. Mourning Sirius. New spells. Alternative magic practices. Snarkiness. Some Kennedy-bashing. Snape getting a girlfriend. Harry discovering what family is. Proof that you don't have to be a wizard to ride a broomstick. Guest stars from Discworld and the Young Wizards series, at the very least. And Blair Underwood cast as Kingsley Shacklebolt.
Pairings: Er... It's a surprise? There will be both het and slash, so if you have a serious problem with either type of relationship, then it is likely this story is not for you.
Disclaimer: None of the characters or premises of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or of Harry Potter belong to me, no matter how I may wish is otherwise. They belong, respectively, to Joss Whedon et. al. and J.K. Rowling et. al. Discworld belongs to Terry Pratchett. The Young Wizards Series belongs to Diane Duane. Henley belongs to my good friend Paca (no, I didn't make him up, although he's not such a huge sitcom fan in real life). I owe a great deal of character precision and timeline fiddling to the Harry Potter Lexicon, which is the best thing that ever happened to me ( hp [dash] lexicon [dot] org ). I own only my ideas, and also the piercing in Remus' ear. Because... guh.
Feedback: is a naughty naughty stimulant. And frighteningly addictive. However, scientific studies have proven it has no significant negative long-term effect, so send it on in, baby!
Author's Notes: This is a crossover with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I hope I can avoid obnoxious clichŽs and the like; feel free to let me know if I fail in this.
This shouldn't matter much, but I am moving all of the Harry Potter timeline forward by nine years - so the summer after OoTP, which ought to be the summer of 1996, is actually the summer of 2005, two years after the BtVS series finale. I chose to move HP forward (rather than BtVS back) because the wizarding world is so insulated; BtVS has always had a lot to do with muggle culture (even when it comes to stuff as mundane as fashion. Sorry, I cannot have my characters wearing what they used to wear in '96. I cannot do it).
Also, my interpretation of the Angel finale is a particular one that I quite like. Shadowscast wrote a fic called "Not the End," which you can find at shadowscast [dot] popullus [ dot] net [slash] aint_over [dot] html (replace everything in brackets with the appropriate punctuation); it's short, so I shouldn't need to summarize it, but the gist is that the final battle ends with Angel undead, Illyria alive, and Spike... human. And it's plausible, which is beautiful. Shadowscast has an FFN profile, but the majority of her (his? Sorry, I need to do better research) fic is at her hompage ( shadowscast [dot] popullus [dot] net ). I use this premise with the author's permission; Shadowscast can be reached at shadowscast [at] yahoo [dot] com .
Author's Notes, Mock Deux: It's been more than a year since I last published anything (a couple of years since anything in the BtVS or HP fandoms!), and a lot has happened since then. I've changed, and I've grown up. It is finally legal for me to read and write stories that have sex in them (this will not be one of those, I don't think. I'll warn you if that changes). I think my style has been altered (perhaps even improved?) significantly, and I'd love to know what you think - but I would appreciate some tact when it comes to constructive criticism. That's not to say you should pull your punches... but flames are not appreciated.
Now, on with the show!
* * *
* * *
Willow was making dessert.
She had The Joy of Cooking propped up on some other cookbooks, and held open on either side by the salt and pepper shakers. She leaned forward and peered at it, squinting her eyes and biting her bottom lip. The slices of strawberries and rhubarb were sugared and spiced; the Deluxe Extra-Flaky Pie Crust Dough was floured and rolled out, thin and gorgeous. The only difficulty remaining was how, exactly, to get the dough from the kitchen counter to the pie tin.
The Joy suggested sort of winding the dough around the rolling pin and then unrolling it over the tin, but Willow honestly thought that sounded a little dodgy. What other options were there, though? Trying to lift the dough all in one piece just made it rip. Sort of inching the tin underneath the dough and hoping the whole operation would figure itself out from that juncture didn't work, either.
Some clattering from the other side of the kitchen made her look up. Spike had just thrown his spoon into the sink and was glaring passionately at How to Cook Everything. He didn't have it propped up or held open by a salt shaker; Spike had his cookbook safely in the device that Willow called "the cookbook hold-er open-er." Spike called it "that plastic thingie."
This was a bit of a sore spot - that Spike had managed to grab the cookbook hold-er open-er before Willow had. Honestly, he knew how to cook, he'd been doing it for the better part of the twentieth century (apparently Drusilla had had a particularly discriminating palette). Willow, on the other hand, was a beginner, and needed all the help (from cookbook hold-er open-ers and otherwise) she could get.
"Having difficulties, Spike?"
Spike re-focused his glare from How to Cook Everything to Willow. "Wipe that smug look off your face, you," he said. "This has got nothing to do with that plastic thingie."
"I didn't say it did!" Willow said. "I just think maybe this is karma, that's all."
Spike threw a slice of onion at her. Willow ducked. Spike muttered some things best not repeated and turned back to his cookbook.
"Seriously, Spike," Willow said. She helplessly dusted the dough with some extra flour. "It's just chicken, and it's just us eating it, and there's a really good restaurant across the street in case of emergency. No big."
"I've got a feeling," Spike said, poking at the chicken he was currently trying to stuff with lemons and onions. "This is important."
"... Your fitting all those lemons and onions into the chicken, no matter what, is important?"
Spike scowled. "Something important is happening tonight, Rosie," he said. "I've got that itch between my shoulderblades again."
Spike's itch had been something he'd had when he was human the first time around, and now that he was human again, it was back. He'd had the itch before he'd found out he was a wizard; before he'd met a girl named Cecily for the first time; before he'd been cornered by Drusilla. Apparently he'd also had it just before Willow had fallen from Brazil into the East Wing conservatory of Spike's manor in Nice, and before every single phone call they'd had from Buffy or Giles asking them to come to Vancouver, or Osaka, or Arkansas, to help vanquish the newest Big Bad.
Willow sighed. The itch could not be ignored. Patting her pie dough, she said, "All right, Spike. Here, why don't we trade? You get this stupid crust into the pie pan, and I'll stuff that chicken for you."
Spike gave her a grateful look, and then took How to Cook Everything out of the cookbook hold-er open-er with a grin.
"No," Willow said. "No! You leave that right there, mister. I'm doing you a favor, I get the hold-er open-er!"
"I can't work without the plastic thingie," Spike protested. "It helps my, um, artistic, um..."
"My artistic flow," Spike said, with dignity. "And it looks like I'll need it, with the mess you've made of that pie crust."
Willow threw the open container of Crisco at him. Spike ducked.
* * *
Half an hour later, the kitchen smelled delicious. Willow sat in the corner next to the oven in her sweatshirt, peering eagerly in at her pie; Spike stood at the stove, poking with his wooden spoon at the chicken giblets, which they'd decided to boil for the dog.
"Speaking of the dog," Spike said crossly. "Henley! Henley, come!"
They waited. The giblets frothed. The strains of a familiar theme song drifted from down the stairs.
"He's just watching Sex and the City," Willow said. "You know what he's like." Willow and Spike had found, in their travels with the Scooby Gang, that the pets of magic-users often turned out a little less than... normal. They'd officially stopped worrying about Henley after having met some other wizards named Tom and Carl, and their snarky, psychic parrot, Macchu Picchu.
"I bet you he's watching those episodes from the last season," Spike said with some affection. In the last few episodes of the last season of Sex and the City, the show had shot some scenes in Paris - including across the street from Spike's townhouse in the Place Dauphin, where Spike, Willow, and Henley were spending their spring. Henley was particularly fond of Paris (he'd made good friends with a yellow Lab named Lulu who belonged to the owners of a cafŽ just a few doors down) and was thus also particularly fond of those episodes.
"He'll come when the giblets are ready," Willow said. "Ooh, look! The filling's bubbling," she announced, staring avidly at the pie. "Who knew this stuff actually worked?"
"It's just pie, Rosie," Spike said. "Check the chicken, would you?"
The chicken was in the microwave above the counter, which doubled as a convection oven. Willow got to her feet, opened that oven's door, and poked at the chicken with a kebab skewer. "Still raw on the inside," she announced. "Time's not even half up! It's just chicken, Spike."
Spike rolled his eyes. "Please. You-" He paused when the doorbell rang.
Willow closed the oven door. Spike turned down the heat under the giblets. "The itching's stopped," he announced. "This must be it."
"Well," Willow said. "In that case... Henley, love, would you get the door, please?"
There was an affronted pause, and then the TV turned off. After another few moments, they heard Henley's nails clicking on the floorboards. Willow kicked Spike gently in the shin. "What? Oh. Thank you, Henley!" he called. There was a smug doggie sneeze not long after.
Willow ran her kebab skewer under some hot water, wiped her hands off on her jeans and made her way out of the kitchen and down the hall to the foyer. Spike set down his spoon and followed her.
They heard the door open, and then a man said, "Goodness! Well, you weren't exactly what I was expecting."
"Indeed, indeed," said the visitor. "I quite sympathize. Do you think, perhaps, you could direct me to the master and mistress of this house?"
Henley came around the corner to meet Willow and Spike, followed by an elderly gentleman in a well-tailored suit. He had a long, Merlin-eque white beard and long white hair to his waist, and his hands were adorned with a number of rings, all of which had charms on them. Willow eyed them suspiciously, and observed with equal suspicion the heavily magicked cane the man wasn't leaning on.
"Mr Malfoy!" the old man exclaimed at Spike. "You're looking quite well."
Spike squinted. "I'm sorry, have we met?"
The old man's cheerful expression didn't waver. "Indeed we have, my dear boy," he said. "I taught you Transfiguration for seven years - if that's not an acquaintance, then do tell me what is!"
"Professor Dumbledore?" Spike said. "No way!"
"Actually that's Headmaster Dumbledore," Dumbledore said. "At least, usually it is. And Ms Rosenberg!" He turned to Willow. She glanced at Henley, who was sitting at Dumbledore's feet, looking bored. Henley shrugged.
"Mr Dumbledore," she said cautiously. "I know we haven't met."
"No, no, rather not," said Dumbledore, undaunted. "But one can hardly have any connection with the occult community without hearing of you, can one? You've quite the resumŽ, Ms Rosenberg, most impressive indeed. You and Mr Malfoy as a team was an opportunity I did not feel I had the right to pass up. Goodness, is that roast chicken I smell? Master Henley, lead the way, if you'd be so kind."
Henley, who was a sucker for flattery, stood and trotted back down the hall, toward the kitchen. Dumbledore followed.
Willow and Spike stood dumbly at the entrance to the foyer. "Please," Willow called at their guest's back, "make yourself at home!"
A chuckle was her only answer.
* * *
Dumbledore joined them for dinner. Over roast chicken, steamed broccoli, and some excellent white wine, he told them what he wanted.
"Mr Malfoy, you, perhaps, will recognize some parts of my story, as I understand you resurfaced in the wizarding world a quarter century ago; but there are quite a few further events with which you will be unfamiliar, so I must ask that you pay attention."
Here Spike had to interrupt. "I beg your pardon!" he said, and then added a guilty, "Sir. I got top marks in Transfiguration!"
"Indeed you did, my boy, when you were learning new material. When you thought you knew all there was to know, there was no teaching you otherwise."
Willow coughed. "Sorry, but when, exactly, was this?"
Dumbledore cocked his head at Spike, who said, "Oh, I don't know. Call it 1871 to 1878, shall we?"
"That sounds about right," said Dumbledore thoughtfully. "It was a good while before Grindelwald began to make himself known.
"But to the story. In the 1960s, a Dark wizard who called himself Lord Voldemort began to rise. Voldemort was a fanaticist; he was obsessed with purity of blood, and wanted to purge the wizarding world of half-blood or Muggle-born children. Indeed, I think he would have been happy to rid the world of Muggles completely.
"His followers he called Death Eaters, and together they sank the wizarding world into an era of fear and suspicion. People were so terrified of Voldemort that to this day most of them refuse to speak his name aloud.
"For nearly thirty years we lived like this, until the night of Halloween, 1990. Voldemort attacked the home of the Potter family." (Here Spike visibly tensed.) "Yes, Mr Malfoy, it is as you fear. The Potters were Lily and James, and their little boy Harry. Lily and James were both Aurors (Dark wizard hunters, Ms Rosenberg), and members of the Order of the Phoenix, an organization I created to resist Voldemort. We thought them to be safe in their hiding-place, but one of their closest friends, Peter Pettigrew-"
"I never liked him!" growled Spike.
"-Peter Pettigrew, betrayed them to Voldemort. Voldemort killed both James and Lily, but he could not kill their son, Harry. Harry's own considerable power, combined with the power of the blood sacrifice his mother made for him, protected him, and caused Voldemort's own Killing Curse to rebound. For a number of reasons, nothing so straightforward as a Killing Curse could have finished Voldemort off completely, but he was greatly weakened and without a body of his own for nearly thirteen years after that. Harry Potter is called the Boy Who Lived in the wizarding world; until Voldemort returned, people rather considered him their savior."
"But now he's back?" Willow asked.
"Precisely. Now he is back - with a body of his own again, and certainly no saner for having lacked one for so long. Harry is destined to either destroy Voldemort or be destroyed by him, and I'm sure you'll understand my saying we would all much prefer the former. But Harry is barely sixteen, and he and his peers, who will almost definitely follow him into battle, need all the help they can get - and the Order of the Phoenix, too, needs more allies. This is why I am here: I come to ask you to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts next year, and I also ask you to consider joining the Order, and the fight against the Dark, and Voldemort."
Willow looked at Spike. Spike looked at Henley. Henley looked at Dumbledore, and shrugged.
"Well," Willow said slowly. "This is the sort of thing we specialize in, isn't it?"
"I was quite good at Defense, as I remember," Spike said. "I got an Outstanding on my N.E.W.T. Those are a bit like the SAT IIs," he said to Willow, who was about to ask.
"We've pretty much been vacationing for the last couple of years, anyway," Willow said. "We only had a few short-term vanquishing jobs, really."
Dumbledore, who had been looking quite grave at the end of his synopsis, was twinkling again.
"We've got lots of friends, too, who would be thrilled to come and help," Willow added. "I mean, they've got things to do, I think, but you could call them in from time to time. Like freelance."
"What Rosie here is saying," Spike said seriously, "is that we'll do it."
Dumbledore smiled. "Splendid!" He polished off the last of his chicken (slipping bits of it under the table to Henley, who was not above begging when there was chicken involved) and patted his stomach. "What a delightful meal," he said. "Surely that cannot be pie for dessert?"
* * *
* * *
posted September 24, 2005
Coming soon: Chapter One, The ReSorting
So tell me... What are you thinking right now?