The weekend's here and so here's the next chapter! Somehow it's managed to become the shortest one so far, despite how much actually happens in it - although not as much as in the last chapter. It was, however, twice the pain to format on either site I post to. Aaanyway, thanks so much to everyone's, who's still reading this story and especially to those of you, who took the time to review the last chapter. Also, many, many thanks to Biblioseros
for betaing this one.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot and the prophecy. And a few random, oddball characters.
Prophecy of the Four Chapter 25 –
The Second Movement
Dawn was just walking out of the kitchen cradling a large mug of coffee when the doorbell rang. She sighed.
“I've got it!” she called up the stairs, knowing her sister would hear despite being behind a closed door. Dawn prided herself on being more of a morning person than her sister – which admittedly didn't take much.
She caught a glimpse of Draco as he peeked out of the kitchen nursing his own cup of tea (he was attempting to be casual, but Dawn knew just how nervous he was about the arrival of their visitors). She flashed him a smile and then unlatched the front door. The sight that greeted her made her smile widen into a grin.
Professor McGonagall looked up from where she'd been peering curiously at the doorbell. Beside her, Remus was the only one, who looked half-comfortable with the situation. Alastor Moody was wearing a large fedora in order to shade his magical eye from view, but combined with his black travelling cloak, it only served to make him look like a gangster fresh out of Al Capone's ranks. Nymphadora Tonks kept looking from side to side with nervous eyes, as though expecting something to jump out and bite her. Arthur Weasley, on the other hand, seemed to have regressed to the age of about five and looked like he was about to enter his favourite toy store.
Dawn was a bit disappointed that Arthur was the only Weasley in attendance, but she stomped down on the feeling as she stepped back and opened the door wide.
“Hey guys,” she said. “Buffy'll be down in a bit, but Giles and Willow are in the magic room. I know they've been doing setup all morning, but I'm not sure how far along they are.”
“Good morning, Dawn,” McGonagall said with a slight smile, although there was slight disapproval in her eyes. “I take it we can come in?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, of course. Sorry, hellmouth survival training kinda sticks with you. When you live in a vamp town verbally inviting people inside can be hazardous to your health.”
“Constant villigence is more important than politeness,” Alastor Moody agreed with a gruff nod of approval as they entered. “I must admit I'm impressed with the wards you've used on the house. Wouldn't let us aparate directly in.”
“That was almost entirely Willow and Giles. I mean, Lori and I helped a bit, but mostly with setup and planning. The magical bit was pretty much all Willow with Giles as anchor.”
“You know, it might be worth looking into placing some similar wards around Hogwarts,” said Remus.
“You think their wards are better than proper wizarding wards?” Tonks asked incredulously. Remus shrugged. Dawn gritted her teeth behind her smile as she closed the door, but decided she'd let Willow handle any magical superiority complexes.
“No, not necessarily, but they're different, not something You-Know-Who or his followers would be familiar with.”
“A good idea, Remus,” Professor McGonagall said. “Even if they do break them eventually, it would at least slow them down considerably as they try to figure out an unknown design. Alastor, perhaps you should take a look at their designs later.”
Moody seemed rather pleased with the suggestion. It was then that Remus caught a glimpse of blond hair disappearing into a doorway further down a hallway to the left. He smiled slightly.
“How is Mister Malfoy adjusting to things?” he asked Dawn.
Dawn blinked and then smiled, pleased someone was concerned for her friend.
“He's doing well,” she said. “I mean, there's lots to learn about muggle technology. Plus, it's difficult to change the habit of a lifetime and press a button or flick a switch instead of waving a wand, but he's getting there. Connor and Xander took him with them yesterday on their infiltration mission and he did okay. I think he misses magic, but Willow's promised to teach him some wandless magic once things settle down.”
“Is that really such a good idea?” Tonks asked with a frown.
Dawn raised an eyebrow.
“This isn't a prison, he can do whatever he wants,” she said firmly. “Plus, it's not like he couldn't just find a book and start learning on his own, but in the spirit of 'been there, done that, wish I could burn the t-shirt', we all know it's way safer for everyone if magic is taught by someone who knows what they're doing, instead of haphazardly from books and experimentation.”
“That is very true,” Professor McGonagall agreed.
“Ah, I thought I'd heard the doorbell,” a voice interrupted the conversation. Dawn turned to see Giles walking out of the magic room. “I apologize for not coming out sooner. We've mostly soundproofed the room, so it's difficult to hear anything from outside it even with the door partially open.”
He greeted the wizards warmly and ushered them towards his office so he could explain the ritual, while Willow and Lori finished their preparations. As they left, Dawn took the opportunity to peek in on said preparations. The shield of Ravenclaw was leaning against the far wall still wrapped in a blanket while Willow and Lori drew on the floor in chalk. Or rather Lori was still drawing on the floor while Willow was busy sprinkling some sort of dirt/herb mixture around the perimeter of the circle they'd created.
“Hey guys,” she called out from the door way, not wanting to step in completely lest she disrupt something. “Giles is entertaining the wizards in his office. Do you two need any help?”
“Uh, no thanks, Dawnie,” said Willow, looking up with a smile. “We're almost done here and it would probably take me longer to explain what needs finishing and how than it would for me to just do it.”
“'K. Buffy should be on her way down soon. Draco and I'll be in the library if anyone needs us.”
“Where's Xander?” Lori asked without looking up from where she was drawing some symbols around the inside perimeter of the circle.
“Outside teaching the slayerettes how to use the new toys they brought back yesterday.”
Dawn watched them for a few more minutes before she realized her coffee cup was empty. She softly closed the door after herself as she left.
Draco was already in the library with his nose in a very thick tome when she entered.
“You know, I think I now know this library better than I ever knew the Hogwarts library,” he said conversationally as she sat down and grabbed the next book off the stack they'd created last night.
“Is that a good thing?” she asked.
“Not sure yet. I'll let you know when I've made up my mind on the subject.”
He turned a page and took a sip of his tea. Dawn could smell the familiar scent of the vanilla chai Draco had fallen in love with instead of Dawn's precious coffee. They slipped into a comfortable silence.
An hour passed during which Draco had left briefly and came back with sandwiches (there was always a pre-made platter of them in the fridge for people to take from as needed) and Dawn had traded her empty coffee cup for a large glass of apple juice. Otherwise, the library was silent.
They both jumped at the unexpected 'pop' sound.
Draco automatically went for his wand as he began looking about the room for the intrusion.
“Young Master Malfoy!” a small voice squeaked from beside him.
He looked down and blinked in surprise at the teary-eyed house elf looking up at him. It looked vaguely familiar, but it wasn't until he saw the light blue silk scarf around its neck that he made the connection between the droopy-eared creature looking up at him with large, soulful eyes and his mother's stoic personal house elf.
“Pippy?” he asked, incredulously.
The house elf sniffed and Draco suddenly noticed the scroll it was clutching against its partially scarf-covered chest as though its life depended on it. He saw its eyes dart nervously towards Dawn and sighed.
“Don't worry, she's a friend,” he said, wishing the creature didn't look quite so pathetic, so he could just yell at it. He mustered as much authority into his voice as he could without raising his voice. “Now, what are you doing here?”
The house elf blinked and then suddenly its arms shot out, the scroll held out for him to take.
“Master Malfoy sent Pippy, except he's not Pippy's master anymore, because he gave me clothes” the house elf immediately began to babble hysterically. “Master – no former master - told Pippy to find the young master and that young master Draco would be my new master and then he gives Pippy mistress's scarf. Said it was important for Pippy not to belong to the manor and that the young master didn't have any house elves, because he was with muggles and the message had to be delivered quickly without dark lord finding out. Pippy thinks the master was very sad and-”
Draco took the scroll from the house elf and it immediately fell silent. He was very
happy about this, because he wasn't sure how much more of the hysterical house elf he could've coped with before he silenced it magically.
The scroll bore the Malfoy seal. Draco thumbed it idly, trying to decide whether or not his father would've gone to this much trouble to prepare a trap for him. He shook his head. No, there would be no point to that. He swallowed and took a deep breath to calm the twitters in his belly. His hands were shaking, so he ignored them, greeting denial as an old friend.
He broke the seal. Nothing happened. Draco unravelled the scroll and began to read. When he finished reading the brief message, he read it again. He'd been half-expecting it to be an announcement of his disinheritance. He most certainly hadn't been expecting this.
Then the words of the letter began to sink in and Draco collapsed into his chair.
“Draco?” came a soft voice. A hand gently grasped his shoulder. “What is it? What did your father have to say?”
Draco opened his mouth, but nothing came out. So, instead of answering, he simply handed her the parchment. Dawn carefully took the parchment and read silently. Draco, I fear this message shall be short, for there is only so much time even I can spend pretending to choose a bottle of wine from the cellars. I hope this message finds you safe and I have reason to believe that you are, though I have no idea how Severus could have possibly known. I can only imagine he heard it from the Order of the Phoenix. Yes, I know he was their spy, Dumbledore's man to his last breath. Words cannot express how deeply sorry I am to tell you Severus Snape is dead. He died by his own poison rather than risk any information he might know passing from him to the Dark Lord. Auror Nymphadora Tonks is also dead. If you have contact with the Order of the Phoenix you must tell them the Nymphadora Tonks with them is a polyjuiced spy for the Dark Lord. If this information allows you into their good graces, then the risk I'm running of giving it to you will have been worth it. I am sending Pippy with this letter. She is now yours to do with as you please as I will be dismissing her from service at the Malfoy Manor. Survive, Draco. Whatever happens, survive. If we should not meet again, then I wish you happiness. I may not have said this enough, but remember that your mother and I are proud of you and we have always loved you. You are still my son and heir to the Malfoy line. That will never change. Your father, Lucius Malfoy.
Dawn finished reading and took a deep breath.
“Okay, so first of all, I'm sorry to hear about your potions professor,” she said. “But, um, I think we have a bit of a problem here, 'cause if the real Nymphadora Tonks is dead, then that means the spy is currently here at the Watcher's Council.”
Draco's head shot up his eyes widening as he realized she was right.
“Bloody hell!” he swore, adrenaline suddenly energizing his weary limbs.
He jumped to his feet only to be stopped by the diminutive house elf that was still staring at him forlornly. Its ears hung even lower than before and it was playing with the edge of the silk scarf around its neck.
“Well, I guess you're mine now,” said Draco. Pippy perked up at his words. “This is a mostly muggle house, you realize: is there going to be enough magic here for you?”
The hope that shone in its eyes was almost heartbreaking.
“Oh yes, Master Draco,” Pippy chirped, nodding its head so vigourously Draco wondered how long its neck would be able to stand it before it snapped. “This house is full of magic. Not wizard magic, but powerful magic. More than enough for Pippy, master.”
“Good, then give me the scarf.”
Pippy happily unwound the scarf from around her neck and held it out to Draco. Draco took it and brought it to his nose. It still smelt like his mother. Reverently, he placed it down onto the book he'd been reading before being interrupted. If his eyes were a little teary, Dawn didn't mention it.
“Done?” Dawn asked him.
Draco nodded and together they exited the library. Connor was just coming out of the kitchen.
“Connor!” Dawn called. The boy stopped and turned to wait for them. “You have perfect timing. We have a problem and need your help.”
“Pippy, there are other wizards in the house,” said Draco. “If any of them start to leave, let us know. Don't be seen.”
“Yes, master!” said Pippy before disappearing with a 'pop'.
Connor barely had time to blink in confusion at the out-of-place creature before Dawn grabbed him by the bicep and dragged him back into the kitchen.
With a calm confidence, Willow lit the last candle in the circle. The wizards had offered to help her, but she'd refused with a smile. Every action in a ritual was important, including lighting candles and, besides, introducing foreign magic into the mix was risky. So, she carefully lit one candle before taking it and, walking clockwise around the large circle, using it to light all the others.
They illuminated the darkened room and cast long shadows onto the shield laying in the middle of the circle. Clusters of gleamingly white animal bones surrounded it and incense burned from two spots just inside the circle. If someone had taken a piece of chalk and drew lines between the two incense burners and the single spot, where the smaller circle touched the larger one, they would've realized the three spots formed a equilateral triangle.
It was on that spot, where the two circles touched, that Willow replaced her first candle, thus completing the circle of small flames. A small hand-woven basket sat just in front of the candle and inside, nestled in a bed of dried herbs, was an Orb of Thesulah.
Willow then sat down inside the smaller circle, crossing her legs and resting her hands palm up on her knees. She took a few moments and quietly looked over the layout of the circle before her, mentally going over the ritual checklist and making sure everything was there. Finally, she looked up at her audience, which consisted of Giles, Lori, Buffy and the wizards and smiled nervously.
“Well, here goes nothing,” she said. Buffy gave her a thumb's up and a grin.
She turned her attention back to the circle and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes and centered herself, allowing her surroundings and all other thoughts to drift away until all she felt was the energy deep within her. Then she reached out to touch the energy around her and gently nudged it until it flowed through her like a lazy brook. She infused the circle with her magic and the candle flames shot up as her magic touched them, before returning to their original state – though her audience would later agree they looked a little brighter afterwards.
She opened her eyes and began to chant:
“Quod periditum est invenietur. Nici mort, nici al fintei, te invoc spirit al trecerii. Gods, bind this piece of soul, cast out its fellows from the evil realm. Indulgere ab reconcilare se. Te implor, Doamne; nu ignoră aceasta rugăminte. Lăsa orbită să fie vasul. Este scris, aceeasta putere este dreptul poporul meu de a conduce. Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie! Acum! Acum!
Her voice sounded confident and, as the chant continued, grew more and more powerful. By the end of the chant, it boomed throughout the room, sounding almost on level with the very gods she was beseeching. The room felt tense, heavy with magic and Willow's will, like an invisible smoke that would ignite at the single strike of a match.
At first nothing happened, but steadily, a greenish-blue glow began to surround the shield, looking like a thin, ghost-ly coating of paint. Willow's focus was on the glow as she felt it work, fed it power from the gentle stream flowing through her as it burrowed its way into the shield, forcing out the dark soul hiding there. She didn't hear the gasps as a dark gray lump of smoke suddenly began to push its way out of the shield. It strained against the ghost layer, which gave way, but didn't break. Once all of the smoke was out the shield, it slid off it like a sheet and then sealed its ends together, enclosing the smokey soul inside.
Then it drifted to the orb and disappeared into its depths. The first part was done. Willow felt the magic inside the circle begin to dissipate, so she didn't hesitate to renew the chant. Pulling even more power into the spell, she raised her voice once more.
“Gods, I beseech thee, cast out this dark soul from the evil realm. Indulgere ab reconcilare se. Te implor, Doamne; nu ignoră aceasta rugăminte. Lăsa orbită să fie vasul. Este scris, aceasta putere este dreptul poprul meu de a conduce. Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie! Acum! Acum!”
Half-way through, a wind picked up within her circle, sweeping her hair away from her eyes. She could feel magic burn through her veins as she focused on nothing but being a conduit for it, using it to power the words of her spell. Later, her observers would attempt to describe how her entire body seemed to light up from the inside like a human-shaped magic lamp. But Willow wasn't aware of anything but the movements inside the magical circle in front of her. The mists inside the Orb of Thesulah swirled and changed gradually from blue to purple as magic summonded forth the parts of Voldemort's soul, which had already been destroyed and thus banished into the ether of the afterlife.
Then came the difficult part. She had to summon to her the parts of Voldemort's soul which hadn't been destroyed yet, weren't inside him and without knowing their exact location or how they were being protected.
She took a deep breath and began the third part of the spell.
“Goddess, give me guidence,
grant me eyes to see, grant me power to break the spell of evil.
Te implor, Doamne; Lăsa orbită să fie vasul.
Este scris, aceasta putere este dreptul poprul meu de a conduce.
Aşa să fie cu ajutorul acestui magic glob de cristal.
Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie!
She had no idea how much time was passing as she remained in trance, following the flows of magic to the other pieces of soul. There were three left, all in different places. Two of them seemed to be tied to other energy sources and Willow realized with a jolt that threatened her concentration that those energies were alive. Knowing she couldn't allow herself to get distracted, she left those two for the moment and concentrated on the third. She nudged the magicks flowing through her in its direction.
It was all the direction the spell needed, and soon the ties binding the soul fragment to the item were beginning to unravel. The purple mist inside the orb swirled violently and then changed into a deeper purple.
Then the spell attacked the living containers. Willow gasped at the intense pain that suddenly exploded through her connection. She grit her teeth and focused on the connections. The first container seemed to scream in a sort of voiceless pain that reminded her of an animal. The second, however, did not. Not only that, but Willow could faintly feel a brush of magic fighting against her intrusion – magic that did not feel at all like Voldemort's and was free of any darkness.
Puzzled, and more than a little worried, she focused on the unfamiliar magic. When she felt the being's pain increase through the connection, she wished she could hold her connection without the spell fueling it. However, it would take too long to re-establish the connection in any other way and she needed to know what she was dealing with. 'S-stop, please stop!'
Willow's concentration faltered for a moment at the unexpected voice. The connection nearly collapsed, but she grabbed onto every single remaining thread and refused to let it slip. 'Hello?'
she called out gently.
There was a pain-filled pause and then the voice was back and Willow felt confusion along with the pain. 'You're not Voldemort.'
Suddenly, Willow knew exactly what was going on. 'Harry?'
Another pause and then: 'Willow? You're Willow, aren't you?' 'Yes. Oh goddess, I'm sorry for hurting you, Harry. I'll sever the connection now. Don't worry, you'll sleep through the worst of the headache. We'll talk later.'
She pulled the spell she'd been maintaining away from Harry, casting a sleeping charm just before dropping the connection with him. She left the other living creature alone as well – she wasn't sure she could remove the horcrux from it without killing it and she didn't want to kill it if she didn't have to.
Willow ended the spell carefully, taking her time to make sure she gradually stopped the flow of power she was feeding it. Abruptly ending a spell this powerful could have explosive consequences that were best avoided, especially if she wanted to keep the soul fragments already inside the Orb of Thesulah inside the orb. Slowly, the world around her came back into focus and she could feel the wooden floor beneath her and hear the beat of her heart as it returned to its normal beat.
She opened her eyes and looked at the orb in front of her. The mist was a deep shade of purple. She looked up at the candle flames and concentrated. They went out as one.
Then she slumped forward as exhaustion overtook her. She fought against sleep and forced herself away from the floor. Almost imediately there were arms helping her stand and she looked up and smiled thankfully into Giles' worried gaze.
“How'd it go?” he asked.
“The spell worked, but we have a problem,” she answered.
“Then that makes two problems.”
Willow and Giles both looked up at Dawn's voice. Willow frowned, wondering when Dawn had entered the room, but, more importantly, wondering why she sounded so angry.
“Dawn?” Buffy asked. “What's going on?”
The slayer sounded equally confused and when Willow turned to her friend she realized both Connor and Draco had also entered the room while she'd been casting. Connor was leaning against the wall behind the wizards and as Willow watched, he quietly stepped forward so that he was standing directly behind the pink-haired witch named Tonks.
“Well, it's quite simple, really,” Draco answered instead of Dawn. He walked casually towards Buffy, crossing in front of the wizards, until he abruptly swung around and pointed his wand at Tonks. “It seems we have a spy in our midst.”
Dawn pulled a crossbow from behind her back and pointed it at Tonks as well. Tonks responded by drawing her wand, but a hand on her wrist stopped her from raising it. Startled, she looked behind her and met Connor's calm eyes.
“Sorry, don't think so,” he said.
“Oi, what's going on?!” Tonks exclaimed, looking surprised and worried.
“What is the meaning of this?” McGonagall demanded.
“Auror Tonks is a highly-valued member of the Order of the Phoenix,” Moody growled, raising his own wand and pointing it at Draco.
Buffy stepped forward, so that she was standing beside Draco as she stared the veteran auror down.
“Oh bloody hell, this is all we needed,” Willow heard Giles mutter beside her and she had to suppress a giggle that threatened to erupt.
“If they say she's a spy, then there's probably a reason for it,” Buffy said, enunciating every word very clearly and precisely.
“I am not a spy!” Tonks declared angrily, struggling in vain against Connor's iron grip. “How dare you accuse me of being one you stupid muggles!”
“Unhand her this instant!” demanded McGonagall. “I've known this girl since she was a child! She would never betray us.”
“This is ridiculous!” Remus exclaimed into the din. “Nymphadora Tonks-”
“Remus, I'm sorry,” said Dawn, the sadness in her voice along with the sympathetic look she shot the werewolf, silenced the room. “But Nymphadora Tonks is dead. As is Severus Snape. His cover was blown and she'd been Voldemort's prisoner. We know he poisoned himself rather than allow himself to be taken prisoner and tortured for information. We assume he's the one, who killed Tonks, but we're not totally sure about that. Either way, this isn't Tonks.”
There were a few moments of stunned silence, before Moody broke it.
“If what you're saying is true, then he probably did kill her,” he said, slowly turning so that his wand was pointed at Tonks instead of Draco. “Polyjuice requires specimens from a living creature and Severus, of all people, would know that very well. Besides, if she'd been a prisoner of You-Know-Who, then death was probably a mercy.”
“Wh-where does this information come from?” McGonagall asked. There were tears in her eyes.
Draco shifted uncomfortably.
“My father,” he answered.
Arthur Weasley snorted. “Well, that's not exactly the most reliable of sources.”
Draco grit his teeth, his eyes flashing angrily. “He didn't have to send any information at all. He did it to help me ingratiate myself with you, if you must know.”
“Arthur,” Moody interrupted the red-headed man's reply. Willow couldn't help but notice the auror hadn't moved his wand from Tonks. “As loath as I am to take any form of help from Lucius Malfoy, this isn't the sort of lie he'd make up. It's too easily discredited. All we have to do is lock 'er up and by the end of the day she's either still Tonks or she isn't.”
Suddenly, Remus crossed to Tonks. She tried to move a way, but Connor's other hand shot out to grab her other arm and held her in place. Remus lent in and took a deep sniff at her throat. Her eyes widened, the fear in them settling the question in Willow's mind even before Remus pulled away. He slowly took a step backwards. There were tears in his eyes.
“You didn't change your perfume,” he said quietly. “Your scent changed entirely. I can't believe I was such a naïve fool. If I'd realized then... maybe we could've...”
Tonks' face twisted with anger. “You're all naïve fools if you think-”
Buffy didn't let her finish the sentence, knocking her out with one punch. She then looked at everyone else and shrugged.
“Figured we could wait 'till she's got her own body back before we have to listen to all the standard bullshit bad guy rhetoric.”
“Fine by me,” said Connor with a shrug as he placed her down onto the ground. He took her wand and handed it to McGonagall, who took it with a nod.
Draco lowered his wand and Dawn her crossbow. Moody cast a binding charm.
Rose-coloured clouds were just beginning to fade when a plane landed on the tarmac at Heathrow airport. It was right on time. People exited, heading for the arrivals gate in the same orderly fashion a gaggle of geese waddles through the gate of a farm enclosure.
Among them was a young man with tanned skin and a head of golden curls, which seemed to have developed a life of their own somewhere in between a lion's mane and a clown's wig. He led a group of ten young women - girls really - all as different from one another as accidental strangers meeting on a plane could be. Yet they were clearly a group. Only one of them actually looked threatening with her bright green mohawk, numerous body piercings and bare arms covered in tribal tattoos, but all of them walked forward with a confidence that made those around them move out of their way.
None of them noticed the large brown bird sitting atop of one of the light fixtures inside the terminal. It fixed beady black eyes on them, watching carefully as they walked past it. It flew off once they were out of sight.
The young man led the girls to where their welcome wagon was waiting. His face split into a giddy, boyish grin as soon as he spotted them.
“Spike!” he cried and ran to the pale man leaning against a set of standard airport chairs.
The vampire in question looked down with an annoyed grimace at the blond human now attached to him. Slowly, he brought his hands down to awkwardly pat the boy on the back.
“Uh, hello there, Andrew,” he said.
Dawn giggled and Spike glared at her. Beside her, Draco simply looked bemused. The girls with Andrew alternated between looked highly amused and watching the vampire warily through narrowed eyes. A few eyed Draco out of the corner of their eyes as well. A petite Asian with her hair up in two pink pigtails carefully observed their surroundings. Dawn greeted them all with a grin as their watcher was otherwise occupied.
Eventually, Andrew allowed himself to be peeled off of Spike. He turned to Dawn.
“Hello Dawn,” he said solemnly, as though he hadn't just been hugging the stuffing out of a vampire in the same way he would his favourite teddy bear. “I'm glad to see you are now safe and away from the Evil Lord of Dark Wizards.”
“Hi, Andrew,” Dawn said with a smile. “It's good to see you again too. And thanks, I'm, uh, definitely glad to be out of Voldemort's Dungeon of Horrors and Infinite Boredom.”
Draco snorted. “Considering that the alternative would be spending quality time with either the Dark Lord himself or one of the other death eaters, you should be glad for the boredom.”
“Huh, I don't know you,” said Andrew, finally noticing Draco. He eyed him curiously before sticking a hand out in greeting. “Greetings, I am Andrew Wells, watcher-in-training and co-chairman of the Tara McClay Training School in Rome.”
Draco blinked and then took his hand and shook it.
“I'm Draco Malfoy,” he said.
“He's a wizard,” Dawn explained. “He was originally my dungeon guard and then he escaped with me.”
“Aaah, I see,” Andrew said, nodding his head in profound understanding. “So, my young padawan, you have decided to seek redemption for the sins committed by the indiscretion of youth. Well, I must warn you, it is not easy to turn from the way of the sith and the path to redemption-”
“Actually,” Dawn quickly interrupted. “I think it was more along the lines of 'take the tattoo and become my minion or I kill your parents'.”
Andrew froze mid-speech. He blinked a few times and then closed his mouth.
“Yeah, oh,” said Spike. “Now, I think we should pro'lly shove off.”
On their way to the van, Andrew continued to engage Draco in conversation until finally the young wizard threw his hands up.
“What in the world are
you blathering on about?!” he exclaimed. “I haven't the slightest idea what any of these silly Muggle things you keep talking about are!”
Andrew looked horrified. Until the expression on his face turned, very, very happy. Suddenly, Draco wished he'd just gritted his teeth and kept his mouth shut.
“Don't worry,” Andrew assured him. “I will educate you in the Way of the Force.”
Then he walked off with a bounce in his step, practically humming.
“Do I want
to be educated in the Way of the Force?” Draco muttered to the vampire, who was now standing beside him.
“I think the real question, mate, is will you be given a choice,” the vampire answered.
Dawn came up to him on his other side.
“On the other hand, if you ever want to have even half an idea what Andrew's saying, you should probably let him,” she said. “He's difficult enough to understand half the time even when you do get the references.”
Draco sighed and followed miserably behind the others to the van.
Night fell gently onto the village of Avebury, the sun sending its final farewell of the day with a brilliant banner of colour before setting behind the treetops. As the sky began to darken, the first stars of the night appeared, twinkling timidly around a pale half-moon. Lively birdsong was replaced with the calm chirping of crickets. Music pouring out of open doors of shops and the multitudes of hurried voices with things to do and places to be slowly trickled away as the voices moved into the restaurant and kitchens and then living rooms. The pub opened its doors wide and turned the music up to welcome that night's carousers and a few tourists.
Eventually, even the most steadfast carousers stumbled out of the pubs and into their beds, whether they were in a house or on a flowerbed. By then the village was dark, lit up only by streetlamps and the occasional front door light. Though the night was supposed to be clear, clouds had silently crept across the sky to cover the stars and moon. The last whispers of love had died off as the villagers slipped into dreams. Even the crickets were silent.
And so it was, in the dead of night, that no one noticed the shadows hovering around corners and in alleys grow darker and then spread out like dark fog to cover the streets and front steps where light still touched.
Suddenly, the softly-creeping clouds turned a sinister black and a vicious wind batted at roofs and trees and windows. White light streaked across the sky and seconds later thunder bellowed like a clap of impending doom. More lightening followed, brilliant flashes that illuminated the pitch black sky and split the elderly tree in the corner of the manor grounds into two burning halves. The sky never stopped rumbling, only pausing for breath before delivering another deafening roar. The wind, a gale now, howled constantly, whipping between buildings like dozens of angry sirens. It was the sort of violent storm that should've woken every man, woman and child, including the snoring drunks resting on flowerbeds and yesterday's garbage with its rage.
It should've. But it didn't. A few people stirred, but not a single person woke.
Only one, solitary figure walked along the main street, humming softly as he strolled past darkened windows. The violent storm raged around him, but did not touch him. He watched it all with a pleased smile on his handsome face.
Then, just as suddenly as it started, the storm stopped. As though some deity had flipped a cosmic switch, the sky went silent, the light stopped flashing and the wind transformed into a light breeze. The dark, sinister clouds rolled away and the stars once again peek out onto the village below them. Not a trace of the storm was left behind.
Hours later, the sun came up again. A few roosters welcomed it loudly before they began to root around for food. One by one, all the dogs in the hamlet began to howl. Then phones began to ring.
It would be mid-morning before anyone realized what had happened during the night.
Every single soul in Avebury was gone.
: The ritual Willow preforms is based on the two she's preformed before in order to restore Angel's soul. Of course, because what she's preforming here is very different from the ones she's done before (Angel's was all in one piece and in one place) the ritual has been modified. I changed up the layout of the circles (two instead of just one, for a start) and changed the incantation a bit. Hopefully, it still makes sense to anyone, who actually speaks either Romanian or Latin, which are the two other languages used in it according to buffy.wikia.com. Which was where most of the info about this ritual came from. Avebury
: The village of Avebury is indeed a real place in Wiltshire county. It's about 17 miles away from Stonehenge and 12 miles away from the town of Chippenham. It's most noteable for its three stone circles surrounding it and the Avebury Manor and gardens. For the record, I have never been there, so I'm mostly going on pictures, a tourist map and my roommate's word that there's a pub in the village (I mean, it's a European village, so quite frankly I'd be shocked if there wasn't a pub in it somewhere). I spent more time researching the perfect location for this particular scene than I did writing it.
Btw, is there anyone from Avebury reading this? If so, sorry for, um 'disappearing' you. =P