*Disclaimer* I own nothing. Harry and Buffy both belong to people who are not me. Don't sue.
It was, Harry decided, an odd place for it. When Hermione and Lupin’s research revealed that Ravenclaw’s Horcrux was made from her ancient student grimoire, he wasn’t terribly surprised. Southern California, however, was totally unexpected. Standing in the bright California sunlight, he found it nearly impossibly to picture Voldemort just strolling into this school and leaving a piece of his soul in the library with all the science and American muggle history textbooks. Of course, he found just as nearly impossible to picture himself just strolling in there to retrieve it. Yet here he was, surrounded by brightly clad American kids talking about nothing in their strange, hard accents. He wondered briefly what he was doing here, saving the world for these sheep who didn’t even know it needed saving.
“Well,” Ron interrupted Harry’s musings, “This should be a synch. We wander about in our new muggle disguises,” he gestured to his ill-fitting jeans and garish Hawaiian shirt, “Find the library, grab the book, and be home for supper.”
“Really think it will be that easy to find?” asked Harry.
“Come on Harry. How many ancient magical texts is this school likely to have?” he retorted.
“What if someone sees us?” worried Hermione.
“Honestly Hermione, other than you, how many people our age hang out in the library?”
As it turned out, four people their age hung out in the library. They, along with the bespeckled middle-aged librarian, greeted Harry, Ron and Hermione’s entrance with looks of startled annoyance.
“Rude much?” snapped the heavily made up brunette girl. “It’s a private conversation and you can’t just waltz in here --”
“Ah, technically they can what with this being a public place and all,” interrupted the redhead.
“And on that note,” the blonde rose from her seat, “time for class.”
“Yes...quite rather. I suppose we’ll finish this later then,” said the librarian in a voice rich with the accent of home.
“Not me,” announced the brunette, “I have way more important stuff to do tonight.”
“Right,” said the only boy in the group, “‘cause cheerleading is going to save the world.”
She shot him a death glare in response before flouncing out. The other girls followed her giggling together as the librarian turned to assist them.
“We’re looking for a book,” Hermione answered trying to sound as American as the exiting students and failing abysmally. The librarian didn’t seem to notice as he told them to call for him when they were ready to check out, but out of the corner of his eye Harry noticed the suspicious look on the boy’s face as he headed for class.
A quick glance at the stacks revealed that a school like this could, in fact, have a rather vast collection of ancient magical texts.
“Bloody hell,” hissed Ron. “What kind of muggle school has this many books on the occult? Do we at least know what we’re looking for?”
“Well,” said Hermione reasonably as she ticked off each trait on her fingers, “We know that it’s a spell book, it’s bound in brown leather, it has some sort of symbol on the cover, and she wrote her name on one of the pages.” There was a pregnant pause.
“Gee thanks Hermione. That really narrows it down,” grumbled Harry.
“So,” said Ron in the tones of someone who knows that truth but desperately wants to be lied to, “essentially what you’re saying is that we’re going to have to go through every book here.” At Hermione’s slow nod a look of righteous anger flooded Ron’s face and ears with color. “Ok, now he REALLY has to die!” And with that, the first bell rang the start of classes.
Two bells and what seemed like a million books later found Harry on the floor reading a book about the role of possession demons in Bacchic orgies. He was pondering whether this could be considered Dark Arts or good, although not so clean, fun when the door opened and a woman called out “Rupert” in a furtive voice.
“Jenny?” responded the librarian. “Jenny, I’m not entirely sure this is the best time to-”
“Rupert,” she interrupted in a sultry voice, “don’t be such a fuddy-duddy.” This exchange was followed by some very odd, yet strangely familiar, noises and the thump of a book hitting the floor.
When this not quite silence became protracted, Harry leaned around the book shelf to see the tweed-clad librarian and a dark-haired woman in sensible shoes kissing like a pair of teenagers by the reference desk. Harry watched them for several long moments recalling what it was like to loose himself in love like that. For a moment he wished that he and Ginny were more like Rupert and Jenny; in love with nothing more to worry about than being spotted snogging by the students. It would be a long time before he could have that luxury. Harry sighed, closed the book on Eyghon, and picked up another.
By the time the last bell rang around three, Harry was miserable. His eyes ached and burned from reading fading print in poor light and his nose ran with the dust of ages. The sandwiches lovingly prepared for them by Mrs. Weasley were long gone and Harry’s stomach was almost painfully empty. Added to that was the frustration of this seemingly endless and impossible task. As the din from the halls swelled to a fever pitch, Harry slammed shut the book on animal possession with a muffled bang which caused Ron and Hermione’s heads to appear from behind their respective shelves.
“I can’t do this any more,” Harry informed them. “I’m starving and my brains are about to leak out my ears. I say we break for supper and come back when everyone’s gone home. Maybe then we can use some magic to get this done before we graduate.”
“Harry,” began Hermione in the cautious tones of someone giving bad news to a man already on edge, “I don’t know if magic will-”
“I’m game,” interrupted Ron. “Let’s go see what muggles eat.”
Pizza made everything better. Ron had quickly decided that it was the best food ever, excepting chocolate of course, and said as much after ever third bite while Hermione smiled patiently and dissected her’s with near surgical precision. Harry’s own full stomach buoyed his spirits nearly as much as the conversation. Ron’s restored optimism was contagious, and more importantly, Hermione believed she had discovered a pattern.
“It wasn’t just a random assortment of magical books,” she explained. “At least, the section I was in was organized around a theme. Organ harvesting actually. It was,” she suddenly looked rather queezy, “rather graphic.”
“I’ll bet it was. I got to read all about vampires myself. How to find them, how to kill them, their fun and disturbing adventures. There was,” Ron paused to chew his mouthful of food, “this one crazy bird that could see the future and her boy used to torture people with railroad spikes and you don’t even want to know what that one bloke did to that puppy.”
“Er...I had a section about possession.”
“Well,” said Hermione with a look of dawning revelation, “we had been assuming that, as muggles, they really wouldn’t have known enough to organize the books into different subsections of the occult but-”
“Muggles aren’t daft. After all,” said Ron waving his slice about, “they did invent this pizza stuff. We just need to find the sections with actual spells.”
“You mean I won’t get to read any more about orgy inducing possession demons?” joked Harry. “Spoil all my fun.”
Ron got the sort of goggle-eyed look of any healthy seventeen year old boy in a discussion about orgies while Hermione looked rather scandalized. “I can’t imagine anyone as proper seeming as that librarian having something like that in his library,” she commented.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” said Harry and proceeded to tell them about Jenny and Rupert’s romantic liaison. His attempts to make the word fuddy-duddy sound as American and sexy as it had for Jenny had Ron snorting his coke and even got a smile out of Hermione. The boy buying pizza at the counter got a good chuckle out of it as well.