Meet and Greet
I’m back!!! I basically got sick of waiting for my Beta to get back to me, so I read over what I had written about a gazillion times, and had my sister read it, and kept in mind the things my beta would usually say to me. Hopefully everything’s all right.
On the up side, I’ve completed the story, so it should go up pretty fast. As a special treat, I’m posting two chapters tonight. Hope you like!
Meet and Greet
In London, Hermione Granger hung up the phone. How did a muggle high school student get her hands on a piece of Wizarding poetry? Maybe the poet's descendants were squibs that married muggles or something along those lines. And what was all that about 'scourgish' and 'a year before'? Hermione shook her head to clear her thoughts and resumed her research that Kiley's phone call had interrupted.
After four years in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Hermione had been recruited into the Department of Mysteries as an Unspeakable, and now, five years after graduation, she had her first big case. The Scourge of Europe was active once again, after nearly a century of dormancy. Over the past several weeks, she had been living and breathing the history of the Scourge, reading all she could about them, learning their ways, methods, anything that could help her and her fellow agents to track them down, anything to help them figure out how to stop them before anyone else was killed.Wait a minute, scourgish? As in Scourge of Europe? No, it couldn't be!
The poem certainly sounded like something one of the Scourge would write, if one of them was a poet, but whoever heard of a vampire writing poetry? Then again, her sister's friend had said 'they' were from before 'he' was turned. Maybe one of the Scourge had been a poet before he was turned, and the journals somehow stayed in the family.What had Kiley said the author's name was? William?
Hermione's eyes widened in horror. It couldn't be. It just couldn't be. She quickly turned back to the beginning of the enormous musty old tome she had been studying.Title page: The Scourge of Europe: Doings and Undoings
No, too early. Turn ahead a few pages. Ah! Here we are!"The Scourge of Europe was active from the mid-eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, with their most horrific crimes occurring in the last two decades of the latter. According to the Watcher Chronicles, the Scourge of Europe consists of four Vampires: Darla, turned in the Virginia Colony in 1609; Angelus, turned by Darla in Galway, Ireland in 1753; Drusilla, driven mad then turned by Angelus in Tuscany in 1860; and finally William, called The Bloody, turned in London in 1880."
1880. And the date she had overheard was 1879. 'A year before he was turned.' That's what the year meant! Hermione really didn't like the conclusion she was coming to.I have to make sure
She pulled out the poetry compilation Kiley had spoken of and looked at the index for any authors named William.There's one. William - Black! As in Sirius? Talk about a small world.
She turned to the page indicated and read this William Black's poem. It was the one Kiley had read to her, and it was accompanied by a short paragraph about the author."William Black, son of the second son of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black first published this poem in The London Rag, a muggle newspaper, in 1879. It apparently was written in reaction to having his poetry ridiculed at a party. Barely six months after this poem's first publication, young Mr. Black was found dead in an alleyway. Due to the unique puncture wounds in his throat, a legend has grown up around him. It says that he was turned into a Vampire that wreaked vengeance on all those who ridiculed him."
Hermione put the book down, her horror complete. One of the Scourge was a wizard, quite possibly a Dark wizard.
It was early Friday evening when the train from Little Whinging pulled into the London Bridge station.
"Kiley! Over here!"
The Granger sisters embraced each other on the platform. Even though they only lived a 40-minute train ride apart, they hadn't seen each other in ages. Dawn hung back a bit, not wanting to interfere with their reunion, but then Kiley introduced her to her sister and they headed out to Hermione's car. Exiting the station, Dawn was greeted with a view of the famous London Bridge.
"This is so cool! Can you believe I've been here for almost a year and I haven't seen London Bridge?"
"But you've been to London, haven't you?" Kiley asked, "I mean, Giles and Buffy work here don't they?"
"They work in the West End, nowhere near London Bridge. If we take the train, we usually go to Paddington then take the tube the rest of the way. The only part of London outside of the west end I've seen is the airport."
"Well, how about we take the long way home, then?" Hermione suggested as they got into the car.
Their route took them all over the city, eventually leading to the converted docklands just east of London proper. Old warehouses had been converted to shops and pubs and flats, and the place had become known as the Tower Hamlets, for being beside the Tower of London. Along the way, they talked.
"By the way, Kiley, that poem you read me was in the Poems of the Night book, just like you thought."
"See, I told you I wasn't hallucinating! Do you hear that, Dawn? We have proof of publication!"
Dawn was slightly flabbergasted. Spike had really been published! Sure, it was something she had been hoping for, but honestly she hadn't really expected it to pan out.
"I don't know, Kiley. The collection was first published only twenty years ago. You may have proof of publication, but not necessarily proof the poem comes from the proper era." Hermione pointed out.
"Go ahead, rain on my parade." Kiley muttered.
Dawn glanced at her, "What about the journal?"
"It could have been forged." Hermione said glibly.
"Aw! Come on Hermione! Just because you're miserable doesn't mean you have to make us miserable too."
"I'm just telling you what your professor will say if you present her with what you've got right now. And I'm not miserable."
Kiley gave her sister a discerning look. "There's more to this, isn't there"
Hermione gave a half-smile. "In the poem's accompanying paragraph, it said that the poem was originally published in the London Rag. It was a muggle paper, so you can use it as proof. I was thinking of taking you girls down to the National Archives tomorrow to see if we can track it down."
"Awesome!" Dawn exclaimed, "Spending Saturday researching. It'll be just like old times back in Sunnyhell!"
"Sunnyhell?" Hermione remarked.
"Sunnydale, I said Sunnydale. It's where I lived in California." Careful here Dawn, this sister of Kiley’s doesn’t seem to miss much.
"I'm sure you said Sunnyhell."
"What's a muggle?" When in doubt, change the subject, Dawn always thought.
"Wha-" Hermione started to look slightly alarmed.
"You said the London Rag was a muggle paper, what does that mean?"
"Ah...er..." If Hermione were Giles, she'd be cleaning her glasses right about now. As Luck would have it, though, they had just reached Hermione's flat, and Dawn was left without an answer.
The girls got their bags out of the car and headed up to the flat. Dawn and Hermione were both trying not to look like they were suspicious of each other, even though they each knew the other was hiding something. The guests dumped their stuff in the spare bedroom, and Hermione went into her study to call for some take out.
It was a fairly modest flat, three bedrooms, one of which had become the aforementioned study, a kitchen/dining room and a front room. The thing that struck Dawn's attention the most though, was the fact that there were books EVERYWHERE! And they weren't your average Piccadilly bookshop material either. No, they were the kind of books that would look right at home in Giles's collection, in fact it looked like the two collections had a few titles in common.
"Hey, Kiley, what does your sister do for a living?" Maybe her job might explain Hermione's rather eccentric taste in books.
"She works for some sort of government ministry, I'm not sure which. Why?"
"Oh, no reason. She's just got some really strange books, that's all." Wait a minute: The Scourge of Europe - Doings and Undoings
? Why would Kiley's sister be reading *that*?
Something weird was going on here. Dawn was beginning to think she should be hoping Hermione didn't belong to some weird cult or something.
"Food'll be here in twenty minutes, about. I called for Chinese, I hope that's alright." Hermione joined the two younger girls in the front room, bringing a hard cover book bound in midnight blue crushed velvet with the title embroidered in silver along the spine: 'Poems of the Night.' Kiley noted the title.
"Is that it? The one with the poem in it?"
"Yes it is." Hermione handed Kiley the book. "By the way Dawn, it just occurred to me while I was on the phone, wasn't Sunnydale that town that got swallowed in an earthquake last year?"
"That's one way of putting it, I suppose." Dawn had a shuttered look in her eyes.
"The official blurb from the media is that a highly localized earthquake caused the previously undiscovered cavern system the town was built on to collapse, thus 'swallowing' it." Dawn said almost spitefully.The official blurb?
Hermione pondered Dawn's wording. Could there be more to the story? Wait a minute, Sunnydale! There had been a hellmouth there, which closed when the town was destroyed!
It had happened just a few months after she had become an Unspeakable. And Dawn had called it Sunnyhell! Could she possibly know what really happened that day?
Hermione decided to test the waters.
"The papers don't always tell the whole story," she said, to see how Dawn would react.
"Because sometimes the truth is too much for the public to handle!"
The look in Dawn’s eyes reminded Hermione of one she saw in the mirror all to often, the anguish of knowing the truth, but knowing no one will believe you if you told them.
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Edited 2/27/2007 - Many thanks to dorothy for correcting me on the dates that the Scourge members were turned