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Uncle Quentin's Spy (Harry Potter/Buffy) (Complete)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Starfox5, Mar 9, 2015.

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  1. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Uncle Quentin’s Spy

    Summary: In the summer following her 4th year at Hogwarts, Hermione Granger is visited by a great-uncle she hasn’t met before, and learns that the world is older than she thought, and that wizards are not the only ones fighting the forces of Darkness.

    Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters in the Harry Potter books or movies. I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any of the characters in the series.

    Cover:
    [​IMG]

    Chapter 1: Unexpected Visits
    Chapter 2: First Strike
    Chapter 3: Trouble at Hogwarts
    Chapter 4: Changing Plans
    Chapter 5: Troubles with Training
    Chapter 6: Patrols
    Chapter 7: Christmas Revelations
    Chapter 8: The Prophecy
    Chapter 9: Alliances
    Chapter 10: Plots and Plans
    Chapter 11: Spy Games
    Chapter 12: Crimes and Criminals
    Chapter 13: Framed
    Chapter 14: Setups
    Chapter 15: Cutting Loose
    Chapter 16: Aftermath
    Chapter 17: Invasion
    Chapter 18: Showdown
    Chapter 19: Picking up the Pieces
    Epilogues
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: Unexpected Visits
    Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Chapter 1: Unexpected Visits

    Hermione Granger was not in a good mood when she returned to her home from a trip to the local library. Usually she loved visiting the libraries during the summer holidays, browsing the new books, sifting through the newspapers, catching up with the real world after months spent in rather isolated Wizarding Britain. This summer though it was different. Her best friend, Harry Potter, had spent most of the last school year worrying about surviving a barbaric tournament he had been forced to participate in. And at the very moment the tournament had ended he had been kidnapped by the murderer of his parents, tortured, and barely escaped with his life while a fellow student had been murdered in front of him. And now he was back with his relatives, who hated him, and the headmaster of her school had forbidden her from writing Harry.

    She didn’t know why she couldn’t write Harry. Common sense said he needed all the lo… all the friends he had to deal with the traumatic experiences he had gone through. But Dumbledore was the wisest wizard of Britain, he had to know what he was doing. And yet she doubted. Wanted to disobey. It tore at her, imagining Harry alone, friendless, surrounded by his awful relatives. And yet she couldn’t do anything.

    Sighing, she entered her home, then blinked when she heard her mother talking with another person in the living room. It was too early for her mother’s friends to come over for tea, and her father was still at their practise.

    “Hermione? We have a guest.” Her mother sounded a bit off. Not the same tone she used when introducing a guest she’d rather have leave, but was too polite to say so, nor the friendly tone that indicated a good friend or a family member.

    Hermione stepped into their living room and saw an older man standing up and smile at her. He wore a tweed suit, rather old-fashioned but sturdy.

    “Hermione, this is your great-uncle Quentin. Quentin Travers. Uncle Quentin, this is Hermione.”

    Her great-uncle - mother’s uncle, she noted - had a firm handshake. “A pleasure. I’ve heard a lot of you. Best student of your year at Hogwarts, right?”

    Hermione froze, then looked over at her mother. before she could say anything, Mrs Granger shook her head. “I didn’t tell him. He already knew.”

    The young witch glanced at the man’s hand, then met his eyes. He smiled, and shook his head. “I am no wizard, Hermione. But I know about the magical world. I am a Watcher.”

    Hermione blinked. “A Watcher?”

    His smile grew wider. “Let us sit down, dear, and let me explain.” Hermione sat down, barely noticing her mother filling her tea cup. Her thoughts were racing. Was this a breach of the Statute of Secrecy? A ploy from Voldemort? A trap? Or did her family have wizard roots? Or wizard in-laws? What was a Watcher? Only her good manners, drilled into her by her parents, and her mother’s presence prevented her from voicing all those questions as fast as she could think of them.

    Her great-uncle - if that was no ruse - took a sip from his own cup, leaned back, and smiled as if he understood just what she was thinking. “The world is older than you know…”

    *****​

    Hermione had forgotten about her tea and her biscuits while she had listened to ‘Uncle Quentin’s’ mind-boggling revelations. Wizards were not the only ones who knew about magic. Not the only ones who fought against magical dangers. Muggles did that too. Had done so for millennia, to defend humanity. It shook her world view to the core. For four years she had been taught that muggles were ignorant, couldn’t understand magic or wizards, and now her great-uncle told her differently. “So… Watchers are those who guide and support the chosen one, the Slayer. The one girl in the world who can fight demons and vampires and other magical dangers.”

    Travers nodded. “Correct. I am a Senior Watcher. It’s a family tradition. My father was the Head of the Watchers Council. We train the Slayer, support her in her mission, and collect knowledge about supernatural threats she might have to fight. Our libraries date back to the time writing was invented, but our lore goes even further back.” Hermione had to swallow at the thought of all that knowledge, all those books… she had thought the library in Hogwarts was great, but this? A slight touch by her mother shook her from her sudden fantasies.

    “Ah. But why are you telling me this? I imagine you’re sworn to secrecy, since I haven’t heard about anything like this before.” Hermione didn’t know if her great-uncle wanted to recruit her… was she maybe the next Slayer?

    “We are not exactly sworn to secrecy, but with the Wizards enforcing the Statute of Secrecy, greater discretion has become quite necessary for us to work without interference by misguided wizards. Though the various governments are quite aware of us and our mission.” That was a good thing, in Hermione’s opinion. “As to the reason for my visit - apart from getting to know my grandniece - the Council has questions concerning recent events.” He pulled out a few newspapers from his suitcase. Magical newspapers, Hermione realized - if one could call the Daily Prophet that.

    “Oh.” Those were articles detailing the tournament, including the one who had denounced her as a gold digging slut. Just remembering the morning that piece of slander had arrived at Hogwarts made her angry.

    Travers nodded. “When I found out that my grandniece was mentioned in some of those articles, I thought that you might be able to tell me what is currently going on in Wizarding Britain. There are rather disturbing rumors floating around.”

    “Oh.” Hermione leaned forward and took a closer look at the Daily Prophets. There were not just the older issues, but also more recent ones. With articles about Harry... calling him a delusional liar? She looked up, anger evident on her face and in her voice. “That’s not true! He’s no liar!”

    She stared at her great-uncle, chin raised. “Those newspapers are not worth the paper they are printed on!”

    Travers smiled apologetically at her, spreading his hands in an appeasing gesture. “Can you tell me what really happened?”

    Hermione could.

    *****​

    Harry Potter wasn’t having a good day. Or week. He was stuck at Privet Drive, stuck with a family who hated him, isolated and cut off from his friends. His nights were plagued with nightmares in which dead Cedric Diggory appeared to blame and curse him while a laughing doll was torturing him before growing into a snake-faced monster who then tortured him again.

    And his days consisted of chores and boredom, and hateful glances and remarks from his aunt and her family. His relatives, not his family, despite the blood ties. He wasn’t allowed to do magic - not that he would, it being illegal for an underage wizard during the vacations - nor permitted to read his magic school books. And his friends were not writing him. That hurt. At least he had his wand on him - with Voldemort resurrected, it might be his only defense. Illegal or not.

    He glared at the weed he had yet to pull from Petunia’s garden. Having to weed the rose bushes wasn’t a big deal in itself, Harry felt. Other kids on the street did the same, some even more, though he suspected those worked to earn some money. What made him despise the chores he did was that his cousin Dudley didn’t do any chores, ever.

    Wiping the sweat from his brows with the back of his lower arm - his work gloves would only smear dirt all over his face, and pulling them off every few minutes was a chore in itself - he was about to resume his work when he heard a car pull into their drive. It was far too early to be Vernon. Curious, and wishing to do anything but weeding right now, he walked to the front of the house, to see who had arrived.

    He saw a large Mercedes in the driveway. He wasn’t up to date with car models, but it looked new and expensive. Then again, it was a Mercedes, the latter was expected. When the doors opened he forgot about the model at once.

    “Hermione!” He took a step towards them, then remembered he had been weeding the garden and was both sweaty and dirty, and wearing old and worn clothes. Briefly he thought that at least this way he had an excuse for dressing in rags.

    “Harry!” Hermione rushed towards him and for a moment he feared - or hoped - she’d hug him, and ruin her summer dress. Though she stopped in time, and looked him over with a smile. A smile she lost a few seconds later.

    “How are you doing?” She started to bite her lower lip, some habit he knew she had when she was embarrassed or nervous. He couldn’t think of a reason for her to be either though.

    “Same old same old, I guess.” He shrugged, and nodded towards the garden. “My time is split between chores and boredom.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry, Harry. I should have written, but Dumbledore said we were not allowed to contact you!” Again she almost hugged him, settling for gripping his shoulders, and he was briefly distracted from processing her words when he caught a glimpse down her dress.

    “He said what?” He didn’t blush, and and if he did it would be mistaken for anger or blamed on the sun and his hard work.

    “He forbid me and Ron to write to you. He said you needed to be alone to deal with the effects of the tournament.” The way Hermione was biting her lower lip now, almost drawing blood, she had to be thinking he was angry.

    “Why would he say that?” Harry was confused. Dumbledore hadn’t said anything like that to him, before he had left Hogwarts.

    “I do not know.” Hermione sounded so vexed, Harry briefly checked where his feet were, just in case she decided to stomp her foot. Or his, by accident.

    Before they could talk further, the sound of a man clearing his throat caused both to take a step back. An older man stood there, wearing a tweed suit.

    Hermione did blush. “Ah, sorry. Uncle Quentin, this is Harry Potter. Harry, this is my great-uncle Quentin Travers.”

    “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mister Potter.” For an old man “Uncle Quentin” had a firm handshake, Harry found out after removing his gloves. He sent a glance at Hermione, slightly confused now.

    “Uncle Quentin has invited us to spend a day in the City, browse the bookstores, go shopping a bit.” Hermione beamed at him, but still looked a bit nervous. Harry’s confusion had grown worse - such things didn’t happen to him, he had learned that - but he trusted Hermione and wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

    “I’ll have to change into … better … clothes.” Not good clothes, of course. Only his robes qualified as that, and he couldn’t wear them in muggle London. He suddenly realized they had been standing in front of the door for some minutes now. “Ah… please excuse my lapse in manners, come inside.”

    His aunt was buying groceries and Dudley was out with his friends - or gang - so no one was inside who’d trouble Hermione and her uncle. Harry left them in the living room and hurried upstairs for a quick shower and change of clothes.

    When he came down he caught Mister Travers studying the pictures at the wall. From the way he looked at Harry without saying anything, Harry took that the man had noticed the lack of any pictures showing him. Hermione certainly seemed to have realized it with the way her eyes were blazing. She looked like she wanted to turn the living room into rubble. Hugging him seemed to calm her down some, but she was still muttering words she’d chastise Ron for when they were pulling out of the driveway.

    “Thank you again, Sir, for inviting me to this outing.” Harry smiled. Then he noticed Hermione flinching, and putting dents into her lip again.

    “It’s my pleasure, Mister Potter. But while we will spend some time shopping - for books and clothes - I must confess we also have an ulterior motive for taking you with us.”

    Harry tensed up, then glanded at Hermione. She smiled at him and put her hand on his shoulder. “It’s ok, Harry. He’s here to help you.”

    “Indeed, Mister Potter. Let me start at the beginning. The world is older than you know…”

    *****​

    Quentin Travers was smiling at the boy - the young man, young wizard, he corrected himself - sitting in his office next to his grandniece. The shopping hadn’t taken much time, his niece’s tales about Hermione’s passion for books notwithstanding. He hadn’t had to spend much of the budget for this mission yet either, a few books and some decent clothes for the young man had not cost much. And in exchange the Council had not only gained a source of information very close to one of the most powerful wizards in Britain, but two potential recruits for the Watchers as well.

    Hermione… she was a chip of the old block, he could see that. Passionate, determined, ruthless. She’d be a good Watcher even if she wasn’t a witch. As a witch though, and with family ties to the Council, she was priceless. The girl only needed a bit of polish and she’d be one of the greatest assets of the Council.

    Mister Potter had potential as well, and seemed very close to his grandniece. He trusted her with his life, a blind man could see that. Quentin was quite certain that if Hermione became a Watcher, her friend would follow. If he survived. What he had told them from the ritual he had taken part in as a sacrifice was not promising, and that scar…

    “You might have already guessed that we have a number of witches and wizards among our ranks. And a number of Watchers who can use certain rituals, but not wands.” He smiled at them. Harry gaped - he hadn’t suspected such a thing - but his grandniece was sharp. Chip of the old block indeed. If only her mother had not been so set on defying her family and becoming a dentist… “If you wish you can get training from them, during the summer. We’ve got a library with tomes I am quite sure not even your school has, and spells you’re unlikely to be taught.” Lethal ones.

    Hermione’s eyes lit up, then she bit her lips. “But the prohibition on underage magic...”

    Quentin smiled. “Don’t worry about that. We have a selection of wands you can pick, all without the trace.” Wands from Watchers who died, usually violently, in the Council’s service, but he would not tell them that yet. His grandniece beamed at him, and elbowed her friend. Quentin knew the deal had just been closed. Another step completed.

    “What will you do about Voldemort, Uncle? He’s out there, building up his forces.”

    “We’ve recalled the Slayer. She’s on her way back to England.” And with the list of Death Eaters Voldemort had named in front of Harry the Slayer had a number of targets to go after. One of them would talk, and they’d find that Dark Lord.

    “The Slayer…it still feels odd knowing she’s not a legend, but an actual person.” Hermione sounded impressed. Quentin controlled his urge to correct the girl. The Slayer was a weapon. A weapon to be used for the protection of humanity. He wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to use her against the wizards. They feared her as an unstoppable, immortal killing machine, relentlessly hunting down and exterminating wizards who crossed the line. Although as a Senior Watcher he was aware it was a bluff. It had cost the lives of three Slayers in a single year, back in the 17th century, and the extermination of an entire wizard family, to convince the wizards that the Slayer couldn’t be stopped. To convince them that they could not rule humanity. That they should hide instead. Sending her against the Death Eaters now could threaten that reputation. But by all accounts Voldemort was too great a threat for Watchers to deal with.

    “You might meet her, if you spend more time here, training.” He smiled at Hermione and Mister Potter, dangling another carrot in front of them. “Maybe you could help us out even, Hermione.” Her eyes lit up again - the girl wanted to help, and wanted to feel needed even more. So much like her grandmother.

    “How can I help, uncle?” She all but bounced on her seat.

    “We’ve got a small potion lab here, but… we don’t have any good brewers among our ranks.” Most of the magical Watchers were muggleborn wizards, and those didn’t fare well in Potions at Hogwarts. Not since Snape had taken over.

    “Of course! What potions do you need?”

    “Veritaserum, mainly. Many of the other useful ones we can buy.” Judging by her expression when she nodded she understood and approved.

    “I can brew that. It’ll take me a month, but I can do that. My parents will have to change their plans.” She didn’t sound like there was any doubt that her parents would do exactly that. Quentin approved of her priorities.

    “We can fetch both of you in the mornings, and drive you back in the evenings. To keep your cover you could tell your relatives that you’ve taken a summer job.” Quentin took care not to let any pity for the young man’s situation show. A young man had his pride, after all.

    “Thank you, sir. I can change some of my galleons into pounds, and tell them it’s money earned.” From the look the young wizard shot him he had not missed the gesture. He was sharper than Quentin had assumed then.

    “There’s no need for that. If you help us like you just did, we’ll certainly compensate you for your troubles.” And let you grow accustomed to working for us.

    *****​

    Harry Potter was enjoying the best summer in his life. He had fitting clothes, no more chores, and even was earning money. He only slept at Privet Drive these days, and ignored his relatives. They had accepted his tale of having found a summer job without any question other than what money he’d earn - and then demanded most of it as payment for “room and board”. Harry had expected that, and had lied about his wage.

    Each morning a car came to fetch him. They’d stop on the way to London for breakfast, and then he’d spend the morning in the Council’s headquarters, training with Watchers and Hermione when his friend wasn’t brewing. He wished she’d spend more time with him and the Watchers, but he didn’t complain - her work was important and he still saw far more of her than during any other summer, and enjoyed her company at lunch and dinner.

    Currently John Fitzburg was teaching him an incendiary spell created to set vampires ablaze at a distance. John was a muggleborn wizard who had joined the Council after spending a few years as a clerk in a shop in Diagon Alley making minimum wages despite his excellent grades at Hogwart. He wore casual clothes, unlike most other Watchers Harry had seen. Probably due to his training though - cheaper to replace in case something got damaged.

    The spell required less aiming than Incendio, but caused more collateral damage. John swore by it though. “Those leeches are too fast for your usual aimed spells. You need spells that hit the space they are in and the space they are moving into to torch them.”

    Harry pointed his wand at the targets set up at the now blackened wall again, and went through the wand movements a few times, then cast again. This time a cone of fire erupted from the tip of his wand, engulfing the entire wall. “Wow.”

    John blinked, then smiled. “Excellent work, Harry!” He clapped Harry on the shoulder hard enough to stagger him. “If that had been a vampire he’d be ashes now. I bet even a master vampire wouldn’t have been able to evade that.”

    Harry nodded. He remembered Remus’ lessons about vampires in his third year, but the werewolf had not gone into half the details he was learning at the Council. “Why don’t we learn this spell at Hogwarts if it’s the best defense against vampires?”

    John took a deep breath, and handed him a bottle of cola. “I don’t know, you understand. I can only speculate.” Harry nodded, prodding him to go on. “But I think the spell is a bit too lethal for the school there. They don’t want the students to learn such spells.”

    “But wouldn’t that leave them vulnerable to vampires?” Harry didn’t understand that reasoning. As he had learned from John and Uncle Quentin, vampires were a plague on mankind. Anyone able to should learn how to destroy them.

    “Vampires tend not to go after wizards. They can escape too easily with apparition and might get lucky with a spell. Wards repel them even if they were invited, and the aurors hunt them down should they appear in a Wizard enclave. For a fledgling, going after a wizard is akin to suicide. And master vampires usually go after easier prey.

    “Ah. Do the aurors kill a lot of vampires?”

    John frowned. “No. They only act if wizards are in danger.” His expression dissuaded Harry from asking a follow-up question. He had quickly learned that just about every Watcher had lost a friend or loved one to vampires or other demons.

    John smiled. “Now… the next spell is a variation of the Cutting Curse. It decapitates a target. Many demons die if they lose their head, so it’s quite useful, but you need good aim.”

    Harry grinned, and paid close attention to the demonstration. Hermione would join them soon, and he liked to help teach her the spells.

    *****​

    Hermione was impressed by the Slayer, India Cohen. A girl not much older than herself, but she had done so much already since she had been called in 1993. She had saved so many people. Apart from that, the Slayer had a presence that was impossible to miss or dismiss and moved with effortless grace, like a predator. After a few seconds watching her Hermione knew with certainty that she was the deadliest person she had ever met. She understood now, at least in part, why wizards feared the Slayer. India wore simple clothes - pullover, jeans, boots. A leather jacket. Sturdy, easy to replace.

    India was so focused on her mission, as if nothing could ever stop her. The young witch admired that dedication. That sense of purpose. If Harry was more like that… she frowned at the thought. Maybe not quite like that. India didn’t seem to have any friends, only her Watcher, Christopher Botwell, seemed close to her, and a Slayer’s Watcher was more a guardian than a friend. Uncle Quentin had told her that. Too bad Harry had already gone back to his relatives when India and Botwell had arrived at Headquarters. She was sure he would have loved to talk with another person who had been chosen, of sorts.

    “And here’s the cauldron I am brewing veritaserum in. It has to stay at the exact temperature for a moon cycle as it matures, getting stirred at precise intervals. Most of the ingredients have already been put in, so most of the work is done but for the waiting.” She was showing them the potion lab she was using to brew veritaserum, explaining the different tools and ingredients. It was quite different from the lab at Hogwarts. Better lights, better ventilation, better furniture she thought. It didn’t look like it was a few hundred years old, just a few decades.

    “Very impressive. Three drops will suffice to make a human spill his innermost secrets?” Botwell, young for a Slayer’s Watcher, but handsome, smiled at her. Hermione smiled back - it felt good to be appreciated.

    “That’s correct. It might even work on some demons who can interbreed with humans, but that hasn’t been tested.” They hadn’t had enough to use for such test, yet. That would change with the amount Hermione was brewing right now.

    Botwell whistled. “I can tell that this will help us immensely. To be able to interrogate people quickly and easily will be a boon for the fight against Voldemort.”

    Hermione was about to show him her notes when she caught a glare from India that froze her for a moment. She didn’t know what she had done to earn such sudden animosity. Before she could decide how to react though they were interrupted by Uncle Quentin.

    “Watcher Fitzburg just called. There has been an attack at Privet Drive, demons it seems.” Her uncle sounded terse, but composed, not a hint of the panic that filled Hermione. Taking him as an example, she steeled herself, and calmly - relatively at least - asked “Is Harry alright?”

    Quentin nodded, and relief filled her. “They attacked him when he stepped out of the car, but he drove them off with a spell according to Fitzburg. We’ll be leaving for Little Whinging in a minute, Fitzburg will be coming back and side-apparate us.”

    Hermione nodded and followed her great-uncle, grabbing her jacket as she reached the door. She patted her wrist-holster to make sure her borrowed wand was there. Who knew what other dangers threatened Harry. India and Botwell fell in behind her without a word.

    *****​

    They found Harry in his relatives’ house, in the living room, next to the bodies of his aunt and uncle. Their empty eyes stared at the ceiling, but they still breathed. The work of dementors, Hermione realized. She hugged Harry, and felt him return the hug. “You’re safe.” she whispered, fighting tears of relief.

    “Yes, but they… Dudley is upstairs, the same…” Harry sounded like he wanted to cry but couldn’t.

    “Dementors?” Her uncle sounded angrier than she had ever seen him.

    “Yes, Sir.” Harry stepped back from her, visibly collecting himself as he answered. “Two of them, came straight at me when I stepped out of the car. I drove them away with a Patronus Charm.”

    “Dementors on British soil. That’s a flagrant violation of the Treaty of 1692. Whoever is responsible for that crime has forfeited his life.” Quentin took a few deep breaths and then clenched his teeth.

    “There were dozens of them around Hogwarts a year ago.” Hermione was confused and concerned.

    “Whether Wizard enclaves are British soil is in dispute.” Quentin’s voice left no doubt that he considered them British.

    The Slayer was suddenly there, kneeling at the bodies. Hermione hadn’t seen her arrive - John must have gone back for her, and her Watcher. The girl studied the soulless husks, then looked up at her Botwell.

    “Can you sense them?” Botwell sounded far different. Gone was the humor and warmth, replaced by cold fury. India nodded, her face not showing any expression. “Hunt them down,” the Watcher ordered, and the Slayer was gone in the blink of an eye, the creaky sound of the back door swinging back and forth the only sign of her passage.

    “But… you cannot kill dementors. Even the Patronus Charm can only drive them away.” Hermione stated, still surprised by how quickly the girl had moved.

    “The Slayer can kill any demon. It’s her gift.” Quentin sounded so certain, Hermione wanted to believe him, even though she had been taught differently. She wanted to believe that those monsters, that any monster could be destroyed.

    She felt Harry hug her and felt ashamed. He had lost his last relatives, and yet he managed to comfort her. She didn’t want him to stop though.

    “They were after you.” Voldemort must have sent them, she realized.

    “Yes.” Harry took a deep breath. “If I had been there…”

    “It’s not your fault.” She pulled him closer. He couldn’t blame himself. “It’s not your fault!” He didn’t answer her. Didn’t agree with her.

    “My grandniece is correct, Mister Potter. This was not your fault. Nevertheless, we need to leave the premises. Whoever sent those monsters after you might strike again. You will be safe in the Council’s house. Its protections have withstood far greater dangers than dementors.”

    Hermione would have offered to take Harry to her family’s home, but she knew her uncle was correct - he’d be safe at headquarters. Then she had a chilling sound. What if those monsters came after her parents, and herself? It was well known that she was one of Harry’s closest friends. Some even believed she was his girl friend. “My family…”

    “Will be taken care of, Hermione. We look after our own.”

    “I’ll stay at headquarters too. The veritaserum will be soon reaching maturity.” And she wanted to stay with Harry. Her uncle no doubt knew that, but did not comment, he only smiled indulgently.

    They collected Harry’s meager possessions from his room and left the house in the Council’s car. Botwell left as well, but didn’t join them - his Slayer was hunting and he would be needed.

    *****​

    Albus Dumbledore frowned at the report he had received from Kingsley. Harry’s home had been attacked, his family kissed by dementors. Mundungus Fletcher, who had been guarding the house for the Order of the Phoenix that day, had been kissed as well, in the bush he had been hiding in. Harry hadn’t been there - unfortunately. The boy might have been able to deal with the dementors, and with his relatives gone like that he would not be able to renew the blood protection next year. Although Dumbledore had had his doubts about the effectiveness of those protections after Voldemort had revived himself using Harry’s own blood.

    What really irked him was the news that Harry was staying with Miss Granger at an undisclosed location, presumably another house of her family. While it made sense for the girl and her family to move in order to throw off anyone who might come after her, not even the headmaster himself knew her current address - and he needed to check up on Harry, to see how the horrible experience of losing his last family had affected the boy. It would show him if Harry was influenced by the connection to Voldemort. The boy hadn’t displayed violent tendencies so far, according to his Order guards, despite the isolation he had been placed in. That was a good sign. But Tom was cunning, as befitted a Slytherin. The Dark Lord had fooled Dumbledore before, after all, had committed horrible crimes at Hogwarts right under Dumbledore’s nose.

    It was frustrating. Harry was crucial for the defeat of Voldemort, but with his scar linking the two together, Dumbledore couldn’t trust the boy, couldn’t be sure that Voldemort would not use the boy’s eyes to spy on him. And now even Miss Granger might be compromised. Dumbledore knew how powerful horcruxes were, how they corrupted what they touched. And Harry was a horcrux, with only Lily’s blood protection keeping the soul shard from possessing the boy. If that was still the case, now that Tom shared Harry’s blood. Miss Granger had apparently been spending a lot of time with the boy, privately. They might even be intimate - it would certainly not be the first time such close contact resulted in a sordid relationship.

    The old wizard sighed. He had no choice - he would have to test the boy further, once he was at Sirius’ place, or later at Hogwarts. He had to know just how strong Voldemort’s influence was before he could make further plans to defeat the returned Dark Lord.

    Not for the first time he wished someone else could take over, could shoulder the burden of this struggle. He was not getting younger, he knew. He had made quite the number of mistakes in the last few years mistakes he would never have made when he was younger. To miss Barty Crouch Jr. masquerading as one of his oldest living friends, for a year! To see the likes of Fudge and Malfoy outmaneuver him in the Wizengamot! He was losing his touch. And yet he could not trust anyone else with the defeat of Voldemort. Even as old as he had grown, he remained the best, the only choice to oppose Voldemort.

    No one knew the Dark Lord as well as he did. Not even Voldemort himself.


    Chapter 2: First Strike
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  3. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Interesting. Shades of Buffy, with a subtle but very real attraction between Harry and Hermione.

    Will be reading.

    You're really rocking the HP fics, aren't you?
     
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  4. DeAnno

    DeAnno Power over Versatility

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    This is interesting. HP and Buffy tend to be a common fanfiction cross, but rarely is it done well. I like the tone of this though, and what especially seems promising is that Harry, Hermione, and the current Slayer all seem important. Harry is getting a lot of characterization, Hermione has her uses without being ridiculous, and the Slayer seems legitimately dangerous even if the reality can't quite live up to the reputation.

    Quentin swooping in to pick up Harry and Hermione as agents is very well timed here, with a large threat brewing that the Wizards are eager to ignore, and a particularly brutal press period for Harry on top of that.
     
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  5. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Thanks! HP is my preferred fandom since it offers so many possibilities despite or because of the flaws in canon - especially for crossovers and alternate universes. I've got a few more plot ideas, for the time after Uncle Quentin is finished.

    Thank you. I do hope I can keep the characters alive and detailed. Focus will be on Harry and Hermione, but India is perfectly placed to show what's happening where those two can't or won't go and Quentin wouldn't be either. I am also looking forward to flesh out Quentin some, torn between his usual "ends justify the means" attitude and the "family matters" view.
     
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  6. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    Oh, this is very good. I wonder how Harry and Hermione's actions will butterfly things on the Buffy side, though. Also, will they be sent to Sunnydale after graduating from Hogwarts? They'd be around Buffy's age, after all.
     
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  7. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    I've got only vague plans for a sequel at this point. It would involve Harry and Hermione heading to Sunnydale, but I am not sure at which point - 3rd, 4th or 5th season? Should they become watchers, then they'll be sent to Sunnydale in Season 5 to (help) deal with Glory, but I am not sure if they'd be sent to help earlier than that. Adjusting to a TV series arc is a bit more difficult than adjusting to a book arc though. Unless one massively expands the story, a number of episodes would either be cut or skipped over. And as said already, I am not sure if the Mayor would be a danger big enough to send some of the rare wizards, wh have trouble with hellmouths anyway, over. Also not sure about Adam.
     
  8. steamrick

    steamrick Wisdom is in pursuit, but I'm faster!

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    I very much like the premise of this one. Excellent worldbuilding.
     
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  9. Larekko12

    Larekko12 Connoisseur.

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    I can't really like this at all. In the beginning of things Harry Potter and Buffy have stupidly incompatible metaphysics and cultures. They just don't slot in well. I mean Vampires as full fledged Sapients in Hp if considered dark and have magical food that works for sustenance and their own society.

    Then there's Magic and it's opness and abject dominance of combat in middle ground to an obscenely large degree before you start hitting Buffy high high level bullshit.

    A large quoroum of demons are literally chumps for Wizards and hostile in the sense they'd be eradicated marginalized or tamed like what happened to most magical threats.

    I mean the Slayer boost would have to be vastly more impressive than what you get in canon to really matter before the sheer weight of wizards. Not to mention Wizard magic trivializes many many magical healing issues that happened in Buffy canon.

    I mean you could with alot of work fuse the canons well but it would likely take a deep respect for both world and alter the nature of wizarding culture in face of more extant extradimensional threats.

    Which brings me to my next reason for disliking it. There is not respect for Harry Potters world, wizarding culture, or the wizarding world. The author starts on the side of Buffy and proceeds to slam on them from position of Buffies more 'serious' concerns and leave wizard 'alone' to stand as evil in the light ot this darker dangerous moonlight world despite apocalypse crafters.
    Despite different style of magic that everyone can learn. Despite how the presence of wizards who stand about other magic users and demonic incursion work, despite the government being in on the masquerade in both world.

    Oh our characters feel important but there a clear side to thing.

    I mean Dumbledores simply being a prick or barmy for doing a contact black out or won't simply talk about reasonable master containment reasons.

    The Watchers don't have potioneers cause of the fanon bias against muggleborns in class and not the actual distatse for Harry and co in particular. And this is somehow an obstacle in the least. I mean books exist and they have money.

    Wizards despite the fact they pest control everything else, have contact with muggle governments don't do things about demons that aren't on their door step.

    Despite the long and storied histories of the Watchers and there noble lines and their magician they don't have a militant pureblood line or two.

    And the Masquerade that they totally agreed with before the statute even existed, and push forward despite industrialization favoring them (the watcher) is suddenly the Wizards fault.

    Ugh.
     
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  10. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    Given that, as far as I can recall, no vampires every actually appear in HP, you can swap that bit out without damaging anything.
     
  11. steamrick

    steamrick Wisdom is in pursuit, but I'm faster!

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    There's a vampire as a guest at Slughorn's tea party thingy, I think.
     
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  12. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    One does. At Slughorn's party. As some background character. But you are correct that they are easily replaced without altering Harry Potter in a significant way.

    As seen above, Vampires are not an important part of Harry Potter, and can be replaced with Buffy Vampires easily. I even gave a reason why the wizards are not concerned about them, and why they avoid wizard enclaves.

    Wizards are not invulnerable, and not many want to join the Watchers. So, the Watcher wizards tend to live shorter lives. Doesn't help that their magic is not working well on hellmouths. The magical world though is rather safe from demons, aurors can handle those who mess with wizards well enough.

    Indeed. Demons are generally not a problem for Wizarding Britain. Never claimed that they were. Most tend to go after easier prey.

    United, the wizards could wipe out the Watchers and the Slayer without much of an effort. Most don't know that, and those who do know know that if the Council and Slayer are gone, the world will end. Prophecies are clear. So, there's a detente.

    I am altering both worlds. And I respect the worlds as well - without being blind to the glaring stupid mistakes and plot holes in canon.

    I do not have respect for idiots, and most wizards in HP canon are idiots. Weak, cowardly idiots who cannot cast a shield charm and run from a few Death Eaters at the World Cup. I am trying to correct that, with a more competent Dumbledore, more competent aurors, and less stupid plots by Voldemort. Probably a more competent Order of the Phoenix as well.

    In this story, most Buffy witches are squibs, able to use rituals, especially on a hellmouth, to work magic. Even mundanes can use rituals there, since the hellmouth saturates the area with magic. And messes with wizard magic. Willow would be a witch, but was ever trained in wands, and made up her own mix of various magic traditions.

    Of course there is. There's the "Protect humanity from the Forces of Darkness" side, which is right. Sadly, neither the Council nor Dumbledore are completely right in their opinions how best to achieve that. But the Death Eaters and their ilk are wrong.

    He wants to find out if Harry is compromised or corrupted. He is actually less of an idiot about that here than in canon.

    Wizards joining the Watchers are rare, and tend to get killed in the line of duty. They do have potions, bought and brewed, but veritaserum and similar high-end potions cannot be easily bought or brewed. Fortunately, they just recruited the brightest witch of her age, and possibly one of the most powerful wizards as well.

    Indeed. Just as they do not bother with curing cancer or removing pandemies, and generally do not care at all if muggles die from hunger. Did you even read Harry Potter? Wizards in canon are said to have hidden their entire world just so they do not have to help muggles! They are, in canon, just that damn selfish.

    If they had one, it died out. That tends to happen to noble lines who risk their lives daily against demons and worse. Not that it would have stayed pureblood anyway.

    That's fanon. In this story, the masquerade went up with the Statute of Secrecy. The Watchers had to accept it, since the wizards were too powerful, and did the best they could.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  13. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    Do note - that's the justification for hiding magic as explained by a kindly but none-too-bright man to an 11-year-old. There are a lot of much better reasons to explain it, if you wish to give them the benefit of the doubt.
    That said, they could certainly do a lot more for us that they do without compromising their secrecy - just a couple wizards working as orderlies in each muggle hospital, subtly casting healing charms on the patients, cleaning charms on the rooms, and repair charms on the equipment, would save a lot of lives. But that doesn't make them particularly selfish - how many lives would be saved if every American donated 20% of their disposable income to 3rd-world starvation relief charities?
     
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  14. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    I know the canon explanation doesn't make any sense. You don't hide out of annoyance. If you can hide your entire world, you could deal with annoyances with much less effort - you could selectively hide from them for example. But this is what a kind wizards thinks is the reason, and tells an 11 year old boy. A very positively displayed character basically states that the wizards are so selfish, they'd rather hide their entire world than help muggles, and he is not proven wrong. Assuming they'd not lift a finger to deal with demons who do not go after wizards is not a stretch, nor bashing wizards.
     
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  15. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    Again - the canon explanation doesn't make sense because it's given by a dim and simple man to someone who is too young to notice how bad an explanation it is and follow up with more questions. We never hear any competent, intellectual adult weigh in on the matter. Do you really think that, say, Dumbledore would give that answer? No, he'd probably say something about how it would simply to be cruel to show the wider world all the wonderful, incredible things magic can do, then tell them that only 0.01% of them will ever be able to do it. Moody, on the other hand, would probably point out that wizardkind is outnumbered 10,000:1, and that if even 10% of muggles decide the old 'witch-burning' movement had the right idea, they'd be in a war that nobody wins.
     
  16. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Hagrid is simple but there is no indication that he has a different opinion than most wizards. No one ever corrects this view. The majority of wizards seems to have no problem with thinking they hide so they do not have to help muggles.
     
  17. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    No one corrects this view because it never comes up in discussion. We only have Hagrid's view and therefore no way to judge whether or not said view is typical.
     
  18. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    It is still telling that the kind gentle giant thinks so. And it does not indicate good things about the not so kind and gentle other wizards.
     
  19. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    That the kind, gentle wizard accepts and repeats a simple, childish explanation like that tells us only that he's rather simple and has poor critical thinking skills.
     
  20. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Which, given canon descriptions of other wizards, makes him an average wizard in that regard.

    But more importantly, there is no indication that Hagrid is telling Harry something that only Hagrid thinks is true. No sign that someone played a trick on him. No indication that JKR considers this explanation wrong. But even if he was lied to - isn't it weird that a kind, gentle character sees no wrong with hiding to avoid helping others?

    In this story, the wizards hide for other reasons - mainly, fear. But the majority really thinks they hide so they do not get pesterd by muggles, and is completely fine with that Explanation. Those who do not have muggle relatives do not really give a damn about muggles.
     
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  21. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    Yeah, how dare they all not spend every hour of every day in a sweatshop churning out potions and magical items? Those greedy bastards.
     
  22. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Hyperbole. No one expects that. But it takes a special kind of people to hide an entire world and do a lot of work to keep it hidden just to avoid getting asked for help. Obliviators. Dragon preserves. Concealment spells. Watchers in the government. Special squads to deal with accidental magic and magical animals. Forcing all other wizards to hide what they are.
    All that. To avoid people asking for help.
     
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  23. Selias

    Selias Experienced.

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    You're still assuming that the only reason given in-story is the only reason there is.
     
  24. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    I actually think that JKR believes that is the only reason. It makes no sense at all, but that's true for a lot of other things in Harry Potter.

    But it doesn't change the fact that in canon, a kind, gentle and all around positive character has no trouble with that reason.

    Though this thread isn't the place for attempts to justify all the horrors barely hidden in HP's Wizarding Britain. This story is set in an alternate universe. It's a crossover with its own background and explanations.
     
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  25. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    This is the part you should have started with honestly. The best way to deal with these complaints is "It works this way in this story because I say it does!" and point back to that every time someone says whatever isn't like that in canon.
     
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  26. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    The bolded line would just tend to piss off a lot of the people who are asking. Starfox5 said something a bit different from that, as she actually is explaining why things work that way in this setting.

    I do think Starfox5 is right that JKR probably believes that Hagrid's explanation is the true one. Ms. Rowling isn't very good at logic.

    Do we have a thread for arguing about HP canon?
     
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  27. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Chapter 2 will be delayed until Thursday.
     
  28. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    I'm not suggesting that Hagrid is the only one who thinks that way, or that he has been deliberately deceived. I'm saying that that is a simple explanation suitable for children, and that Hagrid, being rather dim, never developed the critical reasoning skills to question it and get the more complete story as he grew up - or, alternately, that he did, but decided not to try to explain a lot of complicated moral reasoning that he only half understands himself to an 11-year-old boy.
    Hagrid is a good, kind, trusting man. He was told by people he trusts and considered moral authorities that this state of affairs is good and right. He has neither the inclination to go looking for holes in their explanations, nor the faculties to notice such holes without trying.

    There simply isn't enough material on this subject in canon to make a definitive determination. Sure, you can assume that Wizarding society as a whole is a bunch of selfish bastards. But it is an equally valid interpretation to assume that Hagrid is a simple man repeating a simple explanation, and that the more intelligent and wise members of Wizarding society - the ones who actually make decisions about things like the Statute of Secrecy - have their own, better (or at least more nuanced) reasons for it.
     
  29. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    In this story, the majority of wizards are perfectly fine with letting muggles get eaten by vampires since muggles should solve their own problems and should not ask the wizards for help. The smart and capable wizards are either aurors and such, making sure that the Vampires and other demons do not eat wizards. The intelligent and wise wizards (aka "Dumbledore and most of the DoM") know why they are hiding, and know it's not out of annoyance, but also know they cannot destroy the Council or the world is doomed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
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  30. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: First Strike
    Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Chapter 2: First Strike

    India Cohen jumped over a low hedge, into a garden that looked like a mirror image of the one she had just left. She didn’t stop, just ran past the house, which looked like all other houses in this street. Kit might have commented on the extreme uniformity of the neighborhood, had he been with her, but she didn’t notice such things. Not when she was hunting.

    She was tracking the demons. Dementors, they were called. Unnatural, evil abominations. Prey. They left no physical tracks, but where they passed, life was diminished. Colder. Weaker. They left a sort of scent a Slayer could follow.

    She ran accross the next street, into a garden, past another house, over another hedge. The monsters had not lingered. Had not sought other victims there. She remembered Kit’s lesson - dementors, for all their appearance, were as corporeal as humans were. And physically weaker. They couldn’t break down doors, nor break through windows. Humans in their houses were safe. Humans outside… were not.

    She found the first victim near a local park. A woman, middle-aged, out jogging. India knelt down next to her. The jogger’s face was frozen in terror, her hands and knees dirty. She had tried to flee from something she couldn’t see. The scent was strong here, the grass and bushes still frozen, dead in parts. They had driven her away from the path, into the bushes, where they had taken their time playing with their victim. She had crossed a small clearing a dozen times, until she had not been able to move anymore, and they had swooped in to finish. And then, once they were done the monsters then had stayed until the unnatural cold they were causing had killed the body. Why would they do that? Once they had eaten the soul, the body was of no interest to them anymore, she knew that. Why kill the soulless body?

    They had turned an unnatural coma into death by exposure - possible, if very unlikely, in this season - to hide their presence - no, the presence of their master. Voldemort! She took off again, running faster now. The urge to hunt, to kill, almost overwhelming. She was the Slayer, this was her duty. Her gift.

    The scent was far stronger now, the trail far colder. Ice crystals were still gleaming on frozen plants now. India took short cuts, through and over bushes. She was gaining, she could now feel their presence, their evil causing her gut to clench.

    There! In another clearing she spotted the two monsters. A normal human wouldn’t have seen them. A witch would have seen two floating figures hidden by tattered, ragged cloaks, only missing scythes to look like the Grim Reaper himself. The Slayer just saw prey.

    She was on the closest monster before they noticed her, uncaring of the cold emanating from the demons. She wasn’t living through the worst of her memories either - whatever effect they had on humans, it didn’t affect the Slayer. She had been chosen to hunt such things, to kill such abominations. Her first kick drove it back, an axe-kick brought it down, and before it could recover she had thrown a vial of holy water into what passed for its face. A sizzling noise and the smell of burning rotten flesh told her they were vulnerable to holy water. Kit would be happy to hear this. The demon started to trash around while she straddled it, but she didn’t even feel the weak blows that connected. Instead she drew her blessed dagger and cut the still smoking head off. Both the head and the body started to disintegrate, but India had already turned towards the other one.

    That monster tried to flee. To see the demon thriving on fear afraid itself made her grin. It was now prey. And she was the hunter. The dementor tried to fly out of reach, but it was far too slow. She was the Slayer. A running jump carried her 3 metres up and she easily caught the edge of its cloak in her fist, stopping the demon from rising further. With glee she drove the dagger into the unnatural thing. The screaming that followed was horrible, nightmarish, but it only served to edge India on. She ripped the dagger out, then pushed it in again, higher this time. More screaming. She grabbed the cloak a bit higher as well, and pulled herself up, stabbing the monster again and again. When she reached the chest it couldn’t fly anymore and started to fall down.

    She pushed away before they hit the ground, rolled with the impact on the soft grass and was on her feet again, dagger still in hand, before the dementor had recovered. Snarling she gripped the hood of the monster, then started to cut its head off, again ignoring the weak arms that tried to hold her back. She’d have to whet the blade again after this, but she decapitated the demon like she had its companion. It started to disintegrate as well, leaving just the cloak, more tattered than it had been before the fight.

    Elation filled her. The hunt was over, the enemy killed. Their victims avenged. She collected the cloaks, Kit would love to study them, and started to head back to her Watcher.

    *****​

    Inside the Council’s headquarters In a wood-paneled room with a fireplace and heavy, old tables and seats, India Cohen was frowning. That girl was making eyes at her Watcher again. Asking about the Council’s library. Asking to see the dementor cloaks she had gotten. Kit was her Watcher. Hers and hers alone. Besides the girl had a boyfriend already. And she had a family still. She should not butt in on India’s.

    The Slayer turned her head to watch Harry Potter. The girl’s boyfriend. Or friend. He was reading a book, or rather, he was acting as if he was reading, but instead was staring at the pages. Probably seeing something else in his mind. His dead relatives, India assumed. He had the look she had seen too often, survivor’s guilt Kit called it. For a moment she considered walking over and asking him how he was doing. See how the girl liked someone making moves on her friend. Or boyfriend. But she discarded the idea. She wasn’t good at consoling people. Kit was. She was good at avenging people. Killing demons.

    India stood up and dropped the book she hadn’t been reading - a manual of witch hunting, from the 17th century - on the soft seat she had been sitting in, before walking, stalking over to Kit. And the girl. Her Watcher looked up before she had taken a few steps, smiling. He was good at paying attention to her. She smiled back, feeling comforted. The girl, Granger, was surprised at the sudden shift, and then cringed at seeing her so close. Good. India stared at her until Kit put his hand on her shoulder.

    “What’s the matter, India? Did you find something else in the notes of Sir Albert Preston?”

    India shook her head. “No. It’s about Potter. He has been staring at the same page for a long time now.” She nodded towards Potter, and noted with satisfaction that the girl’s eyes widened, and she held a hand to her mouth, whispering “Merlin, Harry!” so faintly, only India’s ears picked it up. Before anyone could say anything more, Granger had stepped over to Potter, asking how he was doing. India wasn’t sure she had listened to his answer before hugging him.

    Kit was smiling at her, nodding subtly. Pleased. India smiled back. He was her Watcher. Hers and hers alone. And she would make sure it stayed that way.

    *****

    Hedwig picked at the window, interrupting Hermione’s reading. Next to her, Harry stood up and opened the window - thicker than expected, she noticed, armored probably. That had been a very quick trip. The second one today. The poor owl must be exhausted.

    “Come in, girl. Did you have a good flight?” Harry smiled when the white owl landed on his arm, and affectionately nipped at his ear and hair. He laughed, briefly, and Hermione felt a pang of regret. She had almost missed his anguish. Just because she had assumed the Dursleys were such evil people, he’d not miss them. Or feel guilty for surviving. She had been stupid. If not for the Slayer, she would have missed it completely.

    “Another letter from Sirius?”

    “Yes. And one from Dumbledore, I presume. And probably one from Ron.” Harry pulled three letters off his owl’s leg, then fed her some treats and filled a bowl with fresh water. Hermione bit her lip. She wanted to read the letters. Needed to know what they said. But they were Harry’s. It would be unbelievably rude to read them before him.

    Her all-but-glaring at the back of Harry’s head didn’t have any effect. He had read Sirius’ response to the brief note he had sent out this morning right away, but that had been barely longer than his own, which basically just stated that the Dursleys had been kissed by dementors and he was safe with her.

    Finally Harry picked up the letters. Hermione leaned forward on her seat, eager to listen, but he didn’t read it out loud, just smiled, and she hadn’t the heart to push him. After last night he needed all the comfort he could get. Once again she felt guilty at missing his grief. He blushed even, which confused her - did his godfather really make one of his off-color jokes on such an occasion?

    “Sirius wants me to come to him at once. He says he can’t tell me where it is, not in a letter, but it would be the safest place in Britain.” Harry looked at her, a faint smile on his face. He didn’t have to say that he wanted to do exactly that. Hermione suddenly felt jealous of Harry’s godfather, but fought the feeling down. What mattered was that Harry was happy. “He says you should come too.” Hermione thought his smile grew a bit at that, and felt her jealousy fade completely, replaced with a sudden warm feeling. For a moment.

    “I can’t. I need to finish brewing veritaserum here.” She wanted to hit herself when she saw his smile vanish, and put her hand on his. “Sirius needs you. I’ll join you as soon as I am done here. And we can visit each other, maybe...” She trailed off, but he was smiling again, if not much. “It’s just a week.”

    Harry nodded. Then he read the other letters, handing Ron’s over to her. Unsurprisingly, it was very brief, but it did state their friend’s relief at Harry being safe, and mentioned something about the Chudley Cannons.

    Dumbledore’s letter was far longer, and far more eloquent, but didn’t state that much more. Hermione read it twice, then looked at Harry. “Both Dumbledore and Sirius say you should go to Sirius to be safe. But no one says why, or where that is.”

    “Probably a secret. Safer that way. Not that Hedwig would let anyone grab a letter she carries, right, girl?” Hedwig made a barking sound and landed on his shoulder, here she started to groom his head. Hermione giggled at the sight. After a second Harry did as well.

    “I’ll join you in a week then.” Hermione thought of the books in the Council’s library. Priceless tomes, some thought lost for centuries. She could spend the week there. It was still a great opportunity. A dream come true she didn’t even knew she had. Just… yesterday, it had been an even better opportunity. She didn’t sigh while Harry wrote back to Sirius, asking for a location to meet him, but she sure felt like it.

    *****​

    A week later Hermione was again torn. On one hand, she was about to join Harry at Sirius’ safe place - which Harry hadn’t been able to tell her about, or so he claimed. It sounded like a really interesting piece of magic. On the other hand, she had not even scratched the surface of the Council’s library. So much knowledge, of all kinds, for her to discover! And she was about to leave that wonderful place. At least until Christmas.

    But she’d see her best friend again. With her family at a Council safe house, in case whoever murdered the Dursleys wanted to murder the Grangers as well, she was feeling a bit more lonely than usual. Uncle Quentin was very friendly, but he was also very busy organizing the Council’s response to Voldemort, and the Slayer was… scary. She patted the vial hidden in her belt. Veritaserum. She had brewed so much of it, the Council should be well-stocked for years and there was still enough for herself. A vial of it could be very useful. One never knew when one needed to interrogate someone, after all. If she had had access to veritaserum in her second year, she’d not have had to spend weeks as a half-cat in the infirmary.

    She also a few books to take with her. Interesting tomes about various demons - and their weaknesses. She wondered why Defense against the Dark Arts didn’t cover those threats. Even their lessons about vampires had been woefully inadequate, compared to the throve of knowledge the Council had. Werewolves and their weaknesses was the only subject that had been covered sufficiently at Hogwarts, in her revised opinion, and that had been Snape undermining Professor Lupin.

    A knock on her door interrupted her thoughts. “Are you ready, Hermione?” Uncle Quentin asked. She looked at her trunk, packed last evening, and checked her shelves and side board before opening the door.

    “Yes, Uncle Quentin.” She smiled at him.

    He smiled back, then grew serious and put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ve told you before, but I’ll repeat it: Be careful. Mister Potter has numerous and powerful enemies. They will want to strike at him through you, as they did before. Be on your guard, and trust no one from the Ministry for Magic. And don’t let anyone see your other wand.”

    Hermione nodded. She knew her uncle was correct - the Daily Prophet continued its smear-campaign against her best friend. It didn’t take a genius to realize the Ministry was behind those lies. They hadn’t targeted herself, so far, but she remembered the articles that all but called her a gold-digging potion using mudblood a few months ago. “I will be very careful, trust me.”

    He hesitated, then nodded. “And if the opportunity presents itself… see what you can find out about the Death Eaters. You know how to reach us.”

    Hermione met his eyes. She had studied the codes and learned the spells to hide information in a normal-looking letter. Just in case.

    “Good. I wish you could stay, but I understand that your friend needs you more than I do. And I am sure he’ll be much better company for a pretty young woman like you.” He chuckled a bit, and Hermione blushed. She wanted to say that Harry was just her friend, nothing more, but didn’t. It might not be true, after all. Or so she hoped.

    *****​

    Hermione gaped. She couldn’t help it - seeing an entire house appear out of nowhere, seemingly to push two other houses out of the way, just because she had read a scrap of parchment filled her with awe of magic like the day she had seen Professor McGonagall transfigure her family’s dining table into a pony. “Wow… what kind of spell did that?” She turned her head to Professor Lupin, who had fetched her from her bus stop.

    The scarred man smiled, indulgently, as if he still was her DADA teacher. “The Fidelius Charm. It hides a secret or location, and only the secret keeper can share it.” Hermione could imagine a dozen uses for such a charm, and then and there, swore to learn it. Her face must have shown her thoughts, since the werewolf laughed, patted her back, and told her “It takes a wizard of Dumbledore’s stature to cast it, Hermione.”

    “Ah.” Hermione didn’t know why, but she felt peeved at the remark, no matter how well-meaning. Her pride was stung. Her resolve to learn the spell doubled, even though she seemed to agree with Lupin. Walking up to the door of the house, she noticed the state it was in - it was in dire need of maintenance, if not repair. She hoped it was just a disguise, and not an indication of what the interior looked like.

    Lupin touched the door with his wand, and it opened by itself. He waved at it, letting Hermione enter first. “Welcome to No. 12 Grimmauld Place, the home of the Black Family.” The young witch stepped inside, into a dark and dusty entrance hall, with decor that looked out of date even for a Wizarding household. Before she could comment on it though she spotted Harry on top of the stairs to her right, and Hermione forgot all about the house.

    “Harry!” She was about to run up the stairs, then reconsidered and walked at a more sedate pace. She was no child anymore, she reasoned, though she still beamed at her best friend, and hugged him with abandon when they met in the middle of the stairs.

    “Ha…” Whatever she wanted to say, or he was about to say, was interrupted by a screeching harpy of a portrait, cursing everyone present in the foulest language she had heard in a while. Lupin struggled to close the curtains and hide the portrait while the two of them left the hall.

    The racket made talking difficult for a bit longer, before it finally stopped. “What was that?” Hermione asked. “I haven’t heard such filthy language since the twins got Draco with their reverse head prank in our third year.”

    Harry winced. “That was Sirius’ mother. She is a blood bigot, and curses at everyone who is not a Death Eater recruit. Her portrait is protected so one can’t get rid of it easily, Sirius said.”

    “Should brick her up then.”

    Harry grinned. “Sirius might just try that. Here’s your room.” He opened the door to an old-fashioned but clean room with a canopy bed - like Hermione’s bed at Hogwarts. The young witch dragged her trunk inside. It was lightened with magic, of course, thanks to her borrowed wand lacking the trace, which was why she hadn’t let Lupin carry it for her.

    “Spent a day cleaning it, with Sirius.” Harry grinned. “It was an adventure of sorts - we had to fight of a small infestation of doxies.” Hermione quickly looked him over. Doxies were poisonous, and could leave nasty bite wounds. He held up his hands, as if to fend her off. “I am fine, Hermione. Sirius took care of them with a few spells, no one even came near me.” Hermione wasn’t convinced he was telling the entire truth, but let it slide and sat down on the bed.

    “Has it just been you and Sirius?” The mattress was soft, maybe a bit too soft for her taste, but she didn’t complain. Harry seemed to have spent time and effort to prepare her room.

    “Us two, and Remus. But Dumbledore visits often, as does a cousin of Sirius, Tonks. She’s an auror.”

    “Tonks?” Hermione thought that was quite the weird name, even for a witch.

    “Nymphadora Tonks, but she doesn’t let anyone call her by her first name. She hates it.” Harry spread his hands and grinned. “If you do it anyway, she will make you regret it.”

    Hermione shrugged. She’d rather be called “Nymphadora” than “Tonks”, but it wasn’t her decision to make. “What did you do apart from cleaning?”

    “Not that much, actually. The house has been left alone for a decade or so, and attracted all sorts of pests and curses. Cleaning a room is like a special lesson with Moody, keeps you on your guard.”

    “Did you use your wand?”

    “I didn’t, so far.” Harry’s grin lost a bit of its mirth. He might be unhappy at keeping secrets from his godfather, Hermione thought. “But we’ve been clearing the library. It should be safe to enter now.”

    “The library?” Hermione perked up. They had a library here?

    “The Black Family library. Choke-full of old books, many of them banned in Britain. Sirius said...” Harry was interrupted when Hermione gripped his arm. A family library! With banned books! She smiled at him, eyes wide open. “I can show it to you?”

    Hermione dragged him out of the room and was halfway down the hallway before she remembered that Harry knew where it was, and had to lead her.

    *****​

    Quentin Travers watched his Grandniece enter the cab he had called for her, then turned to the young Watcher that was waiting in his office. “What did you find out about the scar?”

    Fitzburg straightened his posture. “It’s no ordinary curse scar. The wards wouldn’t have detected it if it was just some lingering dark magic.”

    “Possession?” Quentin sounded calm and in control, as if he wasn’t aware of the consequences should this be true.

    “From what we could tell when we checked the boy after the attack on his relatives, it looks like the remnant of a failed possession.” Fitzburg looked grim. “Though judging by the strength of the lingering imprints, it was a recent attempt.”

    Quentin sat down at his desk, steepling his fingers. “Do you think it was the result of the incident three years ago, after that teacher was killed?”

    The young wizard hesitated just a second, enough for Quentin to realize he was speculating. “It would fit the circumstances and results we saw.”

    The Senior Watcher nodded. “Look into preparing an exorcism ritual. Just in case. A failed possession that has effects which linger for years is nothing to take lightly.”

    Fitzburg nodded. “I will confer with our specialists, Sir.”

    Quentin watched him leave, then leaned back in his seat. It would be regrettable if nothing could be done about Mister Potter’s condition. His grandniece was evidently fond of the boy, and he would make a great asset to the Council, judging by the reports of his training so far. Quick at learning and thinking on his feet, great potential and loyalty. But if push came to shove, the needs of humanity outweighed the needs of a boy - or a boy and a girl. Even if she was family.

    *****​

    Sirius was acting in quite an immature manner, Hermione thought. Or rather, she wasn’t sure if it was an act. She was sitting in the kitchen and watching the two “men of the house” have a butterbeer drinking contest. They had asked her to participate, but she had politely declined. And glared at Sirius in a manner that made it clear that if she suddenly found herself belching as if she had drunk three bottles, there would be consequences. The wizard had acknowledged that, behind Harry’s back while his godson had pouted at her. The two had an understanding. Both wanted the best for Harry, and both understood - or so Hermione hoped - that he needed them both. Even if Sirius might be pushing the “girlfriend jokes” a bit strongly. Not that she minded them, that much. Harry’s flustered reaction always raised her own hopes.

    The three of them had cleaned a few more rooms, and Harry had been right - it had been an adventure. The kind of adventure that was likely to leave one battered and bruised, and talked about in the Gryffindor Common Room. Very educational though - she had learned more about curses and magical pests in a few days here than in a term at Hogwarts. Sirius had been delighted when they had told him about their second wands. The man considered it a prank on the Ministry, which had left him to rot in prison without a trial, and promised not to tell anyone else. And he had given her access to his library as well. A bribe, she realized, but a very nice bribe.

    Sadly, things outside Grimmauld Place were not going as well. The Ministry, as Sirius’ cousin Tonks had informed them, was investigating the attack on the Dursleys, and was blaming Harry despite the manner of their deaths being absolutely clear and there not being any trace of underage magic. The Daily Prophet was speculating about some dark spell Harry had used on his relatives in a fit of anger at his lies being exposed. She hadn’t been able to read the article without having to vent her anger on some hapless cursed cabinet, reducing the thing to splinters. At least the display of destructive magic had impressed the deranged house elf of the Blacks enough to stop harassing her, though being compared to “Mistress Bella” wasn’t that much of an improvement.

    Dumbledore certainly hadn’t found it as amusing as Sirius had, when Harry’s godfather had told him the story during one of the Headmaster’s frequent visits. The way he had looked at her, all full of concern and sadness… Hermione still didn’t know why it seemed the Headmaster was more concerned with Harry’s reaction to the death of his horrid relatives than with the question of who had sent those demons after Harry. He certainly hadn’t shown such concern in the past, not after Harry had burned Quirrell to death, or after seeing Cedric Diggory die. She had checked with Harry to make sure of that, of course. The Headmaster had his reasons, the young witch was sure of that. She just wasn’t sure anymore that he had good reasons for his actions.

    At least he had been friendly and jovial when he had left earlier, even though his announcement that the Weasleys would be moving in for the last two weeks, for security reasons, and to keep them company, had left Hermione with mixed feelings. She liked the Weasleys, but they were… loud. And Sirius had nothing on the twins when it came to pranking. And Ron would be trying to monopolize Harry’s time, and Ginny might make cow eyes at her best friends, and… Hermione sighed. She had to be honest with herself, she liked it when it was just her, Harry, Sirius and Lupin. And occasional visits by Tonks.

    *****​

    “What?” Mrs Weasley sounded so surprised, Harry had to fight the sudden urge to laugh out loud at her expression.

    “I said Harry and I will not be cleaning, Mrs Weasley. We helped clean the rooms your family is now occupying, and that was more than enough.” Hermione sounded like she was a few more frowns away from openly rolling her eyes, or worse.

    “Nonsense, dear. I’ve never seen a house as much in need of a thorough cleaning as this one. We need everyone to help with that.” Mrs Weasley had overcome her shock at being contradicted, and was gathering steam.

    “Neither Harry nor I are allowed to do magic outside Hogwarts. We would have to waste hours doing what a single cleaning spell could achieve.” Hermione closed her books and her eyes narrowed. Harry had the sudden image of two ships on a collision course.

    “That doesn’t matter. It’s not good for young people to sit idle.” Mrs Weasley had lost what jovial smile she had had left.

    “Idle? We’re not sitting idle, we’re studying! That’s far more important than some menial child labor!” Harry moved just a bit to the side when his best friend stood up. He noticed that Ginny, Ron and the twins were staring at the spectacle with the same expression of fascinated horror.

    “Dear, we’re guests here, and it would be very rude not to help Sirius with setting his house in order. What would your parents say about you refusing to help out?” Harry winced. That had been a mistake.

    “My parents are in hiding because someone sent dementors after Harry’s muggle relatives, and they could be the next targets.” Hermione stated in a clipped voice brimming with anger. “They do not want me te to waste my time doing pointless, stupid menial work instead of studying magic.”

    Mrs Weasley gaped at the girl. Obviously it had been a long time since she had been spoken to like this. Her children were staring at Hermione as if she had grown one meter, and a second head. “This… this is an outrage!”

    “Yes, it is an outrage that you seem to think you can order us around as if we were your children, and in your house! Neither is the case.” Hermione was on a roll. “First you try to to tell us to share a room with Ron and Ginny, even though we spent a lot of time cleaning enough rooms for your whole family to use, then you try to steal my books, and now you want to force me to waste my time cleaning without magic?”

    “A girl your age shouldn’t be reading those kind of books.” Harry gasped. Those were fighting words for Hermione. He hurried to grab her hand to distract her while speaking up in an attempt to defuse the situation before the two witches started hexing each other.

    “Mrs Weasley, please. Cleaning without a wand reminds me… I mean… I cleaned my home like that…” He trailed off and looked away, hopefully it would seem as if he was overcome with emotion, and not avoiding to lie into her face.

    Mrs Weasley gasped, holding a hand in front of her mouth. “Merlin, Harry! Please forgive me, I wasn’t thinking!”

    Harry nodded at her while she ushered her children, who looked shell-shocked, out of the room. He glanced at Hermione as soon as the door had closed. She was staring at him, and biting her lip. “Harry…” He interrupted her with a chuckle and saw her eyes widen when she realized what he had done.

    “Oh, you!”

    Harry’s grin just grew wider. Sirius and his father would have been proud of him, he was sure of that. Then he realized that he hadn’t let go of her yet.

    The two stared at each other for a moment that seemed to stretch into a minute, or so Harry felt. He licked his suddenly dry lips while Hermione bit her lips. When he started to let go she gripped his hand. “Thank you. I was about to lose my temper.” She smiled at him, and Harry felt both pleased and disappointed.

    With a sudden grin he raised her hand to his lips. “Your obedient servant, Miss Granger.” He kept smiling when she made a surprised sound and released her hand. She was staring at him, then narrowed her eyes and huffed. But she was smiling when both sat down to read. Sirius had been right, Harry thought.

    *****​

    Knockturn Alley was not the worst alley India had ever been in, but it certainly was among the worst. Filthy, dark and filled with monsters both human and inhuman. The Slayer was standing in a side alley, watching the entrance to the “Drunken Doxy”, a bar doubling as a brothel for the worst of the magical world. She longed to kick the door open and start slaying the scum inside, but she had her orders. The Council didn’t want to let the Wizards know that the Slayer was on the prowl. Not yet.

    The Council knew the names of the Death Eaters, but their houses were hidden and protected by wards powered with dark magic and worse. They couldn’t get to them, not yet. They had to catch them when they were out. But most of the Death Eaters were respected in Wizarding Britain, traveling in the highest circles, with aurors, wizard police, ready to defend them should they be attacked. It was sickening, in India’s opinion.

    But other Death Eaters were not as respected. They frequented the darker corners of Wizarding Britain, where no aurors went to patrol. They had protections there as well, but those were weaker. Aurors would call in reinforcements quickly when faced with trouble. People in Knockturn Alley had to worry about passersby using an attack to stab them in the back.

    She was here for Amycus Carrow, a Death Eater veteran of the first Blood War. The wizard was a sadist according to the Council’s information, and a frequent customer of the brothel. India was to capture him, so he could be interrogated. There were other possible targets, but he was the likeliest.

    A scraping sound - too faint for anyone but the Slayer to pick up - warned her of someone approaching from behind her. The churning feeling in her stomach told her it was a monster. She did not react and acted as if she was unaware, luring the monster closer. When it was close enough she whirled around.

    A cloaked woman, no a hag, was hissing in surprise. Before it could say anything India was on her. A fist to the monster’s throat left it choking on a crushed larynx, unable to scream. India was tempted to take her time now, draw it out a bit, let the hag try to breathe through a crushed throat while fighting her, but she had a mission. She ducked under a clumsy swing and swept the hags’ feet out from under her, then kicked it into the wall before grabbing the wheezing monster’s head. The hag tried to claw at her face, at her hands, but she broke its neck with a swift motion before it managed to connect, then pushed the corpse further into the side alley and resumed her post.

    Hours later she finally caught sight of her prey as the wizard was leaving the brothel. There wasn’t a floo there, no client of that brothel wanted to risk their travel to being monitored, and apparition would be warded against. India would have to act fast before he apparated away, but she was the Slayer, quick enough to reach him and subdue him before he spotted her.

    She would have done so, if not for his companion, a brute of a man. Fenrir Greyback - she recognized his face. It wasn’t the full moon but even in human form that monster had superior senses, and smelled or saw her right when she was leaving the side alley. The werewolf was fast, especially for his bulk, but India was faster. She cartwheeled over his attempted tackle and landed in front of Carrow, who was drawing his wand. She drove her fist into his gut, then kicked him in the face, throwing him against the brothel’s wall, unconscious or even dead, while propelling herself back and over Fenrir’s next strike, landing in a crouch.

    For a moment Slayer and Werewolf stared at each other, both snarling. “You don’t smell like a wolf. Yet you move like one. What are you?” The monster sounded confused. He was not using his wand - as expected. Greyback prefered to fight hand to hand when possible according to her knowledge.

    India didn’t bother to answer, she was already moving. Faking a charge, she jumped to the side when he moved to meet her, ran up the wall, before pushing off into a flying jump kick that hit Greyback in the chest and drove him into the ground. Roaring, he tried to get up, but India was faster, circling around him and driving her right foot into his knee, shattering it.

    Even crippled Greyback was still fighting, lashing out with hands that looked like claws, and screaming with pain and rage, tearing his robes in his frantic attempts to grab her. It was no use. She danced out of his reach, then around him while he tried to turn with his broken knee, darting inside his reach to hit him in the stomach, then into his kidneys. He connected with a haymaker in return, that glanced off her upper arm and shoulder. It would bruise, but she was too caught up in the fighting, the slaying, to feel pain. Grinning as ferally as her enemy she smashed her fists into his head, then grabbed his filthy, greasy hair and drove his face into the cobblestones, shattering his teeth and nose.

    He was beaten, he knew it, she knew it, but he was not giving up. He was still roaring, clawing at her when she slipped a silver dagger out of her sleeve and into his throat. Kit might admonish her for not using it sooner, she thought, but it might have made the werewolf go for his wand if she had done that.

    While the werewolf was staring at her, his life fading from his feral eyes while he was gripping his bleeding throat with both hands, India stepped over to Carrow. She grabbed the Wizard, threw him over her shoulders and ran into the side alley she had come out of. A portkey activation phrase later she had left the alley with her prisoner.

    *****​

    Dumbledore was feeling cautiously optimistic a few days before September 1st. Harry had shown no taint from Voldemort - or, to be precise, he had shown no signs of being influenced by the soul shard in his scar. He was not as sad about the loss of his family as a boy should be, but that was, sadly, not entirely unexpected, given his family’s unfortunate attitude towards magic. Miss Granger had shown quite the temper, and had been very rude to Molly, as he had been told loudly and at length, but again, girls on the cusp of womanhood often were moody and temperamental.

    And the books she was reading… They weren’t dark, or cursed, but that a young witch would want to read about demons, that her family would spend so much gold on such books… He shook his head at such foolishness. She would have done better to spend the gold on more useful books. But he would have to keep an eye on her, should she ever manage to get a book on summoning demons… it was unlikely, such tomes had been destroyed wherever they were found, but foolish wizards might have kept them in their private libraries. At least Sirius had assured him that not even his family would have dabbled in demon summoning.

    Such matters aside, he could now ask Severus to teach Harry Occlumency without fearing to tip off Voldemort. Miss Granger too, the boy was likely to confide in her. He wished to teach Harry himself, but… he glanced at the note on his desk. After Albus’ chosen teacher for Defense Against the Dark Arts had been arrested for smuggling muggle contraband - a trumped up charge if he had ever seen one - Cornelius had released an educational decree that allowed him to appoint his undersecretary, Dolores Umbridge, as a replacement teacher. An unfortunate development, but more an annoyance than a real problem. It wasn’t as if she would be the first useless Defense teacher, and she’d likely spend her time spying on himself. He smirked. A few ruses should have her chase her own shadow.

    A looked at another report from Kingsley. Fenrir Greyback killed by another werewolf. Amycus Carrow kidnapped. That was worrying. Albus had known Greyback, had had the man’s measure. If his pack was now led by an unknown werewolf, that would complicate matters. Though it was an opportunity as well. Remus might have a chance to move her to stay away from Voldemort. Maybe even connect to her - he was a fine man, after all, and had been single for too long.

    *****​

    Lucius Malfoy stood at his master’s side, looking at the visitor - his guest, he mused, since they were in the Malfoy Manor, even if sometimes it felt more like his Master’s - without appearing to stare. She, for the visitor was female, was a sight to behold. Pale skin, pitch black hair, a lithe figure clad in leather clothes even the muggle animals might find indecent. She was the rarest and most dangerous kind of vampires - a turned witch. She could shield against spells that would burn a vampire to ashes and cast far faster than most wizards. Lucius counted himself as among the most dangerous wizards in Britain, after the Dark Lord, of course, but even he would rather not face that vampire. When she winked at him and let a blood red tongue run over her lips, it took most of his self-control not to react.

    The Dark Lord’s voice interrupted what games their guest was about to play. “You’ve said you have information for me, Roselyn.”

    Lucius noted with satisfaction and some relief that even a centuries-old vampire like Roselyn was afraid of his Master, who had overcome death itself.

    “Indeed my Lord, I have important information about your enemies.”


    Chapter 3: Trouble at Hogwarts
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
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