Harry got up on the train, after farewells, and sat with Ginny and Luna and Neville, joking and laughing about everything. It had taken Harry a few months to start to smile again, but he was passing his grieving period well enough.
"Harry!" Luna squealed. "Any bogey encounters this summer?"
"That's good," Luna said, sitting down and opening up her copy of The Quibbler, which she proceeded to read upside down. Hermione and Ron nodded to their friends, and headed back to the Prefect car. On their way, they passed a car full of very tired people that neither of the recognized. A girl about their age was curled up around a man with bleached hair, silent tears on her cheeks. A dark-haired man with an eye patch had his arm around two girls, one a red-head, and the other with a sort of honey-blonde hair.
"Wait," Ron said. "I know her. That's my cousin, from America." Hermione followed her friend into the car as he laid her hand on the redhead's shoulder.
"Willow?" he said quietly. She stirred.
"I know you," she said quietly as she woke up slowly. In that time, Hermione looked around the large car at the others. Another redhead was curled around another man with dark hair, who also looked scarred and war-torn. An older man had his arms wrapped around another man of the same age who was shaking and sobbing quietly in his sleep.
"Shhh, Ethan, it's all right," Giles said. "No more soldiers, I promise."
"Ronnie?" Willow asked, shaking the cobwebs out of her head. "That's right, you go to school here, don't you?"
"Yah, I do. What are you doing here?"
"Sunnydale's a crater. All of the Slayers have gone off to learn the source of themselves, to train, and all that. But we need a safe place to regroup, to heal, and to learn control our power. Oh, I'm sorry, where are my manners?" Willow sat up and hugged her cousin.
"You remember Xander from my letters, right?" Ron nodded. "This is Amy."
"The girl who got turned into a rat?" Amy nodded.
"I had a pet rat that was really an evil wizard pretending to be a rat."
"I don't know why anybody would want to be a rat." she made a face.
"This is Paige Matthews, and her boyfriend Richard." Hermione stepped up to the other redhead tentatively.
"I think I've read about you. You're a Charmed One, aren't you?" Paige nodded. Willow continued her introductions.
"That's Spike and Dawn, and that's Giles and Ethan."
"Is he alright?" Hermione asked quietly.
"He will be, I hope. He was taken prisoner by soldiers who bound his magic and performed experiments on him. When he finally got out, he was a mess. You must be Hermione Granger. Ronnie told me a lot about you." Ron blushed to match his hair.
"Are you all witches and wizards?" Hermione asked.
"For the most part. Giles and Ethan are mages, Spike attended Hogwarts about, what, 130 years ago?" the blond vampire nodded. "Spike's, well,
he's a vampire, but he doesn't hurt people anymore."
"I'm a civilian," Xander said.
"A muggle?" Hermione asked, and Xander nodded. "Done a few spells here and there, but I'M not a big fan of magic." Ron knew that Hermione had a million questions, but he saw the exhaustion in their faces.
"All right, Will, we're going to let you get some rest now," Ron said, pulling Hermione out of the car.
"'Mione, they're coming for a respite, all right? Just, leave them be for a while, and I'm sure they can answer all of your questions in time." Hermione sighed, and settled into the Prefect's car.
Dawn climbed the steps into Dumbledore's office alongside Spike, who kept his promise to protect her very close to his heart. The others had already been given their rooms, and were settling down to just sleep. There would be exploring and introductions and lessons in the future, but for now, the Californians were all resting.
"Well, Miss Summers, let's see where you belong," Professor Dumbledore said, placing the Sorting Hat on her head. They were about to have the official First-year sorting, but Dumbledore didn't want to put the Girl Who Never Was in the same spotlight as the Boy Who Lived had been forced into.
"Alright, let's see. You have a great mind, you'd do well in Ravenclaw; you're loyal and would make a good Hufflepuff; you have ambition-- a need to survive and to thrive, and would make a good Slytherin." Spike glared at the hat. He himself had been a Ravenclaw, all those years ago. "But on that note--- Gryffindor!"
"Is that a good house?" Dawn asked. Dumbledore nodded.
"Platelet, it means you're brave. You'll do well there." Dawn nodded.
"All right." She didn't feel very brave. In fact she felt very intimidated. Instinctively, her hand wrapped around the hilt of the short saber that
hung at her waist.
"Dawn," Professor Dumbledore said gently. "I don't think you should take this in with you, do you have the wand that was made for you?" she nodded again, "then you should be fine, let go of the sword." Dawn relented, and Dumbledore sent the saber off to Dawn's bedroom. She looked down at her blue jeans and her pink top.
"Am I going to stick out?" she wondered. "I don't have any robes."
"We'll get you some, Nibblet, don't worry. Do you want to meet your housemates?"
"Let's all go down to the Great Hall, then." Dumbledore led the way, Dawn hanging tight to her vampire protector.
"Gryffindors wear red and gold, 'bit," Spike said, and Dawn wrinkled her nose as he led her to the Gryffindor table.
"Those colors do nothing for my complexion," Dawn pouted. Hermione smiled.
"Yeah. The Headmaster dude just sorted me into this house, and he made me put my sword away," she pouted.
"Yeah, it's like my lifeline. That and my crossbow. And my axe." The Gryffindors around her were wide-eyed.
"Ye've got me, Nibblet, chipless and at your service." Dawn smiled.
"I know." Ron looked at Ginny.
"She came from Sunnydale, Willow's here."
"Really?" Ginny squealed. The American witch was her favorite cousin by far. The Key nodded. They were all quiet for the Sorting, and then Dawn ate a bit of food.
"So tired," Dawn said, laying her head on the table. Grief for the past events hit her in waves, She fell asleep.
"Is she all right?" Harry asked.
"I hope she will be. She's lost everyone she's cared about on a few occasions. She has to deal with finding out she's not really human, and that because of her, people were killed. You're the Boy Who Lived, right?" Harry nodded, though he hated the title.
"Well this is the Girl Who Never Was." Hermione's eyes widened.
"Then she's the Key?"
"Technically. But she's also Dawn Aurora Summers. She's a person, and don't you forget it." Spike scooped her up and carried her off to her room.
Dawn slept for what seemed like years. They all did, save for Spike, who watched over his 'children', alternating from one room to the next. The nightmares were abundant. Hermione heard Dawn screaming in her sleep, and quickly cast a silencing spell, before she was the talk of the school. Gryffindors look out for each other. Everybody seemed to be sleeping sound, so Spike went down to the Gryff common room.
"Excuse me, Mr. . . Spike," Harry said. "But other than you, none of the group you arrived with have left their rooms in three days. Is everything okay?" Harry was genuinely concerned.
"After Sirius Black died, how long did you stay in your room at the Dursleys'?" Harry looked surprised, but answered truthfully.
"Weeks. Almost the whole summer. How do you know that?"
"I know a lot about you, Harold James Potter. I keep tabs on all my family."
"Yep. Before I became a vampire, I had an affair with a muggle-born girl I met here. She became pregnant, and went back to live with her family as a muggle. My granddaughter gave birth to Petunia and Lily." Harry's eyes widened.
"That makes you my great-great-grandfather?" Harry asked, shocked.
"Yep. You're my kin. Which also means you have the Scourge of Europe to protect you. The three of us who aren't dust." Hermione interrupted the familial reunion.
"Spike? Dawn's locked herself in the bathroom, and she's crying, and I think I heard glass breaking."
"Oh, bloody hell, I'll be back, Harry," Spike said, his features soft.
"Dawnie?" Spike said gently, as he knocked on the door. She didn't answer, so he picked the lock and came in side. Dawn had smashed every mirror and dented the cubicle doors. She was screaming incoherently and throwing everything she could get her hands on. Hermione, Ginny, Lavender and Parvati stood back in the doorway, watching. Spike came up to her, and she started beating him with her fists before collapsing in his arms.
"NO! I want them back! Why won't Willow and Amy do it? They've done it before!"
"Shhhhh, 'Bit. Don't cry, Baby. Let Buffy rest. You know what she went through the last time. It was Hell for her. She and Joyce and Anya and Tara all deserve to rest in Heaven." Sobbing, Dawn tried to call on Osiris, only to have Spike clamp his hand over her mouth.
"Let them go, Dawn, let them rest. We all just need to rest." Dawn was shaking, and they fell to the ground, Spike crying with her.
"I'm a part of her, Spike. They made me from her. I need her to survive."
"Shhh, Sweet. Don't you see? As long as you survive, she'll live on. You're keeping her alive. Don't do this Bit, don't waste away, she wouldn't
want it. She made me promise to protect you, to show you the world, and that's what I'm going to do." Dawn felt cradled in the arms of her vampire as he lifted her up. Hermione chased the other girls back to their rooms, and began to cast repairing spells on the bathroom. She noticed a white wand on the floor, and followed to Dawn's room.
"Spike, is this Dawn's?" Hermione asked, as he closed the door quietly behind the now sleeping girl.
"Yeah, she drop it?"
"I think so. White ash, isn't it?"
"Yes, with unicorn hair and her own blood." Hermione's eyes widened, she knew the power in that wand.
"You're Hermione Granger, am I right?" The girl nodded.
"I've heard of you. Did you know that several of your professors have written recommendations for you to be trained as a Watcher?"
"No, I didn't. Did they really?"
"Yes. Rupes is probably going to choose you fro the new Council the moment you graduate, if you continue to prove yourself as a good soul as well as a good witch. You have the deepest desire for knowledge I've ever smelt." Hermione blushed.
"I-- I like to learn. Books are safety to me."
"Well, you be careful, little one. Look for knowledge, but beware that though knowledge is power, power corrupts. Never forget that. Sometimes the knowing is worse than the not knowing." She nodded again, and Spike quickly left the room, going to check on the rest of his 'children.'
Spike quietly opened the door into Giles and Ethan's room.
"'Ey Rupes. Rayne doing any better?" Giles looked up from his books to the tired man, thrashing silently in his sleep.
"A little bit at a time, Spike, that's all I can do." Spike pressed a chaste kiss to the Watcher's temple.
"He'll be okay, Rip, don't you worry. Healing just takes time. Requiescere," Spike said, and Giles smiled at the Latin.
"Yes, rest, I know. I just worry."
"Don't you worry, Rupert, just have faith. Janus looks after all his children. He, she, is watching over Ethan and watching over Dawn, and you, too."
"How is Dawn?"
"She had a meltdown. Destroyed a bathroom and tried to call on Osiris, but she's calmed down. She needs to stop blaming herself for every death she witnesses."
"We all place blame on ourselves for things we cannot control. I still blame myself for Jenny, and for not noticing Joyce's deteriorating health earlier."
"We all blame ourselves for that. Joyce was a good woman, she was a mother and a friend for us all. But it was her time, and it is not yours, nor Ethan's. I think just being here will help Ethan heal. Trust me, Rupert. Take him around Hogwarts tomorrow. Jog his memory, see if you can spark those bits of Gryffindor still in him. Dawn made your Ethan's old house, you know?"
"Dawn? A Gryff? I'm not really surprised. That girl has weathered more storms in her short life than anyone else could possibly understand. I was quite hoping she'd be made a Ravenclaw, though. My old house, you know."
"Mine too, Rip. But the hat chose Gryffindor. I also think Red, Ratgirl, and Paige will all benefit from being here. Witch-boy too. Teach them control, how to consume power without power consuming them."
"And Xander? He must feel out of place. I'm sure Dumbledore didn't put him in a room with Willow and Amy."
"No, he's in my room, but he's practically living with his girls. The last time I checked, the two girls were wrapped around him in one small bed."
"They both loved him in high school, though it pains them to admit it now. And he cared for them both as well. It's amazing how fast Amy has filled in Tara, Buffy & Cordelia's spaces all at once." Though unnecessary, Spike sighed.
"I checked in with Peaches. Cordy's still in her mystical coma. You know Harmony is his secretary, right?"
"Is she really? And he hasn't staked her yet?" Giles laughed with almost no strain.
"Nope. You know, this is very sad, when you think about it. There are very few Sunnydale High alumni still breathing. Did you know that the whelp keeps a list?"
"Yeah. He has a list, in a notebook, of every person he ever knew growing up that has died. It's six pages long, so far." Giles exhaled sharply.
"We all deal differently. Maybe Xander needs it to cope."
"Perhaps. Come down to supper tonight, Rip. If Dawn's awake, I'll bring her down, and the others as well. Dumbledore's stocked robes in all our
closets so we won't stand out too badly."
"I noticed you're not wearing one." Spike pulled his duster around him.
"It's all that I have that Buffy is connected to. I can still smell her on it. I ain't takin' it off, mate."
"All right. If Ethan wakes up, I will come to supper, maybe he'll even join me, though I doubt it." Xander left the two men in peace, and went to Willow and Amy's room. He pulled out robes for each of them.
"All right kids. You've been sleeping for three days, and I know you're hungry, so you're coming down to supper tonight, get it?" Spike said in his
best 'I'm the Big Bad, so do what I say,' tone. The three nodded.
"What are the robes for?" Amy asked.
"Standard wizarding attire. That way you won't stick out too badly. Although, as Americans, there's not much hope for that." Spike felt warm when
they cracked smiles. He left them to get changes, and went to check on Paige and Richard.
"Hey, angel-girl, witch-boy, everybody else is coming down to supper tonight, think you'll join us?" Paige looked hesitant.
"I can't eat. Food just makes me think of Piper. Maybe leaving home was a bad idea."
"Paige, if you want to learn how to balance the witch and the whitelighter you know you need to come. Besides, we both needed to get away from the demons and the death, and this is the safest place." Paige nodded.
"All right, will come down. Are we supposed to wear these robe things in our closets?"
"Yep. Standard wizarding dress. Everybody else'll be in one." They agreed to get ready, and Spike went back to check on Dawn.
"Platelet?" Spike asked as he entered her room. She was curled in a ball silently. Not sleeping, but no longer crying. He took out her Gryffindor
robes and basically dressed her, slipping them on over her clothes.
"We're going down to supper, Pet. Time to come with." Dawn silently let Spike lead her down to the Great Hall.
"Good evening, Dawn," the girls all said gently. They knew what had happened earlier, but Seamus was too thickheaded to figure anything out.
"Why is acting like a spell backfired when just a few days ago she was fine?"
"The calm before the storm," Amy said wisely, as the three Sunnydalites slid into the Gryffindor table. "Will, can you feel the power in here?" Willow nodded.
"Professor Dumbledore, of course, but the other sources of greatest power are. . . ." she concentrated. "You, you, you, and him." Willow said, pointing at Harry, Ginny, Neville and Draco.
"And this one's a young version of you, Wills," Amy said about Hermione.
"Hope she only has my good traits," Willow said with a tired giggle."
"Sir?" Neville asked Xander.
"Who, me? I don't think so. Sir was my father. I'm just Xander. We're not too much older than the rest of you."
"Sorry, Xander. But, why don't you let Madam Pomfrey heal your eye?"
Xander sighed. "It can't be done. I've had a whitelighter try, several healing spells, and I've visited Madam Pomfrey. It happened on a mystical convergence, by a very evil priest, so I'm learning to accept it," Xander said with a sigh.
"Oh. Okay." Paige and Richard soon showed up and sat down at the table as well.
"Hey witch-boy, angel-girl, you doin' alright?" Spike asked from his seat next to Dawn where he was gently rubbing her back as she took small bites.
"Aren't male witches called wizards?" Ginny asked.
"It depends on the type of magic. I'm a witch. I belong to a coven, I practice Wicca, and I was born with my powers," the older man explained.
"We're all Wiccans," Amy said. Hermione nodded; that explained it.
"So, Dawn," Harry began, "are you coming to classes tomorrow?" Dawn shrugged.
"She'll go," Spike said. Dawn shrugged again, completely unaware that she was being watched from across the room.
"Who's the girl sitting by the Mudblood?"
"I think somebody called her Summers. Dawn, I think. She's from America. That man she's with is a vampire, and she was the Vampire Slayer's sister."
Draco resolved himself to write home to his father and find out more about this girl who had totally captured him.
Dawn did go to her classes the next day, and Spike sat in the back of each one, glaring at the teachers. Dawn was quickly becoming teacher's pet in most of her classes, as she could do many of the spells without a wand, though she did have a powerful wand. It was in Potions, however, that the first real incident occurred. Snape had belittled Harry about three times, and was now moving on to Dawn. Spike had had enough. He strode across the Potions lab and slammed Snape against the wall.
"Listen, Severus, we've met before, so you know what I can do to you. Leave Dawn and Harry alone, and start giving them more respect, or you will wish you'd never been born, get it?" Spike had slowly been increasing his pressure on Snape's windpipe until the professor could no longer take a breath.
"I know you remember what me and Dru did to your compadres about 20 years ago. Don't you?" Spike asked, his eyes glowing amber. Snape nodded.
"Harry's my great-great-grandson, and Dawn is like my daughter. Insult them, Willow's cousins, or their friends ever again, and I will keep you alive for a month." Spike let him go sharply, Snape's face still full of arrogance.
"Bit, Harry, come with me please," Spike said, and Harry and Dawn quickly gathered up their stuff and followed Spike out of the dungeons. Suddenly, Spike realized something. He saw the way Harry was walking, and he smelled fear and pain.
"Oh bugger, why didn't I realize this before?" Spike asked. When he had brought his son and daughter to the deserted Gryffindor common room, he ordered Harry to take off his robe. The he told him to lift up his shirt. Harry's entire left side was black and blue.
"Three cracked ribs," Spike said, gently touching the boy's side with his fingers. "Who did this to you?" Harry looked down at his feet.
"Tell him, Harry," Dawn said. "You're family, he will protect you at any cost."
"Uncle Vernon," Harry said. It had been six days since Harry had left the Dursleys', but he was afraid to visit Madame Pomfrey, for fear she would ask where the bruises came from.
Dawn's eyes flashed green. Spike was barely able to contain himself. Before long, Harry had let the whole sordid tale slip out. How Vernon Dursley abused everybody he came in contact with. He beat Harry for just existing, hit Dudley when he got in his way, and beat and raped Petunia whenever he felt like it, especially when his son and nephew were watching. Spike looked positively feral.
"We're going on a field trip, Pet. Harry's coming too. Family looks out for family. Paige can take us." Spike declared.
"Paige?" Dawn called. Paige sensed Dawn's call in her head and orbed to her.
"Dawnie," she said gently. "It's good to see you up and about. What's wrong?"
"We have some family business to take care of. Can you take us somewhere?" Paige looked hesitant, but she agreed. They held hands, and orbed into the Dursley's living room.
"Who the bloody 'ell are you?" Vernon Dursley snarled.
"Your worst nightmare," Dawn replied. "I'd like you to meet your wife's great-grandfather: William the Bloody. One of the most famous and brutal vampire in all of history. And I'm Dawn. Otherwise known as the Girl Who Never Was- the Key of the Beast. You hurt our family, and now you must pay."
"Dawn," Paige began. "We don't hurt humans. Please, don't do this."
"Angel-girl, take Petunia and the whelp, and bring them to Poppy Pomfrey in the medical wing of Hogwarts. Have her heal them and give them a sleeping draught, and we will meet you there soon. Hesitantly, Paige complied, and orbed Petunia & Dudley to the school.
"Now, Vernon, you're going to pay dearly for what you did to my family," Spike said. "Dawn, show Harry what this family does to those who would hurt it." Dawn grinned. There was a flash of green light and Vernon was thrown back against the wall. Dawn took a bowl from the table and quickly leafed through the spice rack, taking a few herbs, before cutting her hand and pouring some blood into the bowl.
"With every cry uttered in this house, I return to you all the pain you inflicted," Dawn chanted, throwing the mixture on Vernon's chest. Instantly, Vernon was forced to relive every violent act he'd ever done to another. When Vernon stopped spasming, Spike stripped him of all but his underwear, and tied him up. Spike suddenly thought to cast a silencing spell on the house, so that nobody else on Privet Drive would hear Vernon's screams.
"Harry," Spike began, "Is there something you've always wanted to do to your uncle?" Spike asked, a sadistic grin on his face. Harry stepped up. Fixing his stare on Vernon, Harry flew at him with his fists, punching him and kicking him with all his might. Finally, he spit in his face, and pulled out his wand.
"Nothing too damaging, Pet," Spike said, "I want to keep him around for a while, gonna show him real pain, and have meself some fun with it." Harry nodded, and just started hexing Vernon. Finally, Harry backed away, exhausted.
"Dawn, take Harry back to the school, I'll return soon." Dawn nodded, trying to remember Willow's teleportation spell. She tried it, but it didn't work because of the wards on Hogwarts. Dawn made another cut on her hand, and said a few words in both Latin and Sumerian. Shaking some blood from her hand, a portal opened. Dawn grabbed Harry and pulled him through the portal back into the Gryffindor common room.
At the Dursley's, Spike was at a loss. He wanted to make Vernon pay, but torture had never been his forte. He looked over at the mantle and saw a family photo. Vernon's sister Marge, was Wesley's mother! That gave him an idea.
He called on the sire-childe bond, not with Drusilla, but with Angelus. The older vampire sensed his childe's rage, and grabbed his mate. Wesley did a teleportation spell, and they appeared at Spike's side.
"Sire," Spike said, emotion revealed in his voice. "He hurt my family, and yours. He beat my great-granddaughter, and my great-great-grandsons. And his sister, is Marge." Angel looked over at his mate, and saw that Wesley had blanched at the site of his uncle Vernon. Suddenly the flashbacks were too much. All those times he was locked in the closet for days at a time. Angel felt his mate begin to panic, and released Angelus.
"Don't worry, boyo," Angelus said with a bit of his old brogue. "We're gonna have us some great fun. All right, William, get me some nice sharp knives and a bowl of ice." Spike grinned evilly, and went to fetch the items.
"Hello, Vernon. I'm Angelus, the Scourge of Europe. This is William the Bloody. I'm also Wesley Wyndham-Pryce's mate. Now we're going to have a nice spot of torture." Vernon started to scream obscenities at them while they just laughed. Angelus started with the ice.
"How about a nice bit of frostbite?" Angelus suggested, as he placed Vernon's testicles in the bowl of ice. While they waited for the ice to take effect, Angelus shattered each of Vernon's fingers with his hands. Listening to the man's screams, he smiled, and then moved up to his wrists and arms. "Want to help, William?" Angelus said, softly, and Spike started with Vernon's toes, slowly moving up. After Vernon passed out from the pain, Spike and Angel decided to drink until he woke up. Wesley played bartender, pouring whiskey and scotch until the two vampires were both quite sloshed. Angel reached down and kissed his childe, nearing his breaking point over all that had happened lately. ~*~*~*~ Back at the school, Dawn and Harry had created quite a stir among the Gryffindors by appearing through a portal into the common room. Dawn immediately went to Willow and Amy's room, where she climbed into Xander's lap and fell asleep between the two girls. Neville cautiously approached Harry.
"Are you all right Harry?"
"I think that my vampire great-great-grandfather is about to kill my Uncle Vernon," Harry replied, dazed.
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Neville asked.
"Search me." The two young men who had so much in common left the common room and walked around the school for a while, just talking and enjoying each other's company. They saw two older men walking through the corridors, holding hands. One man looked quite ill, though the boys had no way of knowing that Ethan was actually improving; slowly but surely.
"Neville, I've seen those two men before."
"Me too, I think, but where?"
"In a picture. Our parents were all in it too."
"I've seen that picture. Harry-- those men were Aurors during the last war." The boys looked longingly at the men who might be able to help them know how their families should have been..
"Ethan, do you remember all of this? Remember chasing girls down the hall, and practicing our dueling with Severus, and putting jam in Lucius's hair?" Ethan nodded, a small smile on the man's scarred face. His mind and his memory were slowly coming back. Giles had unbound Ethan's magic, and tried his hardest to undo all the harm the Initiative had caused. There was still a lot of healing that needed to happen, but everything would happen in its own time. Rupert looked up and instantly identified the two boys coming towards them. Each was the spitting image of his father.
"Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom, I presume?" the Watcher asked, to which the boys promptly nodded.
"I was at each of your christenings. My name is Rupert Giles, and this is Ethan Rayne."
"I've seen you somewhere before," Harry said, "And not just in photographs, but somewhere else."
"When you were in muggle school, you took a field trip to the British Museum, while I was still curator there."
"I remember. A bunch of eight-year-olds running around, I pity you," Harry said with a small smile.
"James?" Ethan asked, his mind not yet perfectly restored.
"No, Baby, this is Harry, James and Lily's boy. It's been fifteen years, remember?"
"Oh, I forgot," the tired Chaos mage said, laying his head on his mate's shoulder.
"Ethan and I are going to go back to our room for a while, but if you'd like, we can talk after supper tonight," Rupert promised the boys. They nodded and went back to the Gryffindor common room.
"Harry, what's going on?" Ron asked. "That Spike bloke pulled you and Dawn out of class, and then you appeared in the middle of the common room through a portal."
"I'm not exactly certain what's going on myself today," Harry said, curling up on one of the sofas in the common room.
Angelus and Spike sent Wesley back to Hogwarts, because this was something not to be done, or even witnessed by mortals. Besides, Wesley needed to eat and rest, while Spike and Angelus planned on keeping Vernon alive for days. It had been years since they'd been in a situation like this, but they had once been quite good at it.
Wesley moved tiredly through the school he himself had attended. He smiled at the memory of how excited he had been when he was named Head Boy. This school was his safe haven. He headed to the hospital wing, and bumped into Giles along the way. Rupert was heading to get a tonic from Poppy for Ethan, to fight off the magical seizures he still had upon occasion.
"Good afternoon Mr. Giles," Wesley said. "I had no idea you were here as well."
"Good to see you, Wesley. Heading to the hospital wing?"
"Yes." They walked together in silence. Wesley headed towards his Aunt Petunia, and cousin Dudley, almost as if he expected to be attacked for being there Giles saw the two, who had been given a heavy sleeping draught. Giles walked up to the two sleeping figures, an inquisitive look on his face.
"They've been bound," he told Wesley.
"They have magic, but it's been bound, so that they can't access it. The mother has been bound almost her whole life, I can tell. And because his mother was bound, the boy was born with his magic bound. I wonder if Spike knows this."
"If Aunt Petunia ever had magic, she was never aware of it You can tell that she was secretly jealous of Lily growing up, just by the way she speaks. Of course, our family is so completely anti-magic, that Aunt Lily, Harry and myself have always had to keep silent if public circles."
"So you're related to Harry Potter?" Madam Pomfrey asked as she walked by, working on the Dursleys.
"Through marriage," Wesley affirmed. "Harry's aunt, his mother's sister, is married to my mother's brother. The two of whom are very anti-magic," Wesley said with a grimace.
"Somebody bound this woman, probably in infancy. Spike is not going to be happy."
"Who would allow such a thing?" Poppy asked, shocked. "Binding an infant's magic is strictly forbidden."
"There are also only a handful of people powerful enough, in the entire world. Miss Rosenberg, myself, Lord Voldemort, the Charmed Ones, and Albus Dumbledore. Most of whom were not born yet. That tells me that it was Albus."
"Indeed, Rupert, I did bind Petunia's magic when she was still a child. According to prophesy, if she had her magic, she would have destroyed Lily in school."
"You have no right to maneuver prophesy," Rupert growled. He then opened his senses, and came to a shocking realization. But he would do nothing there, at that moment, unprepared. Rupert unbound Petunia and Dudley's magic, and then stalked off to his and Ethan's room.
The torture and demise of Vernon Dursley took several days. The two master vampires, despite having consciences and souls knew how to return pain for pain inflicted. After whipping and beating the man who had hurt their loved ones beyond recognition, they turned him, but not before castrating him. Once a vampire, they flayed him fingernails to toenails. Then they eviscerated him. Finally, four days after the initial discovery of Vernon's abuse, they incinerated him. They saved his eyeballs and testicles to send to Marge in the mail.
When Angel and Spike showed up at Hogwarts, they were grimy and smelled of ash, blood, and rotting flesh. Their family insisted they both shower before they all got together. Giles, Ethan, Wesley, Spike, Angel, Xander, Amy, Willow, Paige, Richard, Dawn, Harry, Neville and Hermione all gathered together..
"Paige, please go and get your sisters. Leo can watch over Chris and Wyatt." Paige orbed out and came back with Phoebe and Piper. Willow and Amy cast a wandless cloaking spell, while the Charmed Ones cast a protection spell.
"What I am about to tell you is not to leave this room. First of all, this room contains more power than the rest of the natural world combined, but it is different kinds of power, and we are all going to need to work together on this. Hermione, you and Harry are probably going to have the hardest time accepting this, but please, just listen." Giles took a deep breath. "Albus Dumbledore is a dark wizard. I first thought he might be four days ago, and Willow and Amy helped me confirm it. He has been hiding his true self for over fifty years." Hermione looked like she might either be violently sick or explode with rage The rest of the groups varied from looking shocked and numb. Harry didn't know how to react.
"Dumbledore can't be evil, can he?"
"Think about it. He circumvented prophesy multiple times. He bound Petunia's magic the day Lily was born, and in turn Dudley was born with his magic bound."
"WHAT?!" Spike exploded, and it was only his Sire's touch of a soft hand on his shoulder that stopped him from barreling after Dumbledore that instant.
"Also, the prophesy you found last year, Harry, was mutated. The actual prophesy indicated both you and Neville, not one or the other."
"Me?" Neville squeaked.
"Yes. The two of your complement each other, balance each other, like Ethan and I. It is the two of you together who can take down Voldemort But that is not why I called this group together."
"You want to vanquish Dumbledore," Piper said with a sigh. "But he's the strongest wizard ever, isn't?"
"One of," Angel said. Suddenly Phoebe got a panicked look on her face.
"He's read our book. When he came to visit us at the Manor, Dumbledore read our Book of Shadows. I remember, he was reading over my shoulder. He never tried to touch it, which is why we never picked up on him being evil. Also, I wasn't an empath yet."
"So he knows our most powerful spells. Including the ancestor spell," Paige said, defeat in her voice.
"So Percy was right all along," Willow said sadly, thinking of her beloved cousin who loved to read as much as she did. "And Uncle Arthur refused to believe him." Xander wrapped his arms around Willow while Amy hugged her from the other side.
"Dumbledore cannot know that we suspect him," Wesley said. "He's angry enough that Petunia and Dudley have been unbound, and will be furious when he learns of Vernon's death."
"So Dumbledore arranged my parents' death, and placed me with somebody he knew would hurt me?" Harry asked in a strangled voice. Giles nodded.
"Everybody needs to go on as if nothing has changed. The Charmed Ones might need to go back to San Francisco for a while, but the rest of us will stay here, and go on with our everyday lives. Whatever you do, do not mention any of this without the cloaking spells." They all talked it over a little while, and then went their separate ways. As Angel stepped out of Giles and Ethan's bedroom his cellphone range. He spoke for a few minutes, and then hung up with an unnecessary sigh.
"It's Cordelia. She passed away this morning." The former Sunnydale residents all looked sad, but Xander punched the stone wall with all his might, cursing when he felt his hand break.
"Who's Cordelia?" Harry asked in a whisper.
"His first love," Dawn whispered back. "Come on," she said in a loud voice. "We have Potions, and Snape's been nice ever since Spike threatened him."
That evening in the Great Hall there was a commotion that caught everybody's attention. Everybody was eating and talking and laughing when Ginny Weasley suddenly fell off the bench, grabbing her head as her body shook. Angel was with her in a second, "How is this possible?" He said quietly, as he lifted her up, and carried her out of the dining hall while everybody stared. Ron ran after them like a bat out of hell, and Harry and Hermione were instantly at his side. Dawn started to get up, but Neville pulled her back down, and Willow sent a message into their minds.
//Don't follow them. We can't all be seen as forming a big alliance. People will get more suspicious. Angel and Wesley can take care of her. We'll find out what's happening later. Don't cause a mob scene.// Dawn sulked, but all of the Californians who were rising sat back down and returned to their meal.
"Wes, how is this possible? She hasn't had any physical contact with Cordelia, which is how they were transferred before. She's just a little girl, not a champion. Why is she having a vision?"
"I don't know, Angel. But I intend to find out."
"Ginny, Ginny, are you all right? What's happened to my sister?" Ron demanded.
"She had a vision. Ginny, darling, what did you see?" Wesley asked her gently. Ginny slowly opened her eyes, wincing.
"I'm not sure, entirely. It was fast and it hurt. Images really. Percy, Mr. Malfoy, and a place. I think it was in the States. Why does my head hurt?" she asked, weakly.
"You're human, lass," Angel said with a sigh. "The visions are meant for demons. If you continue to keep them as you are, they could kill you. Cordelia was dying from the visions, until she became more than human. Part demon, but a balance demon, not evil in the slightest. You may need to become more than human as well, but this is for sure, we will take care of you." Ron was fuming mad, while Harry and Hermione tried to calm him down. Instead of the hospital wing, where the the students assumed they were headed, Angel carried Ginny to the guest tower, and laid her down on his and Wesley's bed. Ron saw his sister in pain, and his heart broke. He climbed into the bed with her and cradled her in his arms, as he hadn't done in years. Hermione and Harry were shocked at Ron's display of affection. They had never seen him act like this before. He lightly stroked her hair while he softly sang an old Celtic lullaby their Nan had sung them. Taking a deep breath, Ron revealed a secret that he had kept from his dearest friends. A secret most wizarding families kept.
"The most powerful wizarding families are never completely human. You were not a wizard before you became a vampire,so you would not know this. In fact, it is an aspect of the wizarding community never spoken above, nor written above, though the 'pure' families know. Spike would know, as well as Mr. Giles. Most so-called 'pure' families have the blood of a magical creature. The Malfoys have Veela blood in their line. One Longbottom ancestor was a selkie, many generations back. The Blacks have Fey blood. And the Weasley's have changelings. Throughout our lineage, every onc in a rare while, would be a Weasley with the power to shift into an animal. Different from Animagus, more similar to werewolves. They change at will and keep aspects of the animal in human state. That's why our four families are known to be the 'most powerful.' We do not have the access to the abilities, but they're there, latent and hidden." Hermione gasped, and Harry's jaw dropped. Wesley nodded, his mind already working on how that could have affected Ginny gaining the visions.
"Ron, you weren't supposed to tell. Nobody's supposed to tell," Ginny chided quietly.
"Harry should have been told long ago, but his parents weren't around to tell him," Ron replied.
"The Potter line was purebred, right?" Harry asked. Ron nodded.
"You'd have to ask Spike about your mother's line, but that would be changed, since there are muggles in that line."
"But," Ginny said slowly, "I think that one of your dad's ancestors was a sylph. I'm not certain though."
"I have a thought," Wesley said, and began to chant in Latin. A green light encased Ginny's body and she was lifted a few inches above the bed. Suddenly, there was a burst of white light, and a black panther was sitting where Ginny had been. A moment later, Ginny was Ginny again, but her teeth were sharper, and her eyes were gold.
"That was wicked cool," Ron said, kissing his sister's temple. "The vision. Percy's in trouble, isn't he?" Ginny nodded. "It's Dumbledore There's something wrong." Ginny nodded.
"I don't want to say it, but I think he's evil," Ginny whispered.
Hermione and Harry looked shocked. They hadn't spoken a word to anybody, who wasn't in their meeting.
"Do you share a bond?" Angel asked gently.
"Yes. It's a family trait, it's the reason the Weasley's are so close-knit. Bill shares a bond with Charlie, the twins actually have a complete psychic bond, always in each other's heads, and me with Ginny."
"And sometimes I can sense Percy. He was the one in the middle," Ginny added. Quietly. She and Ron were breaking so many rules, sharing family secrets with outsiders. Their Mum and Dad would not be happy.
"There's something wrong," Ginny said, quite upset. "Somebody did something to us, to our family, which made Dad kick out Percy, and made them say so many bad things to each other."
"I was under my cloak last night," Harry said, "I heard Dumbledore tell Professor McGonagall that he has to go to London tonight, to attend to business at the Ministry for a few days, and she was in charge."
"I'll get everybody together tonight, then," Angel said. "I'm going to call Gunn and Fred. They're now officially in charge of Wolfram & Hart for the time being."
"I think we should go back to Gryffindor tower," Ginny said. "I don't want anybody to know anything. Is wrong." The four Gryffindors headed back to their common room, and waited until everybody was asleep before the group reconvened in the guest tower.
"At least there are some perks to running a pan-dimensional law firm," Angel said, closing his cellphone. "I've been talking to my contacts at the American Magical Embassy, our counterpart to the Ministry of Magic. Apparently Percy Weasley was recently transferred there. Recently as in this morning."
"How did he sway that?" Ron asked "He's way too young and not important enough in the Ministry."
"Well, it seems that with everything happening with Arthur and Dumbledore, Lucius Malfoy arranged Percy to be transferred for his own protection."
"THAT DEATH EATER?" Ron exclaimed.
"He may support Voldemort," Giles said calmly, "But he is against Dumbledore, and that's why he protected your brother."
"Glamour," Ethan said suddenly. "Dumbledore's cast a glamour on the Weasley family. It didn't take with Percy, but that's why they all trust him when the animals tell them not to. But the kitten is connected to Percy, so she didn't give up on him."
"Everything that's been happening lately is so insane," Amy said. The first time she had really spoken to the other people.
"Like any aspect of our lives has ever been normal?" Xander pointed out.
"I have an idea," Richard spoke up, "but I don't think you're going to like it. We need to make an alliance with the Death-Eaters." Nobody spoke for a while.
"We can't trust them," Harry objected. "They only live for themselves. They'll turn around and stab us in the back."
"We though we could trust Dumbledore," Ron said, finding his voice, and choosing for the first time to voice a disagreement with Harry. "We thought we could trust him with our lives, and he turned out to be a maniacal fascist." Hermione's jaw dropped, as she didn't know that Ron even knew those words. "We might not be able to trust anybody right now, maybe not even each other, but we have to take some risks. Especially if Percy is in trouble."
"If Dumbledore's going to the Ministry, he must not know that Percy's been transferred yet," Ginny said. Her eyes glowed gold as she looked back into her vision.
Percy Weasley was getting settled into his office at the American Magical Embassy.
"I want to thank you again, Mr. Malfoy. As much as our. . . Interests may differ, you can be a good man when you so choose," Percy said diplomatically.
"Thank you, young Master Weasley," Lucius replied, flipping his long blonde hair. "I am confident that your family will come around to a right was of thinking. Dumbledore will not get his hand on you here, even he does not have the power to break international wizarding laws without consequence. If anybody threatens you, do get in contact with this law firm. They have represent the Malfoy family for centuries." The elder Malfoy handed Percy a business card for Wolfram & Hart.
"Thank you sir." The two wizards shook hands, and Lucius disapparated with a pop. Percy thought about his family. He missed them. If only they realized what danger they were in, letting Dumbledore get so close. And now Dumbledore wanted him out of the way. Even Penelope had cut her ties with him, choosing to support Dumbledore over the Ministry. Percy sighed at the thought and settled down at his desk to do his work.
END PART 3