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Chains Forged in Fire

Rated: PG-13 - Rating changed by author

Disclaimer: You bloody gits, if Joss and R.K didn’t own their respective works, and I did, do you think I’d be wasting my time with fanfiction?

Summery: Buffy is taken through a portal into a hell dimension (not related to Buffy running away storyline) -- will she return, or will there be enough of herself left? BtvsHP(later chapters).

Chapter 1 – All Good Things

It began as a normal night; vampires, demons, and the occasional screaming victim. However, for the Chosen Two this was a typical night and a rather boring one at that.

“Come on, B, the night is totally dead, and don’t mean of the stake-worthy kind. Let’s blaze and go bronzing,” the dark girl groaned to her smaller counterpart. The blond smiled at her sister slayers antics and looking around at the empty cemetery nodded her assent.

“We came, we dusted, now I say we party.”

The two turned to leave when a power surge from behind them tossed them forward. Turning to their backs on the ground, the Slayers shielded their eyes from the light of the swirling energy portal.

“This is new,” Faith drawled.

They rose to their feet just as five figures appeared through the gateway. All four carried two swords a piece; one was equipped with a bow, and another with a weapon similar to a mace. Though not huge, they were all over six feet and muscular, and though they appeared human the Slayers could sense demonic energy from them.

The apparent leader stepped forward and looked at the diminutive slayers with disdain. “You, slaves, who
rules this world?”

Faith and Buffy looked at each other in amusement.

“Well, I’m a slave to fashion and Faith here worships leather,” Buffy quipped.

“No one rules us, Dorothy, so click your heels and go home,” Faith chimed in with.

The four looked at the slayers in shock. Never in their travels had they come across humans such as this!
Simultaneously, the slayers attacked the four strangers. At first, the strangers merely blocked out of amusement, then in defense as they realized that they were unable to go on the offensive against these… these… humans! Pushed back towards the gate, the leader signaled for a retreat. The other three leapt through the gate, but the leader remained fighting the dark haired human.

Finding a weakness in her defense, the leader knocked the girl to her knees and raised his sword for the killing blows. Faith closed her eyes, and waited for the feel of steel, only to find herself being pushed to the side. Falling, Faith opened her eyes in time to see Buffy receiving the sword’s stroke through her shoulder. Surprised, the leader made a quick decision and before either slayer could react he had the wounded slayer in his arms.

Faith was on her feet immediately but it was already too late. The leader had disappeared along with the portal. And Buffy.
***********************
Gawain, the leader of the Elite, bowed before his lord and wondered if he would ever rise again. He wondered why he had obeyed the impulse to grab the human female and bring her to his dimension. Perhaps, because she has the same essence as me and mine, the warrior mused. His lord, the demon Caligula, bred humans and warrior demons to create an elite force that was considered disposable. Out of the hundreds of children born, only a handful live it to adulthood, and even then they usually lived only a few years.

Gawain and his men have served as the Elite for five years, the longest any Elite had lived, let alone a group. It was only due to their deep devotion to each other that they had lasted so long. That deep trust allowed them to fight better, stronger and longer. Watching the small human sacrifice herself to save her comrade had reminded Gawain of his group.

Now, that time may end if his lord does not come to see any value in the human.

Caligula stared down at his mongrel general with distaste. The only reason he bred these mistakes was because the products were strong but disposable for no one cared about the lives of humans, or worse halflings. The success of this particular general rankled him. However, Caligula admitted, if only to himself, that it would be wise to keep Gawain and his men alive. In the last five years they had conquered more kingdoms for him than any one else at any other time.

“Explain to me why you have returned, not with the head of a conquered king, but a female human!”
Unable to find a lie that would satisfy his lord, Gawain settled for the truth.

“My lord, upon our arrival we were greeted by two female humans. We questioned them on the whereabouts of their master, but both seemed to find the query a joke. After which, they attacked us and succeeded in driving me and mine back towards the Gate. They have greater strength than any human I have ever seen, and when I injured one I decided to bring her back in order to study her in hopes of discovering why this was the case.”

Caligula frowned as he considered this. A strong human female… where had he heard of one before? He brushed the though aside as unimportant. The demon gestured for a guard come forth.

“Have the female human taken to the Chamber and have my best torturer work with her. I do not want her to die until she has answered what she is, and whom she serves.”

The lord waves his hand in dismissal of Gawain and he made his exit but paused before he left the great hall. Turning back to the king, but keeping his lowered, he requested that he be present for the human’s interrogation.

Caligula considered briefly, then nodded.

Gawain walked toward the Chambers wondering why he felt such kinship with the small human.
****************************
Buffy awoke to pain – her shoulders ached as dangled in the air from the tethered wrist. Through the curtain of her hair, coated with grime and blood, she saw two figures in conversation. She recognized one as the demon who had skewed her shoulder; the other was unrecognizable.


“Ah, you are awake, excellent, now we can begin.” Though the stranger wore a benign smile, and voice was pleasant, Buffy sensed danger and watched him in fear.

Gawain noticed her reaction with interest. She’s intelligent; she realizes that although I am the one who injured her, Danann is the more dangerous one in this situation.

The torture lasted several hours, but had revealed few answers. Gawain was impressed with the human’s … no, Slayer’s … resistance. The girl refused to say anything beyond that she was a Slayer, there was another Slayer, and that if a demon messed with either one they would end up dead. She refused to give details about her home dimension, its defensives, or possible targets.

Though Gawain had never heard of the Slayer, his master had and appeared pleased with the idea of being the master of one. Caligula had gone so far as to venture into the Chamber, which he never had before, to meet this Slayer. The experience had been enlightening for all involved. Although the slayer had been tortured for several days, she had enough strength to break her chains and had almost succeeded in killing the king.

Far from being angry, Caligula was pleased. The prestige involved with owning a Slayer would grant him fame and power over other demon lords. The only problem was breaking the slayer to his wishes, but maintaining her ability to fight.

The days passed into weeks, then into months, and then into a year.

Danann had used a wide variety of tortures: physical, emotional and psychological. The Slayer had long since lost her memories of her world, family, and even her name. However, she had not lost her spirit and repeatedly attempted to kill anyone, demon or human, who came near her. In some instances, succeeding.
The demon king was growing impatient. If this continued he would become the target of ridicule; a demon lord unable to break the will of a single human female. Low-level demons vying for power began concocting ways to bring the slayer under their master’s power. All failed, many resulting in the deaths of the enterprising demons by the slayer herself or the irate king.

The only being able to get close to an unbound Slayer was Gawain. Though the slayer remembered that it was Gawain who had brought her to this hell, he was also the only one whom offered her no violence or hatred. Eventually, Gawain had told her about himself and his men and now the slayer felt a kind of kinship with the warrior. Chains to their master bound both of them, though his were metaphorical while hers were very real.

Realizing his master was close to ordering the death of the Slayer, he thought hard on a way to save her life without sacrificing who she was – well, what was left of who she was. His men, though having never met the slayer after their initial confrontation, offered him a solution. Emrys, whose arm was broken by the slayer in the encounter, was also a mage of great strength. He mentioned a spell he had encountered during a previous battle.

“During the battle for Kora, I encountered a fellow mage of some power. Instead of learning to fight himself, he bound a powerful demon to his will to fight for him. As long as he wore an item connected to the demon, the demon was forced to always obey his commands. By accident, I destroyed the item, a bracelet, and the demon turned on his master and destroyed him. Obviously, that means the demon had retained its will and mind, but was unable to act upon against his master’s wishes. I believe I can duplicate the spell.”

That night, Gawain went to the Chamber to visit the slayer and as usual, found her collapsed on the floor covered in wounds and blood. Even her accelerated healing could not prevent the myriad of scars that now laced her flesh. The sound of footsteps caused the slayer to leap back into the corner before she was fully awake. But then relaxed when she realized in was her friend.

“I’d offer you a seat but as you can see…” she trailed off dryly.

Gawain chuckled. How she managed to keep her sense of humour, odd though it was, was beyond him. But soon regained his serious expression.

“You know the king is going to order your death if you do not submit to him.” The slayer merely shrugged, then winced as the movement reopened healing wounds.

“But… there might be another way”

The hesitancy in which Gawain spoke sparked the slayers interest. The slayer knew she had lost her memories of her life before coming to Codan. Her earliest memory, in fact, was that of Gawain stabbing and capturing her. Vaguely, she realized she should hate Gawain, but he was the only person who truly knew her. Even though he did not know her name, having not learnt it before she herself had forgotten. She now counted him a friend, as well as his men although they had never met. It was only their conversations about life and war and death that kept her sane.

“Emrys can perform a spell that will bind you to an item that will be worn by your master. Your master will be able to force you to do whatever he orders, but you will retain your own will and mind.”

Gawain saw the refusal on the slayer’s face, and pleaded with her.

“Slayer, it is the only way for you to survive intact,” at her rueful glance, he amended, “mostly intact.”
Silence covered the pair. The slayer bowed her head in thought, wondering if she truly wished to live or not. When she looked up, Gawain saw in her eyes a fire that he thought had been lost.

“Only under one condition.”

Chapter 2: Broken Bonds

Faith sat on the steps of the library, staring blankly ahead.  Around her, the Scooby gang poured over books – Willow surfing the net – trying to find a clue to the whereabouts of the missing slayer.

Giles phoned the Watcher Council in hopes of a lead, or even a crumb, but so far had only turned up dead ends.  It had only been last night, twelve hours ago, that Buffy disappeared … no, whas taken … but the gang was already feeling the loss.

Being action-girl rather than study-girl, Faith was at a loss.  She replayed the moment Buffy was taken over and over in her mind.  If only I hadn’t been careless, Buffy would never have had to sacrifice herself to save me.  Every time she replayed the memory, she found several different ways she could have saved Buffy.

But no matter what she could have done it didn’t change what had happened.

Buffy was gone.

A crash came from the office, and the teenagers turned to see an excited Giles exit the office waving a sheet of paper.

“ Willow , I need you to use that…” pointing vaguely at the computer, “infernal contraption and bring up this site,” he said, handing Willow the piece of paper.

Willow ’s fingers flew across the keyboard, bringing up an online chatroom ‘the Archive’.  The teenagers turned to Giles for an explanation.

“There is a group of record keepers that have been keeping detailed records of all knowledge pertaining to hell dimensions for millennia.  Normally, one would have to travel to Rom to talk with any of the members, being a shy lot, but their young recruits have decided to take the Archive online.”

“I’ve passed the information about Buffy’s disappearance on to a Malcolm Donachelli, who I’ve been told will be able to answer our questions and should be …ah … online.”

WIKAGURL: IS MALCOLM DONACHELLI ON

M_DON: YES IS THIS MR GILES

WIKAGURL: YES DO YOU HAVE INFO

M_DON: YOU SAID THE DEMONS APPEARED HUMAN BUT WITH A DEMONIC PRESENCE

M_DON: AND THERE WERE 4 WARRIORS

WIKAGURL: YES

M_DON: DID THEY WEAR ANY INSIGNIA OR CREST

Faith thought back, trying to remember anything.  She could remember all of their weapons down to the last detail, but was at a loss to describe their clothing.  Anything she tried to remembered was overshadowed by the image of Buffy being struck by the demon’s sword.  The sword…

Faith bolted upright.

“They weren’t wearing anything like a uniform, but all of them had swords with the same symbol on the hilt.  It looked like a person chained up or something.”

WIKAGURL: ON THE HILT OF THE SWORD WAS A PERSON IN CHAINS

M_DON: AS I SUSPECTED THOSE WERE THE ELITE

M_DON: A SPECIAL HALF-DEMON WARRIOR GROUP BELONGING TO THE DEMON LORD CALIGULA

M_DON: HE RULES SEVERAL DIMENSIONS BUT IS BASED OUT OF THE CEREBUS DIMENSION

M_DON: IT IS MOST LIKELY YOUR SLAYER WAS TAKEN THERE

Faith gestured towards the computer saying, “Ask geekboy for stats on this Caly demon so I can find it and kill it.”

WIKAGURL: WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS DEMON

M_DON: HE HAS RULED FOR SEVERAL CENTURIES OUr TIME

M_DON: HE USES HALF-DEMONS TO FIGHT WHICH IS UNUSUAL BUT MAY BE THE REASON FOR HIS LONGEVITY

M_DON: HIS SYMBOL IS THAT OF A CHAINED/TORTURED INDIVIDUAL BECAUSE HE IS REPUTED TO HAVE THE BEST TORTURES IN ANY DIMENSION

M_DON: THEY ARE SAID TO HAVE NEVER ALLOWED AN INDIVIDUAL TO DIE DURING TORTURE UNTIL THEY HAVE TOLD THEM EVERYTHING THEY KNOW

In a quiet voice, Giles asked Willow to find out about the time differential between their dimension and Caligula’s.  There was a long pause before Donachelli answered.

M_DON: ROUGHLY FOR EVERY DAY THAT PASSES HERE TWO YEARS PASS THERE

M_DON: BY NOW YOUR SLAYER IS EITHER DEAD OR HAS TOLD CALIGULA EVERYTHING SHE KNOWS

Giles reached over Willow ’s shaking shoulders to type.

WIKAGURL: IS THIS DIMENSION IN DANGER

M_DON: NO

M_DON: UNLESS SOMEONE ATTEMPTS TO OPEN A PORTAL FROM OUR DIMENSION TO THEIRS

M_DON: SINCE HELL DIMENSIONS SHIFT IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER

M_DON: THEY WOULD EITHER HAVE TO BE VERY LUCKY

M_DON: OR USE AN INCOMING PORTAL AS A BEACON

WIKAGURL: THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE

Giles reached over and shut off the monitor.  Silence pervaded the library as four people sat in shock as their hopes shattered into pieces. 

Chapter 3: Alliances

The demon sat upon his thrown as his slaves cleaned the aftermath of his “entertainment” from the floor and walls.  A lesser demon came before his master and bowed.

“Master, there is a quintet of demons who demand an audience with you.  Shall I have them killed or do you wish to meet them?”

Before the demon king could answer, there was a scream from behind the closed throne room doors.  The doors were thrown open with such force they ripped from their hinges.  In their place stood five figures, all with swords.

The leader stepped forward and absently killed anyone, both human and demon, that was within reach.  Casually, the demon observed her surroundings.

“A little tacky, but with a new paint job and curtains this place could become habitable.”

The demon king drew himself to his full height of seven feet and looked down on the tiny demon.

“How dare you!  Who do you think you are?” he roared, reaching for his weapon – a double-bladed axe.

“Oh, I’m Slayer.  Nice to meet you.”

The demon froze abruptly. 

“You’re the Elite!?” he exclaimed in disbelief and fear.

Seeing the movement, the other four warriors laughed derisively.  Gawain stepped forward and relieved the former-king of his weapon.

“Ah, so you have heard of us then?” he drawled.

The Elite laughed again, enjoying the fearsome overlord’s abject terror.  The former king fell to his knees before the blond girl.

“Please, if you spare my life neither you nor your master shall ever see or hear of me again,” the demon begged from down on his knees.

Slayer thought it over, then brought out a gold coin – one side bearing his image and the other the emblem of his kingdom.

“Tails you live, heads your dead.”  And with that Slayer tossed the coin in the air.  So intent on the coin, the demon lord did not notice the slayer sliding her sword free of its scabbard.  With a clean slice, the demon’s head separated from its neck.  The movement was so quick, the face still held the same hopeful expression.

“Heads it is,” Slayer said dryly, with an evil smirk.

All five demons left the new throne room of the demon king Caligula laughing.

 

********************

Slayer bowed before her master with her comrades, fighting the urge to push the fallen strands of her blond hair behind her ears.  Her master did not allow them to stir until he was ready to address them.  In the hundred years since she began her service to Caligula, the blond girl had learned to accept these games of dominance.

She grimaced internally as she remembered her first years as Elite, much of which was spent in the Chamber as punishment for insubordination, or most often, inappropriate remarks.

When Gawain had offered her a way to live without losing herself completely, she had taken it.  However, she had insisted on one condition.  That she be allowed to join the Elite. 

It had taken Caligula a year to agree to the condition.   The demon king had merely wanted a spirited pet to entertain and impress his peers – not another halfling warrior.  Caligula forced Emrys to perform the spell, binding the slayer to his favourite ring and in doing so, to himself.  But the spell had not worked as the demon had expected.

While it was true the girl had to do whatever he ordered; she did only what he ordered.  The demon king found it tedious to be forced to order the girl to do menial labours like sleeping or eating.  The slayer’s passive resistance lasted a year before Caligula finally gave in.

It was during her first battle that she was officially named ‘Slayer’.  The slayer, her name lost, had been answering to ‘Vandala’, which meant property in the demonic language.  The Elite had been sent to a particularly dangerous dimension.  The slayer had been separated from the other four Elite, whom were captured. 

The demon lord decided on a public execution – to solidify his own authority, as well as please his subjects.  Gawain was certain of his death, when she appeared. 

By the time the slayer reached them, she was covered in blood.  The spectators, humans and demons, watched in awe as the tiny human dealt death to any demon warrior in her vicinity.  Suddenly, she was on the platform with her comrades.  Free, they took up arms to her aid; only to find it was unnecessary.  The enemy warriors bowed before her, offering their master’s life in return for their own.

The battle became a matter of legends, and soon Slayer became the leader of the Elite.  In the near hundred year of her leadership, she had only lost two comrades.  Slayer, Gawain, and Emrys were then joined by Talyn and Danyl.  Together, they are so wildly feared that Caligula ruled a vast empire with almost no dissention amongst its ranks.

Gawain, kneeling beside Slayer, knew where her thoughts led since she always thought of her past, that she remembered anyway, during these idle moments. 

Slayer had not changed much in the years he had known her.  She was still impetuous, strong-willed, and possessed an interesting sense of humour.

The greatest change was one he viewed with mixed feelings. 

For the first ten years or so, Slayer never hurt a human, slave or enemy, nor cared if anyone knew she was likely human or at least half-human.  Gawain was still unsure if she fully human or a halfling like himself.  She treated her human slaves as equals, much to the infuriation of other demons who had no slaves of their own.

But that changed when a human she trusted completely attempted to kill her – and almost succeeding.

As the woman lay dying at the slayer’s feet, she asked why.  To which the slave replied, “Even if you look and act human, you are a demon and deserve to die.”

The girl took the words to heart and preceded to kill anyone, human or demon, that suggested that she was anything other than a demon.  Though she still treated her slaves well, the barrier between master and slave remained.  Being a demon himself, though only by half, Gawain was happy when Slayer began to see herself as a demon.  He was saddened, however, by the pain his friend had experienced at the hands of a mere human.

But Gawain occasionally wondered if Slayer was human.  That would mean not only could humans be powerful equals, but that he followed one such human.  Such a human was completely different from the grovelling idiotic humans slaves he was accustomed to.  For someone who had spent his entire life hating his human heritage, it was a frightening and intriguing thought.

Maybe humans were different where Slayer was from.

Caligula finally gestured for the quintet to rise. 

“I have asked you here to inform you that in a few days you will be leaving for a new dimension.  However, I will be accompanying you this time.”

The five warriors started.  Then their faces settled into expressions of worry.  If the master is injured – none of us would survive the night.

Slayer stepped forward.

“Master, if I may, why should you endanger your noble self?” she asked in the complimentary court language she had learnt over the years.

“It’s a stipulation in an alliance with a human wizard I have forged.  Unfortunately, unless he opens the portal from his world to here, there would be no way for me to send my troops to his dimension.  By the terms of the alliance, I deliver his greatest enemy into his care and he delivers the Orb of Orcas into mine.”

Caligula chuckled.

“Of course, we will then try to double-cross each other, but I doubt a human will have enough power to defeat either me or my Elite.”

Gawain stepped forward beside his leader.

“What is the name of this wizard, Master?”

“Voldemort.”

Chapter 4 – Masters

Harry Potter sat on his bed and sighed.  He laid down and enjoyed the rare pleasure of having the room to himself.  His sixth year at Hogwarts was proceeding quietly.  Christmas had already come and gone without a sign of Voldemort.  He was doing well in all of his classes, even potions with Professor Snape. 

Instead of causing Harry relief, the lack of action stressed the boy.  He felt as if something big was building – that a great event was on the horizon. 

There was another reason Harry hated the peaceful days at Hogwarts.  It gave him too much time to remember and contemplate.  Over and over the prophecy played in his mind.  Why do I have to become a murderer just to live.

Since Sirius’ death, Harry had retreated into himself.  He ignored the worried looks from Ron and Hermione and refused any attempts by Dumbledore to help.  He understood they wanted to help him, but they couldn’t.  Not with this, and that scared Harry more than he’d like to admit. 

Recently, Harry had felt the guilt of all the deaths that he was responsible for weighing heavier on his mind; his parents, Cedric, Sirius…

Checking the clock, Harry slowly got up and headed towards the hall for supper.  But one thought still plagued the young wizard’s mind.

What is Voldemort planning that is taking so long to come together?

******************    

“This is boring!” Slayer whined, as she watched her master argue with the dark wizard, Voldemort.

Since their arrival a few hours ago, Caligula had been demanding they begin their plan immediately.  Voldemort insisted on waiting. 

Caligula’s impatience was understandable, since two years passed in his dimension for every day he remained on Earth.  At first Slayer had been fascinated by this dimension.  In no other dimension she had visited had she seen so much life.  Gawain had explained it was because this dimension wasn’t a hell dimension.  Until this moment, Slayer hadn’t realized there were any other kinds of dimensions.  Though, she now realized that Gawain’s descriptions of her home dimension, brief as his visit was, were not that of a hell dimension either. 

But remaining idle and not being able to kill anything for so long was wearing on the slayer’s nerves.  It was only her master’s order to remain that kept her still.  The enforced inactivity had allowed Slayer to notice an interesting fact.  Upon their arrival, the slayer’s various comments had irritated her master – causing him to order her silent.  Unable to do otherwise, Slayer observed in silence.

As the debate with Voldemort dragged on, and the Elite’s nervous wandering not helping, Caligula ordered them to sit.

After stating she was bored, the blond realized she had disobeyed her master’s order.  The spell connecting her to the ring should have prevented her from doing so – even if she had forgotten the command.  Which had happened several times to the slayer’s embarrassment. 

Covertly, the girl experimented with this new development and came to a startling conclusion.  Even though Caligula wore the ring, he was only able to give her one command at a time.  Trying to recall the specifics of the spell, Slayer realized that she must have developed in her power to the point where Caligula barely had enough power to activate the ring.  And even then, was only able to enforce a single command at a time.

Gawain turned to say something to Slayer, but stopped at the look on her face.

The blond girl was staring at their master with a predatory smile on her face.

******************************

Harry awakened to the feel of a hand across his mouth.  He began to struggle, but stopped when a female voice whispered in his ear,  “Unless you want your bunkmates to never wake up, stop struggling.”

The boy was allowed to reach for his glasses and then went completely still when he saw four other figures casually standing by the beds of the sleeping students.  Harry nodded and was allowed to get dressed.  Covertly, he hid his wand in his robes.  But given the small smile on his captors’ face, the young wizard wasn’t sure if the wand had gone unnoticed.

The warriors gathered while one began to chant.  Harry was hit by a wave of nausea and suddenly found himself in another room.  To his surprise, his captor rubbed his back as he tried to swallow his nausea.

“Don’t worry if you puke, Emrys is pretty bad at that spell; but what else can you expect from someone half-human?” she said with a grin.

The spellcaster gave her a mock glare that caused the other members to laugh.  Harry felt a small smile grace his own face.  The statement resulted in an insult match between the members, which at time included Harry.  By the time the reached their destination, the boy almost felt at ease with the demons.  To Harry’s surprise, he realized that he had laughed more with his demonic captures then with his own friends since Sirius’ death.  Though they were demons, and his captors, they didn’t seem evil.

Slayer regarded the human youth as they walked to the chamber that held her master and his enemy.  She had been impressed by the boy’s actions, which was so unlike the unintelligent cowering of the human slaves she was used to.  Even her own slaves wouldn’t joke with her, and this boy, while surrounded by enemies, answered their jests with his own.  Gawain and the others were experiencing similar thoughts, but they also wondered if this was the world their leader was originally from.  This young wizard and their slayer seemed to have much in common.       

The six entered the room and Slayer announced their entrance by saying, “Yo, Voldy, got the little boy you’re so scared of!”

Voldemort turned a deep red.  He was finally going to rid himself of the only person capable of stopping him and this girl had the audacity to ridicule his actions!  However, given the fact she was the favourite of his demon partner he kept his ire in check.  Now, he turned his gaze to the boy standing between the demons. 

The dark wizard grinned.

“Now, my dear young Harry, it is time for you to die.”

Caligula ordered Slayer to hold Harry’s arm as they advanced towards the boy.  Stopping a few feet from Harry, Voldemort raised his want to give the killing curse, but stopped at the disgusted looks on the demons’ faces.

“Wouldn’t it be better to kill the boy with your own hands?” Caligula suggested, holding out a knife.

Finding the idea appealing, Voldemort reached for the knife.  Harry, his arm being held near his wand, managed to grab it and muttered a spell just as Voldemort grasped the knife.  The spell forced the knife down, slicing off the ring finger of Caligula. 

Desperately, Caligula reached for the ring.  Seeing his movement, Harry instinctively reacted by ripping out of his guard’s suddenly loosened grip and moving towards the ring.  The youth slid across the floor, placing the ring on his own finger before stopping.  The ring’s power flared and Slayer, who had been reeling from the loss of the connection to her master, felt the connection re-establish itself with her new master.

This human has enough power to activate the ring, she thought with surprise, though unsure how far his influence extended.

Caligula turned toward Harry, intent on regaining the ring.  Frightened and not knowing the significance of the ring, Harry cried to the ring in desperation, “Help me!”

The demon lord raised his sword and Harry closed his eyes, unable to bear the sight of the sword slicing down.  The boy wizard heard steal strike flesh, but was surprised when he felt no pain.  Opening his eyes, he was greeted with the astonishing sight of Caligula standing still – with a sword through his chest.

The demon fell to the ground dead, revealing the girl who had captured Harry.  Scanning the room, Harry watched the other demons in the process of slaughtering the Deatheaters who had accompanied Voldemort.  But their deaths weren’t quick enough, and succeeded in covering their master’s escape. 

Slayer helped the boy to his feet, their connection confirming to the girl that he was physically well.  The other four warriors stood behind their leader and in unison all five demons kneeled.  

Harry stared in shock at the five demonic warriors, all covered in blood.  The leader of the Elite smirked.

“Congratulations, master, you now have the Elite, the greatest of warrior demons, at your service.”

To which Harry Potter, the Boy-who-lived, hope of those who oppose Voldemort, and powerful wizard, promptly fainted.

Chapter 5 – Introductions

Harry awoke to someone grasping his wand hand.  Startled, the boy wizard jerked back against the headboard and blinked with incomprehension.  Looking around, Potter realized that he was in his dorm room, and it was his friend Ron trying to wake him.

“Harry, if you won’t get up you’re going to miss breakfast.”

Was last night all a dream? But it felt so real…

Nodding distractively, Harry reached for his glasses – finally noticing the added weight to his right hand.  Sure enough, there on his right index finger was the ring of the demon lord Caligula.  Blood still encrusted around the jewels.  Harry’s eyes narrowed as he regarded the ring.  If the ring was real, then…

“Ron, you go ahead and I’ll catch up.”

Hungry, Ron gave no argument and headed off, leaving Harry alone in the room.  At least, he was alone for a few seconds before five figures appeared, seemingly from thin air.  Two of the demons, carrying a mace and axe respectively, headed to the doorway to stand guard.  The third thinner demon began to chant softly, guarding the room.  The last two demons gave a small bow to their master, and after giving the boy’s attire a significant glance, turned their backs.  Harry dressed quickly, never taking his eyes from demons. 

Though their eyes were never on him, Harry felt their attention always upon him.  As if they always kept him at a certain awareness.  The impression was strongest from the small female, to whom he felt a connection. 

Finished dressing, Harry addressed the warriors.

“Um…thank you for helping me last night.  But, not meaning any disrespect, why did you help me?”

“You do remember that little conversation we had before you fainted, right?” the blond asked.

The others snickered and Harry turned a bright shade of red.

“Right, you said I was your master.  But how can I be your master?  I’ve never even met you before in my life, at least, not that I remember.”

“You see, master, we – or more accurately Slayer – are connected to the ring.  Whoever wears the ring that has enough power to activate it, will become Slayer’s master.  Since we are loyal to her, we are also now bound to you as well,” Gawain said, taking pity on the young lord.

“You should be proud, I’m powerful so if you were able to activate the ring you’ve got to be pretty big power yourself.  Maybe I shouldn’t have mocked Voldy for having a human boy as his mortal enemy,” Slayer quipped.  At the mention of Voledemort’s name, Harry deflated.

“It’s not my power that activated the ring, it’s Voldemort’s.  I’m only able to access it because my mother protected me, causing his spell to backfire and leaving me connected to him,” Harry said bitterly, looking at the floor.  He raised his eyes as he felt a hand on his arm.  He met Slayer’s eyes, and in them was no pity, or sympathy, or expectation.  There, he only found acceptance.

“You’re wrong, master.  The ring can only be activated by your power.  I feel it; your power is like fire crawling through my veins, while Voldy’s power is like ice.  He is right to fear you, even if your first victory wasn’t of your own doing.  So what if it was a fluke, I’m the leader of the Elite through a twist of fate.  Hell, I might not even be a demon but now I’m the leader of the most feared group of demon warriors in all the hell dimensions.”

Harry grinned at that, and laughed as the other demons mocked Slayer – saying that even if they were half-human, she might be completely human.  Then Harry looked at the blond in confusion as he realized the meaning behind her words.

“Slayer, how can you not know if you’re human?”

“Well,” Slayer sighed, “I was tortured for a year after my capture, and I’ve forgotten all of my past except for a few slang terms.  Then, I was tied to the ring and that keeps me from aging until the day it’s destroyed.”

Seeing Harry’s sad face, the slayer cracked a smile.

“But if you were as hot as me, wouldn’t you want to stay young forever?”

Harry’s response was eclipsed by sound of bells. 

“Oh my god, I’ve got to get to class, I have potions with Snape!” and with that Harry took off leaving behind five bemused demons.

“I think I’m going to enjoy having him for a master.  Have you noticed it hasn’t even occurred to him to have us kill his enemies for him?” Gawain asked Slayer in amusement.

“Yup, and speaking of which, do you think we should pay old Voldy a visit?”

“One of us has to stay with the master, and since we don’t know how much control our new master has over you, perhaps you should stay behind.”

Slayer pouted.

“Go ahead and spoil my fun.”  She sighed.  “All right, but don’t try to kill him.  I heard about the prophecy connected those two from Caligula, and technically you’re not a part of Harry’s power.  If you try to kill him, there could be a backlash and I don’t want to lose anyone.”

Nodding, the four demons vanished.  Slayer searched for her master’s presence, and smiled when she located him.

I wonder who Snape is?

************************** 

 

Voldemort was not normally a happy man.  But the events of the last twenty-four hours left his followers either far from his presence or dead.  He had been sure that his alliance with the demon lord would end in Harry Potter’s death.  How could the boy possibly defeat the five most feared warriors in the hell dimensions? 

Instead, Potter was alive and apparently in control of the very demons that were sent to capture him. 

A quivering Deatheater approached the Dark Lord.  “Lord Voldemort, there are four demons here to see you.  I believe they are the same ones that serve, um, served, Caligula.”  Before the Deatheater could finish talking, the warriors entered the room.

“So the mighty Elite are reduced to running errands for a human boy?” Voldemort snarled.

“It’s a job,” Gawain dismissed.  “We just came to see how you were doing, since you left in such a hurry last night.”

Gawain’s companions chuckled.

“Also, you made a commitment to our late master – we delivered the boy to you, now deliver the Orb to us.”

Voldemort stood in shocked silence.  How dare these insolent swine try to swindle him, the Dark Lord.  He ordered his men to attack the demons, but they only grinned and said, “We were so hoping you would say that.” 

Within a matter of minutes, over a dozen Deatheaters were dead and Voldemort stood trembling before the demons.  Gawain moved to kill the human, but remembering Slayer’s words, stopped. 

“The Orb, now.”

Voldemort, seeing he had little recourse, did so.  Holding the Orb, the four gave extravagant bows before disappearing.  Leaving behind dead bodies and a trembling wizard as souvenirs of their visit. 

Reappearing outside Hogwarts, Talyn turned to Gawain.

“What does the Orb do anyway?”  Gawain shrugged.

“Not a clue, but it looks pretty doesn’t it?”

*****************************

Harry Potter hated Potions class; not because it was bad subject, or even because it was with Slytherin, but because Professor Snape taught it.  Not that Snape was a bad teacher, since he a brilliant potion maker, but because Snape hated Gryffindors – in particular, Harry Potter.  So every class consisted of Snape trying to make a fool of Harry, and deducting points from Gryffindor for every mistake. 

Finally finishing his potion, Harry waited for the Professor’s opinion.  As usual, Snape appeared ready to criticize Harry’s work when he stopped.  The potions master reached a hand to his neck and when he looked at it, it was covered in blood.  A small line of blood appeared across the professor’s neck, from what appeared a small cut. 

The cut wasn’t life threatening, but Snape was unsure of the cause of the wound.  He looked sharply at Harry.

“Mr. Potter, is this your doing?  You do realize that intentionally injuring a teacher is an expellable offence.”

“Sir, I didn’t do anything.  I’m not even holding my wand,” Harry replied, though he had a sinking suspicion that in a way he was responsible. 

“Mr. Potter, that’ll be twenty points from Gryffindor.”

“But…” Harry trailed off as a beaker exploded by the professor, covering him with cuts, but leaving Harry untouched.  Both sets of students huddled towards the front of the class, watching their classmate in horror.  Even Hermione and Ron were looking at Harry in dismay.

“Mr. Potter, go see the Headmaster.  Now!”

Without a word to anyone, Harry gathered his things and left the class.  As he walked the deserted hallways, he felt a presence by his side.  Without looking, he knew who it was.

“Why did you do that?”

“Because that human was going to insult you.  No one insults my master and gets away with it, it would ruin my reputation,” Slayer said brightly.  Angry as he was, Harry chuckled.  It had felt good to see the professor uncertain and afraid.  Then he remembered that it wasn’t only the professor who had felt that way.

“Slayer, this is very important, I don’t want you to hurt anyone again unless I tell you to.  All right?” Harry asked sternly.

Slayer sighed dramatically, slinging her arm over Harry’s shoulders.

“You’re lucky I like you, since you keep spoiling all my fun, but I’ll do what you order.”

Harry was about to enter Dumbledore’s office when he heard her say, “But to make it up to me I get to kill Voldy.”

The Boy-who-lived turned to see Slayer’s grinning face – with eyes that knew what it would cost Harry to kill in cold blood.

“Deal.”

***********************************************        

Harry waited in Dumbledore’s office, knowing that the longer he waited the more trouble he was in.  The door opened and Dumbledore entered followed by Snape and McGonagall.  The boy wizard winced at the look in his professors’ eyes.  Especially Dumbledore’s, whose eyes usually twinkled in amusement, but now were deadly serious. 

“Mr. Potter, can you tell us why you chose to attack Professor Snape, especially since he gave you no provocation to do so?” Dumbledore asked. 

“I didn’t do it, sir.” Harry said quickly.

“Make the boy take the Veritus potion, then we’ll know if he’s lying or not,” Snape demanded, his neck still bandaged.  Dumbledore sighed.

“I suppose it’s the only way to be certain.”

Harry looked at the professor’s in panic.  If he took the serum, he might tell them about Slayer and the others.  They were able to enter and leave Hogwarts with ease, and had done so to capture him and take him to Voldemort.  What if they tried to hurt the demons?

Dumbledore handed Harry a glass of pumpkin juice, and Harry reluctantly swallowed.

“Harry, did you injure Professor Snape?” Dumbledore asked.

“No.”

“Do you know who did?”

“Yes.”  Harry winced as the word left his mouth unbidden. 

“Who did it then,” Snape asked impatiently.

Before Harry could answer, another voice did it for him.

“Me.”

Suddenly, a blond female appeared by Harry’s side with a small dagger drawn.  Protectively, she stood between the boy and the professors – smirking at Snape’s awkward retreat.

“And you would be?” Dumbledore asked fairly calmly.

At that moment, Harry wished for nothing more than to disappear.  Sensing her master’s need to flee, Slayer touched his arm and they disappeared – but not before the serum reacted.

“She’s my demon slave.”

Chapter 6 – Lost

A thorough search of Hogwarts had failed to turn up the missing student, nor his…new companion.  Though only a few hours had passed since his disappearance, owls were dispatched to wizards throughout the world in an effort to locate Harry Potter.  Even the Forbidden Forest was searched relentlessly.

Of course, they failed to find the four demon warriors.

Watching the search crews, the four demons listened – really, unable to avoid hearing the searchers scream their master’s name.

“So, looks like Slayer got bored,” Gawain commented.  Emrys frowned, as he began to chant a locator spell.  A miniature globe appeared and a blue glow on an island showed the Elite’s position. But there was no sign of their leader or master. 

“I don’t understand it.  My magic tells me that they’re still on this plane, but I can’t seem to locate their exact position,” Emrys growled in frustration.  Gawain considered the situation. 

If Slayer or the master were threatened, she would transport to somewhere familiar.  But the Elite have never been here before, unless …

“Emrys, have you determined if this is the dimension where we retrieved Slayer?”

Talyn and Danyl looked at their comrades in surprise.  They had never known Slayer before the Torture, and had only heard stories from Emrys about her home dimension.  The sorcerer had said that this dimension resembled what he remembered of Slayer’s, but could it really be?

“Unless I found the other female Slayer fought with, I can’t say with absolute certainty.  But …” Emrys trailed off, and then nodded.  The four demons watched each other in silence, accepting the revelation with similar mixed feelings.  If this is Slayer’s home dimension -- and remembers – will she leave them?

Gawain shook the thoughts away.

“If this is Slayer’s dimension, then she may instinctively transport to her old home.  If I remember correctly, there was a great deal of demonic energy, which is why we mistook it for a hell dimension at first.  Emrys, would such an area also interfere with your search?”

Looking thoughtful, Emrys nodded. Again he started chanting.  This time a bright red glow appeared on a large continent, across an ocean from where the Elite were.  The sorcerer looked to Gawain for permission, and in an instant the four disappeared.

***********************************************************

Dumbledore sighed as the Aurors left his office.  Even with all their members being on the lookout for Harry Potter, there still had been no sign of him.  The headmaster considered informing the newspapers but ultimately disregarded the idea.  The situation would be worsened if Voldemort knew of Harry’s disappearance.  Even now, they were taking a great risk as it was.

The wizard considered his last meeting with Harry.  Though he had been sure that Harry hadn’t intentionally injured Snape, the headmaster had perceived that the boy was hiding something.  A demon had not been what he was expecting. 

Dumbledore raised his wand and chanted softly.  Instantly, the scene in the office turned back in time.  Chanting again, the wizard examined the illusion of the demon created by the spell.  The demon was small, but radiated power – even though it was only a projection of the past.  Besides the dagger in her hands, she also carried a sword on her back.  Dumbledore examined the sword carefully, taking a particular interest in the hilt. 

Hmmm, I wonder…

With a speed belying his age, Dumbledore quickly approached his private Floo.  Grabbing a handful of Floo powder, the professor said in a clear voice, “The Archive, Rome .”

The professor felt the familiar pull, and managed to keep his feet when he reappeared.  A young man, who appeared awed by the sudden arrival of such an auspicious visitor, immediately greeted him.

“Professor Dumbledore, to what do we owe this honour?”

“I was hoping I could speak with a gentleman who specializes in warrior demons.”

The young man nodded, and gestured for the elder man to follow.  The travelled for some time, wandering through the shelves loaded with books.  Dumbledore commented that soon they would not have enough space for them all.

“Yes, that is why some of the more technologically savvy members have begun to place the Archive on the muggle medium known as the Internet.  Ah! Here we are.”

The young man knocked on the door, but received no answer.  Shrugging apologetically, he opened the door to find another man sitting at his desk writing intently.  The man started when he felt the hand on his shoulder.

“’Sblood, Jeffries, I thought I told you not to disturb me unless it was an emergency!”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Donachelli,” the young man apologized, “but Professor Dumbledore insisted on speaking with you immediately.”

Dumbledore entered the gently lit room, and bowed his head slightly.

“I apologize as well, Mr. Donachelli, but the matter is of some urgency.”

Receiving a pointed look from both men, the young man made a hasty retreat.

“Well, Professor, what can I do for you?”

“A student of mine was found in the company of a demon, before they both disappeared.  I need any information you can give me on the identity of this demon.”

Michael Donachelli frowned.

“It’s true I specialize in warrior demons, but only those from other dimension.  I don’t know if I can be of much help.”

Dumbledore raised his wand and the image of the demon’s sword appeared.

“If you please, can you at least look at the emblem of this sword?  It was worn by the demon I mentioned earlier.”

The scholar rose quickly, and stared intently at the hilt, his eyebrows rising in surprise.

“Well, if this isn’t a strange coincidence.  In fact, I do recognize this demon, after a fashion.  The emblem is that of Caligula, a demon lord from the Cerebus dimension.  This sword is worn by all the members of his elite warriors known as the Elite.”

“Why do you refer to this as a ‘strange coincidence’?” Dumbledore asked.

“It’s just that – a few months ago I received another inquiry about demon warriors carrying this same sword.  I don’t remember the details, but those particular demons returned to their own dimension.” 

“May I have the names of the inquirer?”

The scholar pursed his lips, then widened into a smile.  Flipping through several papers on his desk, he grasped one.

“Ah, yes, here we are.  The inquiry was made by a Rupert Giles.”

*********************************************     

“Slayer, do you know where we are now?” Harry asked as the pair, after having walked for several hours, made their way into a small city.

“I keep telling you, how should I know?  It’s your dimension,” Slayer said with a shrug.  Reacting to Harry’s need instantly, the demon hadn’t concentrated on their destination.  As a result, they had reappeared in the middle of nowhere.  Slayer would have tried to relocate them to the nearest settlement, but her master appeared a little leery of another transportation so soon.

I should have just kept him from drinking that potion; except every action I though of involved killing or violence.

Slayer sighed.  Her master’s command to not hurt or kill humans without his permission was going to become onerous.  If nothing else, she had learned that Harry had enough power to enforce at least one order at a time.  She looked at her master, hoping he knew where they were. 

Harry was puzzled.  He was fairly sure they were in America , but where he had no idea.  But it was strange – he was in his robes and Slayer was wearing her leather outfit that looked like it was from the Matrix.  But no one was paying them the least attention.  Well, except for the leers Slayer was getting from the guys, anyway.

How could a whole town not even spare a glance for the two strangely dressed individuals?

Harry grabbed Slayer’s arm, and used his other to point across the street.

“There, it’s a magic shop!  If they know real magic, we’ll be able to contact Professor Dumbledore.”

Slayer followed her master as they crossed the street, mumbling under her breath that she could get them back if he would only let her.  Harry chose to ignore the demon, not willing to risk another three-hour walk.

Entering the store, Slayer immediately noticed that there was no gathering of magic.  This place wasn’t going to be of much help.  The two walked up to the clerk, who was wearing a simple dress and several amulets with different ruins.

“Hello, um, do you know who Albus Dumbledore is?” Harry asked hopefully.  The clerk looked at the boy with interest, but shook her head.  Harry sighed. 

Well, it was worth a try.  What do we do now?

Sensing her master’s despair, Slayer tried again.

“Do you know anyone who is heavily into magic that we might be able to contact?”

The clerk paused in thought, and then brightened, happy to be of assistance.

“Yes, in fact.  A Mr. Rupert Giles is a librarian at the local high school and I understand he is heavily into the occult.  Particularly in regards to demons and vanquishing spells.”

She gave the pair directions and before they knew it, they were standing outside Sunnydale High.  For some reason, the building gave Slayer a strange sense of unease.

“Slayer, if this Mr. Giles recognizes you as a demon, he may try to kill you before we get a chance to talk.  I think it would be better if you watched … from wherever it is you watch,” Harry said, making a mental note to ask how Slayer stayed close without being seen.

The demon nodded, and disappeared.

It took some time for Harry to find the library, since none of the students appeared to know where it actually was.  Entering, he watched in amazement as a dark haired girl fought an older man with swords.  Another four teenagers were at the table, apparently studying, but taking no notice of the fighting pair.  The girl stopped, sensing the boy, much to the relief of her companion.

“Who are you?” she asked in a belligerent tone.  Harry silently hoped that Slayer would remember her promise not to hurt anyone who insulted him.

“Hello, I’m Harry … are you Rupert Giles?”

The older man inspected the boy carefully before nodding.

“I was told you are well-versed in magic.  Um…do you know an Albus Dumbledore?”

The librarian straightened in surprise, and promptly cleaned his glasses -- this action causing the teenagers to smirk.  The four at the table abandoned their books to observe the boy. 

“Why, yes, I do.  He’s an associate … of some friends of mine, and is reputed to be an important individual.  I’m afraid I don’t know him personally, why do you wish to know?”

“I’m a little lost, and he’s my professor.  So I was hoping you had a way of getting in touch with him and letting him know I was fine,” Harry said, trying not to sound like a lunatic.  Even though the librarian was obviously hiding something, he didn’t appear to know that Dumbledore was a wizard.  And Harry didn’t want to get in trouble with the Ministry for revealing the existence of the Wizarding World. 

Slayer sensed her master’s unease, but remained still.  She sensed power from these individuals, but they were making her uneasy in a different way.  Whatever the reason, the demon was not enjoying the sensation.  The old man looked at the dark haired girl, and the girl shook her head slightly. The man returned his attention to the boy.

“It may take some time to contact the professor, do you have a place to stay?”

Harry shook his head, trying to hold back tears – the events of the last few days finally catching up with him.

A little while later, the boy wizard found himself in the living room of Mrs. Summers’ house.  The woman had quickly agreed to house the boy until his teacher could be contacted.  Again, Harry wondered at the easy acceptance of these strangers.  They may not be wizards, but they were something.

The dark hair girl had also accompanied them.  When he asked if she was Mrs. Summers’ daughter, a look of pain had crossed her face.  It quickly vanished, and she replied that she was just a houseguest like Harry.  The two women took Harry upstairs and showed him to his room.

The room was obviously that of a girl, but it didn’t seem to fit Faith’s style.  Harry chose to ignore it when he saw the twin looks of pain in his hosts’ eyes.  Finally alone for the night, Harry called Slayer.

Immediately she appeared, but seemed unsettled.

“What’s wrong, Slayer?” Harry asked, concerned for his friend’s well being. 

The demon smiled.  

“It’s nothing, Master.  Just…” Slayer grunted in frustration, unable to voice her feelings. 

Suddenly, Slayer straightened like an attack dog and turned towards the window.  Looking outside, she saw the four Elite.  She turned to look at Harry.

“Look’s like the cavalry found us, after all.”  Then she groaned.  “Emrys is never going to let me live this down.”

Harry chuckled, making his way downstairs.  Near the door Faith and Mr. Giles were arguing.

“Faith, even if those are the same demons who captured Buffy, it would be foolish to go out and fight them.”

“Giles, come on, this could be our only chance to find Buffy.”

Giles looked at his slayer sadly.

“It’s been over a hundred years in their dimension, Buffy isn’t alive anymore.”

Harry wondered briefly who they were talking about, but the thought was pushed aside by his excitement over going home.  Noticing the boy, Faith blocked the door.

“You can’t go outside.”

Harry realized that they knew that the Elite were demons.

“It’s okay.  They’re demons but they’re my friends.”  Harry made to go outside, but Faith grabbed him roughly on the arm.  Both Joyce and Giles protested.

“Those friends of yours killed a very good friend of mine.”

Harry was about to answer when Faith went flying.  In a blur, Harry felt himself being dragged out of the house by Slayer.  The two adults made a move to go out the now open door, but stopped when Slayer’s dagger impaled itself on the door frame.

They were only able to shout, “Wait,” before the six figures vanished. 

A groggy Faith joined their staring at the now empty street.

“I know I’m crazy, but wasn’t that Buffy who just sent me flying?”

    

Their response was halted by the telephone.  Seeing the numb state of the women, Giles went to answer it.

“Hello?”

“Hello, I’m Albus Dumbledore, and I’m looking for a Rupert Giles – his message machine said he would be at this location.”

Chapter 7 – Discoveries

Albus Dumbeldore arrived in Sunnydale just as the sun was at the peak of its path.  The journey had been arduous; first using the floo network to Los Angeles before apparating outside of Sunnydale.  The hellmouth made apparating impossible, and for similar reasons there were no floo ports in the city.  In fact, all wand magic was nullified for weaker wizards, and even the more powerful found many of their spells misfiring.  Very few wizards ever visited the hellmouth, even Aurors.

Before leaving England , Dumbledore had arranged a meeting with the Watcher’s Council.  There were few wizards that knew of the Council, just as only the board of directors knew of the Wizarding World.  Not even the Watcher of the slayer of the time was made aware of the Wizarding World, unless there was an incident between a Slayer and a wizard.  Even then both Watcher and Slayer were forbidden from mentioning the Wizarding World in their journals.

There wasn’t much interaction between the Ministry and the Council; mainly due to their disagreement over the control of the Slayer.  The Ministry believed that control over a magical being should be left to those with magical backgrounds – even though the Slayer was believed by the general populace to be a myth.  There had been several deadly confrontations between the two systems over the centuries.

Dumbledore had gone to the Council for two reasons; if Rupert Giles was making inquiries regarding demons he was most likely a Watcher, since no wizard would live on a hellmouth; and if Voldemort was responsible for ‘Harry’s demon’, then the services if a slayer would be invaluable.

The headmaster was surprised to learn that Rupert Giles was not only a Watcher, but the Watcher for the current Slayer.  The Council, having lost members to Voldemort during his reign, agreed to re-assign the Slayer to Hogwarts temporarily.  On the condition that Aurors be sent to the hellmouth.  Even if their magic didn’t work a hundred-percent, it was better than leaving the area unattended.

The Council had agreed to inform Rupert Giles of their decision and Dumbledore left for the United States .

An older woman with blond hair answered his knock.

“Yes?”

“Hello, I’m Professor Albus Dumbledore.  I believed I am expected?”

“Hi, I’m Joyce Summers – everyone is in the living room.”

The professor was brought into the room where three teenagers and a man in his forties sat.  Though he was unsure of the identities of the other two, the power emanating from the dark-haired girl clearly indicated that she was the Slayer.  The man rose and shook the professor’s hand.

“I’m Rupert Giles, and this is the Faith the Vampire Slayer, and her friends Xander and Willow .  The Council has briefed us on the Wizarding World, but they left the details to you.”

Dumbledore sat down.

“There is a dark wizard, Voldemort, who tried to control the Wizarding World sixteen years ago.  He was defeated temporarily, but now he has returned.”

“So you want me to wack the guy?” Faither interrupted.

“No, Harry Potter, whom defeated Voldemort as a baby, is prophesied to be the only one with the power to defeat him.  It appears that Voldemort has begun to recruit demons and since your specialty is demon slaying, I was hoping to obtain your assistance.”

The Scoobies had started at the mention of Harry Potter, and when Dumbledore finished Willow turned to Giles and said, “Giles, didn’t the boy looking for Dumbledore say his name was Harry Potter?”

Dumbledore sat forward, excited.

“You’ve seen the boy? Is he well?  Where is he?”

“He did a Houdini and left with some demons,” Xander answered.

The wizard frowned.

“Demons?  I was only aware of the one.”

Giles looked at the wizard speculatively.

“What did that demon look like?”

“Short, around sixteen, but very powerful.  She had blond hair with hazel eyes and was carrying a sword and dagger, from what I could see.”

Giles reached for the dagger that rested on the end table and handed it to Dumbledore.  The wizard examined it, nodding.

“It’s the same knife, I got a very good look at it the last time it was shown to me,” the headmaster said bemused.

“This was thrown by Buffy Summers, the other Slayer, last night before she disappeared with the boy and four other demons.  She was kidnapped a few months ago by those same demons – which your missing boy said was his friends.  We thought she was dead, since it has been over a hundred years in the hell dimension she was most likely taken to.”

The professor thought about this surprising news for a moment. 

“The only way for us to get answers is to ask those involved directly.  Harry will return to Hogwarts, it is his home.  Being his ‘demon slave’,” Dumbledore paused at Faith’s growl, “I’m sure the Slayer will be there as well.  I do hope you will tell me the tale about how there came to be two slayers, sometime.”

Dumbledore excused himself to allow the Scoobies time to talk.

“So, when do we leave,” Xander asked rhetorically.     

“Of course, we’ll leave as soon as possible, but…” Giles pulled off his glasses and cleaned them.  “We have to prepare for the eventuality that Buffy is no longer Buffy.  I don’t know how it’s possible that she has existed in a hell dimension without aging, and her actions thus far haven’t been those of the Buffy we know.”

The Scoobies sat in silence as Giles went to inform Dumbledore of their decision.

********************************

The demons and their master appeared in the lower bowels of Hogwarts.  Harry looked around confused, not recognizing the rooms.

“Where are we?”

The demons shrugged.

“Don’t know.  The only way to get in is to apparate, and since wizards can’t apparate in Hogwarts,” Slayer snorted disdainfully, “it seemed like a good place to take up residence.”

Harry shivered, and noticing Emrys began to chant.  Suddenly the room was warm and the area was clean and decorated.  Beds, furniture and sparring equipment appeared out of thin air.  Harry and Slayer eagerly explored, while Emrys and Gawain went off and talked privately.  After a few minutes they returned, looking solemn.

They found Harry alone sitting on the bed.

“Where did Slayer go?” Gawain asked, looking around.

“She said she needed to go kill something,” Harry said uncertainly, not sure if Slayer had meant the comment seriously or not.  Seeing the look, Gawain chuckled.

“Don’t worry, Master.  It’s what Slayer does when she needs to think, and she won’t attack any humans since you seem to disapprove.”  He hesitated for a moment, then sat on the bed.

“Master, there is something I need to discuss with you…about Slayer.”

“What?”

“As you know, Slayer isn’t from our home dimension.  We’ve been able to determine that she is, in fact, from this one.  When we arrived in the human settlement to retrieve you, we recognized a young woman was looking out the window.  I needed to confirm my suspicions with Emrys, since it has been some time since I last saw her, but she is the same one.”

“The same who?”

“I captured Slayer after injuring her while she protected her partner from my fatal blow.”

“That partner was the dark-haired girl you were with.”

Harry looked shocked and then suspicious.

“Why are you telling me, and not Slayer?”

The demons looked sheepish.

“We’re pretty certain she won’t kill us if she hears the news from you…Master.”

“Oh.”

Chapter 8 – One Question

Slayer wandered through the Forbidden Forest , disappointed that the fearsome creatures had decided that she was definitely not prey.  Giving up, the demon sat down against a tree and looked up to where the stars would be if it weren’t for the looming branches.

Ever since she had left the human house, she had felt unsettled. 

There was something about that house, and those people that stirred up feelings and hazy images.  Nothing concrete, nothing she could understand but they were there nonetheless.  She hadn’t felt like this since her first year after being released from the Chamber.

Then, she had been learning to become a demon warrior, since she couldn’t remember or wasn’t one before.  The more she fought the more she felt she was on the grasp of remembering who she was and where she was from.  But at the same time, with every demon or human she killed, the farther away from her past she felt.  The paradox had nearly driven her mad, until she met Katrina.

Slayer had never felt comfortable owning slaves.  So she had treated them like friends and family.  Though they had originally thought it a trick, the slaves grew comfortable around their strange master.  Rumours spread that their master was really a human, and that it proved that a human could be the equal to a demon.

It wasn’t talk that other demons enjoyed hearing.  But their inability to force Slayer to act in any other way only enforced the validity of the rumour.

The favourite of the slaves was a woman in her forties named Katrina.  Immediately upon her arrival, she had treated Slayer like a daughter.  An attitude that the slayer appreciated, coming to see the slave as a mother figure. 

That is until the day her ‘mother’ tried to kill her.

Slayer had returned from a slave uprising, the first she had encountered since becoming a part of the Elite.  The slayer had been covered in human blood, and had wearily requested a bath from her ‘mother’.  Hoping to discourage the slaves through fear, the slayer had worn her most elaborate and gruesome battle armour.

It was what saved her.

Katrina had attempted to stab her master in the kidneys, but the armour had redirected the blade causing it to miss any major organ.  Instinctively, Slayer retrieved the blade from her side and stabbed her attacker before consciously realizing who it was.  The slayer had stared in shock as the woman she considered her ‘mother’ lay dying at her feet.

“Why?”

“Even if you look and act human, you are a demon and deserve to die.”

Slayer growled.  It was then she decided she would give up on her memories – and devoted herself to becoming a demon.  No matter who she was before. 

But now, after a hundred years, the memories she had forsaken were returning.  She had seen the exchange between Emrys and Gawain; the demon realized that their preoccupation the last few days was probably because of their suspicion, which was the same as hers. 

That this was her home dimension.

And the place she had transported to on instinct was her home.

Slayer had imagined finding her true home many times.  Imagined finding family and friends, and having her memory return.  But…she wouldn’t be the same person returning home.

Everyone in that house had been human – even the dark-haired girl that emanated power.  How could she, a demon, belong with such a group?  A group that evidentially fought to destroy demons?   

Slayer grew uncomfortable with the idea that she was most likely human.  For so long, she had thought of humans as nothing but weak slaves.  Nothing like herself, or her comrades. 

Maybe they hadn’t recognized me – they could only have seen me for a second before I disappeared.  Maybe they won’t look for me, Slayer thought hopefully, then sighed.

Even if it was true, she would still know.  Whomever those people were, they were from her past.  Though Slayer couldn’t remember, she felt that to be true. 

The demon groaned as she realized that she had spent hours thinking about this, but hadn’t been able to decide anything.  But she realized that it came down, ultimately, to one question.

Do I want to remember who I was or not?

Unfortunately, it was a question she couldn’t answer.

***************************

Harry sat back thinking about what Gawain had told him.  He had known that Slayer didn’t know anything about her past, but it hadn’t really hit home before that moment.  Sometimes, Harry felt the same way.

He was famous for something he couldn’t remember doing, or was even really responsible for.  It was like a past he had forgotten.  Like a person he used to be but wasn’t anymore.

What am I supposed to tell Slayer?  Should I, if I can, release her from the ring?  But if I do that…

At that moment, Harry realized he didn’t want to lose his demons.  They were exasperating, and quite possibly evil, but they listened to him as Harry – not the Boy-who-lived.  Slayer didn’t care that he was the only person who could kill Voldemort, and that he really didn’t want to do it.  Didn’t care that if he did do it, it would be cold-blooded murder.

They gave him a sense of companionship he didn’t want to lose.  For the first time ever, he never felt alone.

But…Slayer deserved to get her life back.  She had been a slave for over a hundred years to an evil demon, and now she was his slave.  What kind of master could he be?  No matter what Slayer said, it couldn’t be his power that activated the ring.  If he had that kind of power, how come he couldn’t save people; how come he couldn’t defeat Voldemort?

Am I like Voldemort -- I want to keep the demons because they make me feel powerful? 

Harry tossed in his bed, feeling the gaze of his guard.  No matter where he was, or what he was doing, one of the demons always stood watch.  It made Harry feel safe.

He realized that it came down, ultimately, to one question.

When the time comes, will I be able to let Slayer go?

Unfortunately, it was a question he couldn’t answer.

**************************************

The Scoobie gang had vetoed the idea of travelling by floo and were now on a plane headed for England .  Dumbledore was accompanying them, citing that he had never been on a plane before.  Giles and the professor had been talking for the last few hours about various magical theories, and the other Scoobs were sleeping. 

That left Faith alone with her thoughts.

Just before leaving, Joyce had pulled Faith aside; because of the gallery she wasn’t able to go along.

“Faith, whatever happens, please bring my baby back to me.”

Faith had promised, but she wondered if it would be another in a long line of broken promises.  The Buffy that she had seen that night…hadn’t been the Buffy she remembered.  She wondered idly if that Buffy even still existed.

Dumby hadn’t been able to tell them much; only that Harry had introduced Buffy as his ‘demon slave’ before they both vanished. 

Why would Buffy, the holier-than-thou slayer, be calling herself a demon?  How was she even still alive and able to transport anyone anywhere?

The questions continued to build up in Faith, and it felt like she was about to burst.  The dark slayer knew why she kept asking herself questions that there were no answers for.  She was trying to distract herself from the question she really didn’t want an answer to.

But she realized that it came down, ultimately, to that one question.

If Buffy really has become a demon, and I have to be the one to kill her, can I do it?

Unfortunately, it was a question she couldn’t answer.

Chapter 9 – Arrivals  

The Scoobies arrived at Hogwarts and stared at the castle in shock.  It was the only thing to stop Faith constant tirade about the cold weather – except for when Willow pointed out that leather and skintight shirts weren’t the warmest clothes. 

They got off the train and stopped as they surveyed their ride. 

“What the hell are those?” the Americans exclaimed as Faith reached for a weapon.

“Don’t worry, they are only thestrals – like horses, I suppose,” the headmaster regarded the Americans speculatively, “only those who have seen death are able to see a thestral.”

Even Faith was quiet for the rest of the ride as they contemplated the deaths they had seen – and if Buffy’s death is one they would add to the list. 

The inside of the castle was no less spectacular than the outside.  The Great Hall seemed to have been taken from a fairy tale, even though the various ghosts were unnerving.  Dumbledore led them through the castle, receiving curious looks from the various students.  They had almost reached his office when two teenagers stopped them.

“Professor, have you found Harry?” the red-headed boy asked.

“Harry hasn’t returned to the castle, then?” Dumbledore asked casually, calming the two students drastically.  Giles watched the professor appreciatively; understanding from his own experience that dealing with teenagers could be a tiring experience.

“Why don’t you accompany me and my guests to my chambers.  I believe we’ll have an answer to Harry’s whereabouts soon.”

They stopped in front of a painting, to the puzzlement of the Scoobies. 

“Lemon drops,” Dumbledore said.

They all gasped when the painting suddenly turned into a doorway.  The wizard looked at his guests with twinkling eyes.

“Shall we proceed?”

*******************************

Harry awoke the next morning to find Slayer sleeping at the side of his bed, sword clenched tightly in her hand even during sleep.  The boy looked at the demon with affection, touched that she was still unconcerned with his welfare even while she had her own problems.

The wizard’s slight movement disturbed Slayer’s sleep and she leapt to her feet instinctively.  Realizing there was no danger, the demon relaxed and smiled at her master.

“So…are we going to go to another potions class today?” she asked, fingering her new dagger.  Harry laughed and got out of bed.  He gestured for her to turn around so he could dress – sighing dramatically she did as he asked.

The other demons began to stir, still tired from their fight with Voldemort’s minions.  Gawain was the first to awaken and joined the other two as they bickered back and forth.  Eventually the other’s joined in, and Harry couldn’t remember another time he had felt so happy – not even with Ron and Hermione.

Slayer suddenly stopped mid-sentence and tilted her head – as if listening to something.

“Dumbledore’s returned…and he’s brought company,” she said uneasily.

“Who?” Harry asked confused, wondering who could distress the demon so much.

“The humans you were staying with.”

Harry frowned.

How could Dumbledore have found out about them? he thought, even after years of experience the boy still found himself being surprised by the aging wizard.

“He’s going to want to see me, I guess I should go and face the music.”

The demons turned to look at the human in confusion.

“How do you face music?  It has no corporeal existence.”

Harry’s jaw dropped.  He was about to explain when they all began to laugh.  Groaning, the boy raised his eye’s heavenward and asked, “Why me?”

Slayer, still laughing, placed a hand on her master’s shoulder and transported them to the headmaster’s office.  Fawkes squawked angrily at their interruption of his sleep.  Harry stroked the bird to calm it down.

He turned to Slayer and asked, “I don’t know if this is such a good idea.  Surprising Dumbledore in his chambers after shoving a knife in his face and disappearing doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

Slayer shook her head.

“Dumby already knows we’re here.  He has a spell on the joint that tells him when someone enters his office; it’s pretty good too, I couldn’t work around it,” she replied pouting.  It was moments like these that made Harry forget the little blond was a demonic warrior.

The demon straightened and pulled out her dagger.  Harry noticed and edged towards her.  A light from the outside appeared and Slayer placed herself between her master and the new entrance. 

A group of people emerged and two teenagers in unison yelled out, “Harry!”

The girl tried to hug the boy but stopped when a knife was placed at her throat. 

“Back away, slowly,” the demon growled and Hermione complied, along with the redheaded boy.

The other redheaded teenager edged forward, keeping her eyes on the girl rather than the boy.

“Buffy?  It’s me, Willow , don’t you remember?”

The demons eyes glazed for a moment, but a movement from her master brought her back.

It doesn’t matter who these people are, or if they know me -- my duty is to protect my master, she berated herself.

The demon refused to answer the girl, instead turning slightly towards her master – keeping the others in sight.  In his mind Harry heard, I will follow you’re lead on this, my lord.  Just remember, my loyalty is to you first and foremost.

Harry felt the weight he had been carrying on his shoulders for the last six years lift away. 

That’s right, I’m never alone now, am I?

Harry stepped out from the protective guard of his demon.  He winced slightly as he noticed the glare coming from Faith, but refused to take a step back.

“I’m sorry for disappearing like that, professor.  It won’t happen again,” Harry apologized.

“That’s alright, Harry.  But I would like to know the events leading to meeting your…new aquaintance.”

Harry quickly told Dumbledore the story; his kidnapping in the middle of the night; Voldemort’s attempt to kill him; the demons saving his life; Slayer’s slightly overprotective nature resulting in his disappearance.  Harry told them everything – except about the ring.  The boy wizard didn’t know why he hadn’t told them about that…except an instinct to keep the information to himself. 

The group turned their attention to Slayer, obviously expecting her to tell her story.  She narrowed her eyes and was about to threaten them when she felt Harry’s hand on her arm.

“Please Slayer?”

Slayer sighed, and kneeled before her master saying, “Your wish is my command, master.”

She grinned mischievously as she saw the humans shuffle uncomfortably because of her display.

“I was captured, tortured, made a member of an elite fighting squad, came here, killed my master, got a new master, and now I’m here trying to control the urge to kill every single one of you,” the little blonde said sweetly.  The humans all took a step back, except for Dumbledore and Faith.  Her estimation of the two rose a little, but they were still humans.

“Do you really know who Slayer was?” Harry asked, receiving an annoyed look from Slayer that he ignored.

“Yes.  Um… Slayer’s real name is Buffy Summers.  She is one of two slayers; a mythical warrior devoted to destroying demons, and lived on the hellmouth with her mother.  You were captured a few months ago by the demons you were with and taken to another hell dimension,” Giles said, hoping to spark his slayer’s memory but couldn’t read through the emotionless face.

A disembodied laugh could be heard.  Out of nowhere the four demon warriors appeared.

“Ha, I told you Danyl – Slayer’s a human.  Pay up.”   Reluctantly Danyl handed his favourite dagger over to the grinning Talyn.  Slayer glared at the two.

“You had a bet going on?  I can’t believe you did that!  Of all the amoral depraved acts to do, to benefit from another’s suffering…” she broke off as Emrys reached out his open pawn.  Grumbling she reached out and placed one of her favourite rings on it.

“Damn, I was hoping you would forget about that,” she groaned.

At that moment the Scoobies could see the Buffy they had known, but she disappeared as the slayer turned her gaze back to the humans.

“It doesn’t matter who I was.  I am Slayer, my name earned by bathing in the blood of my enemies and leader of the Elite, the most feared demon warriors in the hell dimensions; I serve Master Harry until the day one of us dies.  Forget Buffy Summers…”

“She’d dead.”

Chapter 10 – Answers

The Scooby gang sat in their new quarters; normally the massive quarters would have elicited awe from its inhabitants, but they were too emotionally drained.  After having lost hope of seeing their friend again, only to have it returned then snatched away.  Desperately, they tried to hold on to what little hope they had left.

“It’s still Buffy, she just doesn’t remember us right now,” Willow said, trying to convince herself as much as the others.

“Yeah, it’s B if she was a blood thirsty demon,” Faith retorted back.  Willow leaned into Xander for support. 

Giles cleaned his glasses and said, “I believe the best course of action is to interact with Buffy as much as possible.  We don’t know what has happened to cause her to lose her memory, but it’s more likely to return around familiar surroundings.”

“That’s going to be easier said than done, she wants nothing to do with us,” Xander said sadly.  The room fell silent, until a knock on the door.

The Scooby gang were surprised to find that their visitor was Harry Potter…and his demon bodyguard, Gawain.  Harry smiled nervously at the group, while Gawain just appeared bored.

“I’m sorry if I’m bothering you, I was wondering if I could ask you some questions?” Harry asked quietly.  The teenagers stared at the boy in astonishment.

“Why? So you can keep B on a tighter leash?” Faith growled, making a movement towards the boy but stopped when Gawain produced a knife from…somewhere.

“No! I just want to understand Slayer better…I want to know what she was like before…” Harry said, trying to gauge the reactions of his audience.  Faith had resorted to her cold mask, and Willow and Xander were looking at the boy sceptically.  Only Giles appeared to take the boy’s comments seriously. 

“Very well, what is it you would like to know?”

Harry thought for a moment, and Gawain spoke up.

“Why do you remain here, when you know you’re Buffy is dead?”

Faith glared at the demon, “B isn’t dead! You’ve brainwashed her, or something.  We’ll get her back.”

“If Slayer hasn’t remembered her former life in a hundred years, what makes you think that your mere presence will suddenly resurrect her memories?” he asked condescendingly.  That stopped the group, and Willow stared unbelieving at the demon.

“What do you mean, ‘a hundred years’?  Buffy’s only seventeen, and she doesn’t look old, because if she was over a hundred she’d be old, and withered, and probably dead, but definitely not the way she looks now,” Willow babbled and Xander held her hand and told her to breath.

Gawain looked at his master for a moment, and shrugged.

“A spell was placed on her while she was being tortured, to prevent her from dying during the process.  It had the unexpected affect of apparently prolonging her life; though there was some debate that she, in actuality, was a demon.  She has lived a little over a hundred years and has spent almost all of it in service of our former master.”

The second Slayer, powerful demon hunter, slid to the floor as her legs could no longer support her.    

“Is Slayer really different from Buffy?” Harry asked quietly, surprised by the depth of the group’s sorrow – but heartened that Slayer had been loved so much.

Faith chuckled dryly.

“Except for being a demon who wants to kill us, she’s exactly like B – even with her weird sense of humour.”  Gawain chuckled at that, remembering how that humour had amazed him while he watched her being tortured.

“Then why can’t you leave her be?” Harry asked somewhat desperately.  Giles eyed the boy speculatively, wondering why the boy was agitated.

“Because she’s still not B…and I promised her mom I would bring her home,” Faith added quietly, receiving surprised looks from her friends who hadn’t known about the promise.

“But she would never agree to becoming human!”

“Why? She is human,” Willow stating what she thought was obvious.

“Slayer dislikes humans, at the best she’ll tolerate them – with the exception of master,” Gawain said emotionlessly, not liking the turn in the conversation; his own feelings on being half-human brought to the surface.

Harry nodded in agreement.

“She said it’s because a human she had treated well tried to kill her, and ‘all humans are just pathetic slaves who didn’t have the intelligence to rebel against their mistreatment’,” Harry quoted.

Tears ran down Willow and Xander’s faces, as the events of the last few days overwhelmed them. 

“Harry, as Buffy’s, um, master you can help us to regain her trust and memory,” Giles stated, watching the boy.

Harry opened his mouth, then shut it, and thought some more. Gawain placed a hand on his master’s shoulder and said, “My lord will inform you of his decision,” and disappeared.

Giles turned to the drained teenagers, and sighed.

“Everyone better get some sleep, we have class to teach tomorrow.”

*****************************************

Slayer grumbled as she walked through the massive hallways of the demon palace.  After Harry had ordered her to stay away -- far away -- while he talked to her ‘friends’, she returned home.  Slightly ashamed, she realized that she had forgotten about the time differences between the two dimensions – so it had been nearly ten years.  Relieving the regent had been easy, but what to do with the empire now that Caligula was dead? 

The demon was pretty sure her new master didn’t want to live in a demon dimension, which left the empire in her hands.

Oh, goody.

So here she was, taking control of one of the most expansive and feared demonic empires.  A grin broke out across her face as she realized that at least one or two of the demons will try to wrench control from her.  A few years of bloodshed before she returned to her master would make it easier to follow his ridiculous ‘no killing’ policy.

She walked into the throne room and sat down, surveying the regents of the various territories. 

“Caligula is dead.  I killed him.  Any questions?” she asked cheekily, to the amusement of her guards.  She had left the Elite with her master, but that didn’t mean she was without aid.  Caligula had allowed Slayer to take control of the breeding program for the Elite and now the Empire was filled with soldiers loyal only to her.

“You aren’t even a demon, you can’t rule!” one demon shouted – before he felt to the ground headless.

“Any other questions?” Slayer asked, casually wiping the blood of her sword.  The demons exchanged glances; the only reason they had feared Caligula for so long was because of the Elite and Slayer.  Frantically, they nodded their assent and vowed allegiance.  Slayer smiled.

“Excellent!  Return to your territories and inform your subjects of the change of rule – and there better be celebrations in the streets,” Slayer stated, the threat clear in her voice. 

One of her soldiers came forward as the demons left.

“Slayer, Danann has been bought, as you requested.” 

Slayer nodded and the feared torturer was brought into the room.  Even though he had tortured the current lord, Danann wasn’t worried; he had long since lost that particular emotion.  He was, however, curious what the new master wanted with him.  Revenge, or for something else…?

“You wished to see me, my lord?”

“Yes, I was tortured by you for a year, do you remember?”  Danann nodded, watching the demon carefully.

“You are the considered the greatest torturer ever, but you failed with me.”  It was a statement of fact, but the torturer nodded regardless.

“Why did you fail?”

“My lord?”

“You gained nothing; my name, my home dimension…why?”

Danann studied the demon, wondering if she wanted to truth or something she wanted to hear.  Deciding to take the risk, he told the truth.

“You hid, my lord.”

Slayer frowned.

“What do you mean: ‘hid’?”

“You hid your memories within your own mind – somewhere that even you could not touch them.  Far beyond the subconscious, and far beyond my reach.”

“Are the memories destroyed…or can they be recovered?” Slayer asked, after a moment’s hesitation. 

“I do not know, my lord.  I have never come across a creature before you that attempted such a feat.  I have waited, hoping you would provide me with an answer.”

The torturer was dismissed and Slayer sat back in her throne, thinking. 

That is something we both have in common, torturer; both of us want answers that are dependent on the actions of someone else…

***********************************

Harry sat outside, watching the clouds.  Thinking about what Mr. Giles had asked him; thinking about what he wanted; thinking about what was the right thing to do.

A familiar presence knelt by the boy, and Harry asked, “Where’s Slayer?”

“She tying up loose ends in our home dimension; since Caligula is dead Slayer can take charge,” Gawain answered, paused for a moment, then said, “Are you thinking of the human’s request, young master?”

Harry nodded, continuing to watch the sky.

“I’m afraid,” Harry said so quietly that Gawain barely heard it.

“Of what, master?  You have nothing to fear while the Elite guard you.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.  I’m afraid that you’ll leave me and I’ll be alone again…” Harry turned to look at Gawain.

“I’m afraid if Slayer gains her memories she’ll leave me.”

The two sat quietly, both lost in their memories.

“When I was born, I was taken from my human mother and taken to a training facility.  I lived there for fourteen years; during that time I watched many friends die.  I then spent twenty years training with various Elite members until they died.  Then I became the leader of the Elite, and I wasn’t expected to live five years.  But even though I was feared, I had no power or respect.  I was the dispensable half-breed general.  Then Slayer came, and where we were once only feared we are now respected.  There are more half-breed soldiers – and more powerful – then all the other demons.  She may not have her memories, but she knows I am the one responsible for her being taken from her home.”

Gawain looked directly into Harry’s eyes, sincerity shining.

“Yet, she still calls me comrade.  If I could go back in time, I would do nothing different.  Demons are selfish creatures, master, but we won’t lose what is important for these morals humans are so fond of.”

Harry laid down on the grass, considering Gawain’s words.

“But I’m not a demon.”

“Neither was Slayer.”

Chapter 11 – Learning

Slayer sighed contently as she laid down in the thrown room.  Soon after ‘relieving’ the regent, she had thrown out Caligula’s thrown and gotten herself a very comfy couch.  If Slayer was going to have to listen to whiny demons, at least she was going to be comfortable.  The last year had been an amusing one for the demon.  As she suspected, the righteous pure-blooded demons had rebelled against her and her mongrel soldiers.

Unfortunately, it had only taken a few weeks to destroy their armies – much to Slayer’s disappointment.

As a reward, the ‘mongrel’ generals were giving the defeated demon’s territories.  Now, only a handful of demons were in power – but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in annoyance.  They feared Slayer so greatly, they were afraid to make any decisions without consulting her first.

Hence the couch.

Slayer relaxed and enjoyed the rare silence – alone in the room, except for her guards.  And Vrenn.

Caligula’s chief advisor, Vrenn, had been the only member of the former demon lord’s regime to survive the ‘restructuring’.  Vrenn had managed to remain in Caligula’s good graces for so long because of his utter lack of ambition.  Most advisors secretly covet the power of their masters but not Vrenn – his ambition was to chronicle every nuance, every subterfuge, even the tiniest moment of history for his records.

Slayer wished she could just set Vrenn up as regent, but the poor guy wouldn’t last the first assassination attempt.  As a form of apology, the historian had helped Slayer groom the next regent; Balar was a young Elite general who was intelligent and ruthless – and completely loyal to Slayer.  As were all her generals, in fact. 

“Vrenn, has Gawain opened the portal, yet?” Slayer asked idly.  Vrenn walked up from his place in the shadows.

“Yes, my lady.  I have already sent your Shadow to the portal with your items.  Is there anything else you would have of me before your departure?”

Slayer smiled slightly at the thought of her Shadow.  Realizing she wouldn’t be able to return to Cerebus until the danger to her master was dealt with, Slayer decided to take on a Shadow now.  Once a trainee reaches the age of fourteen, he is given to an experienced soldier to learn – he becomes their Shadow and learns from them until the soldier dies or they prove themselves worthy of becoming Elite.  As the leader of the Elite, it was Slayer’s duty to train the next member of the Elite Four.

Tuath wasn’t the largest or the strongest – nor was he the smartest – but he was loyal, ruthless, and a master at recognizing weaknesses in his opponents.  Because of that, Slayer chose him as her Shadow.  But while a brilliant strategist, Tuath was little – scatter-brained.  And clumsy, Slayer had considered removing all furniture from her home so she wouldn’t have to worry about Tuath disturbing her sleep with all his falls. 

Slayer frowned as the image of her chief housekeeper’s constant distress over her Shadow’s habit of breaking valuable objects triggered a memory.

“Vrenn, have you finished training the valet I asked for?”

Vrenn nodded.

“The boy is still a little rough on the edges, but he is human afterall.  I believe he is ready – if not, I can always train another.  If I may ask, why did you wish to have a human valet?”

“Oh, it’s not for me,” Slayer said off-handedly, but revealed no more information.  Vrenn accepted the unspoken dismissal.  The advisor turned to leave when his master began to speak.

“Vrenn, what can you tell me about the orb Caligula was to receive from the human wizard – the Orb of …okie, irac … something or other?”

“Ah, I believe you mean the Orb of Orcas, my lady.  The orb itself has no great power, except as a conduit.  It is able to transfer the magical power of one demon to another.  As a human, Voldemort was unable to utilize its powers.  Caligula planned to use the orb to steal Voldemort’s power.”

Slayer frowned.

“You said the orb doesn’t work with humans.”

“A human can’t use the device, yes, but a human wizard’s power can be drained.”

The demon nodded her dismissal, and the historian left.  Relishing the silence, Slayer thought about her upcoming homecoming.  For the last year she had avoided the issues plaguing her in the human world.

Her memories, her past…her humanity -- but now it was time to go back.

She was ready.

******************************************

The Slytherin and Griffyndor students sat in their desks nervously, wondering what their new teacher was going to be like.  Most couldn’t believe that Dumbledore had added a new class a day before the beginning of the second semester and make it compulsory for the sixth and seventh year students.  No one knew who the teacher was, or even the content of the class.  All they knew was that it was “Defence Using Wandless Methods” – whatever that meant.

A few students whispered about the new arrivals they had seen walking the hallways, but Harry ignored everyone – even Hermione and Ron.  His two best friends were trying to get his attention, knowing Harry knew more about their new teachers than they did.  But Harry wasn’t thinking about the new teacher – well, not exactly.

Today Slayer would be returning from the hell dimension – with a gift, which worried Harry to no end – and Harry was thinking about how she would react to his answer.  He knew she wouldn’t fight him, but he couldn’t stand her disappointment in him either. 

The entrance of the four Defence Using Wandless Methods teachers interrupted the boy wizard’s thoughts.  Malfoy snorted disdainfully at the dark girl’s clothes – no one being brave enough to suggest she change her wardrobe for something more appropriate.  She gave him a glare that turned the boy’s face the same colour as his hair. 

“Good afternoon, I’m Professor Rupert Giles and these are my teaching assistants, Ms. Willow Rosenberg, Mr. Xander Harris, and Faith.  As you know, this class is Defence Using Wandless Methods – what you don’t know is what that means.  You will be learning practical means of defending yourself and others should you ever lose or have your wand destroyed.  You will also be learning about forms of magic other than those normally found in the Wizarding World.  Any questions?”

“There is no magic outside the Wizarding World,” Malfoy said snidely and confidently.  The dark hair girl smirked, and the boy rolled his eyes.  The red head looked to Giles, who nodded, and began staring at a quill on the desk closest to her.  The students followed her gaze, and gasped when the quill began to float.  It hovered for a second, then darted forward like a bullet and impaled itself in the wall – missing Malfoy’s cheek by an inch. 

“As Willow has demonstrated, there are other magics – and they are as dangerous as your own.  Now for today’s class, I want to answer any questions you have on anything related to the subject matter of this course,” Giles said calmly.

The class grew silent, and slowly Hermione lifted her hand.

“Yes?”

“How did Willow do that?”  Willow stepped forward nervously.

“Um, well, I kind of made the quill ‘lighter’ than the air by calling on elemental magic, specifically Air.”

“Much wandless magic involves drawing on powers other than your own; whether it be elementals, deities, or other witches or wizards,” Giles explained further.

“So we’ll be learning wandless magic then?” Ron asked.

“Not exactly – there will be that element but much of the class will involve learning to recognize dangers outside your normal experience.”

“Like what?” a Slytherin asked.

“Vampires and other unhealthy demons,” Faith drawled.

“Vampires are a myth!” a Griffyndor shouted, a sentiment echoed by others from both houses. 

“Really? Then what about the Vampire Slayer, is she a myth too?” Faith asked, eyes twinkling.  The students nodded again and Faith stood up slowly – then punched a hole in the stone wall behind her.

The class was speechless.

“Faith is one of two current Vampire Slayers; she is gifted with fast healing, quick reflexes, heightened senses, and as you can see, added strength.  Vampires rarely attack wizards because the magic that conceals the Wizarding World from Muggles also works on vampires.  However, this does not extend to other demons, which is why you are aware of them.  Who can give me the names of these demons?” Giles asked, changing the subject quickly before Faith started taking out furniture.

The class progressed smoothly and before long the bell rang.  The students rushed out of the class, talking excitably about the different types of magic they would be learning.  Harry dragged behind, wanting to talk to the teachers alone.

The classroom finally emptied and Harry stood nervously before the others. 

“Well, Mr. Potter, what did you think of the class?” Giles asked courteously, hoping to put the boy at ease.  Harry’s eyes lit up momentarily, and he smiled.  But the expression faded as he remembered why he was there.

“I’ve made my decision,” he said with conviction.

“And?” Xander asked impatiently.

Harry opened his mouth to answer when he suddenly felt himself being lifted up into the air.  Two strong arms let go and Harry turned and smiled as he recognized his attacker.

“So, what I’d miss?” Slayer asked impishly. 

Chapter 12 – Answers

“So what’d I miss?”

Harry smiled at his demon, happy at her return.  Until that moment the boy hadn’t realized how much he had missed Slayer.  He frowned slightly as he noticed the two figures standing behind her.

Both appeared to be teenagers around his age.  The taller one had dark hair and eyes and was wearing armour and a sword similar to Slayer’s; he had a goofy grin on his face but his eyes were sharp and calculating, taking in the strangers and noting exits.  The other blond wore simple clothes that were immaculately clean and unlike his companion his face showed no emotion.  Both watched Slayer like dogs watched their masters waiting for a signal.

Noticing Harry’s gaze, Slayer grinned and gestured for the two to come forward.

“Master, this is my Shadow – my disciple – Tuath.”  The dark haired boy bowed slightly; Tuath had been informed about Slayer’s master but was still surprised that the ruler of a hell dimension was servant to such an unassuming human boy. 

“And this,” Slayer said with flourish, “is your new present.  I had my chief advisor personally train him as your personal slave.  He goes by Valet, but you can give him whatever name you want.”

“What!” came the strangled cry from the watching Scoobies.  Until that moment, Harry had forgotten they were there, so caught up in Slayer’s return.  They were staring at Slayer in disbelief, amusement, and horror.  The demon raised an eyebrow.

“Yes?”

“You can’t just give people as a present!” Willow blurted out.  Valet ignored the other humans and bowed before his new master.  It had been a great honour to be chosen by Lady Slayer to be trained as a valet for her own master.  Having been raised in a place where all humans were slaves, Valet found the other human’s lack of fear towards Slayer frightening in and of itself.  True, humans were treated better under her rule but Slayer was still their master. 

“I am pleased to be yours, Master.  I give my life in service to your needs,” Valet said, reciting the ritual words that a slave gave to his new master.  He waited, face downcast, for the ritual response but was forced to sneak a glance when it wasn’t forthcoming.  The demons looked away from their staring contest with the humans, and regarded Harry with amusement.

“Master, it’s traditional to accept a slave by saying, ‘You may live in service until your death serves me’,” Slayer prompted.  The boy wizard swallowed hard, and stammered out the response.  If the slave was disturbed by his master’s ignorance, or lack of diction, he gave to indication.  Instead, he placed himself a few feet behind Harry and stood silently, as if he was trying to disappear.  Harry nervously looked over his shoulder at his new shadow, before turning back to Slayer.

“Ummm…Slayer, why did you get me a …slave?” he asked weakly, knowing that Slayer wouldn’t allow him to refuse.  Even if he ordered her to take the slave away, she’d probably kill the poor boy.

Slayer shrugged.

“You told me to bring back a souvenir.”

At that moment, the Scoobies almost lost hope for retrieving their friend.  Buffy had always placed great value on human live, and now to see her give a human life as a souvenir…? 

“Buffy would never trade with human lives,” Xander said, giving Harry a ‘You-have-to-help-us’ look. 

“And I told you, Buffy’s dead,” Slayer growled back, but made no move to hurt the humans.  One, she had promised her master she wouldn’t hurt any humans without his say so; two, a year of bloodshed had calmed the demon down for a time.  Still fearing a bloody confrontation, Harry asked Slayer to give him a moment with the Scoobies alone.

“Gawain and the others will want to meet your Shadow and hear about their homeland,” Harry wheedled, knowing for the demon it had been a year instead of a few hours since she last saw them.  Slayer nodded her acquiesce, whispered something in Valet’s ear, and disappeared along with her Shadow. 

“You must see that it is imperative that you help us to recover Buffy’s memories,” Giles said, still stricken over the latest evidence of his Slayer’s new character.  “She cannot continue on like this – she is human, not a demon.”

Harry was silent for a moment, and when he spoke it was barely above a whisper.

“But she’s been like this for over a hundred years, and she’s fine.”

Harry startled as he heard a crash, surprised to Faith throwing a desk across the room. 

“Buffy is not fine!  For god’s sake, she’s giving away human fucking slaves!  She reeks so badly of blood that even I can smell it.  With or without your help we’re getting Buffy back, so what’s it going to be,” Faith growled.  The depth of emotion displayed by Faith surprised even the Scoobies.  Before her capture, Faith and Buffy hadn’t been the best of friends, though they were growing closer.  They hadn’t realized just how deeply Faith cared for her sister Slayer, and still didn’t know how Faith still carried the guilt of being responsible for Buffy’s capture with her. 

“No,” Harry said quietly, but firmly. 

They just stared at the Boy-who-lived in shock – almost unable to process the full meaning of that single word.

“No?” Xander asked in disbelief, a sentiment echoed by Willow .

“No.”

“May I ask why?” Giles asked, carefully hiding his own shock.  Having talked privately to Dumbledore about the matter, the headmaster had seemed convinced that Harry would aid them and retrieving Buffy’s memories.  The professor had struck the Watcher as someone who was very rarely wrong.

“No.”

“That seems to be a favourite word of yours,” Faith sneered, and advanced on the boy wizard.  At that moment, Valet stepped between his master and the girl.  She halted momentarily, having forgotten the slave’s presence.  Valet watched the girl warily, sensing that she had power. 

“My master has expressed his wishes, it is not your place to question him.”

“And you think you’re going to stop me, slave boy?”

Suddenly Faith found herself flying against the wall.  Everyone turned to stare at Valet, who looked slightly embarrassed at the display of power.  Seeing the questioning look on his master’s face, he said, “As your Valet, I have been versed in several methods of protection – including magical.  I hope I have not over stepped your authority, as I am aware of your own power.”

Harry shook his head, dazed.  The sound of his stomach growling brought him out of it.

“Perhaps it would be best if you ate, my lord,” Valet said, gently guiding his master towards the door – keeping an eye on the humans.

“So, what do we do next?” Xander asked idly. Giles headed for the doorway.

“We have a talk with Professor Dumbledore.”

“Why?  It’s not like he can do anything, or else he’d have gotten off his ass and done something,” Faith asked.

“I need to know how to contact someone,” Giles replied, unfazed by Faith’s comment.

“Who?”

“Joyce.”

Chapter 13 – The Human Condition

“It is the tragedy of the human condition – that even when surrounded by others, we are so wrapped within ourselves that we can only exist in our own minds – alone.” 

Harry walked into the hall, and looked around to see if any of his friends were around.  Grinning, he noticed Ron and Hermione playing a game of Chess – the only thing that Hermione had yet to beat Ron at, to her great frustration.  The boy wizard reached the table in time to see Ron’s knight destroy Hermione’s king.

“Better luck next time,” Ron crowed.  Harry chuckled, bringing his presence to the attention of his friends.  They turned to great him but grew silent as they noticed his new shadow.  Sitting down, Harry followed their gaze and realized with a start that he had forgotten that Valet was there.  A plate of food appeared before Harry and between bites he introduced Valet.

Ron

I can’t believe that Harry has a slave!  What the bloody hell is he thinking?

“Harry, I don’t think the headmaster is going to let you keep a slave,” I hear Hermione say.

You don’t think??  Of course Dumbledore isn’t going to let Harry keep a slave, Hermione!  For a smart – and cute – girl you’re pretty dumb sometimes.  Not that I can say that, I don’t want to get hit again. 

“Why not?  He’s letting me keep Slayer and the others.”

I don’t believe it; Harry still wants to keep those stupid demons.  The girl put a knife to Mione’s throat!  I bet if she was sorted she would be a Slytherin – and why would Harry want to hang out with anyone who acts like a Slytherin?  That’s right, ever since those demons showed up Harry hasn’t been spending anytime with me – us.  In fact, I think this is the longest conversation I’ve had with him in a week. 

“Harry, why do you want to keep those dangerous demons?  They’re even more evil than Slytherins!” I say. 

Harry’s getting that look on his face – the same one he always got when someone said something bad about Sirius.  I think Hermione recognized it too because she changes the subject.

“So, Valet, what exactly is it you do?”

Man, the boy must be dumb because he doesn’t look like he even heard Mione’s question.  He’s eyes are all glazed over, and he’s just staring vacantly.  Harry is going to get pretty bored of having the git hanging around him every day.

“I have been trained to see to every possible need of Master Harry,” the git replied.  Every possible need, what does that mean?  And why is Harry smiling?  It’s not like the git said anything funny.

Hermione   Both Harry and Valet looked distracted just a moment before, I wonder if they were communicating.  I’ve heard of spells that allow people to communicate mind to mind, but it takes powerful magic to accomplish it.    “Who trained you?” I ask.  Ron is giving me a glare again, but I can’t help it if I’m curious about Harry’s slave.  It would be best if we tried to understand why Harry has become so attacked to his new…friends, then trying to dismiss them outright.  It’s obvious that Harry is getting something out of the relationship that I guess he can’t get from us.  He’s probably just lonely since Sirius has gone, and if we show him that we still care and we’re not going anywhere Harry will go back to his normal self again.   “I was trained by Lady Slayer’s chief advisor, Vrenn.  It is quite an honour.”  Lady Slayer?  If I remember correctly, Slayer is what Harry called his demon – the one that put a knife to my throat.  I don’t understand why, but the boy seems pretty proud of the accomplishment.  Looks like something Valet said surprised Harry.   “Lady Slayer?”   “Yes, master.  It is what most humans call the Demon Lord Slayer, though most demons just refer to her as Slayer.  I have noticed, however, more demons referring to her as such since she took over the empire.”   “Empire!?!” I heard Ron squeak out.  That boy has to learn to develop some kind of poker face – he has a tendency to overreact to everything.      

“Yes, Lady Slayer is the ruler of several hell dimensions, controlling one of the largest demonic empires in existence.”

If this Slayer is so powerful, that means she must be toying with Harry.  Making him think that he’s in control – but for what purpose?  Whatever it is, I’ll have to talk to the headmaster about this.  There’s no telling what these demons have planned for Harry.

Dumbledore

It seems I underestimated the relationship between the boy and the demons.  I did not think that Harry would actually refuse to help the Slayer retrieve her memories, but from Mr. Giles has said that must be the case.  True, Sirius’s death did hit Harry hard, but he still has Hermione and Ron.

But, of course, there is also the prophecy. 

I wish I did not have to burden Harry with this responsibility, but there is no one else.  And the lives of everyone in the Wizarding World, and without, are counting on Harry to defeat Voldemort.  It is something Harry will learn in time – that sometimes it is the curse of being a wizard that you must use others for the good of everyone.

A curse I’m sure the Watcher of the Slayer must know very well. 

“Harry has not been himself since the loss of his godfather – the only real family he had left.  Unfortunately, I don’t hold Harry’s trust as I once did, so I am unsure how I can be of help.”

Mr. Giles is not looking well – I suppose he hasn’t been sleeping well with his Slayer being so close, and yet so far away.  I’m afraid I understand too well how he feels; Harry is like a grandson to me, and it pains me to see him suffer so without being able to help.

“I do have an idea, if I have your permission I would like to bring Buffy’s mother to Hogwarts.”

The Slayer’s mother?  From my brief meeting with the woman she seemed to be a strong woman, especially having a slayer for a daughter.  I wonder why Buffy wasn’t taken from her parents at a young age, like most Potentials are?  There seem to be many idiosyncrasies surrounding this particular slayer; even if her memories can’t be restored, she could be a very valuable ally against Voldemort.  I will have to endeavour to learn more about this Slayer – demon.

“Of course, I’ll have a room prepared for her arrival.”

Giles

It has been some time since I’ve frequented this bar – not since my Ripper days.  But I’m sure Joyce couldn’t handle an owl suddenly appearing at her work or home, so I needed to find a phone.  I suppose there are plenty of…cleaner places I could have found a phone but this was the first place I thought of.  So here I am, nursing my scotch as I wait for Joyce to get home.

God, what am I going to tell her? 

That the girl that I love like a daughter, that is your daughter, has turned into a bloodthirsty demon and her ‘master’ refuses to help us regain her memories?  That I failed my slayer so completely?

You were right to blame me after Buffy ran away; she just always seemed so strong and I didn’t want to think about how short a slayer’s life was.  But Buffy was…is special, I know she’ll last longer than any slayer before her.  I have to hope, or else I won’t be able to do my job, my duty…

But I had given up so easily – I knew Buffy was strong and if there was a way to survive in a demon dimension, she would have found it.  I should have tried…

God, the alcohol burns as he hits my throat.  

I guess it’s time. 

Joyce

This is the first time I’ve ever been on a plane, but I can’t really enjoy the experience.  How does one go about their life while their daughter thinks she’s a demon enslaved to a boy wizard?  There are so many moments when I wished I hadn’t accepted the job in Sunnydale.  Buffy’s and my lives would be so much different…

I know it’s not true, but I want to believe it so badly.  That there was something I could do -- can do to change my daughter’s future.  My god, she’s already died once and though she never says it, I know the odds are I’m going to outlive her.  Faith is a constant reminder of that fact. 

At least I’ve had Faith these last few months.  She didn’t replace Buffy in my heart, but she did make her absence bearable.  But I know that Faith has been hurting; call it mother’s intuition but she’s not as strong as she pretends to be.  I know she feels guilty about what happened to Buffy, though she won’t talk about it with me.  I don’t think she’s even told any of the others, except maybe Giles.

Giles…even now the idea of Buffy having this secret relationship with the man rankles.  I know he loves Buffy, but she is my daughter!  I should be the one she comes to when she scared, or needs advice.  I would hear Buffy having a nightmare, and she never called for me.  It was always Giles, or Faith.  They were the ones she relied on now – I’ve become a distant third. 

So why do they think I can be the one to reach her?  Of course I love my daughter dearly, and she loved me but I wasn’t her support.  At times I think all Buffy saw me as was a link to her normal life, the life she wished she still had. 

Maybe I’m just being morose – but I wonder…

But no matter what, I have to do whatever I can to help my baby girl.

Xander

So Giles is bringing out the big guns – calling Buffy’s mom up and getting her to come all the way to Gilesland.  When Buffy gets her memories back, she is going to be in so much trouble.  I don’t care what anyone says, Buffy is going to get them back.  There’s no way she would leave us hanging – there’s got to be a part of her that wants to remember but that wizard and those demons are forcing her to ignore it.

Huh?  Isn’t that the Valet dude that Buffy gave Harry…wonder what he’s doing here?

“Hey, man, how’s it hanging?”

Yeesh, I didn’t know someone my age could pull of that I’m-too-mature-to-answer-that-immature-comment look so well.  This guy has to have a bigger stick up his ass then Giles. 

“So where’s you’re master?” I ask, looking around.  I just hope the guy won’t send me into a brick wall without his master being around to encourage him – I don’t think I would be able to handle it as well as Faith.

“My master’s location is none of your concern.”  Man, is this guy full of it.  Well, let’s see if he can stand up to Xander, the talkanator.

“So why aren’t you with him, or did he tell you stay?”  Huh, not even a glare – in fact, I don’t think the kid got the joke.  What, they don’t have any jokes in hell dimensions?

“My master gave no such order – Slayer wanted a private moment with the master.”

Dammit, her name is NOT Slayer.  She’s Buffy!  Those damn demons, and that wizard are so going to pay for what they’ve done to her.  Oh, I guess I said that out loud because Mr. Preppy is giving me a weird look.

Valet

I don’t think I’m ever going to understand these humans.  The master’s friends spoke of the Elite as if they were nothing by nuisances – and now this boy openly talks about trying to injure them.  Have they no sense of self-preservation?

“Why do you not fear the Elite?” I’m surprised by the sound of my own voice, I hadn’t meant to ask the question – but I am very curious about the answer.

“We’ve faced a lot tougher demons than them.”  The arrogance!  A human bragging that they could defeat a demon – worse, an Elite – is suicide.  “The last apocalypse we had to stop wasn’t even that hard – all we had to do was destroy this box and wanna-be demon mayor was shut down.”

The boy appears to be thinking – since he hasn’t shut up since he came, I had my doubts that he was capable of it.

“Besides, I don’t think Buffy is capable of hurting us – no matter what she says.”

I’m too stunned to speak.  Not capable of hurting a human?  Does this brat even know what he’s talking about – even if we appear to be the same age, the human has the mentality of a five years old.  And even they know that the Lady Slayer is capable, and willing, to kill whomever she pleases.

“Why?” was the best I could say, my mind still too stunned.

“Because we’re friends.”

Willow

I’d spent all afternoon looking for Xander ever since he ran off after our last class.  I can’t blame him; I needed my own alone time to come to terms with everything that has happened since we found out that Buffy was alive. 

I tried to find Buffy – maybe if I talked to her when she was alone, she would remember me.  I’m sure that she recognized me when we were in Dumbledore’s office.  I’m her best friend after all and we’ve been through a lot.  There’s nothing stronger then the bonds between the three of us – we’re the Scooby gang!  I guess there is also Faith, but she doesn’t really count.

I know they were getting close before Buffy left, but that was just a slayer thing.  I wonder where she disappeared?  It’s not like there are any bars around here.  Bad Willow !  Faith has been working really hard since Buffy left – but…what if Buffy remembers Faith…and not me?

What’s that sound – it seems familiar.  Where is it coming from?  How can anyone get around this castle?  I think I’m getting closer…

Faith…and Buffy?

Faith

God, I hate this waiting around crap.  I really need to hit a good dance club and get laid.  Or maybe I can do a little slaying around here – like some demons that hang around with a little English twerp…

“What have we here?”

SHIT!  That scared the hell out of me – god, when did Buffy learned to sneak up on a girl like that?  Damn is she looking good though, at least all those years in the hell dimension gave her better fashion sense.  It’s nice to see the girl out of all those pastels.

“Well, B, just looking for a little action…you game?”

The old Buffy would have just pretended that she didn’t get off on sparring, but this Buffy just smirked and said, “Bring it on, human!”

Man, has this girl upped her game.  There are some wicked cool moves she’s pulling off – I guess that’s what you get when you fight demons non-stop for a hundred years.

“Looks like you’re going to get you ass kicked by a lowly human, B” I taunt, trying to get some kind of reaction out of her – and hopefully distract her enough so that I don’t get my own ass kicked.  My comment doesn’t seem to have any effect, but the girl is really bringing it on now.

Fuck, that hurt! 

Okay, looks like I’m not kicking Buffy’s ass today – especially given the fact that I’m on my back. 

“Fuck, B, you’ve really picked up your game since we last fought.”

“Yeah, but you’re still telegraphing your punches.”

Geez, the least she could have done was help me up before she criticizes me and takes off like a bat out of hell….

Wait a minute…I’m still telegraphing my punches!?

Holy Shit!

Chapter 14 – Reinforcements

Voldemort cursed to himself as he waited for the arrival of his guests. All his careful planning had come to nothing because of those damn demons that had come to serve his enemy. All attempts he had made to gain access to Hogwarts have failed and he was no closer to killing the boy. With each day that passed Voldemort felt the prophecy like a knife at his throat. The time for subtlety was over.

However, there were still those demons to consider. Even though there are only five of them, those five would sweep a bloody path through his army. But if the demons were the problem, then all he had to do was fight fire with fire.

Grabbing a knife, he sliced his palm and held it out towards a wall and began to chant. A bright glowing circle appeared on the wall and from it stepped three figures. Over six feet tall, the three demons looked around at their surroundings with disdain. They finally brought their gaze back to the human before them, their expressions remaining the same.

“You are Voldemort?” one asked.

Voldemort drew himself up to his full height and glared at the demons, “I am. You know why I have summoned you here.”

“Yes. But the price for us aiding you in your battle will not be cheap,” another one explained.

“You stand to gain one of the largest demonic empires in existence – I do not call that cheap,” Voldemort rebuked.

The three demons merely looked at the wizard.

“Your enemy is the Master of Slayer. The one who controls her, controls Power. She also has a vast army at her disposal; our only advantage is that we don’t lose much time between our world and yours. Every Elite is worth a thousand demons, and Slayer is worth ten thousand. To fight Slayer is to commit suicide.”

“Then why are you here?” Voldemort demanded.

“In a hell dimension, Slayer has no weakness. But this is not a demonic dimension, perhaps here she does. Bring us proof that you have weakened Lady Slayer and we will decimate your enemies.”

“How the hell am I supposed to do that?”

“If we knew, we would not need you human,” the demon said with disdain, “call us when you have proof.”

The demons turned to leave and as the other two passed through the third stopped and turned to the wizard, “And if you value your life, do not call if you don’t.”

As the portal closed the Dark Lord resumed cursing. The boy was completely out of his reach – he wasn’t even able to enter Potter’s mind anymore ever since Slayer had switched allegiances. Something was protecting the boy’s mind, and Voldemort suspected that is was Slayer herself.
Those damn demons! It always comes back to them. I need a spy within Hogwarts…

Voldemort smiled as a plan began to take shape in his mind.

Joyce Summers stared in shock at the enormous castle before her. It was like something out of a fairy tale. Beside her, Giles smiled faintly at the women’s reaction knowing that although she intellectually knew about the existence of the supernatural she hadn’t experiences much of it up close – that she remembered – other than for vampires.

The two entered the Great Hall and were greeted by Professor Dumbledore, and the other Sunnydale residents – minus Faith. Idly, Joyce looked around to see if she could spot Buffy.

“It is a pleasure to make you acquaintance, Mrs. Summers,” Dumbledore said warmly. Giles introduced the Headmaster to Joyce, and then turning to the others, realized that Faith was missing.

“Where is Faith?”

“She went off to try and find Buffy,” Willow answered quietly, reliving what she had seen just a few hours before.

You’re still telegraphing your punches.

Of course, Willow was overjoyed at the evidence that Buffy might be getting her memory back – but another part of her was furious that it was Faith that she was remembering. Why was it always about Faith? About the Slayer connection they shared?

“I have also asked Harry to come, so hopefully your daughter will be found shortly,” Dumbledore said gently, noticing that the Slayer’s mother was looking slightly overwhelmed. The group engaged in small talk for a few minutes when they could hear the sound of approaching footsteps. Entering the hall was Harry, Valet, Slayer and Faith – the latter two arguing about different battle tactics. Sitting as she was, Joyce was hidden from view by the standing figures of Dumbledore and Giles. Hearing her daughter’s voice, Joyce stood quickly and stepped out from behind the two men.

Slayer stopped upon seeing the woman and stared in shock.

Harry groaned and grabbed at his head and Slayer shot forward faster than the eye could follow. Within moments she had a knife trained against Joyce’s throat, and her arm was shaking with the effort.

Through gritted teeth Slayer said, “Master, release me from my vow!”

Harry could barely hear his slave through the pain in his head. All of Slayer’s emotions were rushing through him, and the anger and pain and sorrow were almost more than he could bear. Faith stood by the kneeling boy wondering what to do. She was afraid that if she made a motion towards the other slayer, Buffy would slit her mother’s throat.

Sensing their master’s agony, the other five demons appeared and quickly surveyed the situation. Valet was kneeling by his master, trying to find the source of his pain; Slayer had a knife to an older woman’s throat; the other humans seemed immobilized from shock and fear. Gawain gasped as he got a better look at the woman’s face.

“Katrina?”

The other demons stared at their comrade in shock. All of them knew of the human woman who Slayer had treated as family, and in return had tried to kill her. It was told other members of the Elite as a warning to never trust humans – a demon and human could never be allies – even if they were half-human. But that woman was dead, slain by Slayer’s own hand.

“Release me!” Slayer shouted again, and Harry groaned as yet another wave of emotion flooded through him. Valet finally realized the source of his master’s pain, and slowly began to chant. Harry felt his thoughts clarify as the pain was swept away. He smiled weakly at his valet, and tried to rise unto unsteady feet. He was surprised to feel a hand haul him up, and even more surprised to see that it was Tuath, Slayer’s Shadow. The young demon just smiled brightly and stood guarding his mentor’s master.

Clear headed, Harry blanched even whiter as he saw Slayer about to kill a women.

“No!” he shouted and quickly went to Slayer’s side. Even though he had felt her emotions – and pain – he didn’t know why she was acting the way she was. “Let her go.”

Slayer did so immediately, but her muscles shook as she tried desperately to disobey his command. Carefully, Gawain placed a hand on Slayer’s shoulder and took a closer look at the women. The resemblance was remarkable, but he could now tell that they were not the same person.

‘Slayer, look – this is not Katrina. She is dead, by your own hand.”

Understanding dawned in Harry’s mind as he recognized the name as the woman who had tried to kill Slayer.

“Indeed, this is Joyce Summers. She just arrived from America to see you,” Dumbledore said quietly, hoping not to startle the still shaking demon. Though, the situation had placed several of his fears to rest. It appeared that Harry did have complete control over his demons – for better or for worse.

The rage in Slayer slowly died as she registered what the others were saying. She watched as the woman sat down heavily as her legs could no longer hold her up. Faith slowly walked around Slayer and tried to comfort the distraught woman.

“Who is this woman?” Slayer asked in a deadpan voice.

“This is Joyce Summers…you’re mother,” Giles replied, giving Joyce a cup of tea that had appeared on the table. The demons exchanged looks as they realized the significance of the statement. A coincidence that the woman Slayer had treated like a mother looked like her birth mother? When is it ever?

“Why is she here?” she said in the same deadpan voice, her face revealing nothing.

“To help you remember who you are, Buffy,” Xander said.

Slayer turned and gave her Shadow a pointed look, who nodded and stood closer to Harry. Bowing to Harry, she glared at the humans and disappeared. Harry turned to the others with anger in his eyes.

“Why won’t you leave Slayer alone!” he yelled, ignoring the disapproving look Dumbledore threw at him.

“Because she’s not Slayer – she’s Buffy Summers! She’s not a demon – she’s human!” Xander yelled back.

‘But she doesn’t remember that!”

“She’s starting to,” Faith said quietly, but everyone heard her. The demons stared at the Slayer darkly.

“Why do you say that?” Gawain asked.

“She remembered how I used to fight…before.”

Joyce, fairly recovered from her ordeal, looked at her surrogate daughter with hope in her eyes.

“My daughter’s remembering…”

The mother’s hopeful words hung in the air. So absorbed in their own thoughts, no one – not the demons or Dumbledore – noticed the small white-haired figure listening from his hiding space.

The Dark Lord turned at the squawk of the approaching owl and smiled as he read the contents of the message it carried.

“So…the great Leader of the Elite is nothing more than a human. And the poor thing has lost all memory of her human family and friends,” a dark smile grew, “Perhaps I can be of some assistance.”

Voldemort ordered for paper and quill and his Death Eaters moved quickly to obey his commands. They had learned from their comrades experiences that being slow meant being dead. Within moments the Dark Lord was writing a new command for his spy and the owl was on its way.

Smiling, Voldemort began to make preparations for the arrival of several guests.

After all, he and his new allies had an assault to plan.

Slayer walked out of the Forbidden Forrest an hour later sweaty and bloody but a great deal calmer after being able to take out her aggression on creatures that her Master didn’t have a strange aversion to her hurting them. A voice called out to Slayer and she turned to see a white-haired student leaning against the castle wall smirking at her. At her glare, he tossed her a towel.

“Hogwarts has standards, you know. You should clean yourself up, demon.”

Slayer growled, but used the towel as her sweat caused her cuts to sting. With a grunt of thanks she threw the towel back at the smirking student and walked back into Hogwarts. In the back of her mind, the student was familiar but trying to remember the different humans that roamed the castle was not high on the demon’s agenda.

Draco Malfoy watched the demon enter the castle, and then whistled. Instantly, a black owl landed on his shoulder. Taking the towel soaked in Slayer’s blood and sweat, he wrapped it around the owl’s neck and it took off back to its master.

An hour later Slayer, after cleaning herself up, she went in search of her master. Distracted by the events from earlier, Slayer didn’t pay much attention to the slight tingling enveloping her body.

Ah, my allies, how good to see you again.

Following the connection with her master, she eventually made her way back to the Great Hall and was surprised that no one – with the exception of Dumbledore – had left the room since earlier even though almost two hours had passed. For some reason, the sight of her master talking with the woman from before filled Slayer with unease. The demon made her way Harry who, sat beside Faith, and knelt before him. Slayer blinked trying to dispel the sudden fog that entered her mind.

In fact, at this moment the spell I cast using Slayer’s own blood should be making itself known.

Distantly, she heard Harry call to her but suddenly she couldn’t answer him. Her mind was in chaos as it kept flashing from one memory to the next. Within moments, the last hundred years of her life passed before her eyes. A memory from one of her early days of being tortured emerged and Slayer couldn’t help the scream that tore through her throat.

This wasn’t just any spell – it’s a memory spell…what do you think will happen when the human conscious is forced to bear the weight of the demon’s crimes?

Harry reached down to Slayer, who was holding her head and chanting ‘no’ over and over. Faith also knelt down by her sister slayer and touched the blonde gently, hoping she wasn’t going to anger the demon. Slayer’s body shook under the two different hands as more memories flooded through her mind. Trying desperately to rise above the flood, she grabbed onto the two other presences within her mind.

Excellent! Well then, I do believe we have a massacre to plan.

Faith and Harry gasped as their connections to the blonde flared and for a moment some of Buffy’s memories flooded through their minds – childhood, torture, friends, battles, death…

The memories faded as the spell finished and the blonde girl knelt shaking on the floor. Demons and humans surrounded her – asking her if she was okay. Distantly, she heard them and slowly she raised her tearstained face to look at the two people kneeling in front of her. Hazel eyes met two sets of brown and in unison they asked:

“Slayer?” “Buffy?”

Chapter 15 – Remembrance

Gawain looked down at his friend in shock; unable to remember seeing her cry in the hundred years that he had known her. The other Slayer and the Master called to her, and she seemed unable to answer. Staring at them with a weird sort of recognition, and incomprehension. The demons shifted back and forth, unsure of how to fight whatever it was that was causing their leader such pain.

“Buffy…my name was…is…Buffy,” Slayer whispered and everyone in the room stilled at the sound of her voice. The humans had triumphant looks on their faces, while the demons remained impassive. Joyce reached for her daughter, who launched herself away from the touch. Slayer looked around anxiously; closing her eyes and clutching her head, she tried to make sense of the jumble within her mind.

Faith and Harry had gotten a glimpse but they were unable to remember much of the flood of information from Slayer. But what they did remember wasn’t pleasant, and Harry wondered if he could have survived what Slayer went through. Faith was wondering the same thing – only she was wondering if Buffy could survive the memories of what she had done.

Everyone waited with bated breath as Slayer sat absolutely still on the floor. No one made a move to touch her again, waiting for her to make the next move. Finally, she looked up, the tears gone from her eyes.

“Xander…Giles…Willow…Mom…Faith,” Slayer said, as she looked at each of the humans, as if reaffirming what she remembered. Each of them nodded, grinning wildly as their friend remembered who they were. Slayer locked eyes with Faith, and felt the Slayer connection between them flare. The newly acquired memories were fresh in her mind, but they were slowly assimilating themselves.

A movement to Faith’s right caused Slayer to meet Harry’s eyes, and now she felt the flaring of the bond to her Master. She repeated the naming ritual again, this time with the demons and her master. As she examined the faces of the demons, out of the corner of her eye she noticed the small hidden figure. She gave no indication she had noticed him, but even through the chaos of her mind she was able to place him.

He was the boy that had handed her the towel after she came back for her outing in the Forbidden Forrest.

Slayer allowed the idea to grow in her mind and came to the conclusion that the sudden return of her memories was most likely not a coincidence. In fact, she would bet her kingdom that Voldemort was responsible. All in order to make her weak; Slayer allowed the anger that flowed through her at that thought tear away the fog in her mind.

She growled softly under her breath, and was felt satisfaction as she felt the humans back away.

They’re your friends; you don’t have to push them away. They can help you.

Slayer closed her eyes again as Buffy’s voice rang through her mind. Even though the memories of Buffy were fresh, they couldn’t outweigh the memories of a hundred year old demon. But Buffy was no longer buried deep in the demon’s subconscious, and she was making herself known.

Slayer knew she was going to have to come to terms with being Buffy, but that would have to wait, she couldn’t afford to be weak – not with Voldemort almost certainly planning an attack. Ironically, Buffy agreed.

Now, what should I do about the spy? Slayer mused, running through various torture techniques. Buffy had a different strategy in mind.

The others watched in horror as Slayer crumpled to the ground, unconscious.

Draco smiled triumphantly as he watched the demon crumple to the floor. Voldemort’s plan was a success, and he would be richly rewarded for his part in it. He could already imagine the look on his father’s face as he stood at Voldemort’s side in victory. But image paled in comparison of the joy he would feel when he watched that bloody Potter and his lackeys die at the hands of Voldemort.

Waiting until they had carried the unconscious demon away, Draco made his way outside to the edge of the Forbidden Forrest. Looking around carefully, he whistled softly and Voldemort’s owl made its way to his shoulder. Giving the owl the news of their success, the bird launched itself into the night and headed for its master.

Full of pride and dreams of victory, the young spy didn’t notice his own shadow who was now making their way back into the castle.

Valet made his way quietly back to his master, whose concern for Slayer had made him unaware of the valet’s absence in the first place. He looked at the unconscious figure of Lady Slayer and waited.

Did you follow him?

Being careful to give no physical reactions to the sound of Slayer’s voice in his head, Valet answered.

Yes. He has sent an owl informing Voldemort of the success of his plan. Other than me, no one knows that your unconscious state is a ruse.

Good. I want you to take Tuath and return to Cerebus and inform Balor of the situation. Tell him and Vrenn I want as many troops as they can give me without sacrificing our defences – which means I expect Balor to remain where he is. The only way Voldemort can pull off an assault is if he gains the support of other Demon Lords, and I don’t want them getting any ideas while I’m preoccupied here. Other than Tuath, tell no one of where you’re going or why…not even Harry.

Of course, my lady…what do you want done with the troops when they have been gathered?

When the preparations are complete, have them gather at the portal and wait for my signal. I don’t want Voldemort to know we have back up until he has committed his forces.

As you wish it, so it is done.

Slayer slowly opened her eyes, as if she was waking up from a long sleep. Her various visitors crowded around her bed, and in the excitement of her awakening, no one noticed Valet quietly dragging a confused Tuath away. Slayer fought to not watch their departure, but smiled internally when she felt their absence. She had to admit, even if only to herself…and her other self, that even though Buffy’s plan wasn’t as much fun as torturing the boy would have been, there was still amusement to be had.

Still, pretending to be confused and weak was going to be tiresome. But as Slayer looked at the humans and felt the conflicting emotions within, she realized with a sinking feeling that it wasn’t going to be completely an act. As much as she was trying to block those memories off again, Pandora’s box had been opened. Looking at the humans she no longer saw pests and toys, but friends and allies.

Listening to Xander make inane comments and Willow continue to babble, she began to wonder if Buffy wasn’t the insane one.

Voldemort looked through the portal and smiled at the expanse of demonic warriors at his disposal. At his spy’s last communication reporting Slayer’s collapse, the Demon Lords had completely given him their support. Finally, after all these years, Voldemort could practically taste his victory. But he knew he would have to act quickly, before Slayer had a chance to adapt to her newfound memories.

No one could have reached Slayer’s position without being a survivor and adapting quickly, and Voldemort didn’t want to give her a chance to survive this encounter.

A demon walked through the portal and bowed slightly.

“The troop preparations are complete.”

“Well, let’s not keep them waiting – I have a date with destiny to keep.”

Slayer sat in bed, thinking, and watching as the humans slept. They had all refused to leave her side, even though she hadn’t spoken since that time in the Great Hall. Gawain remained by her side, while they others were guarding Harry after Dumbledore had forced him to get some sleep. The demon warrior hadn’t spoken, waiting for his leader to speak when she was ready.

“Even though you only knew Buffy for a short time…am I much different from her?” Slayer asked Gawain softly so as not to wake the humans. Gawain thought back to what he remembered Slayer when she was first captured.

“Besides a few small things…no. And from the way these humans have spoken of you, they would agree with me.”

Slayer continued to watch the sleeping figures.

“Buffy…if we didn’t exist in the same body, she would kill a demon like me without a second thought.”

Gawain didn’t answer, knowing that Slayer wasn’t really talking to him anymore.

“I need you to do something for me.”

“Anything.”

“I need you to take the humans away from here – now. I don’t want them here to remind me of Buffy.”

Gawain looked at his leader sharply, knowing that she was hiding something from him. But also knowing that she would tell him if it was important for him to know. Gawain nodded and placed himself roughly in the middle of the sleeping humans, and began to chant softly. However, unbeknownst to the demons, Faith had been awake for the entire exchange.

Moments before the spell activated, Faith launched herself across the room and Gawain held a look of surprise before he and the others disappeared. Slayer watched the brunette gather herself up and nonchalantly sat herself in the chair Gawain had been occupying just moments before.

“Don’t think you’re getting off that easy, B,” she said with a smirk. Slayer found an answering grin forming on her face. Searching her newly acquired memories, Slayer realized how important the other Slayer was to Buffy. Idly, Slayer wondered when she would stop thinking of herself in the third person.

The smirk fell from Faith’s face and she shifted uneasily in the chair. “Look, B, I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Slayer asked in confusion.

“All this happened because you took the blade that was meant for me,” Faith admitted, not sure if Buffy had remembered that yet. Slayer frowned softly and brought the memory of her capture to mind. Gawain had always told her that she had been taken to saved her companion, but this was the first time Slayer was able to remember it. Perhaps because of the spell, she could remember it in great detail.

The pain as the sword cut skin and muscle. The look of horror on Faith’s face and the one of surprise on Gawain’s – and what she was thinking at that moment. Seeing the shame and self-hatred on Faith’s face, Buffy felt compelled to tell her, “I wasn’t mad or angry at you. I was grateful that you were going to be okay. I didn’t have any regrets – not even when they took me away.”

Faith looked at Buffy in shock, and for the first time saw her fellow Slayer looking out from behind hazel eyes. Without thinking, Faith pulled Buffy into a hug that the blonde returned. Looking over the brunette’s shoulder, she looked into the eyes of Gawain who had returned from his mission. The two regarded each other silently, each wondering if a stranger stood before them.

Tomorrow would decide everything – who lived and who died; who won and who lost; who were allies and who were enemies; who she was and who she wasn’t.

It all will be decided.

Tomorrow.

Chapter 16 – Tomorrow

The Slayer sat on the window ledge in the Astronomy tower, looking out at the grounds. In her minds eye, she saw broken and bloodied bodies and the grass painted red. All of her senses were telling her that today was the day of battle. A small smile crept upon her face at the idea; finally something she knew how to handle.

The fall of footsteps sounded but the demon didn't bother turning to see who it was. Harry Potter slowly walked over to his demon, leaning slightly over the ledge and looked out over the same grounds. Only his mind wasn't filled with blood and killing.

But it is only a matter of time, the demon thought reflectively; Buffy seemed saddened by the thought but Slayer saw it as a natural part of life that she couldn't and shouldn't protect her Master from.

“How'd you escape Mme. Pompey?” Harry asked lightly, not ready to enter dangerous waters just yet.

“You accidentally destroy a cabinet of potions and your persona non grata for life,” whined The Slayer, though the effect was ruined slightly by her smirk. Harry chuckled slightly, but the serious look never really left his face. Like her, he seemed to sense that something important was going to happen that day.

“Voldemort will attack today, won't he?”

She nodded.

“He can't allow me the time to regain my bearings.”

Harry hesitated for moment, remembering the brief glimpse he had experienced of Buffy's memories when they had returned. He had only caught a small portion and the memories along with the emotions had threatened to overwhelm him. How could Buffy act as if nothing had happened?

“Are you...I mean, is Buffy...” he floundered, trying to think of the right words to say. Frustrated, he ran a hand through his dishevelled hair, revealing his trademark scar. The Slayer reached out and ruffled his hair, earning herself a glare.

“What do you want to tell Dumbledore?” she asked, neatly avoiding the question. If Harry noticed he didn't give any indication as he contemplated The Slayer's question. Much of Harry's faith in the headmaster had been lost after Dumbledore's actions last year but Dumbledore was still the most powerful wizard after Voldemort. Not to mention he was in charge of the school.

“I think they'll need to know so they can prepare,” the boy said slowly, standing straight and taking one more look before he turned to head for Dumbledore's office. A hand on his shoulder stopped him and then he felt the familiar tingle as The Slayer transported them inside the headmaster's office.

Regaining his bearings, Harry glared at the grinning demon and growled, “Would you stop doing that!” to which she only stuck out her tongue. Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall (who happened to be in the middle of a meeting) watched the pair with amusement (Dumbledore), aggravation (Snape), and disapproval (McGonagall).

“Harry, how can we help you?” Dumbledore asked with the telltale twinkle in his eye. Harry eyed Snape wearily and addressed the headmaster.

“According to The Slayer, Voldemort is going to attack today.”

Snape snorted.

“Did the great Harry Potter think he knew something that we didn't? We already know that,” Snape spat, still in a bad mood from his last spying mission for the Order.

“So you also know about the demon army he's gathered?” the Boy-Who-Lived retorted, knowing his guess was right when three astonished faces looked back at him. “That's what I thought.”

“Now see here you little brat...” Snape stopped his insults as he felt cool metal against his throat. The small demon grinned upwards at him, and Snape knew that only the whim of a sixteen-year-old boy kept his throat from being slit.

“Severus, Buffy ... this isn't the time for us to be fighting amongst ourselves,” Dumbledore said very seriously. The Slayer sent a scornful look the old wizard's way, sneering as she said, “It's not your place to order me around.” She pressed harder on the knife and a bead of blood slid down the potion master's neck before she roughly pushed him back to his seat. Keeping the knife out, the Slayer kept herself between her Master and the other wizards – clearly stating her distrust of them.

Coughing slightly, McGonagall tried to get the meeting back on course.

“What do we tell the students?” she questioned, fear for her charges clearly on her face. Dumbledore sighed heavily; he had tried to keep the children as far away from the war as Voldemort would allow but it seemed that he was no longer able to do so.

“That it's time to fight.”

The adults were startled by Harry's sudden contribution to the conversation. Snape began to sneer before a sharp twinge from his neck reminded him of the repercussions of doing so.

“Mr. Potter, you cannot be suggesting that we allow the students to fight against Death Eaters and demons?” McGonnagal asked outraged at her prized Gryffindor.

“They're not going to escape this unscathed from this war; no one is. They have the right to protect their school, themselves, and everyone they care about.”

“That will only get them killed,” Snape sneered, eyeing the Slayer out of the corner of his eye.

“At the Department of Mysteries we...” Harry began to argue before he was interrupted.

“And you had to be saved by the mutt before he got himself killed,” Snape responded cruelly, knowing that the loss of his godfather was still a sore spot for the boy. Before either Harry or Slayer could respond Dumbledore interrupted.

“I think it would be best if we blockaded the students in their dormitories until the battle is over.” Dumbledore gave Harry a grave look. “This includes you, Harry.”

“What? What about the prophecy?” Harry shouted. “I'm the only one who can stop Voldemort!”

“Until we know what 'the power he knows not' is, I'm afraid I can't allow you to take that risk.”

Knowing the old man wouldn't change his mind; Harry stormed out of the office – kicking the gargoyle as he passed by. The nerve of Dumbledore, he didn't even know what this mysterious 'power he knows not' is and for all they knew the only way to make it appear is to fight Voldemort.

“He loves you.”

That shook Harry out of his inner tirade against the headmaster. Staring at his demon with a dumbfounded look on his face and doing an admirable imitation of a fish, he managed a choked out, “Huh?”

“Even though he knows your destiny, he's trying to protect you for as long as possible. That's why he's keeping you from the fight now, and why he kept the prophecy from you in the first place.”

“Yeah, and what would a demon know about it?” Harry asked angrily, immediately feeling ashamed at the glazed look that crossed the Slayer's face.

“I ... Buffy ... had a prophecy depicting her ... my ... death; to protect us our Watcher tried to keep the prophecy from me and even tried to take my place when the time came,” The Slayer shifted uncomfortably, obviously still trying to deal with the aftermath of regaining her memories and for all intents and purposes, another personality. The comment from her Master had stung her slightly, even though she had always been proud of being a demon.

God damn, stupid human emotions, she cursed to herself and could have sworn that her inner human was smirking at her. She needed a spot of violence to get the foul taste of compassion out of her mind.

“Master, I beg your leave.”

Harry grimaced at the formality of the statement; The Slayer seemed to recognize that the young wizard was uncomfortable with the master/slave relationship and had toned down much of the slavery overtones. He must have really made her uncomfortable for her to fall back into those behavioural patterns.

“Sure, but before you go I just wanted to say, um, thanks, I mean, for what you said; it helps,” he finished clumsily but earnestly which earned him a small smile. The Slayer turned to leave when she remembered another important matter.

“Master, what do you wish to be done with the spy?”

“Snape? But he's on our side?” Harry asked in confusion, his nose crinkling as he thought.

Buffy shook her head, slightly amused at the face the boy was making.

“No, Voldemort's spy – Draco Malfoy.”

Harry paled considerably at this news. Malfoy could leak their preparations to Voldemort, or at least tell him that Hogwarts wouldn't be caught unawares. Reading her master's mind, Slayer realized he didn't understand the full brevity of the situation.

“If the spy isn't contained, he can launch an assault against our backs while Voldemort attacks the front.”

“What do you want to do?” Harry asked, knowing that The Slayer already had a plan in mind. Slayer grinned and the wizard felt a shiver go down his spine; it was a smile that promised pain and a slow death. It was no secret that Harry detested Draco Malfoy, but to basically order his death?

“Unlike you, he chose his role in this war – his fate has been decided by his own actions, not yours.” Green eyes bore into green eyes, communicating as effectively as they would with words. Harry was the first to look away, staring at the ground beneath his feet.

“Maybe...maybe he'll change his mind,” Harry argued weakily, still looking at the ground. He heard a derisive snort and couple stop a small chuckle that escaped his lips. “Perhaps,” Slayer replied, her tone saying exactly what she thought of the odds of it actually happening. “But if he doesn't others will die.”

Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, sat alone in the Great Hall picking at the plate of food that Dobby had grabbed for him. His friends had begun avoiding him ever since he had refused to help Slayer regain her former life. Harry suspected that Hermione was in library trying to discover everything about demons and master/slave bonds. He looked at his ring, and for a moment felt the temptation to take it off.

It wasn't fair, Harry reflected to himself, I'm only sixteen years old – all I should have to worry about is girls and school, not whether or not I should order a death!

“You look like someone's died,” a husky voice said by his ear. The wizard quickly drew his wand at the stranger, who just laughed. “It's pretty useless to be drawing your stick after I've already gotten this close.”

“Faith, right?” Harry asked nervously of the beautiful – and powerful – girl in front of him. He hadn't had much contact with her outside their brief moment of sharing Slayer's ... Buffy's ... memories.

“Yup, so what's got you all down and gloomy?” she asked, hunkering down and looking pleasantly surprised when her own plate of food appeared in front of her. Watching with amusement as the girl proceeded to stuff herself in much the same way Ron did, Harry merely shrugged in response to her question. Seeing the penetrating look coming his way (which looked eerily similar to The Slayer's) Harry quickly changed the topic.

“Where are the rest of your friends?”

Faith did an imitation of Harry's shrug. For the first time, the outgoing girl seemed to hesitate. Giving a few glances at Harry, then back to her food, she hunched around her plate as she asked quietly, “Do you still remember anything from when...?”

Harry didn't ask for clarification, hunkering down over his own plate and not making eye contact.

“A little. But it's...”

“Overwhelming?”

“Yeah.”

The two continued to eat in silence, but it was a comfortable one. It was broken a little while later as the demons entered the Great Hall arguing.

“Why can't we just flip a coin?” Slayer asked in frustration, obviously having been arguing for quite some time. Gawain looked at her in annoyance.

“Because I remember the last time you flipped a coin,” Gawain said firmly, Talyn and Emrys nodded in agreement. “Not to mention it was a really bad pun.”

The Slayer turned on the demons with a look of mock outrage.

“I do not do bad puns! My jokes are great, you just don't have the sophisticated humour to appreciate them,” she said snootily, giggling slightly, “Heads it is.”

The other demons just rolled their eyes, and the watching wizard and slayer exchanged amused glances.

“I almost want to know what they’re talking about,” Harry remarked.

“Yeah, almost,” Faith agreed with a smirk.

“If we can't agree on teams, why don't we just do a free-for-all?” Emrys asked in exasperation.

“It would be fun to mock all three of you when you lose,” Slayer pondered, grinning wickedly as Gawain punched her in the arm.

Unable to contain his curiosity any longer, Harry asked, “Teams for what?”

“ALL STUDENTS TO THEIR COMMON ROOMS IMMEDIATELY!”

Dumbledore's booming voice echoed through the castle. The demons and the Slayer whimpered at the assault to their superhuman hearing. Still trying to regain her hearing, Slayer jerked a thumb towards the general direction of the Headmaster's office and replied, “For that.”

Moments later the Hogwarts staff poured into the Great Hall, and McGonagall and Dumbledore frowned when they saw Harry.

“Mr. Potter, report to your common room immediately,” McGonagall ordered sternly. Before Harry could protest, Slayer placed a firm hand on his shoulder, keeping him seated, and replied, “We'll make sure he's safe.”

Looking at the demons suspiciously, Dumbledore nodded, deciding to trust them. Moving faster than his age would suggest, the staff headed out the doors to where Aurors and other allies waited for the arrival of Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

Harry looked at Slayer angrily who merely shrugged innocently and remarked, “I said we'd make sure to keep you safe, but I didn't say it would be back in your dormitories. Oops, my bad.” Slayer turned to the other demons, and motioned for them to get to their positions. Emrys and Talyn disappeared, but Gawain hesitated for a moment. Glancing at Slayer, he reached out a hand to Faith – who after a moment's hesitation took it and they disappeared.

The Great Hall was quiet. The entire school was quiet, quieter than Harry could ever remember Hogwarts being. He couldn't shake the feeling that this was the last time he would be sitting there, in Hogwarts heart. The Boy-Who-Lived stood up, and took one last look around at the only place he had ever thought of as home.

He started to head for the door but paused as Slayer spoke, “And the spy?” Not turning around he answered, “If Malfoy ... if anyone attempts to help the Death Eaters ...you have my permission to do anything to stop them.”

“Anything?”

Harry nodded and headed for the doors. Slayer watched her master with pride, and spoke quietly to the figure that had appeared behind her. “Go to Tuath and tell him it's time.”

Valet bowed slightly and asked, “Anything else you would have of me?”

“You heard your Master's order,” she replied in a meaningful tone. Valet bowed again and disappeared.

Slayer followed after her master leisurely, whistling a made-up tune as she made her way to the soon-to-be battlefield. One of the few things that Slayer and Buffy agreed completely on was the call of battle, and this was shaping up to be one hell of a war.

Chapter 17 – Battle

Despite their sneak-attack being foiled, the Death Eaters still managed to get the drop on their enemies. The Aurors had been complacent in their certainty that the wards of Hogwarts would prevent any Death Eater from apparating to the grounds, and instead had sent several scouts into the Forbidden Forest.

Voldemort had taken no chances this battle and even though the demons weren't part of the battle yet, they could still transport his followers through what were flimsy wards to the demons.

The Aurors attempted to take the Death Eaters on, despite being outnumbered – but years of dueling had left their mark on both sides. Single dual matches developed between the younger and inexperienced members of each side. Even the older and elite members falling victim to the habit.

Those who have never been in a true battle can't even begin to imagine the chaos – where dumb luck is more important than any skill. Most who would die will have died never seeing the face of their enemy; for there is no honor in battle.

Humans never learned to truly appreciate the chaos inherent in battle; too close minded to be able to focus on multiple targets and objectives at once. But demons – demons lived for those moments between the chaos. The moments in which they moved and flowed, attacking and retreating only to attack once more. The Elite were masters in this art; stabbing those in the middle of duels and their attention elsewhere.

Harry and Slayer watched just outside the doors of Hogwarts as the battle raged – guarding the castle and staying out of the brunt of the battle. As much as Slayer would love to dive into battle, her priority was still to her master who needed to stay safe until Voldemort showed. The boy wizard had thought he'd known what a battle was after the Department of Mysteries but now he realized he was wrong. Everywhere there were flashes of light, and falling bodies and it was hard to tell who were your allies or your enemies.

“Watch the Elite,” Slayer shouted over the noise from the battle. Harry looked at his demon curiously, but focused on the other demons. Immediately, he was struck by how different the demons moved. Wizards on both sides stood still as they fired; never moving more than five feet from the original position. But the demons moved through the battle slashing at anyone within reach, not caring who they were killing. It was then Harry was able to discern that they were winning the battle – mostly because of the Elite.

Figuring that Harry had figured it out, Slayer continued, “Voldemort is going to have to send in his demon allies soon, or he won't have any followers left. When the demons come, he'll come.”

“How do you know?”

Slayer grinned in appreciation as she watched an Auror with a wooden-leg send off a particularly nasty cutting hex which managed to decapitate a Death Eater. Remembering that Harry had asked her a question, she responded, “His allies would insist upon it; even with me being 'out of commission' they would want assurance of victory. The only way Voldemort can assure them of that is to be personally involved in the battle.”

With impeccable cosmic timing, Slayer's words were followed with a slow rumbling as the Earth shook with the arrival of thousands of demons. Harry gulped at the mass of dark creatures, “I don't think the Elite can take on that many demons,” he said weakly.

Slayer tilted her head in thought.

“H mm ... I think we could take them ... but just in case,” Slayer waved her hand with flourish, and the earth rumbled again. “I've brought my own army.”

((((((0))))))

Faith groaned as she watched the mini-wand wavers play various games, as if there wasn't a huge battle to determine their future going on. The Slayer fidgeted with pent up energy and looked yearning towards the exit.

Stepping away from the demon quickly, Faith checked out her surroundings and was surprised to find herself in what looked like one of the dorm rooms.

“You'll be guarding,” Gawain said in a dispassionate voice.

“What? Oh no, I'm not staying in here while the action is going on out there,” the Slayer growled, getting an answering one from Gawain before he visibly forced himself to calm down.

“This is a wizard's battle; wizard's are human; you are a Slayer; Slayers can't kill humans,” Gawain stated firmly, what little patience he reserved for Slayer's humans evaporating quickly. “Are you grasping my meaning?”

That memory still caused angry to boil up within Faith, who made a mental note to kick that demon's ass when this was all over. A small cough interrupted the Slayer's thoughts and plans of revenge and the brunette looked up to see two worried looking teenagers.

“Miss ... um, Faith, we can't find Harry,” the bushy haired brunette asked nervously.

“Harry ... ?” Faith asked, trying to get a last name.

“Potter!” the red headed boy burst out, his cheeks turning a color very similar to his hair. Comprehension spread across the Slayer's face as she looked around the common room and sure enough, the black-hair spectacled youth was no where to be seen. Thinking back, Faith remembered Buffy's rather ambiguous reply about keeping Harry safe.

“I'm sure he's fine as long as he sticks close to Buffy,” she replied in an offhand manner, not assuaging the teenager's worries at all.

“At least until the Dark Lord gets a hold of him,” a smug voice echoed across the now silent room. Inside the entrance way was Draco Malfoy along with several Slytherins, and surprisingly, a few Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and even Gryffindors.

Faith rose to her feet slowly, unsure of what to do. It was her mission to protect the kids, but how was she supposed to do that when the kids are the ones trying to kill her!

“You-know-who will never win!” Ron yelled, his short-temper getting the better of him. The platinum blonde just laughed and raised his wand.

“I've been looking forward to doing this for a long time,” he sneered, “Avada ...”

The words died as a glaze look entered the boy's eye. Slumping to the floor like a marionette with its strings cut, there was a dagger shoved deep into his back. The other traitors backed up from the body, looking around anxiously for any sign of the attacker. Those saved were just as confused, as even the Slayer hadn't seen the attacker.

One by one the traitors dropped down dead, throats cut and necks broken, and still no sign of the attacker. As the last one fell, a person suddenly appeared in the middle of the corpses. There were gasps as the Gryffindors recognized their mysterious savior.

“Valet?” Hermione asked in shock as she watched Harry's human servant casually walk towards them. “Why?”

Valet blinked in confusion at the unexpected question. “Why what?”

“Why did you kill them?” Hermione shouted, pointing to the bodies of people who had been her schoolmates for several years.

“What else was I supposed to do?” Valet asked, genuinely confused about the humans' reactions. Demons didn't take prisoners unless they had information – there was too much effort involved in keeping them alive before the torture.

“They couldn't even see you; you could have just knocked them out,” Faith said, still unsure of how she should feel about the situation.

“I was ordered to stop the traitors using any method I chose.”

“But your human, just because a demon ordered you doesn't mean you had to kill,” Hermione shrieked, the stress of the situation and the demons coming to a head.

“I'm not following Lady Slayers orders; I'm following my Masters.” Making a small boy, Valet vanished in search of any other traitors that might have been sent to the other houses leaving a shell shocked common room behind him.

(((((((0))))))

Most of the wizards had dropped back upon the arrival of the demons (from both sides) and watched with horrified gazes as the two armies proceeded to slaughter each other. Unlike Wizarding wars where the 'Avada Kedavra' curse left behind unmarked bodies the demon's weapons produced gruesome and slow deaths as blood and guts and body parts were spilled.

Slayer and Harry had moved up from their post by the doors since it was obvious that there would be no more attempts to get into the school until the outcome of the demon's conflict was determined.

Spotting Harry, Dumbledore made his way over and glared angrily at the demon.

“Harry, why are you not in the castle? It's too dangerous for you here.”

Before Harry could make a retort, Slayer replied, “Actually, I think he's a safer here.”

Dumbledore gave Slayer a piercing glance.

“After all, if he had been there he might have been killed by bleach boy and his cronies. But don't worry about your students, we took care of the problem.”

The old wizard's face turned as white as his beard at the hidden meaning in the demons' words. “What have you done?” he asked in an outraged voice, his power flaring which Slayer had to admit was quite impressive for a human.

“War produces casualties, you know that Headmaster,” Slayer said bluntly, her eyes watching her warriors fight. She had great trust in her generals, but they were still her warriors to lead and protect. And that trust was well-founded as her army began to push Voldemort's forces back. Now was the time to strike; if Voldemort wanted to salvage victory he was going to have to kill Harry Potter or Slayer in order to demoralize their troops.

“Harry, it's time.”

Ignoring the calls from Dumbledore and the other teachers, Harry nodded in determination and for the first time that day the two made their way onto the battlefield.

TBC

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