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Sisters to the Core

Author: RCastle17
Rated: PG13
Disclaimer: The only thing that’s mine is the idea. Too bad. I’d love to be rich and famous because of my stories. Maybe someday... ; )
A/N: I’m hoping that this idea is original. I hate it that all of the topics that I find interesting to write about are overly written about. This is totally mine, I haven’t heard of it before, so hopefully none of you have either.
Summary: Hermione gets a new sibling that happens to be from Sunnydale.
Timeline: BtVS is at the very end of Season 2, and Buffy never ran away. I’m making it so that S2 ended on July 28. HP is in the summer of Harry’s sixth year (Book 6). For my story Harry goes to school on August 1st because of Voldemort.
2nd A/N: Alrightly then, anything in *stars* means it’s a thought. Anything in [brackets] means it is one of my little cut-ins that I’ll do every once-in-a-while to explain what I write. Everyone got that? Need more explaining? No? Well, if your sure, enjoy!

Chapter 1: Detective

Buffy didn’t know what to say. What do you say when your mom tells you that you’re adopted? When she tells you your not even human, not even just a Slayer, but something else too. What do you say when she hands you a pamphlet saying that you’ve been accepted to Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Especially when she tells you right after you killed the love of your life. How was she supposed to act when she knew that she had nothing to bounce back on, not her boyfriend, not her hospitalized friends, and not even school because she’d been expelled. The entire world, it seemed, was crashing it one small heap.

“Your birth parents have been looking for you, I guess. They hired a detective to come and ask you if you would go to live with them, or at least give them a chance to meet you. But before you answer, I’d just like to say that I love you, even if I kept this from you it was only because I was afraid you’d leave or that you would tell me you hated me. Now, I have to tell you I think you should go. The school called to tell me you were kicked out, and this school in England wants you to go over there. It’s said to be the best one that there is, and you would live at the school and meet your real parents.” her voice choked, and a tear fell. “I’ll go, but mom, you need to know that I love you. It doesn’t matter if we’re blood or not, you’ll always be my mom. First and forever.” she hugged her mom, and suddenly there was loud clearing of someone’s voice. Buffy looked up to see a man standing in front of her.

“Have you made your decision?” he asked, looking from Joyce to Buffy, then back to Joyce.

“Yes, she has. She’ll go with you.” she said, and added, “We’ll go pack Buffy’s stuff right now. She has to be prepared for the trip.” they both stalked off up the stairs.

Two hours later, Buffy found herself on a plane to England, and sitting next to her was the detective who her ‘real’ parents had hired. According to her mother her real name was Anne, and that was why that was her middle name. Her mom had thought it was appropriate to keep something the same. *Anne Granger, I like Buffy Summers better* She wondered if she’d have any siblings.

Plus, she was going to go to a wizarding school. She was a wizard. How weird was that. *A Slayer/Witch. Now that had a nice ring to it. Bonus powers to dust vamps with. Beware all evil doers, you’ve got an enchanted slayeress on your hands now.* She laughed to herself, and put on her earphones with the song ‘I’m Just a Girl’ by No Doubt blasting in her ears. She thought about how in about three hours she’d be in England.

She’d be meeting her parents, Mary and Dave Granger. Then, in two days, school would start, and she would be going to Hogwarts.

Everything was happening too fast, nothing was going to be constant in her life, everything was going to be... wrong. Everything was wrong. And nothing was going to make it all better. Her life was in shreds; no more friends, no more family, and no more vampire boyfriend. She had to sacrifice them to save the world, and to save her mother.

She knew her mom hadn’t wanted her to stay. The tone in her voice while they’d been packing had showed her that Joyce had been happy about her departure. Her finding out that Buffy was the Slayer had pushed her over the edge, so much that Buffy hadn’t been able to tell if her actions were out of fear or love. The only choice to keep her mother’s sanity was to leave to this new place, to this new world. The only thing that she could hope for was that she had made the right decision.

Chapter 2: Meeting

Buffy stood on the doorway of 192 Prescot Street and took in a sigh. *This is it Buff, try not to screw up, try not to screw up* Her fingers were frail looking as they reached the metallic that lined the door bell. Shaking from nervousness, she closed her eyes and pushed her hand foreword. Immediately a noise raced through the house, alerting the occupants of her presence. Looking down at herself, Buffy hoped she’d worn the right thing to make an impression. A pink and almost off the shoulders sweater covered her upper portion, while plain faded jeans covered her lower. Her hair was done as usual, down and shimmering in the sunlight.

The door opened and a woman appeared in front of her. Her hair was auburn, a little bit darker than Willow’s, and she was wearing a plain white tee and jeans. Her eye color was the same as Buffy’s, changing in different lights, and looking very brown at the moment. The very moment she’d opened the door Buffy had known that this was her mother. Her posture, her gaze, even her size had given it away.

“Are... are you Anne?” Mary Granger stuttered.

“Well, I go by Buffy now, but ya, it’s me.” Buffy said in a quiet voice before she was lifted in a giant bear hug.

“Oh my gosh, An.. I mean Buffy. Last time I saw you, you were only just born. I can’t believe how beautiful you are. From my side of the family of coarse.” then Mary yelled, “Dave! Dave, get your butt over here! Oh, come in Buffy, make yourself at home here on the sofa.” Buffy sat down on a floral patterned couch, and a man entered from a hallway. He walked over to her and his eyes went wide. *Daddy dearest* Buffy thought.

“I can’t, It’s just, wow. Mary told me you were coming, but I never believed her. We hired that detective years ago, and I never thought he’d actually find you. Your mother kept telling me to get ready because you were going to come and see us for a day and then go to school with Hermione, but I guess I thought it was too good to be true.

“Hermione?”

“Your twin, hunny. Not identical of coarse, fetal. That’s the only reason we had to give you up, we could only afford one baby, and the nurse said you were the better choice. I have no idea why she said that, but she did. Anyways, you have to meet her, she’ll be in the same year of school as her, and you guys are going to go school shopping together with Harry and Ron.” Marry said, looking out of breath from all that talking. “Are Harry and Ron my brothers?” she asked. This was weird. She had a sister.

Wait, not just a sister, a twin. Now there was even the possibility of brothers.

"No, Anne...”

“Buffy.” Mary corrected her husband, “She’s Buffy now.”

“Ok. Buffy, Harry and Ron are Hermione’s friends from school. Ron’s father, Mr. Weasly, and Hermione are coming later on to get you to go over to Ron’s house until it’s time to go to Hogwarts.” Dave explained.

“But that means that I only get a day to, you know, talk to you guys.”

“I know, we don’t like the situation as much as you do. I wish we could talk more, but we’ll send letters to you in school, and you’ll be spending Christmas with us. We’re just happy that you said yes to coming here and talking to us.” she said, taking Buffy’s hand in her own.

“It was my pleasure.”

“Well, enough of this, if we’re going to find out anything about each other we’d better start talking!” Dave exclaimed, and started talking about himself. They each took turns explaining themselves. Buffy told them everything, leaving out the parts about creepy things that go bump in the night, but other than that they knew everything. It was about three hours later that there was a mysterious ‘pop’ in the room and a young girl and an older man appeared.

“Is it time already?” Mary asked solemnly.

Chapter 3: Make-Over Magic

Buffy got up and went over to the girl who had appeared in the middle of the room. She had dark brown hair, the same as hers before she’d dyed it, but Hermione’s was a whole lot frizzier. Their eyes were the same, full of a fire, only her sisters was still pent up while hers had been let loose.

“Hello, I’m Hermione.” she said after evaluating her the same way Buffy had done to her.

“I’m Buffy.”

“Buffy? I thought you were Anne.”

“Na. My adoptive parents call me Buffy Summers.” Buffy held out her hand, and then waited for the reluctant teen before her to shake it. Eventually Hermione grabbed her hand. Buffy didn’t understand why, but she had a feeling that this girl didn’t trust her. Like there was something that Hermione thought she was hiding.

“Well,” *she’s nervous* Buffy thought, “would you like to come into my room until Mr. Weasly is finished speaking to my parents?” she didn’t know why, but this girl totally reminded her of Willow, only with way different hair.

“Alright, let’s go.” she replied to the offer, and let Hermione lead her to her room. Buffy entered the most plain and normal room that she could imagine. The walls were white, not off-white, just a brilliant white. A brown ceiling fan and light hung in the middle of the room, and there was nothing on the walls. The room was small, and a six foot desk with a computer on it all but took over one entire wall. A bed took over another, and so did a large dresser and night stand. A closet was the only decoration on the last one. There was also only one window, and there weren’t any trinkets, save the two things on the dresser; a picture of Hermione with two guys (apparently Harry and Ron) and also a card collection book that said ‘Frog Cards’ on it. If it was possible, this room made Buffy feel even more uncomfortable and trapped than the last.

“Please sit down,” she said, and Buffy obeyed.

“Is one of those guys your boyfriend?” Buffy asked, pointing at the picture. “Ya, Ron, the red-head, is. We got together this Summer, and the other guy is Harry. Do you have a boyfriend?” that question. It was so softy spoken, so nonchalant, and it was the question that cracked her reality. That created this black whole of a heart that she had left. It made her blood run cold from lack of such creature. From her lack of Angel. From lack of her love, first and forever. She was surprised when her answer came out so easily.

“No, I just had a really bad break-up. We’d been going out for two years when he became a jerk and, well, we don’t need to talk about it. Anyways, is the whole witchcraft thing easy, I mean I’m what, six years behind.” she said, trying to lighten the mood, or at least her mood.

“You will catch up, it’s hard, but if you are anything like me it will become simple after a while.”

“So, you’re a brain. That’s cool. I have a friend back in Sunnydale who’s a total brainiac with the witchy stuff. The only thing that I can do is read people’s minds sometimes when I really try to.” Buffy said, telling Hermione the ability that she had somehow gotten after she’d killed the judge. She hadn’t told anyone yet, she was too afraid of what it might mean that she had gotten a demonic power.

“Telepathic, wow, that’s genius. You could help us out when any death eaters come after Harry again.” Hermione’s eyes sparkled as she said it. Obviously this Harry meant a lot to her, and so was protecting him.

“What’s a death eater, and what would they want with Harry?” she asked, suddenly interested in this boy and why people were out to get him. Hermione dived into Harry’s story, telling Buffy how they had stopped Voldemort five times and how they barely escaped each time. She found it ironic that he had lived, and she had died. They were opposites, and Buffy couldn’t help but feel that the entire situation with her parents had been so that she could get to Harry, to help him fight the forces of darkness.

They were both so wrapped up in talking to each other that they jumped three inches off o the bed when they heard a knock at the door. Mr. Weasly opened the door at Hermione’s ‘come in’, and walked in.

“We are leaving in about ten minutes, so be sure your both packed.” he said, then left again. Buffy looked down at her clothes, and realized she hated them.

“Would you like to change before we leave?” Hermione asked, noticing that Buffy was pulling at her shirt. Buffy nodded and asked where she could change.

“The closet is walk in, so you can change in there.” she said while packing up some things from her desk.

Buffy went into the closet that was full of... books. It was like n entire room all its own, and less than a third o it held her clothes and shoes. As she read five of the titles, she realized that all of the books were on monsters and magic. *wow, Giles would be soo jealous*. She rummaged through her bag until she found her black leather pants, black tee, and black combat boots. She looked at her jewelry, and found her Celtic cross that Angel had given her. Also on the chain was the ring, the one that he had given her on her seventeenth birthday. She quickly put everything (including the necklace) on and emerged out of the closet.

“All set.” she said.

“Um. That is a different outfit. Why are you wearing that?” she said in awe.

“It matches my personality. Plus, from what you say, I only have two more days to wear normal clothes. I mine as well wear this stuff now. Hey, I could totally change your look today! It would be so cool!” she said, wanting to bond with this girl more than anything because she was her only friend, and she wanted to be thought of as a comrade too. Actually, more than a comrade, a sister.

“I do not really think that I would look good in anything you have, plus we only have about five minutes left...”

“Plenty of time. Just shut up and come over here so I can see what your size is...” she grabbed Hermione’s hand, and with both of them giggling, they rushed into the closet for the make-over.

When Hermione came out of the closet looking like a different person. With perfectly straight hair and red leather pants with a white tank, she really was Buffy’s twin. Looking at the mirror on the back of the door, she said only one thing. “Wicked.”

“It’s time girls, dissapparate to the bookstore. That’s where you’re meeting Ron and Harry. Go back to the Burrow after you’re done shopping. We’re expecting you no later than six!” Mr. Weasly called through the door, then the voice left with an abrupt popping noise.

“Ready ‘Mione?”

“Ready Buff. Just grab my hand and I’ll do the rest.”

“Ok.” Buffy said, holding her sisters hand and feeling a sudden lurch in her stomach as she felt like she was thrown foreword. Before she could say ‘wizard’ she was standing in a crowded street with a whole bunch of people in robes around them.

“Do I really look ok?” Hermione asked, becoming self conscious.

“You look, what was that word? Oh, ya, wicked. You look wicked.” Buffy said, trying to mimic Hermione’s accent.

“Alright, let’s go find Ron and Harry.” Buffy was lead through the crowd to a bookstore. Once inside all of the heads turned and stared at the two. Buffy controlled her blush, while Hermione resembled a tomato.

“They aren’t here yet. Just look around until they get here.” Hermione said, drifting to a section of the store labeled ‘advanced sorcery’. *well that’s not for me* Buffy went to the ‘Demon’ section instead.

Looking through the different books, she found one named ‘Chosen: A Biography of Each Slayer’. Buffy read the back ‘Although it is considered ‘controversial’ whether the Slayer exists or not, you are holding in your hands several documentaries from each person that I believe to be a Slayer. These are in my records, and they were all the proof I needed to be convinced. I hope you too will see the truth while reading my work.’

Flipping open the book to the contents, she looked at some of the names on the list of Slayers. ‘Haley Waters, Madison Creel, Kristen Greer, Beth Mckay, Allyson Turner, Buffy Summers, Kendra Allania, Faith Brookson. (italicized names are those who are now called and in action)’ Buffy almost laughed. So much for a secret identity in the world of ‘let’s publish everything that’s supposed to be a secret’. She decided she’d buy it, wondering what would be written about her in it.

She was looking for about ten minutes when she saw another book that caught her attention. An Angelic Face. On the cover was a picture of Angel. The left side of his face was normal, almost human, while the other was his demonic side, with fangs showing at the sides. Buffy’s hand automatically went to her necklace, but dropped back down as if ashamed by the memories.

“Who is that?” Hermione asked, she was standing right behind Buffy.

“My ex.” was Buffy’s reply.

“What?”

“Don’t feel like talking about it, maybe later,” as if by a miracle a spot of red appeared in the doorway, “Oh, isn’t that Ron, your boyfriend?” Thank goodness. If she would have had to answer that question she would have straight up cried and lost it.

“Harry! Ron! We’re over here!” Hermione shouted, noticing the red hair too. “Hermione, bloody hell, you look wicked. Who’s this?” Ron asked.

“Oh, you know how I told you that I had a sister who lived in America? Well, this is her. She just came this morning and is going to go to Hogwarts with us. Isn’t that wonderful. She did this make-over on me. You really like it?” she asked.

“It looks fantastic.” Ron and Harry said simultaneously. Ron bent down and kissed Hermione.

“Not again.” Harry said. The couple was staring into each others eyes like they were hypnotized.

“Ugh. I seriously need a blindfold. Oh, by the way, I’m Buffy Summers.” she said, holding out her hand.

“Harry Potter. Nice to meet you. You want to go get a butterbeer? They won’t be out of that phase for a while.” he said, jabbing his thumb in Hermione’s direction.

“Sounds good.” she yelled to Hermione, “I’m going with Harry, meet up with ya later!” after what she thought was a nod Buffy paid for her two books and left with Harry. They were walking along when suddenly a hand purposely hit Buffy’s backside and she heard a bunch of snickers behind her. She whipped around and saw a younger version of Spike smirking at her, his eyebrows raised.

“Don’t make a scene. That’s Draco Malfoy, and his dad’s a deatheater. He’s trouble, so just stay away.” Harry warned after seeing what Draco had done, but Buffy wouldn’t listen. She marched right up to Draco, murder in her eyes.

“You want to try that again?” she asked.

“What?” he asked, surprised that she had come back to say something to him.

“I said, would you like to touch my ass again?” she paused a second, and when there was no reply, she said, “Well, since that’s a no, you should try keeping your hands to yourself. Got that sparky?”

“No, I don’t think I do, Yankee. You’re just another fan of Potter’s. I’d watch it if I were you.” he got up in her face, and she punched him. Just like that. It wasn’t that he really deserved to be smacked like that, it was just that the whole thing about Angel and being in England with no one else, and ya. All of that pent up anger was unleashed in one hit.

“What the bloody hell was that?” he asked, his nose bloody.

“It’s called making a fist and hitting people with it. We Yankees call it a punch, and unless you want me to do it again, you’d better shut up. Come on Harry, let’s go.” she said, and Harry (who had been standing behind Buffy the whole time) left the scene with her to go get a drink, wondering how Hermione could be related to such a beautiful woman with such a short fuse.

Chapter 4: Story Telling

Harry was staring at her. He had been every since she’d punched Draco. Was he surprised? Had he been amazed that she could hit that hard? Or was it that he’d never seen a girl raise a hand to a guy? Whatever it was, the silence was killing her when the rest of the restaurant/bar was full of activity.

“So, I hear that you three are definite JV’s. No worries though, so am I.” she said, trying to start conversation.

“I don’t try to start things within school, it just sort of ends up that way.”

“I hear you... I mean, what I mean is that I have an idea of what it must be like.” she said, trying to cover up the fact that she, herself, had had many school activities ending up in supernatural slayage.

“You couldn’t know what it’s like to do what I’ve done with the consequences so high. Last year my godfather died because of my mistakes. You have no idea.” Yes she did. She had every idea. Kendra, Jenny Calendar, Angel. He was the one who had no idea what it felt like.

“What books did you buy?” he said, trying to change the subject.

“Oh, just a couple of things, nothing interesting.” she tried to pull away her bag, but he got to it first.

“You realize all of that Slayer stuff is nonsense, right? I mean, there’s no way to prove it.” he said, his tone saying that he thought he was right.

“Well, I like to think otherwise.” she said.

“And you also believe in vampires?” his eyebrows were now raised, as if he thought she was crazy. What did this school teach? No one knew that vampires existed?

She would have thought at least a magical school would know about vamps. “I’ve met a few.” she said casually, and his eyes went wide. She looked at him hard and concentrated on getting mad. As soon as she got to the point that she was angry her eyes flashed a fiery orange. [when Buffy gets mad her eyes change for a second. probably not true for the show, but I like it] He jumped, but before he could comment two red head boys that looked like they could be twins walked up.

“Hullo. Who’s this Harry?” they asked at the same time.

“Umm... this is Buffy, Hermione’s...” Buffy shook her head a little bit, not wanting the whole world to know about her life, “friend.” he said slowly.

“Nice to meet you Buffy, I’m George, and this Fred. It’s a pleasure.” George said.

“Same here. Are you guys in Hogwarts too?”

“No, we dropped out. Hated the Headmaster so much we just flew out one day and told the ghost, Peeves, to give her hell. We own a joke supply store now.”

“I should have done that. I got expelled from my last school. Obviously I was ‘too much of a liability to keep around.’ Phhh. Yea right. If anything I opened their eyes to the real world. If that means I’m a liability, then whatever.” she said.

“I’ll drink to that.” Fred said, raising up his Butterbeer and drinking the rest of it. “I guess.” she said as George gulped down his too. They talked for about an hour, and Buffy found herself lying about almost every single thing that they asked about.

They couldn’t know she was the Slayer. They would be put in harm’s way, and she wanted nothing to happen to her new friends.

“Now what did you do to become a liability?” George asked. Him and Fred were sitting down opposite of her and Harry.

“I wasn’t the most popular person, and my boyfriend had a lot of enemies. People attacked me when they figured I was most vulnerable, at school. The principal wasn’t exactly thrilled, and when he caught me in the library with a sword I guess he figured enough was enough and threw me out.” the three boys were staring at her.

“So... so you’ve got a boyfriend?” Fred asked, still staring at her. George looked like he was actually staring at places that she didn’t want to be stared at, like her chest.

“No. He, how should I say it? He turned it into a jerk, and we broke up. It was a really bad break up.” she explained in the best way she could.

“Well, then he doesn’t deserve you. Ya seem nice enough, the blighter probably was just scared to be in a relationship. By the way, that is not an issue of mine in any way. just thought you should know.” Fred said fast so you could barely hear the words.

“Very smooth.” said George, smirking. “Like your staring at my chest is any better?” she said, raising an eyebrow. He spit out his drink across the table at a blank seat. After the embarrassment was over they were all in a laughing fit.

“Well, you can’t blame a bloke for looking. I mean, look at what you’re bloody wearing!” Fred, standing up with George and pointing at her outfit.

“I’ll have you know that this was Angel’s favorite...” she stopped, realizing she had said his name aloud. She couldn’t believe it. Sadness fell over her face but she hid it well hoping the others did not notice.

“Is that your ex’s name, Angel?” Harry asked. All she could do was nod.

“What ever happened to him?” Fred asked. She could tell he was genuinely curious. She didn’t know what to say, so she decided she’d tell the truth for once.

“He’s dead. I really don’t want to talk about it. Harry, let’s go shopping. We’ll meet you guys at the Burrow, ok?” she said, leaving the bar as fast as she could and getting as far away from that place as possible. Harry jogged up beside her, out of breath.

“What’s wrong?”

“I just don’t feel like talking about death right now! Is that ok? I don’t really want to talk about how Angel died or why. It’s just, it’s not fair. None of life is. Not the fact that my mother doesn’t love me, not the fact that the love of my life is dead because of me, not even the fact that Willow went back into a coma right before I left the US. I hate it, ugh, I hate my life.” she was ranting. She knew it, he knew it, but he was mesmerized by it. This girl had dealt with a lot of crap, but how she survived puzzled her. There was more to her life than she had let one when they were all sitting down. He wondered if Hermione knew anything.

“Let’s just go find...” suddenly someone tapped her shoulder.

“Hermione, Ron, the make-out session finally over?” Buffy said, eyeing the couple suspiciously. Both of their cheeks reddened.

“I already got your books and robes. Your my size so I had some clothing fitted for you. All that we need is to go to Oleanders [spelling is probably wrong] to get you a wand.” Buffy jumped up and down.

“A wand! I get a wand!?! Wands are awesome! I didn’t even think they existed. Show me the way ‘Mione, ‘cause we’re off to see the wizard.”

Hermione laughed, “Ya, the wonderful wizard of Oz.” They left arm-in-arm skipping down their imaginary yellow brick road. Ron and Harry just stood there. Harry understood it, but was frozen by the fact that they had just started singing and skipping around Diagon Alley. Ron didn’t know what the heck those two had been talking about.

Once at the wand shop, Buffy felt a wave of energy hit her. There was a lot of power there, and it gave her the wiggins. As they entered a short, older looking man turned around from behind the desk. He stared at her weird, and that just freaked her out more.

“Hmm, haven’t had a Chosen One for a while, let me see if I can find one so strong something suitable.” he went in the back and started searching for the right wand. Harry and Ron entered and stood quietly behind the two girls. The old man returned with a box.

“Try this. Unicorn hair along with Willow wood. Give it a wave.” he said. She flicked her hand and the desk swerved and hit the wall behind it hard, breaking some drawers.

“I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to!” she said, trying to apologize.

“Nothing to feel bad about. Once a student blew out the entire back wall. This wand just isn’t for you. Never forget that the wand chooses the wizard, not the other way around.” once again he left and they waited in silence. When he came back he held five more boxes and gave her one.

“Some vampire blood and also more Willow wood. Give it a wave, miss. Give it a wave.” he said anxiously, waiting for the results. She flung her hand and something broke in the back room. The man looked back at the place the noise sounded from, he looked rather upset, but moved on.

“Try this one, Slayer hair and a mix of unicorn.” again something went ‘crash’.

The next four had nothing two. She looked at Hermione, and she shrugged her shoulders.

Perhaps she really wasn’t a wizard. Maybe this was all a misunderstanding. He came out, his hands shaking. He handed her the seventh box.

“Th... thi... this is Willow wood with Dragon string [hint, hint] and the... the blood of two different individuals. They are.. they are... He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Angelous, the vampire. I hope it does not work, but give it a try.” he was scared, Buffy realized. Scared of this wand, scared of the persons involved in it’s making. She picked it up carefully, and felt something run through her. She waved it in the air and saw the colors and auras that came from it, scared to death of what it might mean.

“Please, please just take that and, and get out of my store. It holds nothing but evil, pure and unrestricted and so must it’s owner. Leave before anything happens!” he yelled, shooing them out of the store and into the crowd of people in the road. This wand was evil, so was she evil? Yes. She was. Her powers came from the powers of darkness.

“Don’t worry Buffy, that old guy’s crazy. He didn’t mean anything. You’re definitely not evil.” Hermione said, placing an arm on Buffy’s shoulder.

“Hey, it’s getting near six. Let’s go. We can go get supper at the Burrow.” Ron said hopefully, trying to lift the mood.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffy was in the stairway of the Burrow when she heard it. She had been given a warm welcome when she’d gotten there, but Mrs. Weasly and Mr. Weasly tended to ask questions while she was eating at the table. Questions she wouldn’t be able to answer unless she told them her secret, so she complained that she had an upset stomach and went upstairs with Hermione to the girl’s room. There she waited until the noises below died down and she felt like talking to Hermione, so she crept up the stairs to the attic where Hermione told her she could be found after dinner. But as she went up, she heard whispers. They were trying to keep what they were talking about to themselves, but she could hear them with her super hearing, and she didn’t like what they were talking about.

“I don’t trust her. Even Harry says she isn’t human.” Ron said. “Well, I don’t care what you think, she’s my sister and...”

“How can you be sure of anything? One day your parents tell you that you have a twin and you believe them. They could have had a spell put on them. She’s evil. You heard...”

“Damn right I heard. It seems all that I’ve been hearing is you telling me that Buffy isn’t human and that I should keep clear of her. You were always self-centered about the way you thought of people. You never take the time to look deeper, you just stick to what everyone else tells you and I’m sick of it. She told me some things about her abilities, but I don’t doubt her credibility for a second!” *Go Hermione!* Buffy thought. Something inside of her made her want her presence known, but also to freak Ron out.

Buffy opened the door quietly, sneaking in. It was dark inside, perfect for getting around unnoticed. She soundlessly went over to the corner of the room where it was pitch black dark and also farthest away from the door and waited for the perfect moment to interrupt.

“I never said she wasn’t human, it’s just that she changed her eye color. It was scary, but maybe that’s something a person could do.” Harry chimed in.

“Come on Harry, can you make your eyes glow? I’m still sticking with my theory.” Ron said.

“Enough about that, she’s human!” Hermione yelled.

“Ya right, I think she’s some kind of monster. You heard the shop keeper. That wand is evil and so is its owner. There’s the evil wand and who’s the owner? Buffy is. She must be something other worldly.” Ron said.

“She also punched Malfoy. That might mean something.” Harry said.

“It means she’s not a death eater. That means that Ron isn’t right, so ha! She isn’t evil. She isn’t a monster. She’s just a normal wizard.”

“I still don’t buy it. I think she’s a vampire.” Ron said, folding his arms.

“Not quite.” Buffy said, emerging from her hiding place. The three jumped as they heard the fourth voice.

“Buffy, you... you frightened us.” Hermione gasped.

“Did I really? Wow, maybe Ron’s right. Maybe I am a monster.” she let out a short laugh after she said it, “You know, every once in a while I wish I was. I wouldn’t feel any of this if I was. But of course not, because I’m the Chosen One. One girl in all the world, one girl born to hunt and kill the forces of darkness, blah, blah, blah. You know if you had any questions you could have just asked me. I really don’t like being talked about.” she said, making her eyes glow once more. Hermione let out a squeak.

“Fine, but this is it. No more open questions after this, so if I were you I’d ask now or forever hold your peace.” she said, and opened up her mind. In Hermione’s head there was guilt at being caught, but much to Buffy’s surprise there was no fear. Her sister really believed she was innocent of everything Ron had said. Ron was full of fear and anger, so much that she couldn’t pull out a single thought without a headache. Harry, though, Harry was full of astonishment and also wonder. She was surprised at that.

There was still silence, and so Buffy turned to Hermione and tapped the side of her head, “I know you know what I can do. I know what you think, and thanks, at least I know I can trust you.” Then she walked out of the door without saying anything to the others. Harry and Ron just sat there wondering what had just happened. Hermione smiled knowing what her sister had just done.

“What the bloody hell was that? ‘I know you know what I can do’. What is it that she can do Hermione?” Ron asked. Hermione looked at him angrily.

“She can read minds, and she just read all of ours. I’m going to go talk to her. See you guys tomorrow. Goodnight.” she said leaving them alone.

Chapter 5: Hogwarts

Buffy sat in silence with her headphones on, the Hogwarts Express speeding towards her new school. She was alone, having had another beautiful spat between Ron and herself, she had decided to be alone on the trip. She was still ok with Hermione and Harry, but she could tell that they wanted to stick with Ron. She couldn’t blame Hermione for not coming to sit with her. Hermione loved Ron, no matter how biased his opinion was. He reminded her of Xander, only the bad thing was that she was to Ron what Angel was to Xander. Too bad. He seemed like a good guy.

It was about ten o’ clock in the morning, and the bright sun shone through as Buffy took out her duffel bag that was now bursting at the seams with her school robes and supplies. Why did she have to have so much crap? She was wearing a pair of her new black robes and she realized how unflattering they were. Plain black. *Wizards are goths, I should’ve known.* She turned off the disc man and listened to the drumming of the train and became soothed by its rhythm. Soon she fell into unconsciousness, dreaming of things in Sunnydale and prophesies that never seem to go away.

She was in a room. She was in Willow’s room and she was making the bed. She had a large bandage across her head, and blood was showing through. It was morning, early morning with the bright sun shining in the window. She didn’t know if this was real. Had she been dreaming of being adopted. Was she now back where she belonged?

Or was this, in fact, a dream itself?

“Am I dreaming?” she asked Willow. Will turned around slowly as she finished tucking in a corner of the sheet.

“Yes, but I’m real. I... I think I’m still in a coma. I’m not sure, but I don’t need the answers. You do. You need answers, but you’ll never find them until it’s too late.” she said cryptically.

“What do you mean?”

“Answers to your questions will never come until he arrives, when it’s too late.”

“What’s the question that needs to be answered?”

“Why. Why you were adopted, why you are a wizard, why you have to choose.” Willow said. Buffy sighed, she would never get a straight answer.

“Choose what? How do you know all of this?” Buffy asked.

“I am not allowed to tell you the choices, they won’t let me. The Powers That Be came to me in my sleep. As long as I am unconscious I have a connection with you. They tell me what to say, and I do. This will not be the last time I see you. You must leave now, they say I’ve said enough.”

“But I need answers, wait!” she said as a mist covered her eyes and she woke up startled. Hermione was standing above her. She looked worried over something.

“Buffy! Thank goodness you’re awake! We’ve arrived at Hogwarts! Get your things, we have to go or we’ll be late, and they’re very cross about that!” Buffy quickly got her stuff and ran off the bus and out into the cold night air where carriages were waiting. How long had she slept for? It looked late, the sun already not visible across the horizon, but instead there was a small pinkish glow that radiated out into the dark.

She climbed into a carriage with Hermione, having the boys left already, and they were off to Hogwarts. When finally the huge castle came into view she looked at it in awe. It was monstrous, with tall towers that scraped the sky. It was intimidating and looked like the castle Angel was in only bigger. Much, much bigger.

A sudden image of thrusting a sword into Angel’s stomach came into her head, and she tried to shoo it away. Not ears came, only emptiness. She hadn’t cried since she’d killed him. It wasn’t worth it. Tears wouldn’t bring him back, and as much as she wanted too, she couldn’t go cry to Hermione. Hermione wouldn’t understand. She still believed in hope and truth and love. In everything that Buffy had come to the conclusion was a myth.

The carriage stopped, and her luggage disappeared from her hands, and Hermione grinned at her. They followed the rest of the group onto the steps of the school and inside. She gawked at everything, from the living pictures to the sheer beauty of the ceiling which looked like the sky. They filed into the Great Hall and Buffy was stopped by a teacher, an older, very worn looking woman.

“Are you Miss Summers?” she asked.

“Yes.” she managed to say. Had she done something wrong? “Please follow me so you can be sorted into your house.” she said, and walked briskly away. Buffy followed her, wondering what house she was going to be chosen for.

Hermione had told her the night before about houses and how one was for the bravest, the smartest, and at one point the weakest and the most evil. Buffy desperately wanted to be in Gryffindor, but she had to admit that she was curious about Slytherin. Perhaps it was the fact that she was into mysteries, and it seemed that that was what the Slytherins were. They kept to themselves and didn’t share.

“This is the new sixth year student, Ms. Summers. She is going to be sorted into her house. I expect you to treat her with respect.” an old guy said from somewhere behind her and above her.

All of the sudden she was standing in front of the entire school, and the teacher was telling her to put on a hat. She could see Hermione waving to her and crossing her fingers. Then a voice was in her head. A low whisper that she could barely hear. ‘A Slayer I see. Well, well, well. You are different aren’t you? Past love is a demon, you are a powerful witch, and the Chosen One. Only one house is equipped to handle your needs, Miss Summers. Or is it Granger? Whatever your choice, you will not follow in your twin’s footsteps, the decision is made...’

“SLYTHERIN!” the hat said loudly. Hermione’s face drained, as did the red headed twin’s. One table began to clap wildly, and she was about to walk over to them when the teacher pulled her aside and told her to talk to the Headmaster before she left to the Common Room. She said she would, and sighed as she looked at her table, the only seat left was one next to the guy she’d punched the other day and some girl. She hoped that ‘Malfoy’ wouldn’t be upset.

“How’s your jaw?” she said as she took her seat. He turned to look at her, jaw practically dropped as he shamelessly checked her out. Then he smirked, something that made him look like the very essence of Spike.

“Better. It was worth it.” he said. He expected her to blush slightly, but she didn’t. She gasped as food appeared on the table and ate quietly, barely talking. Buffy noticed all of the other girls at the table fawning over him and acting like he was a god.

One girl was trying to feed him while he treated her like dirt. Why did they make themselves act so low around him?

“Pathetic, huh?” the girl next to her said. She was pretty, pure black hair with electric blue streaks in it hung around her face in small braids. Her form was small, but her eyes were large and almost seemed black in the right light.

“Ya. Why do they do that?”

“Because Draco there is the Slytherin Prince, all girls, even in the other houses, act like they’re in love with him. Everyone but me that is. I’m Tru. Tru Mcklay.” she said, holding out her hand. Buffy eagerly shook it.

“Buffy Summers. Nice meeting ya. So, you’re the only one who isn’t a zombie.

Are there any other heart breakers I should know about?” Buffy asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Hmm. Harry Potter’s rising on the scales. The whole heroic thing makes him have a lot of admirers. Who else? I’m not sure. Chris Powell does a lot of damage too, that guy over there,” she said, pointing to this Chris guy. He really was cute, “But that’s it basically. You looking for prospects, or do you already got a guy?” she asked.

“Still hung up on a guy that I broke up with back home. Pretty much wondering what guys to stay away from. The beautiful people always seem to be the most stuck up, rude, and obnoxious ones,” she said loudly so that Malfoy could hear.

“Anyways, I’ve gotta go see a teacher. See ya back at the common room, ok. [she knows about that cuz of Hermione] Buffy walked over to the teachers table and went up to the guy that everyone called Headmaster Dumbledore.

“Headmaster, I heard ya wanted to talk to me?”

“Yes, Buffy. I know of your special abilities, so I took the liberty of getting you a room to yourself with a gym inside. It is located at the back of the girl’s dormitories. I’ll have Professor McGonnagle show you to the Slytherin Rooms. Would you like to go right now?” he asked. He was so friendly, she didn’t even care how he found out about her secret, she was just happy someone knew who could help her out.

“Yes, please.” she said timidly. He motioned to follow the teacher she’d met earlier, and so Buffy did. They left the Great Hall and went down a windy hallway that seemed to lead into the center of the earth itself. Buffy memorized everything, every corner and patch of woodwork or stone so she would be able to find her way back to the surface if she needed to. Finally they stopped at a portion of the wall that was near a statue of someone that greatly resembled Michael Jackson [don’t ask!], and the Professor turned to her.

“The password to your common room is ‘Fatima Dai Bolar’. It means something like ‘Pureblooded’ in Greek. I will leave you to get settled, so good night Ms. Summers.”

Mrs. McGonnagle said coolly and rather abruptly. Buffy got the feeling she wasn’t wanted by her.

“Fatima Dai Bolar.” she said, and wall moved to the side revealing a very cold looking living room type place. She climbed up the stairs to what were labeled ‘Slytherin Girl’s Dormitories’ and went inside. About twenty beds filled the room, ten on each wall. She sauntered to the end of the walkway to a door located on the other end. Slowly she pushed the door open to reveal a small room with two doors. Behind one was a very plain bathroom and behind the other was a huge training room. The walls were made up purely of bookshelves, and there had to be an assortment of at least eighty different weapons in a decorative, large, mahogany chest. A punching bag stood in one corner, a man made of straw was in another, a cabinet filled with herbal supplies was also there, and so was a target board for crossbows.

“This is so awesome!” she exclaimed, taking a swing at the punching bag. She went back into the bedroom and closed the door behind her. To her amazement the door disappeared. She reached for the door handle and it appeared. She twisted it and the door came back to view and swung open. *how cool is this, super secret headquarters!*

She closed the door again and found that her clothes were already placed in the dresser where they belonged. A pair of green and silver PJ’s were waiting for her. They looked so doofy, so she took out her white tank with a duck on it and the words ‘Hug Me’. Then she also put on her light blue flannel pants.

She looked through the desk beside her bed to find her schoolbooks. Putting on her disc-man and taking out her ‘Hogwarts, A History’ book, she started to read the book that made her last principal’s speeches in his office sound like the best time in the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had to be late. At least midnight. She had trained until her hands bled, something she’d been yearning to do since her fight with Angel. She’d finally gotten the chance to blow off some steam. But she wanted to talk to someone, like Tru. She had totally forgotten to meet up with her, she was so busy. Maybe she was still out there. She snuck out of her room without making a sound. All of the girls were in bed.

Maybe one of the guys were out there and would talk to her. Buffy crept down the stairs and saw Malfoy there. She was going to go back, but hey, he was better than no one.

“Late sleeper?” she asked, twisting around and falling gracefully into one of the love seats. Draco looked up from his book just in time to see her little stunt and it took all of his will to not whistle like that stupid coyote in muggle cartoons.

“You’re not a pacifist I see.” he said, looking down at her hands where the white bandages were getting weak enough to show the blood.

“Neither are you according to Hermione.” she said.

“You’re talking to the mudblood? Look, you’re new here, so let me tell you the rules. Slytherins don’t ever talk to Gryffs, especially not ones who are mudbloods, got it?” she looked at him. Her eyes changed to that fiery scarlet again, and he quickly backed up on the couch.

“No, you listen, you dumb-ass wizard who doesn’t have a clue. Hermione is a person, a human, unlike you. And as a human she has feelings. Did YOU get that, or do I need to repeat myself?” she said, her tone so not friendly it made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. She stood up and left in a rush of furry. Sure she had only known Hermione for two days, but she was still her sister, and sisters looked out for each other.

Chapter 6: Daze Gone By

“I heard our mighty Prince got quite the scare last night. He’s been talking about how you attacked him all morning.” Tru said, coming up behind Buffy as she searched for the Great Hall.

“I never attacked him. If I had you’d of known it from the lack of life.” Buffy said, as they finally reached the corridor she knew her destination was in.

“Just thought I’d tell you that your going to get the brush off from more people than just Lord Draco. The entire table’s going to shun you.” Tru said, almost smiling. “Then why are you talking to me?” Buffy asked as they entered the Great Hall. It was buzzing with gossip on the latest scandals, and Buffy knew some of it was about her.

“Because you scared the bloody hell out of him, and I admire that in a girl. Especially one who doesn’t take crap even from him.” she said, and as Buffy sat down at the table she heard people whispering ‘Muggle Lover’.

“So what’s your first class?” Tru asked. Buffy looked at the plate in front of her and there was a schedule there.

“Looks like Defense Against the Dark Arts with Snape. Hey, isn’t he the Potions teacher?” Buffy said, looking up and the greasy haired man at the teacher’s table.

“I suppose he’s both this year. He’s wanted the job for years, Dumbledore must have finally given in.” Tru took Buffy’s schedule away from her, “Looks like we’ve got the same classes. Wicked! Oh, bugger, we’ve got DADA with the Gryffindors!”

“Whatever. When does class start?”

“In about a half an hour! Aah! We’ve got to eat fast!” Tru stuffed a piece of jellied toast in her mouth and shoved another piece in Buffy’s. They both laughed and ate with no time to actually taste what they were chewing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It didn’t take Buffy long to notice that the class had split itself up by its houses. The Gryffs were on one side, the Slyths on the other. Buffy sat down next to Tru and they were talking about a picture of a really hot guy who had winked at them when Snape entered the room in a swirl of robes.

“Review time. Mr. Malfoy, what is the correct way to banish a boggart?” the teacher asked, still walking to his desk.

“A spell.” Draco replied snobbishly.

“Correct. Five points to Slytherin. Mr. Weasly, what is the easiest way to kill a vampire?” Snape asked, giving him the death stare.

“Garlic?” Ron said slowly.

“Wrong. Vampires are a myth. Five points away from Gryffindor.” Buffy almost couldn’t hold in her giggling. Vampires are a myth. Puh-leese! She’d only dated one, been bitten by another, and killed many. She wondered if this man thought she, The Slayer, was a myth too.

“Ms. Granger, what does a demon called a Gorratic do to it’s victims?” He looked proud of herself as she fought to remember the answer. Surprised that she actually knew the answer from book work with Giles, Buffy concentrated hard on Hermione’s mind.

Buffy could mentally see the door to her mind, and she opened it, allowing herself inside. *Hermione, can you hear me? It’s Buffy* *What? How are you doing this?* *Never mind right now. The answer is spray acid on them. Got it?* *Ya. What is...*

*Sorry, got to go.* Buffy flashed back into reality in time to hear Hermione calmly give Snape the answer and see him disappointedly go on to another student. Buffy winked at Hermione, and she winked back. Tru nudged her.

“Is there something I need to know about the relationship between the both of you or do I not need to know?” Buffy hit her playfully. The hour and a half crawled along, with Snape asking questions the entire time. Finally Snape announced that he was finished and that there was to be a two page essay on the questions he’d asked. She hoped Tru would be in the mood to share her notes.

“Ooh, Divination’s next. I can hardly wait.” Tru said sarcastically.

“Try not to act too happy, you might ruin it for the rest of us. What’s the what with the next class?”

“Nothing besides the fact that the professor’s a total fake. We’re supposed to learn how to predict the future and she can’t tell her right from her left. It’s easy to pass and that’s the only reason I’m taking it.” Tru said while climbing the ladder up to the

Divination room.

Buffy could hardly breathe past the smell of perfume as she walked into the classroom. Seeing that Hermione and the others were in there as well, she figured she must have this class with Gryffindors. Tru and her sat down next to Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s table. Hermione leaned over to Buffy.

“That was bloody brilliant in DADA!” Hermione squealed.

“It was pretty awesome. I couldn’t let Snape make a fool out of you in front of everyone. It would have been way too embarrassing.”

“So if it had been any other teacher you wouldn’t have done anything?”

“Exactly.”

“Well, that’s always nice to know.” Hermione said sarcastically.

“Hey, Gryff or not I gotta make sure you don’t make yourself look like a complete idiot or people might start to think I am too.” Buffy said, turning to the bug-eyed woman sitting down at a desk in front of the class.

“Good afternoon my dears, today we will be learning how to read palms. Now please open your books to page 23 and find a partner.” Buffy looked at Tru.

“Be my mind-reading bud?” Buffy asked.

“Sure.” Tru answered and took Buffy’s hand. She started to examine it, and kept on going ‘hmm’ and ‘that’s interesting’.

“So what does my hand tell you?”

“That you’re in love with Hermione and are planning on getting married to her in January.” Tru said in a very business like manner.

“Get off.” she shoved Tru away, and Tru was hysterical with laughter.

“Now settle down class,” the insect woman said, “And look at your partner’s hands to reveal their future and their past. The keys to each line on their palms should be in the book.” Buffy took her book and went to the page that the teacher had specified.

Grabbing Tru’s hand she checked what her future told. “It says here that you have an outstanding love life and that you should live to be about sixty. Also, you are lacking brains and have to go to special classes because you can’t say words correctly.”

“Oh ya, I’m sure that’s what it says. Let me see yours.” Tru started looking at Buffy’s hand again.

“Hmm. Interesting. Very weird and interesting.”

“What?”

“Not only are you in love with Hermione but Professor Snape as well!” Tru said, throwing Buffy’s hand away from her and pretending to gag.

“That is an incorrect prediction and ten points from Slytherin for goofing off in class Ms. Walkers. Now Ms. Summers, give me your hand so I can see into your mind.” the Professor said. Buffy gave up her hand and watched as Ms. Trawleny gasped in horror.

“My darling girl, your life! Your life is in ruin and you are in such a state that you are running from a danger, a danger that threatens you!” suddenly her voice went from girlie to dark and deep. Her eyes changed color and were black as coal. “He shall come and you will not be ready. Your allies on the mouth of hell will not protect you from him. Only then will you know the truth. Your only saviors will be your past and future lovers, although with them you will not defeat it. Your death is imminent, so it is written and so it shall become!” Trawleny fainted in a heap on the floor leaving Buffy stunned and shaken. The rest of the class gathered around the Professor and Buffy couldn’t move. That prediction was real. Everything she said was going to happen. Your eyes didn’t go freaky during some parlor trick. This was genuine.

“Buffy are you okay?” Tru asked, her voice outlined with concern.

“I... I’ve gotta go.” Buffy said, rushing out of the classroom. She couldn’t handle this. Not another prophecy. Her life was screwed up enough without adding more drama to the mix. She ran as fast as her Slayer powers allowed. Finally she stopped at the entrance to the Slytherin Common Room. Speaking the password, she raced inside to her bedroom and then to her training room. She needed to let it out, to hurt, to punch, to do something destructive that would allow everything to go away. But she couldn’t do it.

She couldn’t will it to disappear, so she just slid down the wall and hugged her knees crying. She needed comfort, but had no idea who to go to.

“Your only saviors will be your past and future lovers,” she whispered to herself. She didn’t want Angel. Angel would only make things worse, make it harder to die. She was going to die. But at who’s hand? Neither Willow or Bug-lady made it clear who, they just said ‘he’ and went on with he cryptic. Why did they have to go all cryptic?

Buffy found herself sprawled out on the floor, and using her arm for a pillow she drifted into sleep.

“Hello again.” Willow said calmly.

“Hey. You still in a coma?” Buffy asked, watching Willow fall into a plush chair.

“Am I talking to you still?”

“Ya.”

“That is the answer to your question.”

“Willow, do you know what the prophecy is about me dying again?”

“They say I can’t tell. It’s for you alone to figure out.”

“Quit with the cryptic already! I don’t want to die Wills!”

“Do you think I want you to die!?! I wish I could tell you but they won’t let me! My life is on the line here too! They have me in a coma, they can keep me in or get me out in a second. I don’t want to be living in my head forever. This isn’t my choice!”

“Can’t you give me a hint?”

“After the Loin’s Sage argues with you in regard to the Father’s Prodigy and your own secrets, the Marked One will lead you to your past. Only then will you find an answer to one of your questions.”

“Who’s the Lion’s Sage?”

“That is for you to find out. I have to go now. That’s all I can let you know at the moment.” Willow said, and slowly faded out and Buffy woke up.

Buffy stood up and walked out of the training room. She needed to find the Headmaster and ask him how she could contact Giles. He would know what to do. He could fix this, or at least try. Either way she’d feel better knowing he was working on it. She discarded her robe on her bed, and left the Girl’s Dormitories. As she got to the doorway out of the Common Room she heard a voice behind her.

“Sneaking out are we?” She spun around to find Malfoy leaning against the wall.

“I never quite pictured you to be the delinquent type, but I suppose I was wrong. You leaving to go find your boyfriend Potter or what?” he asked, stalking closer to her.

“Listen you Spike wanna-be, it’s only like what, three o’ clock? There’s no rules against leaving in the middle of the day.”

“What the bloody hell are you talking about? It’s almost eleven at night! Where have you been anyways, after what happened in Divination Tru was worried and asked where you were. What have you been doing for the past eight hours?” he asked.

“None of your business. So what, I can’t leave now or?”

“Or you might be expelled.”

“Well that’s just great.” Buffy said, sitting on the couch and stretching from her eight hour sleep. She could feel his eyes on her, watching her as she reached up with her arms. He sat down next to her on the couch.

“So what’s your story?” she asked, wanting to have more than just two friends at Hogwarts. He looked at her and contemplated how he was going to answer her question.

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.” he said grinning.

“Fine by me. Get talking. There’s no way I’m going first.” Buffy said, leaning back on the couch and getting comfortable.

“Well, I’m a Malfoy, so you should already know about my father.” Draco said, his eyes screaming for her to say yes so she didn’t have to tell him.

“Nope, sorry. I never heard the name ‘Malfoy’ or anything else like that before in my life. Basically all of this magical junk is new to me.” Draco looked at her confused.

She didn’t know who he was. She didn’t know what a deatheater was or about his father and Lord Voldemort. She wasn’t talking to him and asking him about his past to find out if he really was evil like the rest of the school said. She just wanted to get to know him.

“I grew up with people always telling me that people who weren’t full-blooded magical beings were beneath me. They were dirt, even worse than that sometimes. That’s the way that I was raised. My father was a deatheater and wanted me to grow up to be one too. I didn’t want to, and if Potter hadn’t had him arrested and placed in Azkaban, the wizard prison, I probably would be working for He-Who-Must-Not-Be- Named right now. I hate my father, but I have to still do what he asks. If not I’m afraid that I’ll get hurt, but him or by one of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s other followers.”

Draco told her.

“So you only pretend to be an evil bad-ass. I get that. You don’t want to be like this, you just have to or else who-knows-what could happen to you.” Draco nodded.

“Everyone around here says I’m an ‘evil git’ but I’m not, not really. No one ever takes the time to care, they’re just too obsessed about the fact that I’m my father’s son to care.” He shouldn’t have told her what he just did. He shouldn’t have let her know how he really felt, but he knew that she was trustworthy somehow.

“Your turn now.” he said, and smirked mischievously.

“Fine, but not my whole life’s story. It would get way too complicated. I grew up in LA. I was the perfect average girl. I was popular, I was happy, and I knew that I could be whatever I wanted to be. Then, one day some guy came up to me and told me that I had a destiny. He changed me so that I saw parts of the world that were lost to every one else long ago. After that my parents split up and I accidentally burned down the school gym. I was expelled so we moved to Sunnydale.

“That was where I met Willow, Xander, Angel, Oz, Giles, Cordillia, and everyone else. Willow and Xander were my best friends and Giles was my mentor. Angel, he was my boyfriend, my semi-perfect boyfriend. Then it all went to hell when Angel turned psycho and started killing my friends and tried to kill me. He put Will and Xand in the hospital, Will is still in a coma from it. We had a huge break up and that was that.

“Afterwards I got expelled from my high school and my mom kicked me out. I went to go talk to her again and she told me I was adopted and that I was a wizard. She freaked out and shipped me off to my new parents, and they sent me here, to Hogwarts.” she ended, looking at Draco who was right next to her. When did he get so close?

“It sounds like life’s been really hard for you.”

“Well, yours doesn’t sound like that much of a fairy-tale either, but we’ve still got hope, right?” she said, getting up and heading back to the dormitories, but turned back as he said something.

“Good night Buffy.” he said.

“Good night your Majesty, and sweet dreams.” she told him and went back to her room for a hopefully dreamless sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Hey there, ya miss me?” Buffy asked Tru, taking her seat next to her. “Where have you been, I was looking for you all day yesterday? Do you sleep in a different room or something, because you don’t have a bed in the dorms.”

“I have my own room in the back. Dumbledore gave it to me ‘cause there wasn’t anymore room in the dorms. I’ve been in there all day.”

“Are you alright? I mean yesterday was rather scary with the Professor and everything that she was saying.”

“I can handle it.” Buffy said, grabbing a nearby pancake and shoving it on her plate. The day passed quickly, and Buffy was surprised how easy all of the magic stuff was. Her two classes for the day were Charms and Transfiguration. Charms was simple, you say the spell and waved a stick and something happened. Transfiguration was a bit harder because you had to really concentrate to get things right, but eventually her squirrel turned into a notebook and all was well. Before she realized it she was finished with dinner and was walking back to the Common Room with Tru and showing her her room.

Then a week passed and everything was still going alright. No more prophetic dreams or Professors telling her she was going to die. Tru was becoming her best friend and they would spend hours every night talking in Buffy’s room. Draco would chat with her sometimes and was very friendly whenever she ran into him in the Common Room.

She even decided to not bother Dumbledore with a way to talk to Giles because she figured it was over. In fact it wasn’t until Monday morning when she was sitting in Snape’s DADA class that something bad happened. The Professor was still terrorizing the students while doing the review when he called on Buffy.

“Ms. Summers, come up to the front of the class and demonstrate how to get rid of a boggart.”

“Professor, this is my first year here, I don’t know how.” she said frantically. “It’s quite simple. You point your wand at it and say ‘Epelliarmidus’ [my own made up spell].” Buffy picked up her wand from her bag and walked to the front of the class obediently. Hermione, Harry, Draco, and Tru sat up, curious to what Buffy’s fear was. Snape opened a chestnut cabinet and let out the monster inside. To her horror it immediately turned into Angel.

“Oh God.” she whispered to herself.

“What, no kiss?” he said, and smirked.

“You’re not Angel.”

“Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am your fear, I am a part of the past you ran away from. Just like your friends who were in the hospital, your mother who kicked you out, your school that expelled you. You’re the Slayer, remember?” Angel then turned into Kendra, “Into each generation a Slayer is born. One girl in all de world, a chosen one. One born wid de strength and skill to hunt de vampires, to stop de spread of evil and de forces of darkness. She is de Slayer. Did you even listen to how many times dey use de word ‘one’ when dey define what you are?”

“Do I care?” Buffy said, looking at the boggart that now took on her own image. “Yes. That’s the truth of your life. Alone, always alone, and you hate it. Ford, Jenny, Kendra, Angel. They died because you didn’t follow the rules. Because you decided to have a ‘normal’ life. Look at where that got you. Right back where you started, with no one. Not even the fact that you have a sister and friends is enough to comfort you. You know if you don’t stay away they’ll have the same end.”

“Listen, this has been a wonderful self discovery thing, but it’s really time to put you back into the cupboard.” Buffy had to get rid of this, this, this abomination before it said too much.

“Epelliarmidus!” Buffy shouted, and it disappeared. She went back to her seat and saw all of the confused students. They didn’t understand what had just happened or how important it was. They didn’t see the single tear that slid down her cheek, but was wiped away in an attempt to hide it. No one noticed that the monster had said that Buffy had killed people. No one had paid attention to the fact that Angel had called her the ‘Slayer’. No one but Draco that is...

After class ended she walked briskly out the door, but was stopped as someone grabbed her arm and pulled her into an empty classroom. She couldn’t see who it was that was man-handling her, but saw a flash of a green tie and knew it was a Slytherin.

“You’re a Slayer?” Draco asked, pinning her to the wall.

“Yes, but don’t tell anyone. It’s supposed to be a secret.” she said, and tried to leave, but he wouldn’t let her.

“Were you even going to tell me?” he looked hurt, like she had betrayed him. Buffy sighed. She had betrayed him, but he should have realized she couldn’t have told him out in the open.

Once again she observed how close he was. How his breath smelled like mint and vanilla. She noticed that his silver eyes glistened in the light and that his lips almost seemed pinker than hers because of his skin tone. Finally she saw how he was leaning foreword as if to kiss her. He was going to kiss her.

Suddenly Tru burst through the door, “Buffy, Draco, are you in...” she almost gasped as for a split second she saw Draco pinning Buffy against the wall with his lips so close to hers, and also watched them jump apart as they saw her.

“Well, well, well. Am I interrupting something?” she said in a cocky tone. “No, I was just leaving.” Buffy said, walking over to Tru who was eyeing her with mischievous eyes.

“Coming Draco? Your lackeys are waiting for you so they can walk with you to class. If you don’t hurry up you’ll be late to Divination.” Tru said, and left with Buffy leaving Draco alone.

They walked quietly to Divination in silence with Tru looking at Buffy every once-in-a-while and smiling of giggling. When they finally entered Divination Buffy walked over to her seat, but never reached it. Instead she fell to the ground unconscious, and right beside her on the ground was another student... Harry Potter.

Buffy looked around her and once again she was in Willow’s room. Willow was reading some magazine while laying on her bed and humming patiently to herself as she flipped through the pages. The bandage she was wearing before on her head was now gone and there was no sign of a cut or even a bruise.

“You haven’t been doing your job.” Willow said, not looking up from the magazine.

“What is my job?”

“To figure out my clue.”

“Come on, I don’t even know what a Sage is!”

“There is such a thing called a Dictionary.” Willow said, finally looking at Buffy. “I didn’t pack one.”

“It’s called a library. You know, the place we used to hang out at before... Before it happened.” Will said softly, as if fearful of speaking the words aloud.

“I guess I could pay the books a visit. Hey, why haven’t I talked to you for the last week? I thought whenever I slept you were supposed to pay me a visit.”

“The Powers thought you would be deciphering the message I gave you, but obviously they were wrong. They tell me they gave you way too much credit.”

“Well, do you have anymore clues for me to decipher?”

“Don’t worry, you won’t need one after three days hence.”

“Why? What’s going to happen?”

“You’ll see. The clue shall come to pass and things will begin to unravel. Clues will come easily to you for I am not the only one who has been sent to guide you.”

“Who else is going to help me besides you?”

“Turn around and see for yourself.” Willow said, pointing behind Buffy. She spun around and saw Harry standing there.

“Harry?” Buffy said quietly, and then everything became a blur and she woke up in a hospital bed. The room was almost full with people watching them including Draco, Tru, Hermione, and Ron. Looking to her left she saw a pair of emerald eyes staring back at her. He was going to be her guide. But her guide to what?

Chapter 7: Being Shown the Way

“Leave me alone!” Buffy screamed one final time. She couldn’t see why Hermione was mad at her. What had she done wrong? Sure her little chat with Will had lasted about two days according to the living world, but that wasn’t her fault. “You know what, you can keep your little secrets. I don’t really care. You’re a Slytherin after all, so you’re lucky I’m even talking to you, but when your mysterious actions cause my friends to be put in danger what you do starts to have an effect on me.”

“Is that what you think? That I ended up with Willow in a coma for two days because I want to be ‘mysterious’. Puh-leese! How self-involved do you think I am? What I do not only saves my ass it saves your too, so I wouldn’t be complaining. And what does me being in Slytherin have to do with this!?!” Buffy yelled. She’d been trying to find the entrance to the Common Room after leaving the Hospital Wing when Hermione came at her and started preaching. Buffy so didn’t need this after what had just happened with Will and she needed to hit the books. This was wasting time.

“You know what I’m talking about. You’re just like the rest of them, you keep to yourself and don’t let anyone in. You’re even friends with Malfoy, the pig. What, do you guys just sit on the couch and tell jokes about all of the muggle borns or something.”

“Shut up, Hermione. You have no idea what your talking about. Draco has had a really hard life and doesn’t need people talking crap about him.”

“He didn’t tell you about everything he’s ever done to me, did he? He’s called me a mudblood more times than I can’t count and does the most awful things imaginable. But do you care? No. You’re willing to dismiss it because he’s your Prince now.”

Hermione spat out the word ‘Prince’ like it was a poison that she had to be rid of. “Do you know what Hermione? You’re blind. There’s a whole other world out there precious, and one day I might have to talk off that blind fold and let you have one hard look at what happens once everyone’s gone to sleep. Not everything’s about Harry Potter and Voldemort and how you have to stop him. Read between the lines for once. Think about what happens if a deatheater’s son tells his dad that he doesn’t want to become a lackey too. They have more hard decisions than you could ever imagine, and you would make the same choice if you had to. You say you’re too good for it, but it’s amazing what people do when their under penalty of death.”

“I’ll have you know that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has tried to kill me and my friends about five times, and you’re sitting here defending his followers.”

“Ya, well I hate to break it to you sweety, but I’ve died so I suppose that makes us even. Thank God I wasn’t put in Gryffindor because if I had been I would have had to put up with your constant whining about how the world sucks for you and no one else. Hate to break it to you, but it ain’t true. Now I’ve got to go and try to save the world so that people like you can go on living the way you do, so if you’ll excuse me.” Buffy walked away, leaving Hermione standing there alone. Neither of them had realized that there were two people watching their entire fight, both a Gryffindor and a Slytherin.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffy entered the Common Room with a frown on her face. Draco was sitting on the couch smiling as he looked up from his book called Famous Demonic Characters.

He waited until she had rounded the corner near the sofa before talking to her.

“That out there was bloody brilliant! You told her off so good! Hell, you even stood up for me, not that I needed it or anything. Man, that bitch had it coming to her!” Draco said excitedly. Buffy straight out punched him. Full on, fist in his face, and she knew it hurt like hell. Hermione really was an idiot. Their fight had proved that, but even if she was messed up that didn’t mean Draco could call her a bitch.

“What was that about!?!” Draco mumbled, cupping his hands to his face to stop the blood from dripping everywhere.

“You call my sister a bitch again and you’ll end up losing an appendage or worse, you got it?” she said sternly with no hint of mercy or laughter in her voice. Buffy walked back up the stairs and found Tru already sitting down in her bedroom. She was fiddling with something, something wooden. Oops! It was a stake! Buffy had forgotten to put it away back in the training room!

“Can you please tell me what this is? I’ve been trying to figure it out all night.”

“Umm, Tru, if I tell you a secret will you promise you won’t tell anyone?”

“Ya, of coarse. What is it Buff?”

“Tru, I’m a Slayer.” she said bluntly.

“So that would explain why your ex is a vampire. I was wondering how you guess would have met if he was a demon.”

“What? How did you know Angel was a vamp?”

“How stupid do you think I am? First of all, the book in your desk drawer has a picture of a vampire named Angelous. The guy that the boggart turned into is the guy on the cover’s twin. You called the boggart guy Angel. I did some background checking and it says Angelous is the Scourge of Europe and that he also goes by the name Angel. It wasn’t exactly hard.”

“So, you’re not freaked out or mad I didn’t tell you before?”

“No way. It’s a secret identity, one that I feel honored knowing. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.” Buffy smiled and grabbed Tru’s hand.

“Good, ‘cause we’ve got some research to do, and I have to show you something really cool about my room.” she reached to the invisible doorknob and twisted it once it appeared. Then, giving it a push she let the door swing open.

“Wicked! Totally and completely wicked!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So, read it to me again from the top.” “Fine, but this is the last time! ‘After the Loin’s Sage argues with you in regard to the Father’s Prodigy and your own secrets, the Marked One will lead you to your past. Only then will you find an answer to one of your questions.’” Buffy said, looking down at the pad of paper in front of her. They’d been over this at least thousand times in the last hour.

“Oh my gosh! How could we be so stupid! The ‘Sage’ in the hint isn’t the cooking kind, it’s the smart kind! Okay, so the Lion’s smartest person will fight with you.”

“So this has nothing to do with cooking?”

“No.”

“Well, unless there’s a Lion on campus this is useless.”

“Oh, ya, I forgot to ask, what was with you and Harry exchanging looks in the Hospital Wing? Is there something with you two?”

“Ya right Tru, he’s a Gryffin... That’s it! Gryffindor’s sign is a Lion, and the smartest person in Gryffindor is...”

“Hermione. And you guys had a little tiff earlier, so the fight parts over with. Cool. We already decided the Marked One is Harry, so very soon Harry is going to show you to your past?”

“Willow did say he was my guide, she might have been clueing me in to the fact that he’s going to be leading me somewhere.”

“Ya, so, is there any part of your past in this castle? Have any of your relatives come here or something?”

“I really don’t know. Listen, we’ve been in here for an hour, let’s just go out to the Great Hall. I know that if I stay here I’ll go crazy.”

“Good, I was getting put up with all of the research too. We can clean all of this up later.” Tru said, looking around at the carpet of books on Buffy’s training room floor. Buffy shrugged and turned to open the large oak door.

“And you might want to change.” True said giggling. Buffy was wearing a sports bra while she was training earlier. She nodded and grabbed her sweater she was wearing before and they left to go get some air.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Draco & Buffy POV’s

He shouldn’t have been there, shouldn’t be doing what he was doing. It had been accidental, but all the same he should have put that stupid black leather book back underneath the pillow where he’d found it. Not sitting on the bed reading thoughts that didn’t belong to him.

Draco had gone to Buffy’s room to tell her he was sorry about the thing with Hermione. She wasn’t there, so he asked around and no one had seen her. He came back to the room so he could wait for her, and he saw her pillow lying there. He picked it up and held it for a second. That was when he’d seen it. It was a diary that Buffy must have kept there under the pillow for safe keeping. He picked it up and read the first page, then another and another. It seemed as though no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t tear himself away from it. It was only five minutes into it that he saw something interesting.

Diary Entry September 11, 1995,

‘I should have known better than to fall in love with him. But he’s just so cute! Plus he gave me his leather coat. Angel.. He’s so dreamy. I saw him again last night at the Bronze. He always comes around warning me about stuff that’s going to happen that might hurt me. I know he’s just trying to protect me, but I wish he’d talk to me in a less Buffy-we-have-to-go-kill-something way and more of a Will-you-go-out-with-me way.

Diary Entry September 14, 1995,

He’s a vampire! Oh, God! Angel’s a vamp, and I kissed him! The kissing part was good, but I mean how can we work this out? He’s a good blood sucker, but still. He’s like 242 years old! Eew! It’s like I’d be making out with my Great-Great-Grampa! Ok, so maybe he is a great kisser and I would still kiss him now that I know, but it’s against everything I’ve ever believed in! Vamps bad. Must kill vamps. Now it’s like, vamps bad, must kill vamps, but not my boyfriend vamp because he’s different. What if I kill other vamps that are good? This is just way too confusing. I’ll write you back later. Draco flipped through the pages, so he could find something worth reading. He saw that she had two best friends, Xander and Willow. Her Watcher’s name was Giles, and he was quite an evil git when he was younger. Her boyfriend was Angelous The Scourge of Europe, and she’d actually fought William the Bloody and his scary girlfriend Drusilla. Then, he saw an entry that made his stomach turn. It was tear stained, and had a couple of drops of blood on it as well.

Diary Entry February 20, 1996,

Angel’s gone, and it’s my fault. I slept with him. When I woke up he was gone. Jenny says that I gave him true happiness, so his soul left him. He’s The Scourge of Europe now. He’s evil. And it’s my fault. He almost killed Will tonight. I saw him earlier today and he was different. I should have known he was bad again. I guess that I just didn’t want to believe it. The things he said about me were so... they just hurt. They hurt a lot. Jenny can’t curse him again, says that the magic that has to be used for it is lost to her and her gypsy people. I don’t believe her. In eight days it’s going to be Valentines Day, and I’m not going to have anyone. I feel like I’m alone. Not physically, or even emotionally, just somehow I feel like I’m empty and alone and that nothing will ever be ok again. I hope this is a dream. I can’t be real. Please be a dream. Oh, God, please be a dream!

Draco jumped as a door suddenly appeared in the wall beside him. It swung open and Buffy and Tru walked inside. He tried to put away the diary, but Buffy saw him and it was too late. She knew what he’d been doing. “I’ll leave you two alone right now. Buffy, I’ll be outside if you need me.” Tru said, seeing the deadly look that Buffy had on her face. Draco was seriously going to be murdered, and she wasn’t going to wait around to see it. “What the hell is your problem!?!” Buffy said after Tru closed the door. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know!” he said. *Oh ya. Great alibi Draco. Nice one.* he thought to himself.

“Don’t even play dumb like that. You knew what it was. What right do you have to come into my room and...” she kept on talking, but Draco almost couldn’t hear the words. His mind was in some gutter in the most low-life place imaginable. But who could blame him, she was in his opinion the hottest girl in school and she was wearing a bra. A black sports bra with pink trim and also black sweat pants that hung low on her hips. He looked up and down her body and took in everything, especially one certain part of her that you all should know and that I’m not going to actually write down.

“What are you looking at?” she asked, realizing he was staring at her. He walked up to her and grabbed her hips forcefully.

“Shut up.” he said half commandingly and half seductive. She opened her mouth to argue only to have Draco shove his lips onto hers. Buffy tried to get away by shoving him, but gave up trying. Finally she kneed him in the crouch and pushed him to the wall.

Then she turned away and ran. She ran straight out of the Dormitory, out of the Common Room, and out of Hogwarts. She raced right passed Tru who was talking to some Ravenclaw near the entrance. There was no thought in her mind to how much trouble she’d be in or what Draco would think. Draco. What a jerk! He knew she was upset with him and he still had the nerve to grab her like that.

She was going as fast as Slayer abilities would allow. To any normal being she would be merely a blur, nothing resembling a person or an animal. Finding a lake near the hut that the groundskeeper lived in, she sat near it. A couple of minutes passed by, then ten, then twenty. She leaned against a tree and closed her eyes, letting waves of peacefulness fill her. She shook from the cold and put on the sweater she’d been carrying around all this time, but that didn’t stop it. Suddenly the calmness of everything around her made a shiver go down her spine. But why? What was it about everything around her that made her skin crawl at that moment?

Then a memory shot in her head. The invisible girl. She’d had the same feeling, the same notion of worry even though she was alone. Looking around, she got up casually, acting like she was walking closer to the lake. Bending over, she touched her fingers to the water while calculating exactly where this person/thing was. Again she started walking around slowly, humming to herself. Then, as she passed the creature she did a spinning kick, taking out its legs. It yelped as it hit the ground hard.

“Tell me what you are and what you want.” she said monotonously.

“Wait! It’s Harry!” the invisible person said. She watched as Harry revealed himself by taking off some kind of translucent robe.

“You were spying on me?”

“Well, I was visiting Hagrid and saw you sitting here alone, so I came over and you attacked me.”

“Well what was I supposed to do? You might have been a big bad. I mean I am a girl alone in the middle of the night. Some freaks might try something.” she grinned and gave him a look that made him melt.

“Why are you out here anyways?”

“Draco just gets really annoying after a while.”

“Tell me about it.”

“You don’t know him though. No one around here really does. It’s like he wears this mask all of the time and is way too afraid to take it off because of what the other Slytherins might tell their parents.”

“So you’re telling me that he’s a good person but doesn’t want people to see it? Sorry if I find that hard to believe. Hermione told me you’re a couple.”

“No way. At the moment he’s being way to man-handly for me to say yes to anything that he asks. No freaking way.” Harry smiled. She couldn’t help but compare them both, Harry and Draco. Draco was the bad boy. Everyone knew it. But Harry was the hero, and when she saw him smile and her revelation and look in her eyes a part of her even thought he was cuter than his Slytherin opponent.

“You wanna go in?”

“Na. I really don’t want to go to the Common Room. He’ll be there and bad things’ll happen. I’ll just hang around ‘till morning.”

“You can’t stay out here. Come one, you can stay with the Gryffs tonight. They won’t be messed up once they find out you’re Hermione’s twin. Please, it’ll be fun.” he asked her to go with him. Buffy didn’t know what to say, but he gave her puppy eyes.

There was no saying no to the puppy eyes.

“Fine. Take me to your leader.” she said, and he held out his cloak for her to crawl under. She took her small corner and went underneath. They had to stand enormously close, and Harry was almost enjoying it. She was different from the girls he usually talked to, more quick to make retorts and she spoke confidently. Plus she was beautiful. That was definitely a bonus.

They walked around the castle for about ten minutes. When they finally stopped they were in front of a portrait of a young girl in a black and maroon colored dress that was full of lace. Harry muttered some sort of Latin word and she flew open. Buffy was standing there in amazement. That girl in the portrait was Darla, a very non-vampire and younger image of Darla.

“Buffy, come on, we have to go in.” Harry said, dragging her through the doorway and into the foyer.

“Where am I going to sleep?” she asked as he showed her to the Common Room.

“You could stay in Hermione’s room.”

“No.” she said simply.

“Ok, then you can stay in my room with me. All of the sixth and seventh year guys in each of the houses get to have their own rooms, so no one would be asking about what you’re doing there.”

Her eyes flashed mischievously, “Alrighty then, show me to your room.” He looked at her, surprised, but shook himself out of it. He led her to the Boys Dormitories and went to his room. When inside they threw off the cloak to reveal themselves to each other.

“Well, I guess I’m tired, so goo’night ‘arry.” she said while yawning and stretching before lifting up the covers and laying down in the bed that was exactly like hers but with red sheets.

“I’m going to go change in the bathroom, okay?” “Ya, sure, whatever.” she said. She closed her eyes, and turned her head. His pillow smelled like him. He had a certain smell, like a mix of mint, chocolate, lilac, and some sort of cologne all in one. She loved that smell. Soon she drifted off, thankfully having no dreams including the phantom Willow.

Harry walked back into the room and carefully crawled in the huge bed beside a sleeping Buffy. He didn’t want to wake her up, she looked so happy when asleep. That was something she lacked in the waking world. She never looked content. She spoke of Draco wearing a mask, but Harry had almost all of his classes with Buffy and knew she was the one wearing a mask. She acted so happy-go-lucky all of the time, but it wasn’t real. None of the front that she put up was. He just hoped he could find out what it was that she was so intent on hiding from the rest of the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Buffy woke up she was surprised to see that Harry was already awake and dressed in his school clothes. It was early, way too early for any sane person to be up and going. She watched him pack his school bag with different books, and when finally he realized she was looking he took on a charming blush.

“Sleeping Beauty awakens.”

“Good morning. I better get back to my room. Tru’ll freak out if I’m not there. She always does. Plus the Wanna-Be-Spike will be in the Great Hall, so I should be alright.” she got up slowly, and placed the sheets back to where they were supposed to go. He handed her a red sweatshirt that had an orange lion printed in the front.

“What’s that for?”

“I’ve been in the dungeons before. It’s really cold and that weak little sweater won’t do you any good.” Harry said, and she took it and put it on.

“Oh, I was wondering, the portrait that we walked through, when did you guys get that? Hermione told me that your painting was of a Fat Lady.” she said, straightening out the fabric of Harry’s shirt that she was wearing.

“Ya, I guess Dumbledore got us a new one. She’s really nice and always wants to talk to us. Her name’s Darla McLay or something like that. She told me once but I forgot. She was a student here or something.” Darla McLay. She had to remember that name so she could check it out in the library later.

“Well I’ll take you down there to your entrance and then I’ll leave you alone.” “Kay then, let’s go.” They once again went underneath the cloak and trooped off in search of a Common Room. Buffy didn’t understand how Harry could know the way to the Slytherin Rooms, it was supposed to be a secret that only Slytherins knew. When they arrived at the wall that covered up her Common Room she walked up to it and spoke the words that were just gibberish to her friend beside her.

“Fatima Dai Bolar.” she said, and it swung open. She took off the robe and became visible. Harry stayed under, not wanting any Slytherins to see.

“Thank you Harry.” she said, and hugged him. Harry was almost alarmed by their sudden closeness, and by the time he got the wits to hug her back she was already inside and waving bye to him before the door closed.

Turning to the room she’d entered, Buffy saw Tru sitting on a lounge chair reading a book along with Draco. Eyeing the logo on her sweatshirt, Tru grinned. Buffy looked at Draco for a minute, catching his eye. Not even saying a word he brushed past her and left the Common Room, probably going to the Great Hall. Tru followed Buffy into her room before exploding in giggles.

“Oh my gosh! Who’s the Gryffindor? I saw you go out to the grounds last night, but never saw you come back in. Or is this not a guy thing? Did you just sleep over at one of the Gryffindor girl’s room or something? Tell me. Tell me!”

“Well, last night Draco kissed me.”

“What! Where was I when this happened!?!”

“It was right after you left. I was yelling at him and he had the nerve to kiss me while I was talking! I left and that was when you saw me go outside. I was out at the lake for about an hour when I knew that there was someone else there, you know, ‘cause I’m a Slayer. So I knocked the person down and it was Harry under some kind of robe that made him invisible. We talked and I said I didn’t want to go back to the room to see Draco and he offered for me to go to the Gryff rooms. I said ya and when I got there he let me stay with him in his room. When I woke up he told me it was freezing in the dungeons and gave me the shirt. Then he took me back here and I told him thanks and gave him a hug. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”

“Not that big of a deal! Are you two together?” “No. But he’s cute. Isn’t he cute?”

“Yes, I have to say he is cute. I like his emerald eyes and his hair. The scar too.”

“I know, the scar is sort of hot. Is that creepy that I think that?”

“Just told you I thought the same exact thing. I definitely approve.”

“Well, it’s not like we’re going to get together.”

“Why? Is it Draco? I know you kind of have a thing for him.”

“Maybe. I’m not sure. He’s the bad guy, and I’m kind of into the dark and mysterious types. Then Harry is the good cutie who can save the day. I don’t know.”

“Oh, and while we’re on the subject, what do you think about Dean Thomas?”

“Is that the one who sits next to the Neville guy?”

“Yes.”

“He’s really, really, majorly cute. And he’s smart. I approve of him big time. Have you ever made any moves on him?”

“Last night I tried to talk to him, and he didn’t say anything back. I know all he sees when he looks at me is an evil Slytherin. It’s all he’s ever going to see.”

“I might just have to be a matchmaker then,” Buffy said, and tried her best to look innocent, so much that she had a impish look about her.

“Well, let’s just go get something to eat. We’ll talk about our love lives later. Plus we have Potions today and what’s more fun than making fun of Snape’s hair?”

“Nothing I can think of. I mean really, has the man never heard of hair care products?” Buffy said, and they both went to the Great Hall. Entering they saw a large group of people huddled up in a circle screaming ‘FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!’. Pushing their way through, there in the center were Harry and Draco battling it out. Not with wands though. They were kicking each others butts with their fists. Buffy ran into he middle of the two of them to make them stop.

“What the hell are you both doing?” she screamed above the roar of the crowd. “Get out of my way Buffy!” Draco yelled, trying to throw another punch.

“No!” she retorted. Draco pushed her out of the way and once again they fought.

She got between them again and was greeted with a fist to the face by the Green Prince. She held her cheek where she’d been hit. Draco had been aiming for Harry but he darted out of the way and she got hit full blast. It didn’t hurt her, but she was startled all the same. Harry walked up to Drake and punched him so hard he knocked him out. Then, Harry was at Buffy’s side.

“Are you okay? Do you need to go to the Hospital Wing?” he asked with a voice full of concern.

“No, I think I’m...”

“What is going on here Mr. Potter?” a loud woman’s voice said over the racket.

“Nothing Professor McGonnagle. Draco walked up and started saying things that weren’t appropriate and took a swing at me. It was all self defense, and he also punched Buffy.” Harry said pointing at Buffy’s face.

“Is this true Ms. Summers?”

“Yes, but I’m fine.”

“Well, needless to say there will be fifty points taken away from Gryffindor house and the amount taken from Slytherin will be decided on how lenient Snape is. Now follow me to the hospital wing Summers and Potter. We will have you both checked out. Professor Snape will you please levitate Mr. Malfoy along behind us?”

“Yes.” Snape said, practically appearing out of thin air from behind the crowd.

While walking up the stairs Buffy yelled to Tru, “I’ll meet you at class okay!” and Tru nodded. Going to the Wing Harry was half leaning on Buffy. Looking at him, she saw he was really beat up. What had that fight been about? They were both bleeding messes.

At the Hospital Wing Madame Pomphrey checked Buffy and found nothing wrong, but gave Harry a vile of some sort and after he drank the purple concoction all of his cuts disappeared. Then she shooed them all outside as Draco woke up so there wouldn’t be another confrontation.

“What happened?” Buffy asked, making sure that all of the bruises on his face were gone.

“Draco came up behind me and Ron at the table when we were eating. He started telling me that I had no right even talking to you and that he knew what happened and that you were his. It was really weird, because he started telling me that you were different from what I thought and that I would never be able to be with you because I wouldn’t get you the way that he did. I told him to shut up and he threw his fist at me.”

“You were fighting because of me?”

“Yes. He was fighting because of you, I was more defending myself because I had no idea what he was talking about.”

“Oh. Well, don’t go so hard on him anymore. That guy’s had it tough, and although right now, ya, I still think he’s a bit of a jerk, he’ll turn up ok in the end.”

“Like I said, I’ll believe it when I see it. I mean he hit you! Wow. I never thought he’d slug a girl like that. But, anyways, Professor McGonnagle said she’d like to see you in Dumbledore’s office. Something about a visitor.” Buffy was stunned. A visitor?

Chapter 8: Getting Dates

“You were fighting because of me?”

“Yes. He was fighting because of you, I was more defending myself because I had no idea what he was talking about. Not saying I’m not willing to fight for you, I mean, um, er... You know what I mean, Draco started it.”

“Oh. Well, don’t go so hard on him anymore. That guy’s had it tough, and although right now, ya, I still think he’s a bit of a jerk, he’ll turn up ok in the end.”

“Like I said, I’ll believe it when I see it. I mean he hit you! Wow. I never thought he’d slug a girl like that. But, anyways, Professor McGonnagle said she’d like to see you in Dumbledore’s office. Something about a visitor.” Buffy was stunned. A visitor?

“Where’s his office at?”

“Down that corridor. Take a left at the white knight, and another one three hallways down. Go a ways and it’s right behind the gargoyle, you can’t miss it. The password’s Butterbeer.” he smiled at her, and watched as she left him to go seek out Dumbledore.

*Ok, white knight, need to find a white knight.* she thought to herself as she ran down the passage. Finally she came upon the decorative piece and took a left. Buffy counted the hallways she passed and once she got to three she turned again. Soon she found a large gargoyle resting in front of a spiral staircase that was built into the stone in the wall.

“Butterbeer.” she said, and it leaped aside, letting her pass. She had no idea who the visitor was. Maybe it was Giles. No, he didn’t even know where she was. Climbing the stairs she heard three different voices coming from inside. She froze instantly. It couldn’t be. It was impossible. Wasn’t it? Buffy opened the door and her first guess had been right. Sitting there in a black leather coat was her first love. Angel took one look at her and smiled. He smiled. But the thing was, it wasn’t Angelous’s smile. It was Angel’s. Angel was back. But how?

“Hi Buffy.” he said, walking up to her slowly.

“How... how did you...” she stammered. Her throat was dry, and she couldn’t talk right. He was dead. She killed him.

“I did it.” another voice piped up from behind Angel. Stepping aside, Angel moved to reveal that Willow was standing behind him.

“How?”

“I resurrected him. I woke up two days ago, and after I made Angel came back we flew straight here. According to Dumbledore and Giles I’m one of the few people in history to resurrect a vampire. Mr. Dumbledore has invited me here so I could have proper training and also have a bud. I’m officially a student here.”

“Oh my gosh! How awesome is that!” Buffy grabbed Willow in a bone crunching hug. Willow was there. She was going to be a student there. Buffy knew she already had Tru, but Tru didn’t know her past enough to understand all of it. Will knew.

Looking around, she noticed Dumbledore’s large chair was turned away from them, and there was a arm resting on the side.

“Professor Dumbledore, are they going to be sorted or what?” she asked, and the chair swung around. There sitting in it was Xander with his hands folder in his lap.

“We already had the sorting Buff, and we have the results. Sad to say, unlike you and Will, I’m in Gryffindor.” Buffy squealed and ran up to Xander and hugged him before sighing at the fact that he wasn’t going to be in her house.

“That sucks. How have you guys been though? I haven’t seen you in like three weeks. I was missing you guys.”

“Slayage could use some work in the ol’ Sunnyhell without you, but we all know about that. What’s with this place? We went to some alley and got school supplies. Did you know that there are broomsticks? You can fly on them and everything!” Willow exclaimed.

After the reunion, one which Angel did not participate in, the gang talked to Dumbledore who was hidden away in some second office and found the sleeping arrangements. Everyone except the vampire was staying in Buffy’s room that night, and afterwards Will was going to sleep in the regular dorm for girls. Xander would be in the normal Gryffindor dormitories, but Angel on the other hand was getting a room opposite of the one that the Slytherin Common Room was hidden behind. Because of Buffy’s avoidance of him, Angel eventually stalked away to his room and left them all to make their way to the Slyth Common Room where Buffy insisted on having them meet Tru. They stopped right in front of the hidden Common Room.

“To get inside there’s a password. It’s Fatima Dai Bolar. Remember it, ‘cause it won’t open unless you say it. Here, you do it Will.” Buffy said, stepping back from the wall to let Willow try to open it. She spoke the words perfectly and it slid open.

“Yay, Will you did it! Now can we get inside? I’m freezing my butt off!” Xander yelled before hopping in the room and right in front of the fireplace.

“Geeze! Jump right in front of Tru why don’t you Xander!” Buffy said, smiling at her friends. Seeing that they weren’t alone in the room, she added, “We definitely need some intros. Let’s go to my room so we can have some privacy.” They all followed Buffy to her room upstairs.

Once inside they all sat on the bed and talked about everything. Tru didn’t know how it was possible that Willow had resurrected something with no training at all, and was amazed as Buffy, Xander, and Will told their stories from the hellmouth. Tru told her story to the new people, and eventually the gang got tired out and went to bed. The next morning they trooped off to breakfast, and Buffy was more than a little perplexed at how it could be that she wasn’t happy. She had her buddies there, which was now a twisted sort of revolutionized Scooby Gang, but still there was a hole. No, more than a hole, a sort of gigantic Grand Canyon that had her trapped on the wrong side. She played up being happy still, and wondered to herself how long it would be until the act finally became reality. Until then, she’d just act the same as always...

As they entered the Great Hall everyone seemed to be shocked at the fact that three Slytherin girls were having a tickle fight with a Gryff guy. After a couple of pieces of toast, Xander eventually left Buffy’s table to go to his own, and as if by fate sat right in between Hermione and Harry.

XANDER POV:

“Hey, I’m Xander.” he said, introducing himself to the guy next to him.

“Oh, hello. I’m Harry. Are you from America too? Like Buffy?” Harry asked. Xander was kind of thrown. He knew Buffy?

“Ya. Me, Will, and the Buffster hung out back in Sunny D. How do you know her?” Xander asked.

“You know that she has a sister, right?” he was blown away. Buffy said she hadn’t told anyone about her secret sis, yet here this guy was asking about it in the open.

“Ya.”

“Well her sister is one of my best friends. That’s how we were introduced. I’m surprised she told you, she’s been trying to hide it from people.”

“I know all of her deepest darkest secrets.” Xander said, wiggling his eyebrows.

“I guess you both were close then. Did you two ever...”

“No. I asked but... She was always busy with... school. And she had a boyfriend. I wasn’t really great with the badboy image, and that was what she was into. I mean, here comes the depressing legend himself.” Xander said, nodding at Angel who emerged from the shadows into the Great Hall. Harry made a very visible gulp. Xander almost laughed out loud. Buffy had been there for less than a month and already had groupies.

“You like her, don’t you?” Xander asked.

“No! I’ve only known the girl for a while and plus she’s in Slytherin!”

“Who care’s if she’s in Slytherin or not? She just in there because of the whole Slaying thing, oh, I mean the laying thing. Ya, there was a whole laying thing back at school, took a lot out of her.” Xander couldn’t believe he’d slipped up that much.

“She got laid and got in trouble for it?”

“Well, we had a very strict policy on that.” The bell rang, and Xander jumped up as high as humanly possible. He ran to Buffy and Willow to get away from Harry.

“You look spazed Xand, what’s up?” Buffy asked him.

“Nothing, who said anything would be wrong? I never said anything was wrong, no sir-y, I didn’t.” he said.

“Whatever, I gotta talk to Harry, meet you guys at the library.” Buffy said. Xander watched as she walked away chasing after the guy that had a major crush on her.

Why wouldn’t she ever run to him?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffy POV:

“Harry!” she yelled, trying to catch up with him as he made his way outside. Probably to spend the rest of his Saturday outside with his buds. He stopped and turned around suddenly, and Buffy ran into his chest with a little squeak.

“Whoa! You ok?” he asked. She looked up into his eyes, a radiant emerald that sparkled with hope and anticipation. She remembered when she had that spark...

“Ya, I’m fine,” she said, regaining her thoughts, “I need to talk to you later. Like when no one else is awake to interrupt.”

She knew Harry must have understood because he said, “Where do you want to meet? I’ll use my invisibility cloak.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I’m getting a headache.” Willow commented, rubbing her throbbing head. They had been doing research for the last six hours. At about eight Harry and Xander met with Tru, Will, and Buff in Buffy’s room to find anything on the mysterious hints. So far they hadn’t gotten anything useful.

“I say we call it quits,” Buffy agreed. They didn’t have enough leads to go on, and running on less than four hours of sleep didn’t help.

“I say we all camp out here. It’s just easier.” Xander commented.

“Ok.” Harry said, but also added, “Buffy, can I talk to you in private?” she nodded, what could he possibly need to talk about in private? They went into the training room and Buffy turned to him.

“What’s up?”

“Would you...er... would you mind...” what was he trying to say?

“Do you wan to go out with me?” he finally blurted out. She was startled. What would a relationship between them mean? That he would get hurt... Or worse. She wasn’t ready. Oh, screw it, she knew she was ready. Especially if it was going to be him. He was already one of those annoying (but much needed) voices in her head telling her to keep a cool head. He was already with her...

“I...I...” she stuttered, not knowing what to say. “You don’t have to say anything yet, take your time. I don’t want to rush.” he said, and embarrassed, left the room.

...Two Days Later...

“Are you going to go to the dance?” Willow asked Buffy. Buffy remembered the announcement the day before announcing that in one week there was going to be a sort of ‘Fall Ball’. She almost said no, but then remembered Harry.

“I’m not sure.” she decided she would go if Harry asked. She liked him, but had avoided him since the other day, not sure yet what to say to his request for her to be his girl. The whole thing had been weird. They weren’t just friends, but she wasn’t sure she wanted them to be a couple.

“I will if someone cool asks.” Will said, and Buffy looked behind them to see Xander racing towards them.

“Where have you been? You were gone all day! You skipped classes!” she said, looking down at her watch to see that it was already 3:15 p.m..

“I got myself a date to the dance.” Xander said, very please with himself.

“Who!” both Willow and Buffy exclaimed.

“Tru.” he said very plainly. What! How could he be going with Tru!?! This was so... so... cool! Two of her best friends were hooking up! How awesome!

“Are you both going out?” she had to ask.

“I don’t know. It’s under debate. She wants to think about it first.” he said shyly.

They walked in the common room and up into Buffy’s room. They put down their books, and Xander and Willow sat down on the bed, talking about the dance and what they would be wearing. Buffy went over to the training room door to see it ajar. Silently she creeped up to it, and as quick as possible jumped into it.

Buffy gasped in shock as she entered the hidden room. Rose petals covered the floor in a blanket of crimson red, and a simple brown chair stood in the middle along with a note and a single perfect vermilion rose. Buffy tread softly across the room to read the letter, which said ‘Please be my date to the dance. Harry.’ Willow came in and read the note over her shoulder and giggled.

“You so have to go!” Willow screamed, but Buffy was still in shock. How had he set this up? That room was huge and not an inch was left uncovered. A slow smile stared to come to her face, and she jetted out of the room. She ran straight to the library and saw Harry sitting at a table with his friends (including Hermione).

She walked right up to him and grabbed his hand, pulling him out of the chair and to a private corner behind a bookshelf. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she crashed her mouth on his. His eyes widened, not sure what was happening. His must have gotten out of shock, because he put his arms around her, leaning into the kiss. She opened her mouth and made the kiss more passionate, only to have him pull back because of his lack of air.

“I guess that’s a yes.” he smiled, panting.

“To both questions.” she said, and grabbed the back of his neck to pull him down into another kiss. Running her hands through his hair, she held him to her. He pulled her closer and once again she opened her mouth, but again he wouldn’t open his. She realized something, he didn’t know how to French! That was why he wouldn’t open his mouth! She let go of him.

“No, see open your mouth,” he looked at her skeptically, “Just do it.” He obediently opened his mouth, and she put her lips around his mouth, and shoved her tongue inside. His eyes got wider. She inwardly smiled as their tongues dueled, his unskilled and hers winning by a long shot.

They separated, and she said, “See you later.” She turned around and left, not wanting him to see the tears slowly falling from her face.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Harry POV

Harry sat in the library doing his Potions homework. He was nervous, but who could blame him? He had just done one of the most embarrassing things he could have done; sprinkled 200 rose petals on Buffy’s floor and asked her to the dance. He was such an idiot. The roses were to much. He wasn’t proposing, why did he have to do that. A slam knocked him out of his thoughts as he looked up to see a red faced Buffy walk in the room, straight at him! He was expecting her to yell at him, to scream at him for being so stupid. Instead she grabbed his arm and pulled him up, leading him into the back. Where was she dragging him?

Then she kissed him. And goodness did it feel good. She smelt like the roses and hunny, something that in itself was intoxicating. Then she opened her mouth. Why was she opening her mouth? Was she trying to talk? Then air became an issue and he pulled away.

“I guess that’s a yes.” he managed to say.

“To both questions.” she said. Yes! She was his. Well, not really, but he felt like she was. She was there, and at the moment she was grabbing his neck to pull him down so they could kiss more. He wasn’t used to this. He’d only been kissed one other time and then Cho never opened her mouth. What was that all about?

“No, see open your mouth,” he was going to say no, but she looked at him sweetly and said, “Just do it.” He opened his mouth, expecting her to laugh at him, but instead she kissed him, only different. And good God her tongue was in his mouth! In his mouth! That wasn’t right, but yet he didn’t want it to stop. She tasted sweet, oh, she tasted so sweet. He almost groaned when she broke the kiss, and said she was going to leave. He didn’t want her to leave.

He grinned. *Note to self: Buy roses more often*

Chapter 9: Everyone’s Got A Curse

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There's an empty place inside that is hurting me

A place that keeps my heart out on it's own

A disconnected function of my wretchedness

That keeps me so hard pressed

It's a place where words are spoken you will never hear

A broken bridge of lines that just won't come

An empty lung that won't give the wind to speak at me

How far can it be from home

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffy ran out of the library, away from the castle, and into the forest that Dumbledore was foolish enough to call forbidden, thus adding to it’s appeal. Darkness crept slowly, soon covering her completely in a cloak that not even the most powerful wizards could break through. The evil here was understandable, the sun had been banished from this place long ago. Perhaps that was why she was wondering around in it, she was always attracted to areas where no light could stun her. Tears flooded blind eyes, and she couldn’t help but ponder at why she was crying. Nothing tragic had happened, but perhaps the way things had gotten complicated had overwhelmed her. “Walking around alone in the dark. Little girls should be more careful. Who knows what could lurk nearby.” A voice whispered in the ear. Buffy couldn’t help but be calmed by it. Only one type of creature spoke that smooth, with a texture that almost seemed exotic. At times she was so infatuated with that sound that it became life threatening. This person, if you could call it that, was one of the best of his kind at making her quake at his voice. But then again, he had always seemed to be obsessed with her...

“What are you doing here Spike?” she asked, turning around to face the vampire.

He was the exact same. Same leather duster, same scar, same bad vamp. She could sense something different in the very beginning. Something out of place. A calm space where there used to be hatred and fear. Something new.

“Actually, I came to help you.” he said with a smirk. She could read him, so easily in fact that it was frightening. He was telling the truth. And the truth, in the end wasn’t going to be good.

“Why?”

“There’s something you need to know. ‘The Powers That Bloody Be’ decided I need to be a goodie and gave me these visions that I see in my bloody head. You’re not going to like what I saw.” he was nervous, a tremor was in his voice that made him seem to stumble as he spoke. She couldn’t remember ever hearing that from him before, and the fact that he was anxious disturbed her.

“What happened? What did you see?” a wave of worry hit her. Names screamed in her head, something that happened a lot when she tried to read vampires. Incoherent thoughts mumbled and churned within themselves as if trying to form a complete idea but never seeming to get that far before breaking off into their own helpless existence again.

“Angel, Willow didn’t bring him back.” Buffy wasn’t sure if he was speaking these words or if they were still locked in his mind. Everything was scrambled in one crashing heap, she barely was able to understand what he said next.

“That man in there, it’s Angelous. And Xander, he’s dead. Check his neck. They’re here to kill and feed.” she nodded. What else was he supposed to do? He went on, still talking about some demon in Sunnydale as she tried to compute the information.

Then she snapped back to life, needing answers.

“What about Willow?” *Oh, please dear God let there still be Willow...*

“They can’t get to Willow because of some sack of protection she has wrapped around her neck, so they’ve been acting like normal and walking through the castle like they’re people. Now in about three minutes, the boys in there are going to get antsy and start killing everything inside. As much as I don’t give a rat’s arse and would love to be in there murdering defenseless kiddies, I have this whole bit where I’ve got to play the dashing hero. Plus Angelous might come after Dru again, so get yourself in there and stake him before I bite you.”

She was going to laugh in his face. She wanted to stand there and mock him for ever believing that such a thing was true. She wanted anything to happen that would mean it had been a lie. Anything. But nothing did. So once again she ran. Only this time it was towards her home instead of away from it. Once again she was racing with time, and realizing it once again was against her as she heard the first scream that pierced the cold night air. Soon it was followed by hundreds of others. As she burst through the doors she automatically directed her attention to the fact that Angelus and Xand were standing on top of the Gryffindor table in full game face. Then she noticed the lifeless body of a redheaded guy, and that Angelus’s mouth was covered in blood. Ron’s blood.

Reaching out her powers she knew he was dead; no heart beat was found. “Cool. Buffy’s here. Now the fun really starts.” Xander said, changing back to normal. *It’s true! Xander! This is all my... wait Buffy, get control. Deep breaths. Slay now, cry later. Slay now, cry later. Slay now, cry later. Slay now, cry...* She watched as Xander picked up Hermione by the neck and Angelus take out a knife.

“Let’s start playing.” Angelus said, his voice full of cruelty and laugher. An evil laugh that chilled every bone in her body with it’s rancid toxin.

“I know this game.” Xander said, “You’re gonna have ta pick Buffy.” she was confused. More riddles. And no people to help. Everyone had fled the castle except for Willow, Draco, Harry, Hermione (who was still hanging by her throat), and Tru. Harry’s voice still blared in her head about how he thought she was crazy for believing vamps even existed. No one but her knew what to do. Besides Will, but she couldn’t help. Her face was full of fear as well.

“Choose Buffy. Between your sweetheart and your blood.” Angelus aimed his knife at Harry and Xand lifted the half strangled Hermione up onto the table, fangs at the ready again.

“I can’t!” she screamed, but in the blur of yells she could barely make out the whispered ‘three, two, one’ made by the vampires. Then the next second went by in slow motion. Angelus threw the knife and Xander threw back Hermione’s hair. She could only save one, only one... Something made her move. Nothing that was about to happen in the next minute was because of her making it happen consciously. It was because of something more primal. A need no keep the two people alive, and knowing that would probably never happen. It was something that definitely hurt like hell. Both physically and emotionally.

She took off at a sprint. How else was she going to get the knife about to pierce his heart? She paused about a half a second though, a half a second of precious time that made it so there was only one way to save him. Quickly she reached out her left arm, catching the knife directly in her palm, and cutting through the bone. She muttered something like ‘Get the hell out of here’ and then as the pain slammed into her, her own scream hit the air, but she wouldn’t let the fear be heard. The sound wasn’t describable. Not of pain, not of fear, not of any of the sadness she felt in her heart as she saw Xander’s fangs pierce Hermione’s pale skin. It was a sound that was distant, and unrecognizable to her and everyone else.

Pulling out the knife she let out a hiss, and threw it with her right arm directly at Xander’s back. It hit with amazing accuracy, and he yelled a curse that she couldn’t make out as Hermione fell to her knees. She was still alive, unlike Buffy’s hand which was losing blood dangerously fast.

Angelus jumped off the table with a grace that only something inhuman would have. Then she realized he had a sword. Where it had come from was a mystery to her, she didn’t remember him having it before. Xander jumped off the table and walked over to an ancient sword hanging on the wall, prying it off and throwing it to Angel who then threw his sword to her.

“Just you and me Slayer. Just you and me. Like old times.” he swung his sword at her with wicked accuracy, and she blocked. The fighting was hard as she tried to baby her hand, but the pain was numbed, and she got around the handicap. After a few more rounds she jumped on a table to block another strike, finding it being the exact thing she’d done back in the mansion. It was the same fight. Soon she was on her back, crawling backwards feeling helpless, totally alone since her friends disappeared. Only this time she almost had no desire to live on. This time she knew in her heart he would win. There was no extra strength in her to catch the sword that was going to come. He repeated the infamous lines...

“No friends, no weapons, no hope. Take that away and...”

“She’s still got me.” Willow said, floating a pencil behind Angelus’s back and making it go foreword. It pushed through him, but being weak Willow wasn’t able to make it reach his heart. Once again Angelus laughed, knowing that the pencil wasn’t enough to dust him. He grabbed Willow forcefully and slammed her into the wall. Buffy’s eyes changed to the fire that the First Slayer’s strength always brought to her, and she leaped onto Angel. He was dragged to the ground, Buffy straddling him and pressing down hard on his chest to make the #2 writing untencil pierce his cold, dead heart. A cloud of dust surrounded her, encompassing her being as she registered what had happened.

Willow’s screech snapped her once again to the real world. Xander had her pinned against the wall, and was going to snap her neck. He was going to break Will...

“Aaarrggghhhh!!!” Spike slammed into Xander with a blow that not even Buffy had seen coming. With a quick flick of the wrist there was nothing left of Alexander Harris beside his ashes, the precious reminders of the horror that was all because she had left them. It was all because she had left them...

Slowly Willow and Buffy huddled together, tears combining to hit the floor echoing the grievous sound through the entire castle with no one besides Spike to hear. Each drop sounded like thunder, with lightening ready to strike the vulnerable pair.

Spike supposed that was why he let them near him. The PTB had traded Angel’s soul and made it his. Seeing them acting the way they were was starting to break his non-existent heart. After a while the water stopped falling, and a silence broke out amongst the three, with Spike sitting and leaning against the wall and a girl at each side.

He knew that they were asleep, their breathing started to drop as they became unconscious, surrendering to their exhaustion from the weeping. He couldn’t help but smirk, it would be so easy. Oh, it would be so easy to just flip that hair and take a bite...

But no, he was cursed. But they were too, he supposed. They all were. Cursed. Everyday and every action lead to only more hurt and pain... they were worse off than him in the end. Bloody unfair world this was. Bloody unfair world.

Chapter 10: Better to Love Than Loss, Right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'd give anything to give me to you

Can you forget the world that you thought you knew

If you want me,

Come and find me

Nothing's stopping you so please release me

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watching. He couldn’t help but feel that ever since he’d met Buffy all he’d done was watch. Watch as she carried her life on without him, and watch her barely notice when he was there. Envy wasn’t his best trait, especially when someone he liked picked someone else over him. Somehow he almost was sure she didn’t know. That she didn’t know how he felt, that she didn’t know that when she touched him she sent a shiver down his spine to the very heart of his existence. If only he had told her at some point.

He knew she never would listen, but he had to try. Only he couldn’t build up the strength to say anything. Not while she sat there staring dreamily into another man’s eyes. Into bloody Harry f***ing Potter’s eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffy couldn’t believe what Harry had done for her. When she woke up after the night before she found that she was chained to the floor in some type of office place. A person with a glass eye and horrible disfigurations kept staring at her while he talked to an incredibly short, important looking man. She seemed to be there for hours, and she had some sort of curse on her that didn’t allow her to speak, or move at all in general except for the occasional blink or look at her bandaged left hand.

She heard the two men talk about expulsion and death penalties. Buffy figured out that they were trying to decide a reasonable punishment for her, because she had broken a law of some kind. They had chosen banishment from the wizarding community at last, and she knew she was done for. Then, in a burst of light that made her jump for joy [I mean that figuratively since she couldn’t actually move at this point], Harry walked in. The short man went up to him, and they talked. Harry started to yell, shouting unpleasant things at the poor guy. Finally they stopped, and Harry walked to Buffy, waving his wand and undoing the spell. She fell to the ground instantly, unable to feel anything in any of her limbs. Harry had picked her up in his arms, and apparated the dazed slayer back to Hogwarts where he laid her on his bed. ‘Sleep, Buffy. Don’t worry about Willow, she’s fine and in the morning you’ll be okay. All you need to do is sleep.’ he had said to her before she her eyes shut, blocking out everything but her dreams. Now it was the next morning and there she was, lying in his arms and feeling abnormally happy. Weird much?!?

“Huuuaaahhh,” Harry yawned, and looked at the situation they were in. He was turned slightly on his side, and to his right was Buffy. His right arm curved around her head acting as a pillow, and his left held her waist, somewhat going under her clothes.

She was curled in his arms, her injured hand huddled to her chest, the other under his shirt, making it slip more than half way up his torso.

She seemed to also notice how close Harry was to getting his clothing pulled off, and lowered her arm and his shirt, blushing shyly. In a moment of bravery Harry lifted a hand to her face and brushed it lightly against her skin. She smiled at him, her eyes letting their guard down to tell their true story. Harry and Buffy in someway or other felt had nothing to hide now, actually in this moment neither of the them had ever felt more safe. They gazed into each others eyes for what seemed like hours, not wanting to break the silence.

“Tell me about it.” he said after a while. His voice was low, but it was nice enough to allow argument.

“About what?” she asked, confused.

“About being a Slayer. About you’re life. I’ve spent a long time trying to understand you Buffy Summers, but so far all I know is that you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and that I’m lucky you haven’t run away screaming yet.” Buffy smiled. He wanted to know her, wanted to get her. She saw no reason to withhold the truth anymore, so she didn’t. She slowly told him everything, and he listened. He soothed her when she started to cry as she told him about Jenny Calendar, and soon he knew everything there was to know about Buffy Anne Summers.

“Sorry that I got all weepy. It’s just, it was hard, you know what I mean?” the truth though, was that he didn’t know. He thought he had had it rough when he was first brought into the world of magic, but it seemed her transition into it had been horrifying.

She’d only gotten a taste of the evil of the Earth, hardly any good had happened. He couldn’t help but wonder at why she still fought.

“There’s absolutely nothing to apologize for. You have every right to cry.” he said, and smiled at her. She grinned, she couldn’t help but love his smile.

“Now, is there anything about you that I don’t know about?” she asked, raising one of her eyebrows. Harry couldn’t help but think how adorable she looked, sitting there pouting at him for keeping any possible secrets. He wanted to kiss her, but couldn’t yet. He had to tell his story first.

“As a matter of fact, I do have parts about my life the entire public doesn’t know.” Buffy took her finger and slid it down Harry’s face from his scar to his lips.

“Is there any chance of you telling me?” she spoke delicately, her lip sticking out and quivering as if she was going to cry over it.

“I don’t know, what’ll you give me if I tell you?” she raised her head and her lips met his in a soft, unrushed kiss. Their eyes closed, and Harry’s arm moved to her neck while hers moved along his chest against the white fabric. Buffy moved to rest more on her side, and Harry deepened the kiss. Buffy was surprised at that since he’d seemed so inexperienced before. But damn, when this boy wanted to kiss, he could kiss. She had only meant it to be small, but soon melted away on his lips. Flashes erupted in her head, though, and somehow they made her wrap her arms around him to make both of them get closer. Then the flashes changed, and Harry’s life was before her. Every event that had happened to him since his birthday when Hagrid came she now knew. Almost as soon as these visions had come they were gone, and she was left breathless. “Let’s do that again.” Buffy said smiling, her body fully pressed against his.

“You want to see my life again?”

“No. I meant the kiss. You wanna try that again?” Harry smirked, and lowered his head to hers once more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Days passed by but to them it only seemed like hours. The couple still got funny looks every once-in-a-while at the fact that a Gryffindor was dating a Slytherin, but no one said anything because Buffy supposed they know they were happy. Either that or they were too afraid to talk about it. Buffy didn’t seem to care, though. She sat next to Harry during classes, and she could hardly pay attention because of Harry’s constant need to play with her hair. It was a wonder that the professors didn’t move him away from her. Professor McGonagall even went as far as to turn her back and grin when Harry laid a kiss on her neck during Transfiguration. The evil woman! The dance had been rescheduled another two weeks foreword, and in the blink of an eye it was Wednesday, only three days before the dance and also the day that they got their first trip to Hogsmeade. There Willow and Buffy were planning on getting their dresses for the Ball. Buffy and Will were on their way to get in the carriages to leave with the he rest of the students when Spike walked up to them. He’d been living in the castle since his first appearance, and Buffy was actually thinking of him as a good friend. Today he looked especially exasperated though.

“Listen, can I talk to you both for a second?” he pulled them to a particularly dark area of the shadows before he spoke.

“What is your guy’s bloody problem? I’ve been holding my bloody peace, but I have to know! I didn’t exactly love the guy, but you two could at least acknowledge his death! Did you guys have a fight before you left him or something and are trying to keep a straight face? What is it?!?”

“What are you talking about Spike? Hurry up and explain, we might miss the ride to Hogsmeade!” Buffy rushed him.

“Miss your... miss your ride! Do you guys even remember the fact that your best friend Xander and the red headed boy died? You’re both walking around happy-go-lucky as if nothing happened. I mean, not even a week ago we killed Angel and Xander, and you act like you don’t care!!!”

“I think Spike’s had one too many shots this morning. I thought we told the house elves not to give him anymore whiskey.” Buffy said as she laughed.

“Who’s Xander?” Willow asked, but heard Dumbledore’s call for any others who wanted to go to Hogsmeade before Spike could answer. They skipped off, leaving a dumbfounded Spike.

Chapter 11: Confessions

“They did say it was a costume ball, right? I don’t want to look like an idiot.” Tru said. She had met up with Willow and Buffy after they had arrived at Hogsmeade. Now they were searching a story called “Fairy Tails” for their dresses.

“Yes,” Buffy said, holding a gold corset to Tru’s chest, “Dumbledore said it was a Halloween thing. I have no idea how he decided that we should have a Halloween party when it’s only the third of October, but whatever. I’m not going to complain.” She looked at Tru as if sizing her up for the perfect outfit. Tru rolled her eyes.

“Why don’t you go help out Willow? I’m quite capable of finding clothing for myself.” Tru said, annoyed.

“Will’s already got her ensemble, but I guess I could leave you alone. I’m just a fashion freak is all.” she said, shrugging her shoulders and wandering off looking at the shirts and skirts. It took a couple of hours of searching (and a lot of dressing room fits where Buffy had to be reminded many times that she was not fat, it’s just that clothes made for twelve year olds could not be worn by seventeen year olds) but finally the hunt was over. All three girls had the perfect things picked out.

“What should we do now?” they asked, lugging more than fifty pounds purchased items with them. Closing their eyes so they couldn’t see the interesting sales going on around them, they soon found Harry and Hermione in some sort of place that looked like a bustling coffee shop.

“Bloody hell, did you buy the entire store or what!” he yelled, not believing that they could get so much stuff. Silently, Buffy noticed Hermione packing up in the background, trying to leave before she could be noticed. Shaking it off, Buffy unloaded her things along with the other girls,
making sure no one saw what was in the bags. Willow and Tru saw that they should leave the couple alone and ran off to look at broomsticks.

“Miss me?” she asked, walking over to Harry and wrapping her arms around him.

“More than you know.” he answered, pulling her close and burrying his head in her hair. He kissed her neck, and she nudged him with her head.

“Hmm, maybe I should go away more often.” she purred, and he pulled away suddenly.

“It’s bad enough that you’re a Slytherin and I can’t see you for half of the day. We’re separated plenty by our houses! Don’t make it worse. Any more alone time and people will start thinking I’m single!” Buffy started laughing as he said it.

“We wouldn’t want that now would we?” she said, and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek. He smiled slyly.

“Are you going to show me the dress?”

“Uh! It’s supposed to be a secret, remember?”

“Fine, have it your way. Thank goodness costumes are optional for us. I don’t know what would have happened if it hadn’t. Probably would be going looking like a pirate or something.”

“You would have been a cute pirate,” Harry eyed her skeptically, “Okay, maybe you would have looked like a homosexual pirate, so what.” She let out a giggle, and sat down quickly.

“You’re impossible, you know that? I can’t take you anywhere. Make me look like a bloody idiot, you do.”

“Wow, you sounded really British right now!”

“What a surprise. You expected Chinese?” more giggles came.

“No, you just don’t have a big accent usually. I think I like accents.” he joined her at the table and she cuddled up to him.

“Ya? Shoul’ probably use it more often then. ‘Specially if it makes you American blighters go crazy. Don’t know why I didn’t bloody think o’ this before.”

“Don’t overdo it Romeo.” she said, glaring at him for making fun of her. He kissed her and she was back to her cheerful self.

“You know you love me.” he said jokingly. Buffy stared at him long and hard, contemplating the statement. Did she? She trusted him fully, and he wasn’t exactly easy on the eyes. But did she love him?

“I... I think I do. I love you, Harry.” she said softly. He barely heard her say it, but the important thing was that he did. More than a little surprised, he looked long and hard at her too. After everything he’d been through, he couldn’t think of anyone else he’d rather be with.

“I love you too Buffy.” he said, and started stroking her arm. If anyone in the place had been looking they would have seen a couple sitting together, the girl’s eyes closed, face glowing with a radiant light that only comes to those who are completely content with their lives at the moment. They would have seen her huddled close to the person next to her, and that the guy had one arm around her and the other was holding her hand. They would have noticed that he had a baffled but loving look on his face as he thought about the future, taking small glances at the girl every once in a while. This is exactly what Lucius Malfoy saw, and what (not surprisingly) he reported to Voldemort.

“The plan is working as you desired milord. None of them remembered a thing from the other night except for the vampire who should have cought the trail I left at Hogwarts and will be arriving shortly. Potter is infatuated with our young Slayer, and the dance that they are to attend is two days hence. What do you wish for me to do milord?”

“Whhhen Wwwwiliam arrivessss sssend hhhhim in. Go watchhh thhem fffor now. Make sssure thhhey do not fffind out whhhat’ssss happening, and whhen thhhhe time issss righht placce the ssspell on her.” Voldemort said to his follower who quickly obeyed.

Chapter 12: Hearts Were Made To Be Broken

When he looked at her, he knew she felt him. He noticed the crucial changes in her behavior, such as the way her laugh shifted tones and her timed glances in his direction. She could sense him staring, and he could not find the will in himself to care that he’d become infatuated with someone so unlike himself. And it was in this insignificant moment that he realized what he had to do to get her.

“What are you doing here?” Buffy asked Draco as she entered her room. They hadn’t talked since the fight between him and Harry, but she couldn’t help but be happy that he was there.

“I came to apologize for everything. I know I can be a git sometimes, and that fight with Harry did nothing but complicate matters between us. I want us to be friends again.” she could tell that doing this was killing him. He was dying to play the cool,
protected guy that he normally was around people.

“I forgive you. You were mad, I get it.” Draco slowly rose from her bed, and absent mindedly brushed a stray hair from her face.

“I just hate losing the things that I want to people that I don’t trust. I know I can’t have you, but at least I can be second best.” he smiled, grasped her wrist, brought it up to his lips, and then placed a kiss on the back of her hand. Buffy wanted to say something,
anything, but her mind remained empty of thought. What do you say to something as heartbreaking as that?

“Good night, Princess.” he finally said, breaking the silence before quickly leaving the room. Buffy just stood there, a void of emotion, mainly because she was afraid of what emotion would come to mind. She knew she had to think of Harry, she had to think of what she’d said to him in Hogsmeade only hours earlier. She loved Harry and only Harry, but where did Draco fit in? Could he ever fit in?

The day of the dance was hectic at best. Classes were unbearable, and when finally the time came to get dressed Buffy, Tru, and Willow decided to get ready in Buffy’s room. To Buffy’s amazement, Willow was going to go with Neville Longbottom, and Tru was going to go with Draco. When these arrangements had been made, she didn’t know. Of coarse, she’d never asked who their dates were, so she had no right to complain about not knowing.

“So, uh, how’d Draco ask you to go?” Buffy asked Tru while she attempted to do something that looked like an updo to Tru’s hair. Tru grabbed the bobby pin out of her hand and suggestively nodded towards Buffy’s wand.

“We’ve evolved. We use magic now.” Tru spoke mockingly, “And he didn’t ask me. We just agreed that if both of us couldn’t get a date in time we’d go together. Let me grab my wand, you look like you’re going to poke your eye out with yours.”

“No need, Tru,” Willow said, pointing her index finger at Tru’s hair and watching it slowly curl itself and pin itself half up, half down.

“You’re going to have to show me how to do that sometime.” Tru said in astonishment. Willow already had her hair done straight with a small bit of hair gathered in a bun at the back. She even had her strapless dark green dress on, with a gold sash around her stomach, and a scarf the same color as the sash around her shoulders. It was simple but elegant.

“Remind me again how that’s a costume.” Buffy said, confused. Willow picked up an emerald sequined mask and put it on.

“Oh, I see. Why didn’t I think of that?”

“Don’t be sarcastic, I’m nervous enough already. Can you do my make-up?” Willow asked. Finally, after what seemed to be hours of prepping, they emerged from Buffy’s room in their outfits. Tru was supposed to meet Draco in the Common Room,
but Buffy and Willow had to wait until they got to the Great Hall to meet their escorts. Coming down the banister into the Common Room, Buffy’s eyes locked with Draco’s for a moment. He was wearing a completely black tux with his hair spiked, and she knew he was checking out her outfit as well.

“You look great Tru.” he said to his date. Buffy told herself not to be jealous of the compliment, and was saved from having to do so by Draco who gave her an approving nod. He was just a friend, she told herself. She was allowed to care what her friends thought about her outfit. Besides, Buffy had to admit that Tru did look amazing. She had perfectly straight hair with blue streaks that matched her dress beautifully. The garment itself was only knee length, and it was a halter with a nice v-neck that showed off her shoulders. Sparkles brightened her eyes and made them look sweet, even seductive. Long black nails made the outfit a costume. Well, that and the blue lipstick. If you didn’t know any better, she really could be a banshee in disguise.

“Ready?” Buffy asked Willow, who gave a slight nod. Draco and Tru went ahead,
and Willow and Buffy hung back a little.

“Did I make a mistake by going with this guy? I mean, he’s a little different, isn’t he?” Willow asked, needing an opinion. Neville had been stuttering the entire time he asked her to go, and even though at the time Willow had thought it to be sweet, she had to admit she was having second thoughts.

“Don’t worry. If he’s a complete waste of time, you can borrow Harry for a couple of spins around the dance floor. I hear he’s pretty good.”

“And who did you hear that from?”

“Well... no one, but that’s not the point.”

“It’s okay. If anything I’ll leave early. And besides, you might want to do your sexy dance for Harry.” Willow giggled, and Draco turned around. Willow and Buffy were a couple of steps behind them, but not so much that he couldn’t hear what was going on in their conversation.

“Did I hear something about a sexy dance?” Draco asked, wanting to know more about it. Buffy turned incredibly red, and Willow motioned for him to turn around.

“Do you remember how embarrassed you were when... when...” Willow stopped mid-sentence.

“Buffy, who did you dance with again?” she couldn’t remember.

“I don’t know. Some guy. I forget his name. Probably no one important.” she shrugged it off, even though it upset her not knowing. The person was important, she knew that much, but what was his name?

As they turned the corner into the Great Hall, Buffy spotted Harry immediately. He wore a penguin tux with a black top hat that sort of made the outfit. He looked like a younger version of 007 without all the nasty explosions in the background. Walking over to him, she smiled. She really had made the right choice.

“Wow. You look... you look. Wow.” she was pleased to hear him awe at her. Especially since it took her the most time to get ready. Her hair was all in large curls, and she wore a long, black, off the shoulder dress that had a slit in the back that went from her shoulders to her lower back. She opened her mouth wide to show that her incisors were dramatically longer than her other teeth. Harry laughed to himself.

“It’s rather ironic, isn’t it?” he said, “A vampire slayer dressing up like a vampire.” Buffy stuck her tongue out at him and sat down at the table that he’d saved for them. Neville was talking to Willow, who looked like she was enjoying herself and was going to have no need of Harry’s dating services for the evening.

“You know what? I almost had to lend you to another girl for tonight.” she told him as the music started, as did the dancing. He took her hand to pull her out onto the floor.

“And what makes you think that I’d allow myself to be lent out.”

“Because I would have asked you to, and you know how persuasive I can be.”

“Do I? We might have to see about that one.” he laughed, more at himself than at her. He spun Buffy in a full circle as they danced, and it seemed as if time had stopped. It appeared as if the world was made for them, made for lovers who could actually dance and laugh together without complications and fighting. It had been so long since either of them had had that perfect moment, a moment of peace where there was no fear of attack. Love, Buffy realized, was supposed to be that way, full of simplicity that some would never fully be able to grasp for it was so delicate that only those who had created it could properly wield it’s strength. It’s power. It’s honesty and truth. It was a gift, she had known that much with Angel, but she had never truly experienced it until now. The only problem was that she couldn’t help but brace herself for the bad ending that she knew would eventually come.

Only an hour had gone by when Harry and Buffy went to go sit at their table again. Harry left soon after, complaining about leaving something important in his room that he needed to get. Looking around, Buffy realized that a slow dance had started to play and that there were three couples that she recognized dancing. Tru and Draco were probably the first to grab her attention, and then Willow and Neville, with Neville blatantly counting the steps that he took, making sure that he didn’t step on Willow’s feet. The last was Hermione and a dark haired Gryffindor.

Hermione. Buffy hadn’t forgotten about her, with her watchful eyes and rude judgments. Hermione who had accused her of sending Harry into a coma. But she also couldn’t forget Hermione, who Buffy had helped deal with Snape. The girl who was almost too timid to go outside in an outfit that Buffy had hand chosen. The brainiac who had helped her out in the beginning, maybe not a lot, but enough to show that she would never be afraid when dealing with the abnormal. Not only Buffy’s sister, but twin.

As if on cue, Hermione and her date sat down, the date leaving presumably to go to the men’s lavatory. If Buffy was ever going to get the chance to talk to her, now was as good as ever. Possibly even better because she wouldn’t cause a seen in front of so many people. Buffy slowly stood, and with cautious steps walked over to her twin’s table.

“Is this seat taken?”

“What do you want?” Hermione asked, not trusting Buffy’s intentions.

“Listen, Harry and I have been dating for a while now, so obviously I’m not trying to kill him. I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t act like we’re sisters.” Buffy sat down next to Hermione, who was obviously willing to have a go at the conversation since she turned to face her sister directly.

“Because you’re in Slytherin, and you also have a past that you never fully allowed me to be a part of. Secrets aren’t supposed to be a part in any kind of relationship,
especially not between sisters. You have so many, I doubt you would be willing to tell me all of them.” Buffy had to admit she had a point. But maybe there was a way around that.

“So what. We all have secrets. You’ve probably got your own mix of skeletons in your highly maintenanced closet. Just because I’m not an open book isn’t a reason to hate me, or any one else for that matter. You were scared that night when we had that tiff about Harry. It happens to the best of us. But we both know that it wasn’t my fault.”

“I guess.”

“Okay, here’s what I’m going to do. Since neither of us want to keep up this conversation and since both of our dates are coming back, I’m going to go back to my table and have some fun tonight. I expect you to do the same, and tomorrow if you feel like talking you know where to find me. But before I go, I have to ask you to consider Harry in all of this. He wants his girlfriend and his best friend. It’s not fair that we’re making him pick sides. I’m just saying.” Buffy left the table, and answered Harry’s confused stare with a raised eyebrow as if saying something like ‘what, like I can’t have a decent conversation with people I don’t like’. Harry then shrugged, not fully getting her meaning, but understanding that to push it any further would be insane.

“So, what did you leave in your room?” she asked, avoiding the sister topic.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” he raised his eyebrows, but at her disapproving look lost his ground, “Fine, fine. It was a gift for you. A sort of one month anniversary present.”

“But we haven’t been together a month.”

“Actually, it was a month and three days ago that we met in Hogsmeade.” he smiled, and handed her a silver keepsake box with an outline of a cross and an angel standing beside it, as if keeping guard.

“What is it?” she asked, both dumbfounded and impressed by the fact that he had put so much time in remembering their one month of knowing each other anniversary.

“That’s for you to find out, love. Open it.” Buffy timidly lifted the lid, and found that the box didn’t contain jewelry or some type of flower, but a single vile of some sort of watery substance. She jumped as it flashed, the blue fluid was lit by... was that lightening?

“What is it?” she asked, staring at the endless blue and the sparks that illuminated it. It was so fascinating, she couldn’t stop looking.

“It’s lightening in a bottle. It, it’s a type of potion that allows you to see into the thoughts and feelings of any other individual. You just think of the person and drink it and suddenly you... you understand every emotion that they have for you. Sort of a truth spell without the horrible noise in your head.” Buffy couldn’t help but be confused at the purpose of the gift. Did he want her to use it to see his true feelings for her? Didn’t she already know?

“Why this? What do you expect me to do with this? Not that I’m ungrateful, it’s just, well, you must have some kind of reason for giving it to me.”

“Trust me, it’ll come in handy. I’m not saying that you have to use it right away,
but believe me, it’s incredibly useful. Now, I’m sorry that I had to leave for so long to go get that, but I actually really have to use the restroom, so excuse me again.” he gave her a peck on the cheek, “Try not to pick up on anyone until I’m back.”

Buffy watched him leave again, only this time she was sure that he went the opposite way of the bathrooms. She shrugged it off. He wouldn’t hide anything from her. Gazing around the room, she noticed that Draco was walking over to her.

“May I have this dance?” he asked slyly.

“I’m not sure if I should.” she looked around as if she felt everyone’s eyes on her,
shouting something awful about being devotion and cheating.

“It’s just a dance. One that if Harry comes back and throws a fit over I will happily accept as my fault. I held a wand to your head as far as anyone in this room is concerned. Now come on, this songs bloody good and I wouldn’t want you to miss it.” She took his hand, unwilling to refuse such an offer. No one could be upset at her if she danced with a friend for five minutes after twenty minutes of sitting out with her date.

“So, where’s Tru?”

“Who knows? She took off on me to go dance with some Gryffindor about a half a bloody hour ago. Been alone ever since.”

“I feel so bad for you.” she said with mock sadness before saying, “As if you didn’t have girls slobbering over you the entire time. It’s extremely pathetic when girls act that easy when the boy they’re after already has a date.” They were dancing by this time, but neither of them wanted to end the conversation.

“Even so, there’s only one girl I’d ever consider.” Buffy was about to show her awkward feelings when she decided to be sarcastic to lighten the mood.

“And, this girl, would I know her by any chance?” she asked while he spun her.

“You may have seen her around.”

“And she’s already taken?”

“That’s somewhat under debate.”

“What?”

“What was so unclear? I said, that the fact that she’s taken is somewhat under debate. She is not engaged as far as I know, and they have only been together for a week or so. She isn’t taken, just currently, what’s the word, indisposed.”

“I see. And this pretty lady, what does she think of all this?”

“She thinks that we should just be friends.”

“That sounds like a wise decision.”

“How so?”

“Well,” Buffy looked up as if deliberating what to say, “She probably thinks that when you were together you ended up being something of a jerk. No one likes a guy who’s too straight foreword.”

“Do you really think that I’m too straight foreword?”

“Hey, I said your mystery woman thought you were. My opinion hasn’t been given yet.”

“Okay. That opinion would be?”

“To stop trying so hard and just be friends. Whatever will be will be. But she’s happy right now. I’m happy right now. But if I ever get moody you’ll be the first one I’ll call.”

“You promise?” she smiled at his question.

“You can damned well count on it.” she let go of his arm, “But until then, if ever,
I’m ‘indisposed’ as you would call it. Now, I need to go find my boyfriend.”

“My loss.” was all Draco said.

Buffy walked out of the Great Hall and looked around. She knew she saw Harry walk this way, but why? It was no where near the bathrooms, or anything resembling a good excuse for leaving. She followed the corridor quietly, and soon heard whispering. Or was it crooning? Or smacking? All of the above? Turning the corner, she saw Willow intensely making out with someone, quite possibly Neville, but just when she went to turn around and leave the two alone she remembered that the last thing she saw when she left the Great Hall was Neville sitting down at a table all alone. Who was Willow with?

“Harry?” she whispered, a small tear sliding helplessly down her cheek. To her horror the couple unraveled to reveal her boyfriend resting there in her best friend’s arms. Harry turned to face her, slightly confused looking, but by the time he got her into full view she was gone.

Buffy took off full speed to the common room, but ended up knocking herself down on someone who was in her path. Draco helped her up, and noticing the tears asked what was wrong. All she could do was stutter something about a box she’d left on the table in the Great Hall, and she asked him to get it for her. After he left, she fled to her room and sobbed her heart out. Why had Harry done this to her? As far as she knew,
Willow wasn’t even interested. Or was she? She had always pressed their relationship, saying that he was too cute to let go, but that was just her being a good friend. Wasn’t it?

“Hey.” Draco said as he entered the room. He handed Harry’s present to her, and she quickly took out the vile.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, not understanding.

“Harry... Harry was... he was with Willow. They were kissing... and... and I just don’t think... don’t think that I can deal with this right now. And... and... and why would they do this? He must... he must hate me so much to.. to do this to me.” she said between sobs. Draco, not knowing what to say, took her in his arms and soothingly rubbed her back. Buffy only pushed him away, and opened the glass container of the potion.

“Harry Potter.” she said after she’d drunk it, and the last thing she saw before she blacked out was Draco’s face draining of color and shouting something that sounded a lot like her name.

Chapter 13- And The Hero Will Drown

Buffy woke up sluggishly, head aching in a most intolerable way. While attempting to gather her thoughts, unknown voices snapped her to reality. Men spoke in hushed voices about a woman, a prisoner that was not to be touched until someone had returned. One of the men, who talked with a coolness that she’d only heard in two other individuals, said her name in foolish agitation. And she knew exactly where she was, and she knew exactly who she was with. Lucious Malfoy...

Trying to raise her head, the action was useless. Now understanding the full horror of the situation, she kicked and fought and screamed only to find that she had no lips to udder such words. Her face had been contorted, mouth sealed as if by some mocking fate to insure her assailants victory. If she couldn’t scream, couldn’t move, what hope had she left to fight when Voldemort returned?

“Has she woken?” Lucious said, slicing the air with his voice as surely as his son’s had when he’d been around her.

“I don’t believe so, but I have not yet checked this hour. Wait one moment.” a man approached her, his heavy footsteps alerting her of his presence. With a quick prod of his wand he made her lips return, and Buffy couldn’t help but take in a deep breath. The man, after giving a disgusted sigh, poked her in the side with the wand once more and again she was quieted.

“She’s awake.” he said in answer to Malfoy’s question.

“Good, I’ll get Master. He’ll be pleased.”

“She’s nothing but a muggle you realize.”

“It is none of your concern what she is or is not. She’s useful, and that’s all you need to know.” With that he walked away, leaving Buffy with the unknown man.

“What’s so special about you, girl?” he asked her, stooping over her tied down body as if contemplating her abilities, “Is there something underneath that makes you different? Well, that’s for Master to find out, now isn’t it? He’s going to have fun with you...” It was killing her having to sit there when she could snap his neck. Sure, he was still human, but so border-lined that she was positive she could kill him with no remorse.

“What are you doing?” Voldemorts words were harsh, accusing even.

“Nothing Milord. I was merely...”

“Merely what exactly? You were not told to speak to her, you were told to guard her,” he paused, as if to compose himself, “Leave us.” A cool chill ran up her spine as Voldemort got closer. She couldn’t see him, but the unrestricted power that lingered around his being was enough to set of the most humble of creatures. He released her from her magical prison with a single word, and she gasped for air. Sitting up and swinging her legs over the edge of the wooden table she’d been laid out on, she heard him speak.

“Finally we meet in person Ms. Summers. I was all aquiver with anticipation.” She looked at him, a ghostly pale man who seemed aged beyond his years. Wanting to make eye contact to show her need for dominance, she lifted her head to gaze into his eyes only to find two quarter size pools of water. They seemed as if they were liquefied with no definite shape or cornea... they were just existing in sockets that neither held them nor released them from their cell.

“Nice to see you too Tommy boy.” she said, ridiculing him by using his muggle name. His manner completely changed, but he recognized the challenge and let it slide.

“You are amazing. Speed, agility, and courage all wrapped up in a small package that is almost unnoticeable for what it really is. Barbaric is what you are, Slayer, and barbaric is exactly what I need.”

“I’m sorry, but I have to decline your offer. I actually like people. All people.” his laugh, a sick chuckle that stripped her of all her defenses, made her stomach churn.

“And what makes you think that you have a choice?” he leaned foreword slightly to whisper in her ear, “From the moment you drank from the vile you were mine.”

“But how?” she asked, fearful for both her life and Harry’s, “Harry gave me that potion.” Once again he grinned.

“Ah, Potter. The boy who crawled his way into your heart. Disgusting really, I expected more from you. But I hear that you and Malfoy’s boy have had your own bit of fun, so perhaps there is hope for you after all. The vile he gave you was created by me, a little something to enable my men to get you here without a fight. Getting you to drink it of your own free will was difficult though, but as you can see, I always find a way.”

“So Harry was never...”

“Oh, yes. He was unfaithful sure enough, but not by his own will. It was difficult to influence the pair, but as I said, I have my ways. Now, enough pleasantries. It’s time for business.” he yelled to his men, “Bring them in!” Buffy was shocked to see Angel,
Xander, and Ron being lead in by Death Eaters. All of them were bound, gagged, and blindfolded. How...? Weren’t they...? Her memory came rushing back in a flood.

Reading her face, Voldemort commented, “Resurrection is tricky, but not impossible. Their lives for your services.”

“How do I know they’re real?” she asked, and a Death Eater zapped Xander. He screamed through the gag, and Buffy rushed forward only to be held back.

“Ah, ah, ah. You don’t get to play until some blood is shed. Deal or no?” Buffy stared at her friends, and suddenly she realized something.

“No.” she said blatantly. Looking over behind Angel, a small strip of light showed through, barely touching the edge of his hand.

“Their lives are worthless to you?”

“Yes, because that’s not Angel.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes I’m sure. Look, there’s light on him and he’s not on fire. That’s kind of lame, I mean you’re supposed to be the greatest wizard of all time and all you could do to pull me over to the dark side is some lame glamour? Suddenly I have to wonder how smart Harry is not to have killed your sorry ass yet.”

“Hold your tongue. Obviously you are not familiar with resurrection. That man,
Angel, he’s no vampire, he’s...”

“Human.” she cut him off as one of the Death Eaters removed the blindfold to show her his face. Only one man could look at her that way, and she was sorry to say that that man was not Harry.

“Well, since you said they are worthless, I might as well kill them now. I have no use for them either.” he lifted his wand, but she stepped in front of him.

“Don’t do this. What... what do you want?” she stuttered, afraid of what her gut was telling her to do. It was telling her to let them die.

“Kill Harry Potter.”

“No.” a tear formed at the edge of her eyelid, but she determinedly blinked it away,
“Who the hell do you think you are? A freaking gift? When I look at you all I see is an old man who has nothing better to do than scare little girls into submission. Well guess what, I’m not just some damsel. I’ll kill you, you stupid son-of-a...” the sound of her fist impacting Voldemort’s face blocked out the sound of her last word. To Buffy’s surprise,
Voldemort smiled, ordering the Death Eaters to stand down.

“That took a lot of nerve you foolish girl. It will cost you dearly.” he nodded to one of his followers who then took out their wand and muttered the death curse. A green light shot at Angel full speed, and Buffy dove in front of it. Somehow she became immune to the spells that they were throwing at her to keep her still. The death curse hit her side, and she screamed. Voldemort rolled his eyes.

“Collect her, we’ll reverse it in the morning. Kill the others, and make sure they can’t be brought back.” Voldemort left the room and Buffy opened her eyes. Her body felt numb, but she was still alive. A man lifted her, and she elbowed him in the face. Another came at her from a different side, adding a spell that made her curse. A simple kick to the face disabled him, and to Buffy’s amazement, the magic that came at her wasn’t effecting her really. She had no time to find the reason for this strange occurrence,
but it was odd that the fight that transpired between her and the Death Eaters was in no way painful, even with the spells.

“I think I remember the way out.” Angel reported, signaling for them to follow after they had all been untied. The castle that they were in was a labyrinth of sorts,
created to confuse those who were not accustomed to living there. Surprisingly, though,
Angel kept up his deal and was able to lead them outside to safety. There were no guards,
no magical barriers. It was almost as if they’d been allowed to escape.

“Here, grab my hand.” Ron ordered as they exited the castle.

“Why?” Xander asked. He had quiet while inside, and the sound of his voice shocked Ron. It was strange, Buffy thought, how incredibly fragile looking he was.

“So that I can dissapperate us out of here!” Ron replied, annoyed.

“Why didn’t you do speak up earlier? We could have dissapperated right out of the castle!”

“No, we couldn’t have.”

“And why not?” Buffy asked.

“Because there was some kind of spell that blocked me from doing it when we were first brought there. But now that we’re outside, let’s get the bloody hell out of here and fast. They’ll be coming after us at any moment, and we have to get to Hogwarts. It’s the only place that’s safe.”

“Fine, let’s go.” Everyone grabbed a hold of Ron, who then used his magic to take them to Hogwarts. Problem was that when Buffy opened her eyes, she was still outside of Voldemort’s large, black, creepy castle. It was then that she heard the clapping.

Spinning around, she placed her arms into a defensive stance. Voldemort’s clear eyes bored into hers, this time without the not too subtle humor to keep out the cold.

“Nice work. I thought your having died before could come in handy, but the sheer brilliance of it astounds me.”

“Huh?” she asked confused and a little scared. How insane was this man?

“Your death. It creates an astonishing loop-hole when someone tries to kill you with the Avada Kedavra. You are dead, so there is no worsening your condition. My follower’s spells have no effect on you.”

Buffy couldn’t help but be intrigued, “I only drowned. There was nothing magical about it. Several people are brought back from drowning and still able to die.”

“You don’t really believe you were killed through water, do you? A vampire bit you, drained you, and left you. Whether he left you in a puddle or not makes no difference. Your death would have come either way.”

“So if I’m so invincible to your kind, what makes you think you can keep me here? And how were you able to hold me in that room.”

“My dear, you forget one important fact. I’m dead as well.” he drew his wand and started to circle her. She allowed him to do so, not moving to keep him in eyesight as to show that she was not afraid to have her back to him.

“So we play cat and mouse? You try to make me kill people, I get away. I try to murder you, you barely slip through my grasp. That doesn’t sound promising for either of us.” Buffy knew she had to keep him talking, and the more she surveyed the area around her for an escape, the more useless it seemed. Was she really going to end up his puppet? He had power over her, and she realized it was only through his will that she had not yet been made one.

“I don’t plan on letting you escape. I could kill you. You know this, I know this,
and stalling is not going to gain you the upper hand. I am no vampire, and as you said,
you are no average girl. So, let’s compromise. I have no intention of making you slay young Harry. What I want can only be given by you and it can only be given through your command. So many of the powerful spells require free-will, so in return for one favor I’ll give you something that I’m certain you desire.”

“Not saying that I’m interested, but what could you possibly give me that would be good enough?”

“Life. Your life and so many others. Your friends, the three that just left have been placed under a spell. They will die in an hour or so unless I release them, which I will only do once you grant me my wish.”

“And that wish would be?”

“For you to share a little of your power with me. No murdering, no performing duties. Just one minute in which you allow me into your power source.” Buffy looked at him strangely.

“That’s all you want? A pick-me-up? You nearly kill my friends and myself so you can get a little extra juice?”

“Yes, I believe it is. So, is it a deal?” Buffy knew there had to be a catch, but she also knew that he wasn’t joking about her friends being slowly drained.

“Tick, tock, Ms. Summers. Every second you waste is a second that your friends suffer.”

“Fine, I’ll agree as long as you allow me to go back to Hogwarts after.” she finally spoke, adding, “What do you have to do?” She knew that doing this for him was the only way that she could get away and allow Hogwarts to remain safe for a little while. When she got back to school she knew Dumbledore would think of something.

“Close your eyes.” he said, very close to her now, “And concentrate on your energy flowing through you.” Standing there for a couple of seconds, she felt foolish. Suddenly, though, she felt him place a hand on each of her shoulders, and (to her horror)
she felt his lips being placed on hers. She started wrenching away, more by instinct than by anything else. No matter how she struggled, no matter how many times she struck him,
he wouldn’t break the kiss. Slowly she fell, and he held her in his arms until he finally let go. Feeling every fiber of her being slip away, she knew that complete darkness was about to come for the second time that day.

Chapter 14: Passive-Aggressive Bullshit

She was tied down. Again. This time at least she was sitting up in a chair,
however, that wasn’t the point. They could’ve used chains, but no, they’d prefer to make her have no movement what-so-ever. A sudden sound of activity made her realize that she wasn’t alone. Opening her eyes, she expected to see Lucius or maybe even the snake who had... had... she didn’t want to think about what he’d done to her. The one person she didn’t expect was happy-go-lucky Dumbledore looking down at her with a puzzled look and a frown.

“What is this Dumbledore? Why am I tied up? You wouldn’t believe what just happened. I was in this castle and...” she noticed the empty potion bottle in his hand, “What’s that for?”

“I’m sorry that it has come to this, but I’m left with no choice when you’ve placed us in such desperate circumstances.”

“Circumstances? What circumstances? I saved lives. I think that some groveling should be in order if anything.” his face only turned grimmer.

“Can you explain to me why I have three men in a coma right now? Angel,
Alexander, and Ronald appeared outside of the grounds last night unconscious, but more importantly neither I nor any of the staff had any recollection of who they were until about five minutes after their arrival. This means a spell was cast, a memory spell, and a powerful one at that. Then this morning a Dementor waltzes up to Hogwarts and hands you over. That, plus the fact that my spies at Voldemort’s have seen several disturbing things, makes me think that you had something to do with it.” Buffy had to bite back a cruel remark.

“And what makes me a criminal? The fact that I’m a Slayer or the fact that I’m in Slytherin? Because we all know that if Hermione Granger had popped up under the same ‘circumstances’ as you call them, she would be welcomed with open arms and not strapped to a chair in the middle of an unlit room being berated by a man who clearly has no idea what he’s talking about.”

“Hermione Granger did not kiss Voldemort.” he scoffed.

“And you think that having that man kiss me was by choice? I did it for the greater good. I sacrificed, not that you would know anything about that.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“You, wizards, you’re all about ‘doing the right thing’, but when it comes to real disaster and sacrifice you say that there are ways around it. Well, guess what, when those three men’s lives were at stake and the only way to save them was to smooch the big bad, I made a choice. And I’m glad that I made the one that I did. Now what was in the bottle that’s in your hand which I’m guessing you slipped to me while I was asleep.”

“A potion. A weakening potion. We can’t take anymore chances on you Ms.
Summers. It’s... it’s just not rational to allow you to walk around with such power when I’m not even sure which side you’re on. Unless when Ronald and the others wake up and say something to make me think otherwise, you are henceforth a danger to yourself and those around you. You may continue with your classes, but remember that I’ll have both mine and the professor’s eyes on you. This is no game Buffy, lives are at stake.” He walked over to the door, opened it, and mumbled something that undid the ropes around Buffy’s body.

As she stood, a shooting pain ran from her hip to her shoulder. It was a feeling that Buffy couldn’t remember ever experiencing before; soreness. She hobbled through the corridors, trying to find her way to the common room. Paintings stared, pieces of armor turned, and students gawked at the woman who a Dementor had brought onto the grounds. ‘I heard he touched her’ one of them mouthed while a portrait of a rather large woman sat up strait and said something like ‘whoever is a friend of a Dementor is bad business, mark my words’.

She wanted to hide, she wanted to run, and as she finally found the entrance to the Slytherin Rooms, she realized that what she really wanted was Harry. But that, she knew, was impossible. He would believe the rumors, and she wouldn’t be able to get the picture of him wrapped around Willow out of her head. Both were obstacles, and as she said the password, she came to terms with the thought that she may not be able to overcome hers.

Gray eyes met her own as someone peered at her from the couch. Of coarse, the only one there was Draco with his nose in some novel or potions homework. He stood slowly and for some reason looked at the ground. Buffy couldn’t help but be confused. Was he sad? Did he not want to talk to her? Was he embarrassed? Whatever it was, she didn’t care. She needed comfort, and if Harry wasn’t around than she was willing to take the next best thing.

Running to him, tears crept their way over her eyelids and fell helplessly down her cheek. He whispered something that she didn’t quite catch that sounded like, “I’m so sorry.” She buried her way into his neck, needing the consolation that his presence created. He quieted her and told her to sit on the couch. Wrapping a warm blanket around her, he sat with her as she wept in his arms.

“Am I really so horrible? Am I? They’re saying that I bring death, that I’m one of those people who crave destruction. Do I? Why else would I put myself in these positions?”

“Shh, shh. You are none of those things. You try your best to save the ones you love, and it doesn’t matter what other people think. I know you have a good heart, and you wouldn’t be the woman that I’ve come to know and trust if you didn’t have a way of getting yourself into sticky situations. Are their opinions really worth it, love?” She looked up at him, face pale and tear-stained.

“Harry’s is, and I’m afraid that he won’t believe me.”

“Not that I’m trying to sabotage your relationship, but if you have to justify your actions to him then what’s the point of you even being together. I mean, he kissed another girl. If after all he’s done he’s still expecting an explanation... well, it would be really selfish of him to even think about that. Especially after all you’ve been through” Draco looked down at her as she showed a brave smile.

“You need rest. Let’s get you to bed, princess.” she grabbed his arm before he could leave the sofa, eyes pleading.

“Don’t make me go up there, please. Can... can you just stay down here with me?” she looked so vulnerable as she said the words that Draco couldn’t help but agree. Arranging himself so he was leaning against the arm, he let her lay across the couch with her head in his lap. She mouthed a ‘thank you’ before falling into a dreamless sleep. Playing with her hair, Draco found himself leaning down and kissing her forehead, wondering if he could ever feel with any other girl what he felt at that moment.

Morning inevitably came, and Buffy made sure to be out of the common room before anyone saw that she was there. Before leaving she turned to see a sleeping Draco spread out on the couch, and she sighed a sigh filled with longing and heartache. If she’d met Draco under different circumstances, if he’d shown her the man that he really was sooner, she knew that it would be his lips that would catch hers when the night was over. But alas he was not, he was a friend that could never be anything more. A friend that would always want more...

As she got into the hallway, she didn’t even get the chance to identify who was there before she was enveloped in a huge hug, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Some people were saying that you were dead, and then someone saw a Dementor bring you to Hogwarts. I was so scared. Are you okay?”

“I’ve been better, but no lasting bruises.”

“What happened to you? Word’s spreading about you being a Death Eater but I told them you’d have nothing to do with it. Bleeding first years and their gossip. Draco wasn’t giving details about what had happened and Harry wouldn’t open his mouth for an instant, like he was afraid of something. I swear, I’ve never seen anyone look so dumb in my entire life just sitting there staring into space.” Tru mumbled so fast that Buffy was hardly able to keep up with her.

“It’s okay, Tru I’m fine, and if it’s alright with you I think I’d rather not talk about it right now. Kinda want to forget it if you know what I mean.”

“Understandable. I’ll go get Willow and we’ll...”

“No! I mean, no. I... Well...” Buffy tried to find words to explain why the thought of seeing her friend made her skin crawl, “She’ll just ask questions that I’m not ready to answer yet. I think I want to just get to class if that’s alright.” Tru nodded and they walked off towards Potions.

The day crept by slowly. Crowds gathered and parted for the girl who was said to be Voldemort’s heiress, and it didn’t seem to Buffy like she could find a moments peace away from the gossip. In Defense Against the Dark Arts the only friendly greeting was by a Ravenclaw she’d made friends with earlier in the year, but even that was tainted because of the girl’s friends pulling her back and giving her glares. However, none of that mattered. There was only one person that she cared about in that class, and her heart nearly broke as she spotted Harry up front with Hermione, neither even acknowledging her existence.

It was only after Herbology that Buffy would finally get her chance to talk to him. She was chatting with Tru about what types of curses remove people’s voices when suddenly someone pulled her by her elbow to the side. It was Harry.

“We need to talk. Alone.” he eyed Tru who tilted her head to the side and smirked at him before leaving.

“Never start up a conversation with a girl like that. It can only mean one thing.” Buffy said more to herself than to him. The pity in Harry’s eyes was unbearable and so she looked at the wall next to him instead.

“I don’t think we should see each other anymore. It’s just... there’s a lot of stuff going on right now. A lot of things that I’ve got to work out.”

“What things? Is...” her mind flashed to a picture of him and Willow in the hallway, “Is there somebody else?” She was near choking by now. This was Harry, her Harry. The guy who told her he’d give her the world someday. And he was breaking up with her.

“Well, no. No, there isn’t.” his voice was flat, and it didn’t take a genius to realize it was a falsehood.

“But...” her voice broke, “I love you, Harry. Everything that you said, everything that happened. Were you just lying to...” she didn’t even want to think about it and was shocked when he moved to hug her.

“You have to believe that I meant every word. It’s just...” Buffy cut him off,
pushing him away.

“Than say it. Look me in the eye and tell me you love me. All I want is to hear it and I won’t ask you for the details.”

“I... I can’t, Buffy.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Can’t. Won’t. Both. I don’t know.” he started rubbing his forehead. Buffy leaned her head against the wall, watching him pace.

“You know what just occurred to me.” she said, closing her eyes, “When you told me everything, showed me everything about you, I forgot one important fact. You know how to reject the curse.” Harry tried to grab her arm as she backed away, but she flinched from his touch.

“How long were you cheating on me with her?”

“I never cheated on you.” his face remained hard as he said it, his eyes revealing very little. It took all Buffy’s will not to reach in, not to pull out what she wanted. She could read him so easily if she wanted to, but no. He had to tell her himself.

“But you’re strong enough to say no. You did it once before, don’t you dare deny it. Some part of you had to of wanted it. You had to.” tears were falling by this time.

“What do you want me to say, Buffy? That I don’t love you? Fine, I’ll say it. I don’t know if I ever loved you. We were only together a couple of weeks. That’s hardly long enough to create that intense of a feeling. You... I like you Buffy, but I don’t know what to say. Willow’s different from you in so many ways. She doesn’t... she doesn’t dwell on the past like you do. She doesn’t get people put in a coma. She doesn’t mysteriously vanish in the middle of the night and she doesn’t have anything that Voldemort might want. She’s safe.” He rested his hands on her shoulders as she started at the ground.

“Why did you have to pick her? There are so many other girls who fit that description. Why did you have to pick one of my best friends? Do you hate me that much?” she bored her eyes into his, demanding an answer, but lost interest quickly, “You know what? I hope you’re happy with her, and I hope that she pleases you in all of the ways that I couldn’t. I hope that you can’t lie to her as easily as you lied to me, because I loved you. I didn’t think anyone could pretend such a feeling, but I guess this isn’t the first time I’ve been proved wrong.” she swept her hand in front of her, knocking his arms from her shoulders.

She could feel a headache forming in the back of her head, and it was almost as if the sound of fingernails grinding against chalkboard was drumming in her ears. Fleeing into her training room for safety, she blared the stereo Hermione had given her when she’d first arrived at Hogwarts. Slipping a well-used CD into the drive, she let the sound of A Perfect Circle wash over her. She listened to the lyrics she’d memorized years ago and laid her head down on a pile of books that her and Tru had never thought to put away.

lololololol

‘Dead as dead can be The doctor tells me But I just can't believe him Ever the optimistic one I'm sure of your ability To become my perfect enemy’

lololololol

Turning her head towards the punching bags, she wondered exactly what friends she had left. Xander, Ron, and Angel were still in a coma. Willow and Harry were together. Spike was, well, who knew where he had gone to. Tru wouldn’t understand, she’d never lost someone she loved. She wouldn’t know what to say. And Draco... he would be there. He’d always be there.

As the song carried on, Buffy recognized the fact that she had to get out. She’d die in Hogwarts, with Dumbledore hounding her and medicating her strength away. With Harry and Willow being, well, Harry and Willow. With her friends that she feared would never wake up. She couldn’t stay any longer, there was no point to it. Her original reason for being there had faded long ago, along with her sister’s faith in her. Why was she allowing this place to take such a hold on her when she could just... go? Back to Sunnydale and Giles and her mother. Back to the less complicated world of Slaying.

Nostalgia was growing in her stomach for her Junior year in high school when there was a Willow and Oz and a Xander and Cordelia. When there was a purpose in her life. Now that slaying was gone, her energy was gone, what was there left for her? Being a witch? No, something about it didn’t seem right. Giles would know how to reverse the effects of whatever Dumbledore had given her. He’d know what to do.

lololololol

‘Wake up (Why can't you)
And face me (Come on now)
Don't play dead (Don’t play dead)
'Cause maybe (Because maybe)
Someday (Someday)
I’ll walk away and say You fucking disappoint me Maybe your better off this WAY!’

lololololol

Only three people noticed as Buffy crept off into the night, carrying with her two things. First was a small pack which was full of her most valued possessions: her money, her diary, her necklace, and her wand to name a few. The second was a large suitcase full of clothes which she’d managed to shrink into a pocket sized version and slipped into the first bag. And those three people, being the flawed, curious, and overly-protective people that they were, followed Buffy into the unknown.

Chapter 15: Looking Deeper

“So, what’d you say to her?” Hermione asked, slightly afraid of her best friend’s actions. He sat down on the couch beside her, and she moved her Potions homework out of the way to give him more room. He sighed, folded his arms, and muttered something that wasn’t meant for her to hear.

“It’s done, let’s just leave it at that.” Harry answered. She openly gawked at him.

“My goodness, what did you tell the poor girl?”

“I said that I didn’t... I said I didn’t...” there was a break in his voice, and the gasp that Hermione let loose told him that he needn’t finish his sentence. She knew exactly what he meant.

“How could you be so cruel as that? She wasn’t my favorite person, but dear lord. Was that really necessary?”

“What would you have me do!” he screamed, suddenly overcome by guilt, “Tell her that, ‘Oh, by the way, Voldemort dropped by yesterday for a chat. It was quite nice, all we did was talk about you and the fact that you don’t want me and the fact that I got you kidnapped by him and his men because I bought that stupid potion off of that idiot Ravenclaw that turned out to be a Death Eater. Yes, indeed, he said he’d cause you a lot more pain before it was over, even said he planned on branding you with the dark mark and making you his bride. Told me you were a hell of a kisser, you were. So, I’m dumping you now and hoping never to speak to you again ‘cause the only reason he really wants you is ‘cause of me, and if we’re not together you’ll be alright. Well, goodbye now.’ Doesn’t really sound right now does it? Besides, she was the one being hurtful. Spouting ideas about how I’ve been cheating on her. Like I’d ever lay a hand on Willow.”

“But you did.” Hermione countered, feeling extremely sorry for Buffy at the moment. No one deserved to hear that they weren’t loved, especially by the one they’ve given their heart too.

“I was Confounded! I was Confounded and THEN had the Imperius put on me. Do you know how HARD it is to get out of it when you’ve been Confounded? Bloody impossible if you ask me!” Even though he said the words, he heart shrank. He’d told Buffy he didn’t love her. He had watched her cry and done nothing. He had wanted so badly to kiss her, to tell her never to leave him even though he probably deserved it. But he’d failed her and in so doing hurt her even more.

“So why not explain yourself? I mean, look at everything she’s been through! You should tell her the truth. You owe her that much...”

“You don’t get it, do you? I love her, Hermione. And sometimes... sometimes the only way to save the people you love is to let them go. She has friends to turn to, and as soon as Xander and Angel wake up she’ll probably be bouncing off the walls. She doesn’t need me.”

“Does she know that?” asking in a small voice that she didn’t even know she’d managed to let out, Hermione gained no answer as she watched him return to the dormitories. Making her way up to her bed, she decided that she’d talk to Buffy in the morning and sort the mess out. Even though she doubted her twin would really want to see her, there were things that needed to be said about their discussion on the night of the dance. Hermione was going to be there for her whether or not Buffy wanted her to be.

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

Colored light sprayed Buffy’s face as soon as the sun rose high enough to reach the decorative windows which surrounded her. The sudden glow of red, gold, and pale green on her eyelids stirred her out of her sleep, and Buffy opened her eyes to a picture of a young woman carrying a child. She read the banner which the angels held above her head. ‘Our Lady of Miracles. May the Blessed Mother protect us.’ For some reason Buffy found herself smiling at the words as she sat up in the pew.

“I’ve watched many come to look upon her face and find comfort in it. I see she has the same calming effect on you as well.” Buffy turned to the man in the main aisle of the church and beamed at him.

“She’s beautiful.” she answered, turning her head back to look at Mary again.

“I’m not supposed to allow people to sleep here for obvious reasons. This church has had several people take advantage of its hospitality over the years. Some even went as far as to try and burn it down.”

“Why would they do that?” Buffy asked the priest, curious to why the church would have enemies.

“The Catholic church has always been scrutinized against. A lot of people who don’t follow the faith or simply don’t know enough about it start controversies. Some decide to retaliate in their own, less subtle ways.”

“I’m sorry for that.”

“No need for you to apologize. I only came to wake you because there will be a mass in an hour and while I don’t mind if you attend the service I think people will find it odd that there’s a girl sleeping in one of the pews.” he smiled at her, eyes aged with wisdom and understanding. He turned to leave, and Buffy called out to him.

“Father, wait!”

“Yes?”

“I’m thankful that you let me stay here and all, but why did you?”

“To tell you the truth I would have felt as if I’d betrayed my faith if I had sent away one of the Lord’s champions to seek shelter elsewhere. Especially one who’s done so much good in the world.” he gave a quick glance away from her to the stained glass picture of the Blessed Mary and Buffy, who was quite puzzled by his answer, followed his gaze.

“How did you know?” she asked timidly, but when she turned to look for him he had already gone. Sighing, she picked up her bag and hurried out. As soon as she exited through the double doors, though, she found herself staring at something she hadn’t been expecting to see.

Draco was sitting cross legged leaning against the wall with his eyes closed and his head on Tru’s shoulder who was sitting next to him. Both looked incredibly worn out from their night time adventures. Buffy was about to approach them when she caught sight of something else. What she’d mistaken for luggage was actually a person bundled up with a head on Tru’s leg. Squinting at the figure, Buffy was interested to see who else had helped to track her down. Then she noticed a bit of red hair spilling out onto the concrete and knew exactly who it was. But why had Willow come? Didn’t she know how mad she was at her?

“Wut? Mornin’ already? Looks ‘ike we mi’ ‘ave ta burst down th’ door after all.” Draco managed to get out while he was yawning, still half asleep.

“Sounds good. You should go do it then and give us five more minutes.” Tru said, moving Draco’s head off of her so that she could lean against Willow instead.

“What do ya mean? You’re coming with me! This was your idea!”

“No, no, no. You said, ‘Aren’t you gonna go after her then?’ And I said, ‘Only if you come with me.’”

“Exactly, you told me to come. This is your deal.”

“You woulda come with me anyway, you stupid blighter. You’re the one who’s fallen head first for her.”

“Can’t you just give it a rest and BOTH go get her? I’ll stay out here and watch out stuff.” Willow spoke up, stretching out her legs.

“Ugh, what stuff? We didn’t bring anything, Ms. Tag-Along!”

“Tag along! I’m the one who told you she was leaving in the first place!”

“So.” both Tru and Draco said at the same time. Buffy couldn’t help but laugh from her spot behind an oversized column.

“What’s all the yellin’ about?” she said, walking out into the bright sunlight so that they could see her. Tru gave her a huge grin, Draco a sheepish one, and Willow’s was merely a polite smile saying ‘hello’.

“Good morning. Me and Draco thought we’d have to drag you all the way back to Hogwarts asleep, but now that you’re awake it’ll be a whole lot easier.” Tru said,
looking a whole lot more at ease now that Buffy was outside.

“I’m not going back,” Buffy said, frowning.

“Just because Harry dumped you?” Draco was starting to look angry.

“No, because people don’t trust me there. Dumbledore’s turned into a complete ass...”

“Wait, what’d Dumbledore do?” Tru asked, running a few fingers through her hair to make herself look more presentable. A few parishioners walked up the steps, giving them a couple of sideways glances before moving on to find their seats and listen to the upcoming sermon. Buffy realized that they needed to be quieter and stepped closer to them so she could whisper.

“He drugged me to make me... weak.” Buffy stared down at the ground, embarrassed of what she’d lost. Willow’s eyes were the only ones that held any type of understanding, and Buffy knew she knew exactly what she was talking about.

“Why would he do that to you?” Willow asked sympathetically.

“I don’t know and I don’t care. I just need to get to Giles so he can fix it.”

“So you’re going back to Sunnydale then?” Tru asked. Buffy nodded, looking from one face to another.

“Alrighty then, why don’t we just disapperate there?”

“What do you mean WE? YOU are all going back to Hogwarts for a couple of hours of sleep. I am going to Sunnydale. Alone.”

“I don’t think so, Princess.”

“Draco’s right, why should we get left out? If you’re going to do something incredibly stupid you might as well take your best friends with you.” Tru laughed as she said it and Buffy ended up giggling as well. While Buffy hugged Draco and Tru, Willow hung back, leaning herself against the wall so that Buffy could skip her if she wanted. But Buffy just looked at her, the picture of remorse and sorrow and regret, and shoved her arms around her. Willow smiled, wrapping her arms around her best friend, tears falling down her face.

“I’m so sorry, Buffy! I didn’t want to do it. I’d never... I mean... he’s not even my type. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know how. I’m just... goddess... I’m just SO sorry.” the words poured out of her mouth with such sincerity that no one even thought of judging her integrity. Buffy pulled back and gave her hand a quick squeeze, knowing how hard it was for her to admit what she’d done.

“I know, Willow. I’m sorry too. I freaked when I saw the two of you and just thought that maybe you’d wanted it to happen. I should’ve known better than to think that you’d ever do something like that.”

“So, now that the group hug’s over, maybe we should head out?” Draco said, trying to herd them over to the back of the building so they wouldn’t be seen.

“We’re not going anywhere unless we all get a good night’s rest. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m dead tired. I only had two hours of sleep and I’m betting all of you had a worse night than I did.”

“It’s not like we’ve got any muggle money for a hotel.” Tru said, always the realistic one.

“That’s true. We can’t go to Hogsmeade either... someone will be sure to spot us and take us back to Hogwarts.” Draco agreed.

“And we need some normal clothes if we’re going back to California. Robes aren’t exactly fashionable there.” Willow chimed in.

“Guys, guys. You didn’t think I thought this through before running off? I have money and a place set up where we can crash. I was just seriously in need of sleep and stayed here because I couldn’t go the rest of the way with my energy on low. I made reservations for myself at a Holiday Inn. I could even get an extra room if we need it.”

“Where’d you get the money?”

“It’s on loan from the Hogwarts Trust. I figured he sapped me of my assets, why not take some of his.” Buffy smiled and Willow took out her wand. Before any of them knew it they were behind a bush in the hotel parking lot.

“Good on you, Wills.” Buffy congratulated her, well aware that she could’ve just splinted them all into oblivion.

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

Tru and Willow were already asleep as soon as they’d changed into some of the pajama’s that Buffy had brought with her. Not having the heart to wake them from their slumber as they stretched themselves luxuriously in the one bed room, she crept her way over to Draco’s in high hopes of him not being in a catatonic state just yet. As she knocked on the door and found herself being greeted by a ‘come in’ she found herself victorious in her quest for a place to sleep. Besides, Tru was snoring. Big time.

“Howdy.” she said, trying not to notice the fact that he was only dressed in a pair of boxers. His hair was a messy, dirty blonde looking color in the faded light. There was something almost handsome about it. He seemed older, more muscular. It took Buffy only a second to trace the curves of his abdomen, and her face grew red hot as she looked away at his questioning glance. He’d caught her checking him out.

Something caught a hold of Draco then. Buffy had been looking him over, much like he’d done over the course of the year. But why? Was she attracted to him? Was she looking for comfort and going for the first male to come into view? Was she considering him?

“What are you doing here?” he asked, more hopeful than anything else. He told his emotions to bend back into place, but the hair on his arms stayed in their standing straight positions.

“Tru and Will took over the bed as soon as possible. I was wondering if I could stay here.” she added puppy eyes to her request and his stomach flopped so dramatically that he wondered whether or not she’d seen it move.

“Fine with me.” he spoke coolly, not knowing why. He had nothing to hide. She knew how he felt.

“Good then.” Draco looked at her crookedly. She must have been tired and yet she was still standing awkwardly on the other side of the room. Deciding to climb in first, he flipped back the covers so that she could get in easier. She made her way over, crawling in and then placing an arm around his waist, using his body for warmth. Heat crept slowly up his body, and he nearly choked on what he was feeling. He wanted so badly to kiss her, to make love to her, to make her feel the same way he felt when he looked at her.

Draco was staring so intently at Buffy’s hair that he was slightly shocked when she turned her head up and met his gaze. He delved deep into her pale brown eyes that held such fire. A fire that he’d yearned for ever since he’d first looked at her in Diagon Alley that long, long time ago. Minutes passed as he watched her, her golden locks and pale skin and curiously flat nose. When she spoke he realized how much he’d moved his head down, his lips merely inches away from hers for the third time that year.

“Are you going to kiss me?” her voice was heavy with something he couldn’t put his finger on. But even though he wasn’t sure about the reaction, he nodded and closed the distance between them. Her lips were soft and he melted into them easily while he leaned over her. Buffy’s hands were soon entangled in his hair, and she opened her mouth to allow him in. Merlin, she felt so good. It was like a dream, one that you fell into heart pounding and when you woke up it left you wanting to close your eyes fearing you’d never feel so alive again. But this was no dream. She was there and kissing him and... he broke the kiss.

“We need to stop.” he was stern, not requesting but ordering. She groaned.

“Why? I thought this was what you wanted.”

“It is, but not like this. You want comfort. I get it, but if you’re looking for some guy to fill whatever Harry ripped out, I’m not him. When I say I want you, I mean I want all of you. And you can’t give me that right now. You still love him, Buffy.” tears were welling up in her eyes as he gave his small speech, and he kissed her forehead.

“Go to sleep, Princess.” he watched her close her eyes and wrapped his arms around her, knowing that that was most likely the last kiss he’d ever get from her. Harry would turn up eventually to take her away and she would happily follow. He would lose her to him again, but at least Harry would make her happy. She deserved that much. Well, she deserved his heart and soul without question, but that was out of Draco’s hands.

“I love you.” he whispered and closed his eyes, falling asleep instantly. So quickly, in fact, that he didn’t catch her confession.

“And I’ve always loved you.” Buffy stared into oblivion. Harry had been right. They hadn’t been in love. Love had been out of their reach. But Draco. He’d always loved her in the months he’d known her, and silently in her heart she’d grown fond of him. She’d gone to him for comfort. She must have been stupid not to have seen it before. Harry’s future lead to fame and glory, and while they were together all she’d think of was how quiet of a life they’d lead. Her Harry was a dream. A fantasy she’d made up because he was too nice to let go. But Draco was her inspiration, she realized. He was the one.

Buffy almost laughed. All of the hours and days she’d wasted thinking that she was making the right decision, talking herself out of letting herself get closer to the Slytherin Prince. Pointless kisses that lead nowhere. At first they were filled with passion, but lately they’d been dull. As if she was craving something else. She should have known then and there that something was off. Craving attention and inappropriate comments on your fancy dress from your best friend wasn’t normal. No, she’d blinded herself. But not anymore Kissing him softly enough not to wake him, she made a promise to herself that she’d make it up to him. She’d tell him how she felt with as much warmth and grace as he had, and all she had to do was wait for the perfect moment.

Chapter 16: Missed

“Are you okay?” Draco asked Buffy as they window shopped down a crowded street in London, where they’d decided to find appropriate attire. Draco was already clad in a shirt and pair of pants from the Gap, which was their third stop of the day. And Buffy, who was not being shy about the way she spent her money, had acquired a new dress for herself in the process. The weather was pretty good for mid- October, and none of the girls were minding showing off a little skin, Willow included.

“Perfectly perfect. Why?” Buffy knew she was glowing, but she figured why not? The man she loved was standing beside her, and willing to move to the other side of the world in order to see to it that she was happy. She had plenty of friends to surround her so that she would never be unhappy. Most of all, though, she was shining her radiant smile wherever she went because the man that she loved felt the same way about her and wasn’t afraid to admit it.

“I don’t know, you’re just acting odd is all.” his eyes turned upward as if contemplating something before grounding themselves once more in the world around them by staring at Willow and Tru, who had found a shoe store and were at present accosting the cute salesman with questions about sales.

“Shouldn’t we be leaving soon?” he asked, noticing that the watch on Willow’s arm read noon. Tru sighed, putting down a pair of pink Roxy flip flops moodily.

“I s’pose.” Willow was even easing her way away from Spence, the clerk, who looked rather depressed about her doing so. Poor Willow hadn’t a clue and gave him a goofy smile. She’d never know that he had thought she was attractive.

“Let’s hit it then.” Buffy said energetically, ready to get a move on.

“Why are you so happy?” Tru asked, looking back wistfully towards the sandals in the window before continuing, “You’re never this giddy.”

“What? A girl can’t be happy about finally going home after a couple of months away? Geeze.” Even though she acted mad, nothing in the world could make Buffy frown at that moment. Not even Voldemort himself. Something just felt right about this.

“Anyways.” Willow spoke loudly, “Let’s get somewhere secret-like so we can get with the magics and go home.” Her temperamental voice gave no room for Tru’s arguments, which held fast in her throat. Buffy flashed Draco a grin before heading towards an empty alley. Draco shook his head, confused about the attention he was getting, but not complaining because it wasn’t like it was unwanted.

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Harry looked at the slightly crumpled note in his hand addressed to Hermione and let out something that sounded like a sob. He knew he should have seen this coming. Dumbledore had hinted about what he’d done when he found Ron knocked out on the lawn, but Harry hadn’t thought about how such a thing would impact her. How could he have known?

‘Thank you for being my sister. You were always so nice to me, and I’m sorry that I let you down. I love you, and I don’t want you worrying about things that you shouldn’t be. Dumbledore’s assured me that I’m not welcome at Hogwarts so I’m going to where I’m needed. Please write me if any of our friends wake up. You know where I’ll be. I left a pair of leather pants for you too. Something to remember me by.’

A heart followed by an oversized signature covered the bottom half of the page. Harry wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t been so hasty to say goodbye. Would she still be there? Or would there be another letter addressed to him, saying that she loved him and not to worry?

“What are you doing?” he asked Hermione, watching her with some amount of interest as she searched the envelope for something that wasn’t there.

“She left me something.” she mumbled, not really paying attention. Finally she drew her attention towards the pair of pants, shoving her hands into each of the pockets. Her fingers closed on something, a piece of paper. Pulling it out, she examined it thoroughly before laughing and tossing it to Harry. It was a photograph of a man in a tweed suit cleaning a pair of glasses with an arm coming in from the side to make a peace sign behind his head. On the back there were a few words in Buffy’s handwriting which read, ‘All hail tweed. Rupert Giles, 1999.’

“So.” he said, wondering what the picture meant.

“So, this is where she went. I thought she would go to my parents or to her adoptive mum or dad, but it didn’t really add up. I knew she’d leave me something.”

“What are you planning on doing about it, then?”

“Find her of course.” she looked at him as if he was stupid, so he elaborated.

“And after that? Are you planning on dragging her back? Or are you going to stay with her in Sunnydale and live happily ever after? You’ll be expelled for sure if you go to America without permission, and you know Dumbledore’ll never allow you to go.”

“To hell with him.” she said, raising her voice more than she needed to, “She’s my family, Harry. I looked at her like she was beneath me for a really long time, and I was wrong. I can’t just sit here and watch my life pass by knowing that my twin’s out there with no one but...”

“But who? Tru, Draco, and Willow went with her. She has friends, Hermione. And she’s obviously forgiven you since she wrote that letter. There’s no reason for you to get into trouble because of a...”

“If you finish that sentence I will slap you.” her tone was harsh and threatening, “Just because you feel like you’re to blame doesn’t mean you get to bash her. You can follow me, or you can stay here. The decision's yours.” With that she left the Common Room and made her way up the stairs to the Girl’s Dormitory. Harry leaned his head back. Would it really do any good to show up and apologize for dumping her? Draco had gone, which meant he was probably comforting her at that very moment. It’s just the type of thing he’d do. Buffy’s vulnerable, might as well pounce.

A vision of Draco wrapping his pale fingers around her waist blurred his vision and he snapped his eyes shut only to find that the image was clearer behind his lids. Buffy was laying in a bed with Draco, his shirt abandoned on the floor. And they were kissing. Oh,
they looked like they were doing more than that for a moment, then he pulled away,
whispering something to her before covering her up to go to sleep. Harry felt like he was standing right next to her. He could feel her breath upon his fingers, and he wanted to touch her face just to see if she was real. Then she said five words that made him cringe.

“And I’ve always loved you.” for a moment a hope lingered that perhaps she’d been staring at him when she said it. But no. She tightened her grip on Draco’s hand,
looking right through Harry as if he wasn’t even there.

“Depressing, isn’t it?” a teenage Tom Riddle said from the chair in front of him,
fingers laced in his lap.

“You’re not him. Voldemort could never get into Hogwarts.”

“I’m a ghost if you will. I’m Voldemort and not at the same time. It’s a complicated process, it would be best if you do not try to understand for once.”

“And what are you doing here?”

“What you saw was no dream, it’s reality. Run after her like a fool if you must,
but know that by doing so you’re only making the clock tick faster.”

“Why is she so important to you?”

“She’s a Slayer, Harry. Think for once. You have feelings for the girl, which is understandable. However, your emotions have always made you weak. They blind you. Sooner or later Buffy will turn. And I’ll be there the second it happens.” Riddle stood,
nodding a goodbye to Harry

“Pleasant dreams.” he whispered finally and disappeared. Harry’s first instinct was to run to Dumbledore, but that wouldn’t work now. Buffy was already evil in his eyes. He wouldn’t see the information as useful.

Then there was Hermione who would tell him to go to Buffy right away and tell her what Riddle said him. This was probably the most plausible thing to do, but Harry had never been one to think rashly about his decision making. Like Riddle explained not two minutes earlier, he was ruled by his emotions, which were often not connected to his brain in any way. And right now they were telling him to stay put. But, the ghost’s speech still fresh in his mind, he chose another road. He was going to go to Sunnydale.

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Buffy gave herself a once over, much to the amusement of her three spectators,
before knocking on the door. She sighed, not knowing what else there was to primp. But why was she primping? It was just Giles. He’d love her no matter what she looked like.

Reaching out, she tapped her fist against the hard wood. A masculine voice called out ‘one second’ in a plainly British voice, and Buffy was already at ease. Something about him had a way of making her feel better about everything. No one could die, no world could end, as long as he was there to look out for her.

“Yes?” opening the door he let out a small gasp as he looked at the four of them. It took a moment, where Buffy absent mindedly shuffled her feet, for him to gather up enough wit to give her a bone-crushing hug.

“Dear lord, I was so worried. Dumbledore stopped contacting me and I thought something was amiss. Are you quite alright?” he asked the question and paused for a response, but still he did not let go.

“Buffy?” he didn’t understand why she hadn’t answered.

“Air.” she breathed and he laughed, embarrassed, as he set her free.

“I’m fine, Giles. No sweat.” she answered, a little teary eyed and clutching her throat as she felt a cough coming on. Giles moved to the back of the group and went through the same process with Willow.

“Glad to be missed.” she said, fiddling with a strand of red hair. Her eyes were watering as much as Buffy’s were.

“Well, come in. Come in. I’ll make tea.” Buffy did laugh then. It was good to be home. It took some time after the introductions and such to explain what had happened over the course of the months that they hadn’t seen each other. Giles cleaned his glasses,
muttering something about a passage and a biography and an antidote.

“So it can be fixed?” Buffy’s voice was filled with hope.

“Yes, yes it can. I know a poison quite like it which the Watcher’s Council uses with the Slayers to see what type of skills they possess without their natural ability of strength. I believe if I tweak it somewhat I may get some results. I promise I’ll get you back to normal, Buffy. It just might take some time.”

“Well, what do we do until then?” Tru asked.

“I say we party.” Buffy shrugged and smiled at her friends.

“We did pick up some great outfits earlier.” Willow agreed, gathering up some of her bags. Tru and Draco were still lost, not knowing what they were talking about.

“Feel free to use the rooms upstairs and down here to change.” Giles added.

“Where are we going?” Draco asked.

“You guys just put on some slutty clothes upstairs and we’ll go.”

“What do you mean SLUTTY?” Draco’s face was beet red, but Tru had already made her way up to Giles’s bedroom.

“Just put something on and don’t complain.” Buffy said tiredly. Looking over to Willow, she noticed that the red head was on the phone.

“Yeah, we’re back. I missed you. Listen, we’re heading off to the Bronze and I was wondering if you wanted to come. Practicing. No, you don’t have to do that. I’m sure. Well, if you’re sure. Okay. See you Oz.” she hung up and raced into the bathroom to change yelling something that sounded like a mixture of ‘YES’ and a squeal. Buffy looked down at herself and took a dress out of her American Eagle bag.

“You don’t mind if we stay with you, do you?” she asked Giles who was pouring himself another cup of tea. He smiled and looked up at her with all of the love and adoration that a father would have for his only daughter.

“You’re always welcome here. I’m glad you’re back.” his face softened even more as he said it. Buffy gave him a quick hug and headed off to put her dress on. This was going to be a night to remember.

Chapter 17: Obsessions

When they entered the Bronze everyone’s face lit up. The club had a certain quality that just made you feel... happy. Free. Too free at times, like when Willow had been lead out by a moron of a fledgling because she’d wanted some kind of action. But it was a welcome characteristic, mused Buffy. This place had saved her from having to deal with a bucket load of stress. Besides, dancing burned calories...

“Come on!” Tru grabbed Willow’s hand to bring her out to the dance floor so she wouldn’t be alone. Buffy and Draco shrugged and followed the giggling pair. Oz was already there, and it seemed that Willow suddenly wasn’t so interested in dancing as curling up on her werewolve’s lap. Tru sighed, being the only girl it seemed without a partner. Buffy turned to Draco and lifted up a finger to pause their conversation.

“Hey, guy in the orange.” she called to a someone who seemed lost in the crowd.
“Dance with her.” She shoved him on Tru and after a large amount of embarrassed apologizing they were bumping and grinding and fairly soon even groping.

“You’re the most meddlesome woman.” Draco commented, going back to dancing with Buffy.

“How long did it take you to figure that one out?” she asked sarcastically and noticed that the song was slowing to a close. She smoothed out her maroon, spegetti strapped dress and grinned. Pulling on his shirt to draw him closer to her, she moved to whisper in his ear.

“Still wanna see my sexy dance?” she asked seductively. He smiled and started moving his feet to the slow beet. She circled him and, leaning on him, started to sway to the music. Draco’s eyebrows raised as he realized that certain parts of him were being rubbed against and that her entire body was pressed firmly against him. She turned around and looked into his eyes. To hell with picking the right time for it. Lifting her body up,
she placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

“I love you.” she murmured. She could almost feel Draco’s heart stop and actually did feel his breathing slow. He stared at her, his face a mix of emotions that she could not have figured out if she’d tried. A few precious seconds passed and Buffy started to worry if she’d made a mistake.

“For goodness sakes, Draco. Say something.” she stepped back, feeling sorry she’d said anything at all. Why was he acting this way?

Then his eye twitched. Literally. She squinted to see if it would happen again, not realizing she was bringing her face closer to see. In one swift motion that not even she had seen coming, Draco placed an arm around her waist and his hand in her hair, pulling her in for a deep kiss. Buffy closed her eyes and nearly gasped as she found herself wrapped up in one of the most miraculously breath taking kisses she’d ever received. No,
check that, it WAS the most breath takingly beautiful kiss she’d ever had. Her entire body was tingling, and as they separated she placed her head on his shoulder.

“I’ve been wanting to tell you for so long now. I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner.” “I love you, Buffy.” was all he said, still looking blindly forword.

“I know.” she answered, though none was required, and turned her head up to meet his lips again.

“I should go say hi to Oz.” she thought out loud, looking at the pair but not moving an inch. The moment was just too perfect to abandon.

“You probably should.” he kissed her neck.

“Mmm. You should come with me.”

“I guess. I was making plans of getting you to go up to that balcony so we could have some alone time, but if you don’t want to...”

“Oz can wait.” she said hastily and allowed him to lead her up the metal staircase for some privacy.

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It was around midnight when they returned to Giles’s for some needed rest. Each of the girls’ lips were heavily swollen from kissing, and Tru was still clutching her dear Robert’s phone number in her hand. Draco refused to let go of Buffy’s waist, and Giles managed to glare at him in an all too fatherly way.

“Are you staying here as well, Willow?” he asked, wondering if she’d told her mother that she was back in town.

“Yes please.”

“Good. Two of the girls can share my bed and another can stay in my spare room. Draco and I will take the couches in the living room.” he enunciated Draco’s name,
making sure that he was quite clear in stating that he would not be sharing a bed with anyone, least of all Buffy.

“Giles, that’s alright. You take the spare bed and I’ll take one of the couches.”

“Buffy, I will not tolerate...”

“Come on. I promise I’ll behave. It’s not like I’ll be sharing a room with the guy. And it’s not even about that. I don’t want you suffering on the couch when I’m the one who barged in on you.” Giles cleaned his glasses and said something that sounded extremely British.

“Fine, have it your way.” his tone sounded defeated. Buffy looked him over. His wrinkles were becoming more prominent and his hair line was receding slightly to enlarge his forehead. It occurred to Buffy that she’d never asked him how old he was.

“Good night then. I’m going to bed.” Tru stated, yawning widely.

“Same here. Good to see you Giles.” Willow gave him a large hug before also leaving. Giles looked at Buffy with a small amount of disapproval showing in his features,
but he did not voice any comments. She was nearly eighteen after all.

“Don’t look so grim. Your face will end up staying that way and even I run out of sarcastic remarks after a while. Think about what it’ll do to my self-esteem.” she joked,
hitting his shoulder playfully before taking the two blankets he offered her out of his hands.

“Good night, Buffy.”

“Good night, Giles.”

Buffy sat down on one of the couches and motioned for Draco to lie next to her. He ended up spreading himself across the couch on his back with her somehow squeezing between him and the back of the couch with her arms locked around his stomach. It was surprisingly comfortable, and Buffy fell asleep easily to the sound of Draco’s rhythmic heartbeat.

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Buffy looked around her, sweat falling off her neck in waves. There was something familiar about her surroundings, an eerie sense of daja vu that made her hair stand on end.

“I have you, you realize.” Riddle said, the words rolling off of his tongue far too easily. Perhaps he was just a good liar.

“I know.” she knelt to the ground, head down, and heard the sound of her voice echoing in the stone walls and high ceilings.

“All I have to do is reach out. I can almost touch you, even know.” he knelt down beside her as he spoke.

“I made you young again. It’s all my fault. You’ll kill me soon, I know it.”

“Why would I kill what I’ve created?”

“What will you do with me then?”

“We will make a very powerful bond, Slayer. Together we’ll be unstoppable.”

“And if I refuse?”

“You already know what would happen. Must I waste my breath?”

“I think you wasted more breath saying that than answering me, to tell you the truth.” she wanted to be smart. She wanted to be in command. She wanted anything but this, kneeling to the most evil wizard in the world. It was a dream, but that scared her even further. If she had no control in her own mind, how could she gain it in reality?

“You have no reason to fear me.” he touched her cheek, his skin soft and warm,
nothing like before. She lifted her head to look into his eyes, knowing that if she hadn’t known who he was she probably would have taken the initiative to hit on him. He was gorgeous, after all. Well, in this state at least.

She ripped her eyes away, once again staring at the ground, “Yes I do.”

He smiled, “Ah, yes. You can’t hold my gaze because you crave it, just as I crave you. Slayers are drawn to the dark, Ms. Summers. That’s why you couldn’t love Potter,
why you wanted Malfoy. You instincts lead you to me. Don’t fight them.”

“I’m not going to wake up with Draco, am I?”

“You’re home now.”

“I don’t have a home.”

“You do now. I’ve made it so the transition will be easy for you. What do you have in Sunnydale? Are you going to live with your Watcher who can’t support you? Or with your mother who was so scared by the thought of what you are that she let you go in the first place?”

“I could go to my real parents.” it would be hard, but she knew she could love them if she tried.”

“Your parents are dead. They have been for nearly four months. I wanted you,
Buffy. I was going to get you no matter what. The Granger’s were just a step. Small but necessary. I mean, really, what parent would go searching for a long lost daughter after seventeen years and give her up after just a day? You wanted them to be your parents,
Buffy. You wanted a new life. That’s the only reason why you excepted it. You wanted so badly for someone to love you, to want you.”

“I have someone to love me.”

“For how long?” he got up, looked around the empty room, and said something she couldn’t understand or didn’t want to understand. Then vision turned fuzzy, and the line between consciousness and the fairy tale world was broken. Buffy woke with a start.

“Draco!” she yelled his name but heard no reply. She screamed it again, and again she got no answer. It was hopeless, she knew. She wasn’t in Sunnydale anymore. She was at home. His home.

Chapter 18: The End

Harry and Hermione were standing on the far end of Hogwarts when Hermione heard it. At first it sounded like leaves crackling, but soon it was a distinct voice that she recognized but could not place. Perhaps it was a ghost, she thought, looking around but finding no one but her best friend beside her.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, anxious to find his... girlfriend? Could he still concider her that?

“I heard something.” she hushed him and stood straight, closing her eyes to focus.

“Blooming onions. Blasted people. They took the blooming onions right off the sodding menu.”

“What was that?” again Hermione quieted Harry as she tried to ananlyse where the sound was coming from. Spike finally emerged from behind a tree in the Forbidden Forest and hobbled over to them.

“We need to talk. The onions. We must save the onions!” he gasped for breath,
hand clutching his throat. As if hit by some unseen force, he fell backwards.

“Here I thought I was choking to death. Hmph. I don’t even breathe.”

“Spike, where have you been?” she might not have been his biggest fan, but it would have taken an idiot to not notice his dissapearance.

“I smelled onions. And blood. Yeah, onions and blood. Followed it, I did. Bloody right I did. No one leaves a scent that strong. No one, you hear.”

“Followed it to where?”

“You want me to show you to the onions? No, I didn’t find onions. There were only people. Lots of people with sticks. They looked so funny. Locked me up, they did. Good and tight. Threw away the key. Smart Death Eaters. Smart...” he trailed off in thought, “Anyway, I decided I’d overstayed me welcome and skipped right on out. They couldn’t even touch me. Seemed they were more interested in someone else. Yes, blonde girl. Sort of pretty. ‘Bout this tall.” He lifted his hand to indicate her heith.

“Buffy?” Harry murmured, suddenly becoming a lot more interested in the conversation.

“Yes! Couldn’t think of her name for the life of me. Yes, it was Buffy. All chained up, good and tight. They’re smart, those Death Eaters. Smart...” once again he trailed off before saying something like ‘damned onion zappers’.

“What did the onion zappers to to you?”

“Not sure, pet. Didn’t ask. There was a lot of light, though. I think that was the onions personally but I won’t tell. We must go save them. Give ‘em a good kicking so they’ll fix it. What do ya say?” Hermione shrugged and looked over towards Harry mouthing ‘he’ll take us to her’.

“Let’s save the onions.”

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Fists aching, Buffy struck the door again as if mocking the pain. They were bleeding and quite possibly even infected judging by the swelling and redness spreading slowly up her forearm, but she didn’t care. The door might have been metal and magically made to tolerate her beatings, but the frame itself was starting to give way under the pressure her blows delivered. What was another hour of suffering when it could mean escape?

“Is the...” she heard the whispering from down the hall and lifted her ear to the door. Smiling, she knew she was doing her job well. Earlier she couldn’t even hear the noise blaring the next room over. The door’s enchantments were starting to wane along with its strength.

“No, if anything his condition is worsening.”

“What is happening to him?”

“He won’t say, but I saw his hands. They’re bleeding and swollen.”

“What could have caused it?”

“Honestly? I don’t know.” Buffy backed away from the door, hands shaking at she looked at the bloody mass they’d become. Filled with understanding she breathed in sharply and collected her thoughts.

“It’s me.” she whispered. She was perfect for the job, really. Hex’s didn’t hurt her. She had super strength. All of it fell into place in one horribly foul swoop. If she hurt, he hurt. If he was sick, she’d be sick. And if she died... But no... There was a prophesy. She was wrong. Something had to be wrong.

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Harry and Hermione breached the walls easily, almost too easily. There had to be a guard, Voldemort wasn’t stupid enough to leave his perimeters unchecked. Noises rose inside. Perhaps there was something more dangerous than intruders already inside.

“Come on, I think I know the way.” Hermione said quickly, darting from column to colomn so she could remain unseen.

“But...”

“She’s guiding me, Harry.” Hermione could feel her sister’s voice inside of her head. Right. Left. Right. Another right. STOP!

Two men stood around the next bend, wands at the ready. Spike would have been helpful here if it wasn’t for his lapse of insanity that had driven him to the smell of the ‘onions’ as soon as they’d arrived at the castle.

Harry ran from behind the corner, blindly tackling on of the men and screaming a curse at the other. Surprisingly his rush of stupidity worked, and both were unconsious.

“She’s in there.” Hermione said, pointing to the door. A couple of spells later it flew off, and they entered the room. Buffy was in the corner pacing and talking to herself.

“I knew you’d come. You had to come. That’s the way it works, isn’t it. They planned this. They knew he’d find me. They made sure I’d know what to do. Because I have to, you know. I have to.”

“We’re going to get you out of here.” Hermione said, attempting to reach out to her.

“No! Leave Hermione. I need to talk to Harry alone for a second.” at Hermione’s confussed look she added a sad ‘please’.

“Only for a second. We need to get out before they catch us.” she hurried out and Buffy turned to Harry.

“Buffy, I’m so sorry...” he started but Buffy cut him off.

“Shut up! This isn’t the time. Riddle is tied to me. His essence and mine are the same, do you understand? I was the perfect person. I can’t be touched magically or physically and you love me. There was no way he could be defeated. But Harry, we can’t let him win. You have to do it.” For the first time Harry noticed the flash of silver in her hand.

“Wh.. wh.. what do y.. you mean?” he stuttered, already knowing the answer.

“You have to kill me.”

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Hermione watched Harry walk out of the room, hands covered in blood.

“We have to go. Now."

“Where’s Buffy”

“She’s not coming.”

“What happened?” a screech sounded from somewhere beneath them and several others followed.

“Don't worry about it, it’s over now. It’s all over.”

The End

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