From Here to There
Another typical night, another typical large demon. Okay, so it wasn't a large demon, it was a 'Huge Ass Demon'. So far, 3 of the junior slayers lay on the ground like broken dolls, the magic squad was out of the running first thing after finding out the hard way that it was immune. Willow was still on the side trying to think of something, but so far everything she threw at it did absolutely nothing. Buffy and Faith were badly banged up and the only reason it hadn't gotten any farther was because somehow Xander had kept it at bay using a very big gun that did little damage but seemed to annoy it so much it didn't want to go near him and kept it from going after the rest of the girls.
All of a sudden, the 'Huge Ass Demon' let out a vicious roar and headed straight at Xander. Xander watched as his bullets hit it dead center but it kept coming. Faith and Buffy both were racing it toward him, but they seemed to be moving very slow, Willow's held a look of disbelief, her eyes wide and already shining with tears. Faith turned and looked at Willow as she saw that neither her nor Buffy would reach Xander's side in time to stop the demons attack. She saw Willow's hair and eyes begin to fade to black and dark veins appear on her face and arms as the demon dealt Xander a violent blow, causing him to collapse, the life fading fast from his eyes. Faith and Buffy watched silently, tears streaming down their faces as Giles slid a knife into Willows heart to stop the coming apocalypse. Buffy's dive at the demon could only be considered suicide and with a swipe of his hand she too lay broken on the ground, her golden hair splayed around her like a halo in the night.
The demon was large and annoying but it wouldn't have destroyed the world. Willow would have, and both Faith and Giles knew that, they remembered when Xander had once been out of contact for nearly a week, all of a sudden both Buffy and Willow were acting odd and wanting to find him sure he was in trouble. Willow had magicked everyone in the room to his last known address and started scrying and location spells to find him, he had been fine, only a few hours away with a shaman. Giles, Faith and Robin had known at that point that if anything happened to Xander, that Willow would need to be taken out fast. She had tried to kill the shaman that was helping Xander because 'he was keeping him from her'. They had found out the shaman was trying to remove a lot of binding spells on Xander. The spells were both a binding of power and tying him to Willow and Buffy.
The demon had stopped attacking and was watching silently. Mist began rise from the bodies of Buffy and Willow, as it reached eye level it started to form into the shape of a baby. Then the demon spoke. “The oldest lived too long. When the Destroyer of Prophecies brought her back, he threw the Powers out of Balance. The Slayer Essence is supposed to be neutral, the Watchers have pushed it towards evil with their training and their black vs. white stance that allows the demons to gain greater power as they age..” Giles straightened and looked at the demon then at Faith. The demon glanced at Faith. “The Red Witch destroyed the Balance. The activation of all Slayers meant that within a generation there would be no more Potentials born, no more Slayers activated. The Balance was restored when the Red Witch died and her spell was ended.”
Giles looked at the Demon. “And Xander.”
“The Destroyer of Prophecies is needed. He is a wild card that the fates cannot, and will not, control. He has also become a crutch to you and your Slayer. Neither of you thought, for he did it for you. He took care of everyone with no one caring for him in return. He stood against me with a gun when he knew it would do no damage. Yet, still, he stood to buy time while others fell back. Why? He argued about how to go in and was not listened to, the Eldest Slayer was, even though he pointed out many problems. When what he predicted happened others fell back and he covered the retreat, yet his back was never covered or protected like those he sought to protect.”
The demon looked at Giles and Faith and waved his hand, and the baby Buffy was placed in Faith's arms and the baby Willow in Giles'. “They are yours to raise. This time teach them the lessons they need most and never learned in this life. The Slayer needs to learn that might does not make right and the witch should never have been allowed near dark magic.” He looked into Faiths eyes. “The Slayers essence has passed on, the process has changed so when the girl reaches 17 the essence passes to the next one, leaving no taint of the demon. The Destroyer of Prophecies taught you valuable lessons in making sure the Slayers survive. I hope you learned well.”
With that he turned away and slowly Xander's body started to rise from the ground and then a thick mist appeared as his body turned to ash. A small hole appeared in mid air next to the demon and the mist from the body vanished through the hole. Giles knew that from this point on that Xander Harris was no more and they could never have him back. He would never be reborn on their world or allowed to return through a dimensional doorway. “Why!!”
The demon turned and looked at Faith. “While there are many Slayers and Witches there is only one Destroyer of Prophecies.” He twisted around to look at Giles next. “You had with you one of the most precious gifts the gods have ever given your realm. Not only was he the Destroyer of Prophecies but also a true seer. Neither of which you allowed him to be. Between them both he became a “Zeppo”, where he should never have been. This time I am hoping you will teach them to value everyone, no matter who they are. But this time, this time they will not have him with them to help them when they need it.” With that he disappeared leaving a stunned Giles and Faith behind, was the remains of the strike group, formed to take down the 'Huge Ass Demon' that had been spotted scattered around them, and as they all thought back to Xander asking “Has he proved we need to take him down, are we sure he is evil.” And their ignoring him because it was a 'Huge Ass Demon'.
** Between Realms **
Xander was trying to listen, since it was too bright to see, but it was as if thousands of voices were talking in thousands of different languages at once, drowning him in unintelligible noise. Finally there was silence and he was able to listen in, not yet clued in to the fact that he could understand so many different languages. The light dimmed and Xander watched as a group of people approached him. They all seemed ethereal, and he wasn't sure where he was, he then saw Jesse, Mrs. Summers, Kendra and others he knew and had lost over the years. He steadied himself waiting to hear what they said, the claps on the back and the hugs felt like a balm to his soul. For too long he held the guilt of so many deaths on his shoulders, where it did not belong, and they were releasing the guilt from him with each smile and touch.
After a while a few new figures approached with a young boy. The boy was around 11 or 12 and had broken glasses and shaggy black hair. Xander looked at them curiously, head tilting to the side slightly. “We want to ask you to help our son.” The red-haired woman points to the boy with the shaggy black hair. “He is still with the living but there are many advisories there and my husband and I are both here among the dead. We are afraid that some we trusted have betrayed us, betrayed our son.”
Xander looked them over, then the boy, noting the bruises and the slight gleam in his eyes. “So is this a shade of your son?”
“Our son is currently comatose in our world. His spirit is here and if you decide to help the two of you will merge.”
“What of your son? If we merge your son would not be the same person anymore.”
The father looked at Xander, his eyes cold. “Someone we trusted beyond anything or anyone, sent him to live with someone who abuses him, and even knowing this, returns him there every year. We had a list of people that he was to live with and that entire list was ignored in favor of having him brought up abused.”
Xander straightened and looked at the father. “What do you really want, not the ideals, not the fluff, but the truth.”
The man looked at Xander. “My wife and I are willing to open ourselves up for you to learn through our minds as well as a few of our friends, family, and even enemies that are here, then we would have you do the same with Harry. Truthfully, A man that I trusted has my son being setup as a martyr. If after looking at our thoughts you have a different opinion we will gladly listen.” The woman looked over. “We are truthfully hoping you see something else that we are missing that is not what we think. To know our son is a pawn of another...”
Xander looked at Jesse, Kendra, and Mrs. Summers and they smiled and nodded toward the family. Jesse laughed and punched his shoulder. “Like you don’t want to help.” Xander bowed his head and nodded.
He looked at the father. “I agree, I will look through your minds and see what I find, if it is as you fear than we will discuss it. If so I may need to look again to gain different knowledge.”
The boy spoke for the first time. “That would be good; I have no real idea about the wizarding world except for what I’m told at school.”
Xander looked at the boy critically then back to the father “You said even enemies are willing to help, Why?”
A dark man with a forbidding scowl looked at Xander. “While we may have been enemies in ideals, something is definitely wrong. Looking back at the situation...” The man shook his head. “Something is very wrong and we feel that we may have been played. And while we worked for different ideals, in the end we are all at the same place, and the one thing we can really do up here is think.”
An older woman spoke up. “However, no matter what we think we seem to reach certain limits, even here. An outside look would be good.”
An older man in roman garb looked at Xander and he watched as his face switched. “Janus”. The god nodded his head and looked at Xander. “Child of Chaos, Destroyer of Prophecies, Wild Card, True Seer. You are many things, some I favor and some I do not. However, above all, you are for humanity. What we are seeing while is nice for me, is very bad for humanity and soon will be very bad, even for even me.”
The woman spoke “When I first learned of the wizarding world I was surprised at how old fashion everything is, nothing has changed since the 1600’s.” Xander looked at the woman and she smiled.
“I am called Lily, my husband is James and our son is Harry.” She looked at Harry then James, she then smiled and moved Harry and herself back out, giving James and her privacy.
James looked over at Xander “Once up here, Lily and I realized something so disturbing, we don't like to think about it and Harry will need to know, but it’s not something you ever want to tell your child.”
Xander looked at James and nodded, James drew in a deep breath and let it out, repeating the breathing exercise a few times before the scowling man spoke up. “They did not love each other and definitely did not want to marry. She was in love with another and had been since they were children. The man she loved was turned to our side, however, there are questions about his loyalty to our side. During the trials he was confirmed as a spy.”
James nodded slowly “And I felt strongly for another, however, the other was again influenced over to the other side. Our love came on too fast and our marriage was arranged too quickly after Lily “found” Sev's dark mark. Hindsight being what it is, I’m worried because we had never really liked each other, and Sev was always a target of ours. For her to love me and me her that fast, something has to be hinky.”
“Rebound affairs.” Xander suggested.
James laughed. “Except the night before we announced our engagement, I had been with my lover, his wife-to-be knew about us, in some ways we were almost a triad. For me to suddenly announce that I am marrying the girl that one of his friends was in a relationship with, it was just....just wrong.” James looked at Xander. “Please, look and see, help us understand how and why.” Xander nodded and James took Xander's hand and placed it on his forehead. A stream of memories came through, merging with his own.
When he finished, Xander's face had a thinking look on it and the scowling man came forward to repeat the process. One after another, they all did until all that was left were Lily and Harry. Lily came over and raised his hand letting him look through her thoughts and memories, then did the same with Harry.
Xander sat quietly sorting through the memories and thoughts. Looking at everyone. “I will do it. However, I need to know more, the knowledge-level Harry is currently at, and every other student- everyone born in the wizarding world states is too low and I agree. Lily, I could understand with that lack of knowledge but that leads to other things. I do not promise anything and you will probably all be upset by the time I am done. I do not like this Voldemort guy and his ideals at all.”
The older woman looked at Xander. “We understand, even those of us that supported his ideals originally are having questions now.” As the process started again and this time Xander learning from those he touched. What seemed hours later he nodded. “Guess its time to start.” Harry came forward and seemed to walk into Xander.
** Hogwarts **
Harry blinked and saw the figure above his bed, the Headmaster, looking around realizing he was no longer in the room with Quirrell, but in the Infirmary instead.
Later that night, at the leaving feast, Harry watched as the Slytherin's won the House Cup. Just as the banners had finished changing colors to show the Slytherin's achievement, Dumbledore stood and started giving extra points to Griffindor. Snape was watching Harry as the extra points were added to Griffindor's total, waiting to see the gloating look on his face. When he saw Harry’s eyes narrow he was surprised. The look on his face at that moment was similar to Lily’s when the Marauder's had played a prank that had hurt someone, then his eyes suddenly flashed brown then back to green. Snape looked around, taking note that no one else had noticed the quick change.
“Ron, 'Mione, meet with you guys later to finish packing.” Harry waved at them and walked off. Outside a corridor in the basement area his target approached. Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle stopped upon seeing Harry. Harry nodded at them then looked at Draco. “Congratulations for winning the cup.”
Draco sneered. “Yeah, until you stole it from us.”
Harry shook his head. “No we didn’t. If you think about it, it was the Headmaster who did it and I really wished he hadn’t.” Harry knew there were a lot of people listening to this conversation and could feel the surprise from them. “What the Headmaster just did was wrong. You're Slytherin, you can see the ramifications of this. The Slytherin's hate Gryffindor's even more, the Ravenclaw's and Hufflepuff's are convinced that Gryffindor's are being unfairly favored and that he would do anything to make sure Slytherin's are not treated fairly. As to the gloating Gryffindor's, your just lucky you don’t have to room with them.”
Goyle looked at Harry. “Why do you care? You're Gryffindor and we are all evil.”
Harry laughed. “We're all kids and we are supposed to be here to learn. Believe me, no one here is evil and to claim an entire house is evil just because you've been sorted into it is just plain stupid. You know, I didn’t know about the wizarding world before Hagrid burst into the place my uncle had taken us to keep me from becoming a “Freak”. One of the first thing's he told me was that all evil wizards come from Slytherin, and then I met Ron, who said basically the same thing.”
Draco continued staring at Harry. “What do you really want Potter. You’re acting strange.”
“Think about it Malfoy, Quirrell was teaching here all year with a ghoul attached to the back of his head and supposedly the Headmaster never knew. How did the wards allow him in? He was out killing unicorns in the forest, big hint but still he was allowed to teach this year. Plus, Dumbledore brought the stone here, instead of having it secured more heavily at the bank. No matter how good the Teacher's are, they are not Warder's. Also, all those tests before getting there, sorry, there is no way a decent teacher would think those are strong enough to block anyone, especially if three first years made it through them. And isn’t it amazing that he had the stone removed from Gringott's just hours before before “someone” broke into Gringott's? Wow it’s like he knew that the bank was going to be robbed.”
Draco looked at Harry. “It was a test for you.”
Harry smiled “Yep, it was, but in doing so every student in this school was put at risk.”
Pansy had walked up to Draco’s group while they were talking. “You still didn’t answer the question of what you really want Potter.”
Harry nodded and looked at Draco and noticing that even more of the Slytherin's had come into the open and were standing together. “Your family line is very old, correct?”
Draco smirked. “One of the oldest in Brittan.”
“Do you know if you have any of the old textbooks from about 500 or 600 years ago?"
A fifth year Slytherin scowled. “Why would you want something from then. The library here should have everything you want.”
Harry shook his head. “The library here is controlled by the Headmaster. Every book we read and have access to has been approved by the Headmaster, and if you look at a lot of our books, they’re out dated and falling apart, even with magic! They haven’t been updated since the start of the 1900’s and its past 2000.”
A seventh year chimed in. “All books are auto updating now so they will always be current.”
Harry laughs. “You are saying that nothing new has been discovered in the last 70 years? Check our Fifth year Charms textbook you will see the auto update was last done in 1936.”
Draco looked at Harry “Why 500 years or older if the textbooks were done earlier this century wouldn’t the ones from before they started the auto update work?”
“I want to track some things, and I noticed that for a school over a thousand years old, we have no ghosts or paintings back farther than 400 years. Why? Why are there not big pictures of the founders in the Great Hall. I know in Gryffindor there are no paintings of him, shouldn’t there be with him being the founder of our house?"
A sixth year Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff had stepped forward during this. “There is a picture of Ravenclaw in our tower, it is not animated but it is in our common room above the fireplace. But I am unfamiliar with any ghosts that old, and most of the books in our dorm library are the auto updating ones so they are recent as well.”
The Hufflepuff spoke up. “There is something more isn’t there. The books and ghosts are just a part of it.”
Harry looked at the Hufflepuff. “In 'Hogwart's a History' it says that Hogwart's is the best school in the UK. What other schools are there? Also, the muggle-born, we have dozens of them each year, where do they go to work? How many end up in the Ministry and do any end up leaving the wizarding world?”
Draco looked at Harry. “I heard my father mention that there were a few Muggle-born's in lower level positions but nothing that high. I’m sure Dumbledore could tell you after all he loves the Muggle-born's.”
Harry laughed. “Where did you get that idea.”
Another Slytherin piped up. “It is common knowledge. You hear it everywhere...” The student tapers off thinking. “Other than them actually being in classes with us and a lot of the first year classes they make sure Gryffindor and Hufflepuff are together which get most of the muggle-born's.”
Harry nodded. “What is your favorite fairy tale growing up?” All the students looked at Harry strangely.
Draco smirked. “'Deathly Hallow's,' why?”
Harry replied. “I was raised muggle, with no knowledge of the wizarding world before starting here at Hogwart's. I've never heard of 'Deathly Hallow's'. How will will I get along with my peers if common things like fairy tales aren’t known? If I said I liked the original 'Little Mermaid' versus the Disney Version would you even know what I am talking about?”
All the pure-blooded students shook there heads. “Disney? What is that?” The Ravenclaw nodded, looking thoughtful. “So even though the muggle-born's are allowed at school, they are not really integrated because of cultural differences and no attempts to teach them. I took muggle studies and never heard of this Disney you’re talking about. If it is that common it should have been mentioned.”
Harry nodded. “So you have a wizard teaching Muggle Studies that never lived as a muggle and doesn’t understand the society. Do you think we are getting an accurate picture of what is out there? Disney has been a major part of children growing up in the Muggle world since the 1940’s.”
Goyle looks at Harry. “There is no other school in Brittan for wizards. If you don’t go to Hogwart's, Beuxbauton's, or Drumstrang, you're home schooled.”
The Hufflepuff scowled. “So everyone in the government went to one school? My mother is muggle-born and I remember my Grandmother talking one time about the fact that four politicians went to the same school so they would all have the similar knowledge, she said that the school was fairly well known for one view point. If everyone in the government is going to one school...”
“Think of being in control of a country and you do it not with a takeover but by the children. It may take a few generations but if all the students are told the same thing and learn the same things. The first generation may still have some of the old memories because of their parents, but by the second or third? And as you continue on through generations think of what you could bring them to think is advanced when in fact you’re so far behind that it’s not funny.”
The Slytherin looked at Harry. “And the separation of the houses and the rivalries. With the in-school fighting we don’t pay a lot more attention. All our classes have lots of papers due so we are always busy but knowledge wise, not so much.”
“I want to see what was being done in the classes 500 years before. And you have to think it was in the last 400 or so years since all the ghosts and paintings are only that old.”
“Are you reachable by owl during the summer?”
Harry shook his head. “I doubt it since I never received an owl before my Hogwart’s letter. Also anyone know a good book on wards? I would like to look some things up.”
Draco looked at Harry. “We will see. How can we get the information to you during the summer if we cannot owl?”
“If you have something to write on I can give you my address, you can send it the muggle way. However, since I cannot do magic during the summer I wont be able to unshrink books or anything.”
“Why can’t you do magic during the summer?”
Harry looked over at him. “Supposedly no one can. Let me guess, you don’t have that restrictions and only the muggle-born are under it. And the teachers are in on it that is why our summer work is reading and papers.”
Draco looked aghast. “You cannot do magic during the summer!?”
Harry looked at him. “I’m living with Muggle's and I think it’s a part of the Headmaster's plan of ‘look how wonderful the wizarding world is compared to the muggle one’.”
Snape appeared suddenly behind Draco. “Potter, gloating again. Be glad I cannot dock points or Gryffindor would be down more already.”
The students were frowning until they heard Ron. “Harry, we need to hurry, you should of told me you were coming here, I would of come with you. Well Malfoy how does it feel to loose the Cup. Gryffindor proved its superiority over you evil Slytherin's didn’t it.” Harry threw his arm around Ron and led him off.
One of the older Slytherin's looked at Snape and raised an eyebrow. Snape looked at him and nodded then looked at Draco. “When you find the books he was talking about I will take you to see him, and if anyone has any other books for him send them to Draco or me, though we may make a trip out of it if he agrees. That was not the Potter of last week.”
One of the other Slytherin's noted. “No pictures in this hall, making sure no outside source for hearing what was said.”
A few more started listing off their various observations.
“He knew more people were here.”
“Wonder what Wards have to do with the old books?"
“My uncle has a lot of books on wards, I'll forward one of the better ones to him.”
“He doesn’t seem to trust the Headmaster.”
Draco looked at Snape. “So are the muggle-born’s the reason the summer homework is all reading and writing?”
Snape looked at Draco then around. “It could be, I just know when I wanted to assign some brewing for the summer Dumbledore made it sound like I was ruining everyone’s summer and if you think of people like Longbottom brewing without supervision.”
“Who all are going to ask about muggle-born and jobs?” A few raised their hands. The students nodded to each other and Snape then headed their own ways, all in thought.
Snape and Draco looked at the little house at 4 Privet Dr two weeks later with disgust. This mediocre home was were Potter had lived. The Potter line was almost as old as the Malfoy and Black lines and did intersect with them a few times. Draco looked at Snape “Why is he living in this place versus one of the Potter estates?”
Snape looked at Draco raising an eyebrow and nodded, then strode forward and knocked on the door.