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Posted August 3, 2005
Fan Fiction: Unexpected Connections
Title: Unexpected Connections
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Summary: B:tVS/A:tS, Harry Potter. Neville acquires a new guardian. 1950 words.
Spoilers: Post-"Not Fade Away" and "Half Blood Prince"; AU for Book 7
Notes: Originally posted as two separate short fic; the first for the August Fic-A-Day event, and as an answer to TtH #639; the second as a request fic.
In the aftermath of the Wizarding world's second war against Voldemort, very few pureblooded families of any allegiance were left intact. Those loyal to the Order of the Phoenix had been decimated in a series of targeted Death Eater raids, and the Death Eaters themselves had not survived the final battle. The sacrifice of the last of the horcruxes, and the death of the Dark Lord himself, had had an unexpected effect on those bearing the Dark Mark: to a man they had collapsed in agony, dying slowly as every ounce of magical energy drained from their bodies and followed their leader's fragmented soul into the void.
There was very little in the way of celebration afterward. Perhaps if there had been a triumphant, surviving hero-- but the savior of the first war had been a necessary casualty of the second, and the man who'd enabled him to track Voldemort down and put an end to it all had been caught up in the backwash of the Morsmordre like any other Death Eater. (Not that they'd have praised him anyway, with the death of Hogwarts' greatest Headmaster on his record). The survivors had gathered around Minerva McGonagall in the absence of any other figurehead, and the stern Scotswoman was more concerned with restructuring than laughter and cheer.
It was in the name of restructuring that Neville Longbottom found himself in the Headmistress' office six weeks shy of his eighteenth birthday. He was already technically of age, but Hogwarts rules required all students to have a permanent guardian of record while attending the institution, and he still (unlike many of his surviving classmates) intended to return for his NEWTs when the school finally opened again that fall. He was not the only one in like situation, but his grandmother's will had made his arrangements a little more complicated than most: she'd left everything to a mysterious Longbottom great-great-uncle by the name of William with a birthdate somewhere in the ballpark of Dumbledore's. McGonagall had never heard of him, nor had any of the Order's other remaining members; they'd finally tracked him down though Hogwarts records, which showed he'd attended and graduated as a Hufflepuff of mediocre standing in the 1870's. It had come as a surprise to everyone when the post-owl sent to notify the old man of Neville's needs had actually flown away, indicating that he was still among the living.
The return owl had been terse and to the point, requesting a meeting at the school at two o'clock on June 15th. Neville had arrived three hours early, vibrating with nerves, and had spent most of that waiting period in the Room of Requirement practicing his repertoire of hexes to burn the energy off. He didn't want to be worried about what this elderly, unknown relative might think of him, about whether his (lack of) Potions expertise would be scoffed at and whether the man would turn up his nose at his Herbology talent, but he'd found he couldn't help it; this William, whoever he was, was the only Longbottom left other than Neville and he'd been raised to believe in the importance of family.
The fire flared green right on schedule, and Neville tensed as the flames leapt up and a figure came through. What would he be like? Grandfatherly or strict? Arthritic and age-bent, or still spry and energetic? He didn't know what to expect...
...but whatever he'd been anticipating, the man who arrived certainly wasn't it. Neville's jaw dropped as he stared, drinking in the visitor's appearance. He couldn't be over a hundred and forty years old! He looked thirty, if that, with short platinum-bleached hair showing dark, curly roots and a lean frame clad in some kind of Mugglewear. He had blue, piercing eyes and a scar through one eyebrow, and the expression on his face was somewhere between irritated and amused. Maybe it wasn't him?
The visitor nixed that idea almost immediately. "So," he said, staring back at Neville. "You must be m'nephew."
"You're William Longbottom?" McGonagall exclaimed, saving Neville from asking the question.
The man snorted at the name, darting a disapproving glance in her direction. "Haven't answered to that name in a very long time, luv, and don't intend to start now. Call me Spike."
Spike?! Neville mouthed the name in disbelief. So much for expecting a routine (if subdued) year of school now that Voldemort was gone. Somehow, he had the feeling that things would only get more chaotic from here.
Upholding the Family Honor
"You'd be the Bloke Who Survived, then," Spike said, studying the muscular, slightly awkward-looking young man he'd just been made responsible for.
It had been a long time since he'd had much of anything to do with the Wizarding world. Oh, he'd seen signs of it often enough: dark-robed men casting jets of green light during the Second World War, the occasional glimpse of someone disappearing into a certain pub on Charing Cross Road, owls and fireworks in the daytime when Potter put paid to that Voldemort nutter the first time, and back issues of wizarding papers nicked from establishments like Rack's. He'd made no effort to get involved, however; after what had happened to his Mum, he'd wanted nothing more to do with any of his blood relations.
Not to mention what Angelus would have done, had he known that William Longbottom had been a wand-wizard before his death. Even newly turned and giddy with freedom from the social and cultural limitations that had shackled him in life, he'd known better than to brag of his magical abilities. All that would have bought him was a leash and a collar, if he were lucky: a place as a favoured minion like his man Dalton back in Sunnydale, perhaps, but a minion all the same, valued only for what he could do for his Master. He much preferred being a Master in his own right. Besides, wasn't anything magic could get for him that he couldn't earn with fists and fangs, and enjoy it a hell of a lot more in the doing.
That hadn't changed much in the years since he'd gone to Sunnydale, lost Drusilla, gained and lost Buffy, reclaimed his soul, burnt up in the Hellmouth, and finally joined up with Angel again in Los Angeles. If it hadn't been for Peaches' untimely death wish, he might even be there still-- but with Brood Boy and his pet Watcher both dead, and Buffy by all accounts living the high life with the Immortal, he'd been rootless for the first time in more than a hundred years. He didn't know quite what to do with himself when he wasn't needed, and Illyria hardly counted; she was rather like a pet dragon, dangerous as hell even when she was in a good mood. He'd brought her over to England to check up on some old haunts and maybe find a safe place to put her, and when the Headmistress' letter had arrived it had been a welcome distraction.
Pity about the owl, but Illyria had been hungry, and it had given Spike an excuse to venture into Diagon for the first time in a century. He'd bought a new post-owl, wandered the shadows of the Alley a bit, and finally picked up a new wand-- willow and unicorn hair, of all the unlikely combinations.
And now he was at Hogwarts, face to face with his nephew. Lad didn't look much like a Longbottom, though. Must take after his mother, or some other line brought in after William's half-brother's time.
The boy had grimaced a bit at Spike's comment and looked down, scuffing a shoe on the floor. "It's just Neville, actually," he replied. "Harry was the one who faced Voldemort. I only helped make sure he got there."
Right. Like the Scoobies, who for all their uselessness at times had more than once "only" helped the Slayer manage a victory she couldn't have won on her own. "Doesn't mean you aren't a hero in your own right, you know," Spike said, generously. "Now, come on; straighten up, let me have a look at you. What's your specialty, then? I took NEWTs in History, Ancient Runes, and Herbology, though fat lot of good they did me. Should have paid more attention in Defense."
McGonagall, who had been observing their conversation with a pinched, concerned expression, relaxed behind her desk as the conversation turned to more innocuous topics. Spike vowed to curse her robes a size smaller the very first moment he could chance it without being caught; might do her good to feel as uncomfortable as her visitors for a change.
Neville seemed to brighten up a bit as he answered. "I'm taking three, as well. Defense and Charms, of course, but Herbology's my best subject," he said. "I earned an Outstanding on my OWL. The Minister offered to let me go into the Aurors with Ron after the war, but Professor Sprout said she'd take me on as an apprentice if I earned an Outstanding on my NEWT, too; that's why I've come back."
"Good plan, that," Spike nodded, approvingly. "Always a good idea to finish your education, and besides, I'd wager you've had enough of battles to last you three lifetimes."
He'd given Dawn the exact same advice, and she couldn't be much older than the boy in front of him. And wasn't that a scary thought; a Longbottom and Summers in the same generation. Good thing the monks hadn't written a letter from Salem into her memories along with everything else; she'd been enough of a handful as it was.
"Got a bird, then?" he prompted further.
Neville nodded and squared his shoulders. "Her name's Luna Lovegood," he said defiantly, as though expecting Spike to object. "She fought with us, the DA. She's taking her NEWTs this year too, and then she's going to work for her father."
"Lovegood?" Spike blinked, startled. "Blonde bint, bulgy blue eyes, talks a lot of nonsense?"
"It's not nonsense!" Neville objected immediately, scowling at him. "She just sees things differently from most people, is all."
Spike laughed at that. "I wasn't complaining, Nev; my Dru was a bit of a seer herself, and hardly made a lick of sense in all the hundred years I knew her. No; it's just I met your Luna, at the Leaky Cauldron yesterday afternoon. She showed me an article she'd been writing about the Scourge of Europe and asked my opinion on it. Bloody fantastic piece of writing." It was a shame Angelus wasn't around to read it, in fact; would drive him round the bend to see some of the things she'd said about him. He'd saved a copy to show Illyria later.
"She's the smartest witch I know," Neville allowed, relaxing a bit, "except maybe Hermione."
Bit of a Hufflepuff in Gryffindor clothing, it seemed; loyal to his friends and fierce in their defense. Spike approved.
"Well, then. I think that's covered the basics. How about you show me around the castle? I'll tell you what's changed since I studied here, you can show me this Room of Requirement the papers have been on about, and then we can join your friends for supper. Should be enough time for us to decide whether or not we're willing to put up with one another."
Neville glanced over at the Headmistress; she gave him a brief nod, and he turned back to Spike with a cautiously hopeful expression. "All right," he said. "And maybe a tour of the greenhouses?"
Yes, the boy definitely had promise. And it was only a year, after all.
Spike gestured toward the office door with a satisfied smirk. "Lead on."
© 2008 Jedi Buttercup.