Disclaimer: See chapter 1 (Spoiler, I own nothing in this story). Also, this is not a 'happy' chapter.
Japan was an enjoyable experience for the group. The Black Fortress, located just outside Okazaki, had one of the most extensive weapon collection of all the places they had visited, much to the delight of the Slayers. They put on a sparring show, which had most of the youth drooling. Some got slaps or elbows from their significant others, others got intrigued looks. The extensive gardens and grounds were tended to by dozens of house elves, dressed in Japanese inspired Black house elf uniforms. Don and Amelia Granger were the only ones who had been to Japan before, so they were nominated to play tour guide. It was during one of high speed train ride, a first for everyone, muggle and magical alike, that Tracey Davis took her opportunity to sit next to the Sunnydale natives and talk with them.
After the usual introductions and pleasantries, Tracey decided the time was right to begin delving for some much needed information to fill in her knowledge gaps on one Lord Alexander Black. She had studied Xander's friends with a critical eye throughout the trip. Calculating and measuring them with what she had learned during their travels, weighing her options, before she selected her target with appropriate care. She moved slowly to her target's side, positioned to isolate her from Professor Black and most of the others, especially the Slayer Buffy Summers, without being too obvious that that was what she was doing. With a perfectly crafted facade of sweetness and innocence, Tracy began to probe.
"So, Willow, what was it like growing up with Professor Black on the Trundle? Was it scary?" Anyone who knew Tracey would be suspicious at the innocence in her voice, but Willow didn't know her that well. She had no clue what Tracey was willing and capable of doing to meet her goals. Had Willow known who she was dealing with, she would have been far more guarded with even the most basic information.
"Trundle? I thought you called the Hellmouth a Drundle." Willow asked, slightly, nose scrunched up in confusion..
"Oh, that's right, sorry, I got mixed up. So what was it like?" Tracey played the naive girl well, she had had much experience with that particular mask.
"We always knew something was different, even when we were young. Too many childhood friends died or went missing not to, but it wasn't until we met Buffy that we knew what was going on. Once we knew about vampires, demons and stuff, it was a lot less scary, but still dangerous."
"How so, what kind of things did you face? I was hoping to get extra credit in my classes by writing a report on things found on a Drundle." Willows smile at the mention of extra school work made Tracey giddy with her success.
"Well, there are vampires, of course. Lots and lots of them. We fought some zombies once, and then there were the possessions. Plenty of those…"
For the next hour, under the guise of research, complete with Tracey taking notes from her magic notebook, Willow went on and on about their adventures in Sunnydale; the various demons they had fought, the vampires, the scourge of Europe, among their other zany adventures. Luckily for Tracey, her choking and coughing fit when Willow mentioned the Hyena incident was ignored. A couple of times some of the others wandered by, but when Tracey made it clear they were doing a school project, they all left quickly. Tracey was very thankful she thought to give Hermione a new book to prevent her from interrupting her secret-finding expedition. It was a very fruitful mission.
At the end of the train ride, the group, led by the Grangers, explored the wonderful and magical areas that Japan had to offer. It came to an end too soon, and after only two days in the country, they were saying goodbye to Japan, as well as Pernius Greengrass, who was headed back to England to take care of some business. He did take Daphne and Astoria aside, before leaving, and had a long private conversation with them individually, which had several of the nosier students, as well as Cordelia, interested in what was being said. They were both tight lipped, though. Daphne didn't even confide in Tracey.
After waiting an hour to pick up Xenophilius Lovegood in Bowen, Australia, they were ready to get to their destination. Due to some fairly typical magical disturbances in the Oceania region, they had had to take four portkeys to get from Japan to Australia, and still sit through a lengthy carpet ride to finally arrive at Black Reef.
Located on a small island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, the island mansion was surrounded by 360 degrees of perfect beaches, warm water that could be surfed on one side of the island and swam in on the other, hundreds of miles of coral reef filled with innumerable wonders held under the waters. One of the local merfolk tribes were on friendly terms with the house elves stationed at Black Reef, and they had agreed to take those who wanted on an underwater tour of the best sights the next day. Because of the travel difficulties in the area, and the fact that he wanted to give ample time for Fleur to be in a bikini, when Kreacher was establishing the travel plans Xander had pushed for spending a full 4 days at Black Reef instead of the usual 2-3 days for the other locations. When they got there and beheld the beauty of the reef island getaway, no one objected.
They arrived in the early afternoon to a perfect 90 degree temperature, normally hot to some but the constantly cool breeze dropped the temperature to make it heavenly beach weather. Everyone wasted no time getting more comfortable, which included Giles in a pair of shorts and sandals, shocking everyone from Sunnydale.
That Draco couldn't keep his eyes off of Astoria in her swimsuit annoyed Daphne to no end, and Tracey had to intervene before someone got his bits cursed off. As usual, Luna, accompanied by her father, talked with the elves about the strange and normal creatures living in and around the Great Barrier Reef.
Ron overheard Hermione's mom comment to her husband that, while charming in his naivety, she was glad Arthur would be leaving after this stop. His questions and excitement had worn on them, and they just wanted to relax. Ron, initially a little upset, calmed down when Harry admitted that they had a point, his dad could be overly excited about even the smallest of muggle things.
Fleur enjoyed sunbathing on the beach with Faith, the two of them had a private bet going on which one got the most stares, glares, and blushes. Buffy, their judge under mild protest, had them neck in neck.
Xander waited fifteen minutes after seeing Tracey and Roger sneaking to the far side of the island before ordering Nganhdhaar, one of the House Elves on the island, to drop a bucket of ice water over the two. He calmly sipped his pineapple drink out of it's coconut shell when the two came sheepishly stomping back to the lee side of the island, hair slightly damp.
That evening, while the elves cooked a type of small deer found on the island over an open fire, Narcissa, Arthur, and Sirius told tales of Hogwarts when they attended there. Xenophilius chimed in as well, but only added a few comments and never offered a full story of his own. Xander suspected the death of his wife still hurt, since Luna had told him her parents were inseparable all throughout school. No one pushed Xenophilius for more, and even Draco knew better than to comment about it out loud. The meal was, as always for meals prepared by Black house elves, delicious. Soon the kids were falling asleep under the stars as the couples were walking the beach finding their own secluded patch to call their own.
The morning sun and happily chirping birds awoke the group from their slumber, the smell of coffee and fresh food pulling them from their various resting places towards the main house. After being fed and watered, and a little bit of lounging around, everyone but Fleur and Giles prepared for the promised merfolk tour of the ocean. After applying the needed bubble-head charms, a novelty for those not used to wanded magic, they toured the reef, seeing colorful coral landscapes filled with hundreds of beautiful fish, turtles, porpoises, and sea snakes. After an underwater picnic of (what else) fish and chips, they headed back, right after touring the merfolk village and meeting the locals who helped watch over the island property for centuries.
Another gorgeous sunset and scrumptious meal, and the group was ready for another restful night.
A dozen widely spaced hammocks once again hung outside amongst the palm trees grove, careful charmed to protect against bugs and falling coconuts. The Hogwarts students lay chatting the night away watching for shooting stars. By unspoken design, Harry and Ron took one end of the grove, and Draco and Roger took the other, boxing in the girls in between. The non-Gryffindor males understood that there was significance to where each girl hooked up their hammock along the spectrum of the two groups, but what exactly it meant was unclear. Ron and Harry were blissfully ignorant of the other gender's ploys.
Giles, Faith, Sirius, Narcissa, and Arthur, being the only ones not paired off for the night, were enjoying the rooftop terrace view and one of the best bottles the wine cellar offered. Considering the island became property of the Black family in 1793, there was an expansive and expensive selection to choose from. Giles had to explain to his fellow British patriots, mages all, about the astronauts, space exploration, and the lunar missions after Faith pointed out several satellites passing by.
"So you are telling me that muggles have been into space, walked on the moon, and then gave up? No settlement on the moon, no exploration of other planets? They never went back? Why?" Sirius seemed offended at the lost opportunities.
"Hey, it's not like you wizards are much better. You live and act like you are still in the 1800s." Faith bit back with a smirk.
"Even still, the prospects of traveling outside this earth are incredible. I had heard rumors, but it seems another of the things those in the Ministry of Magic seem to want to keep away from the public. If we could get around the Statute of Secrecy, and find the right partners, combining magic with space exploration could be quite profitable for our families." Narcissa reasoned. "It could restore the Black family name to what it was before Uncle's death, and give some diversity to the Malfoy holdings. While I doubt your family, Arthur, could afford to contribute monetarily, your penchant and skill for enchanting muggle items would prove valuable in the research and execution phases."
"I doubt Molly would allow us to work for your husband. Death Eater and all." While not drunk, the fine wine had loosened the Weasley's tongue to be a bit more truthful and brash than normal. Narcissa, though, ignored it as it was a valid point.
"And my husband would never agree to work with muggle technology. We all have our faults, but this would have to be a Black venture, with the aid of the Malfoys and Weasleys. If we wish, the involvement we provide could be kept discreet, silent partners, so to speak. I know I will not be divulging details of this potential business arrangement to my husband. I would be using my own resources, with profits placed in a vault accessible to Draco when he is ready."
"This is all theoretical until you can discuss matters with Xander. He controls the Black family, and though he is thinking about returning Sirius here into the family, Sirius has no say in the matter currently." Giles attempted to table the topic for later, sensing the rising tension at the mention of Voldemort's henchmen and Narcissa's familial connection to them.
"Quite true, but, as you say, this is a theoretical, so what harm is there in fleshing out details to present to the Lord Black in the morning, after he is finished with his 'stroll'?" Faith laughed at the Malfoy matriarch's innuendo. She had not been partaking in the libations yet, but Faith had found throughout this trip that Narcissa's sense of humor was compatible with her own.
"Well, if this is theoretical, I'd have to look at the sprockets and see which parts can be enchanted. We'd have to take the actual research and business outside England to one of the countries that has less strict regulations on muggle artifact enchanting. The African nations, perhaps, or Cuba. Those would be prime sites. My office is always called in when those countries import goods, just to make sure. They have the most fascinating way of enchanting…" Arthur's admiring commentary trailed off as he looked off into the distance. Following his frown and gaze, the other adults looked to see what caused the interruption.
"What's wrong?" Sirius asked. He had never known Arthur to voluntarily end a spiel concerning muggle inventions.
"I thought I saw some of the torches go out on the beach. Must be my mind playing tricks on me, got confused by the stars relections. Anyway, Cuba." Arthur Weasley was about to start back into his discussion when he saw more lights flicker out. He was just about to say something else when four figures leapt onto the roof. Each wore a black bodysuit and ski mask, covering the entire body except for the fanged mouths and yellowed demonic eyes.
Faith reacted first, smoothly grabbing the nearby empty bottle of wine and, in a single spinning motion, pivoted on her left foot and flung the heavy glass bottle at the nearest vampire. Without stopping to admire how that caused the monster to fly off the roof and fall thirty feet, she picked up her lounging chair and flung it at two of the remaining vampires in the same smooth spin. One was able to dodge out of the way, but the other also toppled over the edge. By this time, three more figures joined the remaining two vampires, and the rest of the adults had started to react to the intruders. Sirius got off a cutting curse, decapitating and dusting one of the vampires, but not before the group grabbed Narcissa and threw her off the terrace. Her screams as she fell echoed in the island before coming to a halt after 1.36 seconds with a sickening crunch.
Faith charged into the nearest grouping of three, punching and kicking at every knee, face, and elbow she could reach. She screamed for a stake, and heard someone, probably Giles, breaking apart some of the wooden furniture. After disabling two of the attackers with dislocated joints, she turned to catch a thrown impromptu stake and proceeded to stake the downed vampire while avoiding a kick from the still ambulatory ones. At a shout from someone to get down, Arthur she thought, she fell straight on her back and looked up just in time to watch as a wave of fire torched the remaining vampires. With a resolute look on his face, Arthur Weasley swept his wand from side to side. The flame from his wand was guided by his magic and his will toward the remaining targets. Shaking off her moment of jealousy of magic, Faith kip-upped back to her feet and saw half of the vampires rolling on the ground, on fire, while the rest fled off the terrace.
Flashes of light and the tell-tale sound of combat at the coconut tree grove informed the group that there were more attackers going after the children, but before they could move to help, spellfire started to rain down on them from above. Faith caught a glimpse of a fuzzy figure on a broom in the sky before being hit by a blue curse, causing her joints to feel like they were dislocated. Giles ran and picked her up, racing towards the door leading inside and cover from the spellfire, when they heard a loud explosion from the far beach. Not having time to process it, Giles placed her on a chair in the solarium while Sirius applied the counter-curse, painfully allowing her to move once again. It was then that Faith noticed Arthur hadn't made it inside with them.
It had started off nice enough for Buffy and Riley. They had found a nice spot overlooking the beach and brought one of the mansion's blankets charmed to keep away the cold and to repel any sand or bugs that might fall on it. The two lay cuddling, watching the waves roll in, when Buffy heard a snapping branch behind them. She immediately became alert, so when she sensed a ripple in the air she reacted by pushing Riley off the blanket one way while she rolled off the other. Both evaded the chair-sized boulder that landed in the middle of the blanket, which would have killed or seriously injured them had they not moved.
Turning to where the rock came from, Buffy saw a cloaked figure in a silver mask pointing their wand towards her. As the Death Eater, no one else would wear that getup, cast a red spell at her, she rolled back over the blanket (behind the rock now pinning the blanket to the ground) and grabbed Riley, racing towards some nearby trees for cover. Before being blocked from view, she saw a dozen figures rise out of the waves running towards the mansion. Another red spell impacted the tree next to Buffy, and she focused her attention on getting herself and Riley back to the others in the mansion, where the majority of their weapons were stored.
With Draco out of sight, Ron could pretend that that part of their group wasn't part of this amazing adventure, which improved his mood significantly. For that, Harry and Hermione were grateful. For every civil conversation Ron was forced to have with the only Malfoy heir, there was a long and loud rant waiting for them in their private quarters. At least there was Luna and Daphne nearby for Hermione to chat with before they all fell asleep. While the boys talked about quidditch and what they wanted to do in the morning, Hermione, Luna and Daphne huddled together in one of the oversized hammocks to discuss the boys themselves.
"Hermione, spill on Harry. What's he like, and are the rumors true about him?" Daphne pried. She would prefer to talk with Hermione without Luna present, but her being there helped the Gryffindor girl relax some, and Luna earned it after everything she had done for Daphne this year. Maneuvering to get their introductions to Lord Black was just the tip of the iceberg.
"Why so much interest in Harry?" Hermione asked, eyes narrowing suspiciously. Ever since the beginning of the year, Daphne was spending more and more time with one of her best friends. It wasn't that she was jealous of the new female influence on Harry, an influence who was smart, beautiful, wealthy, connected, and was tutoring him in customs that she herself struggled to learn. No, not jealous at all. Simply cautious, that's all.
"Isn't it obvious? She plans on using him the same way you use him, Hermione. I have to admit, I thought about trying to use him that way also, but I realize now that using him like that wouldn't work for me, too much pudding at risk. Plus, I never did like the look of vinegar on wedding cake." Luna chimed in. Before Hermione could protest, or even figure out what Luna had said, a woman's blood curdling scream pierced the night air. The three girls tumbled out of their hammock, huddling together after getting untangled from the cloth. Harry and Ron came stumbling towards them.
"Is everything alright? We heard a scream," Ron asked. He gave a scowl towards Daphne. While not as bad as Draco, Ron had trouble accepting Daphne as anything more than another interloper who didn't belong, always muttering about how she was probably spying on them for the other slimy Slytherins.
"It came from the house. Wands out, you reckon?" Daphne asked, pulling her wand and readying to use it just in case. Harry already had his out, and was scanning the surrounding area. The others soon followed suit, and they started walking towards the other Hogwarts students on the other side of the palm tree grove. A black clad figure ran towards them from the beach, snarling as it lunged towards them with outstretched hands.
"Stupefy," Harry cast instantly, hitting them in the chest. The attacker fell down and slip a few feet, the sliding on sand ripping the mask off of his face. Slowly, the attacker rose to his feet again, yellow demonic eyes, fangs, and ridged brow, and growled menacingly, drawing a cry of alarm from them all.
"Stupefy," "Stupefy," "Incendio," "Lumos Maxima," "Diffindo," They all cried out. As the five jets of spellfire hit the vampire, it exploded into dust.
"Bloody vampires, how in Merlin's name did they get here? We got to get the others and get inside." Daphne swore as she started jogging through the sand towards the other students. Ahead, they could see spells being cast on the roof of the mansion. Two more vampires jumped out of the trees, one landing on Daphne and the other on Harry.
As Daphne was forced to the ground, wand lost in the shuffle, the vampire let out a gleeful laugh. Never before, not even with the Chernabog or when cornered by Those 7th year Slytherins when she was a Firstie, had she felt this much fear. She could hear the others fighting back, but it would be too late for her. The vampire held her down with his hands, one on her neck and the other her hips, too strong for Daphne to break free, struggle though she may. She was facing the wrong way to allow her to swing her arms effectively. He brought his fangs closer to her neck, sniffing eagerly as saltwater dropped from his wet hair, and prepared to feast.
"Flipendo," cast Ron, causing the vampire about to bite her to fly through the air. It's claws ripped through her top as it was forced away, exposing three long red gashes on the side of her lower torso. Daphne bit back and cry of pain and scrambled to her fallen wand before coming upright, pushing the fear down as best she could. She nodded to Ron in thanks, right before another vampire tackled him, slamming them both into a palm tree, cracking the trunk and probably several bones. Luna and Hermione had to jump out of the way of falling coconuts. One vampire wasn't as quick, his crushed skull, leaving him to be easy pickings for an incendio spell that dusted him. Hermione cast a full body bind on the vampire that tackled Ron, causing both to fall to the ground, the vampire stiffly and Ron limply. Harry cast a incendio in his face, causing the undead demon to burst into flames.
Looking around while Luna cast a medical diagnostic spell on Ron, Daphne realized they were where her sister and others had bedded for the night, but the hammocks were empty. Daphne figured they had already made their way to the house. Any other reason for their absence would have her irrational and possibly incapacitate her with worry and fear, so they had to be safe inside. She cast a Tanning charm at a vampire charging them, which blinded it with screaming pain, but the vampire's clothes prevented the spell from being lethal to them. Daphne cursed to herself for forgetting that limitation, and cast a Bombarda at the same time Hermione cast a Severing charm, ending one more threat to them. The two continued their lookout, along with Harry, while Luna finished her examination.
"He's hurt, and needs a better healer than we are. I can levitate him inside, but you'll have to cover us," Luna stated more seriously than at any point any of them had known her. If it wasn't for the fact that they thought it an impossibility, they could almost sense the anger beneath her words.
"Let's go. I'll take point, you two on the sides. We run as fast as Luna and Ron can go." Harry commanded with the authority of one who had truly seen combat before, and was not bothered by making the tough decisive decisions. Hermione knew Harry didn't know he had this side to him, but she had seen it several times before, always when the stakes were high. It was one of the reasons she trusted Harry to lead them when they were in danger.
They went as fast as they could, sticking to casting the quick spells at the vampires to slow their progress, like Jelly Leg jinxes or Leg Locker curses, as opposed to the more intensive and lengthy blasting or cutting curses. They were halfway to the safety of the house when a Death Eater emerged from the rocks to their left. Daphne saw him first and quickly cast an Obscuro to blindfold him. It wouldn't hold, but it bought her a few seconds more to act. She got off an expulso, shattering a statue next to the death eater and cutting into him with the exploding fragments before he recovered, casting a Conjunctivitis at Daphne. Her eyes immediately began to swell as she blindly continued to run, but she lost her balance and tripped over something. She could hear more spells, explosions, and snarls before a hand grabbed her roughly, dragging her away. She began the wand movement for a Relashio when she heard Harry cast the counter-curse to reverse the swelling in her eyes. Ahead of them, Ron, Hermione (with blood stained clothes), and Luna crossed the Black mansion threshold, and hopefully into safety from the vampires.
Daphne and Harry didn't have that safety.
As Harry took her hand and dragged her to her feet, two vampires appeared, flanking a short death eater. A quick expelliarmus from Harry was blocked casually, with two binding spells being returned. Daphne managed to summon a palm frond to block the one cast at her, but Harry's attempt to dodge failed, confining him with a thick barbed wire. To his credit, he didn't cry out when he struggled to free himself, the barbs digging into his skin making his naked torso slick with red blood and sand. Thinking quickly, Daphne cast a lumos maxima at her enemies, blinding them temporarily, before banishing the still bound Harry through the front window of the mansion. He'd be cut up and hurt, but at least he would be safe inside.
Daphne turned once more, possibly for the last time, to face those who wished her harm. The vampires were halfway to her, and a deep red spell was headed for her. She rolled away, but that only gave the vampires enough time to pounce on her.
When they were within feet of her, a concussive blast rocked the ground beneath them, a giant worm, no it was a snake, made of the sand itself, swallowed the invaders whole. Daphne and the death eater were knocked to their backs before the snake dove back underground, only to appear seconds later to try to eat the death eater. Unfortunately, the wizard took those seconds to quickly mount his broom and speed off into the sky. Daphne looked around, bewildered, and saw Lady Malfoy, laying on the ground with broken legs and a bloody head, feebly holding her wand in the direction of her conjured sand snake.
Daphne ran toward her housemate's mother, to help, or heal, or thank her for saving her life. As she got there, four more vampires jumped out of the shadows, and it was everything Daphne and Narcissa could do to keep them at bay. These were quicker than the other vampires, always dodging their blasts of fire or cutting curses. When they were hit by their spells, they only seemed to stagger them, not kill them.
It led to one horrifying conclusion. These had to be Master Vampires.
One of them got close enough to Daphne to knock her wand aside. With one hand gripped around her throat, choking her, the female vampire brought Daphne's neck close in to feast upon. Sharp pain exploded as fangs pierced her jugular vein. Daphne scream was silenced by the vampire's hand squeezing her throat even more. She tried to punch and kick her way free, but the rapid blood loss was beginning to affect her, and she could feel the darkness closing in. Some distant part of her mind saw Mrs. Malfoy point her wand at her, then suddenly both Daphne and the vampire gripping her neck were flying. Her head jerked in agony as she passed through the same window she had banished Harry through, the vampire's grasp breaking due to the threshold. It set Daphne spinning across the room, where she painfully impacted with a large bookcase, dropping some of old tomes it contained onto her damaged body. The last thing she saw was the Advanced Guide to Curses falling directly onto her head, then nothing.
Cordelia and Xenophilius were hugging when they first heard the sounds of fighting. For the last hour, she had been listening to him talk about his wife. It wasn't anything personal, or private, not really, just the things he missed about her. Her smile, the way she would knead the dough four times before baking biscuits, how proud she would have been of their little girl. Near the end, they both were in tears, the love he had for his late wife overwhelming both of them. Xenophilius told of his clinging to the fantastical animals he hunted with his daughter, how it started when he, his wife Pandora, and little baby Luna would work in the garden, and Pandora would tell Luna wild stories filled with magical beasts and hidden secrets. As the years went on, the stories became larger and wilder, befitting the imagination of a growing girl.
With his wife's accidental death, Xenophilius was lost, broken without his second, his better, half. It was only Luna's soft crying from the garden, some weeks after the funeral, that Xenophilius snapped out of his stupor. He told Cordelia how that day, he went outside and retold one of the stories Pandora had told them. It wasn't as elegant, or fancy, or even logical, like Pandora had made them, but it was the best he could do. For the first time since the accident, Luna smiled. Since then, he had continued to tell her stories, to honor her mother and to see the smile once more. He was afraid if he told her the truth, that the stories were made up, he would lose her again. It would be like Pandora dying once again, and he knew he wouldn't survive that. He cried, unable to contain his widower pain any longer, held in the comforting embrace of a stranger that held no prejudices and told no lies, something that Xenophilius had never encountered in all of England.
The tears stopped, though, when a scream rent the night air. Immediately, the wizard drew his wand and cast a family spell on the two of them, rendering them completely invisible to every sense. He had rarely used it in his life, primarily on their family hunting trips when they were in dangerous territory, but he knew this island now counted as dangerous territory. A second later, seven vampires ran past them towards the mansion. Only Xenophilius' hand over Cordelia's mouth prevented her startled cry, which would have been a death sentence for them had the vampires heard. The spell, taught to all Lovegoods as a wedding present, had its limits to how much sound it would negate. Slowly, they made their way forward, watching for monsters lurking in the shadows. He wondered where the estate defenses were, and how vampires, of all creatures, made it to this island. Things were not looking good.
He had to find his Luna.
The Repelling, Silencing, and Obscuring charms might have saved Xander and Fleur's life initially from vampire and death eater attacks, but those wards Fleur placed on the patch of beach they were on also prevented them from knowing there was trouble elsewhere on the island. It was only when Nganhdhaar popped in that they became aware. The elf's bloody clothes and bleeding ear stopped their activities cold, turning Xander's angry yell for the interruption into immediate concern. Before Fleur could finish grabbing her wand when Nganhdhaar mentioned vampires and death eaters attacking, Xander was already running at top speed, left hand extended backwards with the Force summoning his wand, left next to Fleur. His right hand was extended forward, calling with the Force for his lightsaber to come to him from their bedroom in the beach house. The moment he stepped outside Fleur's wards, the cries and screams, both auditory and through the Force, swept over Xander.
Three vampires charged Xander before his weapons could get to him. He took a moment to shift his focus from summoning his wand to Force pushing them away, causing them to tumble backwards, one into a palm tree, the others into the ocean. He resumed his summoning, having not stopped his race towards the mansion. His lightsaber arrived, already ignited and spinning, just in time to cut down a sneaking vampire Xander sensed through the Force. He could sense Fleur hot on his trail but losing ground, unable to keep up with his Force imbued speed as he continued to clear the way for them both.
There was a life force on top of the roof, fading fast, and Xander Force leaped the entire way up. A kinetic push scattered the dozen or so vampires gathered around the broken and bleeding body of Arthur Weasley. Xander acted quickly, spinning in an arc designed to maximize the range of his lightsaber's deadly arc. Seven vampires dusted immediately, either hearts or heads destroyed, and another four were now missing limbs. The remaining whole bloodsuckers were rising back up, angry that the newcomer had interrupted their fun. They hadn't noticed their missing conspirators, or didn't care about them.
Knowing Arthur didn't have much time, Xander opted to continue his delay tactic instead of attacking. Summoning the Force, he threw another kinetic wave at them, knocking them over the side of the ledge and into the ocean waves. He quickly turned, grabbed his wand which had finally arrived, disengaging his lightsaber, and put his weapons away before gently picked up the unconscious, bleeding, and near dead Weasley patriarch. As fast as Arthur could handle it, Xander jogged into the interior of the building, headed to where he could sense the others on the first floor. It didn't look good. The entire parlor was bloodstained from the injured, the stench of dead vampire dust floating in the air.
Giles was huddled over Faith, massaging her elbows while looking more angry than he had ever seen her. Sirius was performing what healing magic he could on a limp and unconscious Ron while Hermione and Luna looked on. Astoria and Tracey were also there, though Tracey was unconscious on a couch, a prominent green glowing scar going down the length of her right leg. Her head was already bandaged, so she was probably stable.
"Found him upstairs, he's losing a lot of blood. He won't last long." Xander announced. Astoria moved over to where Xander placed Arthur on the floor and quickly cast a blood replenishing charm, replacing the precious fluid already darkening the floor.
"My mom taught us this, it helps with cramps. We don't know where Daphne is," Astoria unspoken plea was clear. Xander nodded his head in understanding, and started walking towards the outside door when Nganhdhaar popped in with Fleur. The elf dropped to one knee with the exertion, still bleeding from injuries sustained earlier.
"By the way, you're naked," Astoria stated flatly.
Xander flushed slightly on reflex, but didn't care much due to the circumstances. He conjured up a simple brown robe to cover himself without breaking stride, loose enough to fight in without getting tangled up. He heard Fleur casting healing spells behind him. She had a talent for them, so the injured would be in good hands. According to his syllabus, he wouldn't be practicing any healing for at least another four months, knowledge that would have been useful tonight. He might not be able to heal, but he sure could attack those harming his family, both the ones from Sunnydale and the ones from England.
As he was entering the last hallway before getting to the front door, a loud thump and subsequent crash drew his attention to the western facing solarium. Xander kicked in the door, not sure what to expect, and found a struggling Harry Potter bound with barb wire and an unconscious Daphne underneath a fallen bookcase. Before he could move to either of them, two death eaters entered through the broken bow window. Each had their wand drawn and spell on their lips.
Xander charged without hesitation.
Casting a shield spell out of the wand in his left hand to protect Harry from one of the terrorists, Xander was forced to attempt to parry the other death eater's spell with his lightsaber. Luckily, it was one of the ones that interacted with the Jedi weapon. His training with Morgan discovered about a third of the spells passed by the blade without any effect. The spell flew into the ceiling, causing scorch marks as it hit.
Xander spun, attempting to hit both wizards with his blade, but one was too quick, jumping back before Xander could get in range. He was able to sever a few fingers, though. The second wizard, however, lost his life as he became two separate entities. Xander took a moment to Relashio the barb wire around Harry before ordering Harry to help Daphne into the parlor. His heart ached seeing Daphne in the state she was in, and an extra flare of rage exploded when he saw two puncture marks in her neck as Harry carried her bridal style out of the battle marked solarium and towards the others. Her faint moans assured him that she was still alive, if barely, and would not become a member of the undead.
Only after Harry left did Xander jump through the window after the fleeing wizard. A group of vampires huddled on the ground thirty feet from the mansion. He couldn't see or sense the death eater who fled, so he Force lept next to them, thrusting his lightsaber through the heads of three who were perfectly lined up. A half sweep took care a several more, scattering those lucky enough to be the opposite direction of Xander's deadly radius. As the dust from the exploding vampires settled, why so many were gathered in one place became clear. The ripped and torn body of Narcissa Malfoy stared up at Xander with lifeless eyes, throat ripped open and bite marks covering all her exposed skin. Fury stirred up inside Xander, begging to be released upon those who wronged him this night.
The ones who used to be drinking the blood of Xander's cousin surged back, intent on drinking the life force of the Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. In a blur, all remaining vampires were dusted, head and torsos severed. Narcissa's blank stare continued looking at Xander, now twenty feet away and boiling with near overwhelming wrath. Buffy and Riley startled Xander temporarily when they burst through the grove of palms, racing towards the mansion's sheltering threshold. Xander shouted for them to hurry, but was powerless to stop an unseen green killing curse from striking Riley in the shoulder. The wizard who cast it, forty feet above them in the air and disillusioned on his broom, laughed maniacally and readied his wand to cast again. Xander ignored Buffy's anguished cries and reached out his hand towards the flying figure, reaching out to him with the Force.
He could sense him with the Force, how he moved, how he held himself. The Force permeated the wizard, held him together. Xander manipulated that same Force as he closed his hand, gripping the killer tightly in the invisible essence he controlled. As commanded, the Force began to restrict the flier steadily, cutting off circulation in his limbs and causing his pain nerves to send thousands of signals to their brain saying something was squeezing the body, and it was at a breaking point. Cracking bones echoed in the night, forcing the death eater to drop his wand. With a tight grip, Xander jerked his fist downward, slamming him into the beach. Xander raised his arm again, forcing the body to lift again in the air. Again, Xander slammed him down, again, and again, and again. Xander could feel the life drain out of the murderer, in contrast to Riley who's life connection to the living Force was severed suddenly.
With disgust, he released his grip of the broken and dying wizard.
The sky above began to gather dark clouds, mimicking the attitude of the only known Force user in the world. The death of Narcissa and Riley, the life threatening injuries to his students and friends, his family in pain and agony. It was too much, and Xander let the hatred for the soulless undead and their wand wielding bottom feeding terrorist masters roll over and through him. The siren song of the Dark side was strong and Xander didn't even try to resist.
They must pay.
They will pay.
A thousand times over, they will all pay for the lives taken this night.
Buffy was too occupied trying to get some reaction out of her boyfriend to notice a trio of vampires approach her. Xander did, and threw lightning out of his outstretched palm. His wand, half buried in the sand when he dropped it to deal with the flying menace, lay forgotten. It only took a few second before the undead burst into flames, but Xander kept up the stream until they were completely incinerated. By this time, Buffy was staring at Xander in surprised horror. He didn't see the black aura of the Dark side emanating from him, nor the crackling lightning jumping along his pitch black robe, but she did. He turned to her with fury dancing in his yellow tinted eyes.
"Riley is dead. Get inside and protect the others. I'll take care of those still outside." It was a command, issued with authority and supported with a raw power that the Slayer recognized and obeyed. Even as he moved towards the next group of evil he sensed, Xander knew Buffy would do what he said because he commanded it. Some of his people were still out there, and he had so many enemies to strike down to get to them.