Chapter 17 – Battle
Despite their sneak-attack being foiled, the Death Eaters still managed to get the drop on their enemies. The Aurors had been complacent in their certainty that the wards of Hogwarts would prevent any Death Eater from apparating to the grounds, and instead had sent several scouts into the Forbidden Forest.
Voldemort had taken no chances this battle and even though the demons weren't part of the battle yet, they could still transport his followers through what were flimsy wards to the demons.
The Aurors attempted to take the Death Eaters on, despite being outnumbered – but years of dueling had left their mark on both sides. Single dual matches developed between the younger and inexperienced members of each side. Even the older and elite members falling victim to the habit.
Those who have never been in a true battle can't even begin to imagine the chaos – where dumb luck is more important than any skill. Most who would die will have died never seeing the face of their enemy; for there is no honor in battle.
Humans never learned to truly appreciate the chaos inherent in battle; too close minded to be able to focus on multiple targets and objectives at once. But demons – demons lived for those moments between the chaos. The moments in which they moved and flowed, attacking and retreating only to attack once more. The Elite were masters in this art; stabbing those in the middle of duels and their attention elsewhere.
Harry and Slayer watched just outside the doors of Hogwarts as the battle raged – guarding the castle and staying out of the brunt of the battle. As much as Slayer would love to dive into battle, her priority was still to her master who needed to stay safe until Voldemort showed. The boy wizard had thought he'd known what a battle was after the Department of Mysteries but now he realized he was wrong. Everywhere there were flashes of light, and falling bodies and it was hard to tell who were your allies or your enemies.
"Watch the Elite," Slayer shouted over the noise from the battle. Harry looked at his demon curiously, but focused on the other demons. Immediately, he was struck by how different the demons moved. Wizards on both sides stood still as they fired; never moving more than five feet from the original position. But the demons moved through the battle slashing at anyone within reach, not caring who they were killing. It was then Harry was able to discern that they were winning the battle – mostly because of the Elite.
Figuring that Harry had figured it out, Slayer continued, "Voldemort is going to have to send in his demon allies soon, or he won't have any followers left. When the demons come, he'll come."
"How do you know?"
Slayer grinned in appreciation as she watched an Auror with a wooden-leg send off a particularly nasty cutting hex which managed to decapitate a Death Eater. Remembering that Harry had asked her a question, she responded, "His allies would insist upon it; even with me being 'out of commission' they would want assurance of victory. The only way Voldemort can assure them of that is to be personally involved in the battle."
With impeccable cosmic timing, Slayer's words were followed with a slow rumbling as the Earth shook with the arrival of thousands of demons. Harry gulped at the mass of dark creatures, "I don't think the Elite can take on that many demons," he said weakly.
Slayer tilted her head in thought.
"H mm ... I think we could take them ... but just in case," Slayer waved her hand with flourish, and the earth rumbled again. "I've brought my own army."
Faith groaned as she watched the mini-wand wavers play various games, as if there wasn't a huge battle to determine their future going on. The Slayer fidgeted with pent up energy and looked yearning towards the exit.
Stepping away from the demon quickly, Faith checked out her surroundings and was surprised to find herself in what looked like one of the dorm rooms.
"You'll be guarding," Gawain said in a dispassionate voice.
"What? Oh no, I'm not staying in here while the action is going on out there," the Slayer growled, getting an answering one from Gawain before he visibly forced himself to calm down.
"This is a wizard's battle; wizard's are human; you are a Slayer; Slayers can't kill humans," Gawain stated firmly, what little patience he reserved for Slayer's humans evaporating quickly. "Are you grasping my meaning?"
That memory still caused angry to boil up within Faith, who made a mental note to kick that demon's ass when this was all over. A small cough interrupted the Slayer's thoughts and plans of revenge and the brunette looked up to see two worried looking teenagers.
"Miss ... um, Faith, we can't find Harry," the bushy haired brunette asked nervously.
"Harry ... ?" Faith asked, trying to get a last name.
"Potter!" the red headed boy burst out, his cheeks turning a color very similar to his hair. Comprehension spread across the Slayer's face as she looked around the common room and sure enough, the black-hair spectacled youth was no where to be seen. Thinking back, Faith remembered Buffy's rather ambiguous reply about keeping Harry safe.
"I'm sure he's fine as long as he sticks close to Buffy," she replied in an offhand manner, not assuaging the teenager's worries at all.
"At least until the Dark Lord gets a hold of him," a smug voice echoed across the now silent room. Inside the entrance way was Draco Malfoy along with several Slytherins, and surprisingly, a few Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and even Gryffindors.
Faith rose to her feet slowly, unsure of what to do. It was her mission to protect the kids, but how was she supposed to do that when the kids are the ones trying to kill her!
"You-know-who will never win!" Ron yelled, his short-temper getting the better of him. The platinum blonde just laughed and raised his wand.
"I've been looking forward to doing this for a long time," he sneered, "Avada ..."
The words died as a glaze look entered the boy's eye. Slumping to the floor like a marionette with its strings cut, there was a dagger shoved deep into his back. The other traitors backed up from the body, looking around anxiously for any sign of the attacker. Those saved were just as confused, as even the Slayer hadn't seen the attacker.
One by one the traitors dropped down dead, throats cut and necks broken, and still no sign of the attacker. As the last one fell, a person suddenly appeared in the middle of the corpses. There were gasps as the Gryffindors recognized their mysterious savior.
"Valet?" Hermione asked in shock as she watched Harry's human servant casually walk towards them. "Why?"
Valet blinked in confusion at the unexpected question. "Why what?"
"Why did you kill them?" Hermione shouted, pointing to the bodies of people who had been her schoolmates for several years.
"What else was I supposed to do?" Valet asked, genuinely confused about the humans' reactions. Demons didn't take prisoners unless they had information – there was too much effort involved in keeping them alive before the torture.
"They couldn't even see you; you could have just knocked them out," Faith said, still unsure of how she should feel about the situation.
"I was ordered to stop the traitors using any method I chose."
"But your human, just because a demon ordered you doesn't mean you had to kill," Hermione shrieked, the stress of the situation and the demons coming to a head.
"I'm not following Lady Slayers orders; I'm following my Masters." Making a small boy, Valet vanished in search of any other traitors that might have been sent to the other houses leaving a shell shocked common room behind him.
Most of the wizards had dropped back upon the arrival of the demons (from both sides) and watched with horrified gazes as the two armies proceeded to slaughter each other. Unlike Wizarding wars where the 'Avada Kedavra' curse left behind unmarked bodies the demon's weapons produced gruesome and slow deaths as blood and guts and body parts were spilled.
Slayer and Harry had moved up from their post by the doors since it was obvious that there would be no more attempts to get into the school until the outcome of the demon's conflict was determined.
Spotting Harry, Dumbledore made his way over and glared angrily at the demon.
"Harry, why are you not in the castle? It's too dangerous for you here."
Before Harry could make a retort, Slayer replied, "Actually, I think he's a safer here."
Dumbledore gave Slayer a piercing glance.
"After all, if he had been there he might have been killed by bleach boy and his cronies. But don't worry about your students, we took care of the problem."
The old wizard's face turned as white as his beard at the hidden meaning in the demons' words. "What have you done?" he asked in an outraged voice, his power flaring which Slayer had to admit was quite impressive for a human.
"War produces casualties, you know that Headmaster," Slayer said bluntly, her eyes watching her warriors fight. She had great trust in her generals, but they were still her warriors to lead and protect. And that trust was well-founded as her army began to push Voldemort's forces back. Now was the time to strike; if Voldemort wanted to salvage victory he was going to have to kill Harry Potter or Slayer in order to demoralize their troops.
"Harry, it's time."
Ignoring the calls from Dumbledore and the other teachers, Harry nodded in determination and for the first time that day the two made their way onto the battlefield.