Title: It's All Relative on the Hellmouth
Author: Della Couer
Summary: Harry Potter discovers a new relative that lives in Sunnydale. Having just defeated Voldemort, Harry's desperate for the distraction. Hope Uncle Rupert can help a seriously powerful Harry before the power takes control.
Chapter 1: The Letter
Rupert Giles stared forlornly at the large barn owl perched on his desk. It wasn't his owl. It was a loaned owl. And, the bird in question didn't seem very pleased with the arrangement either. Giles, as he had come to be called in the States, was seated in a desk chair. His tatty green robe covered his pajama pants and stained t-shirt. It was ten a.m. on a Tuesday and, he had nowhere to be.
"Damn it all," he muttered. The bird ruffled its feathers impatiently. "I wasn't talking to you," snarled Giles. The bird clicked its beak at his remark, and turned away from the man. Giles examined the folded parchment before him. He rolled it over in his hands. To send or not to send, that is the question. It had been so many years. Was there even a point anymore?
"She's only a half sister," Giles explained to the bird. The bird ignored the odd human's vocalization. "And, I was always ten years older than her. Never really knew her, right? God, I spent more time with Petunia." Giles cringed as he thought of his step-sister. Thank whatever gods were listening that he didn't share any of her blood. He had been five when his mother had married Petunia's father. He hadn't liked her then. Prissy and Proper. Prissy Proper Petunia. Hadn't that been what he'd called her? Always fussing over the spotlessness of the carpet in her room, the sanitized tea-set. Enough to make anyone sick. Giles stood up and began pacing his apartment.
"I haven't even heard from her since she was sixteen. Bloody hell- twenty years ago." Giles looked at his reflection in the mirror. Had it really been that long? He hadn't actually seen Lily since she was twelve. It had only been the occasional owl post those last few years. She had been busy learning Magic at Hogwarts, and he had been busy...falling into the Dark Arts. He vaguely remembered sending her a belated birthday gift on her sixteenth birthday. After that nothing.
So, why was he writing now? So far he had done an excellent job of ignoring his family. He had gone so far as to avoid even the news of the English wizarding world. Why did he want to give in now?
Because he was lonely, dammit.
Life had taken an unexpected turn. He'd been fired from his destiny. How did that happen? He wasn't a watcher anymore. His real father had been a watcher. His grandmother had been a watcher. And now, he wasn't one anymore. Yet, he still felt the same pull he had always felt. So he had stayed in Sunnydale. But the various creatures of the night hadn't made the days any less lonely. Buffy and Willow were getting registered for classes, embracing college life. And, this was only the beginning, they would be gone even more once school started. Xander was busy doing...God knows what. And he, Rupert Giles, was drinking cold tea in a bathrobe. Perhaps this was all insanity. Maybe he'd regret it later. But, right now, he really wanted to talk to one of the few people he had ever cared about. His baby sister Lily. Even if it was just in letters. Anything to keep the feeling of uselessness at bay.
Giles growled through his teeth as he drew a small silver dagger from his desk. He picked his finger with the blade, and used the tip to draw a small rune on the parchment. He watched at the blood was soaked in the paper, leaving the page as blank as it had been. Now, Giles wasn't a wizard, but he did know certain branches of natural magic. The rune he had made would insure that only those of his blood would be able to read the letter. Not only that, but the letter would be drawn to his blood. This would insure that Lily would get the letter, even if she had changed her name...or good lord, she could even be married now. Frankly, he didn't trust these overgrown carrier pigeons.
With a forceful hand, Rupert Giles attached his terribly short letter to the owl's leg and watched with resignation as it flew away. The bird seemed rather happy to be gone. Probably glad to escape the irritable muggle. Now he had nothing to do but wait.
In the smallest bedroom of Number four Privet drive was a very unhappy young man. Technically he could be called just a man, the young business could be dropped. He was seventeen, and in the wizarding world that made him an adult. And, Harry Potter was a wizard. Not only a wizard, he could be considered the wizard. Famous Harry Potter. The Boy-Who-Lived, now considered the Man-who-Defeated. He didn't look much like a hero now. He lay on his small bed, his clothes rumpled, frowning at the ceiling. He was so bleeding tired. As was to be expected, or so Dumbledore had claimed.
"One can not have such a severe change in one's magic without feeling the consequences," Dumbledore had warned gravely.
Of course the real question was, what would an adult Harry Potter be doing at Privet Drive? Since he had been seven, he had sworn that as soon as he was an adult he would run as far away from the Dursleys as he could. This feeling had intensified when entering the wizarding world. He had fully intended to have his bags packed and ready as soon as the clock chimed midnight on his seventeenth birthday. Yet, here it was two weeks after the date, and he was still at number four. His relatives had been unpleasantly surprised, but not as surprised as Harry himself.
Maybe it was because he was still so tired. But that wasn't it. Maybe it was because his original plan had been yanked out from under him. He had always expected to maybe spend a bit of time at the Weasleys, and get his new lodgings settled. Ron had even offered it a few times. But that was out of the question now. Still, that didn't stop him from getting a room at the Leaky Cauldron. He could probably even stay there until the semester started. It wasn't as if he didn't have the money. But just the thought of staying in a place that was so central to the wizarding world made him feel queasy. He'd be stared at by every witch or wizard who was out to do their shopping. Indeed, staring was probably the least they could do. If he never met another member of the 'Harry Potter Fan Club' it would be too soon. He didn't want that, any of that. All and all, the combination of these things left Harry feeling as if he had been cut a drift.
Then there was the grief. Grief, what kind of word was that? As if five letters could encompass the raw feeling of emptiness clawing at his gut. And then there were the words. Those words that everyone always said. "I heard about your friends Harry, I'm so sorry." As if those words did a thing. They didn't bring them back, they didn't make him feel any better. Yet, everyone seemed to enjoy saying them.
Harry looked up when a sound of rustling feathers drew his attention. He hoped it wasn't another letter from Dumbledore. The man seemed to have sent Harry more letters this summer than all the other years combined. Mostly just the constant questions of how he was doing, how his magic was evolving. But, the bird he saw didn't look like a school owl. Instead, his gaze met a rather large barn owl. It seemed to glare at Harry. It looked as if it had traveled a long way. He summoned a few owl treats, and conjured a dish of water for the poor bird. The owl flashed him a grateful look, and seemed to be in a better mood. He rose and shuffled forward to claim the letter.
Just has Harry was about to grasp the parchment, he felt a sharp tingling sensation in his hand. He pulled away and stared at the letter more carefully. Harry's eyes began to glow as he let his magical sight take over. He quickly saw that blood magic, a kind Harry had never seen before, had been cast upon the paper. But there was a familiar runic pattern drawn and it wasn't a threat. Rather, it was a rune meant to assure a blood connection. That was odd. That would mean that the letter could only be read by someone of the casters blood. Why would they send it to him? He didn't have any blood relatives. Except for Petunia and Dudley...and he couldn't picture either of them having the talent or interest to learn some rare kind of blood magic. Still, it couldn't harm him. So he gently removed the letter from the unfamiliar owl. The name written on the front made his heart stop. Lily Evans. He felt slightly guilty as he opened the letter, as if he was snooping in his mother's purse. But his curiosity was stronger than his anxiety. How could someone not know she had been married, how could they not know she was dead? The fate of Lily Potter had practically been written into song. Casting his fears aside, he sat on the edge on his bed and began to read. He began to read a very strange letter indeed.
I, well I'm not sure were to start. It has been so long. I guess the first thing to do, is admit what a prat I've been. Can you forgive your old brother? At the time I thought you would be better-off without me. Now, maybe I'm getting old...but family matters. I'd really like to hear from you. I'm living in the Americas now. Sunnydale California. Please write. Even if it is just to rant at me.
Harry stared at the parchment. He should be astounded. He should be shocked. But he really wasn't. Most kids would be surprised to find they had an unknown uncle. But so much of Harry's past had been secrets he couldn't find the energy to be surprised.
But wait...the uncle was writing to his mother? The poor guy didn't know she was dead. Should he write back and tell him? How do you write that? Loss of any kind hurt. This Harry knew. Could he just write a letter and tell the bloke that this attempted reunion was over before it started? That he had lost his chance, Lily was dead. It just seemed too cruel to put into words.
Feeling some energy for the first time in weeks, Harry jumped out of bed. He hurried down the stairs and found Aunt Petunia in the kitchen.
"Aunt Petunia?" asked Harry. The woman paused in her cleaning. "Do I have an uncle Rupert?" His aunt froze at the name, her back tensing.
"No. I don't know anyone by that name," squeaked Petunia. Harry shook his head, that was the same tone she used when she claimed not to have a nephew named Harry.
"Thanks Aunt Petunia," said Harry. He headed back up the stairs.
So, he had an uncle. It was an interesting proposition...more than that, an uncle who didn't seem to know much about the wizarding world. He must know something, because of the use of owl post, and the blood magic, but he didn't seem up to date on current events. Harry felt a strong desire to meet his strange uncle Rupert. His grin faded. No doubt it would be better to give him the news of Lily in person. Thus, Harry Potter had a plan for the first time in weeks. And he wasn't about to lose this purpose now. He looked around his room. He shrunk his trunk and pocketed it. He also grabbed his magical Gringrott's money bag. He felt around in a drawer and pulled out a wand holster. He attached the dragon hide to his forearm, and watched as he put him wand in the holder. Before his eyes, the holster and wand disappeared. Neat. He still loved watching that. The holster had been a gift from Remus and few members of the Order. Even though he'd had it for months now, he still loved watching the disappearing trick. Harry examined his bedroom. There was nothing else to take.
"Sunnydale, here I come,"whispered Harry. And, with a barely a clap of disapparation, Harry Potter, the most powerful wizard in England, left his home in Surrey and apparated halfway around the world. Something that was impossible...except for him. But then, Harry had a habit of making the impossible possible.
A/N: Shorter introductory chapter. Following chapters are longer.