It had taken three years to reopen Hogwarts. So much of the castle had been destroyed with magic, leaving it impossible to rebuild through magical means until the traces of magic had worn off or were removed. Much of it had been done through Dark Magic curses, leaving those areas even harder to repair than the rest.
But the time had come. It was August, and come the first of September, the Hogwarts Express would run again.
Most of the staff had remained intact, though Hogwarts needed both a new Potions Master and, of course, a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Headmistress McGonagall could hardly remember a time when the school was not in search of a new teacher for that position, and she expected the trend would continue; in the cleansing of unwanted magic from Hogwarts, Bill Weasley had found an old curse tied to the classroom that they had been unable to remove. She planned to move the class to a new classroom, but she suspected that it would not matter, in the end.
Even more in the manner of that particular post, she had ended up choosing someone a little bit unconventional. The man she had chosen had not gone to Hogwarts, or any other wizarding school. In fact, he was not a wizard at all.
He was a Watcher.
Wizards had largely never concerned themselves with vampires, mostly because the lore of vampires had conveniently included a system to deal with them. There was always a Slayer, a woman born with the ability to sense and destroy vampires, and where there was a Slayer, there was a Watcher. A Watcher trains and guides the Slayer in all that she must do.
This Watcher had left his Slayer, for now, but from his training and his time with the Slayer, he had unintentionally become one of the world’s foremost experts on demons, creatures, and, of course, vampires. He seemed ideal for the job, especially considering how most of the working members of the Wizarding World were still focused on other aspects of rebuilding their world and their government, leaving a very small pool from which to draw new Hogwarts Professors.
McGonagall just hoped she had made the right decision.
Giles looked around his classroom one last time. It was a very plain room, really, mostly because his class would be largely academic in nature rather than practical. His teaching style definitely leant itself to books and papers rather than dummies and targets, though he secretly was hoping that he might be able to teach the classes a bit of physical defense. He thought it best to meet his students first, as he was rather used to training an unusually strong and agile teenager with an innate instinct for fighting. He wasn’t exactly sure how his methods would go with normal teenagers. Even the magical ones.
He paced around the room, alternating standing near the chalkboard and sitting near his desk. He must have polished his glasses about thirty times in the last twenty minutes. He studied the schedule once more; he would be with the fifth years first, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor.
Finally, his first student walked in, a blond Ravenclaw who sat in the first row. He thought nothing of her until she made eye contact with him, and his thoughts started to drift to places he knew that a teacher should never go…
Her eyes lit up in recognition, and she shook her head violently as Giles’ thoughts began to return to normal.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the girl stated in a mild French accent. “I’m still…I’m still learning to control it.”
“Control what?” Giles asked curiously. He’d never experienced anything quite like that, at least not without a spell of some sort being involved, and it didn’t seem like that’s what was going on.
The girl fidgeted in her seat, clearly uncomfortable with revealing what had happened, though Giles was starting to remember something about a type of human that he’d read about and didn’t press the issue. He’d have to look it up after class.
“Never mind,” he said gently. “What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you, Gabrielle. If I may, can I ask why you are attending Hogwarts? I understand France has their own superb school.”
“My sister married an Englishman during the war, and I have come here to be closer to her and my niece.”
Gabrielle did not appear particularly happy about the situation, clearly, but Giles was not about to press the issue he further, and the rest of his students began to arrive, filling up the seats around her.
“Welcome to Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
Over the weeks that followed, Giles realized that he was not going to be able to teach physical defense to everyone, but he still thought that at least some of the school would like to have that sort of instruction. So halfway through October with the help of the Headmistress, he started a club. He called it the Defense Association, and though he didn’t know why, many of the teachers smiled fondly when they had heard the name.
He had not been surprised when the first name to sign up to the class had been Gabrielle Delacour. After the mishap of their very first meeting, he’d come to realize she was part Veela, and clearly, she had not quite figured out how to deal with it yet. Puberty was bad enough without a difficult to control ability like hers. Giles had hoped that physical training would help her discipline with controlling her abilities, and given how quickly she had signed the form, it seemed she hoped the same thing.
A week later, the DA had its first meeting. Not as many students had signed up as Giles had hoped, but he supposed that it would be an easier task with a smaller group, anyway. He had decided to set aside his preferred weapons training for more physical tasks that he knew would work better in tandem with casting spells than wielding a crossbow would.
He stood in front of the eighteen teenagers assembled in front of him, demonstrating a kick. He asked them to all try it after him, and as he watched Gabrielle’s, he realized why he’d been paying special attention to her these last few weeks. It wasn’t just an affinity for his first student.
She reminded him of Buffy.
The weeks and months passed, and Giles continued to teach and train. He grew impressed with all of his students, both in the class and in the club, though he suspected the students may have a heightened interest in his subject with the recent events in their world.
But towards the end of the year, word reached him of something brewing in Sunnydale, and he knew he had to return even though term had not yet ended He did love his new job, but he knew his real duty was to Buffy and whatever she was facing. If what he was hearing about Willow was true, his friends in Sunnydale needed him more than ever.
So he resigned, saying good-bye only to his colleagues, and he headed to the Coven he had claimed to have been at to see if they could provide any assistance to him for his return to Sunnydale.
Sunnydale had begun preparing for war. The Summers household had become a haven for Potential Slayers. Giles spent a lot of time these days trying to locate Potentials, in an effort to both protect them and use them. One night, late into the evening when the whole house was awake because no one there could ever really sleep anymore, Giles found something, or rather, someone.
Someone at Hogwarts was a Potential.
It had only been a little under a year since he had been a professor at Hogwarts, but with all that had happened since, it felt so much longer ago.
But he would return now.
He remembered Gabrielle, and he knew that it was her. It had to be. He almost didn’t want to find her, didn’t want to bring her into this (hadn’t her world just been through enough?), but he knew that she was in danger. Potentials were being hunted, and she would be no exception, though she was admittedly protected much better than most. He wanted to keep her away from the battle they all knew was coming, but inside, he knew that she would be a great addition to the team. She wasn’t just a Potential. She had training, and more importantly, she had magic.
But what Giles didn’t know was that as he prepared to leave for Scotland to find her, she was already on her way to Sunnydale.
And she wasn’t coming alone.
Gabrielle woke up again.
Another nightmare. She’d been having them a lot, lately. Vivid dreams of another place, a place where people needed her help. She knew it was just a dream, but she hadn’t been able to quite shake the feeling that it wasn’t.
And this dream had been different. There were people in her dreams, but it had never been anyone that she knew People fighting, sometimes laughing, but mostly, things were grim. But this time, her old professor was in the dream, and things seemed so much more real to her, now.
It wasn’t just a dream. There was trouble, real trouble. In Sunnydale. She knew it.
She had to help.
It was her second to last night at Hogwarts for the year. Exams were over.
It was the middle of the night, but Gabrielle left Hogwarts. She’d learned enough from her extended family, that she knew how to get out of the castle with ease. Slipping out to find someone was no problem to her.
And she knew who she wanted to see.
“Potter Manor,” she said, quietly but defiantly, at the fireplace in the Three Broomsticks, and she stepped through, disappearing into the flames.
“So, er, you’re having dreams?” Harry asked again.
“Yes,” Gabrielle said, suddenly feeling more and more stupid for leaving Hogwarts in the middle of the night. In her panic, she thought that maybe Harry, the only person she knew of to have had dreams of reality, would understand. He wouldn’t dismiss her.
And maybe, just maybe, he would be able to help her.
“About vampires?” Harry clarified. He admitted to himself that he was pretty sure of these details already, but at four in the morning, one really must make sure they weren’t imagining things that people told them.
“Yes,” she said again.
“And you came to see me?”
“Yes,” she said a third time, her face starting to grow flush in embarrassment. Maybe she shouldn’t have come…
“I don’t know,” Harry said. “It sounds an awful lot like just a dream to me.”
“But didn’t you have dreams like this, Harry?” Gabrielle asked tentatively. She knew Harry didn’t talk about it much, even though she didn’t really know him that well, but everyone knew his stories, now, and she’d felt okay coming here. Her sister and brother-in-law considered him family, after all. He had always been nice to her…
“I did,” Harry said, suddenly quiet. “It…didn’t always work out.”
“But didn’t you have to follow it through?”
Harry sat back in his chair, looking down at his hands. He knew he was technically an adult now and he’d had to do things on his own his whole life, but it still didn’t feel right to be the adult in a situation like this. He felt it a lot with his godson, Teddy, and he was only a few years old. This was a teenager coming to him with her problems. Problems the size of the ones he’d had as a teenager.
He wasn’t quite ready for that.
But he hadn’t grown old enough yet to forget what it had felt like to have to convince people what he’d seen, and he knew that the girl in front of him was determined to follow this through, no matter what he ended up saying to her.
“Yes,” Harry finally replied. “I did.”
“So what do you think I should do?”
“I think you should go. Let me send an owl to Professor McGonagall and see if she can locate the professor you’re seeing, and she will be able to contact us on our way to America if she finds anything.”
“We?” Gabrielle asked.
“I’m not about to let you go off to America on your own,” Harry said. “And Bill and Fleur will kill me as it is; they’ll be even worse if I don’t look after you.”
“When do we leave?” Harry turned to look at the fireplace behind him and looked back at the young girl. He thought a bit about his bed upstairs and how he very much wanted to go back to sleep, but he knew there may not be time to waste.
“How about now?”
“1630 Revello Drive,” Gabrielle read off of a piece of parchment she’d scribbled everything she could remember from the dreams down. Harry looked at the map again. He’d lived as a muggle for ten years of his life, but not very much of it had revolved around maps. He scrunched his face up again, turning the map in hopes that it would make more sense to him.
“I think it’s this way,” Gabrielle said, the setting beginning to look familiar to her. Shrugging, Harry pocketed the map and followed her, his right hand ready to pull his wand out at a moment’s notice.
“Is this it?” Harry asked, though he was pretty sure he already knew the answer. As they had neared the house, Gabrielle just stopped and stared. This was definitely the house from her dreams. She walked tentatively up to the door, pausing as she started to knock, but the door opened in front of her, like the house knew she was coming.
“Gabrielle?” Giles said, shocked. “How did you find us here?”
“I’ve been having dreams, Professor.” Gabrielle swallowed. “About you. About this house.”
“Professor?” came a familiar female voice from inside the house. “Who let you be a professor?”
“Who wouldn’t let him be a professor? Just look at him! The clothes and the glasses,” a man responded. “I think he came out of the womb ready to be a professor.”
“And I dreamed about them.” Gabrielle pointed at the two behind Giles, pushing past him to get to them.
“Buffy? Xander?” Gabrielle asked tentatively. “Those are your names, right?”
“Yes,” Xander said, responding first. “But, uh, you’re going to have to fill us in. Do we know you?”
“I’m Gabrielle,” she said, extending her hand. “I came here from Hog—“
“She’s a Potential,” Giles interrupted, gesturing for Harry to follow him inside. He hadn’t spent very long in the Wizarding World, but he did know Harry Potter when he saw him. “Let me take her into the other room and explain everything to her first, and then I will introduce her to you properly.”
“We don’t exactly have any private rooms here anymore, Giles,” Buffy pointed out.
“Fair point,” Giles said. “Gabrielle, Harry. Fancy a walk?”
It didn’t take long for Giles to explain. Gabrielle had already known a fair amount of what he said through her dreams. The three of them suspected that Willow’s locator spell had latched on to Gabrielle somehow, drawn to her because of her magic, and it had caused the dreams, linking the two worlds together. The timing lined up well enough, at least, and Gabrielle knew there was no Seer blood in her line.
Harry just listened quietly, following slightly behind the other two, and he suddenly feeling a bit stupid about coming along.
As they stepped inside, Giles explained everything to Buffy, Xander, and the others who had joined, curious about the newcomer.
“Well, Gabrielle,” Buffy said after they had all been introduced properly. “Welcome to Sunnydale. At least, what’s left of it. You’re just in time for the party, actually. How good is that magic of yours?”
“I’m top of my class at Hogwarts.”
“Good. We’ll need it. Yours too, Harry, though if anyone calls for ‘The Chosen One,’ remember that they’re talking to me,” Buffy said with a laugh, though her tone grew more serious. “This ends tomorrow.”
“I’ll help however I can,” Harry said. Harry had just met these people, but between his years at Hogwarts and his auror training, he was no stranger to this. They needed all the help they could get. He knew that he should probably try to stop Gabrielle, but he’d been in her shoes. There would be no stopping her. “I’ll send word home to see if anyone can help, but I’m not sure if anyone can make it here in time.”
“Tell them to hurry.”
The next morning, everyone gathered in front of Sunnydale High School. The Scooby Gang, the Potentials, and Harry. No one else from Gabrielle’s world had been able to make it here in time, though Bill and Fleur had had a few choice words for Harry and were rushing in as quickly as they could. Gabrielle stood with an axe in one hand and her wand in the other, just behind Buffy. She looked over to Giles, and he nodded, the corners of his mouth barely turning to a smile. But she knew what he meant.
He was proud of her.
As they rushed into the school, heading to the seal, Gabrielle felt at ease. She wasn’t ready for what she would face, but somehow, she knew that they would win. The First and the Turok-Han might be strong, but with Slayers, Wiccans, and wizards on their side, they would come out on top.
No one would die.