To get the backstory, “The Alliance of Destiny: A Virtual TV Series.”
Written and Directed by Humaira K and Gill P
Amy Acker as Fred Burkle
Alfred Enoch as Dean Thomas
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbeldore
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Devon Murray as Seamus Finnigan
Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley
“Angel? Where are you going?” Fred asked, standing in the doorway to his office.
“Out,” he said icily, not wanting to look at her. Angel decided his dreams were more than dreams. They were premonitions. He knew the basis for them and didn’t want to wait a second longer to take matters into his own hands.
He needed to find Buffy. The sooner, the better. He knew Sunnydale was destroyed and that they had scattered. Buffy would be anywhere but here by now. Something told him to follow his instinct.
“Angel! Your case load alone is worth four of us. You can’t leave!” Fred shot back, her arms full of thick manila folders. They teetered dangerously in her arms before she was able to adjust her arms and stop herself from dropping everything in a heap.
“I can and I will. I’ll call when I get there,” Angel said, pushing past her, as he adjusted his leather jacket.
“Get where?” Fred called, as Angel whipped past. He pressed the down button for the elevator and ignored the stares of everyone in the office.
“To my destiny.”
* * *
At that moment, Buffy Summers was tucking into a very delicious meal at Hogwarts. Sitting beside Hagrid, she listened and watched with awe at the possibility of a magical school. Dumbledore had been delighted with her arrival and had asked her to dinner as well.
“You can push me out the window/I’ll just get back up/You can run over me with your 18 wheeler truck/And I won’t give up/You can hang me like a slave/I’ll go underground/You can run over me with your 18 wheeler but/You can’t keep me down, down, down, down.”
Buffy, who was never one to refuse a home cooked meal, gladly accepted. The teachers were nice to her as she bombarded them with questions about the magical world as she recounted her story of closing the most active hell mouth in Sunnydale.
Frowning she said, “Hold up. If there is a magical community with schools and stuff, why didn’t my friend Willow go to one?”
Dumbledore’s eyes held infinite sadness at the young woman’s name. He probably knew who she was and what she had nearly done, like he knew everything. “My dear, I simply don’t know. If she had lived in Great Britain, she would have been a great asset to us all. But I am not sure why the schools in America did not notice Miss Rosenberg’s brilliance. I understand she is a genius. Very handy with computers as well as being a practicing Wiccan?”
Buffy stared. How on earth did he know so much about Willow?! His eyes were twinkling with mirth.
“Yes, she is actually. She was going to complete her degree before we destroyed Sunnydale. It’s just a big ol’ crater now. But, she’s gonna finish school soon. My sister Dawn’s staying with her and Willow’s girlfriend Kennedy. As soon as they finish school, owing to the fact that we destroyed the town this time and not just the school, they’ll come and find me.”
She took more of a bite of her chicken. “This is really good!” said Buffy happily.
* * *
Harry tried to resist staring at Buffy, who had taken a place near Hagrid at the head table, while they took in their own lunch at the Gryffindor house table. Ron, on the other hand, was shamelessly staring at Buffy between bites.
“So who’s the new teacher?” Seamus Finnigan began conversationally, eyeing Buffy with some interest.
“Buffy Summers,” Ron said, almost breathlessly. “She’s a vampire slayer.”
“Vampire slayer? Mean we’re getting a substitute professor in DADA?” Dean Thomas said, craning to see Buffy’s face at the head table, which wasn’t too hard as he was much taller than the Gryffindors around him.
“She’s not a professor,” Hermione said shortly, taking a quick sip of pumpkin juice, “she’s a friend of Harry’s.”
The boys all turned to look at Harry. Their faces registered in awe and surprise before they began to speak. “Good one Harry! She’s hot! Where’d you find her? I want one! Damn you!” came the rousing chorus from around him.
“She was slaying a vampire in the Shrieking Shack last Hogsmeade visit,” Harry began, “I heard some noises and I saved her.”
“Is this one of those times where if you save someone’s life they’ll be following you for the rest of your life until they can save yours?” Dean asked. “‘Cause if I were you mate, I’d take her up on it!” Ginny elbowed him hard in the side, glaring at his joke.
“No, she’s just passing through,” Hermione said, just as an owl come soaring in. “I’m sure she’ll be leaving soon.”
“A bit late for the post, isn’t it?” Ginny asked, pleased at the distraction.
The owl didn’t pause to stop, but released the letter, which fluttered carefully down to sit beside Hermione’s place at the table. Knitting her eyebrows, she carefully tore open the letter, reading it in a split second. “Holy cricket! A recruiter from the American Witches’ Academy is here and wants to talk to me!”
Immediately the letter piqued Harry’s interest. “Why?” he asked carefully. Even Ron tore his eyes away to peer over Hermione’s shoulder to see the letter.
“I – I don’t know. Her name is Julia Thorne and she’s waiting for me at the Three Broomsticks,” Hermione read the letter for everyone to hear.
“Are you applying for university already Hermione?” Harry asked again.
“Well, no. But I’ve heard of that university. I mean, it’s never too early to look into uni, you know,” Hermione said, stashing the letter away.
“I don’t think you should go,” Harry said. Everyone around them had already lost interest in Hermione’s letter and weren’t listening anymore.
“Why not?” Hermione shot back, stuffing a chicken leg into her mouth and daintily tearing off a piece of meat.
“Look. What if it’s from Voldemort?” he said pointedly. “He probably knows about you because of me. This could be a very easy way for him or one of his spies to get a hold of you.”
Ron shivered at the name, though he was getting better at controlling his repulsiveness. “He might be right, Hermione.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “I doubt You-Know-Who would be working through a university recruiter!” she scoffed. But she saw the earnestness in both of her best friend’s eyes. “If it makes you feel any better, then why don’t you come with me? We can ask Professor Mcgonagall. I’m sure she’ll let us go. Ms. Thorne wants to meet me after dinner.”
“Take heed, dear heart/Once apart, she can touch nor me nor you/Dressed as one/A wolf will betray a lamb/Lead astray the gazers/The razors on your seducing skin/In the meadow of sinful thoughts/Every flower’s perfect.”
* * *
Sydney settled into a dark corner of the pub. She sipped her drink slowly, scanning her eyes for any sign of the person she was here to meet. She was dressed in all black, wearing a black wig, which set off her complexion nicely, but kept her from being noticed.
Hermione Granger should be arriving soon, and then she’d have her answers.
A flurry of activity surrounded the front of the pub she was in as three school children, barely older then 16, and a blonde woman entered the pub. The girl with the bushy brown hair scanned the area and was obviously looking for someone.
She checked the letter again and cautiously approached her table, flanked by the boys and the girl.
“Excuse me, are you Julia Thorne?” asked Hermione cautiously.
“Yes. That’s me. My, do come and sit down. Miss Granger, isn’t it? And who may I ask are these charming young men?” she faked a perfect Southern accent, and smiled her brightest smile.
The boys eyed her warily and the one with the black hair said, “Friends. We’ll be over there Hermione.”
The boys went to a nearby table and Hermione sat down with the woman.
“Well, I believe you know me now. I’m Julia Thorne, a recruiter for the American Witches’ Academy. We’ve heard great things about you Miss. Granger. Top of your class, and you have the highest recorded number O.W.L.s in the history of Hogwarts. We were wondering if you’d like to come to America to come study. We have a fairly new facility, with all the modern classroom and practical equipment. And New Orleans is such a quaint town, you’d love it there!”
Hermione grinned, it did sound so wonderful. She sat eagerly waiting for Miss Thorne to continue.
Sydney, on the other hand, was watching Hermione’s body language. In all her years of training, reading a person’s non-communicative signals was second nature to her.
Hermione’s read innocent by all accounts. Sydney didn’t see any flicker of surprise at her name, didn’t recognize her face, nothing. Hermione was attentive and sat with her hands folded on the small wooden table. ‘Something’s not right. I didn’t come all the way down here for nothing!’ Sydney thought, her mind already comprehending the fact that this was just another dead end in her search for those missing two years. But her heart didn’t want to give up. ‘May as well continue this charade.’
“So are you interested in visiting our campus? I’m sure we can arrange a tour of our facilities for you. You do have a winter break coming up, don’t you?”
“Yes! Yes, I do. If I may say so, I’m just a little surprised in the way that you came here,” Hermione began. “Suffice to say, I was caught a little off guard by your letter this afternoon.”
Sydney laughed forcefully, but it didn’t quite come off. “Yes, well, we didn’t want to lose such a bright pupil to a second rate school without getting our piece in! There’s no harm in looking into university, especially with your talents.”
Hermione blushed. “Well, I don’t know about that.”
“Believe me, a trip to visit such a talented witch was no problem at all,” Sydney made a move to stand up, holding out her hand. “We’ll be in touch.”
Hermione grasped her hand and smiled gratefully at Sydney. “Thank you, Miss Thorne. You don’t know what it means to me.”
“The pleasure was all mine,” Sydney replied. With a polite smile at the two boys – the one with black hair and green eyes eyeing her suspiciously – Sydney made her way to the exit of the warm pub, nearly colliding with the short blonde.
“I’m sorry,” the girl – a bright eyed twentysomething – blurted out.
“Not a problem,” Sydney said politely, adjusting her jacket.
“Excuse me. Harry!” the blonde called, extending her hand out in a short wave.
Sydney glanced over her shoulder on her way out. The blonde had called over to Hermione and the two boys, the dark haired one was named Harry, she surmised. He was the one who grinned broadly at the sound of his name. There was something about him that Sydney didn’t trust. As she made her way out of the Three Broomsticks and she was sure nobody would see her, she hid in the shadows of the building, hoping they would come out soon. She didn’t have to wait long.
* * *
“I don’t trust her,” said Harry immediately, glancing back once again to make sure they weren’t being followed.
“Oh Harry! It’s so exciting! Visiting America! Think of all the sights I’d see and the facilities! I’ll have to tell mum and dad, but I’m sure they’d be ever so pleased.” Hermione rambled, not even listening to Harry’s concerns.
“Come on mate, look how excited Hermione is…..let her be excited. We have precious little to be excited about,” said Ron trying to quell his friend’s worries.
“Alright! Sharp in the mix. Get the pressure!/You’ve had the time to rest, which is coming to an end and we start again./Back to the family, a guaranteed emergency, the radical MC HP’s got the melody./Back to the family, a guaranteed emergency, the radical MC HP’s got the melody./Back to the family, a guaranteed emergency, the radical MC HP’s got the melody./Back to the family, a guaranteed emergency, the radical MC HP’s got the melody./One, two, three …/Fire!!!”
Just like that the woman, Julia Thorne, hit Harry from the back, knocking the wind out of him. Ron was too surprised to see her before she hit him too. Hermione was in shock as Julia came after her, but before she could get too far, the short blonde Sydney had run into earlier had her in a death grip.
“I wouldn’t move if I were you. I can snap your neck in an instant. Who are you and what do you want?” said Buffy coldly.
Sydney didn’t answer, she just flipped out of Buffy’s hold and assumed a fighting stance before kicking Buffy in the knee. But, Buffy was quick, and she punched Sydney hard, so that she flew to the other side of the road that they were on. Harry and Ron were slowly coming around whilst Hermione watched the woman she had scorned attempt to save her life and the woman she had thought was good, attempt to nearly kidnap her or possibly maim her.
Her wand out, she went into automatic mode and cast a Petrificus Totalus spell on Sydney. Unfortunately, it hit Buffy too. She cast the counter curse on Buffy and with her wand out, eyed Sydney coldly. “Who are you really and what do you want, Miss Thorne?” she asked.
Sydney decided that she didn’t want to say anything so kept her mouth shut. She hadn’t expected the blonde to be so good, especially for one so small.
After they had gotten their bearings, Harry and Ron pulled out their wands and stood there in the deserted road with Hermione, all three of their wands pointed directly at Julia Thorne. “What did I tell you?” Harry said simply.
“Not a good time to gloat, Harry,” Hermione replied.
Sydney knew that she was outnumbered with no weapon other than her body. She didn’t have any choice but to explain. “My name is Sydney Bristow. I’m a secret agent for the CIA. I was told that Miss Granger would help me find out about Julia Thorne. I’m not a recruiter for the American Witches’ Academy.” Buffy didn’t relinquish her grip.
“What makes you think we’re gonna believe you?” Buffy asked. “How can you prove you are who you say you are?”
Sydney racked her brain. “My back pocket has my CIA identification card.” Sydney squirmed in Buffy’s arms, just enough to pull it out. Buffy took it from her and handed it to the others.
Harry reached over and said, “Lumos!” The tip of his wand ignited and its pale light was cast over the plastic Muggle identification card. Along with her picture was the name Sydney Bristow, along with some random numbers. Harry handed the card over, with Ron’s eyes peered over it interestedly as Hermione read the card.
“She says who she says she is.”
Buffy released her grip. The mood was tense between them, as their life stories began.
* * *
“Hello Rupert,” said a familiar voice.
The voice was one Giles had never forgotten, but he had not expected the owner of that voice to be coming to his door in the middle of the night.
Rupert Giles looked up from the book he was reading to see the face he hadn’t seen in years. “Angel,” he said softly, “Or is it Angelus?”
Angel stepped out of the shadows and laughed softly, “If I was Angelus, you’d be dead by now.”
Giles stepped away from him, even though he knew it was silly. “She’s not here, if you’re looking for her. After Sunnydale’s fall, everyone filtered away. How did you find me?”
“Aren’t you gonna invite me in Rupert? I promise, I don’t bite,” said Angel looking serious and yet so troubled.
Giles sighed, wrestling with himself. After Angel went, he could cast the spell to revoke the invite, and it seemed like Angel. Might as well risk it.
“Come in Angel,” he said reluctantly.
The Watcher stepped into his kitchen to make some tea. LA, was good for a spot of demon hunting and the museum he worked at paid well. He was immersed in the things he loved, books. No computers in sight. It was a welcome relief to find one thing he could depend on even after all this time.
“Do you know where she went? I think she might be in danger. I’ve been having dreams…..I think they’re premonitions,” said Angel as he stepped into the small apartment, quietly watching as Giles made some tea for them, simply because it gave him something to do.
The skillful fingers, which knew intricate sword fighting methods, were now delicately making tea. Wonderful, life giving tea. Something comfortable and familiar to do, when the shadow of death was at your door. The Watcher handed him some tea and sipped his quietly.
“England, last I heard she was in England. She sent me a post card. She’s quite alone, no one there but her. To be honest, I’m glad she’s enjoying the remnants of her lost youth. We all are.”
Angel sipped his tea silently. The two men sat in companionable silence.
“What dreams?” asked Giles after a while.
“Dreams of death, dreams of Buffy dying. I know she’s died twice, but one more time would kill her permanently and me. I… need to go find her. To see her, protect her if I can,” said Angel quietly.
Giles sighed and stood up. He ran a hand through his unruly curls and stepped over to a drawer, opened it and pulled out a post card.
“I was naive, your love was like candy/artificially sweet, I was deceived by the wrapping/Got caught in your web and I learned how to bleed/I was prey in your bed and devoured completely.”
“This is the last place she sent me something from. Find her, keep her safe. I’ve spent seven years worrying, loving and looking after her,” said Giles turning around and handing the post card to Angel. “Keep her safe Angel, I love her,” said Giles quietly.
“And it hurts my soul cause I can’t let go/All these walls are caving in, I can’t stop my sufferin’/I hate to show that I lost control/Cause I, I keep going right back/To the one thing that I need/To walk away from.”
Angel nodded and left.
England, here he came.
* * *
“You mean to tell me that Gabrielle Delacour sent you to find Hermione?” Ron said blankly.
“Yes. She said something about the Triwizard Tournament. What is that?” Sydney asked, looking at their faces.
After the surprise skirmish in the middle of the road, the five of them ended up back at the Three Broomsticks, sipping butterbeer and trading war stories. Sydney was a little let down that her excursion to England brought her nowhere closer to her missing two years. Buffy was gradually warming up to her, though she obviously had her reservations at her appearance. Harry finally had come to accept Sydney. There was something about her that he liked, but he couldn’t quite put a finger on it.
“Harry took part in it,” Hermione said, finishing off the last vestiges of her butterbeer with a flourish. “Along with Viktor Krum,” Ron made a rude noise, “Cedric Diggory and Fleur Delacour, Gabrielle’s older sister.”
Sydney nodded, soaking in the information. She couldn’t believe that such a world even existed. “Gabrielle mentioned something about her sister. So what happens in it?”
“Champions representing their schools are put through four tasks. It’s all about glory and prestige,” Harry offered.
“Interesting. Forgive me, but this is all just overwhelming. I mean two days ago I was just trying to find out who Julia Thorne was, and now…” she said, gesturing to the various characters the Three Broomsticks attracted.
“Believe you me, I felt the same way this morning,” Buffy offered her. Sydney sent a grateful smile her way. “What I can’t understand is why we can see it.”
“By all accounts, Miss Thorne – I mean, Miss Bristow,” Hermione began, “you’re a full-blown Muggle. Buffy is a slayer, therefore she’s already part of this world even though she never knew about it. You work for the CIA. I’m still trying to figure out how you can be in our world.”
Sydney paused. She wondered if telling them about the Rambaldi prophecy would be worth their time. It would make sense for something like Rambaldi to be behind the reason why she could see the magical world. It explained everything else that didn’t make sense in her life.
“Buffy, will you be staying another night?” Rosmerta said as she approached the table, breaking the comfortable silence between them.
“Yes,” Buffy began and glanced at Sydney, “but I have a guest now. Will that be okay?”
Madam Rosmerta smiled. “Certainly. I’ll prepare rooms for the both of you.” And with that, she bustled noisily away.
Ron finished off his butterbeer, burping slightly and receiving a hard elbow from Hermione. “We should be going. McGonagall will blow her top if we miss curfew,” Ron explained, plunking the bottle back down on the wooden table.
“We should. It was nice to meet you, Miss Bristow,” Hermione said.
“Sydney. Please, call me Sydney,” she offered with a meaningful smile.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help to you, Sydney,” Hermione continued.
“You know, I think something other than Gabrielle’s lead brought me here. I’m going to stick around and see where it leads me,” Sydney said, nodding her head.
Harry’s heart soared at the thought of Sydney sticking around. “G’night, Miss Bristow,” he said, blushing slightly.
Sydney smiled at him. “Thank you, Harry.” She followed Buffy upstairs and out of sight, as the three of them made their way out of the Three Broomsticks and back to Hogwarts.
Fade out with “Anomaly (Calling Your Name)” by Libra Presents Taylor