Episode 17: Whatever It Takes

For backstory, peep The Alliance of Destiny: A Virtual TV Series.

Written and Directed by Humaira K and Gill P

Guest starring

David Anders as Julian Sark
Shiri Appleby as Anastasia Darcy
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Jason Issacs as Lucius Malfoy
Keira Knightley as Meliza Masterson
Iyari Limon as Kennedy
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers

“Buffy!” Dawn yelled cheerfully, enveloping the woman who looked like her sister in her arms.

Otrere stared down at the strange girl child clinging to her. As she pried herself from Dawn’s embrace, she explained, “I am not Buffy.”

Dawn stared at her and backed away. Meanwhile Angel, Sydney, Wes, and Nadia were explaining to Kennedy and Willow what had gone down in Argentina.

“Gotta make a move to a/town that’s right for me/Town to keep me movin’/Keep me groovin’ with some energy.”

“We were hoping you could help us,” Sydney finished up.

“We brought her back from the dead,” Willow began, “I think we can rid her of a bizarro Amazon soul.”

“Our plane leaves later tonight, but shall we enjoy the festivities in the meantime?” Wesley asked, gesturing to the open window. Sounds of a loud parade were taking place outside. It was Carnaval in Rio tonight.

“What about the Book?” Dawn asked whispering the last 2 words.

“Miss Granger taught me a charm to seal the suitcase,” Wes replied. “Unless a common Muggle thief knows the countercharm, it should be okay.”

“I think I’ll stay behind,” Angel offered. “Keep the book safe and all.”

“Angel, how many times are you gonna be in Rio during Carnaval?” Willow admonished him.

“Afraid of the dark?” teased Sydney.

“No, but I’m afraid of what’s hiding in it.”

“Won’t you take me to Funkytown/Won’t you take me to Funkytown/Won’t you take me to Funkytown/Won’t you take me to Funkytown.”

* * *

The crisp night air hit Harry as he walked out into the Astronomy Tower. Luckily no couples were making out, as the exam stress had started already, Hermione was in over-load. Ron was sleeping, the latest night of Slaying had left him tired and Xander was probably sleeping too.

“Must of been mid afternoon/I could tell by how far the child’s shadow stretched out and/He walked with a purpose/In his sneakers, down the street/He had, many questions/Like children often do.”

He preferred the solitude though, ever since this mix of people crashed into his life he hadn’t had a chance to think about them and how they affected him. He liked Buffy, she was the sister he never had. And though like Ron, he did have a crush on Sydney when they found out she wasn’t going to kill Hermione, it had faded ever since she had started to date Professor Snape. Harry shuddered at the thought. though he wasn’t as vocal in his disapproval as Ron, he had no idea what she saw in him. He was a greasy git! And probably 10 years older then her. Ick.

Pushing those unseemly thoughts from his mind, he turned his attention to Anastasia. This was where she had tried to kill herself, the thought had never actually occurred to him. All his life he’d been driven to survival and not death. To take his own life was alien to him, and he wondered why she had done it.

She was pretty, beautiful really when she smiled which she was doing more often now. Plus she was smart and quiet. She didn’t need to chat on endlessly to fill silence, she just was. Thinking of that night again he remembered her eyes. Chocolate coloured and stunned beneath him. He’d just stared, taking in her gorgeous face and her kissable mouth, but her eyes were always what drew him back to that memory.

He shook himself, frustrated.

She wasn’t for him. Not after the betrayal. Not after what he’d said about her, and then next thing she’s nearly committed suicide. All his fault. Why did the people he loved keep on dying?!

He really hoped Sydney and the gang would come back quickly. He worried about them, and the sooner they came back, the sooner he’d feel safe again. Turning back to go to bed, he was stunned when he saw the pretty dark-haired girl Anastasia hung around with.

“Harry,” she said simply, “I think you and I need to have a little chat.”

“He said/Tell me all your thoughts on God/Tell me am I very far?”

* * *

High above the Carnaval below, Angel was having fitful dreams. The charmed suitcase was in plain sight, but he was fatigued from what had happened in Argentina. When Sydney told them that they would be stopping in Brazil to escort Dawn, Kennedy and Willow back home to Hogsmeade, the ick factor went up. The last time he had graced Carnaval with his presence it had ended memories of that night haunted him as he slept overlooking the city. Not sleep per se, but a consciousness where his dreams took over.

“Never made it as a wise man/I couldn’t cut it as a poor man stealing/Tired of living like a blind man/I’m sick of sight without a sense of feeling/And this is how you remind me/This is how you remind me.”

There was one man, whose fear he could still smell after all these years. The chase was what made it fun for Angelus, that addiction of wanting something, being teased, seeing his prey flee in utter fear. He held the mortal down and sucked him dry. As his subconscious replayed the man’s death in slow motion, Angel didn’t hear, see, or smell the two masked intruders easily break into Willow’s apartment. With a swift flick of his wand, Lucius Malfoy bound Angel to the couch as Julian located Wesley’s suitcase.

“It has an Unopenable Charm, Father,” Sark complained. Sometimes he wished he had been born a wizard and not a Squib. It would make breaking and entering so much easier in his line of work.

Lucius grinned malevolently and tapped the case with his wand. Sark grabbed the messenger bag from around his neck. Lucius wrapped it in cloth and they secreted the obsidian-covered book within the confines of the bag.

But before they took their leave, Lucius stared hatefully down at Angel, still struggling angrily against his binds.

“I’ve studied you for a long time vampire,” Lucius whispered. “Do you really think you can atone for your crimes against humanity now that you’ve got a soul?” He laughed with hate and the wand in his hand was trembling ever so slightly as it was aimed at Angel’s chest.

“Father,” Sark said, “they’ll be back soon.”

“This is how you remind me/Of what I really am/This is how you remind me/Of what I really am.”

Lucius snapped out of his trance and allowed his son to lead the way out.

“Next time Liam,” Lucius said venomously. “Next time.”

* * *

“Um…what about?” asked Harry trying to feign confusion. He knew perfectly well what this girl wanted to talk to him about, and hoped to make a quick exit.

“Must of been late afternoon/On our way the sun br /oke free of the clouds/We count only blue cars/Skip the cracks, in the street/And ask many questions/Like children often do.”

She expertly performed a locking charm on the door. He wished he’d listened to Hermione when she’d tried to teach him the counter-charm. If he got out of this alive, he’d beg her to teach him it.

“Harry James Potter, you know perfectly well what I’m talking about,” said Meliza fiercely, her eyes held a fiery passion as she advanced onto him. Harry found himself backed into a corner and had no choice but to let Meliza speak.

“How do you know my middle name?” asked Harry in genuine confusion.

“You’re the saviour of the wizarding world, I’ve grown up hearing your name. Anyway!” she said calming down slightly, “I want to have a chat about Anastasia.”

Harry schooled his face to be impassive as he answered, “What about her?”

“God, are all men complete idiots?” she asked exasperated, “She likes you, you like her. Why are you not together?”

Harry stilled, it seemed so simple. And yet it wasn’t. Yes he liked her and maybe she genuinely liked him, but how could he trust her?

“She…cursed…then tried to commit suicide. All my fault,” rambled Harry as he looked up into Meliza’s eyes.

She softened her gaze staring down at his vulnerable state. If anyone out of the three of them needed a therapist, it was Harry.

“We said/Tell me all your thoughts on God/’Cause I would really like to meet her/And ask her why we’re who we are/Tell me all your thoughts on God/Cause I am on my way to see her/So tell me am I very far/Am I very far now?”

In a rare moment of affection she clasped his hand as she sat down next to him.

“Harry, it wasn’t your fault. Believe me, it took a therapist and me to make Anastasia figure out it wasn’t her fault either. The problem with you two is that you’re too afraid of each other’s feelings to do anything about it. You hide behind something that wasn’t even your fault. Give Ana a chance, she’s a really great girl once you get to know her,” she said softly. “Just befriend her, and if your feelings for each other are still there you can decide together what you want to do. Just don’t deny yourself this little bit of happiness Harry.”

Harry felt her words wash over him as he stayed sitting, even after she unlocked the door and walked out.

* * *

They arrived back at the apartment in high spirits. They had even participated in a parade. Dawn was the first to enter the apartment and let out a loud shriek when she flicked on the lights.

“Dawn!” Willow screamed, scampering into the apartment immediately. “What’s-” And then words left her. They were horrified at what they saw. Angel, bound and gagged by ropes to the sofa, and Wesley’s empty suitcase. Willow and Sydney bent down to untie Angel.

“It’s not like you to say sorry/I was waiting on a different story/This time I’m mistaken/for handing you a heart worth breaking/and I’ve been wrong, I’ve been down/been to the bottom of every bottle/these five words in my head/scream ‘are we having fun yet?'”

“Malfoy,” he managed to say.

“They know,” Wesley muttered, “how do they know?” He bent down to examine the suitcase for clues. “There’s a note,” he said perking up slightly. He frowned as he read the note, handing it over to Sydney when he was done.

“We want Dawn. You want the book. Perhaps we can make some arrangements to please everyone involved.”

“Bastards,” Kennedy said angrily, kicking a nightstand aside.

Willow threw a protective arm around Dawn. “We won’t let them near you Dawnie.”

“I know how Buffy feels to have the weight of the world on her shoulders,” Dawn said sadly. She eyed Otrere, who was peering at the peeling wallpaper interestedly.

“It’s not like you didn’t know that/I said I love you and I swear I still do/And it must have been so bad/Cause living with me must have damn near killed you.”

“We’ll brainstorm more when we get home to Hogsmeade,” Sydney said taking charge.

Wesley shut his empty suitcase quietly and peered up at everyone. “Let’s go home then.”

* * *

Draco selected a chocolate-coloured owl to deliver his latest report on Potter to his father. He was looking forward to the upcoming Easter holiday. Meliza was staying behind, thank Merlin. Draco had checked the list of people who were staying at Hogwarts the other day.

“It’s getting cold, picked up the pace/How our shoes make hard noises in this place/Our clothes are stained/We pass many, cross eyed people/And ask many questions/Like children often do.”

He had invested six years of his life to her, knowing his place in wizarding society, and this was the thanks he got? Of course, regardless of how many times Draco tried to rationalize the demise of their relationship, he discovered that it didn’t deaden the pain any less. So when he heard the distinct giggling of his one true love, he stuffed his report under his robes, ducked behind a low stall, kneeling in owl dung, and ruthlessly overheard their conversation.

“So how much is FM putting into the show?” Meliza was saying.

“A bloody good lot. They’re pulling out all the stops,” Anastasia Darcy explained. Draco peered at her from between the slits in the stall. She was pureblood like him, but the Darcys were like those dirt poor Weasleys, sympathetic to Muggles. It made his skin crawl.

“What about hair and makeup and all that?”

“Um. Hmm. Mum hadn’t mentioned anything,” Anastasia replied. “But I assume they’ll hire somebody. Why?”

“On the Muggle telly, there’s this programme called ‘Queer Eye For the Straight Guy’. The premise is they take Joe Schmoe off the street and turn him into Gilderoy Lockhart,” Mel explained.

The girls giggled, remembering his disastrous turn as their Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in second year, as Anastasia busily scribbled the name ‘Queer Eye For the Straight Guy’ on her parchment.

“There’s no way the Queer Eye fellows are Muggles,” Mel added. “They are just too good at what they do.”

“Done,” Anastasia said with a big flourish of her quill and a grin. “Mum can talk anyone into helping FM.” She tied the parchment to her owl Kit. “One can only imagine what she does to get people like the Minister of Magic himself to come to charity functions like this!” She guided Kit to the window and watched her fly away.

“Tell me all your thoughts on God/’Cause I would really like to meet her/And ask her why we’re who we are/Tell me all your thoughts on God?/’Cause I am on my way to see her/So tell me am I very far?/Am I very far now/Am I very far now/Am I very far now.”

In a flurry of loud giggling, the two girls left the Owlery. Draco quickly scribbled the newly discovered intel onto his parchment and sent his owl on its way.

* * *

“And we fly in the air on that thing?” asked Otrere skeptically. They were at the airport waiting for Wesley to get their tickets to go back home. The morale was low, but Willow tried her best to explain to Otrere why they were flying in an airplane.

Willow tried to explain one more time. “Yeah, I don’t think they had this kinda thing in your day but it’s perfectly safe and you don’t get all blowy and airy, you just sit along with the other people and enjoy the flight.”

“And this is how, you remind me/Of what I really am/This is how, you remind me/Of what I really am.”

“It’ll be OK Bu…Otrere, I’ll hold your hand,” said Dawn warmly. It was hard to adjust to the fact that her sister’s body had been taken over by an Amazon warrior. Last time an Incan had come to Sunnydale, the results hadn’t been fun.

“I am feeling warm feelings towards you Dawn. Almost, protective,” observed Otrere as she glanced at the younger woman.

“That’s what Buffy feels,” said Dawn softly, tears threatening to well up in her eyes. They’d find a way, she’d lost Buffy once already because of her, she wasn’t going to let it happen again.

“Is this what….family is? I never had a sister or a brother, and my parents died when I was young. I never knew what family was,” shrugged Otrere.

Dawn felt an inexplicable urge to hug this creature who didn’t know the meaning of family. Otrere was surprised, but she had noticed that this body elicited such reactions so she awkwardly patted Dawn on the back.

“Why did you hug me?” she asked confused at the emotional bond that was slowly growing between them.

“Because I think I just needed to hug you, and you needed that hug. Sometimes family just knows when you need a hug or when you need to be cheered up,” explained Dawn.

“Do I….do we have parents?” asked Otrere curiously.

“Our mom died a couple of years ago, and our dad isn’t around much,” explained Dawn. They had decided not to tell Otrere about Dawn being a Key. She wouldn’t understand and they still held out hope that Buffy would come back to them. And after the theft of the Book, they’d thought it necessary to only give Otrere the minimum facts about Dawn and the Book.

“I think I like family,” said Otrere smiling warmly.

“I’ve got our tickets,” said Wesley striding forwards glumly. The theft had affected Wesley the most and Sydney couldn’t help but squeeze his shoulder to comfort him.

“We’ll get it back Wes. Don’t worry,” she said as Wesley sighed defeatedly and slumped down onto his chair.

Angel sat in his own world of brooding, angry at himself for letting the Book go.

“It’s not like you to say sorry/I was waiting on a different story/This time I’m mistaken/for handing you a heart worth breaking/and I’ve been wrong, I’ve been down/been to the bottom of every bottle/these five words in my head/scream ‘are we having fun yet?'”

“Look, it wasn’t any of our faults. Nadia was a distraction to get the book, they never really wanted her that badly, but they do still want her,” said Sydney capturing everyone’s attention. “So, what we’re going to do is go back home, figure all this out and solve it. Then we’ll deal with the Malfoys,” she said before sitting down awkwardly next to Nadia.

* * *

“This is home?” Otrere asked the others, as they hauled their luggage into the home not far from the heart of Hogsmeade. The trip back was uneventful, long, boring, and tense. The loss of the Book weighed on everyone’s minds, as did the fact that they had to introduce Otrere to this world.

“Yes,” Wesley said tiredly.

“Welcome home mate,” Ron said warmly to Wes.

“You must be Dawn,” Hermione said to the girl. They were about the same age, she realized.

“Yeah, Hermione? They talked about you a lot,” asked Dawn.

“Yup.”

“Oh Buff, I missed you,” Xander said seriously, coming in from outside, bending down to hold Otrere close.

“I am not Buffy,” Otrere replied. She never tired of saying it.

“Buffy, quit playing. It’s me, Xander,” he said pulling away to look at her.

“Xander, didn’t Professor Snape tell you?” Sydney said gently, pulling him away to explain. His face fell when he learned of what happened.

“What? What are we gonna do?”

“That’s where Willow and Hermione come in,” Angel said, appearing from his bedroom. He proceeded to explain that Hermione and Willow needed to find a spell to rid Buffy of Otrere’s soul.

“I know that’s a lot to ask of you Miss Granger,” Wesley said, lightly placing his hand on her arm. “I know you three have end-of-the-year exams coming up.”

Hermione blushed slightly at the touch of Wesley’s hand. “Of course,” said Hermione immediately. She grinned at Willow, who returned the smile. “Whatever it takes.”

Dawn and Otrere distanced themselves from the group as they continued to talk.

“What if I don’t want to let them take this body away from me?” Otrere whispered.

“But you don’t belong here,” Dawn said as gently as she could. “We need Buffy.”

Otrere looked away, hurt. “But I need you too.”

Fade out

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