Episode 16: Misery

For more information, visit The Alliance of Destiny: A Virtual TV Series.

Written and Directed by Humaira K and Gill P

Guest starring
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Eliza Dushku as Faith Lehane
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Liam Neeson as Gabriel Masterson
Peta Wilson as Bellatrix Lestrange
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Lucia Barron

Faith and Wesley stepped off the plane welcomed by the sombre Scottish weather. The memorial service had gone well. For obvious reasons Illyaria had stayed away as Fred’s family and friends said goodbye to her memory. Her parents had been inconsolable and had looked at Angel and Wesley with such hatred that it made Faith flinch.

But now they were back to real life, and hopefully Wesley would be able to move on. The chilly wind picked up as Faith wrapped her arms around herself to keep out the cold. Wesley had been extremely quiet since the service, to the point that he hadn’t talked to anyone in 4 days. Faith was worried about him, but she was more worried about what lay ahead of her with Anastasia. The girl was beginning to scare her with her incessant training. Faith saw glimpses of her Want, Take, Have attitude in her.

“So far away/Come on I’ll take you far away/Let’s get away/Come on let’s make a getaway.”

Sighing she said, “Our ride’s here.”

Wesley barely acknowledged her as she began loading the car, driven by Buffy, with their belongings. Buffy stepped out and hugged her fellow Slayer. “How’s he holding up?” she asked quietly.

“Hasn’t said a word in four days, since the memorial service. He’s just been so quiet, and he hasn’t eaten either. It took Angel to forcibly harm him before he took a shower and half heartedly ate what was put in front of him,” Faith said softly gazing at the former Watcher.

“I’ll talk to him when we get back. Meanwhile we have bigger problems to deal with,” said Buffy, giving Faith a meaningful look before strapping herself into the drivers seat. During the journey to Hogwarts Wesley remained quiet, lost in thought. His mind kept replaying the look of hatred that Fred’s parents had given him. He had caused that by leaving Fred; if only he had been their for her.

‘But would that have made a difference?’ he pondered. ‘I saved so many lives by being here, and yet I couldn’t save the one I loved the most. I couldn’t save her.’

‘She couldn’t be saved,’ said the rational and blunt part of his mind, ‘No-one could have known what was inside the tomb. No one could have saved her. Stop blaming yourself and move on. You’re not doing Fred’s memory any good by damning yourself.’

‘But without her, I am nothing,’ he argued miserably.

‘You waited so long for her, you had her, and you lost her. Look around you, so have half the people you know. And they’re managing to get on with their lives. It’s time to start living again, for Fred,’ said his conscience.

“Once you have loved someone this much/you doubt it could fade/despite how much you’d like it to/God how you’d like it/you’d like it to fade.”

By the time that they arrived at Hogwarts, Wesley managed to smile. Home. He was home.

* * *

Meliza looked up from her NEWT homework suddenly. Hermione looked happy. Ron’s head was bent down towards her, her body leaned into his, and they shared a private joke, because they both burst into giggles. Meliza brushed her hair out of her face absentmindedly.

‘I could’ve been like that,’ she thought sadly. ‘I could’ve been happy, and not worrying about the state of mind of my best friend who may or may not be my best friend anymore, but I could worry about normal things like NEWTs and what shoes to wear with my robes the next day. That could’ve been me and Draco, if he hadn’t been such a wimp. It’s all Harry’s fault,’ she thought miserably. ‘If he’d only died when Voldemort killed the rest of his family…’

“How could you say that?” she muttered out loud. ‘If it hadn’t been for him, you wouldn’t have made anything of yourself,’ her conscience said. Meliza nodded. She had to admit, being friends with Anastasia, Harry, Sydney, and the others had made her a better person. Meliza thought to the last correspondence she had with her father. He wanted her to meet Lucia, and prodded out of her their next Hogsmeade weekend.

“Well haven’t you heard, baby’s got a new thing/And doesn’t wanna be disturbed, there’ll be no introducing her/But that won’t deter, from making us want to meet now/Am I allowed to call this defeat?”

“Hermione!” she called out suddenly, just as she and Ron were almost out of the courtyard.

“Yeah?” she replied, stopping immediately. Meliza gestured them over.

“Listen, next Hogsmeade weekend, I was wondering if I could hang out with you,” Meliza said.

“Sure. Why, what’s up?”

“Me and Anastasia aren’t on speaking terms, unfortunately. I’ll tell you later. And my dad wants to introduce me to his girlfriend. I need…”

“Support,” Ron supplied. “I’d feel all weirded out if my dad said something like that to me.”

“Yeah support,” Meliza nodded gratefully.

“Of course Mel,” Hermione said, bending down to give her a quick squeeze.

“Thank you so much, you don’t know how much this means to me.”

“You owe us one,” Ron said.

“You got it!”

* * *

Faith was on patrol duty this week along with Wesley. Her classes were beginning to tire her, but now that she didn”t have Anastasia to teach, to watch over, she felt even more nervous about the stony young woman. Something as wrong, and no matter who tried to reach out to her, Anastasia always pulled away.

“Let’s fade together/Let’s fade forever/Let’s fade together/Let’s fade forever/Let’s fade together.”

Climbing to the top of the Astronomy Tower she found Wesley busting the gangs of students making out, and ordering them back to their dorms. She smiled slightly. He looked better, like he was finally accepting Fred’s death was not his fault.

When the last student had reluctantly left, he stared out at the vast expanse of the Hogwarts grounds. Things were getting better. He was finally eating and had even gone back to teaching much to Buffy’s relief.

Faith stepped forward and stood beside Wesley taking a deep breath of the night air.

For a while they didn’t say anything, content with each other’s silent company. But as the minutes ticked, Faith turned to go before a strong arm pulled her back.

“Wait,” he said softly, not looking at her. Faith waited and turned to him expectantly.

“I wanted to thank you for making me go. The memorial service, it helped,” he said finally looking at her with a sadness that seemed to be lifting. “About what you said before…. before the service… I feel the same but, it’s going to take me time to – to express my feelings.”

Faith stayed silent for a while, absorbing his words. “I never asked you to replace Fred with me. Never. I’m here as a friend for you until you find the peace you’re looking for. I come with a lot of baggage. Make sure you’re ready for it before you decide anything.”

“If we get away/You know we might just stay away/So stay awake/Oh, why the hell should I stay awake/When you’re far away/Oh god you are so far away.”

Wesley nodded finally letting her go as he stared out at the cold night.

* * *

Meliza, Ron, and Hermione made their way to Hogsmeade the following weekend. Gabriel promised to bring Lucia to the Three Broomsticks, where they would be waiting at noon. Meliza was apprehensive to say the least.

Hermione squeezed her hand. “How are you feeling?”

“Scared. I don’t know, on top of everything else, I don’t think I can deal.”

“I’ve been shown, without deserving/That you’re at home, with my unnerving/So I suppose I’ll take to healing/And be getting on, getting on.”

“Harry told me about Anastasia,” Ron said gently, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s good you two haven’t had to deal with her. I think she’s just being difficult.”

“We should talk to the others. Maybe stage an intervention,” Hermione said.

“What about Xander?” Ron piped up.

“Good idea!” Meliza said.

“We can send him a letter,” Hermione continued, “I’m sure he’ll come and help sort Anastasia out.”

“Thank you so much,” Meliza said. “Harry and me, we’re just so overwhelmed.”

Hermione grinned. “What are friends for?”

The three lapsed into silence as the Three Broomsticks came into view. Madam Rosmerta was back and fully recovered from her episode of nearly murdering Sydney, and smiled at the three as they entered.

“Meliza!” Gabriel said before his daughter could catch her breath. A beautiful woman was sitting beside him on the table they had claimed, and stood back as Gabriel gathered Meliza up in his arms with a bear hug. Meliza let him hug her without enthusiasm on her part.

“Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger,” he said to Ron and Hermione, shaking their hands warmly.

“We’ll be nearby,” Hermione said. Ron nodded at Meliza firmly, and she smiled weakly at them.

“Answer/You got no clever answer/No answer/So we go no further no sir, no sir.”

“My two best girls finally get to meet!” Gabriel said gaily. He pulled Meliza to the table and the woman held her hand out.

“Pleasure to finally meet you Meliza,” the woman said. She had a slight Welsh accent, and that immediately put Meliza on her guard. “I am Lucia.”

“I thought you were Spanish,” she blurted out coldly. “You sound like that Welsh nanny I used to have.”

“I’m practicing it for ‘Twist of Fate,’ the new play your father put me in. It’s a bit difficult,” she said calmly, slipping into an unmistakably light Spanish one. “But your father helps me a lot.”

“Well, why don’t we order drinks?” Gabriel said, his voice breaking slightly. He gestured at Rosmerta who nodded. “I haven’t told Meliza much about the play. Why don’t you tell her about your role?” he said, wanting to keep the conversation going.

Meliza pouted for a few moments and forced herself to listen, and watched Lucia for the rest of the visit like a hawk. The older woman was hiding something. Meliza didn’t feel this way because she was jealous. In fact, she felt that her father deserved all the happiness in the world. After her mother died, there was no one else. Gabriel lost himself in his acting, his writing, and her and her brother. But there was something about this impeccably perfect woman that rubbed Meliza the wrong way.

* * *

Her cheeks were tear-stained. Her dark hair flying around her face without rhyme or reason. Her heart pounding in her ears. She couldn’t survive against this witch. The woman before her was too strong, much too strong. But she had to. They were counting on her.

“Just say yes,” Bellatrix rasped. “Agree and I will spare your family the same fate of countless others who fought me.”

“No!” Lucia Barron cried aloud.

“Very well,” Bellatrix said. She raised her wand, and like dominoes, they fell without a sound. They were only a few feet away from her and Lucia ran to them, but she was too late. She knew they were dead.

“You, you…” Lucia whimpered, her shoulders heaving.

“Witch? Yes,” taunted the Dark Witch. “Tell me something I don’t know!”

“They were innocent, they did you no wrong,” Lucia said, taking her little brother’s lifeless body in her arms and holding him close as the tears fell. “Your quarrel is with me.”

“They did me wrong, because YOU did me wrong, Lucia! You should join like your brother Jorge before you. Pay tribute to his memory, and join me! Or their fate will be your own!”

Lucia wept and felt an ocean of darkness close in around her. “Please, no more. I accept.”

“Well haven’t you heard, the lady says she’s walking/And when he gave her his word/She didn’t find it soothing/I know what he prefers, is a little bit more control now/That what she had vowed, home ain’t just a place to eat.”

That was over eight months ago. Lucia – eager to live a normal Muggle life – was just about to leave Spain for England, to try the theatre scene there. Of course her plans were shattered by the proposal Bellatrix Lestrange presented. Join her Death Eaters or die. There was no third option. So she accepted, begrudgingly.

But she had heard whispers of a revived organization her father had told her about, one that had helped save witches and wizards in the First War. The Barrons were not sympathetic to the Dark Lord’s cause, but acted that way to spare their lives. She managed to glean from the whispers that Professor Dumbledore was head of the Order of the Phoenix. She managed to get a hold of him, through secret means. They met in a dark pub in the heart of London.

“The phoenix sings,” said a voice behind her.

Lucia stayed facing forward at her seat at the pub. “And I cry for the ones it saves.”

“Lucia, are you ready?” Professor Dumbledore asked. “There’s no turning back.”

“Yes.”

“Follow me.”

He brought her to the headquarters of the Order immediately, and was briefed on everything it entailed. Lucia wasn’t too sure about the other personnel, but that didn’t matter. The less she knew, the better. She was one of a few select other witches and wizards who were sent to infiltrate and collect as much intel as they could. But Dumbledore trusted her with a special mission: her goal was to become Bellatrix’s second-in-command.

“I’ve been shown, without deserving/That you’re at home, with my unnerving/So I suppose I’ll take to healing/And be getting on, getting on.”

But she hadn’t counted on falling in love. Thanks to her agreement with Lestrange, she was allowed a normal life. But Lucia would be at Lestrange’s beck and call, an assassin of sorts. The Barrons were infamous for their knowledge of the Dark Arts. They never used it for evil though. But they certainly knew how to defend against it. So she hesitantly pursued that perfect Muggle life she always wanted. But during an audition, she met the one man who she was sure was the One. His name was Gabriel Masterson, a father of two grown children, a wizard, and a brilliant actor and writer to boot. She had heard of his name in passing on the theatre circuit. With him, she felt an immediate kinship.

They clicked immediately. She couldn’t reveal to Gabriel who she was, and worked hard at keeping her two lives separate. But she knew she had failed when she met his daughter, Meliza. There was something about her that left her unsettled. It was probably nerves, but the child looked so deep into her eyes, Lucia was sure she was a Legilimens and could see into her head. Gabriel reassured her that even though Meliza was a powerful witch, and being a Legilimens was a family trait, she wasn’t one.

But Lucia wasn’t so sure about anyone in this climate anymore. She didn’t know who to trust.

“Answer/You got no clever answer/No answer/So we go no further no sir, no sir.”

So she went to Dumbledore for a solution. He suggested an Unbreakable Vow. Remus Lupin – whom she had met only minutes earlier – agreed to be her second.

They stood together and recited the spell. For this Vow, it would prevent Lucia from revealing her double agent duty.

* * *

Meliza furiously scribbled her letter and rushed to the Owlery to send it off.

In it, she asked to become Sydney’s pupil. She might be in America, and no longer her teacher, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t be friends. She didn’t know much of Sydney’s life there, but she did understand that she worked for the Muggle Secret Service organization called the Central Intelligence Agency. That meant she was a spy.

Meliza wanted to be one too. It might come in handy in the future. Meliza wasn’t altogether sure what being a spy meant, but if anyone could decipher it, Sydney could.

Of course, Lucia Barron would be her first case. She was going to find out about this woman as much as possible and expose her for the fraud she was.

“I’ve been trying to travel, but my ways are going nowhere/knowing that somewhere’s hard to find/But I, I start to unravel. I start to unravel/In my mind.”

She thought back to the meeting that had taken place just that afternoon. Meliza gritted her teeth and tried desperately to enjoy her Butterbeer with Lucia and her father. Lucia was so beautiful, so perfect; it made Meliza sick to her stomach. ‘Nobody is that perfect,’ she had thought as she laughed listlessly at Gabriel’s jokes.

She had also reassured herself that even if Lucia really was that perfect, she would drop her investigation immediately. But there was a gnawing in her stomach, a worry buried deep in stomach that wasn’t the same when she thought about Sofia or Anastasia, that wouldn’t go away until she was absolutely sure about Lucia’s intentions.

* * *

Sydney was trying hard to settle back into her life in America. She had been welcomed back with open arms to the Agency and by her father. But he could see that her heart really belonged with the broken man back in London who was even now trying to remember who the beautiful woman who visited him was.

Sydney did her best to avoid Michael Vaughn until one awkward moment when they had to work on a mission together. Things had gone smoothly, and she felt herself slipping back into the roles they played out. But this time, there was no jealousy. No longing on either side. They’d moved on.

Vaughn was dating someone from outside the Agency and Sydney was happy for him. But every time she saw him smile and joke with Weiss about his date, a pang of anger shot through her. Why wasn’t she allowed the same happiness? Why did the universe not want her to be happy?

Having dinner with her dad one evening after work she stopped pretending and let it all out. Jack Bristow held his daughter and comforted her. It was unfair. He didn’t like seeing her hurt. And now she couldn’t even contact her sister. No-one must know where Sydney really was. The official line at Hogwarts was that she’d moved to London to be with Severus as he regained his memories. This was to keep Sark and Lucius away from her as she began their downfall.

“You could spend all your life asking the universe why it can’t let you be happy,” said Jack when Sydney had cried herself out. “But you had good memories with Severus, cherish them sweetheart. He will remember what you mean to him, but truth takes time.”

“I saw Mom,” she blurted out before she could stop herself. She felt her father’s arms stiffen at the mention of his wife.

“She told me to give her earrings to Nadia. I haven’t yet, because I know she’d use them to track her down. I can’t put Nadia in danger after all we’ve done to keep her out of it,” she said as his arms relaxed a little.

“Daddy, when will it stop? When will I get my happy ending?” she asked looking at him with those lost eyes that tore into his heart.

Jack didn’t say a word as he held her tighter and rocked her. He still hasn’t gotten his happy ending. He wasn’t about the to destroy the dream for his daughter.

* * *

“Hello? Is anyone home?” Xander called. The cottage he had spent the year before in seemed to be deserted. Shrugging his shoulders, Xander dropped his luggage off and walked towards the castle. He spotted Buffy in a long, black robe, her blonde hair conservatively tied back, chatting happily with some students.

“I looked at your wall/Saw that old passport photograph/I look like I’ve just jumped the Berlin Wall/Berlin I love you/I’m starting to fade.”

“Should I call you Professor Summers now?” he said from behind her.

Buffy jumped a foot in the air and whipped around. “Xander! Oh my God, what are you doing here?” Her students smiled at their teachers’ sudden enthusiasm and said their goodbyes as she lunged at Xander.

As he extracted himself from Buffy’s embrace, he pulled a piece of parchment from his pocket. “I got an urgent letter from Hermione Granger. She wanted me to talk to Anastasia.”

Buffy’s face went ashen. “I’m worried about her. We all are. Let’s go for a walk, and I’ll explain.”

Buffy summed up what had happened with Anastasia in the last few months as they walked the grounds. Xander absorbed the information quietly.

“I told her she could write to me, if anything got hectic,” Xander said. Already he was mentally blaming himself for not being there for her.

“Let’s fade together/Let’s fade forever/Let’s fade together/Let’s fade forever/Let’s fade together/Let’s fade forever/Let’s fade together.”

“It’s beyond hectic for Ana,” Buffy said. “She’s become a completely different person. I would’ve written you too, but I didn’t know where to find you. I know what happened with Otrere.”

Now it was Xander’s time to turn ashen. “We’re… different people. I thought we could…”

“Don’t explain,” Buffy said. “It’s between you two. But do you think you could help Anastasia?”

Xander sighed, “I’ll try, but I’m no miracle man.”

Fade out

Comments are closed.

Navigate