Chapter 4: Lessons Learned

Challenge: for the livejournal 2019 August Fic-a-Day Challenge.

Timeline: Beginning of movie BtVS; post-series HP; both are AU at this point. Shift timelines to match

Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. HP characters belong to JK Rowling and company. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

Summers' home

Fortunately, the next day was a Saturday, so Buffy 'complained' to her friends that her parents were 'making' her spend quality time with them. They felt her pain but weren't going to do anything that might ruin their own fun.

"What did you think?" Buffy asked them before Merrick came over.

Hank looked at Joyce to go first. "The vampires weren't the same as we were used to," Joyce started. "It would be interesting to know if there was any crossover, but none of the ones we saw last night registered even remotely like ours. If I had to make a guess, I'd say ours try not to make waves by killing so much. It isn't necessary to kill to take blood, so they find willing donors and feed until they're satisfied instead of gorging themselves."

"It might be hard to tell the difference between feeding to eat and feeding to kill, so it's probably best to err on the side of caution for now and slay any vampire in the act of feeding," Hank suggested, then added, "unless the victim objects to your help."

"Seems weird to think some people would want to be donors for something like that," Buffy said with a grimace. "What about Merrick?" she inquired, knowing they were leery of her Watcher – and didn't that term sound stalkerish?

"It's too soon to be certain, but I think he's better than I thought when we first talked to him," Hank allowed.

Joyce nodded in agreement, "Hank's judgment is pretty good when it comes to people's character. It rarely failed us at Hogwarts. We still aren't going to let you go out slaying without us for the foreseeable future, though," she warned.

Buffy held up her hands in defense. "No complaints from me. I'm glad for the back-up, especially from someone I trust to be able to help me. Other than the slightly creepy vibe I got when he first approached me, I kinda like Merrick. He just needs to lay off the mysterious guy routine. He's not nearly swoon-worthy enough to pull that off," she added with a grin at her mom.

"It's more dangerous when they are," Joyce retorted angrily. "Be even more on-guard when the mysterious guy is gorgeous!" she ordered.

"Jeesh, chill, Mom! I was just kidding!" Buffy answered in typical teen fashion.

Joyce took a breath, then explained, "Sorry, but the worst Death Eaters weren't the obvious villain-types; they were the ones that were charming and good-looking enough to trick you into trusting them before they turned on you when you were most vulnerable. And from what we learned, Voldemort was the master of charisma before he used so many rituals that he destroyed his looks in trade for power."

"Sounds like personal experience," Buffy prompted, wondering if she'd learn more about her parents' history today.

"I was captured by a boy at school who honored me with his attention. All the girls swooned over him, but he was interested in me of all people! It was just a trick to use me as leverage against my father, who was printing truthful stories about their takeover of the Ministry. He had to betray your father and his friends in the hopes of saving me…something that he couldn't live with afterwards," Joyce recited with tears streaming down her face.

Hank moved over to pull her into a comforting hug. "I never blamed him for protecting you," he assured his wife.

"I know that, but Daddy…" Joyce paused, then continued her story, "Your dad rescued me, but lost a friend in the process."

"He died the way he wanted," Hank murmured, "He never felt like he was as good as his brothers, but he was a hero in the end. Despite their grief, they were so proud of him." He smiled sadly at his baby girl and told her, "Be sure to have good friends that you can count on like that…especially now that you're a Slayer."

She snorted, "I doubt any of my current friends would do anything to help me if it meant they'd break a nail." After thinking about it for a minute, she corrected herself, "Well, maybe a couple of them would. But I didn't befriend them for that reason; they make good normal friends. It makes cheerleading easier with them as my friends. But you're right, I should start looking for more substantial friends now that my life is more serious."

Wanting to break the melancholy mood her story produced, Joyce changed the subject somewhat, "We need to make plans. First things first, I think we should turn one of the spare rooms into a potions lab and start building a stockpile of potions that could help Buffy, like blood-replenishments, invigoration draughts, essence of dittany, bruise salve…"

"Do you think we could make them into pill form using cellulose capsules?" Buffy asked. Her chemistry class just covered cellulose capsules and she thought it might be easier to carry those around than potion bottles.

"We'd have to do some testing to make sure the potency wasn't affected," Joyce mused, "but for the less volatile potions, but could work. That could cause a stir in the Wizarding World if it worked."

"I doubt they'd accept it," Hank sneered. "They still consider the phonograph a cutting-edge advancement."

"If we didn't want to stay off the radar, I'd suggest introducing it to the local community," Joyce replied thoughtfully. "But now more than ever we need to keep them from looking too closely at us."

Buffy took this as one more way she was keeping her parents from their past lives and asked in trepidation, "Do you ever regret having to grow apart from your friends because of me?"

They looked truly shocked by the question.

"We didn't grow apart from them because of you, pumpkin," Joyce assured her.

Hank cut in, "Of course not! Our friends were repeating the mistakes of the generations before and we couldn't stand to watch it anymore…not after all we lost."

"The attitudes that allowed Voldemort to come to power are still around, and even the light side has bias towards muggles to some extent. They might not want to exterminate them, but they certainly don't regard them as being as worthy as those with magic," Joyce explained.

"Even the muggleborns get brainwashed into believing it. Hermione erased her own parents' memories because she didn't trust them to be able protect themselves against wizards. She didn't even give them a chance!" Hank exclaimed in dismay. "I felt sick when she told us what she had done. I know it tore her apart, but the fact she didn't discuss it with them first is what floors me. A small part of me wondered how long it would be before she thought she should do something like that to me."

"That's horrible!" Buffy exclaimed, "I can understand not trusting a friend who would take away your memories. Who knows what they could do without your knowledge?"

The doorbell rang, and Buffy left to let Merrick in. They went to the RoR to train while Hank and Joyce started setting up a nearby room to serve as a potions lab/infirmary.

"Do you feel better now that we've talked to Buffy about some of our history?" Joyce asked her husband.

"It makes me sad that we had to, but we've held onto the pain long enough," he answered.

A/N: And I'm making the end of HP somewhat AU. I'm not sure of all the changes I'll make. Right now, it's Ron dove in front of the knife instead of Dobby and there was an unknown boy at Hogwarts who was a secret Death Dater who delivered Luna to the Malfoys.