IX - Your Starter For Ten
“Now there’s an easy way we can do this or some hard ways,” said Spike, twisting Harry’s arm painfully. “First, your mate there can try to shoot me with his magic stick without hurting you, and after I’ve stopped laughing and finished breaking your arms I’ll go after him. Second, you can try to use your own little magic stick, and I’ll break that; probably your arm too. And the third way, the easy way, is that you tell me what I want to know and maybe I’ll let you go without breaking your stick or your arms. Do we have a meeting of minds here?”
Harry knew he could kill the vampire with wandless magic if he had to, unlike most vampires he had no magical protection, but the error caught his attention. “They’re wands, not sticks.”
“Wands, sticks, whatever, I don’t bloody care. Now what’s the bleeding name?”
“Harry what, sunshine?”
“Bongggg! Wrong!” Spike twisted harder. “Every time you tell a porky pie a fairy dies, and your little heart goes pitter-patter just that little faster. And I’m a bleeding vampire, so I can sodding hear it. Try again.”
Maybe his real name would help. “I’m Harry Potter.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” Harry thought for a second that Spike was going to release him; then Spike added “Never heard of you.”
“So why did you ask?”
“To see if you’d tell the truth. Now if you can’t even do that when I ask your name, why should I trust you about anything else?” Abruptly Spike spun round again, before Harry had even realised that Bury had Apparated behind them. “That’s right, mate. Back away, before I bend Harry here like a pretzel, and no more teleporting.”
Bury looked puzzled, and Harry said “He means Apparating.” Again, the vampire was using a Muggle word, not one from the wizarding world. He’d never heard of a Muggle vampire before. And of course everyone in the wizarding world knew Harry’s name.
“Right, what he said. Now, your starter question for ten… who’s in the coffin, Dracula?”
“Dracula’s a myth.”
“Bollocks. He’s as real as you are, or was. So if it’s not Drac the lad, what have you got? The Judge? Drusilla… no, I’d know if it was her. Adam?”
“Never heard of any of them,” said Bury. “Not that it’s any of your business.”
“Was I asking you?” Spike snapped. “Now then, Harry? Who is it then? Who does your bloody dark lord want this time? Got a name for me?”
“Dark lord? You mean Voldemort?”
“Yeah, that bastard.”
“Yeah, right, sure he is.”
“I ought to know, I bloody killed him!”
“Did you now? So that’d make you the new dark lord, right, whatever you bunch of wankers call it these days?” If anything Spike’s voice sounded more threatening.
“Merlin, no. He’s dead, and we took the Death Eaters down.”
“You know,” said Spike, slackening his grip a little. “I think you’re actually telling the truth. Now, if you can give me a good answer about the coffin…”
“It’s a body, of course. We’re going to bury her.”
“And that’s it? You’ve imported a body from Sunnydale just to bury it? How the hell did it take four years to get here anyway?”
“Nine years,” said Harry “There was a shipping error, it got lost in transit.”
“Okay… you know, I think I actually believe you. Now, if I let you go, do you want to talk about this, or are you going to use your sticks?”
“Works for me,” said Harry. After all, he could probably kill Spike if he had to. Usually it took two or three Aurors, but Spike seemed unusually vulnerable.
“Are you sure?” said Bury.
“I think so.”
“Right then,” said Spike, releasing Harry and stepping back. “So if it’s just a body, why the hell are the Slayers so worked up about it? And what the hell are those bloody things?” He gestured towards the thestrals.
“Slayers?” said Harry. “You mean there’s more than one girl with the Curse?”
“With the…” Spike started laughing.
“…So Voldemort’s bully-boys caught up with us in Prague ninety-five.” Spike tapped a cigarette on the roof of the hearse, and lit it. He was sitting to the left of Harry, with Bury keeping as far as he could to the right. Ahead the thestrals were trotting along, their hoof-beats still muffled by the spell. “Bastard wanted vampires all over Europe to work for him, and wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I killed a couple of his minions, of course, and sent another one back with his arms broken and a note saying ‘thanks, but no thanks.’” At their looks he added “Look, I was evil back then, it was before I got my soul back, but I wasn’t going to be anyone’s cannon-fodder. What did you expect me to do?”
“I’ll bet Voldemort wasn’t happy,” said Harry, making a mental note to ask about souls later.
“Too bloody right he wasn’t. A couple of nights later we were out for a stroll when the humans started acting oddly, like something was turning them into a sodding mob.” Harry had a shrewd idea how that could happen; a few Imperius curses to start the ball rolling, then just pump up the mob’s fear and anger.
“Anyway,” Spike continued, “they attacked me and Dru; I got away pretty clean, but Dru was hurt really bad. I got the idea that she might recover if I got her to a Hellmouth, and that meant Sunnydale then. And that’s where we met the Slayer.”
“I thought you started to say there was more than one,” said Harry.
“Yeah, well… short version, there was just the one, and she lived in Sunnydale. Only she got drowned, and the next girl in line got the job.”
“The curse, you mean.”
“They don’t think of it that way,” said Spike. “There’s this whole long thing about the world used to be run by demons, fighting the forces of darkness, yadda yadda. Do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?”
“Go on,” said Harry.
“Anyway, the thing is that the Slayer was only dead for about thirty seconds. One of her mates got her out of the water and pumped her lungs out, and she came back to life. So then there were two Slayers, and that’s how things were until the last battle in Sunnydale, when they decided they needed a Slayer army. They knew that there were still new Slayers made when the old ones were killed, they proved that when Kendra died, and…”
“Wait a minute,” said Harry. “Kendra? Kendra Young?”
“Never knew her last name. Why?”
“Because she’s right behind you.”
“Oh bleeding hell…”
“Her only living relative’s in Scotland,” said Bury, “He wants to see to the funeral.”
“Right,” said Spike. “You’d better take the left turn up ahead, and follow the directions I give you.”
“Why’s that?” asked Harry.
“Because I pissed off to take a look for myself before they knew who was in the box, but they’ve got to know by now. Right now every Slayer in Britain is probably on your trail. The only way you’re going to get out of this with your balls intact is to talk your way out of it. And we need to go to them before they come to us, because I think that there’s going to be a lot less screaming that way.”
Harry thought for a few seconds, then said “I think you’re right. Mister Bury, I think it might be best if you Apparate home, they won’t be able to follow you there. I’ll drive the hearse, and Spike can lead me to the Slayers.”
“Sod that,” said Bury, “it’s my bloody hearse, and I decide who drives it. I just hope to Merlin you know what you’re doing.”
“Well,” said Harry, “let’s go and find out…”
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