And was whirled through darkness, spinning, spinning until her feet touched down on welcome solid flagstones. She opened her eyes. Trevor was standing in front of her, grinning as he offered a butterbeer. "Welcome to the Chat Room to Greatness!"
She took the frosty glass, and sipped. Green light streamed through the ceiling, and as she watched, a merman drifted by overhead. The ceiling was made of glass, and looked out to the skies above from under the lake. "I thought this was the Slytherin Common Room?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, but since we started with the portkeys to the House, we decided it would be fun to move the Common Room around; make it so it was no longer strictly tied to Hogwarts. So this term, we give it a different name, next term we move it a little over here, then the next term, we move it over there . . ."
"Right. Like taming an animal; you let it get used to what you're doing slowly so it doesn't spook. And all of a sudden . . ."
"The rabbit's in the pot, the horse is bridled. Exactly."
"I think I'm going to like it--"
"Spike! Spike, where are you?" A curly haired witch was storming through the common room, glaring in every direction. Spike looked harder at her. No, I don't know you . . . why is she yelling like that?
"Over here, Dru," replied a familiar sardonic drawl. A lean blonde man in leather trousers stood slowly up from a green velvet fainting couch, stretched and yawned, displaying a set of oversized canines. Spike's jaw dropped. Him? Here? Impossible!
"Spike? Spike, is that you?" she asked. He turned, glanced over his shoulder.
"Spike!!! Nischka, what are you doing here? I heard you were at Durmstrang?" The curly haired witch looked form vampire to first year in confusion, finally crossing her arms and glaring hard as Spike and the vampire came together in a double handclasp. "You've grown--how many years has it been?"
"Not so very many. I suspect it's easy to lose track . . ."
"Spike? Who the hell is this?" demanded the other witch.
"She's my . . . ah, help me out here, Spike. You're my--"
"Great great great great," she counted on her fingers, nodded, "great great grand-niece on Matya's aunt's and on your second cousin's uncle's side. Oh, and you’re also my third cousin, forcibly removed. Is there anything . . . no, I’m thinking of Spike, the one we try to avoid mentioning. Yes. Yes, that's it."
"Forcibly removed? I've never heard of that . . ."
"Oh, it means he's an undead. Or, uh, 'vitally different,' as we're supposed to call them now." She gestured helplessly. "When you have . . . that sort . . . in the family tree, you need to find some way to explain the relationship. And there's been enough generations and enough of the ruling families have, well, a bat in the belfry--"
Spike cleared his throat. "That's rather vulgar, e'en it?"
Spike blushed. "Sorry. But anyway, the genealogists came up with a term so they could keep them all straight."
The witch looked at both of them, hard. "So he's Spike. And you're Spike. And then there’s the Spike who should not be named. What's with the name?"
"Old family nickname. You should see what happens at a reunion. Someone calls for 'Spike' and heads everywhere swivel."
"Only until you get used to the accent," Spike argued. "It's all in how you say it, and who's talking."
"Mmm. Just keep in mind that this--" the witch took hold of the blonde's arm possessively, "--this Spike is my Spike. Mess with him and you're messing with me, little Firstie."
Ewww. "He is my uncle, after all." Spike dropped an insultingly graceful, fluid curtsey to Spike, who returned the gesture by smirking. "I'll drop Matya and Atyets a note later and let them know you're fine--we were worried when you didn't come to the picnic last summer." And with that, Spike and her minions left to find her dorm room so she could unpack her trunk, listening to the other witch snarling at the vampire. Spike shook her head. One mystery solved, though, that was some good work for the night.
Late that evening, with everything finally unpacked and the next morning’s necessities laid out, Spike pulled out the curriculum and began reading. So much to do!