Spike slouched at the workbench, supporting her tired head on one hand. Now what?
It had seemed like a brilliant plan when Hecuba had explained it, creating false Horcruxes to lead the Knights of Walpurgis on wild goose chases, all on the off chance that one, just one, might have survived somehow as their former dark lord had cheated death once before. It had appealed to her sense of mischief to walk in Voldemort's footsteps and create seven Horcruxes, all based on his. The Four Houses of Hogwarts, an assistant as a spare pair of eyes. But this . . . this one is so iconic and so well-known, thanks to the Boy Who Was All That. How on earth am I going to fake the Sword of Gryffindor?
She stretched her aching neck, rolling her head on her shoulders. Hands on her hips, she twisted her spine like cracking her knuckles. The sword was returned to the goblins years ago, as part of the Pax Magus. Everyone knows that. She pondered a moment, Although . . . the sword goes where it will. Everyone knows that, too.
"Well, as long as we're working with what everyone knows," she muttered, pulling out her History of Magic text and flipping through for the chapters dedicated to the Second Wizarding War. A moment of reading, and . . .
Sascha burst through the door at the first howl, just barely pausing to fling it open rather than tearing it off the hinges; Dmitri right behind him to secure the doorway. His little mistress was seated at her workbench, hands twined in her hair, a large book open in front of her next to a plastic knife. He took a cautious sniff. No blood, no sweet-bleachy smell of recently discharged magic, no one in the room but Spike, himself, and Dimcha. "Sitrep?"
Spike pointed at the book. "It won't work," she said, wiping at her cheeks impatiently. "I can't make it do -- what I need it to do," she finished lamely. "I can't explain further."
"Cause of what we talk about." She nodded glumly, and he sighed. "Can talk to other magicker? No, not teacher," he said, to forestall the explosion he saw coming, "but maybe . . . someone else involved in secret project you doing."
"It's kind of . . . experimental," she explained, "but safe." Surreptitiously crossing her fingers in a fold of her robes, hoping he wouldn't notice the slight movement.
"Experimental like sending you heart out of you body? Safe like 'probably won't tear hole in the fabric of the universe as we know it? Dat kind of experimental but safe?"
"I only tried that once, and I was much younger then. It didn't work, anyway." It was an idea, but going to Hecuba and confessing that she had no idea what to do for Gryffindor, since Voldemort had never been able to convert the sword. I’d rather drink pulverized flobberworms. With that thought, she had it. "Sascha, I still can't tell you what I'm doing, and why. But I have a . . . strategy I want to bounce off you, and as my loyal minion--" she quirked air quotes around "loyal minion" "--that should be perfectly acceptable, right? I am the evil genius, it is my job to monologue at you when I have no hero and a Byzantine method of slowly dissecting him with only one vulnerable point that could be easily accessed by a scantily clad heroine."
Sascha grinned. He loved this game. He flopped his tongue out of one corner of his mouth and drooled, "Yaasss, Mistress." Better than tea parties with the dolls.