Mix Sorrow, Loss, and Hope
rating: pg/pg 13
pairing: Willow/Snape QPC#31
the QPC site:
disclaimer: I do not own anyone from BtVS or Harry Potter.
distribution: WLS, NHA, Bite Me, Twisting the Hellmouth, Quickie Challenge, anyone else ask first. If It got sent to your list, you may archive it.
note: post somewhat AU S6 for BtVS, start of book 5 (AU because I have no idea where it's going)
dedicated to Rose and every other Snape-Alan Rickman fan out there.
Willow sat on the edge of the large window, contemplating her life. Everyone that she cared about... well, that never really worked out. Xander hadn't noticed, Malcolm had really been a demon trying to kill her, Oz and Tara... Well, things had been good for a while with both of them, but now they were both dead. It was almost as if they had died because they'd cared about her.
Oz had died as a result of a terrible traffic accident, and she'd learned of it because he'd still had her name and number listed as an emergency contact. She'd been called and informed of 'the tragic death of Daniel Osborne'. It had been that pain that had convinced Tara to come talk to her, to try to help her through it. It had been after that that they'd made up, agreeing to try things again, to move on to the future. That had been moments before the bullet had passed through the window, and through Tara's heart, killing her. Before Tara had collapsed into Willow's arms, her eyes puzzled as to the source of the bright red blood now staining Willow's shirt.
She'd gone just a little overboard in her anger and grief... well, maybe a lot overboard. Maybe a bit insane for a while. Eventually, after a great deal of ugliness that she tried to avoid thinking about, she'd gone to England to heal, to learn proper control. Now, she had a job teaching at a school for magic, a place called Hogwarts. She was the newest Professor for the class called Defense Against Dark Arts.
She could only look back on the cheerful girl that she'd once been. There was a sort of innocence that she'd had then, the innocence of a person that had never come face to face with their own inner darkness. In some ways, a lot of ways, she missed that innocence.
Every time she saw herself reflected in a mirror or the glass windows, she could see the difference in her eyes. They were filled with sorrow and grief, and darkened by secrets and pain... well, actually it had been the very dark magic that she'd used that had left her eyes a dark green, not any sort of emotional experience, but... She didn't want to think about that anymore.
There was one other person in the school that had eyes like hers, eyes showing pain and guilt and suffering. The eyes of the most intensely charismatic and frustrating man she'd encountered in a long time. Severus Snape, the Potions Master of Hogwarts. He wasn't classically handsome, with his distinctive nose and pale skin, or the fact that his hair generally hung limp around his face. He dressed the part of an ominous villain, and had a cloak remarkably like Dracula... only without the blood red silk of Dracula's cloak. She should know, after Buffy had dusted the vampire, she'd given everyone a souvenir of the encounter. Willow'd gotten the cloak. It made her smile a little to think of it, but it was a splendid formal cloak.
But her mind had wandered again. She returned her thoughts to Professor Snape... Severus. He seemed so aloof, so intimidating to the students. She was certain that it was a careful effort to make people stay away emotionally. To keep anyone from getting emotionally involved, to prevent anyone from caring about him.
The effort wouldn't work this time. Granted, she didn't seem to be his favorite Professor, but he couldn't entirely avoid her without being outright rude. She hadn't changed so much that she didn't want to help someone in trouble, and oh, was poor Severus ever in emotional trouble. He had a guilt complex almost as big as Angel. She found herself wanting to take him in her arms and kiss him all better.
"Hello Severus." She practically purred the words, determined to force him to look at her this time.
He looked at her, reminding her slightly of a startled deer. "Professor Rosenberg."
"Why do you go around all the time, those billowy robes sweeping behind you, trying to scare all the students? You can't tell me you don't know how they see you, and I know you could get not so billowy clothing that would still go with the dark and brooding look, after all, Angel just had the billowy coat. What makes you so cranky and grumpy?"
He looked at her, something flickering in his dark eyes. "What if I were to say it had to do with unpredictable American witches?" His voice rolled around her like audible velvet.
She smiled at him, a faint shadow of her former infectious grins. "Then I would have to ask what your excuses in the past were. I've only been here for a few weeks. And I've only tried to be nice... something that several people assured me would be a waste of my time."
He gave a small sigh, and there was the faintest dropping of his shoulders, almost imperceptible. "I suppose you have a point. Shall I leave it at I have done things that I now regret? The sort of things that such a pretty and sweet young woman as yourself couldn't understand."
He was turning away when she spoke again, her mind still trying to figure out why he'd called her pretty. "I've seen darkness, Severus. Darkness in the world, and in myself. I've touched the darkest magics... magics of life and death, and they've left their marks on my soul. I might be younger, but I've seen darkness. Poppy told me you wanted to have my job... does the name Glorificus sound familiar?"
Severus turned, his eyes wide. "There are some names that you shouldn't toss into the air casually."
Willow felt like smiling in victory. She'd finally got his attention. If she'd known discussing powerful evils would do the trick, she would have tried that earlier. "I don't need to worry about saying her name. She went to my hometown, and my... we fought her. We won, although it had a high price... The price kept getting higher as time went on."
He looked at her, and there was something in his eyes, something... not pity, but... maybe sympathy? Maybe something else as well... "You are quite unpredictable then, Miss... Willow. I wouldn't have thought you had any familiarity with the darker side of magic."
She made a small noise, almost a snort. "I lived over the hellmouth. Well, actually, it opened in the school library, but anyhow... There were always vampires and demons. We had to thwart an Ascension during my graduation ceremony. My best friend was the Slayer, and I dated a werewolf for a while. I restored a vampire's soul. I fought against Glory, and when Buffy died, I ended up ripping her out of heaven to bring her back. When the person that I loved died in my arms, I killed the person who'd shot her with magic. I know the darkness, Severus. I just keep trying no to let it swallow me up again."
He gave a small smile, one that looked as if he'd almost forgotten how to shape the expression. "I suppose you do understand then. Perhaps... I can help you resist the call of your darkness, and you can help me drown out the voice of my own?"
Willow felt something inside of her, an almost forgotten feeling that she finally identified as hope. "I think I'd like that."