Title: The Art of Manipulation

Author: Dragonmage

Rating: PG 13

Pairing: Willow/Harry

Status: Complete

Disclaimer: Blah, blah, not mine, blah, blah, there's cattle in Texas with more rights to these characters, etc etc.

A/N: DARK FIC, there are very not nice people in this fic and they do very not nice things, you have been warned.

Set after Willow almost destroyed the world and in Harry Potters 7th Year.

Willows Point Of View

'My Lord, I did not come to you to simply become one of your minions, I am more powerful than any of the pathetic imbeciles you call Death Eaters. Let me show you just how useful I can be.' Willow stood up from her submissive position on the floor. She had sought out and entered this chamber in order to talk with the Dark Lord alone, and to present her offer. She moved gracefully until she was standing directly before him, her tight leather outfit showing off her lithe body and leaving little to the imagination.

Voldemort looked at her with an expression of disdain but she could see the flair of interest in his eyes. She leaned forward, her body brushing against his and whispered softly in his ear, 'I can bring you Harry Potter as a loyal servant.'

She stepped back and watched as his eyes brightened, she let the possibility sink in for a second before continuing, 'and in return you will make me your second in command as is only natural since my power is second only to yours.'

He seemed to think it over for a moment before speaking, 'That is yet to be seen my dear.' He pulled her into what he probably thought was an arousing, passionate kiss confirming her opinion that she could get more satisfaction from a washing machine than this man. 'Have Potter on his knees before me within the next year and you shall be my second, if you fail, your life is forfeit.' She almost laughed as the great, evil Lord Voldemort made his offer in his deadliest of tones while his gaze never moved from her cleavage. Apparently rape and torture just weren't as satisfying these days, the man desperately needed to get some. Oh well, it would make him much easier to handle until she was ready to take over from him.

She nodded once to signal her agreement before turning and walking slowly towards the door, feeling his eyes raking over her body as she left.

She apparated to Hogsmeade and walked swiftly towards Hogwarts, needing to get back before Dumbledore actually grew a brain and realised the redhead he allowed free reign of the castle wasn't quite as guilt-ridden and helpless as she appeared.

She had been sent to the school a little over a week ago, the Ministry of Magic had been all set to send her straight to Azkaban after she had almost ended the world. That had changed however when she met the ministers in person, they took one look into her sad green eyes that seemed to hold so many unshed tears and concluded that she had been driven by grief that she was simply an innocent in need of guidance. After all, hadn't she stopped out of love for a friend, obviously she was good at heart, she just needed help.

That was the part she found funniest of all, they all thought she had stopped because of Xander, how naïve, she had stopped because she realised there was so much more fun to be had if the people you could be ruling and terrorising hadn't been sucked into oblivion.

The good guys were always easy to manipulate, they couldn't resist the lure of someone who needed them, someone they could help redeem, they got their kicks from bending people to their will just like she did, but of course, their motives were much purer. The Ministers, Giles, even the Headmaster had been fooled by her, they all seemed filled with the urge to help her. She was being personally tutored by each of the Professors since they didn't want her to feel uncomfortable among the students, the same reasoning had led to the private room she had, away from the dormitories. In order to try and regain the spark of her natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge they let her have unrestricted access to the library and were pleased to see her studying there in her free time. It never even occurred to them to look and see that the books she read contained some of the darkest magics known to man.

Her power and knowledge were growing exponentially and she felt ready to put her plans into action.

She had been watching the seventh year boy, Harry Potter since she had learned how much the Dark Lord wanted him, he was her way straight to the top of the Death Eater ranks where she would stay until she felt ready to seize control.

She knew that all the students knew who she was and what she had done, few had tried to approach her and those who did were Slitherins who she very publicly ignored, it wouldn't do to be seen with them when she was cosying up to the goodies.

Harry, Ron and Hermione were some of the other few who had tentatively said hello in a bid to make her feel more welcome. She smiled softly at them whenever she passed them in the corridor, always making sure to keep the sad, haunted look in her eyes, to show just how guilty and sorry she was for her actions. It was so sweet that they cared, she even felt a little sorry for what she was going to do, nope, hold on, that was just an itch, this was going to be so much fun.

Another week passed and Harry seemed to be spending more time alone, Ron and Hermione had announced they were a couple and were spending a lot of time wrapped up in each other, never noticing the neglected, lonely friend who forced himself to smile and act happy.

Now was the perfect time to enact her plan.

Harry's POV

He was walking aimlessly along the corridors wondering whether his friendship with Ron and Hermione would ever go back to the way it was. He felt guilty for wishing his friends would break up, but he wanted their group back the way it was, he had no one close to turn to now they had practically deserted him.

It was late and all the other students were probably asleep, he didn't expect to see anyone about which made it all the more surprising when he was knocked to the ground by someone running into him.

He sat up rubbing gently at the back of his head where it had connected with the ground and looked at the small redhead who was the cause of his injury.

She jumped up immediately and began apologising, her words coming out in a quick, seemingly unstoppable flow, 'I'm so sorry I didn't mean to hurt you I had to get away please don't be angry I didn't mean it but his eyes they saw through me I should go its late goodnight I'm so sorry its…'

He put his hand on her arm in an effort to calm the frantic woman, she flinched at the contact and he pulled back noticing the tear tracks on her cheeks for the first time. His heart went out to the poor girl, she seemed terrified.

Replaying her babble in his head he picked out bits that didn't seem to fit, 'Who's he? What are you trying to get away from?'

Her breathing seemed to increase in speed as she thought about it and silent tears began to run down her face, 'I….he….I cant get away.' She collapsed against him in his place on the floor, sobbing into his shoulder and clinging to him as if she would never let go.

He found himself gently rubbing circles on her back trying to soothe her. Eventually her crying quieted and she relaxed against him, he suddenly remembered that he was still sitting in the middle of a corridor with the distraught girl on his lap, his body felt like one big nerve ending, completely focussed on the movements of the woman on top of him. He quickly squashed these feelings down, 'Come on,' he said beginning to get up lifting her with him, 'I'll get you back to your room.'

Willow nodded, she was still clinging to him but this time it seemed more from exhaustion although he could still see her flinch in fear at any sudden movement or noise. He put his arm around her to help her walk and they made slow progress to her rooms.

They got there finally and she spoke her password quietly at the door, he was about to wish her goodnight and leave when she collapsed and would have landed on the floor but he was able to hold her up.

Poor thing, he thought to himself, what on Earth had scared her that much. He picked her up and gently carried her into her room and placed her on the bed, he was about to leave when she stirred, reaching up to grasp his hand and gazed up at him with her sad green eyes, 'Please don't go, I don't want to be on my own.'

He couldn't leave her in this state so he looked around her room eyes finally settling on a couch on the far side, 'I'll sleep on the couch, ok?'

She opened her eyes again and looked at him, 'Don't be silly, the beds big enough for you to lie down, I cant ask you to sleep on a couch when you're being so nice to me, I just need to know someone's there, maybe then it will stop.' She murmured the last bit more to herself then him, it was clear she was on the brink of tears again and he was filled with the need to protect her. He looked at the bed, it was large enough that they could both sleep without touching and he had to admit it was a lot more inviting than the couch. 'Alright, the bed it is then, goodnight.'

He looked down at her and saw a sad smile directed his way, her eyes already closed, 'Thank you' he heard her whisper before she seemed to fall asleep.

He climbed on the other side of the bed and lay awake thinking things over and trying to figure out what had her so scared.

He had been lying there for about half an hour when she began whimpering and talking in her sleep, her body thrashed on the bed and it was plain to see that she was having a nightmare. He lay still for a minute at a loss for what to do, finally he moved over to her and spoke to her softly, whispering reassurances, she calmed a little and her body stilled a little but she was still shaking and crying out in fear. Encouraged by this little success he gently stroked her hair and again she seemed to calm further, she was almost still now and he began to ease away from her. He was completely taken by surprise when she reached out for him in her sleep and curled up against him, it was an awkward position for him, his body reacted to the feel of her against him. He tried to block it from his mind and fell asleep with the red head clinging to him as though she was drowning.

Willow's POV

As far as Willow could see things couldn't have gone better, after the night Harry had spent 'protecting' her from her imaginary nightmares they had spent increasing amounts of time together. Now almost two months later he had pulled away from his friends completely, she was the only thing in his life now that mattered, he couldn't live without her.

He was waiting for her when she entered one of the secret tunnels they sometimes used as a rendezvous point. She drew him into a passionate kiss before pulling back, tears flowing freely down her cheeks, looking exactly like the helpless girl he thought she was.

'I cant do this anymore Harry, we have to stop.' The look of confusion and panic on his face was priceless, it took all her control not to smirk.

'But…but…I love you, we love each other, why are you doing this, what's wrong?' She looked at him and felt a twinge of sadness, she would miss his innocence, he was so easy to manipulate, so predictable.

'I'm dying,' she said the words quietly, drying her tears and seeming to attempt a brave face and immediately found herself pulled to his chest as he hugged her protectively.

'You can't be, there must be something we can do, I won't let you die, I swore never to be separated from you,' he held her close before speaking again. 'Tell me what's wrong and I'll fix it, I don't care what I have to do, I won't lose you.'

This time she did smirk but luckily her face was buried in his chest so it went unnoticed. 'He poisoned me,' she said in a whisper feeling his body tense in anger.

'Who?' The demand came out in a harsh voice, a mask of rage on his face.

'Voldemort,' this time her answer could barely even be classified as a whisper but she knew he heard it. She quickly launched into one of her patented babbles that were oh so useful for seeming to unintentionally give out information. 'He wanted me to join him and I wouldn't and he promised to make me pay, he poisoned me and he's the only one with the cure and I'd go to Snape but I think he's a Death Eater and Voldemort said if I told any of the Professors the poison was magically designed to kill me quicker and he said the only way he'd give me the cure was if I convinced you to join him and…' She clamped her hands over her mouth, 'I didn't mean to say that, pretend you never heard it, it's not true, I couldn't ask you to do it even if it was true so just forget it.'

Harry looked straight into her eyes and love was the only emotion she saw there, 'I could tell Snape, maybe that wouldn't break the rules, he's not a Death Eater, he's a spy for our side anyway. I don't think we can risk it, so be it, I will go to Voldemort if it means saving your life. I love you.'

Willow smiled to herself, preparing her half hearted attempts at stopping him, which would of course end with him once again declaring his love and throwing away his life, it was almost too easy. She briefly pondered the juicy bit of information he had given her about Snape, oh well she would think how to turn that to her advantage later, for the moment she had an innocent to destroy.

THE END