Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and JKR. Remember these names. These are the names of masters. Of visionaries. Of the people who own these characters.
“So you can see, Professor Dumbledore, why we would so greatly appreciate your help in this matter. The skills that our Willow could learn here would be invaluable to the success of our training method for the newly called Slayers.”
“Oh, I do see, Rupert. And I perfectly agree. Miss Rosenberg would undoubtedly gain those skills here. I pride myself in thinking that we have a true master in the art here at Hogwarts.”
“Yes, he certainly is widely known for his knowledge in this area. Quite famous, I assure you.”
“Quite. I'm so glad we see eye to eye on this, Rupert. When can we expect the delightful Miss Rosenberg here?”
“Oh, I think as soon as possible, Headmaster. She has, after all, so much to learn.”
“Miss Rosenberg, I presume. If you would be so very kind as to quit that infernal fidgeting, we could perhaps begin our lesson?” The tall figure of Severus Snape loomed in his favorite forbidding fashion over the cowering girl. Good lord, she'd fall over if I so much as tapped her shoulder.
“Y-Y-Yes, sir.” Severus sighed.
“Miss Rosenberg, if you honestly aspire to something other than merely passable in this subject, it would be wise of you to give yourself a modicum of dignity. Again, shall we?”
“Yes, s-sir.” Promising
, Severus thought with disgust.
“Miss Rosenberg, perhaps I have been moving too fast for you, but I believe that I mentioned that as one of the things you should, under no circumstances, EVER say.”
“Miss Rosenberg.” Severus rubbed his temples, a headache building dangerously high.
“Sorry!” She cringed.
The girl looked up, shock clearly displayed in her wide green eyes. Startled by his use of her first name, Willow completely forgot to apologize.
“That is MUCH better.”
“Perhaps it is time we test your abilities, Miss Rosenberg.”
“Do you have to call me that?”
“Yes. Now, what can you tell me about last week's discussion, Miss Rosenberg.”
“Because, you know, Willow is much shorter to say, and what with your completely anti-social behavior, I would have thought you'd be all for less syllables and thus less talking with your fellow human beings and thus more time to brood in the darkness like He-Of-The-Overhanging-Forehead--”
“Miss Rosenberg, if I use your first name, will you refrain from releasing the babbling idiot within?”
“I can try, sir. You should know by now that I am an unstoppable force--”
“...against an immovable object, yes, I know. Now, WILLOW, if you would please recite the directions I gave you last week?”
“With pleasure, sir.”
“She's learned all that I, or anyone, can teach her.”
“Now, Severus, surely you cannot be saying that Miss Rosenberg is like your other students. What is that phrase you use? A 'Dunderhead?'”
“Surprisingly not, Albus. I merely mean that she has apparently retained enough knowledge to give her at least the semblance of a master in the art. She studies very hard and is quite serious in pursuing this subject. With the exception of the unfortunate incident with the muggle espresso, she has been most professional. There is nothing more I can teach her here.”
“Then it is time to contact Rupert. I am sure he will be most pleased with the results you have achieved with the girl.”
“I am sure he will be pleased, and, if my hopes are to be found true, more than a little surprised. I am quite looking forward to his reaction.”
“Said with all the manic glee of an artist unveiling his masterpiece.”
“She is at that, Albus. A masterpiece.”
“B-B-But how? What? How?”
“Three excellent questions, Rupert. Perhaps you would volunteer your services as a guest speaker at some point?”
“There's not need for that, Severus. I was simply amazed at the difference. This is more than I could have dreamed of! You are truly everything that is said of you, Professor Snape.”
“Your kindness overwhelms me, RIPPER. Once your flowery protestations of devotion to my person are complete, would you like to see Willow in-- how do those infernal Americans put it-- in action?”
“Poor Severus! She's gotten to you, you know. A mere month ago you would never have even thought such a phrase.”
“I am depressingly aware of that. And now here you are to rescue me from her corrupting influence. Truly the Gryffindor, Rupert.”
“Do shut up, Snivillus.”
The day of reckoning had come at last. Since the evening that Albus had come to him with this absurd idea, Severus had been of two minds about it, and therefore, about Willow Rosenberg. While on the one hand, such a ridiculous idea could only end in satisfying failure, even if such a failure should be attached to his own name. The point was that it would surely fail, and soon, thus freeing him from all duty to the red-headed pixie that seemed to haunt his classroom.
The other side of the argument soon became apparent as Willow started to excel at the chosen subject. With each passing success, Severus Snape, overgrown bat and greasy git of the Hogwarts' dungeon, had found himself nearly enjoying the presence of the Weasley-haired sprite. The tiny bit of darkness in her soul seemed to be drowned out by the undeniable light of her being, a light that seemed to also drown out the darkness that hovered around the potion master's own soul. As she steadily improved, the favor to Albus seemed to be less of a burden than before, culminating in a intensely passionate kiss during their goodbye that left Severus breathless. It had not taken much insistence from his headmaster to commit Severus to observing Willow's first class of Slayer recruits.
At the present moment, Severus was sitting disillusioned in the back of a classroom packed with hormonally and supernaturally charged teenage girls. He grimaced in distaste as three girls near the front had taken to talking about the cutest young Watchers recently hired by the new Slayer and Watcher Council. His distaste grew as one of the girls pulled hideously pink gum out of her mouth and proceeded to stick it on the underside of the desk.
A crack echoed through the noisy room as Miss Willow Rosenberg entered the room, slamming the door into the wall with the force of her entry. Her stiletto heels clicked ominously on the concrete flooring, causing Severus to smile. He'd tried to convince her that the swish of a voluminous robe was the key to the fear, but it seems that Willow had found her own trademark. He noted the rest of her wardrobe with approval.
Where he had opted for long and concealing robes, Willow had done the opposite. A tight knee-length skirt with a long slit in one side covered legs that Severus thought enchanting, but which the battle-trained Slayers would see as dangerously fit. The blouse above it was tailored to her body, flaring out slightly at the elbows in the style of medieval times. The coloring itself was a work of genius, matching Severus' predilection for grim black in the skirt and body of the blouse, leaving only faint, sinister webbing of dark, venomous green to trail over the bodice and sleeves. With the dark mysterious rings on her fingers and the opulent green pendant around her neck, Willow's hair blazed angrily, escaping the mild restraints placed on it and giving the impression that the menacing red-head had just walked out of a portrait of Morgan Le Fay.
As this poisonous vision clicked her way towards the front of the class, the Chosen and fearless Vampire Slayers backed hastily away, clearing a path before their teacher. This seemed to be a wise choice, as the cold indifference on her face gave no indication whatsoever of mercy. Severus smiled proudly when she sneered in a most convincing manner at a girl who didn't move quite fast enough.
Reaching the front of the classroom, Willow placed her notes on the desk up front and turned almost languidly around to face the nervous class. Her eyes moving dispassionately over the crowd, stopping briefly on the spot where Severus stood, her eyes narrowing the slightest bit in welcome before moving on. Severus lazily flicked his wand, sending an invisible message to the captivating witch in front of him. After about a minute to let the fidgeting reach an uncomfortable peak, she spoke.
“This is a class of magics and intelligence. If any of you have even the tiniest bit of either, it's more than can reasonably be expected, considering the usual Slayers I work with. There will be no idiotic sword waving or aiming of crossbows in this class. If you prove to have even minimum amount of brains required, I can teach you how to know your enemies, trap your enemies, even dismember your enemies from afar. I would go further, but it is doubtful that any of you will even get to this stage, so I figure why bother. And perhaps that is what you were thinking, Miss Crew, when you placed that wad of gum under your desk instead of simply walking to the trash and disposing of it?”
The classroom started and began to murmur worriedly, wondering how she could have possibly seen the unfortunate Slayer before she had even entered the classroom. A frighteningly direct raised eyebrow from Willow was all that was needed to make Miss Crew swiftly discard the offending item. Severus laughed silently, enjoying the effect his interference had caused.
“Now that Miss Crew has decided this class is of importance, we may begin. Now, I'm sure you've all heard of Vengeance demons by this point...” The blank looks from the young girls was enough to cause an acidic smirk to form on Willow's lips. “...clearly power isn't everything.” Severus nearly DID laugh out loud at that addition. It appears that she had been getting information from at least one third of the Golden Trio while at Hogwarts.
“Vengeance demons, like their names suggest, wreak vengeance in the names of those who call upon them. They are demons, of course, but they should not be attacked indiscriminately. Many of these demons are valuable members of society, allying themselves with the forces of good.” Willow said all this while toying with the green pendant at her neck. As she continued to extol the virtues of the newly dubbed “justice demons”, many of the Slayers eyes grew wide when the witch mentioned in passing the pendant power source that most vengeance demons possessed. By the end of the lecture, those in the front row were leaning so far away from their terrifying teacher that most seemed to be balanced only by virtue of natural Slayer grace. The entire class was both enthralled and panicked, unsure how to take the implication of a demon teacher.
And from his invisible seat, Severus Snape chucked quietly and congratulated himself on a job well done. Rupert's idea to train the innocent-looking witch in the art of intimidation had seemed ludicrous, but it made perfect sense now. With a teacher this alarming, nothing the Slayer recruits faced later in their dangerous professions would cause such fear. And what a teacher. Severus himself had to applaud her use of the vengeance demon persona to increase her role's effectiveness. His own vampire myth had sadly been due more to excitable children than his own contrivance.
Yes, Willow Rosenberg was truly a masterpiece of his own personal art. And he fully intended to congratulate them both in a suitably pleasant fashion. Swelling with pride, he watched the entrancing figure that he had turned from a weeping Willow into a Whomping Willow.