Crawling LonelinessChapter One
Willow walked slowly, calmed by the night air that was somehow refreshing after the toxic pollution of the city. London, she thought absentmindedly was crowded, it not way too crowded. But then again Britain did have a population of over a hundred million. How in the world could they fit that many people on such a small island? Willow wondered, amused at her thoughtless musings.
The cool, fresh night air, brushed against her and Willow stood still, breathing it in. The night, she realized had become a part of her, too much time spent with Buffy fighting demons and kicking evil arse had done that to her. And yet she found that she liked it.
A street lamp flickered a little before steadying to a beaming light. At night the streets were still crowded though not as much as the mornings and afternoons.
Giles would be wondering where she was but really, at that moment, Willow didn't care. She felt slightly numb, she wanted to be alone, to think or to forget, she wasn't quite sure which. But today was the day - the day in which she had lost Tara - her love, her control and not to say the least her friends.
A year spent in the English countryside learning control to the point where she didn't use her powers anymore, she could still feel it though – her powers, it hummed in her veins, begging to be used. And she was afraid that one false move and she’d fall back into her addiction. She could feel magic everywhere and in England where the magical energy was not so strong as that of Sunnydale she was able to breath slightly easier. But only slightly as the magical energy was still there, buried within the earth, so easy to access and control, so easy to reach out and take it.
Endless meditation methods, and controlling her emotions, (which as far as she was concerned was never easy) were the only things that were keeping her from going to the other side.
Willow sighed and shouldered past people as she looked for somewhere, where she could get a drink and not be surrounded by people. Restaurants, clubs and bars and whatever night activities was opened - were full. And she wanted to be alone.
A doorway caught her attention, simply by the fact that, that no one noticed it. An old sign hung above the weather, warn, brown, wooden door, proclaiming it as a pub. The Leaky Cauldron, Willow read. She smiled at the cute name, though it was definitely wiggly and walked in.
Severus Snape sat at a shadowed table at the back corner of the Leaky Cauldron, his lips curled in to a sneer as he thought of the meeting that had occurred between Lucius Malfoy and himself. He felt a burning hatred for the man that was only measured in the same length as the hatred for himself.
The meeting was a simple greeting and nothing more but still, Severus found himself longing for a bath that would somehow rub and clean the dirtiness that he felt.
A bell sounded, signaling an arrival of a new customer, drawing everyone’s eyes to the entrance. A silence descended on the patrons as they stared at the woman. Severus couldn't help but pity the muggle as she smiled hesitantly at the stares that were directed her way. She frowned for a moment, obviously contemplating if she should stay or not before shrugging and continuing to the bar.
How was it possible that the muggle even saw the pub? He wondered. Let alone walk in it? The pub was spelled to be invisible unless you were of wizardry folk. And why should he care? But there was something about the woman that drew his attention. Was it, the fact that she had red hair that could only be compared to the Weasley's? Or the fact that she was incredibly pretty? Yes. She was beautiful in a fey, pixy way and Severus found himself attracted to her. He was surprised with himself that he should be attracted to a muggle and that his attraction for the woman was so sudden.
He leaned back against his chair, his hooded eyes watching her with an intensity that he hadn't felt in a long time. He was amused and scornful at the same time. Such a reaction could only mean one thing. Lust. And that he should feel it was all the degrading. It was also dangerous, very dangerous. These emotions would most likely get her killed, if he were to act upon them. No, he was better off forgetting about her, she was after all a muggle.
Willow sat down at the bar, slightly nervous at the attention she was getting. Maybe it was because she wasn't from around here. She got the impression that everyone knew everyone. Was it the fact that almost everyone in the pub had a really bad sense of fashion?
Willow smiled hesitantly at the old barman who was bald and rounded. The barman smiled kindly and walked towards her.
"What can I get you ma`am?" he asked not in the least suspicious of the stranger in his pub.
Willow grinned relieved. "Just a beer, thanks."
He nodded and filled a tankard of beer and placed it before her. Willow smiled her thanks and turned in her seat to get a better look at the patrons. They had all returned to what they were doing and were for the most part, ignoring her. She watched fascinated by their weird clothing as she took an occasional sip from her tankard.
Willow didn't know whether to smile at their fashion sense or be horrified. Her eyes darted over the small crowd. The pub was slightly more full then she expected. She had been hoping for it to be empty and was disappointed that it wasn't.
Her eyes found a dark corner that appeared to her - unoccupied. The perfect place in which to hide and mope over her past, she thought wryly. Willow got up and carried her tankard of beer to the shadowed corner.
As she drew closer she noticed that the table was in fact occupied and froze, flustered that she had made a mistake. If it weren’t for the blacker then black shadow that moved when she drew closer she wouldn’t have noticed him but now that she had, she could tell that this man - whom she could barely see - lived mostly within shadows.
“Um-uh . . . I’m sorry” Willow stuttered, embarrassed before turning back to the bar.
“And why should you be sorry?” said a smooth deep voice that sent shivers down her spine.
Her eyes widened before she turned back definitely wigged out by such a voice.
She couldn’t help but be intrigued by that voice and was curious of the owner but then again she wasn’t sure if she wanted to find out or not.
“Ah, well you see I thought this table was emptying seeing as it looked empty – deep dark shadowy you know? Great for some quiet thinking and not so interrupted where people could just walk up and say things which is what I’m doing right now and I’ll stop seeing as I’m babbling at the moment and I’m -.” Willow stopped mid-sentence and flushed. She turned quickly away already knowing that she’d embarrassed herself and hoped she could get to the bar quickly, drop of the tankard and leave. She should never have come here.
“Oh, please don’t leave,” the voice, mocked, “Your babbling was just starting to get interesting.”
Willow froze mid-walk and felt her face turning a bright red. Damn, now what was she supposed to do? She was not going to let him insult her was she? No she wasn’t!
Willow turned furiously and glared at the shadow. “Now see here!” she snapped at him. “I was being nice! And you mister are not nice. It’s not my fault that I babble when I get nervous and I don’t like being mocked. So why don’t you stay in your hidey hole and leave me alone!”
Willow took in a deep breath, suddenly very nervous - she had almost lost control she realized. Where was her controlling in her emotions? She felt her power rising, bubbling with excitement and struggled to push it back down. She closed her eyes, blocking out everything and began to meditate. She felt her rising power slowly sink back down and sighed with relief.
Severus watched amused as the girl struggled to control her anger probably realizing that getting angry at strangers especially mysterious strangers hiding in shadows was not a good idea. He had seen the hint of fear in her eyes and found himself pitying the girl. There was innocence in her eyes and also sadness as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. He had seen a similar look in Potters eyes. He sneered at that thought and pushed it roughly away - wanting to watch this girl who to him was fascinating. There was such contradiction within her, like a puzzle that was begging to be solved.
When she opened her eyes he marveled at the brilliance of her eyes, they were a green that shone with an inner light. His lips compressed into a straight line when he realized he was waxing poetry like a lovesick fool. He watched silently as she gave him one last glare before turning away and dropping her drink at the bar. Not once did she look back as she left the pub. And he felt an aching hurt inside his chest as if this was his one last chance at something and he had lost it. A thought stayed in his mind though and it echoed with a frequency, no matter how hard he tried to shove it away.
She was beautiful.T.B.C...