Title: Of Memories Both New and Old (1/?)
Pairing(s): Faith/Sirius, Willow/Remus, Dawn/Harry, Buffy/Xander, Ron/Hermione, Draco/Ginny, and Severus/??
Disclaimer: I'm not Joss Whedon nor J. K. Rowling, therefore I own nothing.
Distribution: Anywhere I send it. Anyone else wants it just let me know.
Spoilers: Goes AU after GoF in the Potterverse. After Season Seven of BtVS.
Summary: The past and the future are never far apart.
Author's Notes: Okay, so, as stated above, this goes AU after GoF. Which means that OotP did *not* take place. Also, Kennedy and Willow were never involved. As always, Angel is Spike's sire. Words in *'s are emphasized, words in //'s are thoughts, and words in ^^'s are flashbacks. Enjoy!
Dedication: To Child, my partner in narf, for all of the help. Thanks hun!
Someone was humming.
Frowning, Faith turned slowly in a circle, trying to locate the source. However, she couldn't see anything besides the trees and bushes that surrounded her. So, tilting her head to the side, she listened closely to the haunting melody that was filtering through the woods.
It sounded as though it was coming from her left, so the young woman took a hesitant step in that direction. Then, pain shot through her foot and she winced, looking down at her feet. She noticed that a stick was digging into her tender flesh.
// Why in *hell* am I barefoot? Where are my boots? //
Before she could come up with an answer though, the humming stopped and a soft rustling came from the nearest bush. Standing upright, Faith watched as a woman entered the clearing, a little girl following close behind.
Not seeming to notice the Slayer, the mother led her child to the edge of the creek, a determined look set on her exhausted face. Kneeling down, she looked the little girl in the eye.
"Now, it's very important that you listen to me, baby," the woman said, affectionately tousling the girl's bangs. "I need to you do *exactly* as I say? Can you do that for mommy?"
The little girl, who Faith guessed to be about four or five, nodded. Her dark eyes were wide, looking huge on her small face. "Of course, mommy,"she replied softly.
Faith frowned as a shout sounded from a few miles away. She could hear the cracking of branches and leaves, as though someone was storming through the woods. And, they seemed to be getting closer.
The woman winced at the noise, the slightest bit of worry filling her eyes. Licking her lips, she gently grasped her child's shoulders. When she spoke, her voice was soft, yet firm.
"I want you to run, baby. Don't look back, don't stop, don't stray from the water's edge until you get to the place I told you about," the woman stated.
Faith's frown deepened. "What?" she asked, stepping toward the two. "You can't send her off by herself! She's just a kid!" she exclaimed.
However, the woman paid her no mind. She just continued to talk to her daughter.
"Do you understand me?" she pressed, shaking the girl slightly. "Can you do that?"
The girl nodded, tears filling her eyes. "O-Okay, mommy. I'll run. Until I see the tall man, right?" she asked quietly, glancing past her mother to the sounds coming from the woods.
The woman smiled faintly. "Yes, baby. Until you see the tall man."
Faith narrowed her eyes. "Hey, maybe you didn't hear me the first time," she growled, reaching for the woman. "You ain't sending her off alo..." Her voice trailed off as her hand went *through* the woman's shoulder.
"Woah," the Slayer whispered. Licking her lips, she tried to grab the little girl. However, the same thing happened. "What the hell?" she questioned.
Suddenly, a loud crack sounded nearby and the woman jumped. Hugging her daughter tightly, she blinked back tears. "I love you, baby. Never forget that." Rising to her feet, she stared down at her child. "Now run!"
The girl took a few steps backward, looking from her mother to the bushes that were starting to move. "Momma..." she whimpered.
"Go!" the woman screamed, pulling what looked like a small stick out of her robes. Spinning toward the bushes, she pointed the piece of wood at them, effectively turning her back on her child.
Stifling a sob, the little girl turned around and began running. Her mother's words echoed through her head as she splashed through the water, her small legs moving as quickly as they could. "Find the tall man. Find the tall man," she muttered, until her breathing became too labored to talk.
Faith was torn. Looking from the woman who appeared ready for some sort of fight and the child that was rushing head-first into the dark woods, the Slayer couldn't decide what to do. Then, realizing that she couldn't assist in the battle even if she wanted to, she took off after the girl.
She caught up with her easily, considering her Slayer speed not to mention much longer legs. Jogging beside the girl, she continued to try and get the child's attention. However, it was useless.
// I might as well be invisible. //
Suddenly, a scream rang through the trees and the girl stopped running. Spinning around, she whispered, "Momma." Then, there a flash of green light lit the night sky and she began crying.
Faith noticed that the screaming had stopped.
Trembling, the girl began running again, Faith still keeping an easy pace beside her. Splashing through the muck, mud, and water, the child kept up the same grueling pace for what felt like hours. She paused only to catch her breath, never standing still for very long.
Finally, Faith saw something in the distance. It looked like a small hut, although it was unlike anything she'd ever seen before. The Slayer grinned, somehow knowing that the girl was going to be safe.
The girl, for her part, was openly crying again. She stumbled, the tears blurring her vision, and she crashed to the ground. However, she immediately jumped back up and continued on, ignoring the sting from the scrapes on her knees.
Silently, Faith began counting the distance to the house, and what she assumed was the edge of the woods.
// A hundred feet. Ninety feet. Eighty feet. Seventy... //
Then, a tall man stepped in front of them.
Both the Slayer and the girl crashed into him. However, Faith continued to move through him while the child fell to the ground.
Rushing back to the girl's side, the young woman stared at the man that was standing between the girl and safety. His dark eyes were unreadable, and there was a look of anguish on his sallow face. Immediately, Faith's Slayer senses went into overdrive.
However, the little girl quickly scrambled to her feet and threw her arms around the man's leg. "Daddy," she cried, throwing her arms around the man's leg. Burying her face in the dark fabric he wore, she began sobbing.
Faith's eyes widened. "Okay," she murmured. "Didn't see *that* one coming. Wow, talk about freaky. And here I thought he was evil."
The man, for his part, gently began patting his daughter's shoulder. "Shh," he soothed. "It's all right now. There's no need for tears."
The girl sniffed, raising her tear stained face to look at him. "M-Mommy is h-hurt," she whispered. "I h-heard her scream."
The man nodded. "I know, dearest. But, you're safe and that is all that matters," he replied. Brushing her hair back from her face, he tenderly extracted her from his leg. Kneeling down to her eye level, he kissed her forehead.
"And I'm going to make certain that you're never in danger again," he said softly. Then, he rose to his feet and pulled out a stick that resembled the one the girl's mother had been holding.
Slowly, the girl began backing away. "D-Daddy?" she whispered in confusion.
"I love you, dearest," he murmured, aiming the weapon at her.
"No!" Faith cried, unable to stop the man as he whispered something to softly for her to hear. She watched helplessly as a light shot from the end of the man's weapon.
Then, there was nothing.
Faith was still screaming as she sat upright. Gasping for air, the brunette began twisting around, her eyes searching for the little girl.
// She's hurt. I have to find her. I have to... //
Finally, reality intruded and the Slayer stopped. She was sitting in her bed, the covers tangled around her legs. A tiny sliver of light shone through the dark curtains on the window, reflecting off the wall over head.
// A dream. It was just a dream. //
Trembling slightly, the young woman pulled the blanket off and stood up. Her tank top and shorts were soaked with sweat, and her heart was beating like a jackhammer inside her chest.
"Okay, that's it. No more foreign food that I don't know the name of before bed," she muttered, making her way across the room to the bathroom. Stepping inside, she flipped the light on.
Taking a minute to give her eyes time to adjust, Faith turned the knobs on the bathtub. Once she was sure that the water was hot enough, she began pulling off her clothes. Then, she glanced at herself in the mirror that was hanging over the sink.
// Man, I am *too* pale. If I ain't careful, B will think I'm a vamp the next time she sees me. //
Shaking her head, the brunette ignored the look of exhaustion that seemed permanently etched on her face. She also paid no mind to circles under her eyes or the fact that she'd lost enough weight that her cheekbones were more prominent than any model's.
It wasn't like it could be helped.
Between traveling all over Europe in search of virtually extinct plants for Willow's latest spell and trying to locate newly called Slayers, Faith just wasn't getting the amount of rest she needed. Plus, it didn't help that whenever she *did* finally get a chance to sleep she was plagued with nightmares.
Sighing heavily, the young woman stepped into the shower. Tilting her head back and closing her eyes, she forced all thoughts of frightened little girls and people with strange sticks out of her mind. She blatantly refused to think about the bad luck that had been plaguing her these past few weeks, instead focusing on the feel of the hot water as it cascaded over her aching muscles.
Unfortunately, her break from reality only lasted until the hot water was gone.
However, by the time she'd gotten dressed and smoked a few cigarettes, Faith was feeling much better. In fact, she was feeling so good that she was ready to go wake Willow up and begin their search for whatever magical herb *thing* they needed to find today.
// Hell, if we're lucky, maybe we'll find it and I can get a chance to do some Christmas shopping before we head back to Slayer Central. //
That thought perked the brunette up. So, leaving the room that she'd been staying in for the past three days, she walked down the narrow hallway and knocked on the redhead's door.
For a second, there was no response. Then, the Slayer heard a soft, "Who is it?"
The brunette rolled her eyes. "Who the hell do you *think* it is?" she replied. Banging once more on the thick wood, she added, "Open the door, Red. I'm ready to go berry picking."
Slowly, the door opened a crack. Willow's face appeared, glowering slightly. "Faith, we aren't berry picking. We're searching for a highly magical, extremely rare plant. And, we are *not* doing it at seven thirty in the morning!" the redhead stated.
Faith raised her hands. "Okay, okay. I'll go grab a bite to eat. But, when I get back you had best be ready or I'm gonna spend the day sightseeing," she threatened. Then, turning on her heel, she headed down the hallway.
Sirius Black sighed, trying to shoulder his way through the crowd that had assembled on the street. He could see the sign for the bookstore that he needed to get to in the distance. However, he was beginning to wonder if he would ever reach it.
// I suppose it's good that I didn't come as Padfoot. Even as a human I'll be lucky not to be trampled to death. //
Running his fingers through his hair, the man growled in frustration. It was bad enough that the book he needed was going to cost him a fortune. But add to that the fact that the only store that carried it was located in the *middle* of a Muggle town which was full of people who didn't understand what ‘pardon me' meant, and Sirius was nearly at his wits end.
Idly, the wizard wondered what he'd been thinking when he'd ordered the book in the first place. Granted, it was his birthday gift to Remus. But, it wasn't as though his friend didn't have enough books to rival a library already. Especially ones that dealt with werewolves and other supernatural creatures.
// He doesn't have this one, though. Hardly *anyone* has this one. //
Sirius ground his teeth together, knowing that the logical part of his brain was right. This book wasn't one that could be found just anywhere, considering the controversy that surrounded it. In fact, even Flourish & Blotts didn't carry it, claiming they had an ‘image to maintain'.
Personally, he didn't see what the big deal was. It was just a book. But, if Remus wanted it, then Sirius would do whatever he could to get it for his friend. Even if that meant getting elbowed by what felt like every man, woman, and child in Scotland.
// I swear to Merlin, if one more person bumps into me they are going to regret it. I don't care *how* behind they are on their Christmas shopping. There is no need for rudeness. //
Fortunately for the Muggles, the dark haired wizard didn't have to act on his threat, having finally reached his destination.
A/N: So, what do you think? I know that not much happened, but I'm trying to draw this out a bit, rather than just lay the entire plot down at once. You know what they say about saving the best for last or whatever. Lol.
Anywho. How about hitting that little review button and letting me know how it sounds so far!