Willow didn’t want to open her eyes. Not because she wanted to stay locked in her own mind anymore, Severus was right, her friends had forgiven her a long time ago, but because she could feel way too many eyes on her. She had expected Severus to be in the room, she was reasonably sure it was his bed she was on, but she had a feeling that everyone was watching her. Deciding she couldn’t ignore it anymore, and maybe they would go away if she did talk to them she opened her eyes slightly. She was right, everyone was in the room, not all watching her, mostly they were sleeping but this many people should not be in one room.
Giles, Wesley, and Lorne were on the couch near the door all sleeping. Angel was sitting in the overstuffed chair in the corner, asleep, feet up on the small coffee table. Buffy, Xander, Faith, Gunn, and Andrew were asleep on the floor next to the bed. Fred was sitting at the small desk reading a book. Willow could hear the television playing softly and see the flickering light coming from it and rolled toward the opposite side of the bed, facing Severus, to see Dawn and Harry sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed watching an infomercial.
“Anything interesting?” Willow said softly, not wanting to wake the sleeping members of the group.
Dawn, Fred, and Harry all turned at the sound of her voice.
“Willow you’re okay?” Fred asked hesitantly as Dawn jumped off the floor and ran around to the opposite side of the bed to hug her friend.
“How could you think we didn’t want you to come back?” Dawn asked.
“I’m so sorry Dawnie, what I did to--,” Willow hugged the younger girl tears forming in her eyes, “Why don’t you hate me?”
“I could never hate you Will,” Dawn pulled away from Willow and sat next to her on the bed, “Okay, I was a little pissed for a while but you gave me back Buffy, and you helped save me from Glory and….”
“What she’s saying is that you’ve done more good than bad Willow,” Giles said from the couch he had woken when he heard the girls talking.
“He’s right Red,” Faith said sitting up, “Everyone in this room has done some thing they aren’t proud of at some time right? Remember me, fugitive slayer girl?”
“Hyena boy,” Xander pointed out.
“Tried to kill Fred once a couple years ago,” Gunn and Wesley added.
“Tried to kill all of you when I was possessed by that mind demon thing,” Buffy added.
“I killed Jonathan.”
“I killed my professor.”
“Helped that demon sell people’s destinies.”
“Can I just say Angelus.”
“I think what we’re trying to say is none of us can really fault you for your mistakes Willow,” Snape said.
“I get that I guess,” Willow said smiling slightly at her friends. “But guys, the bad stuff is inside of me, I’m afraid I won’t be able to control it. I don’t know how.”
“We’ve been discussing that,” Giles said, “The coven tried to help you, they help in a lot of ways. However, your power was so much greater than what they are accustomed to that they feared you more than helped you.”
“Kinda got that,” Willow frowned, she had hated that most of all during her time in England, the fear that everyone around her had radiating off of them.
“Dumbledore has suggested, if you would like, that you return to Hogwarts with Severus and Harry.”
“Hogwarts?” Willow asked turning to Snape, “That magic school you teach at?”
“Yes,” Snape replied.
“Dumbledore says you can attend classes and the professors will give you special tutoring,” Harry explained. “You can use the floo network to visit home when ever you want it won’t be like you’re a regular student.”
“How long would I have to--?”
“Until you feel confident in your ability to control your magic,” Snape replied, “You would only be there during the school term, September to June, of course.”
“And I could come here to visit whenever--?
“As often as you like,” Giles said, “And we can come to visit you in the same way.”
“And I’d be with you?” She turned her attention back to Snape.
“If you’d like, though I suppose you could be sorted into a house,” he replied, “You would make a wonderful Slytherin.”
“No she’d be Gryffindor,” Harry argued.
“Not sure what this house thing is but,” Willow cut off the argument, “I would much prefer to be with you.”
“Then I can contact the Headmaster with a positive response?” He asked.
“Yep, I want to be a witch that everyone isn’t afraid of.”
“Then perhaps being with me isn’t the right place for you.”
“His favorite pastime is scaring students,” Harry explained at Willow’s puzzled expression.
“Well I’ll see what I can do about that then,” Willow grinned at Harry, “So how about everyone heading to their own rooms now, I promise not to try the permanent sleep thing again.”
Everyone quickly hugged her and made their way out of the room leaving Willow alone with Severus. She turned her attention to him as the door closed behind Buffy, the last to leave.
“It’s really okay to stay with you when we go to Hogwarts?”
“Well, arrangements for a separate room for you will probably have to be made,” Severus smirked, “It is a school, impressionable youth of course.”
“Right, so then lots of sneaking and stuff,” Willow grinned, “That can be exciting.”
“I can see this term will be—interesting,” Snape said pulling her against him and lowering his head to kiss her.
“So you’re going back to England tomorrow with Severus then?” Dawn asked following Harry into his room.
“Yeah, I’m supposed to go back to Grimauld Place until school starts.”
“I guess at least Will gets to go with you, maybe you can visit when she does.”
“You can visit me too,” Harry said. He liked spending time with Dawn. He had thought he liked Cho but it was always so difficult with her, he knew everyone else thought he liked Hermione but she was more like a sister. Dawn was easy to talk to like Hermione but he didn’t feel at all like she was a sister. “Maybe you could come with us tomorrow and come back before you start school?”
“Are you sure no one would mind?”
“No, there are so many people staying there anyway no one will mind one more.”
“Great we can ask Buffy tomorrow,” Dawn smiled, it would at least give her a few more weeks with Harry.
Two days later everyone was in the lobby of the hotel saying their good-byes. Buffy had agreed to let Dawn go to England for the remainder of the summer. Willow promised she would look after the teen-ager, and that she would return with Dawn at the end of the summer for a couple of days to visit. Severus gave Giles directions to an owlery in L.A. so they could write to Willow and Dawn. Willow promised she would write often, and that everyone would be kept aware of her progress at the school.
Harry was glad Willow had decided to study at Hogwarts, because he was sure that Buffy never would have agreed to allow Dawn return with him if Willow wasn’t going too. There was also the noticeable difference in the Potions Master’s personality when Willow was around. Hopefully with her presence and Voldemort being gone his sixth year would be a much more pleasant experience than the first five.
Snape made sure all the trunks and suitcases that were going with them were piled in the large fireplace before tossing floo powder on them and saying “Number twelve Grimauld Place,” the luggage quickly disappeared.
“Okay you know I don’t think I can get used to that,” Faith said.
“Well, you better cause I’ll be using it often,” Willow hugged the Slayer.
“Make sure you warn me first, don’t want to accidentally stake you,” Faith smiled and returned the hug.
“Are we all ready then?” Snape asked, they had decided since the immediate dangers were gone that he would apparate them to Grimauld Place.
Willow quickly gave Xander, Buffy, and Giles a final hug and promise to write before she joined Harry and Dawn and Severus side and they all disappeared.
“Do you really think letting them go was the right thing Giles?” Buffy asked after her sister and best friend disappeared.
“Willow’s an adult, we didn’t let her do anything,” Giles pointed out, “But yes, I think she needs to do this, she’ll be happier when she feels completely in control of her magic. I also believe that she and Severus may be very good for each other.”
“Dawn,” Giles repeated he had been surprised that Buffy had agreed to let her sister leave to spend the remainder of the summer with Harry. “You said you wanted to show her the world.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t really intend for her to see it with her new wizard boyfriend.”
“It’s only a few weeks Buffy,” Giles assured her, “And that house is as crowded as this one. She’s not a little girl anymore, you have to let her grow up.”
“Fine but I don’t have to like it,” Buffy pouted.
“Yeah but Buff doesn’t it feel great to be worried about her for a normal ‘what she going to do with that guy’ reason instead of the ‘evil being wants to kill her’ reason,” Xander offered.
“Gotta point there Xander,” Buffy agreed, “We should just relax and enjoy the next few weeks, before Dawn returns with lots of stories about her new boyfriend right?’
“Yep, cause Willow’ll be with her with stories about her boyfriend too.”
“Definitely going to enjoy the peace then.” Buffy smiled before heading out with everyone else to go to the Wolfram and Hart offices and deal with the latest evils.