The Fruits of Solstice
NOTE: Amy doesn't get changed back. Willow finds Rack by herself and goes to England to recover. AU from there on
NOTE: This is definitely an AU. I might have muddled up events in the canon timeline so please forgive any inconsistencies. This is after the Glory mess but before the First. There is no First. The Geeks were run of the mill demon worshippers (for power, etc). The Scoobies still hasn't forgiven Willow's actions - nearly destroying the World and hurting Dawn.
NOTE: AtS until Connor. AU from there on. Cordelia accepts demonhood. No Jasmine. AI doesn't own Wolfram and Hart.
AN: I'm not a big fan of prophecies. They can be faked as Wesley learned to his detriment, so there. Read and find out *evil grin*.
AN: Thanx for your patience and interest in following this fic you guys!!
~*~ The Fruits of Solstice ~*~
Willow was the first to recover from the intensity of the experience. And she was also the first to realize she was in another world. Forcing down panic she expanded her senses and was reassured to find auras closeby. Amy, Cordelia and Hermione. All four of them were in the astral plane in the midst of a maelstorm of energy. Green, blue, saffron and red tendrils signifying the elements they had called upon for the ritual. If Willow had a physical body with a circulatory system she would have blushed bright red at what she remembered about recent events.
"Guys, please tell me I'm dreaming." She moaned in low tones.
Cordelia raised an eyebrow and experimentally reached out to gather some of the lesser strands of power caressing her form. To her surprise they responded to her tentative attempts and coiled around her wrists like warm snake ribbons.
"If you just had mad crazy sex with someone with red hair then I don't think you're dreaming unless we both had the same hallucination which is not a valid explanation in Sunnyhell." Cordelia quipped back hiding her fear and uncertainty.
"I had sex with Connor." Hermione stated in dazed tones. She was slightly in shock. "I had sex Connor O'Roarke and I loved it. Mum is going to kill me! I didn't use protection!"
"At least you know who you slept with." Amy retorted. "I don't know anything about the guy I slept with other than the fact he made me feel totally wild and free. Like an animal almost but in a good sense." Amy flushed slightly. "I know that makes me some kind of nympho, I mean what kind of girl would sleep with a guy she just met and not even know his name!"
Hermione could see Amy working herself into a panic and rushed to reassure the blonde witch.
"His name is Remus Lupin." She told Amy. "He is a werewolf and a very nice man. He taught DADA for my third year in Hogwarts. He was a good friend of Harry's parents and Sev knows him. Sev doesn't like that he is a werewolf but he brews the wolfsbane potion for Remus that allows him to retain his human mind during his transformations."
Willow smiles slightly. "Werewolves aren't all bad Amy. I had a bad experience with Oz running off with that skanky she-wolf but it doesn't mean all werewolves are bad. I haven't met any others but if Hermione says he's nice then I believe her but what about me?!" Willow's babble ended in a wail. "I don't know anything about that guy other than he is totally cute and he made me feel whole and I thought I was a lesbian!"
"Willow, you are bi. Remember Oz?" Cordelia snipped. "Besides your pony-tailed boy toy is closer to your age! Sev is a lot older than me! And we don't like each other!"
Hermione frowned. "Wizards have longer lifespans. Most wizards can easily see two centuries and Snape is a powerful wizard. Dumbledore is more than hundred and fifty and he is pretty spry and sharp for his age. And powerful enough to make the Dark Lord think twice about attacking Hogwarts." Her smile brightened. "The redhead is Rons eldest brother. His name is Bill Weasley and he works for Gringotts, the goblin bank."
"Okay. Okay. We know the guys we slept with. Does anyone have a clue as to Why we slept with them?" Cordelia bit as she tried to ignore the heated memories of strong faintly callused fingers caressing every inch of skin, teasing her into heights of bliss she had never felt before.
"I think it was the Ritual." Amy ventured an explanation. "The Solstice is one of the great feast days of Wicca. I think when we called on the Goddess and She answered in person. When She did She called for Her Consort, Her Natural Mate."
"You mean Snape is my soulmate?!" Cordelia spoke in slightly incredulous tones.
"Well it kinda makes sense Cordy." Willow couldn't resist smiling. "I mean you and he fight as much as you and Xander did in high school. And I think you've been honest enough with each other about your histories and bad experiences so there shouldn't be any skeletons coming out of the closet to destroy your happiness." Willow's green eyes studied her shrewdly. "He does make you happy doesn't he Cordy." It was a statement not a question. "He makes you feel whole, normal."
Cordelia didn't say anything. She didn't have a snappy comeback. That was enough to make everyone see she believed. Hermione shuddered slightly at the thought of Snape and a woman but she couldn't deny the two of them together was 'right'. Seeing Cordelia was uncomfortable Hermione redirected the focus of attention to their current location astral plane and energy reservoirs.
"We are in an astral plane." She said what all four women could see. "There seems to be a great deal of energy around here. It must be side effects from the ritual, power generated from the coming of the Goddess and Her Consort.
"What should we do now?" Willow asked clinically as she studied the swirling ribbons of power around her astral form. "There is too much, too much power to let it go to waste."
"Could we store it?" Amy asked. "In crystals until we need it?"
"Is there a more immediate need for it?" Cordelia asked idly stretching like a lazy cat as a tendril slipped under her robe hem and up her back.
An idea sprang to life in Hermione's mind. "The Dark Lord."
The three older females turned to the youngest one.
"What about Old Moldie?" Cordelia asked sharply. She had heard enough of the situation in England concerning the Death Eaters from Willow. Snape had been determined to make his three students understand the need for caution. Willow inturn had told Cordelia.
Hermione had to smile at Cordelia's nickname for Voldemort.
"Could we kill him? Or chain him some how?" She asked eagerly. "The rebounded curse fifteen years ago set his spirit free to find a host in one of his followers. Last year he managed to get a body using stolen flesh and blood. He is perverting the cycle of life and death. Surely the Goddess will help us do something?"
Unknowing to the four females their lovers had found their way into the astral plane as well. They were clad in their usual attire in contrast to the robes the girls spirit forms wore. Bill in a full set of dragon hide leathers, a single fang earring in one ear, red hair in a long ponytail. Remus in slightly shabby stone slacks with a slate blue sweater and leather loafers. Snape in black robes over black pants and a white shirt under an emerald silk tunic vest. Connor in jeans and T-shirt with sneakers.
Willow frowned. "Why don't we have a look first?"
"Not alone!" Bill Weasley spoke sharply.
Willow smiled at her redheaded lover. "If you are here then join us."
Before Snape could utter a sharp scathing rejoinder about the idiocy of that suggestion he found himself swept along with the other seven across the continent and ocean to Britain. The eight glided, not walked, through an isolated mansion in the Cornish moors until they found Voldemort seated in his throne room. His pet Nagini slithered on the dais hissing at the Death Eaters.
"A Summons." Snape was suddenly afraid until he realized he was not drawn to the Dark Lord. Surprised he pushed back his robe and shirt sleeve to look at his left forearm. There was no sign of the Dark Mark.
"This is how you see yourself Severus." Cordelia spoke softly so only he could hear. "Free of the Dark Mark, of Moldie; without taint or hatred."
"But I'm not." Despair nearly overwhelmed him.
"But you will be." Cordelia countered reaching out to hug him uncaring of the smiles and looks of bemusement on Remus Lupin and Bill Weasley.
Willow and Bill focused on studying Voldemort. Bill smiled slyly.
"I think I see it. The flaw."
Snape was intrigued. "What is it Weasley?"
"Bill." Bill Weasley corrected. "The spell the Dark Lord used to get a new body used Pettigrew's flesh and Harry's blood. He was already tainted with stolen unicorn blood, cursed since he killed the source. It refused to allow the rejuv spell to reach full potential. In fact his body is currently breaking apart under the stress." Bill began gloating. "He can't use powerful magics without risking his new body. All we have to do is overload him and kaput."
"Guess we know what to do with all this energy." Cordelia spoke whimsically as she shifted and stalked around the Dark Lord who shifted uneasily. Nagini hissed and tried to strike at Cordelia but failed. "Dust him then bind his soul. Hide it around here until we can get to it."
Snape was impressed. "That's a good idea."
Lupin couldn't believe it. The Order's hope and dreams were nearing fulfillment.
"When?" He asked hoarsely.
Amy touched his arm in reassurance.
"Now is good." She suggested lightly. "He is vulnerable and mad. There are plenty of witnesses so they'll run out screaming and spread word of his death. It will take some time for a replacement leader to take control, time your police can use to round the Death Eaters up."
Willow nodded. "Well lets do it."
The eight of them moved until they formed a circle around Voldemort.
"Link hands." Amy suggested.
They reached out to follow her suggestion.
The energy ribbons around them concentrated around their clasped hands and passed through each of them growing in intensity as it cycled through them.
A faint golden glow grew until it became blinding as the sun.
"It's so bright!" Hermione gasped stamping down the reflexive urge to cover her eyes.
"Don't let go of each other!" Cordelia shouted squeezing her eyes shut. Fluorescent colors flashed under her eyelids. Her sensitive nerve endings burned as they were overloaded from sensory input but she refused to let go.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
In the physical plane the least sensitive Death Eater jumped. Sparks of raw power burst out of nowhere lashing the stone.
Nagini lashed around biting at unseen beings.
"Intruders!" Voldemort shrieked.
"But there is no one there Master!" Wormtail groveled edging away hoping he wouldn't be the target of the Dark Lord's rage.
"No! Nagini senses something! She is never wrong!" Voldemort yelled. "Find them!"
Lucius Malfoy jumped. Something was very wrong. The energy around this place was changing.
Several Death Eaters screamed as the power coalesced into a lightening bolt strike that vaporized Voldemort.
"He's gone!" Someone yelled.
"The Aurors must be here!"
"How did this happen!?"
"Snape must have said something! He's not here!"
"Where is Snape?" Someone screamed.
"He's in America with the Mudblood." Lucius spoke calmly trying to regain control. And failed.
Everyone began to scatter too afraid to stay calm and remain in place to listen.
"If Snape is behind this I'll kill him." Lucius Malfoy muttered as he stomped over and hauled a sobbing Peter Pettigrew by the collar of his robes. Wormtail's silver hand had vanished leaving him with a stump. "Shut up Wormtail and listen up!"
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Snape curled a lip as he watched the chaos distantly.
"Try your best Malfoy."
Cordelia punched his arm. "Don't tempt the Fates Sev." She scolded him still keeping her eye on the dark mist that had entered the astral plane. "Help us bottle Moldie up."
Working in concert the eight gathered the dark mist in sections binding them to the bricks forming the base of the dais.
"We can send someone from the Order to get the stones later." Lupin suggested. "For now lets get out of here and back to our own bodies.
Everyone agreed and they vanished from the site of Voldemort's demise.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Cordelia was the first to recover. She was used to waking up from visions and had the added bonus of demon-hybrid constitution. She gasped and blushed seeing her nude body but couldn't feel any shame remembering what had happened. It was mean to be and suddenly she was glad it did.
Swiftly she pulled on her robe and went about waking the others up.
The faint rays of dawn began to light up the horizon.
"Let's get back to Willow's place before we talk." Cordelia suggested seeing Willow was slightly uncomfortable about the situation. She mouthed 'no' at Bill Weasley who reached out to grab Willow as she passed by him ducking to hide behind the fall of her hair.
Hermione glanced at Connor shyly but didn't pull away when he hesitantly reached out and took her hand. In fact she squeezed his and won a smile of relief and happiness from him.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
AN: Remember the Scoobies specialize in breaking all the rules in the most showy fashion imaginable at times. Thumbing the noses of the experts (Officials) suits them just fine. The Prophecy was spoken before Willow discovered magic and became a witch. She would have been around 5 when Harry was born. When she started working with the Slayer everything changed.
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