Yellow is for Tragedy
Disclaimer: I own neither Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, nor Harry Potter. They belong to Joss Whedon and J.K.R. I make no money off this.
A/N: Erm. Yes. So. Maybe... nah, probably not. Anyway. I have no excuse. Except that I think I was tired and maudlin when I started this ages ago. Muchly. And, three more parts, one for each of them. No plot tp speak of. Warning delivered. So... Go on then.
+Yellow is for Tragedy
When she thinks back to how things were, all those years and years ago, it is always the end that comes to mind first. It is the end that stands out, tainting everything else, setting the tone for a life that barely lasted a heartbeat. The end is what ruined them all. They thought they were saving themselves, each other, but they killed. They killed everything they were and loved and dreamed of.
Sometimes, she meets Oz’s gaze across Willow’s head, across a stack of books and she sees in him the guilt and grief and pain that ate him up once before and she knows that they will never escape this, no matter how much time passes, no matter how strong she is now, physically at least, no matter because….
… the end is this:
Salazar entering the Great Hall the same way he always does, with his head held high and his lips set in a line that permits no words. He never talked much. He told her once that all his words were used up, screamed into the world.
He was ten then.
But now, now he’s twenty three and he knows, knows
that something is wrong the second he sets foot into the Hall. They sent the students away. Helga stands at the edge of the teacher’s dais, refusing to have anything to do with this…this execution
. Because that is what this is.
Hogwarts, magic, her and Ro and Ric are Sal’s life and if you take that away all that’s left is a boy who never learned how to cry.
“Salazar,” Ric says and it’s all wrong because Godric never calls anyone by their full name. This is all wrong. “You used Dark Magic within the school.”
Sal says nothing. He does not defend himself. He, like Helga, knows that the final judgment has already been made. He has been found guilty without trial, without a chance to defend himself because they are scared. They always were. They do not know how to deal with quiet, wordless, cold Salazar. They don’t know him like Helga does.
She grew up with him. She was there when her father brought him to the castle, watching from behind her mother’s dirty skirts as a tiny black haired boy was dumped from the horse.
“Care for him,” her father orders her mother and rides away. He is a nobleman. She is a lowly hearth witch. A servant. And sometimes, the woman who has the honour of warming his bed. There is no love. Only…arrangement. Salazar joins that arrangement when she is five and he barely six. His mother is dead, his father unknown and he has no-one else.
So Helga slips out of her hiding place and smiles at him, as brightly as she can manage. He does not smile back. But when she beckons him into her little playroom off the kitchen, he follows.
He follows and almost twenty years later, nothing has changed. He still doesn’t talk and she still loves him. Only…
…only he trusts Gordic and Rowena like he only ever trusted her before and now they break that trust. It’s not him who betrayed them. It is them who betray him because they always knew that he was not like them but they looked away until they couldn’t anymore and now they act surprised.
“We can’t allow that, Sal,” Ro adds, voice stern.
Sal turns his head a fraction to look, just look at her. She shudders.
She wonders sometimes, if these second lives are Fate’s way of making it right. Her, the loyal, foolish one, the healer, is suddenly a warrior, a killer with blood on her hands. Godric, once so loud and boisterous and scared is now a silent, almost shy boy, with a monster of his own inside his chest.
She hopes, as she stakes a vampire and watches it turn to dust with a heavy heart, that she is right and the others are different, too.
She hopes that Rowena has finally learned to look past the pages of her books and see the real world, hopes that the woman discovers bravery in this life that she never knew in her last.
But most of all, she hopes that Sal finally has the words to scream his rage and pain into the world.
When she is twelve, Helga kneels in front of her almost-brother’s bed, softly stroking his wild hair. She does not apologize. He got the beating from her father for beating up one of her half brothers. A brother who dragged her into the dungeons by her hair and pressed her against the wall and pushed his hand under her skirts.
Instead she says, “I love you.”
He blinks up at her, tiredly, sluggishly, and does not answer. He doesn’t know how. But he reaches out, slowly, and takes her hand in his, squeezing tightly.
That is when she knows that she will follow him to the ends of the world. Loyal. To him only.
It’s always him. Always has been. Godric got added to the list and then Rowena but Sal will always be the first. He saved her and she tries to save him, with every breath she takes. She does not fault him for his Dark Magic. She does not need to understand. All she needs to know is that he loves her as much as he can. He does not mean harm.
“You need to leave,” Godric says, his grey eyes glittering with anger and disappointment.
Salazar nods and spins on his heel, leaving. Helga steps off the dais and follows.
“Hel?” Ro asks, “Where are you going?”
Helga does not answer. Instead she stops and looks over her shoulder. All she says is, “I am loyal. “
She follows and under her feet, Hogwarts weeps.
It was the end for all of them. They lived a few more years, yes, but who and what they truly were was left behind in that Hall because of fear and misunderstanding. Sal never knew how to express the things inside of him and only Helga ever learned to listen to his silences.
Rowena and Godric did not hate. They did not mean to hurt. But they were scared of what they did not understand and Sal was one of those things. Their fear overcame their love and friendship and broke them all.
Sometimes, Buffy wishes she could blame them for it.