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Crucible

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Summary: Those forged in fire are changed, whether they like it or not.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-CenteredamusewithaviewFR1311,2020112,47211 Apr 1011 Apr 10Yes
Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS (Whedon) nor Harry Potter (Rowling).




There was no "in the beginning".

There was no concept of time. No war, no hate, no doubt. There was peace and it was all-encompassing. It was the bone-deep comfort of waking beneath cozy blankets on a cold winter day. It was the soothing touch of a loving hug. It was everything good and restful, everything a weary soul sick unto death of fighting and striving could hope for.

It was heaven and it was hers for now and always.

And then, suddenly, it wasn't.

She felt a sinking, sucking sensation that was like falling too fast. She felt a million screams of shock and horror and maybe each of them was hers. She felt compressed: too much meat being stuffed into too little casing. She felt pain. She felt pain. She felt fingers and toes and knees and skin and bones and parts of a body that wasn't hers anymore shouldn't be hers anymore, but was.

She felt dust in her lungs and smelled dirt surrounding her. The compressed feeling multiplied a hundredfold when she opened her eyes – she had eyes – and saw nothing but black closing in. Her hands came up and pressed against smooth satin and hard wood. Her fists cracked the wood, dug through the dirt and then she was gasping on her side on the damp grass.

Her eyes saw more than black, they prickled with the jarring sensation of light. Her ears were assaulted with the noises of bugs and bodies and screams and breezes and her own heart thumping solidly in her chest. Her skin was itching, too sensitive for the dress she wore, too sensitive for the air. She snapped her mouth closed, ceasing panting – unwilling to deal with the input of yet another sense.

Why?

Where?

Who?

How, what and which, a small part of her snarled – angry but coping. Always coping.

She sat up and crossed her legs slowly, staring at the depression made by her fight through the ground. The grass that covered the dirt was short and sparse, obviously new compared to the surrounding greenery. The stone a few feet away was clean and sharply carved, also obviously new. "Buffy Summers," it read, "She saved the world. A lot."

She sucked in a breath through her mouth, forgetting herself and paying the price with great wracking coughs as the flavors of the night passed across her tongue. She tasted death and decay on the air, fear and anger. Was it her own, or did it belong to some mourner? Who knew, and who cared? She drew in a slower breath and coughed only a little, the third time she managed to make a sound:

"Buf-fee," she rasped. "Buff-ee. Buffy Sum-mers." She crawled forwards on her hands and knees, ignoring the sharp cutting sensation of her bare flesh against the rough earth. Her fingers, slight and pale, reached out of their own accord to trace the letters of the – her – name. Face twisting abruptly, her nails dug in and scored the words, scraping harshly until her name was less sharp, less clear. Frustrated with her slow progress, she pulled back an arm and punched the rock with all her might, watching it shatter with a satisfied twist of her lips.

She remembered now, but that didn't mean she was happy about it.

"Why?" she asked, voice low and cracking. "Why?"

As if in response to her query, a lick of fiery pain stung her lower back, making her arch and twist, looking for an enemy. Nothing was there, but the pain continued and spread, stretching from the base of her spine to the back of her neck and moving outwards to encompass her shoulders. Her spine bowed so strongly she nearly fell; only strength of will kept her upright and silent as the fire intensified until it was so strong she could've sworn she saw a faint, flickering red light at the edges of her vision. Gradually, the pain started to decrease, lessening until the feel of the cool night air and her scratchy dress was a soothing balm against her skin.

She twisted, tearing at the dress's back careless of the cloth and modesty until it shredded and her back was bared to her eyes. Even contorted thusly, she could only just make out the edges of some sweeping design of black lines and subtle shading marking her skin in a large picture.

Wonderful, she thought to herself. Prophecy, apocalypse, or government agency?

Miles away, in England…

Scores of men and a few women fell to the ground, writhing in pain as their arms burst into agony. Some, whose memories were more vivid, had the sense to compare this pain to that of the old and found… changes. The Call had always been a cold pain, like creeping ice and the chill of death nipping at their heels. This burned hot, intense, the fire consuming all the senses with no chance of reprieve.

A few minutes after it ended, Severus Snape stood, gripping the edge of his desk with hands that shook with strain and leftover agony. Panting, he made his way slowly to his chair and slumped down into it, reaching for the stash of Firewhisky he kept on hand when eviscerating – erm, grading – Gryffindor papers. Two tumblers later, he cautiously raised the sleeve on his right arm.

Stark black lines stretched across his arm, as he had feared and expected. The clarity of the picture was not what was causing his eyes to widen and panic to bloom in his chest. No, his panic was caused by the picture itself and what it depicted. Or, what it depicted now. The image had changed, morphing from the expected snake-and-skull motif to something different but no less frightening to a man who knew his symbolism.

The skull remained, though it had moved farther down his arm until it perched just above the gathering of pale blue veins at his wrist. Blooming from the top of the skull, with roots extending from the mouth where a snake's body used to be, was a tree. An elder tree. An elder tree blooming from a skull… Severus poured himself another three fingers of whisky and knocked it back.

An ill omen, he mused grimly, lets hope the Potter brat hasn't gotten himself killed.





A/N: Not sure I like how this ended. This was just a bunny that sprang up while I was looking up tattoo design and symbolism. I've seen the whole Voldie's-tattoo-is-changed thing before (don't remember where) and I've WRITTEN a Buffy-as-phoenix story. Just wanted to shake up the usual HP/BtVS crossover idea. I think a newly-resurrected Buffy with almost absolute power over the Death Eaters would be hella interesting! What will she do with them, where will this lead? Plus, elder tree/ elder wand: I thought it was a good connection, and I've yet to see Buffy linked with the Deathly Hallows. Does she have control of them, did she bring back a piece of Tom's soul with her? I dunno, this bunny is up for adoption...

Elder tree symbolism: birth, death, and the fairy realm.

The End

You have reached the end of "Crucible". This story is complete.

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