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After his talk with Buffy, Draco was feeling a bit triumphant. He decided that he and Willow needed to visit his mentor finally. Sure, Snape would probably stay hidden and not speak, but Draco was going to keep bring her until the old man showed himself.
Willow was reluctant about all of this. If what Draco had said was true, the man was a recluse and did not take kindly to acquaintances let alone total strangers. Still, she was so shaky lately that she could barely function. If he could help, she had to try. Willow had not even had the courage to face Kennedy and send her back to Cleveland.
They apparated to an alley that Willow assumed was one of the less nice parts of some industrial city. He led her through a maze of small homes before coming up to one that looked a bit dreary. Draco handed her the bags of groceries in his arms. Willow shifted nervously as she waited for him to take down the wards. She could feel them. They were strong.
As they entered the small space, Willow frowned at her dark and dreary it was - much like her rooms at the Council were now. There was no fire in the grate and everything was dusty. She had a strong urge to throw open the curtains and grab a feather duster.
"What in the hell have you brought into my home, Malfoy?"
Willow turned towards the sound of the voices with a gasp. It had an awesome amount of presence for someone who'd been hiding away for the last several years and pretending to be dead.
"Groceries," Draco replied.
"Don't be smart with me, boy. I'll hex you beyond recognition."
"I brought Willow with me. Will you be coming out to visit with us?"
A door slammed somewhere in the back of the house.
"I suppose that's a no," Draco said, looking at Willow. "Here, help me with these, please."
Willow did. She started putting the groceries away, occasionally asking Draco where an item was kept. Draco put the tea kettle on and went to the sitting room. He pointed his wand and the fireplace blazed to life.
Willow frowned. "Bit warm for that, isn't it?"
"This house is always cold. Bad things happened here. Can't you feel them?"
It was as if the suggestion opened her up to it. This was the house that man had grown up in. Neglected, verbally abused. His parents had paid him as little attention as her own had. Willow lost herself in the room, running her hands though the dust on the bookshelves. Abusive father, indifferent mother. Willow gasped and stumbled a bit.
"Don't you dare pity me, girl."
He was right behind her. She felt like she was in a slasher movie and the killer had just popped up behind her. Willow's heart was hammering in her chest.
Draco was watching with wide eyes. Snape looked angry. Draco was surprised the man was actually showing emotion. He had stormed out of his rooms in the back and come up right behind Willow. For a moment Draco had through his old professor was going to strike the woman. He'd even drawn his wand to protect her, but at Snape's glare, Draco had lowered it. Now he was just watching.
It was morbidly fascinating. Snape would not even come out when Tori was here half the time, and now he was right up on Willow. Almost touching her. The only people Draco could even recall Snape even allowing to touch him without some sort of retribution were Narcissa, Voldemort and Dumbledore. To see him so in someone else's space was disconcerting.
Willow gathered herself and spun around. She was the Dark One, for goddess sake. One man wasn't going to cow her. No matter how commanding his voice was.
It was not as easy as she thought.
She felt darkness when she looked at him, and the hold on her own just snapped. It was almost like being in Rack's place again. Suddenly she was drunk on the dark. Willow swayed as her hair and eyes went black.
Draco's eyes went even more wide. he could actually feel the magic in the air around them.
Snape put a hand on Willow's shoulder and whispered something Draco could not hear, but she instantly went back to normal. She sighed in relief and sagged against him. Again, Draco was quite shocked at Snape letting her. Aut vincere aut mori.
That was what he had said to her. Those words. Either conquer or die
. It was strange how it had fueled her to shove back her darkness. Though she was weak from a lack of trying to control herself in an outside situation, Willow had still managed it.
She took the time to study him now that her mind was clear. He was all sharp lines and dark robes. His nose was very large and a bit pointy. He was like a raven in all his black and staring down at her with his beady dark eyes and hook nose that now reminded her of a beak due to the raven reference. His eyes were sunken in and his skin was so without color than he made most vampires look like Oompa Loompas. His hair was at his shoulders and was limp and greasy-looking. All in all, he did not make a pretty picture.
"You are a mess, little girl."
Willow glared at him. "Well, you look like a fanboy at Dracula-con."
He frowned. Draco did as well. Sometimes he just did not get the insults the Sunnydale crew hurled his way.
"I do not understand your verbal diarrhea, so if you are quite stable now, I would appreciate your getting out of my personal space."
Draco pursed his lips not to laugh. There was the Snape he knew.
"Oh. Sorry." Willow stepped back and started brushing off his robes.
"Do cease that," he said in pinched tones.
"Sorry." Willow raised her hands in surrender and backed up.
He was really unpleasant-seeming. He was also glaring at her. She was not touching anything anymore, so she could not think of what she was doing now that was pissing him off. Unless he was reliving her faux pas of her being in his personal bubble before.
"Mr. Malfoy, thank you for the supplies. Do bring Miss Rosenberg when you return next."
With that, he spun and left the room. His black robes billowed out behind him. Willow and Draco were both left staring after him with stunned expressions.
"That was strange. I think he disliked you a little less than he does most people," Draco said in shock.
"Are we going now?"
The tea kettle whistled.
"No," Draco replied. "We're having tea first. I think I need it after that."