Storm Clouds Gathering
*~* Storm Clouds Gathering*~*
"Lie still, Amy." Willow said.
The witch had started screaming before they could get to the infirmary. She wasn't making any sense. Poppy Pomfrey was rushing back and forth trying to gather medicines and bandages. Spike had pulled Draco back after he had laid Amy on the bed.
"He said he was gonna eat you alive, and I can't let him do that. No matter what we did to you." The former rat gasped.
"He's coming for you."
"No. HIM." She said with eyes full of fear.
Snape grabbed Willow and pulled her back. Amy arched her back and let out a blood-curling scream. Tara rushed forward and grabbed the woman by the shoulders and forced her back to the bed.
"Tara!" Remus yelled.
She ignored him. "Be still."
And Amy was.
"We are not here to hurt you, Amy. No one's going to hurt you. Ever. Not ever again."
Amy threw herself into Tara's arms. Buffy and Xander were sitting under the same blanket on one of the beds. Buffy was watching Tara with a slight smile on her face. Xander was watching Faith as if he expected her to leap on him and try to put the strangulation on again.
"I'm not going to attack you." Faith sighed.
"Don't lie, Xander. I can see it in your eyes."
Buffy finally turned her gaze onto Faith. "What's she doing here?"
"Trying not to fail the first lesson, B."
Buffy cocked her head to side. Harry moved into the room further, so he could watch them. Buffy had gotten to her feet. The two of the were circling slowly. Everyone else had gone very still as Harry moved forward.
Hermione was huddled into Ron's arms. Malfoy was standing next to them with an arm around Ginny and another around Lily. Seamus, Neville, and Dean were behind them. Dawn took a step forward and reached out to stop Harry. It was as if everyone that was actually moving was moving in warm syrup. So slow and dance-like. The tension was as thick as it could be.
Snape had moved Willow to a far edge of the room. Both his arms were locked around her, pinning her arms to her sides. Anya was standing between Remus and 'Mad-Eye'. She was shivering. Oliver made a move to step towards them, but Anya and Spike grabbed him.
Just then both Giles and Wesley skidded into the infirmary. "DON'T!" They yelled in unison.
Both slayers flinched, Buffy reacting to Giles's voice, Faith reacting to Wesley's.
"Buffy, Faith is here under Dumbledore's protection." Giles said.
Buffy tilted her head in question at the other slayer.
"That pesky watcher's council. Prison isn't good enough. They want me dead."
Buffy blinked. She hadn't expected that. Not again. Not when all reports said Faith was doing so well now. Yes, she had people check up on Faith.
"They want me out of the way so they can call a new puppet."
"What do you mean why, B? I'm a defective. They want two full-on slay gals. Not super slay and little miss reform school girl. They want all their firepower free and clear."
"Well..." Buffy said, looking Faith dead in the eyes. "We can't always get what we want."
Faith looked at her oddly. That statement was more telling than anyone in the room knew. Somehow Faith understood. She was getting another chance with Buffy for some reason. Maybe the blonde had taken too many kicks to the head. Then again, Faith wasn't going to question it. She was just going to accept what was being offered and grasp it with both hands... because only God knew if it would ever be offered again.
"I have a Hellmouth to get back to."
"You need help?"
Buffy looked at her like she was seeing Faith for the very first time. "When I do, you'll be the first one I ask."
Faith nodded at her.
Xander started to say something. Buffy held up her hand.
"Buffy, you really should stay here." Giles said. "You and Xander are both hurt."
She snorted. "Just a flesh wound. I've had worse."
"Buffy..." Dawn said.
Buffy opened her arms and the other girl threw herself into them. "Miss you."
"You could stay." Dawn whispered.
"I'm all right. Really. How are you? Good grades, I hope?"
"Who cares about my grades."
"Dawn. I want you doing well. If I can't see you every day, I want it to be worth it."
"My grades are fine."
"Good. Like to hear that. How about I blaze in for the weekend in about two weeks, barring all evil? We could go to that Hogsmeade place or something. Hang out. Shop maybe. Do sister stuff."
"That sounds really good."
"Cool." She looked at Xander. "Let's look alive."
"And stay that way." He muttered as they moved to the floor powder.
Willow was pouring over a book in the library when Dawn and Draco saw her. Dawn had been looking for the redhead since Buffy left. Draco hadn't wanted her to search alone.
She looked up. "Hey."
Dawn flinched at the coldness in Willow's voice. Dawn could tell she was blaming herself for Amy.
"Need help?" Draco asked.
Willow looked at him.
"I'm serious about this watcher thing. I do believe I have been a bit lax in my researching lately."
Willow pointed to the pile of books in front of her. "Grab a text."
Both Draco and Dawn settled down with a book.
Harry was confused. Buffy just pops in and pops back out. She said Rack had tortured Amy. She said she didn't know where he was but suspected that he was looking for Amy and ultimately Willow. Buffy had said someone named Clem said word on the underground was Rack had taken off. Harry didn't think he wanted to meet anybody who could do what Rack had done to Amy. Amy was a witch, and not an un-powerful one according to Willow. If Rack could hurt her like that, what could he do to someone like Harry who had not finished his schooling yet?
Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Seamus, Neville, and Dean were all sitting in the common room with him. No one really knew what to say. Something bad was coming. Harry could feel it.
Anya sat with Remus in his private office... the one he said was hers too. It was really his. She was just his assistant. Strangely she didn't mind. She was happy to take her cues from him. With Giles and the Magic Box, she had always wanted more power. As a demon she had always wanted more power. Anya had pushed the envelope with her vengeance. Now suddenly she was quite content.... with Tara's father.
Remus. He'd insisted. So why did she still feel the need to treat him as an elder, to call him Professor Lupin? He was a good man. He would never tell a woman she was stupid, or that she talked too much, or that she didn't know her place. He would never strike a woman in anger. He was the sort of man she never saw in her former line of work. Anya wouldn't believe he existed, but for the fact that he was sitting across from her drinking a steaming cup of tea.
"Is something bothering you?"
Remus looked up at his assistant. Her light brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Her outer robes hung open to reveal a pale pink dress. Her fingernails were the exact shade of the dress. Magic or polish?
What had she asked? If something was bothering him. Yes. Yes, there was, but he couldn't say. But he should have someone to talk to. He should.
Remus sighed. "You could say that."
"You can tell me. I may have a big mouth, but if you tell me what I'm not supposed to say, then I won't go blabbing it everywhere. Xander never got that."
He chuckled. "I am having difficulties being a father."
"Well, that's understandable. You've only known Tara for a year... if that."
"So how can I possibly tell her that I do not approve of her choices."
"You say... Tara, I don't approve of your choices."
He chuckled again. "It's not so easy. She's not the only one involved here."
"What aren't you telling me, Professor Lupin?"
"Don't avoid the question... Remus."
He sighed. For some reason he trusted her. "Tara slept with Sirius."
Anya blinked. "Sirius... her godfather Sirius?"
"Sirius is Moody."
Anya's eyes went wide. "Of course. I thought something seemed off about him."
"Why does this bother you so much?"
"He... I don't know." Remus blinked. "I really don't know why it bothers me."
Anya placed one of her hands over his. "Well, there's a start."
She was attacking the punching bag with ferocity.
"What do you want, Oliver?"
"To talk... if you need to."
"Not much for talking."
"Well, I gathered, but sometimes people need-"
She turned on him. "Look, Oliver, you're a real nice guy, and nice guys really do tend to finish last around me. Just ask Wes."
"If you're trying to frighten me into going away, it won't work. I'm stubborn."
"Well, bully for you." She turned back to the bag and began punching again.
"Faith..." He reached out to grab her arm
She jerked away from him like he was living flame, and she was wearing gasoline dress. "Don't."
"I thought we were becoming friends."
"What happened then?"
"They might try to use you against me." She wasn't looking at him. She was looking at some unseen point on the floor.
"They might hurt you to hurt me... I couldn't bear it. I already know they'll hurt Wes to hurt me. God, imagine that. I used to think I hated him, and now the very thought of anything happening to the stuffy little pansy makes me sick to my stomach. I can't let you be another thing to use against me. One person is already too many."
"Why don't you let me worry about that?"
She looked at him suddenly. Her big brown eyes flashed pain. "You don't know what you're saying. I hurt people, Oliver. I really do. And I'm not just talking emotional scars, I talking physical ones too."
"And I happen to be under the impression that that's not who you are anymore."
"Then you're a fool."
"Better a fool than a coward."
"So that's what this is? An exercise in that infamous Gryffindor courage. You know I would have been sorted to Slytherin, right?"
"And I know a few Slytherins who aren't so very bad. I don't think it means what I thought it did anymore, and don't change the subject."
"There was subject?"
"I'm not going away."
"I could make you go away." She said taking a step up to him. Too bad he was taller. It was always tougher to be menacing when you had to look up.
Oliver took a step to her. "You could try."
Faith was gonna get a crick in her neck looking up at his brown puppy eyes.... so she hooked her leg behind his and tripped him onto the floor.
Then she pounced on him. Her legs were straddling his hips.
And then she kissed him. Hard. Rough. Like she always did with everyone.
So it was a bit of a shock when he rolled them and tried to make himself be the one on top. Faith rolled them again. The two of them struggled across the floor until Faith's back hit a wall, and they never broke that kiss. Faith pulled back in shock. Her eyes were wide. They were lying on their sides facing each other in a tangle of arms and legs breathing heavily. Oliver leaned towards her and placed the lightest kiss on the corner of her mouth. It was like a breeze. Gentle. Soft. But passionate... dangerous.
Faith closed her eyes. His touch was feather light. As if he were afraid he'd break her. Nothing had ever frightened her more. So when he rolled her over him and onto her back, she let him. He kissed her closed eyelids, the tip of her nose, and skin under her bottom lip. His hands touched her hair, spreading it out off of her head across the floor. Those fingertips trailed across her face and neck. When they rested on her collarbone, he leaned down and kissed her again. Slowly. Softly.
Oh god, this wasn't happening. She did not deserve something like this. It scared her nearly to death. Faith's eyes sprung open. She shoved Oliver off of her and backpedalled across the floor.
"Faith..." Oliver said. "What did I do wrong? What?"
"Nothing. That's the problem, sweet. You didn't do a damn thing wrong."
"I'll fight for you, you know."
She backed away even further. "You'd fight me... for me?"
"I think you know why."
"And I think you're mental."
"Oliver.... this isn't fair."
"You can't do this."
"You can't tell me what to do."
"God! Oliver! What if you win?!"
He just smiled at her. And now, Faith was truly afraid. No sense of self preservation, those Gryffindors. Reminded her of Angel in a weird and twisted way. Only this time the guy who was trying to 'save' her also wanted to drown in her. And God help her, she wanted him to. Dangerous.
Saturday morning dawned with a sense of stillness that occurs right before a great explosion.
Lily peered around the corner. She was wearing a very evil expression. Too bad no one but Pansy Parkinson was gonna see it. Girl wanted to play the 'snake' game. Lily'd give her snakes. She almost giggled with delight. This was really bad. She could really get into trouble if she was caught.
She didn't care. Paybacks had NOTHING on her bitchiness,
Lily ducked back around the corner and resisted the very strong urge to giggle. Lily darted back around the corner with her wand drawn. This was it. Pansy was just about to enter the common room. It would be full of people getting ready to head down to the great hall for breakfast. If possible, Lily's smile turned even more evil.
"Caesaries Medusa." She said with a swish and flick.
Lily laughed sinisterly as someone screamed from within the common room as Pansy entered... with a head full of snakes. She tucked her wand into her overalls and skipped away.
It was the perfect start to the first Hogsmeade weekend.