Here You Me
*~* Here You Me *~*
Severus was tired. Very tired.
He'd been up most of the night with Willow and that Fred Burkle woman trying to figure out some kind of charm for that Gwen girl, so her bodily current wouldn't keep going haywire and electrocuting her. The two of them were giving him a headache with their constant stream of chatter. If one wasn't babbling, the other certainly was. As much as it made him more determined to concentrate on the task at hand, he was getting a bit of a pinch between his eyes.
He could admit that if he had not been taken so with his own little red that he'd be completely fascinated with Winifred though. She was completely undeterred by his surly manner... just as Willow had been. She also had an absolutely brilliant mind. With the exception of his red, Severus had never seen a mind that worked as Winifred's did. She was bloody brilliant. She was what Granger would be in a few years, except Severus was thinking Winifred was far more brilliant. She learned things almost effortlessly. It was a damn shame the woman was not a witch. She would be very powerful. Yes, he might have been smitten with the thin girl... if he wasn't so ensnared by Willow. There was but one glaring problem with Winifred in his eyes. She had very little darkness or wickedness to her, but that didn't change her brilliance.
They had just finished cooking up a sort of magical katra, Severus had made the potion with Willow's assist. Fred had watched avidly, grabbing ingredients and asking questions the whole way. Intelligent questions too. She was also very prompt in bringing whatever Willow or himself had asked for.
They'd let the potion crystallize. Willow had carefully chipped a crystal away and now Fred was peering at it through a microscope.
"It looks sturdy enough. We should spell it and take it to electro-bitch first thing in the morning. I could sure use some sleep."
Severus raised a brow at the description electro-bitch. There was a story there.
"Couldn't we all." Willow mumbled. "I'm way tired. I could sleep for a whole day."
"Not just yet." Anya said from the doorway.
Wesley was standing behind her holding a few dusty texts.
Anya sighed. "A lot actually. You up for trying to remove all the souls in a body then putting one or two back?"
Anya just nodded at Willow's statement, not question.
Severus stalked over to Wesley, grabbed one of the texts from him, thumped it open on a desk, and turned. "What are we looking for?"
"Lemme get my spellbook."
Fred looked up from the book she'd grabbed from Wesley shortly after Severus had taken his. "Why?"
"Got me a gypsy curse written down in it that will need some tweaking for this."
Severus was glaring at her.
"You have a spellbook."
"And I'm just finding out about this now?"
"There is a wealth of things you don't know about me yet, Severus Snape."
He would have smiled, well smirked, about the 'yet', but other people were about. Also, she was right. There were still plenty of things about her he still didn't know. Disturbing thing? He wanted to know those things. He wanted to know all the things.
The fist took Sirius quite by surprise.
He'd taken the hit as soon as the infirmary doors closed behind them. He turned to glare at Remus while touching a hand to his bottom lip, which he already knew was busted. His fingertips came away wet and reddened.
"What in the bloody hell-"
"Oh I think you know."
"That's my DAUGHTER whose innocence you took!"
"She wasn't so innocent when I took her! Gods, man! You act like I'm some bloody pervert who took advantage of a child! Tara's a woman grown!"
"She's still my baby!"
"And she's having mine!"
"Not if I kill you!"
"Bloody hell, Remus, I'm in love with her!"
Remus blinked. "What?" Well, that had just officially taken the bluster right out of him.
"How can you doubt it? Don't you think I've tried to keep my hands off of her?"
"So you love her."
"As much as I do Harry... but differently. Obviously. I don't it would go over as well with Harry if I tried to shag him."
"And thank you for that particular image. Instead of seeing you and my daughter behind my eyelids, I'll be seeing you and Harry."
Sirius went on as if Remus had not even said a word. "He loves me and all, but I think he's saving himself for Dawn. Pity, because I'm quite the catch... at least Tara wasn't disappointed."
"I really didn't need to know that. Also, this conversation is not helping to curb my impulse to hit you in the face again."
"I won't tell Tara you hit me."
"Thank you for that."
"I'll tell her Spike did it."
Remus chuckled. "You know, it's a good thing Ellie and I never officially made you her godfather, hmm?"
"This is going to sound very bad indeed, Moony, but I honestly don't think that would have prevented this. I was dead gone on her the first time I ever laid eyes on her. She was completely horrified by the strange hobo who'd grabbed her in Hogsmeade, but she met my stare."
"You had better treat her right."
"I know." He looked solemn.
"I have never had so much of my mood rest so heavily on another person. Except for maybe Harry. And James when we were younger. And you. You're in that small group of people with Tara and Harry who I could never hurt. I'd cut off a limb first. I don't mean to upset you with Tara, but I think my not being around would hurt her more. I can't have that."
"Then it's not as I thought."
"She's the lucky one. Not the other way around, but I swear to every deity I can, Padfoot, if you hurt my baby girl, I will tear you limb from limb."
Amy had been walking around the corridors alone... something she had been told not to do.... by both Willow and Spike. But she really wanted to find Spike. He'd disappeared after the little meeting of the meetings. So many people. Sure, this place was a castle, but did they really have room for all those people? It was good they could pull their reinforcements like this.
Amy stopped when she heard his voice. She peered around the corner. Spike was standing there talking to Buffy.... and none too quietly. It looked like a private conversation, so Amy ducked back and listened.
"So which one is it then, slayer?"
"None of them, like I said."
"So still harboring warm fuzzies for persons other then?"
"If you mean Oliver, yeah, I had a crush on him, but you heard. He's Faith's boyfriend now. How on earth did THAT happen? Oliver's so... so..."
"What? I was going to say he's so sweet and she's just not." Buffy said with a scowl.
"You don't know Faith now."
"Like she can change THAT much."
"Others have. And incidentally, when I said persons other, I was not referring to Ollie."
Spike, I never-"
"Look, pet, if you thought he was so sweet, why didn't you hang on a little harder?"
"I have a responsibility to-"
"Piffle. Complete and utter bullshit, slayer. Did it ever occur to you that if you had asked, Ollie would have followed you back to Sunnyhell?"
"To what? Die?"
"He's not the weak kitten you see him as in your little blonde head. Oliver's a wizard, a powerful one. He's also not the smallest bloke of the lot. As thick as the Scot's neck is gettin', I'd bet he's some scary Highlander up in those bloodlines of his. He could have handled himself."
"So you just take the choice from him. God help me, I don't know why I'm in love with you! Angel burns you, so you don't even try anymore!"
"How DARE you-"
"Look, slayer, I don't want to fight. Well, not YOU at any rate."
"Did you just say that you were in love with me? You still under THAT delusion? Spike, I used you. I-"
She had abruptly stopped speaking. Amy leaned around to look. Spike had cut the slayer off with a kiss. Amy sprung to her feet and ran. She shouldn't have listened anyhow. Silent sobs wracked her body as tears clouded her vision. She ran. Why was this bothering her so much? What did she think? Because he'd let her sleep next to him in his bed, he'd loaned her some clothes, and braided her hair he was taken with her? Why? Why should she even want anything of him? He was a soulless vampire. He'd killed.... many.
But damn if he didn't make her feel safe. She hadn't felt safe since the first time Rack struck out at her. She realized now that she had been developing a bit of a crush on Spike. Well, now that she recognized it, she could just put an end to it.
What Amy missed by running was Buffy shoving Spike away forcefully and telling him that whatever they had shared was way past over and not to touch her like that ever again. Amy also missed Spike punching the stone wall next to Buffy's head before stalking off.
Remus had Hagrid round up Spike. He was to bring him to the guest student quarters where Draco was staying. Someone had mentioned that the blonde vampire had gone off with Buffy.
Sirius had come along as well to speak with Harry. Poppy had promised not to stray very far from Tara's side. Amy had also turned up in the infirmary, refusing to speak, but looking very upset. Her eyes were even bloodshot, but since she was still on silent, no answers would be coming as to what had upset her. She'd set herself up in the bed next to Tara's.
Poppy had quietly asked for Spike to be sent the way of the infirmary, since he had such a calming effect on Amy.
Spike was already waiting with Draco and Harry when Remus and Sirius entered. Sirius had barely stepped inside when his polyjuice wore off.
Draco shouted. "That's a dirty trick. What the devil are you doing here?"
"What happened to your mouth?" Harry asked, noting the fat and busted lip.
"Been here all term." He said to Draco then looked to Harry. "And I walked into a door."
"Been here all term? Bloody hell." Draco glared at Harry. "Thanks for telling."
"Like you and I share confidences, Malfoy. Besides I didn't figure it out that long ago myself." Harry glared at Sirius. "Thanks for telling."
"Figured it out though, Potter. Could have warned me."
"Harry..." Sirius began. He didn't know how to reply. He knew Harry could get a bit defensive if he felt he was being coddled or purposefully not included in plans.
Remus interrupted. "There are other things to deal with now."
He looked around. Remus was sure everyone else was in their dorms now... just dying for Harry or Draco to let them know when it was safe to come out, so they could be told what was so important... and private. They could no more prevent it than anything. All them would likely know by morning. Harry would tell at the very least Ron, and Draco would tell at the very least Dawn.
"What's going on?" Spike asked warily.
Remus sighed. He and Sirius had agreed that he would be the one to say it, but that didn't make it any less difficult. "You know Tara's in some trouble... spiritually. Well, there was an unforeseen complication... and well, she's... she... "
Sirius was glaring at him. "You are really bad at this." He looked at the three others. "Tara's pregnant."
Spike's brow furrowed, then his eyes went wide, then amber. "YOU RUTTING SON OF A BITCH!"
Spike went stiff mid-leap and crashed to the floor as Sirius sidestepped out of the way.
Draco tucked his wand back. "Can we assume by that display that you are the father of this child?"
Harry was unnaturally quiet. Draco walked over to Spike and rolled the vampire onto his back using the toe of his boot.
"Sorry, Uncle Spike, but I think there's more. Besides, you know Tara. She might be a little put out with you if you killed the father of her baby. Do let's think about these things. At least give him the chance to muck it up before you rip his throat out."
"The baby's in trouble, isn't it?" Harry asked quietly.
"From the others in there, right?"
Draco sat down with a heavy sigh. "This isn't fair."
Everyone looked at him.
"Why her? Why's it have to be her? Why can't the soddin' fates give her a break? I can't think of a person more deserving of a damn break. Merlin, if they'd just fucking let her, Tara's going to rule as a mum. She's never wear a dull look while daddy was practicing his curses on the child."
"I'd never-" Sirius started.
Remus shushed him.
"She wouldn't care that she didn't look perfect. She'd... hug. She wouldn't care about wrinkles in her robes. And she'd never try to kill her own child."
He was actually shaking again. Sirius bent down and released Spike from his body bind. Spike got up slowly.
"Come on in, Ginny." Remus said.
Spike was walking to Draco when a flash of red zoomed past him. Ginny Weasley threw herself on Draco Malfoy and put his head to her shoulder. Remus smiled. He had no idea Narcissa Malfoy's being here would wreak such havoc on her son. Draco had seemed perfectly fine with his parents' defection until now. But Ginny was amazing. Sure, Molly would have a fit if she could see how her daughter was snuggled up to Draco with her knees on either side of his hips in a perfect straddle.
Remus knew without a doubt that Draco Malfoy would definitely be the first one to ever have the girl provided he continued on his present path. It was not a chaste thought, but it comforted him. Not because it was not a chaste thought, but because looking at Ginny and Draco, he realized that some things were just built to last.
He was daring to hope that Sirius was as far as his daughter was concerned.
Drusilla's screaming startled Hagrid.
No one else had wanted the vampiress around. He'd offered to keep her in his hut. There was room. Certain people had protested that, but none of them really wanted her roaming the school with so many 'tasty' students about. Especially when Angel had remarked on her preference for eating children. Hagrid certainly wasn't afraid of her. She was just a vampire that was a little this side of sane. Hagrid had seen more worrisome creatures in his days. Fang had certainly taken to her, and the dangerous little beauty had giggled like a first year upon hearing what the boarhound was named. Hagrid had no fear from her. Narcissa Malfoy had brought her along. Hagrid still couldn't think how a bloodsucker like that had found someone like Drusilla and gotten her to agree to this.
Now she was screeching her head off, and Fang was bounding in the small space of Hagrid's home in some sort of running spell... as if he were a pup again. Which was odd seeing how languid Fang normally was.
"They're talking so loud."
"The spark will be in all of us. They'll take it out to put it back, but it goes wrong. Or... right. They're all singing. The devils have come to play but angels lead them in. Here you me."
"The stars... they're screaming that HE is back."
"The one who cares only for endings."
"Voldemort?" Hagrid whispered.
Drusilla shook her head frantically. "Before... and after."
Hagrid was just staring. This made about as much sense to him as an umbrella made out of chicken wire and Swiss cheese.
"It's coming. It's all coming. So lucky. So strong. So proud."
"Mary and her little lamb... but the fleece of snow is mottled with crimson. The lamb is for the slaughter." Drusilla sighed. "There'll be no tea or cakes this time."
"Maybe I should take ya ter Madam Pomfrey?"
"The bad dogs will be punished."
"I'm takin' ya ter Madam Pomfrey."
"Evil crawls to us on silent paws with pained toenails. No snakes in the woodshed.... but rats in the snake pit."
Hagrid blinked. She wasn't making a lick of sense to him.... but she was reminding him an awful lot of Tara. Perhaps Drusilla had the same thing that was ailing Professor Maclay. Hagrid didn't even consider, he just wrapped her up in a thick blanket, so none of her was showing for the rising sun to burn, and hefted her up into his arms. She didn't weigh much.
She was still muttering to herself as he carried her across the grounds towards the castle. About angels and dogs and tea and cakes and evil choking them all to death.... because it had hidden so long that it knew some of them now.... knew how they were weak.
Hagrid was decided now. He'd take her to Madam Pomfrey, then go tell Professor Dumbledore what was going on... not that Hagrid was really sure.... because her ramblings weren't making a lick of sense to him.
But maybe they'd make sense to someone else.