To Never Surrender
*~* To Never Surrender *~*
Buffy was lounged out in one of the chairs in the back corner of Dumbledore’s office. Chairs had been brought in to accommodate everyone that attended. Buffy had chosen hers to have the best view of the room.
“You stalled us to aid her escape.”
Buffy looked at the council man with a bored expression. “Prove it.”
Snape coughed to hide his snickers. He was starting to like the stark audacity of his little red’s best friend the vampire slayer. The blonde girl had some brass and steel to her. He was beginning to understand the younger Miss Summers now.
“You are not taking away one of my kind. The Faith you are now after is not the Faith who killed those people. The Faith you are after is not even the same Faith who turned herself in in California… or did you forget that part. She did turn herself in. Didn’t it occur to you morons that she didn’t have to stay incarcerated? She could have busted out of that prison any time she wanted to. You think anything supposedly holding her there was any match for a slayer? I mean, if you honestly did, you don’t know what a slayer really is. We are built to fight. The both of us have been in worse situations than prison and made it out alive. Think about it.”
“Miss Summers, we at the Ministry had no idea the Watcher’s Council meant to… terminate Miss Faith.” Percy said quietly.
There was this cold feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“I want to go. They could have hurt you.”
“I don’t want you to leave.”
“Tara, I have to do something besides sit here and let you, pregnant, do all the work around here.”
“Sirius, you’ve earned some rest. You spent more than a decade in prison for something you were innocent of. Then spent a few more years running. You deserve a break.”
“I can’t afford to take a break just now. You think Lucius Malfoy’d stop at Narcissa… at Draco. You and Spike are just as Malfoy as Draco is. Do you think I could bear it if anything happened to you or little Celi? You have to let me be a man and take care of some things, Tara. I can’t rest easy until Lucius Malfoy and his buddies are in Azkaban.”
“Let someone else hunt them.”
“I need to do it.”
“For James, right?”
“I don’t see why you let him marry Harry’s mom if you loved him so much.”
“It was not like that.”
“What was it like then, Sirius? Why do you feel this burning need to leave me? Why is the memory of a man more important than I am?”
“That’s not it at all. I want you safe. I want our daughter safe.”
“Then stay here and protect us.”
“I have to go.”
“You have to run away. Things get to serious, no pun intended, and you can‘t deal. You leave.”
She moved to Little Spike’s stand and fed him a few of the berries Dobby had brought her from the kitchen for her pet bat. Lil Spi squeaked in appreciation.
“Tara…” Sirius wrapped his arms around her from behind.
“I knew. I knew when you had your freedom, your name cleared, you’d leave me. I felt it.”
“You act like I’m not coming back.”
She turned in his embrace. “If you go, you won’t.”
He moved back from her. “Is that a threat?”
“If I leave, I can’t come back? You won’t let me? Is that how it is? I won’t be dictated to, Tara.”
“That’s not what I said.”
“Well, so much for anything I thought about you and I.”
“Sirius, you‘re being childish.”
“Have a good night, Miss Maclay.”
He moved for the door.
“What are you doing? Where are you going?”
“After that group of Death Eaters with some of the others.”
“I won’t be controlled.”
“I’m not trying to control you! “
“N-n-no! I just honestly d-don’t want you to g-go.”
“Well, I guess you should have thought of that before you tried to manipulate my feelings for you.”
“Wh-what? I d-din’t m-manip-pulate anything. I w-was j-just tr-trying t-to t-tell y-you h-how I f-f-f-f-f-felt.”
“Right.” With that, he slammed out of her room.
Tara’s legs failed her. She had a seat right there on the floor. She had never experienced one of Sirius’s little tantrums when he didn’t get his way. It had been mentioned that he could be a bit like that at times by her father, but she hadn’t believe it would be as bad as all this.
She was nearly four months pregnant, and the father had just walked out on her. How on earth had she become a cliché? And a hetero one at that? She just should have stuck to what she knew… girls. Men had always confused her, and though she loved Sirius deeply, he was no exception in that particular area. He was the biggest baffle of her life. She didn’t even know what their fight had been about really. Well, she did, but in retrospect, Tara couldn’t understand why the both of them had gotten so angry about it. It was even more strange when one considered the way he’s fussed over her in the infirmary. Tara placed both hands on the hardened little bump of her belly and willed herself not to cry. This hurt worse than leaving Willow had.
“It’s ok. Porcelina.” Tara sniffed. “There are still plenty of people who’ll be around to love you.”
Lily felt funny when she woke up.
The first person she saw was Willow.
Willow felt funny at that moment. In the back of her mind it was weird to her that someone who was but a few years her junior called her mom, but she decided the liked it more than she thought it was weird.
“I’m right here, honey.” She was gonna do all the things for Lily that Sheila Rosenberg had never done for her. Never done for either of them if Lily’s past had been Willow’s.
“Here.” Severus said, rushing across the infirmary.
“How’d the little meeting go?” Willow asked quietly.
“I like your little friend Buffy. She’s suitably obnoxious.”
When they had heard Lily speaking, Connor and Angel had moved to her bed.
“Are you better?” Connor asked quietly.
Lily nodded. “Thank you.”
“Not letting me hit the floor. Though if I’m gonna make out with you, know that I would not pick the middle of a fight.”
“I realized that, thinking on it later, but what was I to think? You fell upon me like in the hallway the other day. How was I to know there were no closets nearby?”
Lily glared at him. Snape was making this strangled noise. Angel looked decidedly uncomfortable. Willow tried not to giggle.
Faith woke up on the sofa in the little cottage they were in to the smell of something delicious. Oliver was in the tiny kitchen doing something that was making her mouth water. It took her a moment to recall where they were.
This place reminded her of the wooded cottage in Disney films. Like the place Snow White had lived in with her dwarf buddies or the little pad Sleeping Beauty had stayed in the first sixteen years of her life with those good fairies.
The big problem they’d noticed earlier… besides how dirty from disuse the place was… was the one bedroom and the one bed. Faith had insisted on the sofa because Oliver was too tall to fit on it properly. He’d balked of course, but she couldn’t sleep in a bed with him. She’d never sleep, and by the end of a week she’d be wound so tight from being within touching distance of that sort of hot without actually touching that she might murder someone. Again. And this time it’d be for real temporary insanity.
Could lack of sexual activity and temptation within reach cause a person to go crazy? How much trouble would she get in if she raped him? Perhaps she could seduce him.
Faith frowned. She’d never gone through this much trouble for sex before.
Ginny was sitting in his bed when he opened his eyes. She smiled at him. Draco looked over. His mother was asleep in a chair with her head leaned on Spike’s shoulder. HIS MOTHER. She looked decidedly rumpled. Narcissa Malfoy had not only one hair but several out of place. To further this insanity his Aunt Andromeda and his cousin Tonks were sleeping soundly on the bed next to his. As if they too were waiting for him to wake up.
“They’ve been waiting to see if you were all right.” Ginny whispered. “Lily woke up earlier. She’s ok.”
Draco noticed a big bit of gauze sticking out of her collar like it was on her shoulder.
“What happened?” He asked. He reached for the spot, his hand shaking.
“I got staked.”
“They were aiming for Spike. I shoved him out of the way, but the crossbow bolt got me in the shoulder instead of his heart. You should have seen how mad Spike got. You’d think he cared about me or something.”
“I do care about you, luv.”
Ginny and Draco gasped. Spike was awake in exactly the position he’d been asleep in. The only things moving on him were his mouth and eyes so not to wake Narcissa.
“Glad to see the both of you up and about. Your mum was concerned about you, boy.”
“Draco, she was.” Ginny piped in. “She even threatened someone for you when they were disturbing your rest.”
It was then that Narcissa woke up. She sat straight and looked at Spike. She seemed quite alarmed to have been using him as her pillow.
“It’s all right, ducks. We’re family, you and I.”
Andromeda and Tonks sat up then.
“Oooo, wotcher, Cousin Draco.”
Draco looked at her. “Just Draco will suffice, thank you.”
She grinned at him.
“Well, now that you are all right… Just Draco.” Andromeda said. “Nymphadora and I have other business to attend to. Do try to keep out of harm’s way, nephew. Your mother’s been such a cranky bitch while you’ve been out.”
Draco just stared at her. There was something fascinating… and familiar about his mother’s sister.
“Well, ta then.” Andromeda kissed Narcissa’s cheek then ran a finger along the side of it.
Draco watched them. Interesting. Many of his aunt’s mannerisms were very much like his mother’s. Very interesting indeed. Draco observed closely as the exited the hospital wing and his cousin Tonks banged her hip on the door somehow before making it out.
They had no sooner stepped out when Kingsley approached Tonks.
“We got a lead on a group of them. We’re going.”
“Don’t be long, Nymphadora.” He mother said.
Andromeda nodded at her daughter’s best friend before taking off down the hall.
Tonks looked back at Kingsley. “Really?”
“Lucius is among them. Sirius Black is going after them with us.”
“Cousin Sirius is? really?”
“Wish you could go.”
“Kingsley, you know I have work here.”
“Work that you can’t even share with your partner and best mate?”
“You’ll know soon enough.”
“If it’s another bloke…”
“Yes, that’s exactly it.” She snapped with a scowl.
“I don’t know what you’re up to, but your mother and Aunt are involved. It can’t be safe. Just be careful.”
“I am. We are. Well, as careful as we can be.”
They just looked at one another for a long while.
“Good luck. Happy hunting.” Tonks said finally. “I have to go.”
“Yes, go. Be mysterious.”
Tonks just smirked at him.
It was not very long after his aunt and cousin had left that Raven Hope walked into the infirmary. Draco noticed his mother look at the girl and roll her eyes. There was also some muttering of swears under her breath.
Raven went to check on Pansy. Draco watched the two girls talk. He was wondering who had hexed Parkinson. Wasn’t she on the other side? Or was she just mean and nasty? And a bit scrunched in the face.
“Do you know that girl, darling?”
“Yes, Mother, that’s Parkinson.”
“Don’t be a smartarse. The other girl.”
“I rather think I do.”
Spike was glaring in that direction. “Didn’t know that was possible.”
Ginny looked at the three of them. “What are you guys talking about?”
“I think Draco and Miss Ginny need some alone time.” Edward said from where he was hovering near the ceiling. “What do you say, William?”
Goosebumps cropped up on Draco’s arms, and his eyes scanned the ceiling. Narcissa was looking up as well. Her face was scrunched in confusion.
“You know, Will. I’m getting the funniest notion that they can hear me or know I’m about.” Edwards said as he floated down and came to a stop on the other side of Draco’s bed.
Narcissa stood abruptly and was looking at the ceiling and around the bed furiously. Spike just stared at his brother.
“Come along, sweet. Let’s leave the kids alone for a bit.” Spike said taking Narcissa’s arm. then he looked right at Edward. “You too. No peeping.”
He dragged Draco’s mother off and pulled the curtains around the bed closed.
Ginny sighed. “I think Spike might be getting crazier.”
“And here I think he might not be crazy at all.”
Harry was sitting in the common room staring at the fire.
Madam Pomfrey had kicked anyone who wasn’t injured out this afternoon. She’d let most of them stay with their friends all night and this morning. Then she’d said everyone was to find someplace else to be, so her patients could rest more. Most of the Gryffindors who’d been sitting watch had gone up to their dorms to sleep a bit.
Dawn had reluctantly gone back to Slytherin.
And Harry just couldn’t sleep.
Harry turned. Ron and Hermione were standing there. It was Hermione that had spoken. The two of them came and sat on either side of Harry.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Any of it.” Hermione said quietly. “Harry, I’ve never seen anything like that before. You had two wands.”
“How long have you been working on it?” Ron asked. “We’re your best friends. How come you didn’t tell us?”
“I didn’t know.”
“Harry…” Hermione gasped.
Harry sighed. “I haven’t been practicing. I didn’t now I could do it.”
Ron looked confused. “Then how did you know to do it?”
“I just… knew I could. Does that make any sense?”
“No.” Ron groused. “Yes.” Hermione replied at the same time.
“It was just pure luck.”
“It was fate.”
Both Ron and Harry looked at Hermione.
“There is fate.”
“This from the girl who doesn’t believe in Divination?” Ron said with wide eyes.
“Some things ARE meant to be, Ronald. Other things are not set in stone. It’s up to you to decide which is which in your own life. I‘ve come to realize there is a balance that must be kept between them in the last two years.”
“So you think the fates are trying to better prepare Harry for what’s to come?”
Hermione beamed at Ron. “And you say you’re not clever.”
Harry wiped his face with his hand. “Great. What if I don’t want to do this?”
Ron and Hermione just looked at him. Even Hermione had no answers for that one.
Until Hermione said this…
“Maybe you should talk to Buffy before she goes back home.”
Harry gave Hermione this wide-eyed look. He hadn’t even thought about that. If anyone would understand what was going on in his head, Buffy would. Harry jumped up and ran out of the common room. He had to catch her before she left.
Wesley groaned at tried to sit up.
A hand held him to the bed. “Don’t.”
“Where’s Faith? Is she…”
“Hidden? You bet.”
He turned his head to look at her. “How did…”
“Because I’m smarter than I look, and Dumbledore is plenty clever too.”
“Gone. Say, how did you know they were council?”
“I recognized some of them.”
“Ouch. That sucks. Were they friends?”
“Not really. They used to pick on me.”
“Ok, it doesn’t suck as much.”
He snickered a bit.
“Faith’s safe for now, Wes, but we gotta get this council business taken care of. She can’t run and hide forever. Well, she could with Dumbledore’s help, but that’s really not fair to anyone involved.”
“You said the council was gone?”
“Yeah, it seems when they called in their favor to the Ministry of Magic they failed to mention to the current Minister that they planned to kill Faith. Some dude named Cornholio Grudge.”
Wesley ground his teeth not to laugh out loud. “I think you mean Cornelius Fudge.”
“The Fudge guy wasn’t his happiest, and his assistant guy said they didn’t know, and I believe the assistant guy.”
“Right. Percy. You know him?”
“He was really polite and stuff. I liked him better than old Cornholio.”
Wesley didn’t correct her. From what he’d heard of him, that name fit Fudge better. He had to wonder at Percy Weasley being polite to Buffy though. That didn’t fit with the other information he had on Percy.
After much arguing with Madam Pomfrey, Willow and Severus resigned themselves to getting some sleep in their rooms instead of sitting beside Lily while she slept. They had thought Connor would have to be hexed and carried out until Lily spoke to him. He ended up walking Angel to the staff room, so Angel could floo back to LA. Willow had to smile at that. She knew there were plenty of issues with Angel and his son, so it was nice to see them getting along a bit. Even though Willow expected not a word was exchanged between them on that walk to the staff room.
“An interesting thing occurred earlier.” Severus said casually as the two of them made themselves sleep-ready.
“Buffy got quite irritated with me.”
“She was under the mistaken impression I had cheated her out of wearing pink silk.”
“She’s very serious about being one of your bridesmaids.”
Willow’s brow furrowed. “She thought we’d gotten married?”
“Why would she think that?”
“I don’t follow.”
“It seems mostly married couples adopt.”
“Well, yeah, but not always.”
“So you would not want to be… Mrs. Snape?”
“I don’t remember being asked.”
“You would require asking?”
“You would agree?”
“Well, you won’t know if you don’t ask me, now will you?”
“It would be easier to ask if the outcome could be gauged.”
“Well if it helps, I’m gonna say yes.” Willow smiled as she remember another time she had made such a remark. She had been able to see forever with that guy too. But that was before she knew what forever could entail. Now she really knew. Now she was better prepared.
“That’s good to know.” He said smoothly as he turned down the bed.
Willow huffed and put her hands on her hips. “That’s it?”
“What else do you require?”
“Very well.” He sighed. “Would you…. put out the lamp?”
She stared at him for a long time then she did put out the lamp, bathing the room in black. He could hear her get stiffly into the bed. His bed chamber was always devoid of light. He liked his darkness, but now he wished he could see her. Perhaps he should not have twitted her about something that he understood as being important to most women.
It irritated him that she could make him second guess himself like this.
“I was… just… joking. I did not mean to offend you. If you are agreeable to it, I would like you to do me the honor of being my wife.”
“I’m not saying no forever. Just tonight. You’re welcome to ask again tomorrow… but I might say no then too.”
He gaped at her in the dark… even though he couldn’t see her. Why that irritating little red-haired minx! Maybe he just wouldn’t ask tomorrow.
Who was he kidding?
Damn her attractive hide! The more he thought on it, the more he found he actually DID want this. He was not supposed to want anything. Ever. Well, except for Potter to fall on his arse or his fat bloated ‘like father, like son’ egomaniac’s head, Voldemort to die for real this time so he could really be free, and to finally get the Defense Against the Dark Arts job.
When you added annoying and attractive wife and bratty and mischievous children to that, it seemed a bit greedy. He’d never thought there was a possibility that he, Severus Snape, might have any of those things.
He reached for her.
“Not tonight. I have a headache.” She snapped.
Severus jerked back as if he’d been slapped. “I merely wished to hold you.”
He rolled away them. Suddenly, he didn’t feel tired. He felt uncertain, and he hated her for it.
Then arms wrapped around him from behind.
“I’m sorry. I’ll marry you.”
“I don’t want your pity.”
He turned so that he was facing her in the darkness. “I despise you.”
Their lips met.
“Does that mean we can’t snuggle?”
“Must you keep using that irritating word?”
“Don’t be mad. Just hold me.”
He sighed loudly. “If I must.”
Just hold her. As disgusting and sappy as the thought was, he could do just that for the rest of his days if he had no other obligations.
She’d ruined him. Utterly.
AN: Please keep in mind that neither one of them actually said yes before you get all excited about a wedding.
Anyone disliking the direction this fic seems to be going in after this post, please read this livejournal post
and consider before you come ranting at me about what you think