*~* Battle Scars *~*
She wasn't going back to her room.
She was mumbling to herself about shadows in towers and drops in oceans. And little Irishmen with unruly black hair? Sirius was starting to get a bit worried.
"There's a tower. I saw it. She's there. They're keeping here there. Hiding her."
"He said. He said they were hiding her. Hiding here there. But is she good or bad? There's evil here. I feel it in my bones. It's scratching inside my head, and I can't get it out."
"She who? They who? He who? Evil? What evil?"
She looked at him with panic and fear in her eyes. And tears. "I'm not crazy."
"I know, sweetheart. I never said you were." He was beginning to change back, but they were in the shadows. It was all right. He grabbed the peg leg before it could fall against the stone floor.
"I was once. I was so lost in my head. I couldn't get out."
She looked right at him. "She took my mind."
"Glory." He whispered. He'd heard the tales. What he hadn't heard from their mouths he had heard from Harry's.
"I've never forgotten what that was like. I can't. There's nothing like being trapped like that."
Sirius ground his teeth and pulled her into the shadows. To hold her. To let her know no harm would come to her again. Not while he drew breath.
"No. Don't, Sirius."
"Shh. Just let me comfort you. You're upset."
"It's not a good idea." But she wasn't moving away.
"The most pleasurable things usually aren't."
The History of Magic was finally an interesting class.
It was the first of the day for the sixth years. They all took it at once. Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. Harry was getting used to sitting in the vicinity of Draco Malfoy. And he was loathe to admit it, but some of the things that came out of the Slytherin's mouth were damn funny.
It was just different.
People were asking questions by the end of class. Hands were flying. Professor Wyndham-Pryce did not speak in a monotone, and he was anything but dull. There was a harshness to him that Harry felt certain had not always been there. And Harry knew he was the watcher that had come to Sunnydale when Giles had been sacked. But he hardly seemed like they had described him. Then again, he had spent a few years in Los Angeles with Angel.
Then it came. Padma Patil had raised her hand and was called upon.
"Why did you decide to leave Angel and the others in California?"
The professor blinked. Clearly he had not been expecting that question. "You all know of Angel?" He looked at Dawn, as if to say 'what HAVE you been telling them?'.
"Yes, professor." Hermione offered. "Professors Giles and Rosenberg told us what we like to call The Hellmouth Tales. You were mentioned. As was Angel. It was also noted that you worked with him in Los Angeles at Angel Investigations, so hence the question."
Wesley looked at the floor, unaware that he was subconsciously rubbed the scar on his throat. "It's rather complicated."
"Then perhaps you could revive the Society of the Slayer and tell us what happened after Sunnydale for those who went to Los Angeles?"
He looked at her. "The Society of the Slayer?"
"We met once or twice a week and Will... I mean Professor Rosenberg and Professor Giles told us the stories."
There was a murmur of excitement. Most of them had heartily enjoyed the storytelling sessions last term.
"You held a cross to my face once." Lily said in an even tone. "To keep me from Cordelia. Before they sent me back. I was wearing her pink... fuzzy... sweater."
Everyone stilled almost instantly.
Wesley blinked. The shock could have knocked him flat on his ass. He had just thought the girl was a distant relative of Willow's he'd known little about. He supposed he could have questioned it a bit more. After all, she did look remarkably like Willow, but now it all made sense. She was the doppleganger. The vampire.
He whipped a cross out of his suit under his robes so fast a few of the people in class jumped. 'Lily' Rosenberg was not one of them.
He nearly gasped aloud when she grabbed the cross and wrapped her small hand around it, eyes never leaving his. "I'm human. Now. I have my soul. Willow gave it back to me."
Wesley jumped back when her eyes went onyx.
Then simultaneously Harry Potter grabbed his forehead while Dawn Summers pressed her hand to her collar bone. Both gasped in pain.
It was like instant chaos. Every jumped up and started yelling and screaming in fear. They all knew what the scar-grabbing meant by now. They were heading for the door when it slammed shut. A slow turn revealed Professor Wyndham-Pryce with a very unpleasant look on his face, his blue eyes glittering dangerously, and his wand aimed at the door.
And they did.
He moved to Dawn slowly. "Dawn."
"It burns." She whimpered. "It burns."
He brushed her hands away and unhooked her robes. He loosened her tie and unbuttoned her white school shirt. Since it was still a bit warm, she had opted for no gray jumper today. There, right across the bone that stood out against her skin was a jagged scar... just like the one on Harry's forehead. But hers stood diagonal on her pale skin and was longer and thinner looking.
"What did this to you?" He asked quietly.
"Voldemort." She spat.
Everyone gasped at her saying his name.
Wesley noticed the blonde next to her gripping Dawn's hand tightly. "Mister, er..."
"Would you see Miss Summers... and er, Mister.... " Wesley pursed his lips looking at Harry. He still had not learned everyone's names.
"Potter." Malfoy supplied.
"Thank you. Would you see Miss Summers and Mr. Potter, here, to the nurse?"
"I'd like twenty-four inches on the dragon epidemic of 1109. Class dismissed."
Everyone got up to leave.
Wesley grabbed Lily's arm. "Not you."
Willow was having one hell of a time concentrating today. It had taken her forever to get her eyes back to normal the night before. And Severus was worrying about it. She was worried too, but she wasn't about to send the entire school in a panic about it.
Giles was giving a lecture on the proper methods to 'dispatch' a vampire when there was a furious tapping at the door, followed by banging. Willow was very certain the tapping and the banging belonged to two very separate hands.
Giles looked at the door in irritation. Willow raised a hand as if to say continue, she would get the door. She flung it open to see a strange little creature hissing up at Wesley who had a firm grip on Lily's arm.
"I is just delivering this message to the Giles and the Miss Red. Then Dobby is out of the new professor's way."
"Hello?" Willow asked.
"Ah Miss Red. Dobby is most privileged to meet you."
"Yes, miss. I is Dobby. Dobby the house-elf." He bowed dramatically at her.
So this was a house-elf. He was sorta cute. He had big green eyes and a very pointy nose. He could give Pinnochio a run for his money with that thing. His ears were huge and bat-like. And he wore a little orange sweater, two mismatched socks - one of them VERY dirty, a very tiny kilt of blue and green plaid, and a hot pink tea cozy on his head.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Dobby."
His eyes welled up with great, fat tears before he started blubbering very loudly.
"What'd I say?!" Willow asked in alarm.
Giles, having been interrupted by Dobby's crying, had joined her at the door. He shrugged. He knew as much about house-elf behavior as Buffy would about biochemical physics.
"Miss Red is too kind to notice Dobby. Miss Red is a great witch. She is the one outsmarting He-who-is-not-named. She is speaking of very highly by Harry Potter."
Willow grinned. He said Harry Potter with such reverence.
"Miss Red is also speaking of very highly by Mr. Spike much. He is much fond of Miss Red like Harry Potter."
Spike talked about her to the house-elves. Well, that explained the Miss Red thing. "So what brings you here, Dobby?"
"I is bringing this for the Professor Giles and Miss Red from Professor Dumbledore." He held up a parchment.
Willow took it. "Thank you, Dobby."
He seemed to blush a bit before running off quickly. Willow scanned the note. Staff meeting in the staffroom before dinner. Hmm. She handed it to Giles. Then she looked up at Wesley and Lily. He was still scowling.
Wesley's jaw ticked. "We have a serious problem, I think."
"What happened?!" Willow said a bit louder.
"Now, Willow..." Giles said, but his sentence died off as Lily raised her head reveling great black eyes. "Oh Lord."
Willow gasped and jerked as if she had just received an electric shock. She flew off her feet back into the classroom and skidded across the floor. Several students screamed.
"Willow!" Giles rushed to her side and checked her pulse. It was racing. He looked up at the students. "Fifteen inches on how to dispatch vampires due next class. You are all dismissed." He swept Willow up into his arms.
"Is she all right, professor?" Third year Dennis Creevey asked nervously.
"Yes, Dennis. She will be fine, but, ah, if you would be so good as to inform Professor Snape that Professor Rosenberg has been taken to the infirmary?"
"If he gives you any punishment for interrupting his class, Mr. Creevey, I will take care of it. No need to worry."
Wesley was holding onto Lily looking at Giles in alarm. "What in the hell, Giles?"
"I'll explain on the way to the hospital wing."
Wesley nodded and swung the trembling Lily up into his arms. Giles was a bit confused. He hadn't even questioned. The old Wesley would have questioned. Willow was right. There were things that needed to be addressed about Wesley's being here. Lots of them.
Harry and Dawn were looking at one another with large hunks of chocolate sticking out of their mouths. Madam Pomfrey was ushering Malfoy out and trying to keep Ron and Hermione at bay as well. Harry took the rest of the bar off chocolate out of his mouth and set it on the wrapper on his bedside table. He slid off his bed and sat next to Dawn.
"Another secret." He said brushing her shirt open so he could see her scar.
Dawn knocked his hand away and tried to close her shirt.
"Don't look at it."
"Why? I have one too."
She looked at him and ruffed his hair off his forehead. "I suppose you do."
"So may I look at yours? Please?"
With any other person in the whole of the world, alarm bells would have gone off at said person unbuttoning her blouse. But not with Harry. She knew why he was doing it, and there was no perversion or aggression behind it. Not that she would have minded so much if there had been. But his touch was light, information gathering, scientific almost. Not at all sexual. Not this time. It didn't even strike her as odd or wrong at all that her school robe was pooled around her body, her tie undone completely, and her white shirt was hanging off one shoulder.
Harry was tracing his fingertips along the red mark of her scar. "Does it still hurt?"
"Just a bit."
"What did you see?"
"When it burned, you saw something didn't you? An image? Heard a voice perhaps?"
His thumb slid across her scar and Dawn shivered. "A shadow. A shadow in a..."
"You saw it."
"I saw her."
"Harry, I'm afraid."
"You don't have to be. No one here is going to let anything happen to you."
"Harry, you don't know about me. I wouldn't go around protecting me. I tend to get people hurt that way. Ask Spike. Hell, ask Buffy. She died."
"I think I'll take my chances."
"Even if I'm an unlucky penny? Or wait, I'm among wizards. I meant unlucky knut."
Dawn blushed as she realized what he was thinking. She started giggling and leaned forward against him, pressing her cheek to his shoulder.
"I'm trying to be serious here."
"I just don't want you to think you aren't safe here. I don't want you to think you're alone. Slytherin or not. I don't care about that. That hat tried to put me in Slytherin too."
"It's true." He said wrapping an arm around her. "I was very nearly sorted into Slytherin."
Dawn twisted her face up. She was just inches from Harry's face. The two of them sort of moved closer. There was a weird thing happening between the two of them.
Harry and Dawn jumped apart. But her shirt was still very much hanging open.
Madam Pomfrey was gaping. Spike was standing beside her with his jaw dropped as well. Behind them and peering around were Draco, Ron, and Hermione.
"Harry." Hermione gasped.
Spike stalked across the room and started yanking Dawn's shirt back on while trying to keep his eyes averted from her very lacy little white bra.
It was as if Spike's pointing it out, made it exist. Harry went bright red. It had happened again. They weren't truly doing anything. It was rather innocent, yet it so did not appear that way.
"Watch it." Harry snapped. "Her scar was burning earlier."
Dawn brushed Spike's hands away and buttoned her own shirt. "Yeah. Harry was just looking at my scar... not anything else."
"And your whole shirt had to come off, Bit?"
"It was still on!"
Spike arched his eyebrow.
"One of my shoulders." Dawn made a frustrated movement. "Oh, I'm sixteen! I'm going to be groped eventually! Better a nice boy like Harry! Than some pervert who only wants in my pants and that's it!"
"I am going to pretend I did not hear that." Giles said as he breezed into the infirmary carrying Willow.
"Willow!" Dawn cried at the same time Spike yelled. "Red!"
Spike noticed Draco trying to extract a shaking Lily from Wesley's arms.
"What happened?!" Madam Pomfrey yelled over everyone.
"We don't know." Giles said.
"She won't stop shaking!" Draco screamed. "What the bloody hell did you do to her?!" His hands were on Lily's shoulders trying to keep her down on the hospital bed Wesley had placed her on.
Harry blinked. He'd never seen Draco Malfoy loose his cool like this before.
The door to the infirmary banged open again. And Snape was rushing past everyone. Tara followed him. As soon as Tara stepped through the door, Lily stopped shaking and Willow's eyes snapped open with a gasp.
"Bitch!" Lily screamed. "I'm supposed to work on the factors."
"They held me down."
Giles was looking at Lily in shock. The girl pointed at Snape.
"You're a killer!"
Tara was starting to shake.
Lily looked right at her and spoke in a deadened tone. "Big day, right? Big big day."
Tara started screaming.
It was like chaos. Harry grabbed his forehead screaming as Dawn grabbed her collar screaming as well. Willow sat straight up and screamed with them as well. Black traveled from the roots of her hair to the tips of it. It was flying off her head in wind that seemed localized to her.
Then quite suddenly the screaming stopped. Abruptly.
No one moved as Willow slid out of the bed. Her clothing looked like it had been dipped in ink. Her hair and eyes were jet black.
"Oh yeah... miles to... Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7...3...0."
"Willow?" Giles said again.
"Evil crawls to us on silent paws... with painted toenails. Damn. Just when we made it so nice. It has to go and get... twisted."
"I am a child. A child playing with things I can't control. My hands smell of death. Like the filthy little bitch I am." She laughed maniacally. "Rattling the bones! I did pat its head before I slit its throat!"
She swayed as her eyes rolled back in her head. Snape caught her. Harry looked up from where he'd sank to his knees due to his scar pain. He didn't think he'd ever seen the potions professor looking like he did just then. Professor Snape actually looked worried. Dawn was on the floor next to him with her hand pressed to her collar. She reached out for him with her other hand. Harry grabbed it.
"Would someone like to tell me what the bloody hell is going on here? Hmm?" Wesley said. "I mean I know we're not sure of DETAILS, but I get the distinct feeling I've missed quite a bit."
Willow's eyes snapped open. She pushed herself off of Snape and stalked over to Wesley. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then she took one finger and traced it roughly across the scar on his throat.
Suddenly Willow went back to her red hair and green eyes. "Who hurt you, Wesley?"
He was amazed by the power of her. "I'm so sorry." He whispered.
"Doubting your importance."
"The mayor. The box. The trade."
"I wouldn't worry about that now. It's past. We both know more now."
"I can see that you do, Miss Rosenberg."
The door opened one final time revealing Professor Dumbledore.
"Is everything all right?"
"Well..." Willow said in a very calm voice. "I believe Voldemort is making moves again. It's tapping into me and tapping into the parts of me that now reside in Lily. It's causing Harry's scar to burn, and Dawn's act up as well. There have been visons, I believe. And Professor Wyndham-Pryce was about to tell us how he got that lovely yet manly scar across his throat."
Dumbledore was a bit curious about that himself.
"It's not a pretty tale." Wesley muttered.
Willow regarded him in a manner she never would have in her previous years when he had known her better. "Some of the most interesting and important ones rarely are."