Author’s Note: Thanks very much to my Beta, Letomo. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# As stated in the summary, this is the penultimate of the planned stories in this series. It is longer than the others, but the chapters for reasons I shall not mention, *cough, cliff-hangers, cough* are of various lengths. Almost everything in previous chapters will be explained here, or in the next story. After this there might be a set of shorts stories of meetings and later days. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Harry Potter. They are owned by Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling. Thunder in the afternoon Chapter one: Hedge witch Willow’s cottage, Tywardreath, Cornwall
Willow was humming discordantly as she tended her herb garden. She’d decided to wait with informing Giles about her meeting with Hannah. She wanted to learn as much about them as possible. She had a notebook full of material on them. *Giles is going to clean his glasses and stammer and have to eat crow*
, Willow thought with some amusement, her humming approaching something like harmony for a few seconds. Then she remembered what Hannah was doing and once more descended into a nervous tunelessness.
In exchange for all the information Hannah was giving her, books included, Willow had given her free reign of the journals, diaries and notebooks she’d kept of her magical development and the things that had happened in Sunnydale and after. She wanted to show Hannah exactly who she was and what she’d done. She just hoped she’d still have a girlfriend after Hannah had read certain of the volumes.
The door flew open and slammed against the stone block that Willow had set as a doorstop so hard it rocked. “You- you,” Hannah sputtered, her face ravaged by anger and grief. “HOW COULD YOU! HOW DARE YOU!” The small blonde screamed at Willow.
Willow stood still, her arms hanging down. “Because I’m an arrogant, conceited bitch who thinks she’s always right and who refuses to listen to good advice or learn from the experience of others?” she answered, her voice tearful.
Hannah blinked, her rant stopped in the face of such contrition. “Uhm… I was expecting more of a defence…”
Willow shook her head, her face down, her red hair obscuring her face as tears dripped down her nose onto the earth. “I have none, Hannah,” she looked back up, swept her hair back and gave the blonde witch a haunted look. “It’s the worst thing I ever did, and that includes trying to destroy the world,” she looked down again. “I understand if you want to leave now-”
Hannah reached out and lifted Willow’s head. Her eyes narrowed as she took in the redhead’s grief and guilt stricken expression. “Your journal is… exultant. Proud.”
“The journal was written at the t-time. When Buffy was just back. You should read what I wrote when I found out she wasn’t in hell,” Willow gulped. “B-but in heaven. A-and that…” Willow broke down and sobbed. “I didn’t even think that we’d have to dig her up! AND I WAS STILL PROUD! I still d-didn’t realise…”
Hannah’s eyes widened. “Morgana, Willow! How could you be so stupid!?”
Willow sobbed, unable to answer and Hannah drew her into her arms. Willow collapsed to her knees, and Hannah cradled her girlfriend’s head to her chest. “Easy Willow, shhh, deep breaths.”
It took Willow almost an hour to calm down, by which time Hannah was quite convinced of the other girl’s remorse. They were sipping mugs of tea with lots of sugar. “So, how did you apologize for that?” Hannah asked.
Willow closed her eyes. “Not well enough. I wasn’t… If you read on, you’ll read that even when I found out she was in heaven, that she hadn’t gotten a new body, but had to dig her way out of the grave I was still so proud of what I did. Still so righteous! I never realised how evil I was until the Coven… Until Tara died and the Coven taught me what it really meant to be a witch.”
Hannah rubbed her face with her hands. “Didn’t anyone teach you before that?”
Willow shrugged. “Giles was always too busy with Buffy. I was useful, but not important enough to train. O-or he thought I was responsible enough to teach myself. He just told me not to do anything dark.”
Hannah snorted. “Well, that was useful. Remind me to kick his arse when I meet him.”
Willow sighed. “Actually, I’m reconsidering telling Giles I discovered your world and just telling him and the others to leave me alone. I’ve been doing some work with my computer recently and I had an offer to work as a freelancer. The pay is a lot better than I get at the Council. And that’s saying something.”
“And what about your friends?” Hannah asked, gently moving some of Willow’s hair behind her ear.
“Friends? I haven’t heard anything from any of them in ages! Not even when I moved here! I’ve got a spare bedroom and everything! Not even Dawn, and I-I really thought we’d worked out our problems…” Willow sobbed.
“Sounds to me like you want your friends. Maybe you should go get them?” Hannah asked.
Willow shook her head. “I think you need to read a bit more. I hurt them all, badly. I’ve written them letters and postcards, and e-mails, but they don’t answer me. They just don’t want me back, Hannah. We’ve all just hurt each other too much, we’ve lost each other. All of us…” The redhead sobbed again and Hannah put an arm around her shoulders, leading her inside.
“You’re very good at comforting people, you know,” Willow whispered as she lay with her head in Hannah’s lap a while later.
“I’ve had plenty of practice,” Hannah smiled sadly. “Hufflepuffs are supposed to do stuff like that. And I had my father and little brother to support after Mum was murdered.”
Willow looked unsure. “Errm, when do I get to meet them?”
Hannah sighed. “Dad was really disappointed that I broke up with Neville. I mean, the Longbottoms are a very old, distinguished family and quite rich. It would’ve meant a great deal to have been married to him. But it just wasn’t working. He was too damaged, and he was destroying me as well.”
“Must’ve been bad,” Willow commiserated.
“Yeah. At first he seemed fine. But then we couldn’t find all of the Death Eaters. And reports came in of people still being hurt and he just became fixated…” Hannah’s voice trailed off.
“Yeah. I can see where he’s coming from. But life needs to be lived,” Willow put a hand up to Hannah’s face.
“We all suffered. I think Hermione was the worst, because her parents… well she threw herself into finishing Hogwarts, and then she went into the Ministry and bullied the Wizengamot to accept the Magical Equality Act. And then she just…” Hannah gestured, illustrating graphically how her friend had collapsed.
“How is she now?”
“Recovering. But it will be a long while before she’s anywhere near what she was. And Luna… If Luna hadn’t been Luna, I think she would’ve been destroyed,” Hannah smiled fondly. “Luna may be the strongest and wisest of us all.”
“Her, I want to meet,” Willow asserted. “Maybe she can tell me how to get rid of that Gulping Plimpy infestation in the Mill Pond.”
Hannah laughed. “She wouldn’t, she’d tell you to keep them safe and start a Plimpy Reserve.”
Willow sighed. “Never getting rid of the dratted things. Kiss me?” she asked hopefully.
Hannah laughed again and complied.
BtVSBtVS HPHP BtVSBtVS HPHP BtVSBtVS HPHP BtVSBtVS HPHP BtVSBtVS Willow’s cottage, Tywardreath, Cornwall
Willow really liked her bed, but she liked it best when she had someone in it. A certain blonde someone. And she was. And Willow was making full use of the fact. And then her phone went. The Council Super-duper Emergency phone that only a few people even knew existed, let alone had the number for.
Growling Willow pushed herself higher on her elbows and gestured, summoning the phone to her, sending an apologetic glance at her girlfriend.
Hannah moved herself a little higher as well, so she could sit against the headboard.
She saw the name of the caller and scowled. “This had better be very important. Dawn. Very, very important indeed.”
Hannah saw Willow listen intently as Dawn explained and then Willow interrupted Dawn’s spate of words. “Did you say ‘wand’?”
Hannah leaned forward a little and trailed a finger over Willow’s bare shoulder. “Wand? Tell her we’ve got one already,” she giggled. Willow had been liberal with the wine bottle that evening.
“Hannah! Stop that!” Willow squeaked.
Hannah giggled again and Willow slapped her girlfriend’s thigh softly. Willow gave Hannah a quelling glare and then she returned to the phone. “Okay, wand. Do you have any personal items?”
Willow listened and then nodded. “You can come through now. I’ll get out the maps and the incense.”
She hung up and sighed, slipping on her robe. “Dawn has an emergency. Someone has kidnapped a child and her mother and grandmother. It seems they do know how to find me. If there’s an emergency,” she said in a dry voice.
Hannah reached out. “Maybe it can be the beginning of something better?”
Willow ran her hands through her head and headed towards her work room in the basement. “Maybe. But I’m not holding my breath.”