jaq_of_spadesPrompt (For H/C Bingo)*Round 3*:
I don't own Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire slayer or any related characters. Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, and Buffy belongs to Whedon. No money made here. I don't own the images in the banner either.Author's Notes:
Yes, I am cross-posting challenges again. This is based on the prompt jaq_of_spades gave me for wishlist-fic, and I'm also using it to fill my hc-bingo square, nervous breakdown. I hope my prompter doesn't mind. And I hope they enjoy what I've done for them. (PS- I got a lot of Buffy/Harry Potter this year on my wishlist prompts… while awesome, I just thought it was random). Also, the setting for this is in between S6 and S7 of Buffy and Post-Book 7 but pre-Epilogue for Harry Potter. P.S. I'm so behind on my postings... this was written and posted on my livejournal ages ago. This is my effort to finally catch up.
She couldn't do it. She wasn't strong enough. Willow could feel the magic within her, the will to do others harm, spreading through her like wild fire. She beat on the walls of the room Giles had put her in—she had no idea where, exactly, this room was in relation to Sunnydale. Giles had warded the walls, making it nearly impossible for her, in her waning powers, to break through them. This did nothing but aggravate her further. Sweat rolled down the woman's face, and locks of her hair—dual colored in her natural red and ebony black—kept sweeping in and out of her view.
!" she screeched through the walls.
She knew that Giles was nearby. She knew he could hear her. She beat her fists on the wall again, ignoring the soreness forming on the sides of her hands. If she went any harder, her skin was sure to crack and bleed.
"Let me out! I can't
—It will kill me! Please!" she cried, hot tears now rolling down and mingling with the already-salty sweat.
They couldn't do this to her. They couldn't contain her like this. She stopped her beating on the walls, grasping at her chest as if her heart might burst forth from her body. She backed into one of the corners of the room, sliding down the wall until her rear hit the floor. Her breathing was heavy, labored, and she felt like the room was closing in on her fast. She rocked a bit in place, moaning.
"Please," she whispered. "Please."#
"Do you see what I mean?" Giles said, standing just outside the door of Willow's room.
A bushy haired young woman, standing alongside one with bright blonde hair, frowned in the direction of the door. She nodded slowly, crossing her arms over the muggle clothing she had donned for the occasion.
"When you delve that deeply into the Dark Arts, a reaction like this can be expected. Especially from one as powerful as you describe this woman to be," the brown haired woman nodded.
The blonde's brow furrowed, her dreamy eyes looking clouded. "And you want us to help drain the Dark magic from her?"
Giles nodded. "Yes. I was informed by a mutual friend that if anyone from your side of the wizarding world stood a chance of helping her, it was the two of you. I've read all about the exploits of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood in regards to the Battle of Hogwarts. And I've read some about what the two of you have done, post-school. Tell me you can help her."
Hermione and Luna exchanged a glance. Hermione—obviously the one calling the shots, giving her particular expertise in this area (she had just recently finished a related study for the Ministry of Magic, if Giles remembered correctly)—pursed her lips. After a long moment, she nodded.
"It will be very painful for Miss Rosenberg. Dark magic is like a sentient plague. Once it infects a body, it doesn't want to let go. It will dig its claws in as deeply as possible, taking as much of the witch's or wizard's body, mind, and soul with it. But… you said she stopped her attack when her muggle friend appealed to her?"
Giles removed his glasses, rubbing them furiously on his shirt before replacing them. "Yes. Her friend, Xander, appealed to the humanity left within her. She's grieving, you see. Her… her girlfriend… the love of her life, I daresay, was murdered right in front of her. But she won't allow herself to feel that pain."
Luna cocked her head to the side, her wide eyes still very sad. "That's very common in these magics. They take advantage of you given any moments of weakness. And the witch or wizard suffering believes that the magics are protecting them, when they are really doing quite the opposite."
Hermione smiled proudly, as if she had just heard her child utter its first words. She turned her attention to Giles, whose look was obviously questioning. After all, he was given to understand that—while Luna was certainly not a witch to be trifled with—that Hermione was the expert he needed.
"Luna assisted me on this research," Hermione said, by way of explanation.
"Ah. Well… when shall you begin?" Giles asked.
Willow heard the door to the room open before she saw it. And she leapt, using every bit of her power to propel her forward. However, she was met with a blast of red light, flinging her back into the corner she had left from. She heard the door shut, and her eyes finally focused in on its location. The room occupancy had gone from one to three, as a brown-haired woman and a blonde-haired woman stood, wands out, facing Willow. Willow snarled at them, but remained curled up in her corner. Immediately, she shook her head, her face pulled into a deep frown.
"I don't know why," she muttered. "I don't know why I did that. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm dying. Please… get Giles. Get Giles, and ask him to help me. Don't let him leave me here."
The darker haired woman approached first, her free hand extended out in such a way that suggested that she wanted Willow to calm herself. But Willow's heart beat fast against her chest, and she gripped at it again, moaning and whining in pain.
"I deserve this," Willow said, near to crying again. "I tried… I tried to kill everyone. Everyone I—everyone I love. I tried to kill them. Nearly did. I deserve
"No, Miss Rosenberg. Listen to me. My name is Hermione Granger," the darker haired one said. Then, gesturing to the blonde beside her, she added, "And this is Luna Lovegood. Mr. Giles has sent us here to help you."
"The council?" Willow asked incredulously.
Had Giles truly sent them to help her? The Watcher's Council? They'd most assuredly kill her before any true help could be had. Willow scrambled to her feet, not allowing her hands to leave her chest, and shook her head. She finally pulled her right hand away, a ball of black magic forming there.
"No!" she screeched, launching it at the women.
But Hermione deflected it with a muttering of Latin, sending it crashing into a nearby wall, where it left a scorch mark. Willow's breath quickened. She was too weak. Too weak to fight them. They were going to kill her, and there was going to be nothing she could do about it.
"We're not from any council," Hermione said soothingly. "We're here only to help."
"How?" Willow moaned, sliding back down the wall. "How?"
"You have to trust us," Luna said, taking a few brave steps beyond where Hermione stood.
"Luna!" Hermione said warningly.
But Luna ignored her, closing the distance between Willow and herself. She knelt down, placing a gentle hand on Willow's cheek. Willow's eyes widened as Luna smiled softly at her.
"It hurts," Willow said, tears rolling down.
Luna nodded. "I know. But we're going to stop that, okay?"
With that, she raised her wand up, touching it Willow's right temple. With a muttered incantation, Willow suddenly felt her eyes grow heavy. In a moment, her whole world went peacefully black.#
"That was too
risky," Hermione said, dropping her tense stance and joining Luna where she still knelt before Willow.
Behind them, the door opened, and Giles entered.
"What's happened? It went quiet, and I feared the worst," he said.
Hermione stood, shaking her head. "No, we're fine. This poor woman… the magic is in deep."
Giles frowned. "Can she be helped? Now that you've seen her up close?"
Hermione nodded. "Yes. We just have to draw the black magic out from its roots."
Luna stood then, turning to face the aging watcher. "But that will only take away the physical pain, and the tendency to lunacy."
Giles's brow furrowed. "What do you mean?"
"What Luna means is that she'll be saner again, and unless another attack of Dark magic is made, she'll seem like the Willow you knew. But there is a deeper issue here. She's in a lot of emotional pain, more now than just the death of the woman she loved. And this magic? It's a part of her now. She has great power, and if she doesn't use it, she'll be right back where she started."
Giles seemed to drink that in, nodding slowly. "I might know a coven that could help her, if you'll only remove the darkness you spoke of. You mentioned its roots… how will you find them?"
Luna smiled, pointing down to where Willow lay slumped over, her hand still grasping her heart.
"She's already shown us."
Giles's eyes widened. "Her heart?"
Hermione grinned. "This is a good thing. The heart is one of the most afflicted places when it comes to Dark magic, so it's one we know how to deal with well. This shouldn't take more than a moment."
With that, she turned, kneeling over Willow as Luna joined her. Both women raised their wands, holding the tips of them over Willow's heart. In unison, they began to murmur in Latin as Giles looked on in awed silence. After a moment's time, a thin sheen of sweat formed on both women's brow as little balls of black light with pits of glowing red rose up from Willow's chest.
"My word," Giles muttered.
Hermione and Luna did not stop. They continued their chants, raising more and more of the balls of light into the air until, finally, they both stood. A whole sphere, about the size of a human torso, was floating between the two witches. Then, shouting the incantation now, the power seemed to just explode in between them. They both sighed, panting as they turned back to Giles.
"It's done," Hermione said.
"It's gone," Luna added.
Giles smiled widely. "I can't thank you enough. But… what now?"
"Now, you wait until she wakes up. It's likely she won't remember her insanity of the past couple of days, though she will more than remember her actions in Sunnydale," Luna explained.
"And when she does wake, help her. Teach her how to live with her magic without letting the Dark Arts work their way into her body again. Help her grieve the loss of her love," Hermione said, putting her wand away.
Giles nodded. "Yes. Right. Thank you. But… will she remember this? The two of you?"
Hermione shook her head. "Likely not. But that's quite all right. Most of those I've helped through this in my research tend not to remember, and I'd like to think that it's something like why we cannot remember our own births. It would be far too traumatic."
With that, the two witches walked past the watcher into the hallway beyond the room. Giles followed after, brow furrowed.
"How can I ever thank the two of you?"
Hermione smiled. "She's a powerful witch, Mr. Giles. Just making sure that this doesn't happen to her again will be thanks enough."
Luna nodded. "Let her go back to her normal life after you've helped her. And perhaps we'll all cross paths again someday."
"Yes," Giles sighed. "Thank you again."
Both witches smiled and with two loud pops
they were gone. Giles turned, leaning against the threshold of the room that still held Willow. He entered after a moment, lifting her up and placing her gently onto the bed that had somehow avoided the majority of the damage done to the room. The young woman slumbered peacefully, and Giles smiled, resting a hand on her forehead.
"I don't know what we all would've done if we had lost you. But we won't
lose you. Not now. Not ever," Giles whispered, placing a chaste, fatherly kiss on Willow's cheek.
Willow smiled in her sleep, and Giles sighed, exiting the room.