Title: Thinking Out Loud (1/1)
Author: Emmy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot and seek no profit from this story. All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, ME, etc. All things HP belong to JKR.
Summary: A bit of fluff ... Willow finds a reason to remain in England after the war with Lord Voldemort has ended. Warnings: Spoilers for Chosen and OotP.
Distribution: my group, TtH, WLS, NHA, Willow Crossings; anyone else please ask me first.
Feedback: Yes, please. It makes me all happy-like. :)
Thanks to Sophia for the beta.
A/N: Happy Birthday, Shannon! Hope you had a good one!
She was leaving the next morning, her job was done. She In the past year she had, in the year she'd lived among them, made many new friends. 'And,' she decided, 'it is very nice to have friends who know and understand magic, and don't have to question me all the time ... people who don't doubt that I can handle being around or practicing my magick.'
Willow gazed out the window in her bedroom silently thinking about how much her life had changed over the last few years. Gone were the days of constantly battling demons hell bent on opening the Hellmouth, or bringing about the apocalypse in some other equally disturbing way. Instead, she had spent the last thirteen months in the Wizarding World fighting a very human foe, and the year before that locating newly activated Slayers for training.
Looking back on events, Willow smiled as she remembered how she had first discovered the Wizarding world. It had happened quite by accident. She had been in Romania tracking down a Slayer when she quite literally ran into a rather frantic Wizard.
In a frenzied voice, the handsome man had asked Willow if she had seen anything strange run by. She had laughed and asked him if he meant something more out of place than himself. He had been, after all, running about in a robe that looked a lot like a dress while waving a little stick around.
She still laughed when she thought of the look he had gotten on his face as he arrogantly told her that his "little stick" was actually a magic wand. Charlie Weasley had eventually, albeit reluctantly, agreed to tell her what he was searching for, and his answer had wholly shocked Willow, despite all the things she had seen in her lifetime.
It seemed that his employers had somehow misplaced a dragon.
After getting over her shock, the rational side of Willow's brain had kicked in and she began to ask Charlie questions about the dragon's behavior. Together they realized that, due to the lack of running and screaming, the creature had clearly not wandered into a populated area. Deciding that it was likely to be looking for food and water, the two of them quickly found it beside the local lake.
Charlie had wanted to wipe her memory clean of the incident -- as he was authorized to do in such situations -- and he would have, had Willow not chosen that moment to ask him about his wand. It had been a simple question, really. All she had wanted to know was if there was some sort of magical element inside the wand that acted as a focus for his magic. She'd immediately explained after asking, in a type of disclaimer, that she used the earth as a focus, herself.
Willow had laughed at the look of shock on his face when he realized that she was a witch, and it was only then that they introduced themselves. She and Charlie spent the entire night talking, comparing the way they each practiced magic. And the very next day, Willow had met Albus Dumbledore.
As she had been fascinated by the stories he told her, Willow and Charlie had flooed the Headmaster to ask if she could visit Hogwarts before returning to the States.
Dumbledore, however, had other plans for her. He had, in fact, heard of Willow and had been very eager to meet her, and was quick to enlist her help on a rather sensitive matter.
A knock on the door pulled Willow from her thoughts. She got up to see who it was and smiled brightly when her visitor came into view. "Remus!" she exclaimed. "I thought you were busy tonight!"
The older man smiled back as she let him into her flat. "The Leaving Feast was tonight. I left early."
Willow gestured to the sofa and they sat down. "Why?"
"You're leaving tomorrow," Remus said as if it explained everything.
A part of Willow's heart tightened when she heard those words come out of her friend's mouth. Nodding, she said, "I'll miss you."
Remus smiled softly. "And I you."
They sat in silence for a long time, gazing out the window together, Remus absently reaching out for her hand to hold. "We would not have won our war had it not been for you," he said quietly after a while.
"That's not true!" Willow said. "And besides, this war had been going on for years and years. I only arrived last May. I hardly did anything at all."
"Do you really believe that?"
Willow nodded and Remus sighed, unable to understand how someone as powerful as Willow could remain so insecure; or so modest and humble. "Willow, if it wasn't for you and the work you did with Harry, he would never have been able to defeat Voldemort. Until you told him all those stories about life on the Hellmouth, especially the ones about that Hell Goddess and her human guise, he simply could not justify killing anyone, for whatever reason. Not even Voldemort."
Willow nodded. "Well, he just needed a little help figuring out what the greater good was, that's all."
"Yes, and you helped him discover that."
"Maybe," Willow allowed. "But you all helped him too! Especially Professor Snape, though you'll never hear him admit it."
Remus laughed. "Indeed. But, Willow ... can you really not see what you've done for us?"
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Willow, we wouldn't have survived this last year without you," he confessed. "We, the Order, were coming apart at the seams before you arrived. You gave us something else to focus on besides our petty differences."
"Something else to fight about, you mean," Willow said with a giggle. "No one wanted to learn my kind of magic, and nearly everyone thought Dumbledore had gone insane by merely suggesting they try."
Remus chucked. "Yes, well, this course of action was a bit unorthodox. But it worked. Knowing those wandless defensive spells, even the basic ones, it gave us all an edge. An advantage over Voldemort and the Death Eaters."
Willow smiled and squeeze Remus' hand. "I'm glad I could help."
He squeezed her hand in return and Willow felt her heartbeat quicken. The attraction she felt for Remus was not new, but rarely had they had time alone, so she didn't have to deal with the effect he had over her very often. She knew that, of everyone she'd met during her time here, Remus was the one she would miss the most. And, she also knew that it wasn't only because she found him very attractive. It was him.
They got along brilliantly, occasionally -- in what little time they had together -- spending hours talking about something or another. And despite knowing all about her past, he still treated her with respect and never looked down on her for anything she had done. His quiet nature, his quick-witted intelligence, and even his lycantrophy all endeared him to her. He was, she had long ago decided, quite perfect for her.
Even if he was a man.
Willow realized suddenly that she and Remus had been silently staring at each other the entire time she'd been lost to her thoughts. She broke eye contact and ducked her head, blushing. 'Goddess, what he must think of me now!' she thought. 'Staring at him like a crazy person ...'
"Did you mean it?" Remus suddenly asked, his voice very soft.
Closing her eyes and biting her lip to keep from groaning, Willow realized that she'd managed to embarrass herself yet again. Her thoughts had not been as silent as she'd believed them to be, it would seem. Taking a deep breath and trying to play it off as as light-hearted as possible, she asked, "Which part?"
She still gazed at the floor -- not daring to meet Remus' eyes. He reached out and tilted her face back up. "Willow ..."
Knowing that there was no way out of the situation, her eyes filled up with tears. Turning away, she said, "I know it's crazy, okay? I mean what could you ever see in me beyond friendship? And I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. I never meant to say anything, and I'll be gone tomorrow. You'll never have to see me again."
Remus was staring at her in silence. Mortified by the entire situation, Willow stood up and began to pace around the room, hoping that she could somehow think of a way to salvage her friendship. "Can we just forget I said anything? Please?"
Asking that question seemed to snap Remus out of his stupor. He looked over at Willow and noticed the tears streaming down her face. He was on his feet and standing in front of her in seconds. Reaching out, he gently wiped the tears from her cheeks, cupping her face in his hands. "Do you truly want to forget that you just told me I was perfect for you? Do you truly want to go about life as though it never happened? Willow, do you want to go to Cleveland, send me back to Hogwarts, and truly forget about it? Is that what you want?"
His eyes so expressive, his hands shaking ever so slightly as he cradled her face, Willow found herself caught up in the moment. Knowing that she might never get another chance as perfect, she said, "No, that's not what I want at all."
And then he was kissing her. It felt like he was pouring everything he was, everything he felt, into the kiss. Willow kissed him back eagerly, their arms winding around each other, gripping the other tight. They broke the kiss after several long minutes, breathless and still clinging to each other.
"You were simply going to walk away, leave without saying anything about the way you feel?" Remus asked.
"I had no idea you felt the same way ... you do, don't you? Feel the same way?"
"Willow," he said. "I'm pretty sure I fell in love with you the very second I laid eyes on you."
"Oh," she said, dragging his face back to hers and capturing his lips once more.
"Did you ever consider staying here in London?" he asked once they'd broken the kiss.
Willow nodded. "Yes, I did."
"What made you decide against it?"
"I didn't think I had any reason to stay," she answered.
Remus pulled away from her slightly and gazed into her eyes. "And now? Are you still leaving?"
Willow smiled. "Well, now is different ... I seem to have every reason not to now, don't I?"
"Does that mean you're staying?"
She nodded. "Yes, Remus. That means I'm staying."
A grin spread across his face and he wrapped her up in his arms, holding her tight. "That's the best news I've heard in a long, long time."
She grinned in return and tilted her head up, waiting. She didn't wait long. Remus gazed down at her and smiled yet again. "Perfect," he said as his lips descended on hers.
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