Taken to Task
title: Shadow of the Stain
rating: 18 (for language and sexy stuff, though not in this part)
disclaimer: Not mine. The Buffy characters are of Whedon. The Potter characters are of Rowling. Don't sue. I'm so broke it borders on pathetic.
summary: The now-adult Draco Malfoy is given a task by his mother who is a member in a certain British coven that's familiar to a certain redheaded Sunnydale citizen who went all Darth Rosenberg last season. Will he fail?
SPOILERS: Thru 'Showtime' in season 7 of BtVS.
Notes: Malfoy's a bit OOC because that's the way he needs to be in this. If you believe Willow is completely gay and would in no way ever be attracted to a male again, Oz and Xander aside, read no further. PLEASE. Let me have my hetero!Willow.
Part One: Taken to Task
"You have to go, darling. Please."
Draco blinked as he looked at his mother. "What?"
"She's in danger, dear."
"So send a member of your little coven, Mother. I'm a grown man. I have a job. I can't be sent off on petty little commissions."
In a manner he wouldn't have thought possible from his mother, Narcissa Malfoy grabbed a handful of her son's robes and yanked him down into her face.
"I brought you into this world, sweetheart, and I can take you out of it. Don't trifle with me, Draco Malfoy. That girl needs a guard, and I've volunteered you because there are two people in the whole of this world who would 'get' her. The other one is currently teaching potions. You're the best man for the job. I've already spoken to Harry and Mr. Fletcher about this."
"You spoke to my partner and my boss! Mother!"
"They both agreed that you should protect this woman. She has the ability to be a greatly powerful force for good or evil. She stands on the edge at all times. You are perfect for keeping her safe, for keeping her balanced."
"You irritate me like no other."
"Harry agrees with me. He said he'd join you there in a few days time to help."
"Don't tell Snape you've been talking to Harry Potter, mother."
"Severus lets me do whatever I want."
"So I've noticed."
"You had better behave, or I'll start seeing Sirius Black instead just to spite you."
Draco looked at her. "And that would be the end of Snape letting you do whatever you like. Although I'd love to see his face if you ever dared utter that threat in front of him."
His mother just smiled this wicked smile. Draco rolled his eyes. But he wasn't truly upset. She meant well. She really did. He was sort of flattered that when it came down to it, he was who she thought of for something she considered so important. The woman had absolutely blossomed since his father had been killed some seven years ago in the defeat of Voldemort. She admitted to Draco that she had been a rather foolish young girl when she'd met and married Lucius Malfoy. Not that she had never loved him, she had at one time.
Now she lavished all her adoration on Severus Snape, and Draco couldn't be happier for her. For both of them. She was so pleasing, when she wasn't messing with his life, and Snape was far less cranky. Sure, he was still the most feared professor at Hogwarts, but he was nothing compared to when Draco had attended the school. And to the horror of the man who Draco was sincerely hoping would be his step father soon because he actually managed to make his mother quite happy, Narcissa Malfoy was quite good friends with Remus Lupin's wife Arabella and the notorious Molly Weasley.
He just couldn't believe his mother was sending him on a commission with the approval of his partner and his boss. Rather ironic, looking back, that his auroring partner ended up being that famous Harry Potter arse, but they worked well together. Their thought processes were completely different. If he missed it, Potter could be counted to spot it in the situation and vice versa. What Draco really couldn't believe was that his mother had gotten Mundungus Fletcher, the very set in his ways and stingy about his people head of the auror department, to agree to breaking up his winning team even for a few days.
She must really be special, this woman. He could recall his mother talking about her after their first meeting. She had been so sad. A man, a watcher, had brought her from America. She was broken and dangerous. She'd glutted herself on darkness and tried to end the world. Draco understood that all too well. Ok, so maybe not the end the world stuff, but he totally got the gorging yourself on darkness to salve your pain. Hadn't he done that when Ginny Weasley had up and married soddin' Justin Finch-Fletchley? He'd had a bloody crush on the redheaded girl from his fifth year on. They'd even gone out briefly in his seventh year, much to the irritation of ALL her brothers, Potter, AND Granger, but they'd eventually fallen apart under the pressure. When she married Finch-Fletchley after her graduation, Draco had fallen apart. Completely. Dark Mark, Voldemort's ranks, and tons of firewhiskey.
It was actually Snape that pulled him back from the precipice before he actually toppled over the edge of it. And Draco Malfoy followed in the steps of his head of house and potions professor. He became the best little spy Dumbledore ever had. After the fall of the Dark Lord, he had trained as an auror alongside the likes of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. He'd even had a brief fling with Granger before she and Weasley had wised up and realized they belonged together.
"So Mother, where is this coven of yours sending me?"
He had apparated into the middle of a small wooded area. He glanced at the picture in his hand yet again. There were four women in this muggle photo. One blonde, one brunette, two redheads. He knew three of the faces quite well. His mother, Arabella Lupin, and Molly Weasley. The fourth woman was his charge. Willow Rosenberg.
And, oh, she was a bit lovely in the looks department.
He heard a rustling and dove almost noiselessly into the cluster of bushes nearest to him.
"Did you hear that, Buffy?"
"Yeah, I did."
Hear it? Not possible. He'd barely even heard it, and he'd been the one doing it.
"Someone or someTHING is out here with us."
Not possible. Draco peered a bit in the direction of the voices with his wand at the ready. It was a blonde woman and a redheaded woman. Both quite tiny. Suddenly the blonde looked right at him.
"All right. I know you're there, bud. Come on out."
That's when he noticed exactly who the redhead was. What were the odds? Honestly. Draco shot to his feet in shock. "Willow Rosenberg."
She jumped. Buffy blinked. Then she did a double-take and blinked again. He looked so much like Spike it was scaring the bejesus out of her.
"Um, yeah. Hi." Willow said. "And you are?"
"Oh terribly sorry, Miss Rosenberg." He said as he tucked his wand back in his robes and waded out of the shrubs with his hand out. "My name is-"
Buffy batted his hand away and stepped between the two of them. "No so fast, pod person from the planet Spike."
Draco was confused. "The planet what?"
"Buffy, he's ok."
"How do you know, Will?"
"I can just feel it."
"You know, you and your just feelin' it are starting to give me the wig, Will."
Draco grinned. They were highly amusing. He couldn't remember being so amused, well, ever. To think this tiny blonde woman thought to protect his charge from him. He made to move her aside, but the blonde didn't budge. In fact, she grabbed his arm, and in no time at all, it was twisted up behind his back rather painfully.
"Buffy." Willow said as she stepped in closer to look at the Spike-a-licious stranger.
"He's wearing a long black robe like the bringer guys, Will."
"But his heart is good."
"You can see all that?"
"I can see enough."
The pain in his arm was forgotten. She'd been stepping closer to him with every sentence. Now she stood just inches from him peering up into his gray eyes as he stood mesmerized staring into her green ones. Draco blinked. She was just lovely. There was a grace to her that most women had no hint of. Her long red hair was layered in a way that made it seem to frame her face. Her skin was pale with just the slightest hints of rose in her cheeks. She was thin and tiny. Delicate-looking.
"Let him go."
"It's ok, Buffy. I promise."
His arm was released suddenly, and Draco stumbled forward a bit, bumping into the redhead. "I'm so terribly sorry, Miss Rosenberg." He put a hand on her shoulder to steady himself and her.
Willow swallowed. He had a firm grasp. It filled her mind with all sorts of thoughts she ought not be having after just meeting someone. "Call me Willow please. And who are you? You have me at a disadvantage, mister. How do you know my name?"
"Right. Sorry. My name's Draco Malfoy, and-"
"Ah." It made sense now. She knew he looked like someone besides Spike to her. Now she knew who.
"You're Cissa's son. That explains everything. She talked about you a lot. You look like her a little bit."
Buffy raised her hand. "Explanation anytime. Really."
"Oh sorry, Buffy. Cissa was part of the coven that helped me out when I was in England with Giles."
"Listen..." Draco said. "I don't know how to tell you this, but-"
"I'm in danger?" Willow sighed.
"Well, yes." He said, his brows knitting together.
Willow looked at Buffy. "Must be Tuesday."
Buffy nodded as if this were old hat, and she was insanely bored. Draco blinked as his brow furrowed further.
"Oh sorry." Willow said. "This is Buffy Summers. The vampire slayer."
Draco's eyebrows quit furrowing and shot to his hairline. "Who the what?"
He was in a muggle kitchen drinking hot cocoa with a half dozen or so girls. Well not exactly muggle. It was the kitchen of the vampire slayer. No one was gonna believe him back home.
Things could definitely be worse. Slayers in training. He couldn't remember their names. Some of them had already made an impression though. He knew Kennedy was the one who was always ready to fight. Molly had the dearest accent that reminded him of a very dainty Hagrid for some reason. Rona was a bit nervous, but that was expected. And he could never remember which one was Chloe, he just remembered the name. There was also the slayer's little sister Dawn, who made all sorts of remarks about spikes upon seeing him. Draco was unsure if he should be offended or not. He'd finally met the man 'Rupert' his mother had raved about.
There was also Xander Harris. Willow and Buffy's best friend. The three of them oddly reminded him of Granger, Weasley, and Potter. His charge was smart, the Granger. Xander was helpful but always trying to lighten the heavy mood with jokes, the Weasley. And Buffy was tougher than she looked, the one with the destiny, the Potter.
Then there was Harris's ex girlfriend and ex vengeance demon twice over, Anya. She sort of creeped Draco out. The mouth on that woman. Merlin's beard. She said things that him, evil git Slytherin Prince and male whore of his Hogwarts days, blushing. There was also this rather annoying chap named Andrew that Xander liked to glare at when he said something particularly annoying. The short blonde did this a lot, so soon Draco found himself glaring right with Harris.
When another guy walked into the kitchen looking a bit rough around the edges, Draco finally got all the spike business. Guy could have been his soddin' twin, but for that scarred eyebrow and the very blue of his eyes. The guy was really out of it. Buffy had explained he'd just gone some serious rounds in the torture department. And his name was Spike.
It was with a skip of his heart that Willow informed him he had just made the acquaintance of his first vampire.
The sleeping arrangement caused a lot of arguing. The three bedroom house was full. Evil was after them. Draco had insisted whatever room Willow was in, he was taking the floor in, and Buffy had insisted none of the girls were sleeping in the same room with him. It was proper. Anya had pointed out that in desperate times perhaps propriety needed to be tossed out the window, you know, if they didn't have boards over them. Eventually it ended up being that Willow would sleep in her own bed for once, and Draco would be taking the floor in her room. Everyone else had located an elsewhere to be.
Draco had quite proven his worth in the eyes of Buffy when he'd cast a hefty protection spell over the house. Professor Flitwick would have been very proud of that charm.
"Wow, Buffy." Willow said as they stood on the porch with Anya. Willow let her fingers crackle over the energy protecting the house. "I think he's more powerful that I am."
"He's not." Anya said.
Buffy and Willow looked at her.
"He's a wizard, and perfect for you I might add even though you're in no place to hear it. He's not more powerful. He just knows a very powerful spell. It uses energy that's already there as opposed to if you did it, you would have to use your own power. Am I making sense?"
"In a scary way." Willow said, but she so was not talking about the barrier spell.
Willow lay awake in her bed very aware of the breathing of the man on her floor. He was here to protect her from something bad, yet she sensed as much darkness in his heart as was in her own. She could tell by the uneven breaths he was taking that he was not asleep either. Perhaps he was just worried. Not lustful like herself. Dear goddess, she was so betraying Tara's memory over a guy she had just met who looked way too much like Spike for his own good.
"Miss Rosenberg?" Draco asked when he heard her shift for like the millionth time.
"Willow." She snapped.
"Right. Willow. Sorry." He peered up over the edge of the bed, shocked to find himself almost eye to eye with her.
"You can't be comfortable. I know that floor is hard. I was sleeping on it a few nights ago. Why don't you..."
Even in the darkness he could she her face flush bright red.
"There are two blankets. You... you could sleep here. You know, in the bed on one side, and I promise to stay way on the other side."
"It wouldn't be proper." Somewhere his father was cringing. And currently, here, his libido was screaming at him in several languages.
"Nonsense, mister. I'm sorta gay. Get in here."
Gay? Why? What? Why did this crap keep happening to him? Of course the loveliest creature he'd ever seen was gay. There had been two girls in his life he'd liked well enough before now. They'd both been meant for someone else, and now when he finds the third, she's meant for some other girl? It was just typical of his luck. No wonder his mother had once suspected he fancied Harry. With luck like his, he'd think he was gay and a Potter-fancier as well.
Not that there was anything wrong with Harry. He just annoyed Draco too badly. He could be the gayest gay wizard in Gaytown, and he still would subject himself to the horrors of Harry Potter's dating life. Draco had learned all too well the baggage that was involved with being the partner of Harry Potter without being the PARTNER of Harry Potter.
Draco sighed. Well, if she was in no way attracted to him, he didn't see the harm in sleeping comfortably. Draco grabbed his borrowed pillow and blanket and crawled in the bed with her. He sighed luxuriously. It was not the most comfortable bed he'd ever been in, but after the floor, it was heaven. In no time he was snoring silently.
Something was weird. Or different. Or something.
Someone very sweaty was clinging to him and whimpering against his neck. Draco blinked. It took him a moment to recall where he was. Oh yes. Sunnydale. Protecting the American witch.
Who was writhing against him and whimpering.
It wasn't good writhing. Something was scaring the hell out of her in her sleep.
"Willow, come on wake up. You're safe."
She was still trapped in her nightmare.
"Willow, I'm here. You're safe. Wake up, please." He unbuttoned a few buttons on her pajama top and rubbed his fingertips over her collar bone. He used to do that to Hermione when she had nightmares. It always worked with her. It didn't occur to him that it was perhaps too familiar of a touch to be doing to a woman he'd only met that night.
Willow's eyes snapped open with a gasp. Draco was hovered above her trying to wake her. Willow didn't think she just threw her arms around his neck. "Oh goddess, that was intense."
"I realize you don't know me at all really, but do you want to talk about it?"
"Can you just hold me?"
"All right." He said nervously. His old self would use this opportunity to take advantage here, but he was not that Malfoy any longer. He laid back against the headboard and pulled her into his side. One of his hands was running soothing, and little did he know scorching, circles over her back.
"You did bad things once. Like me." She whispered almost breathlessly.
"Once or twice."
The two of them just didn't seem to notice how close they had become. Willow twisted her face and peered up at him.
He blinked. "Oh, this is wrong, and I apologize in advance."
He kissed her. Willow just sighed and melted into him. She'd been fighting being attracted to him since he popped up out of the shrubbery earlier.
Draco wasn't sure how it happened. All he knew was one minute he was wearing a shirt, they both were, then the next neither of them were. He was all in his bare chest, and she was wearing the girliest lace camisole he'd ever seen on a woman. He blinked. He worked A LOT, and he hadn't, well, you know, in a while. He needed to make sure he wasn't having some sort of sexual tension-induced hallucination.
"I thought you were gay. Am I girlie or something?"
"You're quite manly, and I said I was sorta gay."
"Yeah, I'm sorta gay and sorta not gay. This would be one of the 'not' moments."
"Oh, but we just-"
"Shut up. Smoochies now. Talk later... much later. I've been waiting all night."
"Instant attraction. Don't tell me you didn't feel it cos I know you did, mister."
He just went ahead and gave in. Most unprofessional to make out with your charge. They had kicked the blankets off the bed. The two of them were trying to see who suffocated first, obviously, and Draco's hand was edging up over her ribs under that camisole. Both of them knew this was a little ridiculous and crazy, but they were a bit past caring about that.
There was a loud pop and Willow screamed. Draco jumped up carrying her a bit with him to the other side of the bed, snatching his wand out from under the pillow where he usually kept it, and pointed it at...
The door flew open, and Draco saw a flash of blonde as Harry went crashing to the floor. The boy who lived had his wand knocked out of his hand and a wooden stake to his throat before he knew what hit him.
"Who are you?" Buffy hissed.
The light clicked on. Giles, Anya, Xander, and a peering around them Dawn were all in the doorway. In their night clothes. Anya looked at Willow being shielded by a shirtless Draco and gave her the 'thumbs up'.
Harry was grinning up at him. "Malfoy."
Buffy looked at Draco. "You know this guy?"
Harry took her distraction to flip them, and he was sitting on her then with her 'stake' hand pinned to the carpet above her head. He grinned sweetly at her shocked look.
"Yeah, I know him. He's my partner."
Everyone looked at him. Buffy took that opportunity to flip herself and Harry again, so she was now the one back on top.
"Not like that, you perverts. We work in the same department. It's in the job-related sense of the word. Hello, just snogging Willow. Would I do that if I had a boyfriend?"
"You were kissing your charge?" Harry said. "What would your mother say, ferret?"
"Thank God he's not the Potter-fancier I suspected him to be, scarhead, that's what."
Harry chuckled. Then he looked at Buffy. "As fun as rolling around on the floor with you is, do you think you could get off of me now?"
The slayer actually blushed beet-red as she scrambled off of him and pulled him to his feet.
"Thanks." Harry said dusting off his robes. He looked at Draco. "So Hermione will be glad to learn you're finally over her. Not that I blame you. Miss Rosenberg's quite lovely, but then your mother mentioned that when she asked if I could do without you for a bit."
Willow blushed. Tall, dark, and handsome thought she was lovely?
"Oh bugger off, Potter."