Title: Disbelief of the Obvious
Spoilers: Everything for BtVS and Book 6 for HP
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and JK Rowling own all the recognizable things within.
Summary: Willow attends a funeral (HUGE 'Half-Blood Prince' spoilers within)
Willow stayed towards the back of the large crowd, watching those around her with a strong sense of detachment. She had had to deal with all those deaths back home two months ago and now this.
She hadn't even had time to say goodbye. To say *anything* to the man that had treated her so kindly after her horrible acts. The man that accept that she was truly sorry of how deep she had gotten in the Dark Arts while the coven remained wary.
And now she was listening his eulogy.
The funeral drew to a close and slowly people began milling about.
Willow watched a lone woman walking through the crowd who seemed to part for her almost unconsciously. The woman's robes were a dark color that was more black than maroon. She looked calm and collected to a fault.
Taking another moment to place the face, Willow realized this was Albus' right hand man.
Willow stepped out of the crowd and gave a small nod, "Minerva."
Minerva stared at her blankly for several long moments before a brief flicker of recognition lit her slightly watery eyes, the only outward evidence of how much the funeral was affecting her, "Miss Rosenberg. I hadn't, uh--"
Willow bit her lip, trying not to let on how the halting speech of the normally calm, stern woman affected her. "I received the owl yesterday."
"Of course. We owled everyone Albus kept contact information for."
Willow nodded, only imagining the many number of people Albus corresponded with. And while the funeral was large, she knew that there were many who were simply not able to attend.
Willow caught sight of a small group moving through the crowd. Quickly recognizing one of the men, she moved forward and enveloped him in a hug, "Remus!" She nodded politely to the other two people with him, a pink haired woman Willow was positive she'd met and a tall black man.
As she pulled away from Remus, her smile dimmed as the situation came to light again. Glancing at the faces of the four wizards, "Can we talk?" she asked, nodding her head away from the main group.
They moved away from the crowd, walking along the lake for a few moments before deciding they were far enough away. "What happened?"
Minerva tucked her hands deep into her robes, despite the warm weather, "Albus was murdered. Struck by Avada Kedavra." Her eyes travelled to the looming Astrology Tower, "Murdered within the walls of Hogwarts."
Willow drew in a sharp breath, "Voldemort?"
"No." Remus was silently elected by the group, as being the one who knew her best, to inform her of the truth. "Severus--"
Willow frowned and looked away from the small group to the crowd again, "Where is he? I wasn't able to find him earlier."
Tonks had started to cry quietly and Willow was a bit shocked to see Remus draw the woman into his arms. "Willow, S-Severus killed Dumbledore."
Willow blinked and stared at the four people for a long moment before questioning, "What?" Without giving anyone time to answer she repeated herself, a bit louder., "What?!"
"Albus was murdered by Severus." Minerva said quietly. Although quiet, the conviction was strong in her voice.
"No..." Willow whispered, shaking her head as her cheeks began to color. "That's a lie!" Willow cried out, heedless of the attention her loud outburst had garnered. "Severus would never! Who told you those horrible lies?"
"Harry. Harry was there, Willow. He witnessed the whole attack."
Willow shook her head violently, "Harry? Harry Potter?! No! He's a little liar!"
"Willow," Minerva quietly admonished, "Mr. Potter has no reason to lie."
Willow continued shaking her head, her bottom lip quivering as she clenched her jaw shut tight. Out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of a small group of huddled teens across the lake. Her eyes narrowed as she realized the trio was Harry and his friends. "You believe some angry child's word over Severus'?"
"We haven't got Severus' word."
"What? You just threw him in jail?!"
"He ran," Tonks piped up from the comfort of Remus' arms, "Snape murdered Professor Dumbledore and then ran off with his little Death Eaters. Surely an innocent man wouldn't--"
"You're idiots," Willow said quietly, "You're all wrong. Your precious Potter...he...there's more to it. Something he's not telling you. Severus would never. Never!" Willow grated her teeth, knowing she was seconds away from tears, "He held such regard for Albus. Respected him. Albus was the only one who ever let him step away from his past. Severus wouldn't of. You've condemned an innocent man!" Willow spun away from the group in a wisp of black smoke. In the next instant she was gone.
Kingsley, who had remained silent through the meeting finally spoke after Willow's departure. "Was that The Willow Rosenberg? The Yankee who--"
"And she knows Mr. Snape?"
"Yes," Remus answered, "She came here to England after the, ah, incident. She worked with a Wiccan coven as well as Albus. Myself and Severus worked with her a bit."
Kindsley nodded, his gaze still at the spot she had apparated from, within Hogwart's grounds but no one made mention of it, "And her and Mr. Snape became friendly?"
"'Birds of a feather' Albus had said," Minerva recalled a conversation that seemed ages ago, "Both her and Severus had come back from the dar -- well... Albus was fascinated by the sheer power the girl held and her grasp of it."
"Albus believed that she was no longer a dark witch?"
"Yes Albus trus--" Remus stopped abruptly and dropped his gaze from Kingsley.
"Albus trusted her," Kingsley finished for Remus, "Just like Albus trusted Snape."
Willow sat on the curb across from Severus' house sobbing in earnest.
There were bad days, there were horrible days and then there was today.
Willow sniffed loudly, rubbing her face on her sleeve before returning her stare to the silent house in front of her. She'd been here an hour now, crying for the past fifty-five minutes. The house was silent, not a peep, not a flicker of light, not a whisper of movement. She was pretty sure she'd seen a rat run from the house a bit ago, but given the state of the neighborhood, it wasn't terribly out of the norm.
Severus wasn't here. She didn't think she really expected to find him here. He was, apparently, on the lam for...for the murder of...
The possibility of him murdering Albus -- Albus of all people! -- was simply alien to her. It was beyond alien, it was simply inconceivable. Oh, she knew of his less than stellar history. Knew that murder was, sadly, not a foreign thing for Severus. But for him to murder Albus?
No, Willow refused to believe it.
And yet everyone else was more than happy to point the finger. No one seemed to want to believe that maybe their young hero was mistaken.
Willow continued crying as she silently acknowledge that small little voice that said perhaps she was so very upset by this all because she maybe, just maybe, believed it to be true.