Title: Glutton for Punishment
Sequel to: “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” and “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”
Genre: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Harry Potter Crossover
Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own these characters. Willow belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Severus Snape and the Hogwarts crew belong to J.K. Rowling.
Distribution: List Archives, The Voice Inside, all others, please ask.
Author's Notes: For Buffy, this occurs weeks after the season seven (series) finale. For Harry Potter, occurs in the future, sometime after Voldemort has been defeated.
Willow heard the yelling the instant she stepped into the house. She didn't have to strain to identify the voices -- she knew exactly who it was. Celia, the new Slayer from London, going another round with everyone's least favorite supervising adult -- Severus Snape.
Willow sighed. She supposed she should go interfere before either of them said or did something they'd regret.
As she rounded the corner, his words sounded out clearly. "You silly, stupid --"
"Severus!" Willow scolded. No matter what she'd done, there was no reason for him to call her names.
"Miss Rosenberg!" relief was obvious in Celia's voice. She clearly thought she'd been saved. Willow smiled. Celia would soon learn that as nice as Willow was, she was no pushover. But what could she have done to make Severus so furious?
"What's going on?" Willow asked the other teacher.
"This child has no idea what she is doing. She is playing with forces far beyond her control," he said harshly. He held out the book that he had presumably confiscated from the girl.
Willow's eyes widened. This was one of Giles' magick books -- one of the serious, powerful magick books. This was not something for a novice to be messing around with.
The redhead glared at the new Slayer. "What were you doing with this?"
"I was just going to do a little spell. No big deal," she shrugged.
"No big deal?" Willow was stunned. Obviously, Celia had no idea the problems a spell gone wrong could cause. "No big deal?" Her voice got louder and higher with each word, and Willow had to fight to calm herself. She took a step forward and the student stepped back, unsure of what Willow was going to do.
She breathed deeply. Now she was calmer. She whirled on Celia.
"It's just a little spell. No big deal," the girl protested again.
"You will never use the words 'a little spell' and 'no big deal' in the same sentence again, young lady. Do you have any idea what the consequences can be from reckless magick? Obviously not, or else you wouldn't have contemplated doing what you were doing. I'll tell you what 'just a little spell' can do." Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Severus trying to suppress a smile. Okay, so, she was agreeing with him for once. But she'd seen reckless magick -- done reckless magick -- and she didn't want to be on the receiving end again.
"'Just a little spell' brought a vampire me from a parallel dimension to Sunnydale to try to take over the town. 'Just a little spell' summoned a musical demon who made the people of Sunnydale sing and dance until they burst into flames. 'Just a little spell' gave us all amnesia so we were nearly devoured by vampires." She put one hand on the girl's shoulder. She had to make her see how potentially serious this was. "Magick can be dangerous, even when you know what you're doing. For an inexperienced magickal practitioner to do unsupervised spells -- especially from a big-time magick book like this -- anything could happen. Anything. You may be trying to do something good, but you never know how it's going to turn out."
Celia had stepped back from the teachers until her back was up against the hallway wall. Her eyes were wide and she looked scared. Good, Willow nodded. "Any spell you try could have potentially fatal consequences for you and all those around you. You will remember that."
The scared Slayer nodded. She'd just wanted to magickally do her research paper so she could sneak out and meet her boyfriend -- but nothing was worth the kinds of things that Ms. Rosenberg said might happen. "I'll remember. And I won't do it again," she promised.
"Good." Willow nodded. "Now, I believe you have a paper on modern European demons to write for Mr. Giles' class, right?"
"Right." The student nodded eagerly. "And I'm going to go do that. Right now." She scurried off down the hall, leaving Willow and Severus behind together.
The witch took a deep breath, then turned to face her fellow teacher. "Severus, I'm sorry. When I first heard you yelling, I jumped to conclusions and thought you were over-reacting." She paused, unsure as to put the next part of her explanation as not to offend him.
"As I usually do?" he asked, with one eyebrow raised. He knew how he was perceived around the school -- the old British curmudgeon with no tolerance or sense of humor. But he wouldn't resort to name calling unless he had been completely flummoxed, as he had been by Celia's complete lack of responsibility in regards to magick.
Willow nodded. "You do tend to make with the grumpy."
"I realize that I am not the kindest or most well-liked teacher in this school, nor am I here by my own free will, but despite all of that, I do want what is best for these children. They're Slayers. They have such power, most if it that they don't know how to wield. But they need to learn temperance, and responsibility."
The redhead fidgeted guiltily. Severus had ignored her since their encounter in the study, and she'd been thinking bad things about him ever since. True, he'd been rude and standoffish, but she'd been angry and spiteful, always willing to believe the worst about him.
"I'm sorry," she apologized.
"No," he shook his head. He'd been so miserable with the consequences of his sentence that he'd taken it out on the young witch. She'd tried to befriend him, make him feel at home -- and possibly make him feel more than that -- but he'd ignored her since that night in the study. He'd felt more than he'd wanted to, more than he'd thought possible at this stage in his life, and he'd run from the feelings. "I should apologize to you. I should not have been ignoring you as I did and I am sorry."
"That's okay." Willow smiled. "I shouldn't have been thinking such snarky bad things about you and whispering them to Buffy when your back was turned."
His eyes widened. She'd done what?
"Hey, you were a jerk!" the redhead protested. "You deserved it….well, sort of."
Then, he did something completely unexpected. Severus threw back his head and laughed. She stared at him, perplexed, unable to believe what she was seeing. He wouldn't stop laughing. Had these weeks of living in Slayer Central finally sent him over the edge?
"You, Ms. Rosenberg, are delightful," he smiled, before resuming his normal serious countenance. "You make me feel," he confessed. "And I haven't felt anything in a very long time."
She made him feel? Willow smiled. She could live with that. "You make me feel things too, Sev," she admitted. "I haven’t felt this way in a while…not since before Tara died.”
He closed his eyes, stunned at the gift she’d given him. Her words made it quite clear that what she felt for him was more than a simple flirtation. Their connection was real, and she felt it as well as he.
“Willow,” he murmured, reaching one hand up to gently cup her cheek.
She leaned into his hand, pressing gentle kisses to his palm before reaching over and pulling him closer. “Severus,” she whispered, her lips inches away from hers.
He closed the distance between them, their mouths meeting in a passionate kiss as he pulled her body snug against his. As she wiggled closer, he felt the press of her breasts against his chest and for the first time was fervently thankful he was wearing thin Muggle clothing. Robes would only get in the way.