Summer of Redemption
Title: Summer of Redemption
Rating: R for later chapters
Genre: Crossover, HP/BtVS
Pairing: W/Remus Lupin
Summary: Giles needs the help of an old friend to help Willow.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from either BtVS or HP. They belong to their respective creators, Joss Wedon and J.K. Rowling.
Distribution: If you want it, just tell me where it's going.
Spoilers: Harry Potter, after Goblet of Fire. BtVS, post season 6.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Remus Lupin's day had started out normal enough. He had gotten up out of his bed at 6:00 a.m. and taken a bath. Then proceeded to go about preparing breakfast. He had just sat down at the table to eat, when a large brown owl had flew through his open window, and landed beside him on the table.
"Well my friend, what have you got for me this morning?" Remus cheerfully asked the owl, who's only reply was to hoot at him quietly and began pecking at the peice of toast that Lupin laid in front of it.
Remus carefully untied the piece of parchment tied to the owl's left leg. Unrolling it, Remus found it was from his cousin Rupert Giles. Silently, he read the note to himself.
I know it has been quite awhile since we have spoken, and that we parted on less than amiable terms, but I find myself at a loss of what to do in the situation I find myself in.
I am sure you have read the article in the Daily Prophet, about the young American girl who attempted to bring about the apocalypse?
Well, said American girl just happens to be my young charge Willow Rosenberg from Sunnydale, California.
Remus thought for a second before continuing to read.
I heard from Headmaster Dumbledore that you were not teaching at Hogwarts any longer, and that I could get in touch with you here. I am asking that you help me in my attempts to help this young girl. She does not deserve to go to Azkaban. The Ministry has given me 3 months to 'rehabilitate' her, as they put it. And I am in desperate need of your assistance.
I implore you to put aside our differences for the sake of this girl. Please Remus, I have failed her once already. Don't allow me to fail her again.
Remus re-read the note once more then sighed heavily.
It had been a long time since he had heard from his cousin. They had parted ways after a particularly nasty row over a woman of all things. Since then, Remus had found Olivia to be a player. If only he had learned that earlier, maybe his and Rupert's friendship would not have suffered.
But now he had a chance to make back up with his cousin and one time good friend. He could help Rupert help this girl, and possibly build back a friendship that should have never been dissolved in the first place.
Yes, he would do it.
So, with that decided, Remus Lupin walked to his study, took a quill and piece of parchment from the small desk in the corner, and scribbled his response.
It has definitely been a long time since we last spoke, written or conversed in any way whatsoever. I apologize for not trying to make contact with you before this. I just wanted to let you know that I accept. I will help you with Ms. Rosenberg as best I can. I also extend my hand to you in friendship. I would like to put old grudges behind us and attempt to capture maybe a fraction of the friendship we once had. As this is Thursday, expect me no later than the beginning of next week.
Until then, I suggest you make arrangements somewhere where we might be able to conduct this business in privacy. It would not be good if You-Know-Who was to learn that this so called 'Dark Witch' was so close. I will see you soon.
Remus then walked back to the kitchen where the owl had finished it's toast and had helped itself to Lupin's glass of water. Chuckling, he tied his reply to the owl's leg and whispered the destination. At once the owl took off, and Remus returned to his bedroom to pack and then to prepare for his departure.
It was going to be a long summer.
Giles turned the red, old model Volvo he was driving up the narrow dirt road. The road that led to the secluded summer house deep in the wooded area he had chosen for the task.
Looking at the silent redhead in the passenger seat beside him, Giles sighed wearily for what seemed like the thousandth time that day.
Willow Rosenberg had completely withdrawn into herself since that dark day that she had tried, in a fit of anguish and fury, to end the world. Since that day, she had neither spoke nor shown any sign of emotion other than the spaced out look in her eyes. Giles had brought the girl back with him to London in hopes that time away from the Hellmouth would help heal some of the inner wounds that the dark magic had rended on her soul, but she had yet to respond.
Giles had then, in desperation, resigned to plead for help from the only man he felt could help him. His old friend, Remus Lupin.
After he had parked the car in the dirt driveway of the house, he killed the engine and got out, walked around to the passenger side and opened the door to assist Willow in exiting the car.
Willow allowed herself to be removed from the car and be led up to the front door of the house. It was more of a cabin really. Giles took note of this. He had owled Remus with the directions to the location before informing Willow of his plans.
Willow had not even looked at him, just sat in the rocking chair she had been sitting in for the past two hours, rocking and humming to herself. These actions had given Giles a small hope that the girl was reachable, that she wasn't too far out of her mind in anguish and guilt.
Giles lead her through the front door and into the living area. It was very spacious, with walls made of the same material as the outside of the structure. There were quaint white lacy curtains on the windows and by way of furniture they had a comfortable enough looking couch, an arm chair, a wooden rocker and a small coffee table. Nothing adorned the walls but a small clock hung over the fireplace mantle. He took Willow's hand again and urged her over to sit in the rocking chair that was positioned facing the front window. After he had her seated, Giles gazed again at the young girl he had thought of as a daughter for the past 7 years.
He was beginning to get very worried for the redhead. He assumed he was going to have to resort to drastic measures to get her to show any emotion, but he hated to think of putting Willow through any more trauma than she had already been through.
He thought to himself.
Comforted a tiny bit by that thought, Giles left Willow rocking and humming to herself, to go and retrieve their luggage from the trunk of the car. Remus would be arriving that evening, and then they could go about setting up a strategy of how to heal Willow Rosenberg.
It was a quarter of six when Remus Lupin pulled up into the driveway of the cabin. After turning off the ignition, Remus looked up at the log cabin with a bit of apprehension.
He didn't know exactly what awaited him within the confines of this building. What exactly had he gotten himself into. With all the hoopla that the Ministry had dished out, it sounded like the girl was the anti-christ. The Daily Prophet had had a field day. It was a wonder there hadn't been an angry mob drag her off for vigilante justice, or simply demand her incarceration in Azkaban.
He suspected that Rupert had asked Dumbledore to appeal to the Minister on behalf of Miss. Rosenberg. Whatever had occured, it obviously had worked, or he wouldn't be here now fixing to attempt to rebuild a young woman's life. And according to the details that Rupert had owled him, he had his work cut out for him.
Sighing heavily, Remus opened the car door and got out of his '97 black Jeep Rangler. He grabbed his few bags and approached the front door. Before he had time to raise his hand to knock, the front door was opened, and he was greeted with a sight he hadn't seen in two decades.
Giles smiled slightly at his old school mate and friend. He hadn't changed much, from his deep blue eyes and warm smile, to his lanky but sturdy frame, though his brown hair was flecked with a bit of gray, much like his own sandy locks.
All in all, Remus looked good for his age. Giles looked decidedly worse for wear. But that was only because he had been worn down in his last two weeks in trying to help Willow.
Remus saw the weary look in the man's eyes and immediately gave him a reassuring smile.
"Hello, Rupert. Heard you needed a hand with a little situation. Maybe if I come in, we can get down to it, eh?"
At this, Giles' smile widened a bit more.
"Yes, yes, quite. Do come in, Remus. I would like to introduce you to someone."
Remus stepped over the threshold and into the cabin he would share with Giles and this Miss. Rosenberg for the rest of the summer. He was in hopes that they might have the girl back to some semblance of rights by then.
"Willow, I would like you to meet someone. This is Remus Lupin, an old friend of mine. We went to school together for a while." Giles spoke as he lead Remus over to a rocking chair that was occupied by a slight redhead.
Remus had definitely not counted on the condition that the girl was in. No, Giles had most certainly NOT given him all the facts. As Giles introduced him to her, he noticed that she did not even look up, or give any other sign that she was even listening to the other man. She just continued rocking and looking out the window. Her hair hung in her face like a curtain that concealed her features from them. Remus glanced to Giles who gave him a helpless shrug.
"She has been this way ever since that night. She understands. That I know, but she is unresponsive to any stimulus at all, aside from maybe any physical pain. But then, she only flinches and does not utter a sound."
Kneeling in front of the girl, Remus gently gripped her chin with his fingers and urged her to look at him. When she finally did, his breath was taken away by the bright green eyes that turned up, although reluctantly, to look at him. Her complexion was pale, but it was flawless, and Remus had the strange urge to stroke her cheek with the back of his hand. He gazed into her eyes and couldn't help but get the impression that she was taking in his appearance as well. But that couldn't be the case, as Rupert had just stated that she was more or less catatonic.
"Has she attempted any magic whatsoever?" Lupin asked, not taking his eyes off of Willow's face.
Giles looked at the man kneeling in front of his charge as if he had lost his mind.
"What are you... why of course she hasn't attempted any magic! What makes you think that she could in the state that she's in?" Giles exclaimed exasperatedly.
Remus looked away from the girl to glance at Giles.
"Because of the way she is looking at me right now. As if she is studying me. Trying to figure me out." He looked back to the redhead. He was sure of it now. There was definitely a slight questioning look in her eyes. He grinned that wolfish grin of his. "If I didn't know better, I would say that she knows something is different about me."
"I'm sure she would. After all the dark magics she housed just two months ago, I assume she can sense a great deal of things. She just has never shown any reaction to those feelings." Giles retorted.
"Yes, well something is fluttering around in that intelligent brain of hers." Remus stated.
He smiled a gentle smile at Willow and spoke to her softly.
"Hello there, Willow. I hope you don't mind me calling you by your first name. If it makes a difference you can call me Remus if you like." Lupin murmured.
There was a slight flicker in the green depths of her eyes, then a slight twitch of a jaw muscle, and finally, the corners of her mouth quirked up in a whisper of a smile.
"There now. Isn't that beautiful." Remus crooned. And he meant it.
Just that hint of a smile had stirred something deep within him. He knew for certain that if he was ever faced with the full brunt of her smile that he would most definitely be blown away. He was now fiercely determined to see that smile.
Giles on the other hand was in shock.
In less than ten minutes with Willow, he had gotten more reaction from her than he had the entire two months he had been working with her. For a moment, he felt a disturbing stab of jealousy.
He chastized himself.
"Well, it looks like all hope is not lost yet." Remus declared, looking up at Giles once more.
"So it would seem." Giles replied.
Straightening up from his kneeling position on the floor, Remus gave a low groan.
"You wouldn't happen to have some tea brewed up would you?" He asked.
Giles gave a slight smirk as he responded. "Getting a bit stiff in our old age are we, Moony?"
Remus stiffled a chuckle at the nickname. "Probably as stiff as you feel, Ripper."
"I will go and fetch you a cup, then." Giles said as he turned and went through a door off to the right that led to the kitchen.
When Giles had exited the room, Remus turned his attention back to Willow. "Now, Willow. I bet you'd like to hear a little about old Rupes back in his school days, huh?"
Again, Willow smiled faintly.
Giles had finished fixing three cups of tea, two black, one with sugar and a dab of cream, and was just fixing to step into the living room, when he heard a sound that stopped him dead in his tracks.
More precisely, a woman's laugh. Willow's laugh.
He almost dropped the tray that held the cups in his haste to get into the room. What met his sight when he entered the room nearly took his breath away.
Willow had an expression on her face that Giles had just about lost all hope of ever seeing again. Although still not an all out smile, Willow did have a pleased look on her face, and she was giggling at something Remus had said, obviously.
And her eyes.
Her eyes had a glow to them. Maybe not happiness exactly, but amusement for sure.
"What is going on in here?" Giles sputtered out.
Remus, cut off in mid sentence, spun around to smile at his astonished friend.
"Well, it looks like we are on a roll here." Remus said proudly. "I've already got her rolling in the isles. She'll be back to her old self in no time."
Giles scoffed at Remus' exaggerated statement of progress. He was happy that Willow was showing some signs of life. But she was still a far cry from the refreshing young woman he had left behind in Sunnydale the first time he had left for England. Oh, how he regretted that. If he had just been there for them. For her.
But no, things would more than likely have still turned out as they had. Although, he might have been able to avert the more dramatic outcome of the tragedy.
Shaking out of his reverie, Giles smiled and responded. "Yes, I can see a hint of my old Willow in there somewhere." He walked over and placed the tray down on the coffee table before walking over to crouch beside Willow himself and took her hand in his. "Why don't you come out and speak to us for a bit, love?"
Willow looked at Giles with a sad smile, but shook her head no. No, not yet. It's too soon. The look seemed to cry out. It hurts. And I don't think I can handle the hurting.
Giles shook his head in affirmation. "It's alright, Willow. Take your time. We will be here for you when you are ready." He patted her hand a moment, before going to retrieve her tea for her.
Her eyes seemed to say 'thank you'.
Then he and Remus took seats, he in the armchair, Remus on the couch.
They sat there in silence, sipping their tea, and contemplated their next move.