The Lives You Leave Behind
Disclaimer: I do not own HP or BTVS and am making no money, just lots of happiness!
Timeline: After S 5 for Buffy. AU after Ministry of Magic raid in OotP for HP.
Spoilers Galore for both!
AN: My thanks to my bff Caleno cos she's my beta, and she's just great to bounce ideas off!
PS her fics are at fanfic.net
The papers everywhere told the story. The Boy Who Lived - has died. Everybody who read it wept. Those who didn’t, didn’t need to. They were there. In his cold, cold room at The Burrow, Ronald Weasley cried. His heart broken. Harry had been his first and best friend. And he was gone.
Dumbledore sat in his overstuffed armchair high in his tower, away from prying eyes and curious people. His phoenix, Fawkes, flew round the castle and even in his tower, Dumbledore could hear the bird crying for the lost hero.
A tear ran down his face. However, that was all he would allow himself. Harry had died from a tragic accident, relatively untouched by Voldemort, so Dumbledore saved his tears for the rest of the world. The world that would have to face the wrath of The Dark Lord without the one person who could defeat him. Voldemort had, in effect, won by default.
In the library a lone figure sat buried in a large tome. Long bushy hair fell repeatedly in her face and she grew more and more irritated with it. But she let it pass. There were more important things to worry about. Hermione flicked the pages fast. Looking for a spell. There had to be a spell. A way.
Those who knew her and knew how close she had been to Harry would have been astounded. True, she was known as the most level headed witch – bar McGonagall – in the school. But surely she couldn’t be this calm about her best friend’s death.
In truth, she wasn’t the slightest bit calm and when a tall shadow passed over her she jumped.
“Oh! Its you!” What do you want?” Her heart slowed as the shock wore off, but she was beginning to feel nervous now.
“Everybody’s looking for you, you know.” The newcomer told her, and then, though uninvited, took a seat opposite. Hermione frowned at this slight intrusion. “But I figured I’d find you here.”
“Really?” Hermione scowled. “Well I’m busy so bugger off.” Hermione didn’t like to curse but some people just made her mad enough. Draco Malfoy being one of them.
“You won’t find what you’re looking for.” He told her in that maddeningly calm voice she had gotten used to. Hermione shook her head. Refusing to listen. “Hermione-“ He took her hand. “There is no book, no ancient tome that will give you the answers you’re looking for.”
She looked up at him now, tears slipping down her face. Something in the back of her mind registered the fact that this was the first time he had ever, willingly, touched her. “Hermione, you’re going to hate me for saying this, but I’m going to be as blunt as possible.” He took a breath. Hermione wanted to stop the words that she knew were coming but she couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe.
“He’s dead.” Draco said brusquely. “He’s dead and he’s not coming-“
“No!” Hermione jumped to her feet, wrenching her hand out of Draco’s. The sound of the chair hitting the floor echoed in the high-domed room. “There is a way! There’s always a way!”
“That’s what you think isn’t it!” Draco yelled, angry now. He stood. “Stupid, stupid!” Draco paced back and fort, a tiger in a cage.
“You think that’s what magic does, is it? You think that’s what life is like? If you look hard enough, you’ll find it. You think magic is some all-purpose fixer-upper! Wave a magic wand and it’ll go away. Or better yet-” He stood to face her. “Come back.”
The tears were free flowing down her face now.
“Magic cannot bring somebody back from the dead, Hermione.” His eyes were soft now. Hermione let out a sob. Horrified, she covered her mouth. She wasn’t going to cry. If she was going to bring him back there would be no need to cry. So she couldn’t cry. She couldn’t.
But the floodgates had been opened now and she cried in great heaving sobs. Draco crossed the short distance between them and pulled her close. Just in time as her legs gave way beneath her as her grief consumed her. Draco half-lifted, half-dragged her to the chair he had left a moment ago and sat with her on his lap, rocking her gently as you would a small child.
“It’s not fair, it’s not fair!” she sobbed. “Why Draco? Why did this happen?”
However, Draco had no answers. Swallowing down a lump in his throat, he shook his head. “I don’t know Hermione. I’m sorry, I don’t know.”
All was quiet in Hogwarts. Some knew the famous Griffindor, most thought they knew him and everybody had felt their lives touched by the young wizard. Quidditch fans recalled his amazing wins at the difficult game, others recalled his bravery in the Triwizard Tournament. Some, the few, recalled the great person, the good person.
In the Griffindor Common Room silence reigned. A deep heavy silence that those who shared it feared to break.
Eventually Neville looked up.
“Anybody seen Hermione?” He asked, in hushed tones.
Lavender looked up.
“I thought I saw her going to the library a while ago.” Dean said.
For a moment nobody spoke. While they all knew that the library was one place that Hermione always went to when she wanted to be on her own, none of them thought she should be on her own.
Thoughts like ‘at a time like this
’, ‘best friend
s’ and ‘wonder if we should
Again, it was Neville who spoke first.
“Maybe we should…” He let it hang. For a moment nobody spoke.
“How could it happen?” Parvati suddenly burst out. “I mean… He’s come through worse. He’s been through things nobody else has ever faced alive and this-” She broke off. She buried her face in her hands.
Dean shrugged. They had been there, they had seen it happen, but they had all been so shocked that their hero, their classmate, their friend could be… well, gone, they couldn’t take it in.
Silence drifted back and reclaimed the room that would be forever haunted with the spirit of Harry Potter.
Halfway around the world, a young woman tossed in her bed. By what little light the stars gave out, her face was made visible. Her features contorted in an expression of pain. Her breath came in gasps. Her arms and legs tore at the clothing.
Spike watched, tortured by the sight before him. He wanted to wake her up. Wanted to shake her from this horrible nightmare. But he couldn’t. Tara had said that. She needed to get through the nightmares as naturally as possible, she said. If it continued too long, only then would she interfere.
They had been going on long enough in his opinion. She had been suffering through these nightmares since the beginning of the summer. Now that school had started she was completely drained.
He watched, in silence.
As he had promised he would.
“Xander you have to sleep.” Anya called from the bedroom.
“Be in in a minute!” Xander continued flipping through the channels. He heard Anya sigh, then heard her grumbling as she got into bed, on her own, again.
She wanted to understand. He knew that. But she had lived for a thousand years. She knew all about the life span of humans, one of the reasons she had been so adamant in getting her power back way back when. But while she understood the passing of humans, she couldn’t understand the grief of those left behind.
In her dream, Dawn screamed.
“Buffy!” she watched again as her sister leapt from the tower, watched as Buffy’s body spasmed as the electricity coursed through her body. Watched as she hit the ground with enough force to kill her, if she wasn’t already dead.
In her dream she cried. Through the haze that clouded her mind, she became aware of another. A young boy, same age as her, stood a few feet away from her watching. When she had enough breath in her she spoke.
“Who are you?” The boy smiled.
Dawn woke. As usual when she woke, Spike was there. He moved in, holding her in his arms. Dimly, Dawn wondered if Willow knew about that Spike was watching her as she slept. But she didn’t really care. All she knew was that she felt safer sleeping if he was there.
When she had stopped shaking, Spike lay her back down.
“Will you be able to sleep now, pet? He asked softly. She nodded. “Good.” He moved back to his original position in the chair. She was about to go to sleep when he spoke.
“Who’s Harry, pet?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
Spike hesitated, wondering if he should tell her that she had been muttered the name in her sleep for a few nights now. He shook his head. She had enough to worry about.
“Never mind, pet. Go back to sleep” She nodded, already half in slumber.
Spike settled back to watch over her, just as he’d promised.