Title: Eternal Passions
Author : Mel M/Misty
Pairing: Willow/Oz (for now)
Warnings: let's see, vulgar language, lesbian content and anything else I missed.
Disclaimers: none of the Buffy chars. belong to me, I'm just borrowing them for my fic so please dun sew me. Also, Melanie, Toorima, the ideas and other ad ins are my property so if you'd like to use any of it please ask.
Comments: I need feedback, lots of it.
Note: This story and "Letting Him Go" were both originally part of a series entitled "The Hands of Death and Sorrow" but I changed it due to the additional stories I'm adding so you may have already read them.
It was another day at Sunnydale High. Classes had just ended and the masses of students flooded out of the school. Buffy walked slowly, trying to spot her friends so they could head off to meet Giles. Sapphire eyes found red hair moving through the crowd. Buffy smiled internally as Willow approached.
"Hey Buffy, the gang is waiting for you over there," Willow said, pointing out the location of Faith, Oz, Xander, and Anya. Both girls headed toward the group.
"Hey B, glad you joined us. Wolf boy was starting to get on my nerves," Faith greeted.
"Faith, be nice," Buffy chided. The group headed to the library, quiet and thoughtful.
When they got to the library, Giles greeted them humbly, sitting them all down.
"What is it Giles?" Buffy asked in a tone of concern.
"Well," began the watcher as he removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, "there's been a theft."
"You wanted us here to do police work?" Faith questioned.
"No, it's definitely more than that I'm afraid. You see, somebody in this room is a threat to us due to this object that was stolen. What we need to find out is who has the gem and why," Giles explained, placing his glasses back at the bridge of his nose.
"Why do you think it's somebody that's here, in this room?" Buffy demanded.
"This," Giles replied, pulling a paper out from his pocket. "It was left by the thief."
"What's it say," Xander piped up. "It says:
You are both the prey. I work alone but I've studied your group. Interesting choice of friends you both have. The witch, the werewolf, the wimp and the ex-demon. You need to learn how to keep things hush hush around here, oh and how to choose a better variety of friend. Well, kill you later, bye.
The witch will die first,
That's where it ends," Buffy was in a state of shock and anger.
"I don't like this chick, she's very inferior toward us," Oz mumbled.
"Giles, what does Toor-whatever mean?" Xander asked almost meekly, ignoring the fact that he'd been called a wimp.
"Phantom killer," Anya volunteered.
All eyes shot toward Anya, all of them questioning her without words. "It's Japanese. I once saw the Kanji symbol for it and the merchant told me what it meant," Anya explain, a bit uneasy.
"Do you know anything else about it Anya?" Giles questioned, hoping for at least a fragment of information.
"Well, there's a myth to the word which is where it originated from," Anya offered with a raised right brow.
"Tell me all you can. Willow, you Oz & Xander help with the books. I fear she may be seeking victims. Buffy, you and Faith patrol magic shops. Anything that sells book, candles and things of that sort," Giles quickly spat at them. As soon as the words were spoken the Slayers were gone and the others were hitting the book.
"Now, tell us this myth," Giles calmly requested.
"I don't know the time period but it was about an ancient Princess who was a thief. She was a klepto, couldn't keep her hands off of things. One day a suitor brought her a garnet broach but she used it for a spell. She made herself into a phantom and instead of stealing possessions she stole souls. She was vanquished by a slayer but her magical powers and such are held in her garnet broach," Anya informed the watcher.
"Found her!" Willow bellowed.
"What have you found?" Giles jumped up and stared at the hacker.
"It says that whoever posses the broach will have power over everybody and everything, including time, space and living creatures. All they need is the blood of a Slayer, the tear of a human, a hair of a werewolf and a cauldron to place them in. They have to be boiled in Blackberry Brandy and digested. Once that's done, she'll be extremely powerful but she can still be killed by smashing the broach," Willow reported.
"Oh joy. She's got the broach but. . ." Giles mumbled. Then his eyes shot toward the door, "Oh no, the Slayers!"
"This sucks! We've checked every magic shop in Sunnydale and nothing," Buffy whined.
"B, I think your wrong on that note," Faith said as she pointed to a ransacked shop and a wounded innocent.
Buffy rushed to the innocents side, propping the girls head up. The girls eyes were half open as she spoke, "Slayers, help me. She'll kill you."
Faith's eyes narrowed as Buffy lifted the soot, ash and blood covered victim. "How do we know we can trust her?" Faith growled, walking beside Buffy.
"We don't," the blonde slayer hissed.
Then Faith noticed red beaming eyes cast upon them. "B, we've got company," Faith warned.
Buffy set the innocent on the ground and both slayers took fighting positions. The entity swooped down, landing between the slayers with a dagger in her hand. She slashed Buffy's right arm, jumping back quickly. Faith struck the demons ribs with a swift kick. The, now angry, demon spat fire at both slayers then disappeared.
"We'd better get back," Buffy winced.
Faith ripped off a piece of the innocents sleeve and wrapped it around Buffy's wound. "Let's go, I'll carry her," Faith mumbled as she picked the girl up. They slowly headed back to the library, hoping Giles and the others had found something on their swift foe.
When they walked in the door worrying faces met them.
"Giles, what's up?" Buffy managed to say in a normal, not "I'm in pain", tone.
"We have more information on our enemy," Giles replied as his eyes caught a glimpse of the blood that was slowly easing its way down Buffy's arm.
"Let me guess, you gave up on looking and you ran into a demon," Xander proposed.
"Something like that. We need to get this chick medical attention now," Buffy answered.
"Can we get her to my house? My parents are out of town so she can stay with me," Willow offered.
"I think Buffy, Faith and our visitor would all be safe at your house Willow, if that's not too much to ask," Giles suggested.
Willow nodded and the four of them set out to the Rosenburg residence. Willow gave Buffy and Faith all the information on the demon and Buffy confirmed that the demon had gotten her blood.
Once in the house, Willow showed Buffy and Faith to her room after they had put their visitor in the bathroom. "I'll go tend to our guest, you guys can slayer talk or something," Willow said with a wave of her hand as she left the room. Willow walked into the bathroom, grabbing a washcloth as she set down the extra pair of clothes she had taken from her dresser.
Buffy and Faith talked over options and strategies for about an hour when Willow interrupted. "She cleans up pretty well but I need you guys to move her onto the cot beside my bed," Willow informed them. Both slayers forced themselves to their feet and went into the bathroom. They dragged the freshly washed girl with short raven colored hair into Willow's room and set her on the cot. The girl was pale with black nail polish. She wore a baggy faded black shirt and a pair of Willow's mom's old black pants.
"She looks gothic," Buffy said softly as she stared down at the girl.
"She looks dead," Faith muttered as Buffy checked for a pulse.
"She's ok but I recommend watching over her. If that thing wanted her dead it might come after her again," Buffy announced.
"I'll watch her," Willow volunteered.
Buffy and Faith headed to the spare room and fell fast asleep as Willow watched over the strangely consuming girl.
Oz, Anya and Xander left soon after the girls had, going their separate ways after a short while. Anya and Xander ended up at Xander's house, sleeping in the back yard. Oz, on the other hand, decided to take a walk and clear his mind.
As Oz was walking through the park he saw a strange figure. She appeared before him with short blonde hair, a skin tight leather outfit and emerald eyes. She pulled out a beautiful garnet broach. At the site of the broach, Oz began to morph into his werewolf form. The woman cut off a shred of his hair before he could attack her, but he sliced her across the chest before she disappeared. As soon as she was gone, Oz returned to his human form, wondering why he had such an adrenaline rush. He headed home to get some sleep, thank god tomorrow was Saturday.
Willows eyes fluttered open. She'd fallen asleep but as far as she could tell, nothing went wrong. Her jade eyes then searched the room carefully. Her eyes soon rested upon the still sleeping girl. 'Good, nothing happened,' she thought as she got up and changed her clothes. She turned to see the girls eyes fluttering half open. She walked to the girl, a smile plastered on her face.
"Good morning," Willow said softly.
"Who. . .who are you? Where are the slayers? Are they alive?" the girl began to rise but Willow gently pushed her back.
"Easy does it. My name's Willow, and the slayers are fine. They're sleeping right now. Who are you?" Willow cooed softly to calm the girl.
"My name is Melanie but please call me Mel," the girls answered.
"Pleased to meet you Mel," Willow said softly. Mel's hazel eyes met Willow's jade eyes, both starring at each other with a deviant look to them.
"Has anybody ever told you that you have the most extravagant green eyes in the universe?" Mel complimented, her voice a little strained.
"Not 'til now," Willow replied, a light shade of crimson spreading across her cheeks. Mel smiled softly. 'That smile's so wicked yet intriguing,' Willow thought. Before she realized it, Mel had sat up and kissed her softly on the cheek.
"Thank you, all of you," Mel said softly as she began to get up.
"I'll help you downstairs. Pancakes ok for breakfast?" Willow said quickly.
"Sure," Mel agreed as they walked out of the room.
They made their way to the kitchen, very surprised at finding Faith and Buffy drinking coffee.
"Pancakes?" Willow asked.
"Three, I'm starving," Faith answered.
"One for me, I'm not really that hungry," Buffy confirmed. Willow looked at Mel with a smile.
"Let me guess, two?" Willow asked. Mel nodded and smiled.
Faith leaned on the counter, eyeing the newcomer. "Got a name?" Faith asked with as much politeness as she could muster.
"Let me guess, you're Faith," Mel said softly. She then looked at the blonde slayer, "and you must be Buffy. My name's Melanie but call me Mel."
"Pleased to meet you Mel. I'm sure you have tons of questions but so do we. First off, how did you know our names? And second, why was that thing after you?" Buffy said politely.
"The council. Don't worry, I'm not another slayer. As a matter of fact I came here on my own to warn you about Toorima but I was too late. I went to the council to ask for help but all they told me was to let the slayers handle it. I asked them for names, which they willingly gave, and I looked you up. I was on my way to the Summers residence when Toorima recognized me. I'm the only one who can magically match her powers, well, I'm not all that great but I know her tricks. She caught me off guard and as you can tell she ripped me up pretty bad. She got a tear from me. What else has she gotten?" Mel answered then questioned.
"Great, now the council is giving our names out," Faith grumbled.
"She got my blood," Buffy's low voice offered.
"And your werewolf, where's he?" Mel spat out.
"His names Oz and he's at home," Willow said defensively.
"Sorry, I didn't know his name. The council trusts me enough to give me the slayers names but they told me that's all they would give. We need to warn him," Mel explained.
Willow nodded and picked up the phone. "Hi Oz, it's Willow. . .uh huh. . .meet us at Buffy's and bring Xander and Anya. . .I love you too. . .bye"
"He'll be at Buffy's in half an hour," Willow confirmed.
"Well, I guess we'd better eat and run," Faith said as Willow finished making the food. They sat down, ate and were out the door in a record time of ten minutes. They made it to Buffy's just as the others were arriving.
"Hey Will, what's up?" Oz said cheerfully as he hugged her.
"We found out more about our enemy. Oh, we also made a new friend. Oz, this is Mel, Mel, Oz," Willow said with a smile.
"Pleased to meet you Oz," Mel offered a smile.
"Likewise. Now what do you know about this evil chick?" Oz asked. Willow filled him in and he promised to steer clear of her. Then they all headed to the library to fill Giles in.
When they got there Giles was waiting and offered them a seat. They filled him in and he suggested finding the demon before nightfall.
"Good idea but where do we look?" Buffy asked.
"We'll need to split up. Buffy, you and Xander check the cemetery, Anya, Oz and myself will check the magic shops and Faith, Willow and Mel can check caves and other places she might hide until sunset," Giles instructed them. They all set off on their journeys, each group paying close attention to where they were.
"This place looks suspicious enough," Willow said softly as her, Faith and Mel inched toward the cave. It was near sunset but they thought they had found her this time.
"It reeks of death," Mel acknowledged.
"We should split up. This place is to big for us all to search by nightfall," Faith suggested.
"I'm up for it," Mel said softly as they came to a three way split in the path. Each girl took a different path.
After a few minutes Mel bumped into Willow. "Jesus Willow, don't spook me like that," the witch whispered.
"Sorry, didn't mean to," Willow whispered back, their eyes locked on each others. It was some sort of attraction that neither of them could explain. It wasn't eternal but it felt right at that point in time.
Willow tried to speak, even protest but her body wouldn't cooperate with her mind. Before another thought could cross her mind, Willow felt Mel's lips on hers. They were so soft. Mel reached her hand to the other witches cheek, caressing it gently as the kiss became more intense. Their mouths opened, Willow surrendering temporarily. Mel captured Willows tongue, sucking on it gently. Willow let out a low moan as they both automatically pulled away.
The moment had felt so right but why did it suddenly feel so wrong?
"Willow. . ." Mel trailed off.
"Mel, it's ok. It was the moment. I can tell that we're destined to be good friends but I think that was coming, just to test if we could handle it, ya know?" Willow whispered, trying to believe herself.
Their eyes locked again.
"Willow, there is truth to what you say. I've never really had a friend, a good one anyway. I seem to get too close. Can you handle that memory and embrace it with your heart like I can?" Mel whispered back.
"Huh? Well. . .um. . ." Willow began before another kiss came about. This kiss was longer, more intense, more passionate.
Willow lost control, her low moans escaping from her throat as Mel sucked on her tongue. Then Willow knew what Mel meant. It was all about regret. If Willow let this go any further it would be too late to save her and Oz's relationship. Willow pulled away, her thighs burning as she denied Mel the pleasure of sucking on her tongue.
"Now you know, don't you?" Mel asked, Willow nodding a yes.
"Can you enjoy that moment every time you see it cross your mind or every time you see my face?" Mel asked. Willow leaned in once more, placing a soft kiss on Mel's lips.
"Definitely," Willow answered, looking a bit distracted.
They walked on and found yet another split. Again they parted ways. The three of them met at a hallway. They went in expecting the worst and they got it. Toorima wasn't there but the remains of her spell were.
"How'd she get Oz's hair?" Willow questioned.
"I'm guessing he morphed due to the garnet and she took a chunk of hair off of him," Mel said softly, still in shock. She was now a full fledge demon with extreme power. This did not look good.
"Anya! Look out!" the watcher yelled as the now werewolf form Oz attacked under Toorima's command.
Oz, apparently, wasn't himself. He leapt at anything that moved and ripped it to shreds. Buffy and Xander arrived just in time to see Anya being flung in their direction. Xander caught her as Buffy got details from Giles on what exactly was going on.
After Giles explained, Buffy was fighting the werewolf Oz, not wanting to have to kill him. Faith, Willow and Mel arrived shortly after that. They told the watcher what they had found but before they could act, Toorima was gone, leaving Oz with her curse. She cursed him with a need for blood. Willow tried to talk to Oz but he only leapt at her. Faith kicked him away, helping Willow up.
"The only way to stop him is to kill him," Giles' sorrowful voice spoke up.
"Giles, there has to be another way," Willow protested.
"There is no other way unless we can find Toorima. We can't take the chance of Oz hurting innocents," Giles explained.
Faith was now battling the strong wereOz, dodging his claws and getting in all the punches she could. Then he pinned her down.
"Faith!" Willow yelled, drawing everybody's attention to the fight. Buffy kicked Oz away, helping Faith up.
"Thanks B," Faith said, panting softly. Faith's hand shot toward her arm, her fingers hiding her oozing wound.
"Faith, are you hurt?" Giles asked as Oz fled.
"Shit, he's gettin' away," Faith yelled, dismissing Giles' question.
"We need to get to the library and find out how to stop him," Willow suggested.
"We need to stop him or he'll kill innocence," Buffy protested.
"Faith, you Willow and myself will go back to the library, the rest of you try your best to hold Oz off," Giles commanded. Buffy and her group ran off as Giles rushed his group to the library. As Willow researched desperately, Giles cleaned and bound Faith's minor injury.
"Giles," Willow whined, "th-ther's n-no way t-to save h-him." Now Willow was crying softly into her hands. Faith walked over to the weeping redhead and hugged her gently, not saying anything in fear that she would stick her foot in her mouth.
The battle with Oz seemed to last forever. Buffy was very worn, Xander and Anya wounded. Mel was unconscious up against the oak tree she'd been flung at. Buffy was catching her breath when Toorima appeared.
"Too bad the witch isn't here. I guess her boy toy will die first," her evil voice purred as wereOz obediently went to her.
"Watch carefully Slayer," Toorima said proudly as she grasped wereOz's neck. She slowly grasped tighter, the werewolf struggling slightly and gasping for air, his furry body still, not trying to defy his mistress. Buffy couldn't bare to watch. With a grunt and a loud snap, it was over. Buffy looked up as Oz returned to human form and fell to the ground, lifeless. Anya passed out in pure horror, Xander lost for words as shock struck him. Tears welled up in the blonde slayers eyes.
"Tell the witch that this one was for her," Toorima announced then vanished.
Buffy ran to Oz's side, tears spilling out of her eye and raining down her cheeks. "Oz," she whispered, broken and hurt. How could she let a friend die like that? At least he didn't suffer. How was she gonna tell Willow that she let them all down and Oz had died because she couldn't stop Toorima?
Was she crying because she lost a friend or because she had failed? 'It's my fault that he's dead,' she thought as she lifted his limp body off of the asphalt.
Mel woke slowly, in pain. When she caught site of the dead boy she went pale with anger and fear. Xander picked up the still passed out Anya and they all headed back to the library, silence holding the hands of death and sorrow.
Giles was waiting for them when they arrived. Giles shook his head as Xander numbly went through what happened. Buffy only stood there, now in shock, Oz's corps dangling from her pale arms. Faith emerged from the bathroom, a mortified look consuming her face for a brief moment. Her arms blocked the person behind her from moving further. Willow looked over Faith's shoulder and was horrified at the site of her Oz, lifeless and pale.
The redhead rushed over to her lover, scooping him up and setting him on the floor. "Oz," the witch whimpered, in tears. Then it hit her. He was gone, now they had to think rational. "B-Buffy, w-we need t-to get him o-out of h-here," the hacker stuttered.
Faith picked up the corps, saying softly, "I'll be back in a few." At that the raven haired Slayer walked off, the corps in her arms.
Willow sat where she was, her emotions running rampant. "B-Buffy," Willow stuttered.
Buffy nodded. "I'm taking Will home. Tell Faith to meet us at Will's house," Buffy said somberly as she led the Wiccan out of the library. Giles nodded as he removed his glasses and gently rubbed the bridge of his nose.
"Um. . .m-me and Anya are gonna get g-going," Xander stammered, still carrying the unconscious blonde. Giles sat down with a sigh. He put his glasses back on and was about to write Faith a note when he heard something.
The watcher raised his head. He stood, walking to the door. Faith met him there. "Where's B?" Faith asked softly.
"What just happened?" the watcher asked.
"Cat calls, now where's B and Willow?" Faith's tone rose slightly. Giles gave Faith the message and they parted ways. Giles decided to get some rest. He, after all, needed it.
Faith ran up behind Buffy and Willow, softly panting. "Guys," Faith panted. Both girls spun around, looking at Faith with pained eyes. "We've got company. She followed me. I figured it was better to keep Giles and the other outta this one," Faith finished.
Anger rose in Buffy, her chest burning with hate. "Where is she?" Buffy growled.
No more was said as Toorima appeared before them, her broach shinny and mocking. Buffy attacked fiercely, all of her attempts failing miserably. Faith cut in, both her and Buffy now working on the demon. They were still where they started.
The battle raged on, the slayers tiring easily. Toorima picked Faith up by the throat. "Deja vous," she mocked proudly. Faith kicked and screamed, clawing at the demon. Buffy was to weak, worn and hurt to move but Willow hadn't even gotten into this bout yet.
A familiar figure flew out of the dark, slicing Toorima's hand off. "You despicable witch. I'll kill you for that!" Toorima yelled to the shadow, Faith scrambling away to catch her breath. Mel flew out of a nearby tree, pouncing onto Toorima. Mel had followed Toorima after Faith had come back and asked where Buffy and Willow were.
The two forms rolled around several times before Mel was flung off by a ray of dark energy. Mel got up, vision blurred. She blindly attacked Toorima, the blast knocking the demon back. Once Toorima regained her composure she attacked again, this time from behind Mel. Now she had her by the neck, squeezing.
Toorima look toward Willow, facing her. "This is pretty much how it went with your werewolf, except he didn't squirm," Toorima laughed.
Willow looked like she was ready to break down crying.
"Don't crack Willow," Buffy whispered. Willow didn't crack, she shattered. Willow felt anger flood through her body, pulsing though her veins. "Not again bitch!" Willow yelled. Then she saw it.
The broach lay so innocently at the demons side. Willow leap onto the demon, causing Mel to go flying a few feet. Toorima laughed until she realized what had happened. Willow got up and backed away.
"Where'd it go!" The demon screamed.
"Looking for this?" Willow growled, holding up the broach. At that point the demon showed fear, not in words but in her eyes. Willow slowly crushed it in the palm of her hand, Toorima screaming and cursing to the last. Willow fell to her knees.
Both slayers used all of their energy to get up and walk over to Willow.
"You ready to go home Will," Buffy asked softly. Willow nodded. Mel limped toward the group. Faith helped Willow up and they headed to the Wiccan's house for some down time. They needed it.
Letting Him Go
It had been three weeks since Oz had died. Willow had finally stopped crying herself to sleep and everybody else was dealing with it in their own ways. The paper had said it was a suicide but those in the Scooby Gang knew better.
Sunnydale had been relevantly quiet those past few weeks. There was a meeting that night, and everybody had to attend. It was about a new type of demon. Willow was still tender with the subject of Oz but she was slowly recovering. She'd been spending more time with Faith trying to "loosen up".
Willow walked briskly into the library where Giles met her and took her to the others. "What exactly are we up against?" Buffy demanded softly.
"They're shape-shifters. They prey on loss and remorse. The book term is Bakeru. They were part of a satanic clan. When the said an incantation wrong they became what the are now," Giles explained.
"So we have a bunch of sorrow snatchers after us?" Faith retorted.
"Well, yes but they are very dangerous. They way to kill them is the jewel in the middle of their forehead," Giles cautioned.
Patrolling had been easy for a couple of week so Willow had gone with the slayers to dust the vamps that crossed their path. But tonight was different. The atmosphere was more fierce and cold.
After dusting a few vamps the girls headed back to the library. "Buffy, we have very ugly company," Willow muttered as three big, ugly demons surrounded them.
Faith and Buffy fearlessly attacked, beating the tar our of the demons. But they kept coming back. Willow noticed a sapphire jewel on their foreheads.
"Go for the forehead," Willow yelled, slamming her fist onto the ugly monsters jewel. The monster vanished into dust, Willow clutching her hand.
Both slayers followed the witch's method, the other two demons dusting as the first had. "Remind me not to punch anything anymore," Willow winced with a weak smile. Both slayers couldn't help but laugh.
The next night was pretty must the same as the last but there was one thing that was different. When the slayers had been fighting off some more demons Willow had noticed a silhouette. It looked vaguely familiar. She followed it silently into the dark.
"Willow?" the familiar voice said softly.
" O-Oz," Willow whispered.
"What? You look like you've seen a ghost," he answered.
Willow drew closer. It was him. She hugged him tightly, sobbing softly. He smirked evilly. He flung her off. "Now I can steal your pain, and your soul," he laughed.
Willow recovered her composure as Buffy ran up beside her.
"Will, you ok?" Buffy asked quickly, eyeing the demon.
"Buffy, let me handle this one," Willow said softly as she stood and wiped her tears away. "You want my soul, come and get it," the hacker bellowed.
The demon dove at her. Bad move. Willow rushed forward. Her soft palm collided with the demons jewel, sending dust everywhere. Willow rubbed her palm gently. "That's what you get you bastard," Willow growled under her breath.
Willow turned to see a very shocked Buffy. "Buffy?" Willow said softly. Willow turned around to see Oz standing before her.
"Shhh, you don't have to say anything Will. I was allowed to come here and see you one last time. Listen, don't cry for me. I've seen what would have happened if things would have gone "right" Will, and it wasn't pretty. I hurt you, really bad Will. You have to move on. Your true love awaits. I met mine, please don't be mad," Oz said softly.
"I'm not mad, Oz, I just miss you. We all do," Willow said softly, a small smile on her lips. "Since you've found that special girl, be with her. We'll always miss you," Willow whispered.
"I know," he said, his gaze now on Buffy. "Buffy, it wasn't your fault. They wanted it that way. You couldn't have saved me. Forgive yourself Buff, I have," and with that he faded into the night, leaving behind two very confused ladies.
Faith came galloping up. "B? Red? You two ok?" Faith asked, her voice hinting a little concern.
"Yeah," Willow answered, helping Buffy to her feet. They all smiled and headed to the library where Giles and the others waited.
"So, did anything interesting happen while dusting vamps?" Xander questioned anxiously.
"Um. . ." Buffy didn't know what to say. For once she was speechless.
"Not really. Ran into some trouble before we got here but everything else was normal," Willow fibbed, her smile telling Buffy the secret was between them. The rest of the gang would be told eventually but not tonight.
The brief meeting ended, Xander and Anya going along their way. "Hey, what do you guys say we make a girls night of it. The night is young," Buffy suggested.
"Girls night? Never been to one of those. I guess I could give it a try. Couldn't hurt, right?" Faith chuckled. Mel slowly departed from the group with a smile.
"Hey, where do you think you're going? It's not like you have anything else to do," Willow shouted to the newest member of the Scooby gang.
"Ok, ok, I'll go," Mel teased. They all walked to Buffy's house, chattering all the way there.
They had a normal girls night. Hot chocolate with little marshmallows, makeovers, jokes and finally sleep. They all passed out in Buffy's room, on the floor.
Death of a Saint
Willow sat in her room, silently flipping through the newest addition of PC Accelerator when she heard the front door slam shut. She closed the magazine and set it aside before heading downstairs to greet her parents.
"Hey," she greeted cheerily. The gloomy looks that met her were not a good sign. Something was wrong. "What's wrong?" she inquired, her voice now critical.
"Your grandma's in the hospital. She was attacked last night and is in critical condition," her mother answered, fighting tears.
"We came home to pick you up because she wants you to be there," her father added.
"It she gonna be ok?" Willow pouted, grabbing her jacket as they headed to the car.
"I don't know."
"Nana, it's me, Willow."
"Willow? Come sit next to nana," the old woman whispered hoarsely.
Willow took a seat next to the bed and clasped her grandma's hand. This couldn't be happening, not now.
"Oh, my little Willow, don't be sad. My time has come and the angels are calling. They're coming for me child, to carry me home. I wanted to see your face one more time before I go and I need to tell you something. When I was young my mama gave me a book, a diary that belonged to her mother's great grandma. She said I would know who to give it to when the time came and I know by what I've read that it belongs to you. Here sweet child, take it," the feeble woman whispered, holding out a large black book.
Willow took it and whispered softly, "thank you nana, but why do you have to go? I mean. . ." She was silenced by a slender digit pressing to her lips.
"The circle of life my Willow. Take care of your mama for me child and I will be watching over you," the woman whispered before closing her eyes and taking her last breath.
Willow felt the hand in hers go limp. "Nana?" she whispered as tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks. Her parents came into the room and she began to cry. Taking the book she stepped out of the room. The world seemed so cruel and twisted. First Oz and now her nana, the only person she'd ever trusted indefinitely and loved so deeply. When her parents hadn't been around her nana had and she had grown so close to her but now she was gone.
Willow ran out of the hospital as fast as she could. She ran as fast as she could. She passed the park she use to go to when she was little. It was so full of memories that she couldn't bear looking at it. She ran to the only place she felt safe. It was a couple miles from her old elementary and surprisingly it was still there. She pushed the bushes aside and crawled into the small passage near the railroad tracks. With tear stained cheeks she made her way up the old tree house she'd built with her grandma.
They'd built it when her father was off in some foreign country. It was her secret place where she use to go when she was scared, angry or just wanted to be alone. She'd stopped going there when she started high school. She had told herself she was "too old" to have a secret hiding place. Now she had far more worries than she'd ever imagined and all she wanted to do was return to the times when she was little and the only thing that mattered was eating your vegetables and being a good girl. What ever happened to those days?
She picked up the old match book and lit the white candle with a half smile. The last time she'd come here was when she'd run away in the 8th grade because she had a fight with Xander. Everything was still there. The matches, the pillow, the blanket, the playing cards and the old radio. She laid down, turning the radio on with the volume just high enough for her to hear.
"When the night has come, and the land is dark. And the moon is the only light we'll see. No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid. Just as long as you stand, stand by me," the radio sang softly.
Willow cried softly onto her pillow. Her nana had always loved that song. She turned the radio off and cried herself to sleep.
"Will's missing? Ok, I'll look for her," Buffy whispered into the phone before hanging up. This wasn't good. It was dark, the moon was full and Willow was missing. At hearing those words Buffy had become frantic. She was pacing in her living room, trying like crazy not to break down.
Faith was in the next room, unaware of the whole situation. Buffy knew how close Willow was to her grandma and that was the major reason the slayer was nearly having a mental breakdown. She didn't want to lay the burden of finding Willow on Faith but she had to find her.
Buffy gripped the phone then dialed quickly.
"Hello?" the voice on the other end answered.
"Hi Giles. I need your help. We need to have a meeting."
Faith walked silently through the brush, her eyes scanning all of her surroundings carefully. She'd been given the ghetto side of town, the place nobody really wanted to be after dark but she was a big girl and could take care of herself. She didn't know why in the world Red would be in this neighborhood but it was worth a shot. She walked a few inches toward the railroad track when something caught her eye. It was a low flickering light well hidden by the bushes and the dark oak tree house and to the naked eye wouldn't have been visible to just and human but to the slayer it was a sign.
Faith crept past the bushes and followed the path to the tree house. She gently pushed the door open, waking the sleeping redhead. Willow looked up, her bloodshot eyes begging the slayer to turn around and pretend she'd never seen her but Faith couldn't do that. Instead she sat beside the Wiccan and whispered softly, "we were worried Red."
"I'm sorry. Why are you here? Did Buffy send you?" the waking Wiccan demanded.
"Easy Red. We started a search party and I got this part of town. When I saw the light I followed it hopin to find you."
"Now that you've found me you can go back and tell them I'm alright."
"They don't need me but you look like you do. You wanna talk about it?"
They looked at each other for a moment then Willow broke down. "My grandma just died," the witch sobbed.
Faith took the sobbing girl into her arms, stroking her hair gently as she whispered in a soothing tone, "It's gonna be ok Red." Faith didn't quiet know what to do but doing and saying what her instincts were screaming for her to do seemed to be working.
Willow snuggled close to the slayer, holding her tight. Faith was the only one she had right now and that didn't seem to even faze her. She liked the feeling of the slayers warm, strong arms around her, her soft soothing voice in her ear. It was so comforting yet strange. She'd never known Faith was so gentle, so caring.
"Red, I'm gonna go call B and tell her you're ok," the slayer whispered, pulling away gently.
"Faith, please don't leave," Willow instinctively whispered, pulling the confused slayer close once more.
"Ok Red, I won't go. Tell me about you grandma? Was she a nice lady?"
Buffy looked at her watch. It wasn't like Faith to be late, at least not half an hour late. She finally raised her eyes to the others. "I know she's with Faith. If they're together then Will's safe. We'd better get some sleep." The others agreed with a nod and they went their separate ways.
Buffy had this feeling that Willow was safe and that Faith was with her. Some part of her wanted to look for them but the other, more superior, side of her was rushing her to bed. She needed sleep, they all did.
Morning arrived, the sun shining in on the sleeping couple. They had talked until they both could barely keep their eyes open. They'd fallen asleep with the blanket over them, Faith's head on the pillow. Willow's arms were tightly wound around Faith's waist, her head on the slayers shoulder.
Willow was the first to wake, her emerald eyes sleepily opening. She took a moment to gaze at the peaceful, almost innocent look Faith bore. She looked so sweet, so content, so harmless. Now that was debatable. Willow smiled to herself then whispered in the slayers ear, "rise and shine."
Normally Faith would have crucified anyone who dared to disturb her slumber but for some reason she didn't have the heart to do more than smirk at the other woman. "Feelin better," she yawned.
Willow sighed then looked into Faith's eyes. "I'll live."
"That's good to know."
"Faith, about last night. . ."
"Red, it's ok."
Willow pressed her lips to Faith's cheek. "Thank you."
Buffy and the others waited in front of the Summer's residence impatiently. "She said and hour," Buffy mumbled.
Faith and Willow appeared in the sunset approaching the small group of people. Willow's parents were the first to give their daughter a hug and tell her that they missed her and to never run away like that again. Willow looked at the Scoobs and smiled. Buffy was the first to step forward.
"Will, you really had us worried."
"If Faith hadn't been there I probably wouldn't have come back."
Buffy hugged her best friend, her eyes searching for the dark slayer. She'd vanished. "Speaking of Faith, where'd she run off to?"
Willow grinned. "She probably went back to her hotel room. After spending the night hearing me babble and sob I'm sure she needs some peace and quiet."
They all had a laugh before going into Buffy's house for some tea.
They ran through thick blankets of silver which seemed to sparkle in the moonlight. Their bodies danced with fear as they frolicked through the woodland, death nipping at their heels.
“Kill the WITCH! Kill the SLAYER!” turbulent, frost bitten voices howled into the night sky like the crying of a wolf to its pack.
They panted, clouds of smoky white escaping their mouths. They entered a small building which smelt sour with pipe tobacco and ale. A small man with a ghost white full beard stood upon the chair, meeting one of their gazes. “May I help ye lass?”
“Y-Yes sir. Room for two,” a delicate voice whispered like an angel into ones ear. She shook away her hood, strands of silken black falling past her shoulders. Her cream soda colored eyes rested on his as a smile graced her pomegranate lips.
“Ai lass, room in the far back. And don’t you worry bout them. I ain’t seen no lass’ round here fer days ye see,” his gruff, Irish voice assured warmly.
“Thank you kind sir,” she replied, her slender fingers entwining with her companions. They hurried down the creaking hall and into the room. Without another peep they fastened the door shut and pulled the curtains together.
Her companion wondered to the bed, sitting on it softly. “Will we run forever?” a faint, worried voice whispered like a light breeze.
“Tis only for the night. Sunrise is when we claim our freedom sweet girl. My sweet Willow,” the raven haired woman purred, spinning around to meet her lover’s gaze.
Willow sat up out of bed, panting frantically. She knew that woman. She knew that face. But each moment that passed stole yet another glimpse of her. Once her heart calmed she sighed in frustration. “Third night in a row,” she murmured before cozying up to her pillows again to get some more sleep.
Not being able to get back to sleep, she clicked the light on and searched for something to read. The first thing that caught her eye was the book her grandmother had given her. She pulled the book out from under her bed and sat back to read it. As she opened it the book crackled like one of Giles’ magik books in his office at the school. Gently turning the pages she realized it wasn’t written in modern English. It didn’t even look similar. This was older than English, older than any language she’d seen before. She sighed, deciding to let Giles do all the deciphering. It had to mean something, right?
The next morning. . .
Willow yawned wildly as she rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. After changing, she headed downstairs where she smelt a very fragrant aroma. Wondering tiredly into the kitchen her brows shot up in shock at the sight before her.
“Morning Wills! Hope you don’t mind scrambled,” the blonde slayer greeted as Faith flipped the pancakes.
“Ok, this is THE weirdest dream I have EVER had,” Willow murmured, turning around to go back to bed in the hope that this hallucination was gone when she woke the second time.
The Slayers chuckled as Buffy pulled Willow back into the kitchen. “Your dad let us in before he left. We had some time to kill and All My Children was already off so we decided to make breakfast,” she explained.
“Told ya it would wake her up B,” Faith teased, licking her lips as she stared at a stack of pancakes.
Willow was still a little disoriented from her dream and finding her friends there but she sat with them anyway. Buffy set the rest of the meal in the center of the table and sat next to her best friend. After a moment of sipping coffee and some needed silence the hacker perked up. “So, what are we doing today? Before the girls night I mean,” the witch chirped, taking a little bit of food from each big plate.
After Willow had helped herself the Slayers divided the remaining food and began digging in. They’d burn it off before dinner anyway. Buffy sighed, avoiding Willow’s gaze. “Bad news Will. Mom wants me home after patrolling tonight and Anya cancelled. Faith’s still free though,” Buffy offered sadly.
There was an awkward silence before Faith stopped eating long enough to speak. “Actually B, I’m probably gonna chill tonight. Maybe we can all hang tomorrow if your mom’s cool with it.”
Buffy nodded. “Great idea. Hey Will, we were gonna train in the park before sun down if you wanted to come with,” she offered apologetically.
An hour later in the park. . .
Resting on the chilled stone, her eyes remained on the two forms before her. Their bodies were agile yet fierce. Every breath they took caused her heart to race faster. They danced quickly, twirling and flipping about like silk fluttering in a harsh wind. Skin clashed, so hard you could almost hear the bones grinding on contact. Both parties back flipped to safety, each circling the other hungrily. Again they moved in, scrapping like a couple of wild wolves. To each punch came a duck, side step and occasionally a leg sweep. With each kick the other countered with a block, jump or even a hold. One made contact, her fist penetrating the other’s defenses and wounding the soft flesh of the girl’s stomach. In turn she fell to the ground shortly after receiving an elbow to the back of her neck. They lay in silence, panting and cursing under their breath.
“Are you guys ok?” a meek, mousy voice murmured.
Both forms leapt to their feet and stared at the girl. They nodded, unable to speak. The girl studied the brunette. Her raven mane stuck greedily to her reddened cheeks as chocolate eyes remained shut tight. Her lips were parted as she huffed wildly to catch her breath. Her chest heaved, pert buttons of flesh solid as pebbles beneath her shirt. Beads of liquid lust crept down her face and arms, carelessly falling against the tight red shirt that seemed to be painted onto the Slayer’s finely chiseled structure. Her rippling abs were outlined perfectly, the motion of her breathing sending chills through her onlooker.
“Will, you ok?” a voice that seemed so far away asked worriedly.
The witch met her best friend’s subtle sapphire gaze and nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. I was just thinking it might be kinda bad if you and Faith had to shower in the same house. I mean, I know she’s living with you but you guys have to patrol soon and I was thinking one of you could shower at my house since nobody’s ever home. That probably sounded a little gay and I didn’t mean it to but it came out that way and I just think it might save you both some time. Ya know?”
Buffy let out a soft chuckle. “I get ya Wills. Well, Miss Prepared always carries a spare set of clothes so you’re stuck with her, if that’s ok. . .”
“That’s fine. If she doesn’t mind. I wouldn’t want it to be awkward or weird and stuff. . .”
Faith stopped the redhead before the babble could take over. “Chill out Red, it’s cool. We better hit the road. See you in an hour and a half B.”
“Later guys,” the blonde replied as she went the opposite direction.
Ten minutes later at Wills house. . .
The redhead raised her eyes toward the hallway. She slowly approached, hoping the brunette was alright. Seeing the Slayer’s head sticking out of the bathroom she smiled. “Yeah?”
“Uh, I forgot my clothes in my bag. Could you grab um for me?” Faith replied bluntly.
“Sure. I’ll knock before I come in,” the witch decided, heading into her room to get the clothes.
She returned shortly and tapped on the door. Hearing a low “come in” she snuck in, closing the door quickly behind her. Turning around, she held the clothes out. Faith fidgeted with her towel as she reached for the clothes. Once she had the clothes her towel slipped off and onto the floor. Willow tuned away, her cheeks bright red as she tried not to stare. Her body turned traitor, her heart racing as she imagined Faith against her body.
“Hey Red, you ok?” the Slayer jeered in a joking tone.
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine,” Willow rattled nervously as she opened the door and slipped out.
Retreating to her room, she sprawled out on the bed and lost herself in thought. She really liked Faith as a person and she’d notice the physical attraction during training. The only problem now was figuring out how Faith felt. She knew from previous experience that the renegade Slayer wasn’t much into sharing her feelings and that was her road block. She wanted something more than friendship but she was afraid. She was afraid Faith would totally block her out and that was the last thing she wanted. She knew it wasn’t love just yet but she was falling, hard.
A few minutes later. . .
The raven haired Slayer checked her appearance for the millionth time then nodded an approval. This wasn’t like her. She was making sure she looked sexy and for what? She knew why. It was for Willow. She wanted the girl to see her but she wasn’t sure why. They were close but still she wanted just a little bit more. She didn’t want to rush the girl or make her uncomfortable. After all, she didn’t want their friendship to suffer if her hopes were too high. She knew they connected, that wasn’t a the problem. The problem was communication. She got jumpy every time she had to talk to Willow and they weren’t alone. She wasn’t use to that. Opening the door, she walked down the hall and peeked into Willow’s room. “Hey, thanks for letting me shower here. B’s expecting me but I’ll catch you later, k Red?”
Willow nodded nervously, “later.”
Later in Giles’ office. . .
He smiled warmly, pouring a cup of steaming comfort. Setting the mug on the table, he was about to start reading when he heard a light tap on his door. Raising a brow he slowly approached the door. Peeking out the window his heart jumped as a worried frown took its place on his lips. “Willow? Is everything alright? Is something wrong with Buffy?”
The hacker blushed and shook her head. “This isn’t about Buffy. As far as I know she’s fine.”
His heart and features settled as he offered her a seat. “Would you like some tea?”
“So, what bring you here this late in the evening?” his concerned voice coaxed.
“This,” she replied, pulling out her nana’s black book.
“What’s that?” he pondered as she handed it to him.
“I was wondering if you could tell me what it says. My grandma gave it to me but I don’t know the language. I’m just curious,” she explained naively .
“Since there doesn’t seem to be any remote threats at the moment I’ll see what I can translate. I’ll contact you when I’ve found something,” he agreed.
Her body quivered as she tossed and turned. Suddenly she rose, dark eyes struck with fear. With the speed of a cheetah she leapt out the window and into the dark night.
Meanwhile. . .
She lay in a sound sleep, her muscles at ease though her mind remained alert. She could feel something slithering about in the dark and stirred slightly. She didn’t move, in fear of what the creature would do if she did. She was not strong enough to face it nor did she know why it had come to her.
Her attention shifted as she heard another creature leap through the window. The darkness cloaked them both but she heard their quarrel begin. They moved almost silently, circling each other with caution. When a fight ensued all that could be heard was panting, growls of frustration and whimpers of pain.
After several minutes a howl of pain filled the air. The creature panicked, jumping out the open window. The girl sat up in bed, wondering what had happened. Realizing the threat was gone she clicked the light beside her bed on. There was so much blood. She couldn’t see where it had come from but it was splattered all over her shirt and her sheets. Peeking over the edge of her bed, her eyes grew large with fear. In a river of red rested an angel, her porcelain skin tattered and stained a deep crimson. The girl threw herself on the floor beside the form. “F-F-Faith?”
“Hey Red,” the bleeding Slayer choked.
“Shhhh, don’t talk. Let me fix you up, ok?” the witch pled, meeting the Slayer’s gaze.
“Sure thing,” the brunette wheezed, clutching her side.
Willow examined the wound and frowned. She went into the bathroom, washed her hands then grabbed a book from under her bed. “This should help. Just relax, ok?”
The Slayer nodded as the redhead prepared for her spell. The witch wasn’t very sure of herself, or her powers but if she didn’t heal Faith she would die. Even with her Slayer healing she’d already lost too much blood.
Willow sat on her bed and began chanting in Latin the best she could. The blood on the floor disappeared as the brunette began to glow a vibrant green. The witch continued chanting as she watched the girl’s wounds fade away. As the last scratch vanished the witch fell forward, weakly tumbling off of her bed and onto the floor.
As soon as she could move Faith caught Willow, making sure she didn’t hurt herself on the way down. Touching the witch’s cheek, she whispered worriedly, “Red, you ok?”
Willow managed to meet the Slayer’s gaze and smiled tiredly. “I just need some rest. Spells like that really drain you.”
“I bet,” Faith whispered, attempting to stand. After wobbling a bit she stood firm and held her hand out to Willow.
The redhead took the offered hand, pulling herself up. “Why don’t you get comfy. I’ll call Giles and tell him what happened,” she breathed tiredly.
The Slayer met the witch’s gaze and asked softly, “so you think I should stay here?”
Willow looked as if she’d just been stabbed in the back. She pouted cutely as babble Will took her voice. “Yeah! I mean, what if that thing comes back? What if it comes after me again? What if it rips me apart and nobody’s here to help and. . .”
Faith placed one slender digit on the girl’s lips with a smile. “Don’t worry Red. I’m not gonna let anything hurt you,” she murmured tenderly.
Willow blushed, ducking her head. “I better call Giles. Feel free to rest on my bed. I’ll be right back.”
Faith got comfortable on the bed as she watched the hacker stumble over to the phone. For the first time, since she could remember, she smiled. Not her usual fake smile but a warm, genuine, caring smile. This was starting to worry her. As she watched the redhead twirl the phone cord nervously she realized something that scared her. She cared about Willow and she would do anything to keep her safe. She’d never really felt that way about anyone before and she wasn’t sure she wanted to tell the hacker how she felt.
Willow nodded and hung up the phone. Walking over to her bed, she sat beside the brunette. “He said we’ll talk about it tomorrow.”
Faith nodded, sitting up. “So where am I crashin?”
The redhead furrowed her brows. As if the Slayer had to ask. “We can share my bed, I don’t mind. I’ll warn you though. I hog the covers.”
Faith snickered. “And I’m hot blooded so we’re five by five.”
After they settled under the covers they both fell silent, though still awake. Willow rolled over, meeting soft chocolate eyes. For some reason she instinctively brushed a stray lock from the brunette’s face. She wanted to kiss her but she knew better. Faith would probably hurt her for trying. Instead she whispered softly, “can you do me a favor?”
Faith felt the heat and tension rising between them and within her but curiosity got the best of her. “Sure, what’s the favor?”
The hacker blushed shyly, murmuring barely above a whisper, “I know this probably sounds really childish but would you hold me? Tonight’s been a little much for me, on top of everything else and I dunno, I just feel safe with you. That probably sounded like a come on. I didn’t mean it that way it’s just, you’ve been here when I needed somebody and. . .”
Again the Slayer placed her finger over the witch’s lips. “You ain’t gotta explain Red. Things are rough and you’re tryin to deal but you can’t do it alone. I respect you for askin and I’m glad you trust me enough to let me help.”
Willow’s face lit up as she cuddled close to the Slayer. Faith wrapped an arm around the redhead and sighed deeply. This felt so good, so right but it still scared the hell outta her. Maybe she’d talk to Buffy about it tomorrow.
The next day. . .
“Hey Old English! What’s up?”
The Watcher met the girl’s eyes and smiled. “Hello Faith. How are you feeling?”
“Five by five,” the brunette chirped energetically.
“Good. Can you tell me what the demon looked like?” he questioned with concern.
“Not really. It was kinda dark. I know it had claws and it was built kinda like a human. No scales or anything. But that’s all I got,” she replied as the others entered the library.
“So why’s it targeting Will?” Buffy inquired as she sat with her friends at the table.
“I’m not quite sure. Until I am I’ll need somebody at home with her,” he replied.
Buffy let out an aggravated growl. “Mom the warden wants me home. She says I’ve been out too much lately and she wants bonding time.”
“Sounds like fun. I’d do it but I don’t think her parents would be too thrilled with us having a sleepover now that we’re in high school,” Xander joked, knowing most of that was true.
“I wouldn’t mind hangin out. So what makes you so sure they won’t go after Red while she’s here?” Faith questioned.
“Demons, no matter how arrogant, wouldn’t attack her at school. It would risk exposure and a confrontation with the Slayers. It would be unnecessary. They know where Willow lives and they will go after her there,” he explained while cleaning his glasses.
“Then they’ll have a surprise waitin for um,” the raven locked Slayer fumed.
“Be careful. I’ll call if I discover anything,” he called as Faith, Willow and Xander headed out.
He pulled the blonde Slayer aside and whispered softly, “Buffy, would you see if Angel has any information. I fear this confrontation wasn’t a coincidence.”
“Sure. I’ll see you later,” she agreed before running after her friends.
That night. . .
Darkness was her companion as she stared listlessly at the street below. Her breathing was nearly silent as she scanned her lifeless surroundings. Then she heard a soft whisper from behind that shattered her concentration. “Huh?”
“I said do you want some hot chocolate?” the voice repeated.
“Thought your were gonna crash?” she replied hesitantly.
“I can’t sleep. So, will you join me?” the other replied.
Moments later they sat sipping cocoa in utter silence. Their cups became empty, their bodies warmed by the drink and their companion. The redhead brushed her thumb over the other girl’s lips, removing the left over chocolate. The brunette felt warmth consume her very soul and at that moment she knew. This was something so alien to her but she wanted it more than life itself. She leaned closer, her plush lips capturing those of the other girl. They succumb to each fleeting emotion, temptation tentatively captivating them.
As the Slayer retreated she realized the hacker seemed to be waiting. For what she was unsure. Their eyes met as she whispered softly, “Red, I’m sorry.”
The redhead stared blankly as if she didn’t understand those words. “Why? I mean, don’t be.”
“Maybe I should go,” the brunette hushed, standing to leave.
Willow became bold for a moment, pulling the Slayer onto her bed. “I don’t think you understand what I’m saying. I liked it . . . I like you. Don’t ask me the why or how because I’m still trying to figure those out. What I do know is that I care about you, as more than just a friend. Besides, Buffy would kick your ass if she found out you left me here alone when my life’s in danger.”
“Red, you know I wouldn’t let anything hurt you. I been thinkin allot. Bout you, me, us. When I held you that night in the tree house I felt things I’ve never felt before. I don’t wanna hurt you,” she admitted, sounding wounded and hopeless. Faith bowed her head. She wanted to be with this girl but she didn’t trust herself. She didn’t know if she could let Will in.
The witch smiled softly. “I won’t hurt you Faith and I know you won’t hurt me. Don’t run away from what you feel. I know things were bad for you before but I’m not like all those fucks. I like you for who you are, not who I want you to be. All you have to do is let me in.”
“I don’t know if I can. I like you but I’m not good at this whole feeling thing. When I care about somebody they die. I don’t want you to die. You mean too much,” Faith whispered, losing her cool. She was actually petrified, which was the cause of her rampant emotions.
“Faith, I know it’s gonna take some time but I’m not going anywhere. Buffy and the gang wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not asking you to marry me, I’m asking you to be with me. There’s no rush so think about it. I’ll still be here. Now lay down, we need some down time,” the redhead coaxed. They both needed time to sort things out in their minds and a good nights sleep couldn’t do any harm.
Faith fell victim to the idea of sleep though she knew it would not come easily. She rested her head on the pillow and almost instantly her eyes drifted shut. She then felt slender arms wrap around her waist and her body tensed.
“Goodnight Faith,” Willow’s innocent voice murmured as she rested her head on the Slayer’s back.
“Night,” Faith replied, easing a bit. The feeling of Willow pressed against her back caused her to relax. This felt so safe but she was aware of her surroundings and she didn’t want either of them to make any mistakes. She wasn’t sure how Buffy and the others would take this and she didn’t want to find out. Deciding she would think it over more in the morning she took a deep breath and tried to get some sleep.
Their eyes met, each searching but never finding what they needed. Soon they fell, their lips meeting almost naively. In the darkness betrayal consumed the sight. Its victim turned, silent with anger as it vanished. His chilled hand caressed her cheek and she pulled away. “Angel, we have to stop doing this.”
“Maybe you should go.”
“I was thinking about that. I’m leaving after graduation.”
Meanwhile at Willow’s house. . .
Her heavy lids drifted open as sunlight beckoned. Stirring quietly, she realized her arm was numb and there was an unfamiliar heat against her. Her tired gaze lazily moved down, stopping when she saw gorgeous red locks. She smiled, something she really wasn’t use to. She ran her slender fingers through it, kissing the girl’s forehead to wake her.
The witch sighed, meeting the other girl’s eyes. Kissing her gently, she thanked the Gods it wasn’t all a dream. “Morning.”
“Yeah,” the Slayer grumbled with a pout. She still wanted to sleep.
Willow nuzzled to the brunette’s neck, purring softly. “I wish every morning could start like this. I love your arms around me.”
Faith kissed the witch softly then nodded. “I like this Red. So does this mean you’re my girl?”
The hacker nodded with a slight laugh. She hadn’t thought of it that way. “Yup, and you’re my girl. Can we hold off on telling Buffy though? She might get all wigged out and that wouldn’t be good. And the others, oh that wouldn’t be pretty. I mean, I don’t think Anya would be shocked but Xander and Giles. . .”
The Slayer captured the witch’s lips, sucking on them deeply. Pulling away, she whispered sweetly, “you were babbling again Red.”
“Was I? Glad you’re here to stop me,” she mewed, snuggling closer.
“I think I’m gonna shower before we meet B,” Faith yawned, stretching her arms and legs like a cat.
“Great idea. You shower, I’ll make coffee. You can watch TV while I shower, ok?”
“Five by five.”
An hour later. . .
Humming softly, she paused before entering the living room. Her lover was sprawled out on the couch watching Lifetime Movie Network? ‘Now what’s wrong with this picture?’ she thought.
Faith sensed the girl’s presence, flipping the channel back to the football game. Willow let out a soft chuckle. She thought it was cute. Just as she was about to say something the phone rang. Grumbling, she picked it up and greeted kindly, “hello?”
“Oh, hey Buffy. What’s up?”
“Just called to tell you Giles wants us to meet up with him at nine sharp, front of the school,” the blonde instructed.
“We’ll be there. Talk to you later.” She looked over at the brunette and smiled. Walking over to the couch, she mused innocently, “miss me?”
The Slayer grinned, pulling the redhead onto her lap. Wrapping her arms around the girl’s waist, she purred, “always. What’d B have to say?”
“We have to meet Giles in front of the school at nine,” the witch mewed, nuzzling to the brunette’s neck.
“That’s a long time to sit around. Got any ideas on what we could do?”
“We could go to the fair. It’s wrist band day and they have the best cotton candy I’ve ever had,” Willow breathed, kissing behind Faith’s ear.
“Sure, I ain’t ever been to a fair,” she replied sadly.
“Really? Then I guess I’ll just have to take you on every ride and play every game. It’s fun,” the redhead comforted, grabbing her bag.
“How much does it cost?” she sighed, trying not to rain on the parade.
The hacker shook her head and grabbed her girl by the hand. Dragging her out the door, she replied sternly, “it’s on me.”
“So how we gettin there?” Faith asked, following slowly.
“It’s not too far. We can walk it,” the witch concluded.
Half an hour later. . .
She grumbled impatiently, dragging the brunette along as the never ending line from hell shrunk immensely. At last they had arrived at the ticket counter. Willow took out the money and exchanged it for two tape-like wrist bands. After putting hers on she slid the other onto her girlfriend’s wrist. She pulled her into a hug and smiled shyly. “C’mon, lets go have some fun. Let the real world go for now. It’s a different place in there.”
Faith nodded, whispering snidely, “I just hope it’s not the wonderful world of Disney.”
Willow giggled then led the way in. As they marched past the gates and onto the fair grounds Faith stopped. So many lights and screaming people. She’d never seen anyone scream because they were happy. Her eyes jumped from ride to ride, now wide with curiosity. She could feel that child within creep up. She’d never had the chance to be a kid but now this wonderful angel of hers was making it possible. Maybe she didn’t know how much this really meant to her but she would in time. Staring into the distance at the main attraction, her awe stricken voice sighed, “wow.”
Willow could see the unburdened glee in the Slayer’s eyes. She’d never seen that before. Kissing the brunette’s hand, she purred, “and it’s all yours. All of the games, food and rides you can take. Just take me away with you.”
Faith was still in shock but she heard those words clearly. “Of course gorgeous, you’re what makes this place so magical.”
Five hours later. . .
They stumbled off the last ride, dizzy with adrenaline. Faith spotted a dart game and dragged Willow over to it. “You pay for the darts and I’ll getcha whatever you want Red. This is my game. I’ve played it since I was four.”
Willow smiled. “I buy ten darts. You can pick out what you wanna win me. I’ll be right next door, ok sweetie?” she whispered, sliding the money to the guy running the stand.
Faith nodded. “I’ll catch you in a bit.”
As Willow wondered to the next stand Faith cleared the first round easily. He handed her three more darts which she threw with precision. She was a pro at this. Handing her the last one he smiled. “Get this one and you get the biggest prize.”
“Really, and what’s that?” she mused, taking her aim. She saw him point to the animal at the top though she couldn’t see it very well. She steadied her eye and nailed the last balloon. He gave the signal and two men brought the stuffed life size black panther to the Slayer. She smiled and nodded a good evening as she walked toward the next shop.
She saw the redhead looking at something and decided to sneak up on her. Stopping behind her she purred teasingly, “BOO!”
Willow giggled, turning around. Her eyes widened as she saw the huge stuffed animal. “Did you win that?”
Faith puffed up with pride. “Sure did and it’s all yours. I figured your bed could use a bit more me on it.”
“That’s sweet Faith. I got something for you. I don’t know if you’ll like it or even wear it but I saw it and thought of you. If you don’t like it you can exchange it. . .”
The Slayer let out a brief laugh before kissing the girl. “Whatcha got for me Red?”
The hacker blushed, shoving a hand in her pocket. She fished out a small white gold band with small red and black jewels in it. Fiddling with it nervously, she stammered, “I-I-It’s a promise ring. I have one t-too. It’s a promise that whatever happens between us, we’ll always be friends.”
Faith looked at Willow’s left ring finger where she saw a gold band with white and green jewels. Smiling lovingly, she let her slide the ring on her left ring finger. It was not only a promise ring but a symbol that they both belonged to each other. She belonged to somebody and she liked it. She checked her watch and frowned. “I’m starved Red. How bout we eat then head to the school.”
“Sounds great. We can take the cotton candy to go. I’m getting some roasted corn, you want one?”
“Sure. Hey, you know the Slayer appetite so could I maybe get a turkey leg too?” she pled, her stomach growling an eager second opinion.
“That’s fine. Here, that line’s not too long so you can go get it really quick. Besides, they have drinks in that line so if you wouldn’t mind you could grab a couple drinks for us. I like Mountain Dew or Sprite,” she replied, handing her lover the required amount of money which allowed for tax.
“Cool. I like extra butter and tons of cheese.”
Moments later the met up at a picnic table and set all of the food down. As they ate a thought occurred to the witch. “Have you noticed anything different about Buffy lately?”
Faith nodded, finishing what she had in her mouth before she spoke. “You picked up on it too huh? She’s been acting a little out of it, like she’s got a problem she can’t figure out.”
“If she can’t work it out why doesn’t she talk to us. We are her friends,” Willow pouted.
“Sometimes it ain’t that easy. Maybe she’s got a secret and that’s what’s draggin her down. I could be totally wrong but that’s how I act in those situations,” she revealed, not meaning to. She couldn’t hide from Willow and it felt kinda weird.
As they finished all but the cotton candy, Willow grinned and whispered ever so sweetly, “we’ve still got a little time. Will you ride the Ferris Wheel with me?”
Faith’s left eye twitched. That was the only ride they hadn’t gone on and she really saw no point in it. She looked over at it for a moment, then back at her girlfriend. “Sure.”
They threw their trash away then walked over to the fairly short line for the ride. Within one round they ushered the two into a booth. The wheel began to rise, taking them to the heavens. There above the madness it all looked so perfect. The flickering bright lights, the laughing people. They felt like angels gliding cross the darkened sky. In this state of perfection the Slayer leaned in, capturing her angel’s lips. This time she didn’t stop there as she pressed her tongue against the girl’s plush, feathery lips. Willow allowed this, a gasp escaping her as that talented tongue teased her mouth.
As they began to descend the kiss broke and a moment of silence ensued. The brunette couldn’t face the girl. She’d moved too fast. Then she felt satin fingertips lift her head, piercing emeralds trapping her in a stare. “That felt good but no more than that for a little while, ok? I-I-I’m still a. . .”
Faith bit her bottom lip then kissed her again, only on the lips this time. “I’ll wait until it feels right for both of us. That’s somethin special Red and you need to be sure.”
“Thanks. . .for understanding,” the witch murmured, slightly embarrassed.
Soon after they got off the ride and headed out of the fair rounds. Upon exiting the laughter and dimming lights they found reality. A group of demons terrorizing innocent people. Could their timing have been any worse? They met the other’s gaze and nodded. This was their duty, and Faith’s curse. But they would still fight. They had to for if they didn’t so many would parish needlessly. Willow backed away, gathering her magiks as her companion did the ground work.
Faith dove in head first, plowing through them easily. She was convinced they had won until she saw even more surround them. The odds didn’t favor them.
And out of the night two others arose, their burden lain heavy and thick on their swords. Their blades were tempered with merciless rage but the need to save innocence was their master and guided them flawlessly. They joined the other two as the demons spread out. “And they say trouble doesn’t follow me,” Mel joked sarcastically, nudging one of her comrades.
“Yeah. So it looks like a slice and dice til Red can conjure somethin,” Faith responded, glad to have her friend alongside her.
“Wills, you think you can do this?” Buffy questioned honestly.
“Yup. My powers seem to be getting better. Just buy me some time and I’ll do my best,” the witch answered, excitement apparent in her tone.
Buffy handed the other Slayer a sword and they ventured out on their mission. The demons moved in and they Slayers slaughtered them like cattle. But for each one they killed, two more appeared. When they began to worry they were calmed by a dismal chant which dealt every demon within a hundred miles a one way ticket to hell. They all stared at the shimmering witch as she opened her emerald eyes and smiled. The flicker soon faded and she spoke. “ We should meet Giles soon. He might know something.”
An hour later. . .
“So, what did you find? It sounded major on the phone,” Buffy probed with a smile.
The Watcher sighed, cleaning his glasses before pulling out a large black book. Putting his glasses back on, he murmured, “it appears this book is the cause of tonight’s dispute.”
Willow paused. “Isn’t that my book?”
“Yes, indeed it is. At first I thought it was a mere spell book but then I began translating it. This is the oldest Book of Shadows I’ve ever encountered. It holds magiks older than even I have seen,” he explained.
“So what’re we gonna do with it?” Faith yawned, a little worn down from the fight.
“It would be best if we hid it in a very secure place with a protection. Somewhere the Council or any other evil can’t find it,” Mel proposed, receiving nods from the others.
“I’ve already secured an area. Unfortunately these demons will not cease until they have it,” Giles muttered, deep in thought.
“Or until they’re dead. I say we research tomorrow and see how to kill them. Then we make them extinct and everyone goes home happy,” Buffy suggested.
“Except for them,” Anya reasoned.
“I suppose that will work,” the Watched mumbled, sitting at his desk with a book.
The sound of someone clearing their throat caught everyone’s attention. She bowed her head, her eyes dismal and frozen. Mel’s voice was emotionless as she spoke. “I just wanted to thank all of you for some wonderful times. Your company was a refreshing change. Unfortunately I’ve worn out my welcome and I feel tonight would be the perfect time to tell you that I’m leaving Sunnydale, first thing in the morning.”
“Mel, you haven’t worn out your welcome. We love having you here,” Willow protested.
“I’m sorry Willow but I have. It’s time for me to go,” the girl responded almost warmly.
The blonde Slayer pouted, just enough to catch the girl’s attention. “Why?”
Bitter hazel pools penetrated the Slayer’s soul as Mel seethed lividly, “you should know. Have a nice life Little Miss Perfect.”
And with that their recently acquired friend was gone, leaving behind a very confused Buffy and a saddened witch.
Two days later. . .
Willow sighed as Faith sat next to her. They were all waiting for Giles to get out of a teacher’s meeting and it seemed to be longer than he’d anticipated. Her eyes focused on nothing as thoughts swam around in her head. Finally she spoke though she knew at least one in the room would be unsettled by her query, “I wonder how Mel’s doing.”
The raven haired Slayer patted the witch on the back. She too was worried but there was nothing they could do. Buffy refused to talk about it but everyone knew she was the reason the priestess had gone. Gently massaging the hacker’s back, she replied comfortingly, “don’t worry Red. Mel’s a big girl, she can hold her own.”
“If you’re so worried why don’t you ask Buffy why she left? She should know. I mean that’s what Mel said,” Anya pointed out angrily. She didn’t particularly care for the girl but she kept that Summer’s woman away from her Xander.
“An, honey, remember we talked about thinking before you speak. . .” the boy began to chide.
“Look, I don’t know why she left and I don’t know why she said I would know. The only thing I know right now is that she’s gone which means she can’t help us,” she blonde growled as Giles finally arrived.
“I apologize for my tardiness. The meting was extended and hour for a guest speaker. I’m glad you’re all here. I have some very important news,” he explained, putting down his things as he grabbed a book.
“So what’s the deal?” Faith whispered as a few students exited the library.
“To be perfectly honest, the demons have the book. We need to stop them but first we must figure out what they plan on doing with the book,” the Watcher informed.
“I stopped by to see Angel a few nights ago and he told me he’d keep me updated. He called last night and told me they want to summon greater demons. Now that they have the book they’ll wanna do it as soon as they can. We need to find out where,” Buffy responded, suddenly realizing what had driven Mel away.
“They’re gathering tonight at an abandon industrial plant. I heard about it on the demonic web board,” Willow added, already working on a ground map of the plant and how to get there.
“Greater demons? Greater demons are just really powerful puppets. They don’t function without a master,” Anya contributed, watching Willow hammer away at the keyboard.
“That may be true Anya but greater demons are very powerful, almost God-like. They’re even feared by the Council,” he contradicted.
“We need Mel,” Faith sighed, staring at Buffy.
“She knows a great deal of magiks. Perhaps she knows how to stop these demons,” Giles agreed.
She knew they were right but did Mel want to be found? “Ok, Faith, Xander, you guys search for Mel. The rest of us will stay here and work out a plan until you get back,” she instructed.
Sunset. . .
They walked in, heads drooping with failure. His voice was soaked in sorrow as he murmured, “sorry guys but we couldn’t find her anywhere.”
“Then we’ll have to do this without her,” Buffy replied coldly.
“Buffy, it’s a little risky,” Willow protested.
“She’s not here so we have to make it work,” the Slayer snapped.
“She might not be here but I am. Care if I help?” Angel mused as her stepped into the light.
An hour later. . .
The situation seemed to be under control as each member of their team fought their hardest. And suddenly it all changed. The Earth trembled as a dark form rose from the depths of hell. His eyes shimmered silver and garnet as he landed on the surface. His enormous arms struck fear with steel blades sticking out of the sides, his bulging muscles causing everyone, even Faith, to back away. He did as he was told, clearing the field with one fatal swoop of his arm. This sent Angel flying into a tree, knocking him out cold.
The other demons gathered behind this supreme being, allowing it to destroy everything in sight at their command. The Slayer’s and their allies gathered as well, staring at the demon in awe. “Who are you?” Buffy demanded.
The demon laughed, growling a reply, “Eliz, demon of silence. Now you will die!”
The Scoobies spread out, attacking in groups of two. Xander and Giles were the first to attack. Eliz sliced the younger man with the blades on his arm. Taking the sword from him, he stabbed through the Watcher’s shoulder. As Buffy approached, he sent a wave of debris at her, covering her with heavy chunks of metal. Then he focused on the power source he felt. She was a mere witch but she had to be terminated in order for him to survive. He sent his silence beam toward the redhead but found a dark haired girl in his way.
It struck her, leaving her there on her knees in pain. Willow hovered over the Slayer as the demon drew closer. Would they all be annihilated? And though she could do nothing, the blonde Slayer warned emptily, “stay away from them!”
Eliz laughed, reaching for the witch. Then he stopped, sensing a far more powerful presence. Looking up he met a dark figure who warned lividly, “Leave them alone.”
“An what will you do if I don’t?” he sneered, leaning closer to the two women.
Out of the darkness a form descended, screaming, “Hinogami slash!”
They heard the demon howl in pain as his arm fell from his body. There beside him stood a dark form with a glowing flame sword. Before the demon could breath once more, the form sliced the creature in half, releasing a cloud of smoke. Then the shadow parted the clan of demons, striking down the one who was attempting to summon yet another greater demon. With his death the others fled in fear and the form was left standing alone, blood still dripping from the venomous, cruel blade clutched within it’s grasp.
Willow studied the shadow, feeling a familiar aura. As she was about to speak all that were wounded began to glow. The shadow was chanting, healing those who had fought for the preservation of Earth. As the colors around each wounded faded, the form bowed and began to walk away.
Faith, being the closest, leapt to her feet and stopped the form where it stood. “Where ya think you’re going?”
“By dawn I will be out of sight and out of mind,” a soft, female voice replied.
“Why?” Willow whined, helping Buffy out of the debris as Angel regained consciousness.
“I am no longer needed here so would you please step out of my way,” the priestess demanded, sheathing her sword.
“Wait,” Buffy yelled, limping closer to where the other girl stood. “What’s wrong?”
Her hazel gaze drifted toward the vampire and then back to the Slayer. “I’m leaving because I hate being played and that’s what you did to me.”
“Um, sorry to butt in but I’m kinda lost. Can somebody please tell me what’s going on here?” Xander muttered, holding the spot where he’d been wounded. It still stung a bit.
“Gladly. You see you’re good friend Buffy here was really broken up when Oz died so I let her lean on me. After that we started getting close, intimate even. I started opening up to her, letting her see what most people never will. That is until I saw with my own eyes how conniving she is,” the irritated witch seethed bitterly.
“Meaning what?” Anya asked bluntly.
“Meaning I saw her and Deadboy making out in his lair. It’s time for me to go now. As I said before, it’s been great knowing most of you,” she clarified, walking past Faith.
Every set of eyes, except for Mel’s, were on her but she still managed to speak, “Mel, I’m sorry. It was a goodbye kiss.”
“It’s true. I’m leaving after graduation,” the vampire admitted, adjusting to the fact that his girlfriend had left him for a woman.
“Thanks for the explanation but it does you no good. You hurt me Buffy, more than you’ll ever be able to comprehend. I can’t stay,” Mel refused, attempting to walk away once more.
This time she felt a firm hand on her shoulder and a soft whisper in her ear, “please don’t go.”
“Why should I stay? Answer me that Slayer,” the Priestess hissed, now aggravated that she was being kept there.
She knew what she wanted to say but the words refused to leave her throat. She watched as the girl slipped from her grip and began to vanish into the night. Her heart was breaking and she wanted nothing more than to die right this moment. And then, without even a thought, the words echoed through the air, “because I love you.”
The witch froze, unshed tears threatening to escape. “That doesn’t make it better, it’s not just gonna go away.”
“I know but give me time. Angel was my first love and we went through allot together. I needed to end things with him on good terms. Kissing him was definitely a bad idea but I’ll make it up to you. I promise,” the blonde vowed, taking the girl’s hand in hers.
“You promise?” the witch breathed softly, knowing a Slayer’s word was stronger than her will.
“Promise,” the Slayer hushed, placing a gentle kiss on her lover’s lips.
“Wooh! Go B!” Faith cheered along with the others. Angel nodded solemnly and disappeared into the dark.
The Slayer blushed, glaring at her comrades. “Shut up you! C’mon, lets go to my house for some hot chocolate.”
As the group headed out, tow members fell behind. “So when are we gonna tell them?”
“Maybe we should wait til things cool down Red. We wouldn’t wanna give all the poor guys heart failure,” she snickered.
~<>~ The END ~<>~
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