We've Gotta Talk
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, they are the sole property of Joss Whedon, UPN, FOX, and the rest. It is simply out of the grace of their hearts that I am allowed to even begin to write this. BUT the story is mine, so plagiarize and I will beat you to death with a halibut.
As long as I get the street cred, toss this baby anywhere.
Feedback: I would love to hear from any adoring fans I might have.. Anybody? Hello?
Pairing: Willow / Kennedy
Five, six, seven. Switch grip. Eight, nine, ten. Listen to the rhythm. It's simple,
elemental. One, two, three. Feel the jolt as it travels up the arm. Energy
expands, focuses, contracts, shifts. Eleven, twelve, thirteen. Do not be
where you are expected. Do not think, just move. There is no time. A heartbeat.
Two. Three, then strike. Remember that rhythm? Now, change it. Feel their
rhythm. They always give it away. Compression. Now, release. Impact.
The dull gray metal of the sword clattered against the cement floor. Loud, reverberating. Then nothing. Just breath. And her heartbeat. Blood rushing through arteries, giving life, depleted, taking the veins back. Breathe in. Nourish the blood. Let the cycle begin again. She imagined she could see the cycle in her arms, the thick veins on the inside of her elbows pulsing, rushing down to her hands. Her fingertips tingled. Blood.
No, sweat. A thick drop hung to the tip of her delicate finger, then dropped. She spun, bending at the waist, kicking up a leg for balance. The droplet shattered into a million pieces with a swat of her hand. She continued to twirl, pulled her legs suddenly under her, and found herself spinning. Feet splayed out, gravity took over, dropping her face-first onto the cement. She extended her arms, taut muscles strained as she connected with the floor. Her arms then pumped; ten push-ups. The final one left her on her belly, panting, blinking in the dust.
"You have any idea how many butts have sat right where you're lying?"
Kennedy rolled over onto her back, tilting her head to see the stairway down to the basement. She inhaled for a comment, something smart-assy and in-character, but just shrugged as best she could.
"Been on worse," she said after a second. She watched the younger girl walk down the steps. Long, brown hair swayed behind the girl's cherubic face. When she got to the bottom, she crossed her arms in front of her.
"Can I talk to you, Kennedy?" Dawn asked quietly. There was something in her eyes, the tone of her voice. Concern, and something like... resentment?
Kennedy rolled over again, swiveled on her hip, and sat up. She furrowed her brow a bit, looking suspiciously up at the girl towering over her.
"Um," she forced out, "sure. What about?"
Dawn dragged a chair from the corner and offered it to Kennedy. She was grateful to not sit on the floor, and was especially grateful when she began to realize what this talk was going to be about. Dawn silently sat in another chair, the plastic kind that school cafeterias adored. She placed her hands in her lap, and for a moment, the familial resemblence was astonishing. She got why Spike was always calling her 'Bitty-Buffy'. It was all there, the strength, the loss, and even that nasty righteousness. Okay, a bit more of the righteousness.
"Kennedy," Dawn began, " I saw you and Willow after breakfast today. On the couch?"
Kennedy was suddenly glad that her complexion made blushing hard to see. She also found that a raised eyebrow and an unimpressed air seemed to make people stop trying to shock her after a while.
"So. I was making out with my... with Willow. Is this a gay thing, or..?"
"Oh, please," Dawn rolled her eyes with a chuckle, "In this house? I don't think anyone here would bat an eye if I brought a demon home."
"Well, there's Xander," Kennedy shrugged, "He seems to have a habit."
"Exactly." Dawn held a hand up to impede comment, "No, this isn't a 'gay thing', or whatever. It's a Willow thing."
Kennedy began to get where this was going. And did she ever dread it. But far be it from her to not suck up to the mind-numbing terror. Better to face it head on then let it sideswipe you.
"No," Kennedy said slowly, looking at the floor with all the resolve she had, " It's a Tara thing, isn't it."
Dawn clenched her jaw at the sound of her name. She closed her eyes for a second, and exhaled the sudden tension.
"Yes," she whispered," and no. It's not that simple. I think you know that."
"Yeah," older girl played with the rubber bands around her wrist, " I was there for that whole, Warren / Willow body switchy-thingy. It ranks as one of the oddest days of my life."
"When you live on the Hellmouth this long, weird gets to be a very relative term."
"So I hear. I'd just like to live long."
"Kennedy," Dawn was all business again, "what are you doing with Willow?"
This time, Kennedy couldn't even fake nonplussed.
"Well," she blurted, "we've just been kissing and hugging, nothing, you know, serious, no, you know, um..."
Dawn raised both her hands in protest: "No, no, I'm not talking about that." She shook her head, covering her face in mild embarassment.
"I swear, this sounded so less uptight when I thought it, but what are your intentions with Will?"
Kennedy just sat there for a minute, mouth slightly agape. After a few seconds, she blinked off the torpor, a hint of injury in her voice: "You think I'm taking advantage of her, don't you?"
It was Dawns turn to cock an eyebrow: "Aren't you?"
"Jesus, Dawn! No, I'm not like that!"
Dawn stood up, and began pacing the room, wringing her hands.
"Well, how should I know. You come here, and since day one you put your sights on Willow. You just saw what you wanted, and, and didn't care if she wasn't ready. You just went after her. You have no idea, Kennedy. You have no idea how screwed up Willow is now."
Kennedy stood as well, hands on her hips: "Stared down the barrel of a loaded gun lately? 'Cause, uh, I have. And don't think for a moment I forgot who was pointing it at me."
"That's what I mean! Kennedy, she is so vulnerable right now. I can't even bear the thought that-"
"That what?" Kennedy knew she shouldn't yell, but her vision was clouding, "that she might kill the one girl who is trying to get in?"
Dawn just stopped mid-pacing. Her eyes grew hard. They locked on the potential with laser accuracy.
"Don't you dare say that," She growled, "you don't even know what she's lost. You can't even begin to feel that. We all have tried so hard."
Kennedy sat down in her chair, and began to play with her rubber bands again. She looked at her hands.
"She lost her center," She said, almost to herself, "she's missing a part of her soul."
Dawn glared down at the humbled slayer-in-training. She saw the hurt there, but couldn't seem to figure out where it was coming from. As was Summers policy, when in doubt, just shut up. She sat down across from Kennedy, her shoulders stooping a bit.
"You don't think I know?" Kennedy continued, "You don't think I hear her voice crack whenever she says her name? Or did you know that she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, and looks around the room. I just know she's looking for Tara. I see here heart break all over again when she realizes that she's not there. I've seen her shake for half and hour, just because something in her room smells like her."
Kennedy blinked back the tears that welled up. Crying was just not acceptable. "I never met Tara. I wish I could have. But I know that Willow is suffering, even after so long. It hurts me, Dawn. I hate seeing her like that. I know I'm not good with the whole, magic and research thing, but I'm pretty good at hitting things. And I swear to god, if I could, I'd bring the piece of shit that did this to her back from the dead just so I could beat him straight back into the grave."
They were quiet for a long time, the sister and the potential. Eventually, Kennedy rubbed her eyes with both hands. She stood up, and began up the stairs.
"I'm gonna take a shower, " she sniffed.
"Kennedy," Dawn called.
The potential slayer just looked down the stairs.
"You two," she sighed, " are like, such complete opposites."
"Huh?" was all Kennedy could muster.
"You and Tara," Dawn said,"Night and day. She was just the sweetest, most gentle, loving person in the world."
"And I'm not?"
"Hm. No, you're more brassy, aggressive, and callous. So, yeah."
Kennedy took another step up the stairs. She stopped right at the door, glancing down at Dawn, who was pushing the chairs back into the corner. Kennedy pursed her lips, and shook her head.
"I don't wanna hurt her, Dawn. Is that what you want to know?"
Dawn headed up the stairs herself. She mimicked Kennedy's expression.
"It'll have to do."
© ObliqueReference 2003