Parts: 31 - Epilogue
They could hear the heavy beat slow as they neared the club and paid the cover. As they walked in silently the song was just winding down. The crowd were all watching the stage and clapping madly.
“Drinks?” Xander offered and hailed a waitress
“a water for the pregnant lady, coke for Dawnie, whisky neat for Spike, vodka and O.J for Buff, I’ll have beer, same for Giles and um Dru?”
“I’ll have a screaming orgasm.” Dru said sweetly to the waitress her eyes on Giles making him blush again.
There was a few guitar strums from the stage and a drum riff, and the Scooby’s turned to the stage
“I thought there was no band tonight.”
The spot light lit up and six sets of jaws dropped
Willow stood on stage holding the microphone close to her lips.
“Little Carrie Ann what a Beautiful Girl
From the moment she was born
She was always perfect
Whole town said, "Why can't you be more like her?"
Her hips swayed to the deep beat of the music and she threw her head back. Her shoulders moved to the music.
“Lights go on and she's ready to spin
On stage doing all the things she's told to
Puts on a show in front of the whole damn world
I pray to the heavens to try to save her soul
Cause that sweet little angel is not the girl I know”
Dru watched feeling upset. Willow hated to sing alone, she always insisted Dru be with her. She had never heard this type of raw talent coming from her loves mouth. Her every emotion poured into the lyrics and her body a slave to those self destructive motions.
“She gets wound up
She gets higher by the minute
Turns the sound up
To drown out all the pain
They all think they know her
But no one really knows
That she goes a little crazy sometimes
She parks the car at the top of the hill
Only inches from the edge
Where she's almost falling
Stares at the sky till she's drowning in the rain
Nice dress, nice smile
What a wonderful child
If they only knew all the lies she's told them
It's to complicated for her to explain”
Willow ran her hands over her body, hips, thighs and chest. Letting herself go and losing herself in the lyrics that expressed how she was feeling. Those around her, even Dru, would never understand all the lies she told, the person she was inside and how close she was to letting go.
“She prays to the heavens to try to save her soul
Cause that sweet little angel is close to letting go
She gets wound up
She gets higher by the minute
Turns the sound up
To drown out all the pain
They all think they know her
But no one really knows
That she goes a little crazy sometimes
She goes crazy sometimes”
Spike just watched.
“I pray to the heavens to try to save her soul
Cause that sweet little angel is close to letting go
She gets wound up
She gets higher by the minute
Turns the sound up
To drown out all the pain
They all think they know her
But no one really knows
That she goes a little crazy… sometimes.
Sometimes. She goes crazy sometimes.
As she finished the crowds stood up and cheered her again. Apparently she had been there some time and this wasn’t her first song.
The waitress returned with their drinks and Spike downed his in one shot.
Giles followed suite.
“I thought Wills had stage fright.”
“Well if she did she doesn’t any more.” Anya commented archly
“She sang in San Francisco but it wasn’t like that.” Buffy watched as the redhead bowed and left the stage.
She reappeared a few minutes later and grabbed a drink off a waitress tray downing it in one go. She muttered something to the lady who grinned and nodded. The music started up again, a beat that was wild and strong. Without looking around Willow walked into the middle of the floor and began moving to the music. Soon she was lost in a sea of bodies that made a circle around her almost hiding her from view. As they watched a group of guys came up close and started to dance near her. One tall brunette came closer and asked her something. Willow shrugged and he put his hands on her waist dancing with her. One of his friends came up behind her and Willow leaned against him writhing to the beat. She was sandwiched in between them both when two more of his friends joined in, surrounding her. She alternated between them all, closing her eyes using them as dancing poles, touching and twirling. Her hair flipped and twirled as she moved her shoulders and hips. Their hands joined hers, touching her butt, her sides, her legs. She didn’t seem to notice.
Spike let loose a huge growl mirrored by Drusilla. They stormed out onto the dance floor and pushed the four men away showing game faces when the men protested.
Willow never opened her eyes and never halted her movements; she simply melted into Dru’s arms and linked her arms around her neck sliding her pelvis across Dru’s. Spike moved in behind her wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her close. He relished the feel of her in his arms for the first time. She ran her fingers through her hair in a move Buffy had seen Faith do before. Willow let her head loll back onto the firm shoulders of the guy behind her and arched her back into whoever was in front. She was being a tease and she knew it, but unlike before she wasn’t worried about consequences. If they tried anything she could stop them all. Magic or just kicking their ass. She was in control. She ground her hips back and felt the satisfaction of a real male response, she reached behind her and felt alive as she ran her hands over male chest, wow whoever this was he was built. She rolled her head back on broad shoulders and swayed against a solid body.
Spike ran his hands over her sides and back, swallowing deeply at the feel of her writhing against his boy unwilling to let this chance pass; after all they could die tomorrow. But he would give the world for just one kiss. One willing kiss, knowing it was him she was kissing, it seemed so important somehow.
The music faded and Willow pulled out of the arms enveloping her. She opened her eyes ready to give them the brush off. But stopped when it registered that it wasn’t the muscle bound moron’s that held her.
“Dru?” there was an odd look in her friends eyes that Willow couldn’t decipher, Dru glanced behind her locking eyes with whoever was there. She half turned to see who was behind her, and froze. Spike had desire and lust in his eyes- and he was staring at Dru.
Willow felt the last shred of something go in her heart and wrenched away from them both, stalking over to the table where the others were.
Spike’s arms felt empty as she pulled away, he had looked up to see Dru staring at him with pity and a little sadness in her gaze, he had been so confused at that that he hadn’t realised Willow had stopped until she pulled away and moved.
“Hey.” she said her voice octaves higher than she felt.
“Hey Wills, you couldn’t have sang at the talent show instead of making us do a dramatic scene?” Xander teased his face shining with pride at his best friend.
Willow smirked and clicked her fingers, a large glass full of something green and icy materialised.
“How about that?” she said as she took a huge gulp of the sweet alcoholic drink.
“What is it?”
“It’s a green bird. Cream, pineapple juice, crème de menthe, Malibu, vodka, mint and strawberry.”
“Wow, that sound alcohol-y.” Xander said
Willow just grinned and took another gulp. “Got hooked on them in Mexico, its more potent than an After eight.”
“The mint?” Anya said confused
“No a cocktail, After eight is Baileys Irish cream, Crème de menthe and Kahlua.” She ignored Spike and Dru who had returned to the table
“Wow Willow, knowledge about the drink!” Xander was impressed
“Well I worked for a while as a waitress.” Will wanted to get drunk as fast as possible but didn’t think that this lot would sanction that. They still moaned about cave man Buffy.
“You kicked ass Willow.”
Buffy watched Willow, there was something wrong here. Willow was acting like… well… Faith. The Dancing, the drinking, the flip attitude.
Anya picked up on it too. She frowned at the undercurrents; this wasn’t good for the baby.
“Who wants to dance?” Buffy asked brightly “Xand, Dawn, Spike?”
Spike grimaced knowing full well she was joking.
Willow fought back the nausea at Buffy’s comment “Actually I’m gonna head back, I have a Hellmouth to close tomorrow.”
“I’ll walk you.” Spike offered
“No need.” Willow replied brusquely “it’s not like anything out there can best Red Witch!” she said in a pseudo announcers voice making Dawn chuckle. Dru watched her through narrowed eyes.
Willow walked away with a jaunty wave of her hand fighting the urge to burst into hysterics.
Dru followed her out.
“Hey Dru, please don’t let me ruin your evening.” She swept her arm back in a gracious arch indicating the Bronze.
“What’s wrong, love you’re blocking me.” Dru pleaded. It was obvious that Willow was hurting
“Excuse me if my private thoughts aren’t public enough anymore Dru.” She said sweetly oozing saccharine.
“Willow mine you are scaring me.” Dru’s eyes were wide and she was projecting her fear down the bond.
Willow closed her eyes and held her breath “Sorry baby. I just can’t wait to be out of this place. I’m going to bed.” She said tiredly and turned to walk away
“I love you Willow mine.” Dru called to her back
“I know.” Was Willow’s reply.
Willow curled up in bed and begged the thoughts to stop swirling around her head. Xander and Anya had built up this happy little home and were about to become a family. Buffy had both Dawn and Spike, which left Willow alone…again. Actually she hadn’t seen much of a Buffy/ Spike relationship, for which she was eternally grateful. Maybe they were still keeping it a secret. But even if they weren’t together then…well…she had seen the way Spike had looked at Drusilla. They had history and he had always claimed that Dru was his everything.
She wanted to go home, but she wasn’t sure where that was. Before it was Sunnydale, and then where ever Drusilla was, but now?
The sparks flew between Drusilla and Giles and Willow knew that Dru was falling for him; she wouldn’t want to leave the Watcher.
She wouldn’t drag Dru back with her to San Francisco. She couldn’t even go to LA anymore after threatening Angel and Cordelia, and let’s face it, they were a couple too. Fred was with Wesley and Gunn with that Police woman Kate. She had no one. She could be Red Witch by herself. She could feel herself closing off, like she had so many times in the past. A barrier was building around her heart, this one impenetrable. She felt so cold. Willow dragged her comforter closer to her shaking body and got up and sat in the window seat, staring out into the darkness waiting for the morning to chase the shadows away.
Buffy came over early, she needed to talk to Willow before they went out tonight. She wanted to tell her how much she missed her while she had been away. She wanted to find out what was wrong with her last night but most of all she wanted to just be with her best friend.
She sat in the kitchen of the mansion and waited.
Spike walked into the kitchen bleary eyed and shirtless and Buffy couldn’t help the breath that caught in her throat. However much she didn’t like him, she couldn’t deny that he was one fine male specimen.
Spike looked up and did a double take “Slayer?”
“Morning Spike.” She inclined her head “Laundry day?”
Spike looked own at himself and then shot her a lascivious grin “Didn’t use to bother you, pet.”
“Pig.” She narrowed her eyes at him
He reached for the coffee pot glad that Dru got up early and knew how to make coffee, he poured himself a cup and leaned against the counter sipping it.
“So, aren’t you supposed to be at school? Counselling the little brats?”
Buffy shot him a look “It’s Saturday.”
He shrugged “Whatever. Why are you here?”
“I came looking for Willow. Is she around?”
Spike frowned a little and let his senses spread out to the rest of the mansion. He felt nothing, no human heartbeat other than Buffy’s.
“No. she’s usually here but not right now.”
“Damn it. I wanted to talk to her; I haven’t got to since she’s been back. I think,” she bit her lip “I almost think she’s been avoiding me.”
Spike was surprised “Me too.”
“Why would she-?” Buffy began and then her face was a mask of horror “No, she couldn’t, she would have said.”
“Said what?” Spike was confused. But Buffy had been talking to herself and really wasn’t willing to share what she was begging to be false. There was no way Willow could have known about her and Spike, right?
“Said whatever was wrong with her already.” She amended but it was clear that Spike didn’t buy it. He watched her suspiciously.
“There’s something going on here, isn’t there?”
Buffy couldn’t meet his eyes “Drop it Spike.”
“No dammit Buffy, I want to know what’s wrong with Red.”
“How the hell should I know? She won’t even talk to me.” Buffy argued but she refused to meet Spike’s gaze
“Don’t give me that bullshit, Buffy. This has to do with why she left last time isn’t it?” he said suspiciously
“I have no idea why she left, I assumed she was kidnapped.” She bit out furiously
“Bollocks if you’d thought she was kidnapped then you would have looked longer.”
“I never stopped looking!” Buffy hissed
“Until your true moron came along and then you couldn’t stop fast enough.”
“Screw you Spike.”
“Both been there and done that Slutty, along with most of the demon population this side of the Hellmouth, not something I care to repeat.”
“You know, you’re not exactly in the clear here, I mean they were the talk of the demon circuit and yet you couldn’t find them either. Seems your demon buddies don’t want to talk to the impotent one.”
His eyes narrowed “If my head didn’t practically blow off whenever I stepped near your sorry ass I’d show you exactly how impotent I am.”
“Both been there and done that and not if you paid me Spike.”
“I’m not the one who is so hard up I’m constantly screwing demons.” He spat
Buffy looked away “I didn’t come here to fight.” She frowned
“Too bad since that’s all we seem to be able to do recently.” He answered still pissed off “I just want to know what’s up with Willow.”
“What’s it got to do with you Spike, it’s not like you and Willow were ever even friends.” She rubbed her forehead getting a headache, this was all her fault, if Willow had found out about her and Spike and left and then Spike had fallen for Willow but now she was back and refused to spend any time with them because she felt so betrayed but surely she would have said something? This was Willow, she was incapable of holding a grudge and even less capable of lying to her friends. No if Willow knew she would have said.
“I know.” He said softly “But I want to be, she- she means a lot to me. I just want to understand why she left.”
“I can’t…I don’t…” she trailed off uncertainly
“You can and you do. Tell me what’s going on.” He growled
“Drop it Spike.” Her tone brooked no argument. “Where is she?”
Willow sat down and stared at her feet, too embarrassed to look up. It had been so long since she had come here, maybe she was intruding or unwelcome but she would always remember where to come, it was practically ingrained. It was familiar.
“Hey.” She said softly “It’s me. I miss you, so much. I’m sorry I haven’t been around lately, I had to go away, there was some stuff I couldn’t deal with so I bailed.” She gave a small laugh “It seems to be the Sunnydale way. Buffy couldn’t deal with killing Angel so she bailed, Angel couldn’t be around Buffy so he bailed and Xander couldn’t deal with being a no college guy so he bailed too. But you see.” She bit her lip and forged on “The thing is they all came back, like the place called to them. I never wanted to see this place again. Ever and if they hadn’t found me and dragged me back I wouldn’t be here. Oh boy, life is just a mess and me, the level headed one. I’m a mess. I have no one left for me to talk to, well except you. You always understood me, even if I didn’t. I remember staying up with you until ridiculous hours just talking with you. You didn’t even need to say anything…like now.”
“Sorry to come here and unload on you right now, but I really truly have nowhere else to go. I’ve pushed Buffy and… and *him* away. I can’t deal with them right now. I pushed Dru away and I think I hurt her by not telling what’s going on but I don’t think I can. I can’t tell Giles or Xander, they wouldn’t understand and what would come out would only hurt more people.” She sniffed and rubbed her forehead
“I’m powerful now, did you know that?”
There was no answer
“Yeah, I’m famous and I have to close the Hellmouth, it might kill me, maybe it would be better if it did, at least then I wouldn’t have to feel this way. Maybe things would be better if I just died. I’m not special. Do you remember telling me that? When I used to complain that Xander would never look at me, you used to say that that was because I was special and someone wonderful would one day sweep me off my feet and Xander would be so pissed that he missed out. Well I thought that Oz… but I guess not. It’s because I’m not special, I’m not you know.” Willow ran her fingertips over the grass feeling it spring under her hands. “I was always the nerd, the research girl. Buffy’s shadow and it seems like I always will be. So what do I do? I can’t keep hold of all this pain forever, its not healthy and I don’t have the strength for that. I have to let it go and move on. You said one day I’d do great things for the world and I have. You’d be so proud if you knew.” She knew she was speaking in random thoughts but no one interrupted her, she had to get this out.
“I stayed up all night thinking and I have realised what I have to do. I will make you proud. I can be strong, like you. I’ll come back and see you again but it won’t be for a while.” She stood up and wiped off her skirt. She smiled “Thanks for listening Jesse.” She kissed the cold marble headstone and walked off into the sun.
Willow stayed out of the way for the rest of the day. She had no desire to see any of them. If she died, then she died. She would at least be at peace within herself. There really wasn’t anything left to say. They were to meet at Giles’ before embarking on world save-age. It was traditional. They’d all talk and form battle plans, last requests and with a Buffy inspired pep talk they’d go and stop the world from ending. Again.
Willow breathed hard before opening the door, she had purposely cut it close, hoping to avoid the hug and share section of the evening.
She pushed open the door “Hey.”
“Willow!” Xander breathed a sigh of relief “I thought you’d never get here.”
She smiled “Never fear Red Witch is here.” She looked at them, “So we have a plan?”
Spike walked over to her and took a deep breath trying to steel his nerves “Can I talk to you privately love?”
“Can’t it wait?” she arched an eyebrow at his obvious nervousness
“Not really.” He took her by the elbow and led her to the back room. He closed the door.
“You’re different.” He said without preamble “Since you’ve been back. You’re not the same girl you were.”
“It’s been two years and a hell of a lot of road.” Willow glared at him “Of course I’m different.”
Spike ran a hand through his hair “Not what I meant pet. Drusilla noticed it too, said you were different from what you were a few days ago.”
“So you’ve been talking about me behind my back?” she asked coldly “Well let me put your fears to rest, this place Sunny*hell*? It holds some pretty crappy memories for me, and not many happy ones.”
He looked at her almost shocked “But you always seemed happy here before you left.”
“And you would know how?” she asked sarcastically “It’s not like we actually talked.”
“What do you call all those nights in the crypt?” he was getting annoyed, he’d cherished those times, those memories of her and it had never occurred to him that she didn’t feel the same way.
“Oh please, if it didn’t have Buffy in the title you weren’t interested in a word I had to say.”
“That’s not true.” He insisted and Willow folded her arms over her chest.
“Right.” Her flat voice attested to her disbelief.
“Well okay maybe it was but like you said things change.” He looked down at his feet, his stomach churning with all the unsaid things he was dying to tell her.
Willow sighed, what did he want her to do? “What do you want Spike?”
*To kiss you, to hold your body next to mine and never have to let you go, to exist each day knowing that I have the right to hold you, to touch you, to love you and that you love me even half as much. To know that we’ll be together forever and we’ll be there on the earths last day and sit on the ground and watch the Sun die together knowing that whatever lies beyond will never- could never be that bad because we’ll have each other and that nothing can ever part us.*
“Tell me what’s wrong, love. Maybe I can help. I want to help.”
*I want you.*
“You can’t help, Spike.” *You’re part of the problem, no matter how much it hurts I still love you and it’s killing Me.* “Now excuse me, we have a Hellmouth to close.”
Spike waited until she had gone out of the room before slumping against the wall, well he couldn’t have screwed that up any more if he’d have tried. He should have just said it, but he let his insecurities hold him. Now maybe she’d never know.
Willow looked around at the “troops”. Buffy sat there with Dawnie talking intently. Xander hugged Anya who looked tearful…again. Giles and Drusilla were leaning very close to each other lost in eyes contact. Spike came out behind her and stood there watching her.
“Ok I guess now we do the pep talk bit. Don’t get killed. Any questions? No? Good. Xander you need to be by the doors with Dawn, make sure nothing gets out into the world. If something big comes at you try and knock it the Hell out okay? Giles; you, Dru, Buffy and Spike take on the Sisterhood while I shut the damn mouth, this time for good. Remember what worked last time, fire is good but watch out for our Vamps.”
“No. Dawn is not going with us.” Buffy insisted
“What’s she gonna do Buffy? Stay home and worry? Dawn is a good fighter and we need all the help we can get.” Willow nodded at a scared but resigned Dawn. “Do you wanna stay home Dawn?”
“No.” she said firmly
“Then let’s go.”
Anya gave Xander a kiss and hugged Dawn, and Giles.
“Don’t die on me Xander Harris; I have no intention of being a single mother.”
Dru walked alongside Willow as they marched to the new High school.
“Sorry I’ve been pissy Dru, I do love you, you know that right?” Willow held out her hand for Dru to latch onto.
“I know.” Even if it wasn’t in the way that she wanted she knew that Willow loved her. “I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you Tree.”
“You’ve been busy with Giles.” Willow teased a bit of her old humour coming back. If it hadn’t been for the no circulation Drusilla would have blushed.
“I like tweedy, he’s sweet.” And she did, he reminded her of how Willow had been when they first had gotten together, full of delightful innocence and humour.
“That he is.” Willow agreed
“Did you talk to them?” Dru asked hesitantly
“I have nothing to say.” Willow shrugged.
Dru grabbed her arm and stopped her “Let go. It’s okay to cry to scream and hurt. It’s human. Besides you need to tell them, how are we going to be around them if you constantly ignore them?”
So there it was. Willow thought. Dru was planning on sticking around. She gave a small sad smile and leaned forward kissing Dru on the mouth.
“Thanks Mom.” Dru was beyond puzzled but held Willow’s hand as they followed the others again.
So many memories were associated with the school, even though it wasn’t the same. At least someone had finally got around to clearing up the remains of the Mayor. They made their way through the halls to the site of the previous library.
“Look there’s my desk.” Buffy said proudly to everyone. There was a nice picture of Dawn framed on it
“Oh God I’m in Hell.” Groaned Dawn. “Now everyone is gonna know we’re related.”
There was also a picture of Xander, Willow and Buffy in the quad of the old High school hugging and laughing, one of Joyce holding Buffy and there was one of Giles with his books obviously in research mode.
“Can we keep the demons away from my desk?” Buffy asked sheepishly.
Willow turned back to the door where she could hear chanting.
“Let’s do it.”
Spike wanted to pull her to him and feel her lips on his, just once, just in case this was the last time he could ever do so, but held back. He couldn’t be distracted.
They opened the doors and all Hell broke loose. Several of the Sisterhood had been waiting for them and were standing by the entrance snarling. Dawn and Xander turned back and waited by the faculty office while the others waded into the fray.
“Keep her safe.” Spike yelled to Xander before stepping into the ring.
Spike swung at the nearest demon with his axe and neatly beheaded it.
“Hah, piece of pis-” he was cut off as two of them came at him.
Buffy spun and kicked the demon in the face, focussing on how to kill it. She thrust her sword at it only to be knocked aside by its claws. Giles worked with Dru to pull the head off one of the Sisterhood and they were rewarded by the sound plop as the head came free.
Willow walked calmly through the fight to watch the Sisterhood behind the barrier chant with furtive looks at the fight behind them. They saw Willow and sensing her power began to chant faster.
Willow pushed against the barrier and muttered her own words to break it. It could hold out against her power for a few seconds before it fell.
Willow smirked and stepped over the circle only to be grabbed from behind.
Damn it the Sisterhood had hired Octarus to defend them; he had been one of the order of Taraka, the one which Buffy had slit its throat with her ice skate. After rejuvenation the Sisterhood had hired him to protect their interests. And Willow was about to interfere with that interest.
Octarus was seven feet tall and lifted Willow like she was a sheet of paper. He flung her against the wall and stood over her. She lifted her glance from his heavy black boots and up past his huge frame and to his face. She fought the urge to panic. His face was a mass of scars and one eyes was missing, thick angry skin covered the hole where that eyes was supposed to be and gross burns covered one side of his scary visage. He had a jagged white scar across his throat.
“Hey.” She grinned in sheer nerves “How much do they pay you huh?” she slid back and bought her heel up kicking him firmly in the groin. “Coz it ain’t enough.” Octarus staggered back slightly and then gave a huge growl lunging for her. Willow rolled out of the way and leaped to her feet. Little Willow Rosenburg who didn’t even cut 6 foot faced off with the giant.
“Crush.” He spat at her “Grind.”
“Points for use of description.” She pushed here fear aside and focussed on his weaknesses. Everyone had some. So what possible weakness could a four hundred pound of solid muscle with a mercenary spirit have?
“You like chocolate?”
Dru sliced the sword through the annoying pointy eared demon and looked around. Spike was holding his own against one of the Sisterhood who had watched far too many Bruce Lee movies. Her movements were a whir designed to intimidate but didn’t work as Spike just lit himself a cigarette and waited for her to stop. He pushed the glowing end into her eye socket and calmly cut off her head before she’d even stopped spinning. Buffy was faring even better and was kicking the ass of one of the few remaining Sisterhood. Even Giles was doing well, bashing the Principals chair over the head of another and she beamed ready to turn to Willow when everyone heard the rumbling. Everyone stopped and turned to the circle. The ground cracked and split, lightning crashed around the room and with an almighty roar the floor cracked open and a tentacle smashed through into the room, followed by an assortment of monsters.
“Oh crap.” Spike moaned and spun to find where Willow was. He should have been keeping an eye on her, he berated himself. He saw her being held by the throat by a seven foot tall man.
“Red!” he yelled and tried to get to her, but the monsters had other ideas; one tackled him and tried to suck his brain out using its octopus like tentacles.
Buffy was grabbed by several little dwarves with razor sharp teeth and they tried to bite her.
Giles was grabbed by a Hellhound and felt the slimy feelers of the Hellmouth beast wrap around his ankle. Dru heard Dawn scream and realised that one of the monsters had gotten through. She had no time to help Willow; she had to fight to monsters that started spewing out the hole into reality.
Willow looked down into the eye of the monster that held her delicate throat in his grip and for a second wondered what would happen if she stopped fighting and let it snap her neck. The thought scared her, what the hell was wrong with her? Had she really given up on life? Had it really been so hard that she was willing to die, surely there had to be something to keep her here?
She let her gaze leave his and wander, there was Buffy someone who had always fought the monsters, been bought back from heaven and had her mother die and yet she still went on.
There was Giles who had wanted to be a grocer or maybe a fighter pilot and had been thrust into a life of isolation from his peers watching one young girl grow up knowing she had to die early. He had lost his love and yet he forged onwards.
Xander had never expected to go far and yet he was in charge of his own construction crew with a regular large pay check and a loving girlfriend with a baby on the way, he had it made yet he was still by their side fighting evil.
Two years ago Dawn hadn’t even existed, now she was saving the world and trying to pass class.
Dru had been made insane and tortured repeatedly by the one person who meant the world to her, she was sane and could forgive and forget and had fallen in love again.
Then there was him. Spike. If rumour could be believed he was such a sweet human turned into a monster by Angelus, had his love ripped away from him, his identity, his means of living and still he was there.
What right did she have to give up?
Willow pushed her fingernails into Octarus’ eye and felt him flounder, as he loosened his grip she choked out the words to a spell.
“Levitatus Modicums.” He dropped her and soared into the air to smack into the ceiling. As he fell to the floor Willow staggered over back into the circle avoiding the many arms of the Hellmouth beast. She couched trying to get some air back to her voice so she could close the mouth but was spun around before she could so much as squeak. Octarus backhanded her so she flew back into the wall. Her foot twisted under her and she felt her ankle knock into the wall.
*hello again* she thought randomly as her head spun, she lifted a hand to her mouth and came away with blood staining her sleeve. Octarus kicked with his big boots and caught her arm shielding her face; Willow felt a crack and an intense pain strummed through her senses. He then picked her up by her broken arm and she nearly passed out from the pain. He scratched his claw like hands down her arm drawing blood. Willow bit her lip and kicked out with her bruised ankle. It caught him upside the head and once again he let go of her. Willow had had enough of this guy and imagined a ball of fire in her palm, it grew quickly aided by her anger and she threw it at him as he advanced, with a scream he was incinerated by the fireball.
Willow stood up straighter holding her injured arm to her side and strode into the circle totally pissed off. A tentacle snaked towards her.
“Back off.” She snarled and it wavered a moment before choosing to attack Buffy again.
Willow took a breath and held out her arms, wincing in pain at the motion. She felt down into the Hellmouth and focussed on the energies harnessed in there.
Spike had realised that cutting off one arm of the octopus thing only resulted in another two growing. So he’d tried to cut off its head. Two grew in its place.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me?” He growled and head butted it between its eyes. Buffy screamed as another tentacle grabbed her and the seven dwarves chuckled in maniacal glee. Giles rushed over, having had Dru behead the Hellhound for him he hacked at the feeler with Spike’s discarded axe and acid spurted from the severed limbs. Dawn screamed again from the lobby and then Xander shouted. Dru threw Spike his lighter which had fallen and he took out his whisky bottle from his pocket. He took a quick sip and then spat it out into the flame of the lighter creating an impromptu flame thrower. The octopus shrivelled and fell to the floor. He joined Giles in hacking the Hellmouth beast to shreds and looked around frantically for Willow. She stood in the centre of the circle; blood was all over her, from her face to her feet. But she was standing. Dru had run into the lobby to help Xander and Dawn. The seven dwarves bit at Giles and Spike.
Lightning flashed around Willow and her hair began to loose its lustre and turn black as it crackled with unimaginable power. Her eyes turned black and many voices echoed as she chanted. A blue barrier suddenly encircled her and the Hellmouth beast left the Scooby’s to batter against the shining blue force field. It knew what she was doing and was angered beyond measure. Every time it struck the barrier Willow flinched. But still she chanted and the howling of the wind grew and grew until it was a roar drowning out all sounds of the world and the fighting. The others could see her lips moving and the wind within knocking her about. Her hair whipped every which way and blood ran freely down her face.
The wind began to pull at them in the room; the dwarves panicked and clung to the Scooby’s to avoid being pulled back into the Hellmouth. Buffy snapped her elbow into the face of one and watched it be yanked by the Hellmouth beast back into the underground.
“Come on.” Screamed Spike but she couldn’t hear it until he got in her face and mouthed to her. She looked over to the door where Drusilla was helping pull them out of the room. Giles was already gone as was Xander and Dawn. She pulled herself to the entrance and felt the pull ease as she entered the other room
“Spike?” she asked Drusilla as she fought to get air back into her lungs.
“Spike?” Screamed Dru into the room where a vortex was beginning.
“Not without Willow.” He refused stubbornly and fell to the floor dragging him self to where Willow was fighting the current.
He managed a few metres before he felt something grab his ankle. He half turned as he was yanked through the doorway.
“Let me go Dru!” he tried to return but Dru slammed the door “Red needs help.”
“Willow knows what she’s doing.” She snarled in game face to him “She doesn’t need distractions, especially you.”
“So we sit and watch her die?” he roared back
“Knock it off or I’ll knock you out.” She screamed nose to nose with him.
“Both of you stop it!” Dawn cried from the doorway, “Come and watch.”
“Li'l Bit?” Spike lurched over to her; she had a cut on her forehead dripping blood and a nasty bruise beginning to appear on her jaw. He pulled her into a hug.
“Come over here.” She urged him and took his hand pulling him to the exit. Outside he could see litter swirling in a whirlwind and it took him a moment before his brain connected what he was seeing. A huge hole had been blown in the wall of the school so they could see into the Principals office. Willow was seriously weak but still chanting as the power swirled around her. They all held each other and watched in horror as the ground shook and out of Willow’s hand a long line of red lightning shot zapping the Hellmouth beast. It slithered its tentacles back into the ground and the lightning bolt sealed the entrance. With a huge sucking noise the sound stopped so abruptly that hey all thought for an instant that they had gone deaf.
“So mote it be.” Willow whispered and she staggered out of the school. No one moved as she made her way outside, energy still crackled around her in sparks and she fell to the floor in exhaustion, her hair draining itself of the black until the red returned.
Spike was the first to break formation and he walked unsteadily over to Willow.
“Red?” he touched her shoulder and found her breathing slow but steady. He gave a huge sigh of relief and picked her up.
“Home.” He whispered and they left the ruined site of the Hellmouth.
“My boss is gonna kill me.” Buffy quipped tiredly but hey were too exhausted to reply.
Spike’s mansion was big enough for everyone to crash. Xander called Anya and she hurried over with every medical supply she could carry. Several of them had wounds that they thought would require hospital attention, until Dru mentioned that before she had been turned she had been trained to be a nurse. She could sew them up. Dawn was the least damaged so Spike didn’t rip Xander to pieces. Anya fussed over Xander’s cuts and bruises and was glad that he didn’t have to take time off work. Buffy waited until Anya stopped fussing with Xander before she wrapped her sprained wrist, glad for her Slayer’s recuperative powers. She cleaned up her slashed and the nasty marks left by both the dwarves and the Hellmouth beast. Dru cleaned up Giles, much to their amusement, Giles blushed as she cleaned his cuts and dressed his wounds, and then Giles returned the favour even though Dru’s injuries would be gone in a few hours.
Spike shrugged off all offers to clean him up and took Willow straight up to her room. He got a clean cloth and wiped the blood away from her face. Her lip was split and her jaw bruised, she had a gash on her forehead and her hair was matted with blood. Her arm was broken and there were gashes across her chest, her shirt was torn and he could see gouge marks. Her ankle was bruised and swelling and she had a pumping wound on her thigh where a piece of debris had struck her in the whirlwind. He pulled off her shirt and tossed it, then got scissors and cutting them off, did the same to her jeans. He quietly tended to her body pushing down his blood lust and the lust he got looking at her almost naked body.
“Here.” He hadn’t even realised Dru was in the doorway. She held out a huge mug of warmed blood and held a thermos in her other hand with more. “Don’t snack on the girl.”
“I wouldn’t.” he maintained and Dru studied him quietly
“I know.” Was her conclusion and she left the room with Spike feeling like he’d passed some test.
Willow could here birds singing in the background. She opened her eyes slightly and grimaced as they became accustomed to the brightness. She lifted her head off the pillow and waited for the room to stop spinning. She was in the room at the mansion and her arm had been bandaged, she could feel the lingering effects of Drusilla’s power and knew that the Vampire had healed her broken arm, probably to avoid any questions at the hospital. By the feel of things she had been out for more than a day. Maybe even a week. But she was feeling healthier. Her arm throbbed and she could see bandages covering her ankle and thigh and well as one on her forehead. She still wasn’t up to curing them with her magic, maybe in a few days. Looking at the clock she saw it was late afternoon.
She got up slowly and pulled on some jeans which covered her legs and sleeveless t- shirt which allowed her arm some movement. She picked up her suitcase from under the bed and got to packing her stuff in it. She wanted to be gone by nightfall.
It had been a week since the Hellmouth had been closed; Buffy had noticed a drop in the number of Vampires in patrol that week and was pleased to think that her job would be easier. Dawn had explained her injuries as a fight with a girl from another school which earned her some cool points. Xander was back at work fixing the hole that some kids on PCP had made in the High school’s Principals office as a prank. Spike sat and watched Willow. Everyday he sat by her holding her hand waiting for her to wake up and just talking to her. Dru had said that it would take her at least a week to regain the energy the Hellmouth had sucked from her. Dru had told him that Giles needed some help with something today or he would have spent the day with Willow again. As it was he missed the awakening of the one he loved.
Willow loaded her stuff into her car and decided to drive over Giles’ to say goodbye to the gang, she was sure they’d all be there as it was nearly six. She got in her car and pulled on her shades, all her stuff was in the trunk and she felt good to be hitting the road again.
She pulled up outside the Magic Box and sat for a minute with the engine running. She could leave them a note and go. *No, that would be cowardly. Get your butt in there and say goodbye.* She ordered herself. She turned off the engine and got out.
The door to the Magic Box loomed and she leaned against it listening to her friends voices.
She pushed open the door and Anya turned with a customer greeting smile which turned into a real one when she saw who it was.
Everyone turned to see her standing in the doorway. She was leaning on the handle and holding her sunglasses in one hand. She was in her black jeans and a red button down shirt. She looked cool and calm.
“Hey.” She said with a grin
“Red, you shouldn’t be up yet.” Spike cursed himself for leaving her alone.
“I’m okay, thanks.” She could be perfectly cordial now she was going “I’m guessing Dru pulled a little Mumbo Magic for my aching self?”
Dru nodded “That I did, you were shredded like lettuce.”
“Thanks. I am so much better.”
“You okay there Wills?” Xander asked wondering why she hadn’t come in yet.
Willow cast one last longing look at her car and fully entered the Magic Box.
“Yeah I actually just dropped by to say bye.”
“Yeah I’m gonna hit the road,” she ignored the incredulous looks and continued “I’ll be back in San Francisco by tomorrow.”
She turned to Dru “I guessed you’d want to stay. I’ll send your stuff if you want.”
Dru just watched Willow in part horror part resignation.
“You’re leaving?” Dawn jumped up “But you’ll be back right? You just want to get your stuff.”
Willow bit her lip “I have a business to run in Frisco, Dawnie. You can come visit whenever you like.”
“No, I haven’t got to spend any time with you.” Buffy said stricken “You were gone for two years Willow. Two years my best friend was missing and we haven’t even spoken.”
Willow didn’t know what to say to that.
Xander stood up with tears in his eyes “Why now, why not wait until you get better? You’re still weak I’m sure that whoever is taking care of your club can do it for a few more days.”
“I’m already packed.” She pointed over her shoulder becoming uncomfortable with the scene.
“Why are you in such a hurry to leave Willow?” Giles asked quietly but with a tormented look in his face. His favourite daughter had been missing, feared dead and he was losing her again after only two weeks.
She wrapped her arms around her waist, wincing when her injured arm pulled. “I have stuff to do.” She muttered.
“Bollocks.” Spike spat furious that because he hadn’t been there when she woke she’d had time to pack and get ready to leave. Leave him- again. “Why are you leaving for real Red? I think your friends deserve the truth.”
“What are you talking about?” Xander wiped a tear away from his cheek
“Something else is bloody going on here. I think it has to do with why she left the first time.”
“I just,” she took a breath “I don’t belong here.”
“Of course you do!” Buffy cried
“No I don’t,” she insisted “I don’t have a place here.”
“What do you mean Willow?” Giles posed his gentle question
“Xander has Anya and a baby on the way. You and Dru are together and Dawn is all grown up and… and-” this was the hardest part Willow braced herself.
“Buffy’s with Spike.”
“Xander has Anya and a baby on the way. You and Dru are together and Dawn is all grown up and… and-” this was the hardest part Willow braced herself.
“Buffy’s with Spike.”
Willow almost smiled at the comical expressions on the faces of Giles, Xander, Anya and strangely enough, Spike.
Buffy looked horrified and then realisation dawned on her face she paled
“I knew it, I was right!” Dawn jumped to her feet again “You found out and that’s why you bailed. I knew you had taken your stuff.”
“You knew?” Willow’s voice showed her hurt at the thought that maybe she had been the only one not in the know
“I only found out when you left.” Dawn explained
“Would someone mind explaining to me?” Giles called out annoyed.
“And me!” Xander glared around just generally
“Buffy’s sleeping with Spike.” Dawn filled in
“WAS.” Buffy added in a panic “Most definitely a “was”, as in past tense.”
“You were sleeping with Spike?” Anya grimaced
“Not really a lot of sleeping going on.” Spike added crassly, not sure what this had to do with everyone.
“Spike!” Buffy warned between her clenched teeth
“Look I have to go.” Willow said beginning to shake
“NO!” Spike yelled standing in her way “What is going on?”
Willow looked at Dru to save her. Dru knew she could, but it was high time this all came out, Willow needed to be able to move on and she’d never do it if the hurt was there. She didn’t want Willow to hurt anymore, she took an unneeded breath and prayed that Willow would forgive her.
“Willow mine was in love with you.”
There was silence.
“Dru.” Willow growled; she hadn’t wanted this to come out.
“What?” Spike was shocked
“When you were screwing Buffy, Willow was in love with you. She broke up with Tara because of you and I’m guessing when she went to tell you, she saw you with Buffy. Right?” Dawn looked to Willow for conformation.
“Oh I don’t know Buffy,” Willow said flippantly “A few days after I told you how I felt about him and you promised to help me, maybe a few days after he sat there and told me that you would never touch him, never even look at him. It’s hard to remember, the lies have kind of blocked it all out.” She had had enough of this and wanted to go. “I was always curious if you actually told him how I felt and that’s why he sat with me, pretending to be my friend, pretending to give a crap. You guys were laughing at me, right? Dumb ol’ reliable got a thing for the big bad. That’s why he said that there was nothing between the two of you, didn’t want to lose that little bit of hope I always had? Coz God knows it’s not funny if I don’t feel it right? That it, huh, you got off on my pain?” she shrugged “It doesn’t matter. To be a team you have to trust those you’re with and I trust both of you about as far as Dawn could throw you.” She spat ignoring the sickened look on Buffy’s face. “Xander I will always love you and wish I could see the baby, Anya you’ll make a great mother. Dawnie, you come with Dru to see me okay? Giles.” She gave him a watery smile saying all the things she wished she could say.
She turned to go.
But before she could reach the door she felt her arm grabbed by a very strong grip.
“That’s it?” Spike was so furious his face was devoid of all emotion “You get your say, drop that bombshell and then go? Like hell.” He growled his eyes turning amber.
“Let me go, Spike.”
“Never.” He pulled her to him and crushed his lips to hers, ravishing her mouth under his. It was their first kiss, their first kiss and possibly their last if he couldn’t get her to stay. She tasted sweet, like strawberries and Vanilla and that little tint of darkness. It was something he wanted to imprint on his memory for all time, but her lack of response was chilling his already icy heart. He pulled away and leaned his forehead against hers “Don’t leave me.” He begged.
Willow was confused “What?”
“He didn’t know.” Buffy said through her tears “I didn’t tell him; that time you saw us was the last time. I couldn’t do that to you, it was an addiction and you were the one that helped me stop.” She wept loudly “I’m so sorry but I needed to feel and he helped me, just for a little while. I needed that one last time. But he never knew about you. I begged him not to tell anyone. I was so ashamed that I had got like that. That I was hurting Spike to feel more like a human. I’m so sorry Willow.”
“Shut up, bitch!” Willow almost gasped at the words that flew out of her mouth, she had no idea that she could hate that much “It’s always been about what YOU need, well I don’t care what you need, no that’s not true; I think that you need a reality check-”
“And maybe a beating?” Dru added wryly
“Enough.” Giles put in trying to break up the break down
“No, it’s not enough, it’s really not.” Willow shook her head furiously “You said you couldn’t do that to me Buffy but you did.”
“I’m sorry Will, I am, God you have to believe me.” Buffy cried “I know what I did was wrong but-”
“He didn’t love you.” The whole Magic Box went quiet
“I did.” He said softly causing everyone to finally look at him “I didn’t realize it at first, I always thought love had to be painful and hard and explosive. I didn’t realize that it could be soft and warm and passionate without the pain.” He ran his hand through his hair in frustration not wanting everyone to hear this but knew she had to hear it herself “you were always there listening to me and smiling at me and making me feel. Every time I left the Slayer I’d be beaten down and every time you were there for me I was truly happy. There was only obsession between me and the Slayer, she reminded me so much of Dru-”
Dru quietly raised her hand “Um can I object?”
“Physically strong but emotionally weak, I latched on to the familiar. I didn’t realise that what I wanted, what I’d been missing was right in front of me until it had gone. I knew I cared about you but-”
“Sure you cared about me so much you continually lied to my face.” Willow folded her arms and glared at him “Gee Red, Buffy would never touch me, she thinks I’m disgusting you don’t do you, pet?” she made a fair approximation of his accent injecting just the right amount of sarcasm to make him seem smarmy “God, I must have gullible tattooed to my forehead.”
“No, Re- Willow, I promised her that I wouldn’t say anything. She could kill me if I said anything- I wanted to tell you, so much.”
Willow turned to Buffy “Why didn’t you say something, when I confessed or even before, why keep it such a secret?”
Buffy looked down “I couldn’t, I wanted to but-”
“Gee what stopped you could it be shame?” Willow mocked letting her hurt burst out in torrents
“Yes.” Buffy confessed shocking them “I was torn out of heaven and the only thing that made me feel anything was a soulless demon. Disgust, shame, pleasure at least it was something. You still all looked at me like I was the Slayer, someone special- you’d gone through so much to bring me back and give me a second chance I couldn’t let you know that I was letting you down.” She swallowed “So I used Spike but I never meant to hurt you.”
“Too late.” Willow’ voice was hoarse. “You knew, you KNEW I was in love, big time love. You know what Oz’s cheating did to me. Spike may not have loved me Buffy but you did. How could you think that YOU cheating on me wouldn’t hurt, you were my best friend, the one person I trusted in the whole world.”
“Hey!” Xander tried to protest but he didn’t want to break the revelations, the tension needed to release
“I’m sorry.” Buffy sobbed harder but Willow hardened her heart as much as she could
“Both of you have no idea how much you hurt me.” She whispered
“I never knew, I never meant to hurt you, Willow I would rather be staked than hurt you. But you’re wrong, I did love you. As soon as I realised that you had gone and I’d never get to have you near me again, I realised that I was in love with you and it was all over with the Slayer.”
“But when you came to the club, I saw you act all couply.” Willow refuted.
“No, not even- after you left we started to get along a bit more. We searched for you for months and Xander patrolled with Spike just for you. Me and Spike were never together like that. It was never love.” Buffy urged desperate for Willow to believe her
“Gee, I made you and Spike get along, now I feel special.” Willow spat at her
“I love you Willow, please don’t go.” Spike pulled her to him and held her tightly not caring if he was looking like the biggest ponce in the world; if it would make her stay he would do it “You helped me get over the Slayer.” Spike whispered softly into her ear “I fell in love with you while you were away.”
“When I was unavailable and unattainable- that sounds familiar, I mean what are the odds Spike suddenly wants something he can’t have.”
“No.” he shook his head “That’s not it, dammit Willow will you listen to me. I loved you before you left, it just took you leaving for me to realise it, and I’m not smart like you.”
“No.” Willow pulled away. “Damn it, don’t do this to me.” She pushed Spike away. “No more lies. Enough is enough. You don’t love me, why would you? You loved Buffy and Drusilla, when we were in the club I saw how you looked at her.”
“In the club?” his face registered astonishment, “I was dancing with you pet. I was turned on by you.”
“No, you weren’t, it was always Dru, never me. I don’t belong here. I don’t have anyone. I never did and I never will. So just let me go where I don’t have to see you all being so damn happy. As soon as I’m gone you’ll forget me.”
“No.” Buffy shook her head
“You did before.” Willow cried, it was all coming out now, she pulled her hurt around her like a warm coat and used it push to everyone away. “All of you, as long as I wasn’t moaning about Oz or Tara or Magic you didn’t care. Hell before I went Xander I hadn’t seen you in a week, you were so busy with Anya. Giles was with the Magic Box and Buffy with her readjusting. If you didn’t need magic or research or a damn shoulder to cry on.” She shot a glance at Spike “then you ignored me.”
Dru got up and put her hand on Willow’s shoulder, all the secrets were out now, there was so much pain, so much that even Drusilla hadn’t know about and it was all so real and so raw.
“Its okay Tree, pixie, Willow mine. I love you.” She stroked the agitated girls’ hair, trying to sooth years worth of hurt away from the poor tired girl whose injuries, both physical and emotional were causing her to shake. Willow gradually calmed down slightly under the comforting and soothing touch of her friend.
There was silence in the magic Box punctuated by Buffy’s sobs.
“Oh God, Willow I am so sorry.” Xander said and rushed over to hug her. “I’m a bad, bad friend. I love you.”
Willow stiffened, but this was Xander. She loved him and always would, he was one of the only people who could break her defences down. She’d not been telling the truth to Buffy, that Buffy had been the only one she’d trusted. Xander was her soulmate, her other half. It wasn’t the kind of love that lovers have but it was so much more and he was holding her so tightly. She warmed to his embrace.
“Me too.” Cried Dawn and joined in the hug
“I’m crying, again.” Anya moaned “and I want to get up to hug you but I’m too emotional.”
Willow couldn’t help the laugh that escaped from her tearful face. “It’s okay Anya.” And it was. She may have felt abandoned and alone but Xander, Dawn and Giles were there for her now. Even Anya who she’d never really taken the time to get to know was here. Maybe it was because she had left that they realised their need for her, whatever it was when she got back to San Francisco she was going to have to keep in contact with them.
“Why didn’t you say something?” Giles admonished as he came over to hold his little researcher.
“If you have to be told.” She didn’t finish and they nodded understandingly. They had been bad friends but if she was willing to give them a chance then they would make up for it in spades.
Buffy pushed them out of the way and stood in front of Willow. “I love you so much and I am so sorry that because of me you hurt so much. I-I never meant to hurt you, I’m so sorry.” She was crying again “I know I don’t deserve it but please, please give me a chance to make it up to you. I promise I’ll try, I’ll do anything. Please Willow.”
Willow saw the sincerity in Buffy’s eyes, she didn’t know what to do, she had been hurt so much and her first thought was that there wasn’t enough broken glass in the world for Buffy to crawl across that would make Willow forgive her. She had been mad for so long and she had held on to the pain but it was hurting her more than the actual event had done. She looked into Buffy’s tear stained face and thought of all the times that Buffy had saved her life, of all the times that they had sat in Willow’s or Buffy’s room until ridiculous times in the morning painting nails and talking about boys and then how she had missed Buffy. She took a deep breath.
“I don’t know Buffy. I don’t want to hate you, I don’t. But right now I can’t just forgive you. I’ve lived with this for such a long time. The feeling that I would never be good enough- that I was never worth enough for you.”
“No.” Buffy sniffed “It’s not true.”
“I know that now. Thanks to Dru, I have my sense of self worth but it took a lot for me to get that. No matter how you phrase it or excuse it you betrayed me. It’s not something I can just easily forgive.”
Buffy’s heart sank
“But I’ll try.”
Buffy looked up, her eyes widened in surprise and then closed in abject relief that she hadn’t lost Willow forever. Willow couldn’t bear to see the look on Buffy’s face so she reached out and pulled Buffy into a small hug. Buffy gasped and then crying louder, hugged her back fiercely.
“I’ll never do anything to break that, I promise.” She cried earnestly
When they finally pulled apart Willow was faced with Spike. Without saying a word he took her by the hand and led her into the training room.
“I love you and I know,” he held up a finger before she could cut in “That you don’t believe me, so I’m going to tell you why. You listened to me and never asked anything back. Now I’m asking you to listen to me one last time, pet.” Everything he had, everything he was, was riding on this talk, on this confession. If she left him or wouldn’t forgive him, then his unlife was over and he would awaken to greet the sun tomorrow.
“Even before you left when I was with Buffy sometimes I wished you were there instead. You were so smart, always knowing exactly what to say or do to make it all better or find what we needed. You are so strong, and brave that you make Angelus look like a sodding weakling. When you left I felt empty, like there was piece of me missing and I wanted it back, I searched everywhere for you, chased down every lead that I could. I just wanted you back here with me where you belonged. You are so bloody beautiful and I want you. Willow.” He used her name and she looked at him “I love you.” He placed a finger under her chin to lift her face to his “It’s not because I couldn’t have you, or because I wanted you. I love you for you. For the person you were and the person you are and the person you will be. I loved Willow the computer hacker and I want to get to know the Red Witch because I think I can love her more than I have ever loved anyone. I understand if trusting me, if-” he swallowed “If loving me, will take some time. I hurt you. I didn’t know but it didn’t stop me. It was the only time in my unlife that I chose sex over love and it hurt the one person who means everything to me. Just don’t give up on me – on us. I will do anything to make things right. No matter how long it takes I will make it up to you.”
His earnest expression and the tears in his eyes, the length of his speech blew her away and shattered what meagre defences she had left. Her heart lay bare and bleeding, the young naive girl inside screaming for her to hear him, to accept him.
“Tell me that I haven’t blown it, that I still have a chance?”
A single tear fell down her face.
“Red?” his heart ached “Please?”
“I still love you.” She finally whispered, at long last shoving aside all the fears and insecurities that had kept her encaged for so long.
The small smile grew into a grin so wide it threatened to split his face. He swooped down and kissed her and felt her kiss him back. And unlife was perfect.
He pulled away so she could breathe and pulled her against him, unwilling to relinquish the feel of her in his arms. Where she belonged.
Spike waited patiently as he watched the crowds moving through Miss Edith's. Willow had just finished her set and was on her way out to him. He bit back a goofy grin at the thought of his witch. She was the most powerful witch in the world and she was his, heart and soul. Not body yet, unfortunately, but he could wait for that. They had been together now for four months and hadn't yet made love. It was something that Willow had insisted upon. Thinking about it he was taken back to that night in the training room. She had just told him that she still loved him.
Willow pulled away and looked down at her feet. Her heart thudded in her chest, her emotions spilling.
"Willow?" Spike ducked his head to look her in the face. "Baby what's wrong?"
"Y-you didn't let me finish." She stammered and Spike froze
"I- I still love you b-but I can-t stay here." She continued to look at her feet.
"I hate Sunnydale- I always have." She regained a little of her confidence, she was Red Witch, not the shy little hacker anymore "I have a business to run in San Francisco, a-and," she cleared her throat "There's still.still-"
"You still don't believe me." He finished softly his chest aching.
"I want to." she refused to meet his eyes, fixing her gaze on a particularly interesting piece of carpet "But I have spent so long with this. feeling and pain, it's not going to be that easy to get over Spike. It's not like it's all over and we can jump into bed now, I'm not that kind of girl. So okay I have loved you for over four years but I have no way of knowing if we can be together like that or if now that I am back, you're even going to want me." She finally looked up into his hurt eyes.
"You think I only want you because you were unattainable." He sighed, frustrated, and ran a hand through his hair "What will it take you to believe me?"
"Time." She answered "You said you'd give me whatever it takes, however long it takes. Right now all I can think is that you were with Dru who you knew had an Angelus fixation and the Slayer who was as unattainable as they come.although not as unattainable as I would have thought," she frowned at the thought of exactly how attainable Buffy had actually been. Bitch.
"Yeah well." He stopped, he actually had no argument for that "Good point." His head hurt "Just don't leave me baby, not now."
"W-why don't you come with?" her voice was so quiet he almost didn't catch it.
He slowly smiled "You want me to come with you?"
She shrugged hiding her self consciousness "If you want."
"I want to be with you and I want you, but I can wait if you need time to be sure about me." He promised "I won't push." And then because he was a demon he added with a leer "But I will try to change your mind."
Willow grinned "Feel free."
So they had waited and Spike was still certain that she was the love of his unlife. Everything she did was magic, the way she spoke, the things she did, the things she thought, he just adored her and he knew that he would wait forever for her to be ready before taking it that last step. She was worth waiting for. Even if he was a little tired of D.I.Y.
As he looked up he saw her bounce towards him with a beaming smile on her face.
"Spike!" she greeted and stood up on her tiptoes to brush a kiss across his lips.
"Hey pet, wonderful song." He pulled her back to him and deepened the kiss.
When he finally pulled back she was flushed and breathing heavily.
She laced her fingers in his and they left the club to walk back to her place. Spike had taken an apartment close by so he could be near her but still give her the space that she seemed to need.
They didn't really need to talk; the silence was perfect as they were just happy to finally be past all that talk-our-emotions-and-other-things-to-death phase.
He walked her to her door and placed a kiss on her lips.
"We out tomorrow?" they usually spent their days together and most of their evenings too. Movies, Television, museums and galleries, paperwork, talking, it didn't matter what they were doing; they could be doing anything as long as they were together.
She bit her lip "You don't have to go." Spike's unbeating heart thudded in his chest.
"Best to love, unless you want me to stay all night."
He locked eyes with her unsure if she really was ready for this. He couldn't lose her, not now. Not ever.
She smiled reassuringly "It's what I want. You are what I want."
He picked her up and cradled her to his chest as he kicked the door shut behind them, it didn't matter that the apartment was in darkness, he could see all that he wanted to.
The bedroom lamp was turned on by magic as Spike placed her down on the bed. And just stood there watching her as her dark red hair fell across her black sheets in a pool.
"Silk?" he raised an eyebrow.
"Elumine." She whispered and the lamp turned off only to be replaced by hundreds of lightly lit candles bathing the room in a gentle glow.
"I kind wanted to seduce you." She confessed sheepishly.
Her soft skin shone in the candlelight and her eyes brimmed with such love he would have been rendered breathless, had he breath.
"You do." His crystal gaze was sincere "In every breath you seduce me, in every heartbeat you entice me, in every second I desire you and in every moment I want you."
"Then have me."
Spike lowered himself to the bed and stroked his hand down her face.
"I love you with all that I am."
She went to speak but he covered her lips with his finger.
"I love you with all that I have." He unbuttoned her shirt letting his finger track behind and skim her skin as more came uncovered.
"I love you with all that I was." He pulled the shirt off her shoulders and dropped it on the floor and unzipped her skirt.
"All that I will be is because of you." It followed the shirt to the pile on the floor, as did her satin bra.
"Because of you my existence has meaning and I love you," He leaned down and kissed away her tears at his soft declarations and traced his tongue down her throat to her pulse point "Because you mean everything to me."
Willow's hand pulled at his duster and he slipped it off his shoulders and tugged off his t-shirt.
She stroked her fingers along his chest and sucked in a breath.
"Perfect." she breathed and let her tongue follow her inquisitive fingers.
Spike pulled his jeans off and kicked off his boots.
He crawled up the bed and leaned over her with a predatory grace that she envied, and which sent shivers down her spine. He covered her breast with his mouth and licked and sucked at her sensitive mound eliciting moans from her that did delicious things to his own skin. Realising that the other also needed his attention he gave her a pirates grin as he moved his attention.
"Spike!" he was rotating his hips, crushing his arousal against her lace covered centre as he worked his own brand of magic.
"Patience." He chuckled and missed Willow's grin as she figured two could play at that game.
Spike gasped as he felt the cool silk sheets between him and his witch, she wrapped the soft material around her hand and then with a mischievous smirk began to touch him there, letting her strokes linger slowly.
"Wi-llow." Oh that felt so good, the cool sheets wrapped around her hot hand. He thrust into her fist only to find her slow down her pace.
"Patience." she mocked with a grin.
A subsonic growl sent waves right through her, down to her core, sending molten waves of heat through her entire body. She wrapped her legs around his waist and bought herself in intimate contact with him.or as much as her panties would allow.
Spike pulled out of her grasp and edged down her body, kissing his way until her reached the edge of her lace covering. He pulled it down with his teeth sending her an amber eyed leer as he removed the offending material to release her overwhelming scent into the air. She smelt divine and tasted like heaven. Bathed in the soft glow of the candles, she was a willing sacrifice, a goddess in her own right.
Spike lowered his head back down and began to lick and suck at her,
coaxing her juices from her core. He flicked at her core with his
tongue, bringing a sigh from her parted lips.
The redhead's hips bucked underneath him and he placed his hands
on her hips to hold her in place. Willow thrashed against him
wildly. "Oh, oh Spike," she gasped.
Spike grinned and nipped with blunt teeth. He could sense that she was getting close and thrust two fingers into her as she clenched her muscles around him.
Before she could come down he placed himself in position and gently eased into her, inch by excruciating inch.
"Spike?" he looked up, if she told him to stop now, he'd stake himself.
"You can be rough; I know you are a demon, you're both a man and demon, I accept all of you."
"Tonight I want to be the man." she nodded and gave him a smile that made him feel as warm as a human for the first time in a century. He wanted to savour their first time together, wanted to make it a memory worth remembering. He set a slow rhythm at first but their long abstinence fuelled their ardour until he had no choice to speed up and move harder and deeper until they came together in a wonderful explosion of emotion and sensation screaming each others name in release.
He lay on his side, pulling Willow with him and tucking her under his arm, stroking her back as he felt her racing heart under his fingers, her warmth along his cool body.
"I love you Willow." He murmured against her hair
"I love you too Spike." she replied smoothly as they drifted off into the contented sleep of two hearts finally belonging.
Since the Hellmouth was officially closed the Slayer was no longer needed in Sunnydale, so she took her sister and moved up to San Francisco to manage the growing demon population who were attracted by the power of a new club in the area. Rumour had it that the infamous Fangs and Red Witch ran it, but it was pure speculation. A large chain of Magic Shops began to open in the area under the proprietorship of a Mr Rupert Giles and his wife Drusilla. They all boasted a huge occult library section and were built by Harris and Son construction Ltd. Mrs Anyanka Christina Immanuella Jenkins-Harris ran some of the stores with the help of her friend and babysitter Dawn Summers. Dawn sometimes had help in the way of her boyfriend Connor Angelus. His father helps Giles to get Magical items for his shop, something about a burning Law firm, probably best not to ask.
As for Red Witch? Well if you can get into Miss Edith's you can see her sing every night at about twelve.
You can look but don't touch.
See that blonde in the corner devouring her with his eyes? That would be her mate, he's kinda possessive and. well ever since he got the chip out? You get the picture, especially if that picture involves you losing your intestines. Oh leaving so soon? Well come back soon, okay? Everyone is welcome at Miss Edith's. Just as long as you know when to say enough is enough.