Buffy fanfiction; Willow fanfiction
Joss owns 'em. I'm just borrowing them.
Note: For those squeamish with the thought of
suicide you might want to skip this story.
Willow's life and thoughts after the season six ender
'Grave' and her time in England.
Of course, firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know what you
I wake with a start to
find I've been sleeping in Xander's lap. His back's
resting against the temple and his fingers absently
stroke my hair. Everything comes back. At first I think
maybe it was all a dream but then I see the cuts on his
face and chest... It was all very real. I start to cry
again and he pulls me into his arms, trying to hush me.
The sun is low so I figure it must be late afternoon.
It's an odd feeling – losing time and not being sure
how long I've been in the same location. I hear thunder
rolling in the distance but it hasn't started to rain
yet. He tells me we have to get off the hill before the
storm comes. I tell him to go and leave me there. At
this altitude maybe I'll get lucky and get struck by
lightening. He says that's not very funny. I tell him it
wasn't mean to be. I'm being honest.
Reluctantly, I move to
my feet with his help and we make our way down the
hillside to Joyce's Jeep. Buffy never carried the keys.
She walked everywhere she went and the key was always
hanging on a hook inside the kitchen. Xander had the
forethought to get home, get the car and race to the
hill. He has doubts about his usefulness and his
intelligence but as it turns out the guy is pretty damn
smart when the chips are down.
He opens the door and
helps me inside. As he starts to drive, I look out the
window. I tell him that I hope she does it quick. He
asks who does what quick; he's totally confused. I know
what I am now even if he doesn't see it. I'm the 'big
bad' and I know what the Slayer does to all the big
bad's in the end.
"I hope Buffy
kills me quick," I answer him.
He tries to reassure
me that won't happen. It's not much of a reassurance
because the only thing that would make me feel safe at
this point is death. I welcome death more than the
thought of going on. I never realized how much
destruction I was capable of. I do now. And now…now
everything is fucked up beyond repair. Including me. The
world's a better place, a safer place, without me.
We stop out front of
the Magic Box. He turns the ignition off and opens his
door, walking around to mine. He offers his hand and
helps me out. My body is sore and my spirit is worse. He
closes the door after I exit and wraps his arm around me
in an almost protective fashion as he leads me inside.
To say the shop is a
mess is an understatement. It's only lit by candlelight
now but I can see the wreckage I left behind. Anya walks
toward us. I'm unable to look at her as she approaches.
She says something to Xander but I miss it. My eyes are
focused on Giles who's still lying on the floor. It
appears Anya has made him as comfortable as possible
with blankets she found in the shop. As Xander and Anya
talk I slowly make my way over, ignoring their
His eyes open. I
prepare myself for the worst lecture of my life. But
instead he smiles. Of all the things he could have done
why did he have to smile? Something breaks inside me
again and I fall to my knees, crying at his side. I'm
sorry for everything - so sorry - and I don't think
he'll ever realize just how sorry I am. I beat him
within inches of his life. Giles. I hurt Giles. I hurt
all of them. What's worse is not only did I physically
harm them but I destroyed years of trust in a single
He moves to a sitting
position and pulls me into his arms.
But he doesn't listen.
I don't want his
sympathy or his well-meaning platitudes. I want his
wrath, his anger. He has no right to be this
compassionate toward me. When I realize that he's not
going to give up, I find myself apologizing in his
embrace. I apologize over and over and he lets me
ramble. He strokes my hair and kisses my temple slowly,
repeatedly. He tells me he's going to see I get
everything I deserve. Soon he starts apologizing for
leaving months ago, for failing to see that I needed
guidance he could have offered if he hadn't been so
blind. Giles is apologizing to me? It just doesn't seem
right but I'm crying too hard to say anything except I'm
sorry. I flash back to the night I apologized to Buffy,
falling to the ground as Spike led Dawn away. I was firm
in my resolve to leave magic behind. But what changed?
Suddenly, I remember…Warren took away my heaven in
just three seconds time.
The place is a wreck
but the bell on the door still works. I hear the jingle
and I turn to see Buffy and Dawn enter. I look to Giles
and he nods me toward them. Slowly I rise to my feet,
wiping my eyes. In six years that I've known Buffy I
could always read her pretty well – when she was sad,
happy, angry, scared…but at this moment I'm not sure
what the expression means. Dawn is now half hidden
behind Xander, peeking around, watching me. She's the
only one that seems to see me for what I am. A monster.
Something to be feared.
"I know I don't
deserve it but…do it fast," I tell Buffy as I
begin to close the distance between us.
I'm hoping she
accommodates my request. Silently, she walks over. She
starts crying and pulls me close to her. Seconds later,
I cry too. But I'm confused. I'm not sure if I'm crying
because she loves me too much to kill me or I'm crying
because she won't give me the exit I crave as we stand
wrapped in each others arms.
The rest of the night
seems to go by in a haze. I remember apologizing to Anya
and her walking away without comment. I remember taking
a shower at the Summer's house. I remember Buffy taking
me upstairs to her bedroom. I remember Xander on the
phone with the morgue. Buffy mentions something about
decisions, next of kin. She has all kinds of questions I
don't have answers to. I'm having a hard time focusing
at the moment. When I can't answer she strokes my back
and says 'I'll take care of it' as she leaves the room.
The touch seemed reassuring but that look in her
eyes...I still can't get a handle on it. Even hours
I lay in bed in a
fetal position and wonder why I'm not dead yet. Why
can't I be dead? Is that too much to ask? I see Giles
peek his head inside the door. His wounds have been
tended to and he sports a bandage on his head, thanks to
one of the many gashes I put on his body. He tells me to
try to get some rest. Seems we'll be leaving for England
in the next day or so. He's making arrangements for me
over there. I give a nod and as he leaves I finally feel
a sense of calm pass over me. I know why I'm going to
England. He's going to kill me there with the council's
help. I'm going to get what I deserve like he said. I'm
sure of it. Finally I'll be free of this life. With that
thought I'm finally able to close my eyes.
This waking up and not
realizing where I am is getting old already. But at
least this room looks familiar. It's Buffy's room and I
see Giles lying next to me asleep. I struggle to piece
together how long I've been in this bed. I honestly
don't know. I'm burning up and I feel how damp my
forehead and clothes feel from my sweat. My body starts
convulsing and the jerks I can't control wake up Giles.
He calls out to Buffy and suddenly she's standing in the
starting," he tells her. Quickly, she darts away
yelling for Dawn to get the ice.
It's starting? What's
starting? Ice? What the hell is happening to me?
I try to speak but I
can't make a sound. I can't even cry. Maybe this is it.
Maybe I'll die now. That thought seems to calm me more
than Giles who's gathered me in his arms to stroke my
Buffy returns with a
bucket and Dawn watches from the doorway until Buffy
orders her to wait in the hall. Surprisingly, she does
without argument. My head is swimming and it's getting
difficult to breathe. I can't seem to swallow and
instinctively I clutch my throat. Giles opens my mouth
and points Buffy toward a bag that's sitting on her
dresser. Without prompting she gives him something that
looks like a tongue depressor before turning around
again. Giles tries to keep my head still but he's not
having much luck with the spasms and he calls out to
Dawn. She peeks inside. He tells her to get behind me
and keep my head still. She does as he asks and he opens
my mouth and pushes on my tongue.
"The pump or the
needle?" Buffy asks, looking through the bag.
The pump or the
needle? What pump? What needle?
"Let's try the
drugs first," he tells her. He looks back to me.
"We're going to give you a muscle relaxer. Your
throat is constricting Willow. You won't be able to
breathe if we can't get your muscles to relax. You're
coming down off the magic high."
Buffy turns back
around with a syringe in her hand, testing it to make
sure the air bubbles are gone. Once finished, she hands
it to Giles.
he asks to be sure.
she tells him.
He tells Dawn to
steady my head as much as possible and I feel the needle
puncture the skin of my neck and the burning sensation
that follows. Within seconds my spasms subside but Giles
still keeps my mouth open, my tongue depressed.
"Is she gonna be
okay?" I hear Dawn call behind me. Buffy looks
doubtful and avoids the question, going over to the
bucket she brought in.
"She's going to
be fine Dawn," Giles tells her. I've known Giles
long enough to read him too. He isn't sure either.
towels?" Buffy asks.
tells her. "We need to lower her temperature."
Next, I feel an
ice-cold towel draped over my legs. Then comes another
that covers the top half of my body. Giles points back
to the bag and Buffy goes over and brings a temperature
strip which Giles places on my forehead.
After a few moments he
takes it off and looks at it closely.
"Dawn, go run a
cold bath. Start making another bucket of ice. Quick as
you can – go!"
She sets me back down
on the bed and dashes from the room. Buffy takes Dawn's
place behind me and Giles looks up at her. "She's
at 104.6. The towels aren't working."
104.6? 106 means brain
damage. Sometimes it's a bitch being intelligent. Death
I can handle but I'm not sure if brain damage is
something I want to struggle with the rest of my
miserable life. At this point I'd take jail for killing
Warren than feeling this way for another minute. In the
end I think maybe he got the better end of the bargain.
He no longer has to deal with living and if I could
trade roles right now at this moment I would. I remember
coming down from Rack's highs but it was never as bad as
this right now.
I feel Buffy and Giles
lead me into the bathroom. Buffy asks if they should
undress me but Giles says there's not time. It's only up
to my shins and it's freezing. Buffy leans over me to
make sure my back doesn't crash against the tub
surround. Once I'm settled inside she tells Giles she's
going to help Dawn. Giles gives her a nod and starts to
pour some of the cold water over my shoulders and head.
I shake as a result and he apologizes repeatedly, saying
it needs to be done.
Buffy returns a few
minutes later. The tub is nearly filled and just when I
think it isn't possible to get any colder she dumps the
ice into the tub. I'm convinced they are trying to kill
me now from hypothermia. Dawn comes in next with a new
strip for my forehead and Giles administers it. After a
few moments he reads it and lets out a sigh.
Dawn grins and Buffy
runs her hands over her face in what appears to be
relief. But in honesty I'm not sure. She's distant now.
More distant with me than she's ever been. It's going to
be a long night…and an even longer day. Tara's showing
should be tomorrow if I'm counting my days right. For
now I continue to sit in the cold water, shivering.
Xander hands me a cup
of coffee as he takes a seat next to me. Coffee. Earlier
this week I drank coffee with Tara. She smiled. She
flirted. And then she came home to me…And now she's
gone again. This time forever.
"How you holding
up?" he asks.
"I thought you
should know…the guys at the site took up a collection
to help with the costs here so don't worry about it.
Giles and I got the rest covered."
Actually that hadn't
entered my mind. How would I pay for all this?
say softly. I play with the swizzle stick in my coffee
before taking a small sip. Cappuccinos I can handle but
coffee always made me jumpy. My nerves are shot as it
It took all the focus
I had the night before to pick out one of Tara's dresses
– her blue one. She always looked beautiful in blue.
Buffy said she'd take it to the funeral director. It
never occurred to me how I would pay him for the
service. I was sure Mr. Maclay wouldn’t cover a dime
of it. He disowned Tara or more to the point she
disowned him by choosing her family over her kin. I
didn't even have a way to contact him about what had
happen. Tara never spoke of her family before they
arrived in Sunnydale and she never spoke of them
She got a full
scholarship to Sunnydale U without her family's
approval. She applied, won and then sent them a note
from campus telling them where she was and what she was
doing, not bothering to add more. The more I got to know
her the more I realized she was highly intelligent
although extremely shy. Much like I was until Buffy came
into my life…It seemed odd but the more time I spent
with Tara the more she opened up to everyone around her.
Those people were here now – professors and students -
offering their condolences, hugging Buffy who stood
vigil at Tara's coffin. I just sat in the corner, taking
up space, nursing my coffee.
Once Tara knew people
she had no trouble telling them what she thought. The
nervous stutter disappeared and she was quite eloquent.
I grin as I think about the argument she and Anya had
when Anya wanted me to use magic to release the spell
that kept us all locked in Buffy's house. Tara was
always mild mannered but she wasn't a push over. She'd
fight for what she believed in and even though she had
left me, she fought for me that day. Reason being, she
still believed in me.
I wonder what she
would say after this weekend. All the damage I've done.
Would she believe in me again? Would she think I could
regroup after all this? I'm really not sure. Giles had
asked me during my rage if I considered what Tara might
say about all this. At the time I didn't care. I wanted
vengeance. Now, since all I have is an aching, hollow
feeling, I find myself asking that question, scared to
admit what she would say.
I overhear people
asking if the police had caught the man that killed
Tara. Each time Buffy replies the same way. She says,
"No and I'm sure he's long gone at this
point." I'm a bit surprised. I honestly didn't
think she would 'hide' my deeds. I guess being a
Slayerette has its privileges – like getting away with
murder. Of course I'm not sure how much I really got
away with. I've lost quite a bit. My friend's trust. My
sanity. A big chunk of my soul. Buffy still doesn't make
eye contact with me for more than two seconds. Neither
does Dawn. Not that I can blame either one of them. I
run my fingers through my hair, trying to clear my head.
Xander must feel my mood shift because he wraps his arm
"Now there's a
blast from the past," I hear him say. I look up to
see Rabbi Mershmen walk in. He gives me a gentle smile
and I rise to my feet with Xander following.
Harris," he nods to Xander as he comes over.
"It's good to see
you Rabbi," he replies offer his hand. "It's
"Yes it has. I
wish it were under different circumstances." He
then turns to me and opens his arms. I take the
invitation and give him a hug. "Your mother called
from France sweetheart so I thought I would stop by. You
know my doors are always open if you need it."
I grin for the first
time all night. "Thank you Rabbi Mershmen."
"Not a problem my
dear. Is that your friend Buffy over there?" he
points. I give him a nod.
"I'm going to
offer my condolences… If you'll excuse me..." He
lets me go and I watch him walk over to Buffy and they
exchange a short conversation before he hugs her and
walks over to see Tara. I watch him give a short prayer
before making his way back over.
"I asked Buffy if
you're set for services tomorrow and she said that a
pastor will be stopping by. But if you need anything
don't hesitate to contact me. Understand?" He takes
me by the hand and gives a light squeeze.
I tell him sincerely.
"There are a few
women from the temple that are bringing some dishes by
tomorrow since you'll be holding a wake."
We are? That's news to
me. But I'm not surprised. I'm a bit out of the loop.
I'm a bit out of everything.
"That's sweet but
I don’t want to inconvenience them."
"It's not an
inconvenience," he assures me. "They're happy
to help out anyway they can. Would you be kind enough to
show me out?"
I tell him as I lead him to the door. Once we're alone,
he turns to me. "How are you doing sweetie?
ask. He just nods. "I wish I were dead. I wonder
why it couldn't have been me in front of that
window." Then I could have saved my friends all
the grief I've caused. All the damage I've done
wouldn’t have happened. And Tara would have the sense
and grace to go on unlike me.
He runs a hand across
my cheek. "It's not your time. God still has a plan
for you. It might be hard to see that now but realize
you still have a purpose here. And you still have family
and friends that love you Willow. Don't lose
I tell him.
"Yes it is,"
he agrees. "It might have been a few years since
I've seen you but I remember," he grins.
"You're a good person Willow. You need to go on,
not just for you but for all of them. For Tara
"I didn't think
the synagogue was into consoling lesbians," I grin.
"I'm consoling a
good person with a good heart. It's not my place to
judge anything beyond that…I don't want to intrude,
which is why I'm leaving, but if you'd like me to
"Go on," I
tell him with a playful shove, "Get outta
he nods as he kisses me on the forehead. "Be strong
I watch him leave.
After he's gone I turn around to see Giles.
Rabbi?" he asks.
I walk back to him,
nodding. "Yeah my mother called him." Quickly
I realize my lack of manners. "I'm sorry I didn't
introduce you Giles. I just-."
about it Willow. You've got a lot on your mind
I nod and I feel him
wrap his arms around me. He holds me and I just enjoy
the safe feeling it gives me if only for a moment.
"Do you want to go back inside?" he finally
"No but I guess I
have to huh?"
He strokes my cheek
but I watch him look toward the door. Next, I hear him
call over my shoulder.
"Mr. and Mrs.
Rosenberg. We thought you were out of town."
I turn around to see
my parents standing there. "We just got in from the
airport. We came straight here," my mother tells
"Well, I'll leave
you alone. I'm going to check on Dawn," he
announces. As he slips away I walk over to them.
I nod toward them. "I'm glad you could make
My mom starts to cry
and it feels contagious. She pulls me into a hug and
kisses my temple. "I'm so sorry sweetie."
I'm surprised she
cares. She didn't like Tara very much. She was such a
backwards girl she told me once. Plus the fact she was a
girl too. That didn't help much. She always managed to
work in a 'sin' factor when she could. We'd grown a bit
distance since I came out but to be honest there wasn't
much of a closeness there to start. My parents always
had a busy life that I was never a part of. I found as
the years went by that Giles felt more like my father
and Joyce like my mother. Buffy's family had become my
own much like we had all become Tara's. And I wonder,
when my mother dies will I take it as hard as I did
Joyce's death. And when it does happen who will console
me now that Tara's gone.
I pull back and wipe
"How you holding
up Sport?" my father asks.
"I don't know. If
mom died how do you think you'd feel?" The
sarcastic words are out before I can pull them back in.
"I'm sorry," I tell him. "As you can
see…not very well."
he says. "It's natural to lash out. It's part of
the grieving process."
Natural to lash out.
If he only knew the half of it.
Dad – always the
psychologist. It's ironic in that irony is a pain in the
ass kinda way. He spends so much time fixing other
people but his own daughter becomes a homicidal maniac.
I wonder if it's his lack of skills as a psychologist or
lack of skills as a father that could bring me to this
point. I don't dwell on it though. It bothers me to
think about it. Besides, my parents aren't that bad. It
could be worse. I could have Xander's parents. And in
the end it's not his fault at all. It's my own.
"Come on," I
tell them as I motion toward the parlor room. Xander see
us enter and he comes over to greet my folks. They
always liked Xander. They even wished I'd 'settle down'
with him someday. Even if he wasn't a 'nice Jewish boy'
he was still better than the Baptist woman I lived in
We make our way over
to Buffy and she excuses herself from a conversation to
finish the journey over.
"I see you made
it," Buffy nods approvingly.
"Yes, well the
'Get your ass home and visit your grieving daughter'
comment didn't go unheard," my mother tells her.
Buffy looks over at me
briefly. "Sometimes Anya isn't the only one lacking
in tact," she tells me. "My bad."
Speaking of which, I
look around and see that Anya is now talking with Xander
and Giles. I grin for just a few seconds when I think
about her condolence speech of, "I'm sorry that
Tara got shot and died. She was a nice person. Would you
like some orange juice?" Out of all the
well-wishers it's actually Anya that brought a smile to
my face, even though the real reason was unintentional
on her part I'm sure. Yet again I think…the irony…
The morning went by in
a blur. I remember getting into Xander's rental car but
I don't remember walking into the funeral home. I don't
remember meeting the pastor. I don't remember his
sermon. I don't remember even seeing Tara's body in the
parlor room. Suddenly I'm standing at an open grave,
looking at a cherry casket. Perched behind is a gray
headstone with black letters – 'Tara Maclay –
October 16th 1980 to May 7th,
I feel a hand on my
shoulder and look back to see Giles standing behind me.
"We need to go home now," he tells me.
That's great. But I
don’t have a home anymore. Tara was my home. My
everything. I feel like jumping inside and letting them
bury me too. Maybe that way we'd be together. With a
heavy sigh I turn and follow him. Tomorrow we leave for
England. Tomorrow I die. It's comforting in a way.
Giles opens the door
of his Westbury cottage and motions me to step inside.
Tentatively I pass the threshold. It's not a large home.
It's quaint, charming – totally Giles. It's a
scholarly bachelor pad with tons of books and records
lining the far wall. He sets his suitcase down and takes
mine from me. Any doubts I had about dying were realized
when he told me to pack enough clothes for two days. At
least I know how long my stay of execution will be.
Sure he could have let
me die when the withdrawals were at their worst but I
figure the council probably has to have a hand in it
somehow, someway. Maybe I'm too powerful now. Maybe
they'll lock me up in some magical dungeon instead as a
form of punishment. I'm really not sure and a large part
of me doesn't care. The only one to see us off at the
airport was Xander. Buffy, Dawn or Anya weren't there.
Not that I blame them.
He leads me through
the house showing me where everything is. He jokes that
he wishes he'd rented a place with two bedrooms but he
didn't expect company so I'll be bunking with him. His
sofa is far too lumpy for any human to sleep on, he
adds. He shows me the bedroom and puts my suitcase on
the bed. He points out a drawer and says when I'm
finished unpacking to join him in the kitchen and we'll
go out to do some clothes shopping.
shopping?" I ask.
"Well yes, you'll
be here for at least the next three months. You'll need
more than what's inside your suitcase. It's May I know
but it's also England. Something warmer will be in order
I assure you…We'll go after you're settled in."
He turns and leaves,
allowing me some private time. I suddenly realize he's
really not going to kill me. Nor will the council. Sure
he let me go to the funeral. Sure he consoled me as I
grieved. But deep down had the feeling he was acting on
council orders to see I was returned and 'taken care
of'. It appears that's not the case. Chances are there's
no magical dungeon either.
Quickly, I check my
pocket. I have the $1000 Xander offered and I
reluctantly took. I planned to have it sent back to him
but now I wonder if it will be enough over here. My
brain computes the currency exchange and I grin for just
a moment. Badass black magic bitch who's still a major
geek under all the Goth. I know the funds I have won't
take me very far but I'll stretch it as far as I can. I
wonder if it will be enough. Xander offered to wire over
more if I needed it but I couldn't ask him for more.
He's already given me so much and not just the money.
I realize however the
biggest question I have is will Tara understand? Will
she know why I'm not there in Sunnydale? And would she
hold all of it against me? It feels like weeks since it
all happened but it's just been a few days. God, how
long is the rest of my life going to feel since Giles
isn't going to kill me now? How am I going to handle it?
Will I be able to handle it? I don't think I can.
I begin to wonder if
Giles has any weapons in the house; something that I
could use on myself. He was never a 'gun' nut so I'm
sure that's not an option but a cross bow perhaps. A
short sword to fall on maybe. Hell, even a Swiss army
knife and a warm bath would work. Okay. I need to
regroup and think about what I'm considering here. I
mean, do I want to give up? Would Tara want me to give
up? If the situation were reversed I know I would want
her to go on. I decide she would too and I realize I
don't want to spend anymore time alone with my thoughts.
It's too dangerous.
I go to the kitchen to
see Giles making tea. Always the Englishmen. I
find myself grin in spite of my melancholy. He's another
reason that I can't give up. He turns around and sees my
slight smile and cocks his head in wonder.
"I didn't know it
was four o'clock yet," I tease him.
He smiles and motions
me to sit down. "Anytime is tea time to a real
Englishman," he adds as he pours two cups.
I raise the cup in
toast. "When in Rome," I tell him.
"Rome is farther
east I'm afraid." His smile is infectious.
"It's nice to see you grin Willow. I've been
worried about you. We all have."
"I don't know
about that. Seems Xander's the only one that can look me
in the eye for any length of time. But I understand why.
I do…I'm treading lightly here Giles. I don't know if
something might 'set me off'." I shake my head.
"I just…I don’t know anything right now except
that they've put Tara in the ground and I'm too much of
a fucking mess to be there for her."
Sunnydale wouldn't have helped you or her right now. As
harsh as it sounds, she's gone…Besides, you were there
for her when it truly mattered."
I grin. He's always
been good at that. Trying to make us all feel better.
But the grin doesn't stay long. "Thanks but that's
hard to believe."
"If that were the
case she'd still be alive."
A small silence passes
between us as we drink our tea until Giles speaks again.
"Remember Miss Calendar?"
I remember Miss
Calendar. Jenny. Computer teacher. Techno-pagan. One in
a line of generational witches… much like Tara…
Giles was crazy about
her and when Angel had gone bad and killed her, Giles
went out for revenge, nearly getting himself killed in
the process. I remember getting the phone call at
Buffy's, the two of us collapsing in each other's arms
in a puddle of tears when we learned she was dead.
Giles took a deep
breath. "God, I loved that woman. I truly did.
Grant it our relationship wasn't as cemented or as long
as yours and Tara's but…to have her taken away like
that…to hold her dead body in my arms. I would have
traded places with her at that moment…There's no pain
quite like it, is there?"
isn't." I feel my eyes tear up and my finger plays
with the rim of my cup.
"I won't lie to
you Willow. It hurts…even today it still lingers…But
you do move on. You have to find what it is you truly
live for and that helps."
"Well there's my
dilemma Giles. I lived for Tara. And now that's
"But you didn't
always live for Tara, did you?…Look, you don't have to
have the answers right now or even this week for that
matter. Just consider who you are Willow. Think about
what inspires you, deep down, and that will pull you
"So how did you
do it? What got you through?"
He takes my hands and
looks deep into my eyes. "You did…And Buffy. And
Xander…I knew you still needed me and that helped me
face each day. The work I did was important and the
people that helped me with that work were important as
"Yeah but you're
forgetting one thing Giles."
"They don't need
me. They're better off without me. All I bring them is
pain and destruction."
realize the only true pain here is the fact they hurt
because you hurt? Physical wounds heal and with time so
do the emotional ones. I won't lie to you and say that
they don't feel betrayed. They do. But they understand
your grief. On some levels they feel as responsible as
you do for everything that's happened."
"Buffy feels she
could have found Warren sooner and had him arrested
before firing a single shot. Xander feels he should have
charged Warren as soon as he saw the gun but he froze.
They both have a sense of responsibility to this
although there's nothing anyone could have done…Even
Anya in her misguided way wishes she'd convince you
somehow to let her deal out the vengeance on Warren. And
Dawn…Dawn wishes she had contacted me when you reached
out for help. She, like Buffy, thought quitting cold
turkey would be best for you because lord knows that
what all the 12 steppers will tell you. But magic is
different. And she has a sense of guilt in this too. So
they know more than you realize. And I think they're
trying to help you the best they can."
going to kill me, I'm not sure how being here is going
to help them."
"Don't talk that
way. As I said I'm making arrangements. There's a coven
here that's part of the watchers council. I'm in the
process of getting you a seat."
Did I just hear him
"Wait a second.
You're going to train me to be a witch? After everything
"I'm going to
train you to be a Wiccan. A true Wiccan and not an evil
incarnate you're capable of becoming. That's the first
power will always be with you Willow. You'll never lose
it and it's far worse for you to stop altogether. You
must learn to be the master of that power. If you do
suddenly stop and denounce the magic I'm afraid you'll,
how should I say… 'implode' at some point…And the
results of which might be far more deadly the second
time around. You may even kill someone you love. So one
of the keys to your recovery isn't avoidance. It's
discipline…I should have seen it," Giles sighs.
"I should have stayed after you brought Buffy back
and worked with you then but…I underestimated your
powers. It was my error and I apologize."
"You're apologizing for my explosion in black
magic? That's my fault Giles, not yours."
right. It is your fault. Don't forget that. Ever…But
as a friend I should have seen it's progression. And
knowing you the way I do, I should have…"
"Well what's this
coven all about?"
"It's a group of
witches basically," he shrugs. "They do
exercises, training, spell casting, spell
reversals…many things actually."
"So the watcher's
council has like…a Hogswart school?"
"Well I-I'm not sure if I'd go with the Harry
Potter pop culture reference but…y-yes they do. And I
think it would be good for you." He pats my hand
and rises from the table. "But as I said, we'll
worry about that later. First we need to see to your
"I don't have
much money Giles. Xander gave me-."
"Don't worry. The
council is paying for it."
How'd ya swing that?"
connections," he grins again. "Besides, the
council knows how powerful you are. Helping you now
could be a great asset to them later. So nothing is ever
free," he teases. "But let's not question it
too much. Let's just take advantage of their generosity
while they're giving it."
I wake up from a
dream. It seemed so real. So vivid. We were at the park.
I was standing at our bridge, the place where she sang
to me. I watched as she walked toward me with a warm
smile on her face. My girl. My Tara.
But suddenly her
expression changed. 'Your shirt' she said with a cock of
her head. I look down to see it covered in blood. Not
just a few splotches. It's soaked red and when I look up
I see the crimson spot growing on her chest. I screamed
in the dream and I must have screamed aloud too because
Giles is now sitting up with me in bed, stroking my
he asks softly. "They'll be frequent for awhile.
We've talked about this."
"Tara…She…She got s-shot at the park."
But I know she didn't
get shot at the park. She got shot in the bedroom. The
place we made love just hours before. She was still gone
though. She died in my arms. Limp. Expressionless.
I start to cry. It's
too much. I can't take it anymore. All of it. Knowing I
hurt my friends and might hurt them again, losing Tara
who was everything. The guilt of killing Warren and even
Rack for that matter…It's too much. I'm done. It's
over. I just can't take it. The dreams, the pain…I'm
never going to get better. I'm always going to be
haunted. And I'll never be normal again. I know I have
to end it. It has to stop. I can't take the chance of
hurting someone I love and I can't go on hurting like
this anymore. It's just too much. They'll be better off
without me. All of them. Even Giles.
I calm down, resigning
myself to my fate. I pull away from Giles embrace and
wipe my eyes as I steady my breathing. This has to end.
All of it. It has to end. This is actually a good thing
in the long run.
I rise from the bed
and tell Giles I'm going to take a bath. Maybe it will
help me go to sleep. He gives me a nod and I walk past
the kitchen before heading to the bathroom. I take one
of the knives from the wood block and finish my journey.
I turn the water on
making it as warm as possible without being scalding. I
place a washcloth in my mouth and I bite as hard as I
can as I make an incision in my arm vein. I'm gonna do
it the right way. This isn't a plea for help. It's a
plan to leave. No wrists slashes for me. I know better.
It's east to west, not north to south. The blood begins
to trickle slowly but that will change. Once the warm
water does its job it will flow more freely. I turn the
water off and climb into the tub submerging my arm. I'm
not there but a few seconds when I hear the banging on
the door. My eyes dart open.
"Willow open the
"I'm in the tub
Giles," I tell him calmly. "Go back to
Next comes the
"Open the door
"I said go
He's not going to give
up but I know I'm not leaving the tub. Maybe the lock
will hold him long enough. Just as the thought leaves my
head I see a battle-ax slice through the wood. Goddamn
it! He's gonna get inside! Why can't I just fucking die
He makes a hole big
enough to fit his hand through and unlocks the door.
Hell," he whispers as he races over. He unplugs the
tub and tries to pull me out.
But I won't leave
without a fight and I kick and punch, trying to stop him
but it soon becomes useless. He's stronger than I am and
he overpowers me. For a brief moment I consider calling
on the magics but I remember the last time that I used
the magics against him and I feel all the more worse for
even thinking about it. I collapse on tile floor -
dripping, bleeding and crying. Giles is soaked with
water and covered in my blood too from my flailing arms
from moments before. He grabs a towel and ties it as
tight as he can around my wound. Quickly he starts to
chant and I feel my arm grow incredibly hot before
instantly cooling as he finishes. He lets out a long
sigh before his disapproving eyes meet mine.
"You are not
giving up!" he shouts, making me jump. "You
are stronger than this and you will beat it! How dare
you?! How dare you do this and leave me to find your
body?! We've lost Tara but we're not going to lose you
too. Do you understand me?" I can't answer him. I'm
crying too hard. When I don't say anything, I feel him
shake my body. "I said do you understand me?!"
understand," I sob.
He rears back to hit
me and I flinch. Instead of releasing the blow he moves
to his feet, frustrated. "I would knock some sense
into you if I thought it would help," he mutters.
He then opens up his medicine cabinet and I watch as he
starts to pull items out. Bottles of aspirin, sinus
medicine, things I don't recognize…anything I might
use to try to overdose. I watch as he flushes it down
He leaves the room and
returns with a dry set of clothes, tossing them in the
sink. He pulls down some bandages, gauze and surgical
tape. Next, he goes to work mending my arm. I look down
after he removes the towel to see the wound is now shut,
a result of the magics he called upon, but it still
looks raw. The alcohol stings but I don't issue a
protest. Next, he wraps the bandage so tight I'm not
sure what hurts more – the bandage or the cut itself.
He stands up and points to the new clothes in the sink.
and put them on," he orders. I look at him for a
moment wondering if I'll get any privacy. He answers my
unspoken question. "You're not leaving my sight so
stop being modest and get dressed."
Quickly, I turn around
and switch my pajama bottoms; then my top.
bed," he orders. I follow him without response.
Once inside he motions
me to the bed. "I went to make you some tea when I
noticed one of the knives was missing." He starts
to tear up and takes a seat on the bed. "If I had
found you in the morning do you have any idea how I
would feel?" I can't answer him. I can't even look
at him. "You were sorry for hurting me in Sunnydale
but did you realize that the pain at finding you would
have been a million times worse? Do you?"
"I don't want to
hurt you," I tell him. I can't look at him. I can
only look at the bandage on my arm as my fingers
absently play with it.
"Then lose the
death wish and focus on living," he orders.
I give a nod. "I
he replies sarcastically. "You must understand
there are no 'buts' when it comes to this Willow. Either
you will or you won't. It's that simple."
hard," I tell him, still unable to look at him.
"You don't know what it's like Giles."
"I know more than
you realize. I did some major damage in my youth too
with a body count higher than yours I should add. I've
delved head first into the black arts. I've lost lovers
unexpectedly…I realize more than you think. So instead
of taking matters stupidly in your own hands, come to
me!" He pauses and takes a deep breath, his voice
becoming much softer and gentler. "Talk to me
Willow and we'll ride it out together."
"Why are you
doing this?" I ask. "Why are you subjecting
yourself to all this grief?"
"Because I love
Finally I look up and
meet his eyes. "I love you too Giles."
"Then promise me
you won't harm yourself again."
I give him a nod.
"Now, I'm going
to take all the weapons out of the house tonight just in
case. I don't want to have to restrain you at night
while we sleep but I will if I have to."
I make a decision at
that point. I wasn't going to bring him any more pain or
inconvenience him. It's obvious that what I did moments
before was completely stupid and self-centered. "I
promise Giles. I won't hurt myself again. And I won't
hurt you. You won't have to do that."
"I'm doing it
anyway," he says rising to his feet and moving to
the door. "I just want your word it won't happen
I nod and give a sigh,
reaching deep for a confident voice that conveys my
determination. "You have my word. I promise. It
won't happen again."
he nods. "Lay down and get some rest. I'll be back
I watch him leave the
room and I pull the covers up over my body, grateful
that he has enough strength for both of us at the
I | Part
II | Part
III | Part