DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the slayerettes belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The writing style for this story is a departure from my usual style. I will not be telling you whose POV is in each chapter, unless it is necessary because of format. I'm sure you're smart enough to figure that out by yourselves. A big thanks to my beta Dirk who somehow manages to deal with my insanity.
FORMAT: Format for Chapter Four: Plain text is Willow, Bold is Giles' journal entry, Italics is Buffy's thoughts, Bold and italics together are Buffy and the Slayer merged and /// are flashbacks.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To slaymaster415[at]gmail.com
She Comes To Me In The Middle Of The Night
A watched pot never boils.
Or at least that's what my mother says. When she's here of course.
I don't know how long I have been staring at this alien creature otherwise called a phone. It feels like hours.
But time has no meaning for me right now.
All that matters is when that phone rings, I will breathe a sigh of relief.
For I no longer have to sacrifice.
I will have both.
I feel strangely calm.
It's eerie really. Somehow I thought I would be more freaked.
After all, it isn't everyday a girl becomes One with her primal half.
The phone becomes more and more fuzzy with each passing second.
My mind is vaguely aware of what is happening and the thought strikes me that I should shake it off.
But I give in to my subconscious, letting it take me for a ride.
And the past becomes the present.
//// I AM NOT AN INNOCENT!
I burst into tears at Buffy's screamed retort.
I see golden eyes emerge. The Slayer immediately reaches for me, encircling my body in her strong arms.
For some reason, this comfort only makes me sob harder. I feel the purring in her chest that reverberates through her to my broken body.
It isn't until I feel teardrops falling into my hair, that I realize my Slayer is crying. I stop sobbing and pull out of her embrace. Her face is wet at what she perceives as my rejection.
My hands gently caress her face. I lean in to kiss her tears away when she startles me by jumping off the bed.
She lets out a howl like a wounded animal, tearing me apart inside.
She stares at me, her eyes full of pain. Before I can speak, she rushes out my French bedroom doors faster than I can blink.
And I throw myself on my bed, bawling for the loss of my best friend.
And bawling for the one I love more than life itself.
I fall through Giles' office door, and it is lucky he is there to catch me.
I'm a mess. I don't even know how I managed to take my history test first period.
My guilt is eating me alive.
The day before I managed to destroy three lives all at once.
Now Giles is nothing but a watery blur.
"Oh, Giles. What have I done?"
My crying and babbling finally subside, leaving me exhausted.
Giles plays the part of the dutiful parent, listening patiently to my, at times, incoherent monologue and quietly offering tissues.
Naturally the first thing he does is to offer me Earl Gray. I accept gratefully drawing comfort from the familiar ritual.
Once I am settled and calm, the handkerchief comes out and the cleaning of the glasses begins.
He is unsurprised at the turn of events.
He knew from day one I loved Buffy.
This last part astonishes me.
Was I really that obvious?
Certainly not to myself.
My mind flashes back to the day we met. She swept in, so beautiful. So confident.
And she sat next to ME.
She chose ME over Cordelia and her minions.
ME; Willow Rosenberg, nerd girl of Sunnydale High.
I was in awe.
But any conscious acknowledgement of attraction for her became buried.
Buried in the midst of my blind devotion to Xander and her budding relationship with Angel.
So instead we became the best of friends.
You get the picture.
Nothing more, nothing less.
But that first night, another part of Buffy emerged.
A fierce protector.
Strength, speed, and bravery.
Love and Desire.
I saw the Hunter
And the Hunter saw me
Something Buffy (in my mind) would or could never do.
Or at least I thought so until yesterday.
As if Giles is reading my mind he shoots one more surprise.
He was also aware of Buffy's feelings towards me.
Giles felt Angel to be teenage infatuation.
It was always me; I was the one who truly held Buffy's heart.
My brain slips into neutral for a moment.
What he says next brings me from my stupor and for the first time I feel a ray of hope.
A perfect solution.
That is what he is offering me.
But can it really be that easy?
The Slayer and Buffy become One.
My great relief turns quickly into fear and trepidation.
Logical Willow has been tossed out the window as my insecurities rise to the surface.
Sure Buffy's actions and words implied feelings of love for me, but there was no official declaration.
Even Giles' observations offer no comfort.
I don't know why I doubt Giles. He has always been more aware than we give him credit for.
But in my mind one important question remains.
Why would Buffy the girl sacrifice her desires for the desires of the Slayer's?
"I know I will be able to get her to agree, Willow."
I narrow my eyes in cynicism.
There is a picture of Buffy next to the word stubborn in the dictionary.
And Giles probably put it there.
He should know more than anybody how she will react.
She will run.
And never look back.
The merging is more complex, he asserts. One is not sacrificing all for the sake of the other.
Despite the gravity of the situation, my mind starts to wander.
One body sharing two souls or beings is a conundrum, difficult to comprehend at the best of times.
Spirit and body.
Ying and Yang.
And now two spirits become One in one body
I feel the urge to run to the stacks.
Would the answers be in theology or philosophy?
Perhaps I should check both
Slipped into Giles mode there.
Speaking of whom he offers to show me his findings.
He smiles indulgently knowing exactly how my mind works. I blush. No wonder I had a crush on him.
I gratefully accept the invitation.
Maybe logical Willow will return; her curiosity sated. Maybe my objectivity will manifest.
And maybe Snyder will get eaten by a huge snake demon.
That could happen.
It is the hellmouth after all.
My mental image of Snyder being a lunchable for a giant snake is mercifully laid to rest at the very real sight of Giles retrieving a book from his locked drawer.
He sees the question in my eyes and silently hands me a book.
It's Giles' personal journal. I can't believe he's letting me read it.
"The pages are bookmarked," he says and leaves the office.
I open the book and begin to read.
As I lay in the dark, my mind refuses to turn off.
I feel like Giles has bared his soul to me. I can only imagine how much this cost him emotionally.
No scratch that.
I really have NO IDEA how much it did cost him emotionally.
I'm honored but it just shows the gravity of the situation.
And I am reminded once again what Giles fears the most.
Buffy is losing her humanity.
Perhaps unwittingly, his writings had begun to express the fears of a father.
A father in a very unique situation.
A father who has come to accept his daughter's imminent death; yet wants her to experience a full life with the time she has left.
His journal speaks of my declaration of love for the beast, expressing trepidation for me.
I am warmed by his caring, yet angry at his doubt.
Giles secretly fears Buffy's primal half, he doesn't trust it.
And I know.
What I've known the whole time.
When it comes to Buffy the girl he will protect her above else.
Even from the slayer.
But nothing is ever simple.
Everything has a price.
And then I came along.
And the debt had to be paid.
He exhausted himself looking for answers.
Numerous meditation sessions with Buffy were for naught.
The meditations barely held the Slayer in check.
The Slayer is too strong.
There existed only one solution.
The two must become One.
Was the price required too high?
Giles thought not.
In fact I think he was relieved at the solution.
Nothing more than a simple ritual.
I switch on my desk lamp, suddenly feeling the need to re-read his last entry.
Instead of the struggle to express each other's needs their needs will become one.
Buffy's happiness will continue, and my hope is that this ritual will bring added longevity to her otherwise expected short life. Each side brings something significant to the table.
There is a certain recklessness of the slayer to go willingly to her death. To protect and save the world from the very bowels of hell itself.
However, the girl's will to live in the continued quest for a normal life will temper the slayer's natural impulse.
In the reflection of a normal life, the girl can be flighty, ignore rationality for the sake of a teenage whimsy. The Slayer, conversely, will bring about more focus and maturity.
As a mate, Willow can offer increased love and support and fidelity. The girl's urge to protect Willow will be stronger.
And so will her will to live.
Oh Buffy, please, please agree to the ritual, I silently beg.
For everyone's sakes.
Especially your own.
Buffy refuses to speak to me, only sulking in my presence.
I don't even see a slip of the Slayer anymore.
I have no idea what is happening and my soul feels like it's being ripped out of me.
Okay that was a little dramatic, but in no way less true!
Xander is caught in the middle and at last he breaks.
He drags me behind one of the bookcases in the library, a place Buffy is most certainly never to go without provocation.
"This has got to stop." He hisses at me.
I bury my face in my childhood friend's chest, unable to lift my head to express my pain, so he does it for me, and draws a sharp breath at the sorrow in my eyes.
"Will. You need to tell me."
I shake my head and begin to pull away from his grip, but he won't let me.
His face becomes hard.
"What has she done to you?"
Xander kisses me on my crown, and I just know he is going to do something foolish.
I try to stop him, but he ignores my protest.
He even somehow manages to get by resolve face.
And that's saying something.
Maybe I'm losing my touch.
Xander refuses to tell me what he said to Buffy.
He simply squeezes my hand.
I am relieved there are no visible black and blue marks.
Don't look at me like that.
Both Xander and Buffy can get hmm very emotionally confrontational.
And Xander doesn't even know half of what happened.
I squeeze his hand basking in his love and protection of me.
Maybe it will never be anything more than the deep bonds of friendship but it is something I will always treasure.
And I know he does too.
I just hope once he knows the full truth it will stay that way.
It's midnight, and I can't sleep.
My Slayer hasn't visited me during the last week.
I've had to curb crazy impulses.
A bottle of holy water resides in the drawer of my nightstand calling my name.
I recklessly consider heading for the cemetery so I can find her. The only thing that stops me is how angry I know she will be when she finds me.
Well that, and maybe a strong chance of being a happy meal with legs along the way.
Instead I sigh, and hug my bunny closer pretending the soft fur is really her soft skin.
And drift into a restless sleep.
A sharp rap on my bedroom doors wakes me with a start.
In the moonlight, I see the silhouette of Angel.
My heartbeat is so loud I'm almost certain he can hear it from there.
He seems even more dark and brooding than usual. As I approach him, I see a spark of jealousy in his eyes.
My heartbeat is now louder than a freight train.
Or maybe a sonic boom.
Despite my heart's increased blood flow, my face drains. A very pale scared Willow is ready to faint at the drop of a hat.
"It's alright, Willow." His voice muffled, by the glass. "You don't have to let me in."
He knows that I know that he knows-
Panic babble alert.
I take a deep breath and open the doors.
"Giles came to see me." He pauses and now I see resignation in his eyes. "I know what needs to be done."
He gives a soft sad smile.
"Buffy may be pig headed, but she'll agree to the ritual, you'll see."
He takes an unneeded breath, stares directly into my eyes and relinquishes his hold completely.
"And really, there is no one I'd rather lose her to than you."
My study of Plank's constant is interrupted by a teenage boy flopping down next to me, causing my papers to fly everywhere.
I give him the look of shame that only I can muster.
Xander ignores my silent scolding, a goofy grin plastered on his face.
"Got some good news for ya, Wills!" He pauses, stretching back like a contented cat that ate the canary.
I raise an eyebrow in question but my mind is slowly coming alive with ideas.
"Yes, the Xan-man has swooped in and saved the day." He feigns musing. "Maybe it's time I invested in a video camcorder."
He winks at me, biting into a jelly donut.
Mindlessly, I allow my homework to fall on the floor as I throw myself at him in glee, his arms wrapping around me donut and all.
"Giles wants to see you in his office at lunch." He whispers in my ear.
My tears of joy are interrupted by a typical Xander quip.
"Hey Will, mind easing up on the kung fu grip? The jelly is beginning to drip all over your back and it took all my best James Bond skills just to steal this from Giles."
I laugh and kiss his cheek in thanks.
And forego the wonder of Plank's constant for the wonder of something different and oh so much better!
"Are you sure Giles?"
I wring my hands and look into gentle, reassuring eyes.
I bite my lip just a little too hard and ekicit a squeek of lingering fear with a mix of pain.
I unconsciously lick my lip checking for blood.
Thank God there are no vampires about.
"Yes, Willow, I am."
Despite the gravity of the situation, I catch the hint of a smile tugging at the corner of his lips at my struggle to believe anyone could possibly choose me.
"100% unquestionably, unequivocally in all ways of sureness-"
He lays a hand on my shoulder, and interrupts, ignoring my babble before it runs into grand central station.
"I need you to talk to the Slayer."
Buffy is in Giles' office, waiting for me.
I place my hand on the doorknob and pause.
Does my slayer still love me?
Suddenly the door opens and I see golden eyes.
A purr and a happy whistle sounds.
She hungrily kisses me and the lonely week disappears.
We will never be apart again. ///
The phone rings, nearly causing me a heart attack.
My shaking hands fumble with the receiver.
My voice quivers, half in fear, half in excitement.
"The ritual's done, Willow."
I can hear the smile in his voice.
"Buffy and the Slayer are now One."
She comes to me in the middle of the night, but I don't mind.
I come to her in the middle of the night, but she doesn't mind.
I did, maybe, in the beginning.
She did, maybe, in the beginning.
But not now.
But not now.
Not now because I love her.
Not now because I love her.
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