Lilies in Indiana
This is the last of the Kate-angst. Honest. And the Xander-Gibbs talk will be in the next part, I just needed to get this part out of the way first.
~!~Friend and Protector
Willow looked at the words carved into the reddish marble, waiting for the last of the stragglers to head towards the cars. The grave had been dug, the casket lowered, and finally, Kate was laid to rest in the earth.
When everybody but Xander and Uncle Jethro were gone, Willow slowly approached the polished rock on legs that wobbled. She knelt down in front of the headstone, careful to avoid the freshly filled grave that was Kate’s final resting place.
She tried not to think about the fact that her friend was nothing more than flesh and bone in a box underground, but it was harder to push those thoughts away when she was kneeling next to a mound of overturned earth. Another wave of grief washed itself over her, but Willow didn’t have any tears left to cry. She felt empty, used up, and desperately wished that she could erase the last few days. Then Kate would be alive and there wouldn’t be a new hole in her heart.
Willow didn’t say anything as she pulled a white lily from her purse, pushing it stem first into the soft ground. Gently laying one finger on the very edge of one petal, Willow closed her eyes and let some of her natural magic flow through her. Her mind and thoughts gave the spell a purpose and direction, and that was all the magic needed.
The lily suddenly grew taller and healthier, sprouting another two flowers before finally stopping as it reached just passed the top of the headstone. The flowers – plant now, really – seemed to lean against the marble rock, one of the white petals caressing the ‘T’ in Todd.
“Good bye, Kate. I’ll miss you,” Willow whispered.
Standing up, she was unprepared for the slight tilting of her world, but Xander was there to catch her before she fell. Her uncle was on her other side, offering his silent support, and Willow had never been more grateful for his presence.
“Neat trick,” commented her uncle, his voice slightly strained. Even after all this time, seeing her use magic still put him off kilter. “Will it last long?”
“The flowers will still bloom as long as someone remembers her,” said Willow. She kept to herself that it would also bloom year round, despite the weather.
Kate’s memory would live on.
“I think it’s time for some lunch,” said Gibbs. Willow ignored the fact that it was currently mid-afternoon, because they both knew she hadn’t been eating these past few days. Neither had he, really.
“Ok,” she agreed, turning to move back to the car.
Looking up, Willow caught a glimpse of a dark haired figure standing further down the row. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of Kate standing over a hundred feet away, telling herself that Kate was dead and it was just her mind playing tricks on her. Just because the person looked like Kate and … smiled
like Kate – it didn’t make her Kate.
Still, Willow felt herself smile back briefly, a heavy weight lifting off her chest. Then she blinked, and the figure was gone.Goodbye, Kate.