Title: The Stinging Bitch-Slap of the Past
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Supernatural belong to Kripke, et al.
Pairing: Willow/Sam. Maybe Dean/Willow/Sam later. Depends on whether or not I get that twisted with it. Might have to change the rating, too. We'll see. *evilness*
Spoilers: So, let's just go with all of BtVS. The entire series. And for Supernatural? I'll limit it to, oh, say, everything up to and including s2e1. *grin* AU after s2e1, obviously, then.
Summary: They both left to get away from everything they'd seen, everything they'd done. They left to find out if normal was even possible and found each other in the middle of all that glaring normalcy. What happens when the past catches up, though?
"It's not dead, Sammy! You know
that! All we did was send it back to hell. It'll find a way out again, you can bet on it. And then we’re gonna need to nail that sonofabitch to the wall once and for all."
He doesn’t need to say that he needs Sam around to help figure out how exactly they’re going to do that. Then again, the words don’t need to pass Dean’s lips for Sam to know that they were intended. Doesn’t need to hear Dean say that he needs him
, because Sam knows that, too.
He just doesn’t want to care anymore.
Sam ignored the pleading in his brother's voice, cast aside the logic that was in those statements, and continued shoving his clothes into his bag. He wasn't going to do this anymore. Couldn't. Dad was dead, the demon wasn’t on the loose, and he was tired
. He wanted to just… not be here anymore. Not be doing this.
He needed to get back to having that normal life he’d wanted so badly once upon a time ago that he’d left everything he had ever known.
"Sammy, please - don't do this."
This time he paused, Dean's softly spoken words hitting him in a way that a physical blow could never have done. He shut his eyes and, for just a second, imagined what it would be like if he stayed. Him and Dean, on the road. Constantly. There'd be no normalcy for either of them, ever. And he didn't know if he could do that - had always said that he'd be gone when this thing was over and done with. It was. For now. Hopefully for long enough that he'd be old and gray when and if it ever started up again. It wasn't as if the demon could easily
get to this plane of existence.
"I have to," Sam whispered. He turned and tried to ignore the fact that his brother's eyes were a little shinier than usual. Tried to ignore the fact that he knew
this was hurting Dean more than his brother would ever admit.
Ignored how it hurt to go through with it; the breaking in his chest that felt a lot like his heart shattering.
Maybe this was stupid and naive - but he had to try. Had
"Dude - look, we'll still talk," Sam said, stopping short when Dean held up a hand, shook his head, and turned and stalked from the room. He heard the Impala start up in the parking lot and then the spin of tires and gravel as the car, and his brother, left.
Was this Dean's version of "If you leave, don't bother coming back?"
Sam wiped a hand over face, looking around the room where they'd lived for almost an entire week, trying to figure out how to kill the damn demon now that the Colt was out of the picture. In the end, they'd just vanquished it and nothing more. He looked around and waited, hoping that he would hear the Impala come back. Hoping that his brother would walk through that door and at least say goodbye to him, say that they would still talk.
Ten minutes. Twenty. Thirty passed and he had to admit that this was it. Dean wasn't coming back as long as he was still here.
Yeah, that sound? That was definitely his heart breaking.
She didn't look back when she left the house. Didn't look at the faces of the people that she was leaving behind because she was sure
that doing just that would make her rethink everything and maybe, just maybe, stop her from going through with what she knew in her heart was the right thing.
At least, Willow hoped it was; hoped that it wasn’t the type of thing that she was going to come to regret now that bridges had been burned and words had been spoken that could never, ever be taken back.
She put the last of her things in the trunk of her car and walked around to the driver's side door, still not looking over. All of her goodbyes had been said. She'd keep in touch, she promised, not really knowing if she meant it. At least with Xander, she told herself. She couldn't just write him off, no matter how much she just needed to be away from all of this
It was easy to say that this was just a knee-jerk reaction to three years with Kennedy coming to a sudden, abrupt ending. That was what everyone assumed, even when she told them that it wasn't the case. Kennedy was gone from Cleveland and she wasn't coming back, not that Willow really wanted her to. They didn't see eye to eye on things anymore.
Like how much Willow really, really wanted to have a family of her own. A house in a good neighborhood and maybe a pretty little boy that she could name Jesse. Or maybe a girl, even - that name could work either way.
Kennedy didn't want any of that. Didn't want to take advantage of the fact that, with all of the active slayers in the world now, she could become inactive and not risk the world. She didn't want to fade into the background, get a nine-to-five job and raise a family.
But Willow did.
That want - that desperate longing - is what had driven Kennedy away in the end; what had caused such a rift between Willow and the rest of the Council. What had made her question not only the need for her to continue to fight this fight when there hadn't been anything that she was integral for in years - but her desire
to keep fighting.
She had tried explaining all of that to the others - Buffy, Xander, heck, even Andrew. None of them had understood. Well, except for Faith. Then again, Faith probably had probably just wanted to be contrary to everyone else.
Okay, maybe she'd keep in contact with Xander and
Faith, then. The others... well, time would heal all wounds, of that much she was sure. And maybe when Buffy had said 'not to bother' in response to Willow's offer to be there if they ever really needed her - well maybe she hadn't really meant it; but it was too late for that now.
Shoving her key in the ignition, Willow started the car and left behind everything without another look back. She wanted normal and damnit, she was going to get normal if she had to drag it kicking and screaming into her life.
Alright, maybe that wasn’t the right way to think about it, she conceded as she cleared the gates and sped onto the main road.
But the sentiment remained the same.
~*~*~Two Months Later
It wasn’t the fact that someone was taking a seat at the stool across from her that made Willow do a double take – because she was sort of used to the attention by now. Her friends from work dragged her out once every couple of weeks – to bars and nightclubs – and there were always men and women that hit on her. She was always nice about it, but evasive just the same. All she wanted was a couple drinks and to maybe dance just a little with her co-workers; if romance came up and grabbed hold of her, then so be it. But no one had even made her curious about taking that plunge again.
This guy, though. Willow sucked in a breath through her teeth when he gave her a teasingly innocent smile, brown hair just long enough that his bangs were dangling almost in his eyes. “Mind if I join you?”
She could have been sarcastic and said that he already had. Could have been rude and just said ‘no’.
Instead, she found herself saying ‘yes’, and meaning it.
“I’m Sam,” he offered.
“Willow,” she replied back, hoping that the bar was too dark and the smoke was too thick for him to see that she was blushing. She didn’t believe in love at first sight and never would.
But this something sort of nice, too. Lust at first sight. Nice, normal lust. And that could lead to other normal things. Like dates.
“Well, Willow – can I buy you another drink?”
~*~*~Three Months Later
Fifteen dates had come and gone and that little warm feeling he’d had when he first saw Willow sitting in that bar, months ago, hadn’t left him. He laughed along with a story she was telling about work, caught up in the fact that it was just so…mundane, but in a completely good way. He loved hearing her talk about work. Willow was the kind of girl that he’d always wanted to find – a nice, sweet, normal
girl that knew nothing about the things that still haunted his nightmares.
Luckily, there hadn’t been more than a smattering of nightmares in the five months since he’d left that motel in Arkansas. Two had been visions. Those he had relayed dutifully to his brother. Well, his brother’s voicemail. Dean wasn’t taking his calls and it reminded Sam all too painfully of the last time they had seen one another.
He assumed that Dean took care of what the visions showed – because thinking about the alternative, that there had been families that could have been saved if he’d been still hunting, just wasn’t an option that would let him live with himself. Dean would have dealt with them, because Dean didn’t turn his back on anyone.
Except his brother. In all fairness, he knew that he’d turned his back on Dean first, but that didn’t mean that he hadn’t wanted - needed
- to keep in touch with him.
Sam blinked slowly, forcing himself to smile into Willow’s gently curious eyes. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just thinking.”
“MmMm,” she hummed in understanding, setting aside her fork and knife. She took his hand across the table and squeezed once.
It was tiny gestures like that, the way she didn’t push at him to open up to things he wasn’t ready to talk about – that Sam was pretty sure had made him fall for Willow hard and fast.
~*~*~Skip Ahead Three More Months
They have to get a bigger apartment when they move in together and Willow can’t help but wonder if that bigger apartment and, oh, living together will one day lead to that house and kids playing in the front yard that she’d only dreamed of.
She knows she loves him. Knows that he loves her. They say it. A lot. Often. In fact, they spend their first night in the new apartment showing their love to one another in every room – even the closets, just for good measure. It’s a ritual, of sorts; the only blessing she’s willing to give this apartment even though she could give it so much more. Could mark the doors and windows with protection and ensure that nothing – not even a whispery shade – ever get into the apartment. She was out of practice from lack of use, but it was like riding a bicycle and she was positive that it would all come back to her if she just… let it.
But she didn’t.
She bolted the front door at night and made sure that the windows were also locked tight, and that was enough because she didn’t walk in that world
anymore, so there was no reason for anything big or bad, or even in-between, to come looking for her. She was as out as out got.
So her candles and herbs stay locked in a chest in the back of the closet. Sam doesn’t ask her about it, even when he’s lugging it into the house. He just gives her that little half-smile that he’s so good at – the one that makes her knees go a little weak – and shoves it to the very back of the closet when she tells him to. “I don’t need the stuff in there,” is her excuse and he doesn’t question it.
She turned and watched as he finished folding his clothes and shoving them in a dresser that they shared.
“We still going to a movie?” he asked, shoving his hands down in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his feet just a bit. She was hit by a sudden urge to push him back onto the bed and forget the movie, but instead just nodded.
He doesn’t like horror movies, which is just fine by her, so their options are limited this close to Halloween, when all of the studios are rushing to put out the next great cult classic. But her life – even if Sam doesn’t know it – was much more frightening than a horror movie ever could be. She doesn’t mind skipping over those and going for something light-hearted.
They choose a romantic-comedy.
Sam glanced over his shoulder, making sure that Willow was out of the room before he opened the last of the boxes from his apartment. Off in the apartment, he could hear her start running water. Probably cooking dinner. That should give him enough time to stash this stuff. He hoped.
Prying off the lid of the plastic bin that he’d bought earlier that day – a nice dark blue that would hide the contents of whatever was inside of it, he started transferring.
Books. Candles. A dagger that Dean had given him for his eighteenth birthday, right before his big brother found out that he was going to be leaving them all for Stanford. He shoves it into the bin next to a box of salt that he keeps around just in case
and moves on to the shotgun and it’s matching rock-salt rounds. Then the handgun with regular bullets and silver. Some herbs that would be useless soon, but he should have thought of that and gotten rid of them rather than bringing them into the apartment. So those go in the box, too, until some time when Willow isn’t around and he can dispose of them without her cocking an eyebrow and asking why he has that sort of thing anyway.
It all goes in the bin, with a few large sticks of plain white chalk on top. There was enough in here that he could fight off anything that might come for either of them – if something ever did.
Hey, just because he left didn’t mean he was stupid. He was still a Winchester.
Sam shut the bin and took a marker out of his back pocket, labeling it ‘Sam, Private’, before shoving the entire thing into the closet, next to a big old chest that he’d helped Willow move. He didn’t need to lock that stuff up, he told himself – because Willow would never go searching through his things.
Besides, if something happened, he wanted to be able to get to it all quickly.
But nothing would happen, he told himself. This was just a precaution, a remnant of thinking from a time in his life when he’d been both the hunter and the hunted.
He’d removed himself from all of that.
“Sam – Caesar salad or garden salad?” Willow called from the kitchen.
“Garden,” he called back automatically, breaking down the cardboard box that he’d just emptied. He dropped it in the pile of similar boxes on the floor of the bedroom and smiled to himself, flipping off the light as he left the room.
END CHAPTER ONE