Title: A Week Away
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Highlander belong to its current copyright holder. No money is being made, please don’t sue.
Author’s Notes: The pairing for this fic is currently being voted on at my list if anyone’s interested. The choices are Methos and Richie.
Willow pulled the canoe onto the shore, staring with a small smile at the cabin that stood there. She could remember coming here, as a child, when her parents still cared enough to take her somewhere with them. Those times were long gone, yet the cabin remained with the same owner – and he had been happy to let her use it for a week. Just as he had let her parents do during the summer when she was a child.
She maneuvered the canoe further onto the shore with no small amount of effort, dragging it high enough that no freak raise of the water would leave her stranded here. She had brought plenty of food and some bottled water, just in case – but it was best not to tempt fate, in her opinion. The sun was just beginning to start its downward arc in the sky, and the cabin was only a hundred or so yards away from the shore, up a slight hill. It was just as picturesque as she had remembered it.
The largest of the packs, with a full two weeks’ of food went first. She trudged up the hill, jingling the key in her pocket. Really she had never expected Mr. MacLeod to allow her to use the cabin, but he had memories of her mother and father and had been quite adamant that it was no imposition – he hardly used it anymore himself. The keys had arrived via courier the next day.
It was, she admitted to herself as she went back down to the canoe for the bottled water and case of sodas she had brought, the peace and quiet she had needed. They had narrowly beaten the First, utilizing a spell that had activated the world’s potential Slayers and making them active, fully empowered Slayers. In the process the Hellmouth had become unstable and very nearly destroyed the entire town, save for a desperate last-ditch effort on her own part that had left her a shell of a human being for nearly a month.
Still, the town had been saved.
She wasn’t needed for what came next. There was nothing she could teach these girls about being a Slayer. She was a witch – and one that had fought alongside a Slayer, for that matter – but she didn’t specifically know how to be a Slayer. So she had begged off for a week, maybe two she had said, and gone away to the cabin to just be free. To commune with mother nature and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
And that was just what she was going to find here, she knew already. The ground beneath her was sacred, it called out to her other senses in a way that was quite clear. Holy ground of some sort, though far more ancient than she could readily guess. Perhaps Indians – they were once populous in this region from what she understood.
By the time she had carried the last of her things to the cabin the sun had filled the sky with colors, purples and oranges that seemed a display meant to rival that of the greatest artists. Leaning on one of the porch’s supports, she watched with silent awe this natural wonder that was the sunset. The moments dragged by, one falling into another, her heart and soul lost in the beauty until, before she knew it, sunset was nearly over and the sky was growing dark.
She pushed open the front door, dragging her packs inside, and walked to one of the oil lamps placed conveniently around the room. A simple fire spell lit first one, then another, and then yet another – until the living room was bathed in the warm glow of the firelight. The cabin was rustically charming, with furniture that she had always suspected was handmade and polished. There was a charming afghan throw on the sofa, and some pillows that looked to have been hand-stitched. The kitchen was bare, as she had known it would be, and she put away her canned and boxed camping style food, whistling to herself. This was going to be an adventure. She had never spent this much time alone, away from society.
It would be fun.
The front bedroom was the closest, and she stowed her stuff in there, not bothering to light a lamp. It would be a shame to accidentally start a fire in such a wonderful place, full of history. There were ghosts here, not the tangible kind, but the type that lingered on in memories and emotions. She did not want to disturb them by leaving a lamp unattended.
The fatigue of rowing across the lake and then carrying her bags to the cabin finally started to weight down upon her later, as she finished up a small supper of canned soup, heated over a camping stove. She washed it down with some plain water, vowing to make some tea when the sun rose the next day, heating it in the warmth of the sun.
She yawned, stretching her arms up over her head. The fire she had started in the fireplace was hypnotic, dizzying even; and she watched it with hooded eyes, slowly falling into the lull of –
A sound on the porch shook her quickly from her reverie and she jumped up from the couch, the afghan falling to the floor. The knob was turning slowly, the door inching open.
Willow took a step back, prepared to defend herself if needed. But the door had been locked, and she could her the ringing lightness of keys. Whoever this was, they weren’t a stranger to the cabin. She waited, arms now crossed, for the newcomer to make an appearance.