Title: All About Bob
Disclaimer: Don’t own anyone.
Spoilers: BTVS-S6 Spoilers.
Summary: Wrapping things up . . . QCP#46
Notes: This is a mini-sequel to my other story, The Greatest Show On Earth.
Dedicated to Liz, who requested a mini-epilogue with Bob.
The sun was warm, the wind blowing ever so gently so that the day wasn’t overwhelmingly hot. A line of green trees greeted her eyes, a forest so large and peaceful that it was just plain beautiful to behold.
But Willow just couldn’t find it in herself to see that beauty. Her heart was too heavy for any of the beauty around her to penetrate. Her mind was on something else, something she wished she didn’t have to do, but she knew that she must.
It was time to say goodbye.
“It’s a beautiful place,” came the murmur from her side. “He’ll like it here, I’m sure of it.”
Willow nodded, not turning to face the person who had just spoken. She knew who it was, knew that distinct soft tone with an underlying purr by heart. Her hand reached out and she grasped blindly for a second, breathing a visible sign of relief when his hand slipped into hers.
Nathaniel moved forwards, bringing their joined hands to rest on Willow’s belly while he was able to rest his chin on her shoulder. The redhead sighed, her tone one of deep discontent, as she leaned back into her ‘kitten’, glad that he was here with her for this occasion. She needed all the support and strength she could get. This was a big step for all those involved.
Her resolve weakened just a bit when she left the slightest, feathery touch against her leg, her face falling dramatically. In desperation, her eyes sought those of Anita Blake, the Vampire Executioner. The pleading was so evident in Willow’s green orbs that the brunette woman was taken back. She hadn’t seen Willow this emotional, this vulnerable except for that one time when she had beheld the sight of Xander in the lupanar, mere hours after he had been released from Paris’s grasps. Only the sight of her best friend, bloody and beaten, had driven the redhead to such an emotionally raw level. Anita never thought she’d see the day when Willow would behave like that again.
But she was wrong.
“I don’t think he’s ready,” the redhead began, her voice taught with tension as she stumbled over her own words. “I don’t think he’s old enough yet. I mean, how could he be? He’s just a baby-”
“He hasn’t been a baby in a long time Wills.”
The voice of her best friend was what deflated her. Willow turned a hurt expression to her best friend Xander, true sorrow in her eyes.
“I don’t think he can do this Xander,” she tried again, her tone almost pitiful. “I don’t know if I can do this.”
Xander sighed, running a hand through his dark locks. His eyes went to the forest before them, a glint of sorrow flashing in his own dark eyes as he gazed upon the landscape. He didn’t even flinch when he felt the light touch at the back of his neck, the soft feel of feathers tickling the base of his neck. A sad smile dawned his face, wistfulness in his tone when he spoke once more.
“I don’t think I’m ready for it either. But if we left to up to whether or not the two of us were ready, this would never get done. And it has to be done Wills. You know it as much as I do.”
The redhead nodded, the beginning trace of tears lining her eyes. She bent down, going to rest on her knees in the midst of the green grass. She extended her arm, waiting only ten seconds before she felt the feathery touch once more. Sadly, the redheaded witch watched as her feathered serpent entwined himself up her arm, going to rest his head on her shoulder just like Nathaniel had been doing mere seconds before him.
“Bob,” she greeted him, a heavy line of sorrow tinting her voice. The serpent hissed happily in response to his name, something that looked like a smile on his face. She grinned wistfully, her hand going up to stroke his beautiful feathered scales. Bob was a beautiful creature, a blue-green serpent with long, soft scales. His eyes were a beautiful blue colour, one that almost reminded the redhead a little of Spike. But Bob’s eyes were a deeper blue, a midnight blue that humans, even vampires, couldn’t produce naturally.
She remembered the first day she had ever laid eyes on him. It was a normal day in Sunnydale, well what could pass for normal on the Hellmouth. She had been down by the lake, debating all the horrible things she had done in her life. She knew that Xander was waiting for her, just beyond that patch of trees. The car had been loaded up and they were about to hit the road. The problem at that time had been though they were hitting the road; they weren’t too sure where it was they wanted to end up. St. Louis would be their eventual destination, but that was some time coming from that day by the lake.
She had been preparing herself to go, thinking idly that it would be best if she just got a move on it. But her legs wouldn’t move for a little while, and the redhead had closed her eyes, trying to find some shred of strength inside her, one that she would need for the days to come.
And then she had heard it. The pitiful hissing noise that drew her out of her self-pity and despair. She remembered thinking that it was the oddest sound, like someone was letting the air out of a tire but was also tapping their finger in front of the air hole, disrupting the normal flow of air. Curious, she had gotten to her feet, following the odd noise until she came to a clump of bushes. She pushed them aside to find a small baby serpent, injured horribly and possibly on its last breath.
Shocked, she had gathered the creature in her arms, mindful of its injuries before running to Xander. She had gotten the serpent to the car, going through her minimal supplies of magic things before she found something that could heal its wounds a bit. She kept the serpent, both her and Xander agreeing that they would drop it off at the nearest animal shelter they could find.
But that never happened. By the end of the first day, she didn’t want to let Bob go. She named him on the second day and even Xander had to admit it looked like Bob was going to be their new pet. After all, the man reasoned, they couldn’t name him and then dump him. Naming meant attachment and some sort of bond. And that’s what they developed with that cute little baby serpent.
The only problem was, Bob wasn’t a baby anymore. Sadly, Willow looked at the way he was curled up her arm, his body too long to fit itself around it properly anymore. He was coiled very closely up her arm, and still some of him lingered off on the end. Those hurt and lost blue eyes had changed into warm and knowing blue eyes. Willow knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was the time.
But that didn’t mean she had to like it.
“You know, I’m going to miss you,” she whispered to the serpent, fingering the soft scales on his head. “You’re such a special creature. I’m so honoured that I was able to have you by my side for so long. I know that this is what you’re meant to do, but you’ll have to understand if I don’t get too excited over it. This is kind of hard for me.”
Bob hissed sadly, as if he could understand her. She always thought that maybe he did, that he knew how to read her just by her face. Bob certainly acted that way most of the time. She smiled at him once more, placing a small kiss on the top of his skull.
“I’ll never forget you,” she vowed. Bob made an unimpressed hiss, as if he was trying to say ‘like you could forget’. Willow narrowed her eyes, turning to give Xander a glare.
“You were a bad influence on our little Bob,” she muttered, extending her arm once more to allow Bob to untwine himself. The serpent made its way to Xander, coiling itself around his waist a few times before skimming across Xander’s back to rest his head on the man’s shoulder. Xander smiled at the creature, ruffling its feathers gently.
“Best pet ever,” was all he had to say. Bob hissed happily in response before disengaging from Xander as well. He floated before his former masters for a bit, something akin to uncertainty in his eyes as he gazed towards the tree line. Nathaniel grasped Willow’s hand again, pulling the redhead back into his embrace as the serpent lost his lingering shreds of doubt and began to float happily off towards the forest. Willow sighed, a tear escaping her as she turned to face Anita again.
“Thanks again for finding this place,” the redhead murmured, gesturing to the preservation Bob had floated off into. “He’ll like it here.”
“Until he finds something worth guarding,” Xander shrugged. “Then he’s off, fulfilling his innate destiny all over again.”
“What a way to comfort your friend,” Anita shook her head. “Must you ruin every moment?”
Xander shrugged again, a devilish grin on his face as he watched Bob’s progress silently. The serpent was nearing the trees, happy and carefree in his movements. Willow sighed once more, patting Nathaniel’s hand in thanks as she watched Bob finally enter the forest. The serpent was gone from sight after a few more seconds, one that saw Willow’s face fall completely.
Until Xander began to softly sing the first few lines from “Born Free”. Anita gave a frustrated growl, shooting Willow an annoyed look.
“Can I shoot him now?” the brunette asked whiningly. Willow only smiled, linking hands with Nathaniel before turning around and making her way back to where they had parked their cars. Xander, only encouraged by Anita’s annoyance, began singing even louder and more off-key. He passed by the Executioner with a jig in his step, actually tossing her a goading wink as he walked by. Anita narrowed her eyes, shifting her attention back to Willow again.
“I promise I’ll only use normal bullets. Come on? Please?”