Hunters, Huh?- Willow/Sam
Series: 2007 in 2007
Title: Hunters, Huh?
Disclaimer: Don’t own any of them.
Spoilers: General for Supernatural, S1 for BTVS
Summary: There were people in the library, and she didn’t figure they were looking for some light summer reading . . . FFA Willow/Sam Winchester.
Willow shifted her pile of books from one arm to the other, grimacing as she shook the now vacant and aching arm gently. She wrinkled her nose slightly, annoyed that she had to carry this load back to Giles. She wasn’t even the one who had taken the books out. That person was Xander, and mostly because he wanted to look at the semi-nude images in them. She didn’t understand why he didn’t buy Playboy like other boys his age. Not that she necessarily advocated the buying and viewing of Playboy, nor did she really want to dwell on what Xander would do with it. But with that scenario, Willow didn’t have to lug an armload of heavy books down to the library where Giles was doing inventory before school reopened.
Why Giles had let Xander keep the books for so long, and over the summer, was beyond her. And why she had agreed to drag the books down here for her friend was another thing she didn’t understand. At first, when Xander told her about the semi-threatening phone call he had with Giles about said books, she had been kind of irritated with her friend. And when he started hedging towards the topic of her taking the books back for him, she had been all prepared to shoot him down. But then he had smiled at her, gave her the puppy-dog-eyes, and her brain preceded to melt into mush. He was armed with the excuse of having to work, which wasn’t much of an excuse considering what his work was. His uncle owned a car lot and hired Xander for the summer. For about two hours every other day, Xander washed and cleaned various cars on his uncle’s lot. Fairly easy work, and provided him with a bit of money for summer spending.
It also didn’t eat up much of his time, which meant he could have taken the books back to Giles after his shift, but he still suckered Willow into doing it for him. He had even promised to take her out for ice cream later on as thanks. And stupid her, with visions of Xander and sweets in her head, had agreed. And now, about twenty-five minutes later, both her arms hurt and she was cursing her own weakness when it came to her best friend. Xander owed her a huge honking sundae for this. Maybe even two.
Willow sighed and turned the street corner, and was a bit relieved as the school came into sight. She hitched the pile of books higher up in her arms and quickened her pace more than before. Within minutes, she was at the school and making for the side door closest to the library. As her hands closed on the handle, her mind went back to June and the ‘shortcut’ Cordelia had created in this very spot. The school hadn’t asked much questions about the damage in and around the library, and chalked it all up to earthquake damages. She wasn’t sure how they justified a hole in the side of a building and tire tread marks all over the hallway as earthquake damage, but they had.
Willow slowed her pace once in the hallway, coming up to the library door very quickly. She used her free hand to push her way through the swinging door, immediately going to the counter to drop her burdensome pile of books. “Giles,” she called as she scanned the quiet room for the Watcher. “I’ve got all those books Xander was using as a substitute for dirty magazines.”
“Now, why would he need dirty magazines with a girl as pretty as you around?”
That was most definitely not Giles, and a rather lame pickup line she didn’t think anyone not on television would use. Her eyes fell on the entrance to Giles’s office, and saw a very handsome young man grinning at her. Willow felt her stomach plummet. Lame line or not, this guy was seriously hot, and feelings of embarrassment overwhelmed her.
“Hello?” the guy’s smile fell a notch, but did nothing to erase his handsomeness. Willow’s throat went dry and her brain froze. Dimly she heard other voices coming from the office, one of them belonging to Giles. The librarian was calling her name, but she didn’t wait to hear if he had anything else to say. The hot guy was still staring at her, and she panicked.
“I-books-stacks-” she rapidly abandoned her attempt at speaking, grabbed blindly at the pile she had just put on the counter, and raced for the stairs leading to the stacks.
“Did I say something?” she could hear the hot guy asking, only to have someone with a gruff voice tell him to ‘leave the girl alone and get back in here’. There were some other mutters, nothing she could really make out. Her face was still burning, but just being away from the hot guy had allowed her brain to start working again. She thought about her actions and nearly groaned in frustration. She had spazzed, big time. Not that it was unusual considering that’s how she usually reacted when hot guys talked to her. But still, she hadn’t even stopped to figure who he was and why he was in the library.
That thought stopped her in her tracks. Why was some random guy in the library? Well, two random guys, if you counted the owner of the gruff voice from the office. Obviously they were there to see Giles, considering he had been with them in his office. She wondered if they were someone from the Council. What if they were here about Buffy?
Willow looked uncertainly behind her, wondering if she should head back to find some answers. But from here she could hear Giles talking with the two strangers and figured that she could wait until they left. She might not be able to hear exactly what they were saying, but she guessed from Giles’s tone that it was serious. And since the Watcher wasn’t yelling or anything alarming, she figured the strangers weren’t here with bad intentions. Well, other than using lame pickup lines on teenaged girls.
She could wait, preferably until after the strangers left. Just the thought of coming face-to-face with the hot guy made her stomach twist in knots. She had already made a great big fool of herself in front of the man; she wasn’t anxious for the opportunity to do something even stupider.
She cursed Xander’s laziness for the umpteenth time that day. If he hadn’t left all this for the last second, or even had the courtesy to come with her, she might not have embarrassed herself so thoroughly in front of Giles’s visitors. Screw ice cream, Xander owed her a whole dinner for this mess.
Raking a hand through her hair, Willow looked down at the books in her hand. Might as well do something useful and put them away. She glanced at the titles and looked at the stacks around her. She spotted the right place for the books and made her way over to it. She approached the stack quietly and turned to walk down the aisle, only to have her foot hit something solid. Willow immediately lost her balance and fell, books slipping from her grip as she flailed hopelessly.
She landed on something hard, and only when she heard the startled ‘oomph’ did she realize that she had tripped over someone, not something. And not only that, she had fallen into said someone’s lap. She looked up, ready to apologize, but didn’t quite make it.
There was a very shocked, and very cute, boy looking back at her. He appeared to be closer to her age than the hot guy from the office, but no less attractive. The words stuck in her throat and for the second time since she entered the library, Willow’s brain failed her. The guy was looking at her sheepishly, rubbing his forehead slightly. Her eyes went to the spot he was rubbing and noted the redness and slight indentation there. Great, she had dropped a book on his head.
And she was still in his lap.
As soon as that thought entered her mind, Willow’s brain suddenly flew into high gear. She rather clumsily scuttled out of his lap, knowing her face had to be absolutely scarlet. She couldn’t meet his eyes, so she dropped her eyes to the floor and cursed her own stupidity. Why the hell wasn’t she watching where she was going?
That came from the front of the library, and sounded like the hot guy from before. She raised her head in time to catch the annoyed look that crossed the look of the boy before he turned his head to answer. “I’m fine Dean. Just dropped some books.”
More like a spaz of a girl had dropped some books on his head, but he graciously left that out. Willow heard something like snickering coming from the hot guy before silence fell again. She assumed he went back into the office with Giles and the other stranger. And that left her alone with the boy she had nearly concussed.
“I-uh,” her voice faltered the second the guy turned back to face her. Did she mention he was cute? Because he was, seriously cute, and that was making it really hard for her to concentrate. She did not do well with cute boys, especially not after she had done something really embarrassing in front of them.
But she did owe him an apology, for nearly knocking him out. So she did her best to push her panic down and tried talking again, though this time with her eyes on her hands. “Sor-sorry for, um, you know, the books-”
“It’s okay,” he replied after her stuttering came to an end. “I guess I shouldn’t have been sitting in the middle of the aisle like that.”
She nodded, but couldn’t make herself say anything else. She looked to her side and noticed a few books splayed out around her. Crap! She hadn’t ruined any of them, had she? Giles was going to be kind of mad if she ruined some of his books.
“Uh, I’m Sam.” A hand appeared in her line of vision and Willow blinked stupidly for a second before she remembered her companion. She dared a glance upwards and saw that he was waiting for her to take his hand. And that he looked kind of nervous that she was taking so long. Seeing that made her feel better, and she managed to shake off some of her embarrassment in order to take the offered hand.
“I’m Willow,” she stammered, her face started to heat up again as she dropped his hand. Sam gave her a shaky sort of smile, but couldn’t hide the confusion in his eyes. She realized suddenly that he was as flustered as she was, and didn’t know what to do.
“I better-” she gestured to the books.
“Oh right! Here-let me-”
They both scrambled onto their knees and began to collect the fallen books. Willow was relieved to see that none of them were damaged because of her clumsiness. As soon as all were in hand, both teenagers got to their feet and stood uncertainly for a moment before Willow stammered that they should put the books away. Sam only nodded and followed her to where the books belonged. He handed her books one by one as she put them back in place. The situation was kind of awkward, and she knew it had a lot to do with her inability to spit out a complete sentence.
Willow cleared her throat and attempted to say something that wouldn’t make her sound like a complete freak. “So . . . You know Giles?”
It was lame, because it was obvious that he must because he came in with two strangers who were currently talking to Giles in his office. But it was an actual sentence, and gave them something to work with.
Sam looked surprised at her question, but his face soon melted into a shy sort of smile as he answered. “Yeah-well, my dad knows him. He’s down there with Mr. Giles-him and my brother Dean, that is. We’re here for . . . Well, we were passing through and dad thought to look him up.”
That was a lie, and he was giving her this look like he was waiting to see if she bought it. It dawned on her that he didn’t know why she was here in the library, and was wondering what she knew about Giles. And that made her wonder about what HE knew about Giles. Willow gave him a thoughtful look and wondered how to go about this.
“So,” she started, paused, and started again. “You’re not here for . . . Help?”
The question shocked him, and a wariness came over his features. “What sort of help?” he asked her, his voice deadly serious.
She shrugged. “Research kind of help?”
Sam went completely still. “Who are you?”
His tone made her go on the defensive. “Who are you?” she shot back quickly.
Both paused in their task and gave the other a hard look. Willow rested her hand against the spines of several books and debated about what she should do or say. The obvious thing would be to go down to where Giles was and ask him what was going on. But that would mean interrupting his little meeting, and she wasn’t sure that Giles would appreciate that. On the other hand, how was she going to find out of her current situation without being perfectly blunt with Sam? If he was here for the reasons that she thought he was, then it would be fine, sort of. But if he wasn’t here for that, it would make her seem like a lunatic.
Sam was in a similar predicament, though she could tell that he wasn’t going to be the one to budge. She looked around her helplessly and tried to figure out what would be the best thing to say. Turned out, her anxiety was needless.
“Sammy!” For the second time, Sam’s brother’s voice rang out from the front of the library. “Get your butt out here!”
Sam spared her another wary glance before turning to do as his brother asked. Willow followed out of sheer curiosity, emerging from the stacks to see Giles standing with two other men, one of them being hot-guy, or Sam’s brother Dean, and the other who had to be the dad. Dean took one look at the two of them and gave them a wicked sort of grin.
“Yeesh Sammy. Kids only make out in the library in the movies. It’s just pervy to do it in real life, especially with a stranger.”
Sheer shock made it impossible for Willow to formulate a proper denial of the outrageous accusation. Sam, however, wasn’t in the same boat. Though his face went slightly red, he just snorted dismissively at his brother’s comment. “Shut up Dean.”
“You going to make me?” the older brother returned cheerfully.
“Both of you shut up,” came the curt order from the dad. Dean immediately shut his mouth at the sound of his father’s voice, while Willow noted that Sam sported a look akin to triumph on his face. “Sam, get down here. We’re heading out.”
“We just got here,” Sam said, though he didn’t hesitate in following his father’s orders. Willow watched him trot down to the main floor and felt very out of place for a second. She wondered if she should just go back to the stacks until they left, but then Giles called her down as well.
“Forgive me Willow, I was preoccupied when you entered,” Giles said as she descended the stairs. “Uh, Willow, these are the Winchesters. This is John, and his sons Dean and Sam,” he gestured to each person as he introduced them. Willow nodded a greeting, though she still wondered who these Winchesters were in reality. Giles must have noticed this, because he turned back to the Winchesters and began to speak again. “Willow is one of my students. She’s well acquainted with Buffy, and our work.”
A round-about way of saying Willow knew all about the Slayer and Giles’s position as her Watcher. She watched the Winchesters for their reactions, noting Sam and Dean looked kind of doubtful while John just nodded.
“Pleased to meet you,” John said, offering her a small smile. She returned it minimally, saying nothing as John turned back to Giles. “Well, thanks for the help, Rupe. I was having a hell of a time with this thing.”
“Glad to be of assistance,” Giles returned cordially. “Give me a ring later, if you need any more help with it, or anything else that you encounter.”
“Will do,” John nodded, giving Giles a parting handshake and Willow a quick wave of his hand. Willow waggled her fingers in a farewell wave, blushing red when Dean winked at her on the way out. Sam actually approached her, looking uncertain as he did so.
“Uh-sorry about up there,” he waved his hand in the direction of the stacks. She knew he meant the semi-showdown they had, not her tripping over him, and she gave him a nervous smile.
“I’m sorry too,” she replied quickly. “Um, hope you and your family have luck with . . . That thing.”
It was a weak ending, but all she could come up with. Sam nodded again, shaking Giles’s hand much like his father had. He smiled at her over the Watcher’s shoulder and then hustled out the door as his brother shouted his name yet again. Willow stepped up beside Giles, watching as all three men walked out of the library. Once they had passed through the door, she turned to Giles.
“Um, Giles? Who were they?”
Giles knew what she meant right away. “Well, Willow, the Winchesters are a family of hunters.”
She figured that they weren’t the average bear-hunting type of hunters, or anything that mundane. “Demon hunters?” she asked.
“Well, essentially, yes,” Giles shrugged. “They branch out from demons every now and then. I think it would be more appropriate to say they are evil hunters.”
“Are they human?”
“Very much so.”
Willow frowned. “So, wouldn’t that mean it’s very dangerous for them to be hunting evil? I mean, Xander and I barely survive with Buffy around. How do they manage if they’re just normal against the supernatural?”
Giles gave another shrug of his shoulders. “They just do,” he murmured. “They aren’t the first, Willow. There are quite a few hunters out there. They do good work. They have a very short life-expectancy, but they do good work. John in particular. He’s been at this for nearly fifteen years now, his boys too. And before you ask why, it has to do with a family tragedy from years ago.”
Considering she hadn’t heard a peep about a Mrs. Winchester, Willow was betting she knew what that tragedy was. But she kept it to herself, since Giles seemed uncomfortable talking about. He probably figured it wasn’t really his business to tell her this stuff, and she didn’t push.
Silence reigned for a few moments before Giles cleared his throat and turned to look down at her. “So, did Xander finally send back all my books?”
“Yeah, I was putting them away,” she replied. “Do you want me to go finish that up? I’ve got time until Xander comes to pick me up.”
“Oh, yes, that would be very helpful,” Giles murmured. “Before you go, have you heard from Buffy? I believe she’s coming back soon, am I right?”
Willow shrugged, thinking to the very minimal communication she had had with her friend since the beginning of summer. “I think so. We haven’t really talked much. I think she’s just busy enjoying a summer away from the Hellmouth.”
That wasn’t the case, and they both knew it. But since they could do nothing about it, they left it at that and went back to work. Willow grabbed another pile of books from the counter and headed back to the stacks while Giles disappeared back into his office, muttering on about translating a new codex or something.
Xander arrived about an hour and a half later, ducking a stern look from Giles and attempting to pull Willow from the stacks immediately. Apparently he was going to treat her to a movie. Of course, the movie he was going to treat her to was something he wanted to watch more than she did. But he reminded her of the promise of ice cream later on that night, and she agreed to the movie grudgingly.
They shouted goodbyes to Giles and left the library, Xander slinging an arm amicably around her shoulders as they exited the school. “So, did you have a fun-filled afternoon at the library?”
He meant it in a teasing way, but she couldn’t help but think of the Winchesters and smile. “More interesting than fun.”
Xander frowned, obviously confused. “How so?”
She smiled at his lost look and pushed him down the street towards the town centre, where the movie theatre and ice cream parlour beckoned.
“I’ll tell you after the movie.”