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Only Willows Bend

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This story is No. 3 in the series "The Cradle Will Fall". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Willow starts to think maybe their time with Anita isn't as precious to her as it is to them when work starts to get in the way of family life, with a new power surfacing that no one understands Willow needs Anita more than ever! (Part of Anita Mommy Ch.)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Willow-Centered(Past Donor)lckybrFR182329,516139055,22410 Jun 0719 Aug 12No

Rainy Day’s and Monday

Chapter Two: Rainy Day’s and Monday

I was tired and when I was tired I was cranky, even when I tried not to be cranky because I knew I was cranky and it just made me crankier trying not to be cranky. So today I didn’t try not to be, but I was and now Faith was cranky too and she wouldn’t play in the sand with me. Anita didn’t get in until late and she couldn’t drive us to school 'cause she was tired and so Micah dropped us off and said Anita would pick us up. No one was bothered that she wasn’t able to eat her breakfast but me. Delia said I was being a baby and Faith didn’t disagree with her and I know I wasn’t, they were just being mean because they didn’t understand.

It’s how it starts, work gets in the way of things and soon she wouldn’t see us at all and there wouldn’t be any loving hugs anymore. I understood she was tired, tired from work and tired from being stressed out after what happened to Faith. Sometimes I’d hear her crying, because Faith wouldn’t talk to her but now that they had talked and Faith was doing better I thought she’d have more family time, but it seems she has less and less.

I looked up from my sandcastle that wouldn’t stay in form and just kept turning back into a pile of sand, dry boring sand. Faith was on the jungle gym hanging upside down, her face turning red. Delia was sitting on top of the structure making faces at the kids below.

Fredo was parked across the street; the windows were tinted dark so that I couldn’t see inside but it was his car. A deep forest green that sometimes looked black, I’m not sure what else he did besides bodyguard us, but he must have made good money because he had a nice Honda, and a black Audi. He even had a Range Rover that was so costume there were places to hide weapons all over the place. But the Honda wouldn’t draw attention he said, inside there were TV’s on the back of the seats; underneath the seats were four compartments, three of them were locked and I knew they contained some kind of weapons. He let me fill one compartment with DVD’s so we could watch them on the way home; it was a forty minute drive that sometimes got boring. Most likely Graham or Claudia was with him. Anita had refused to keep Graham as a bodyguard because he kept trying to woo her or so she said. I don’t think Graham knew how to woo a girl, just bop her on the head and drag her back to his cave.

I got up and made my way over to the corner of the gate away from the eyes of the teachers on recess. I stood there, hands hanging onto the gate staring at Fredo’s Honda for maybe a full two minutes before the door opened and he got out. Fredo was tall and thin, he had more knives than anyone I’ve ever seen and you had to look really good to find them. He always went armed; Anita said he was a walking weapon’s store. His hair was dark and cut long in front. I squinted up at him when he got closer.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, he had a deep voice, like bottom of the ocean deep. His voice alone was scary.

“No one wants to play with me…” I whispered softly, he sighed squatting down to look at me. The window to his car was rolled down and Claudia was in the driver's seat looking awfully bored.

The wind picked up and I shivered wishing I had brought my jacket like Micah had told me to.

“Why?” he asked, I shrugged reaching a hand through the gate to play with his long fingers. Fredo had soft hands.

“I don’t know.”

He sighed again, I don’t think he was comfortable guarding our bodies but I was trying to wear him down, I think it was working.

“Because I was cranky this morning and Faith got mad…She told Delia not to play with me today and she isn’t because she said I didn’t want to help her find her shoes this morning.”

“I can’t play with you, “he replied, and I nodded.

“I know…But I thought maybe you could get me out of school early.”

“Only Anita or Micah can Willow, besides I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to cut class.”

“But I’m tired.” I whined shivering a little. “And I’m cold.”

He smiled at me brown eyes twinkling, “Why don’t you finish your sandcastle.”

“It’s not wet, it won’t stay.” I stomped a foot childishly.

“Make it wet.” He replied slipping a hard sucker through the gate to me. I took the cherry flavored sucker with a frown.

“How?”

He shrugged, “Can’t you find a bottle or something and fill it with water?”

He smiled at my pout and then headed back across the street. I threw myself back in the sand glaring over at
Delia and Faith. The brunette shifter smiled at me slipping through the bars to land in a crouch. She and Delia started towards me; I glared at them and got up racing away from the playground and around towards the back of the school.

I didn’t need them to play with me!

Sniffing I gazed around the empty space between the buildings and leaned against the wall.

Stupid cranky mood!

“Hello.” I started at the voice. A boy around ten or so stood across from me. He had bright blue eyes and brown hair, corduroy blue pants and a green sweater.

“H-hi…” I whispered with a frown.

“Why are mad?” he asked, I shook my head.

“I’m not.”

“Then why are you alone?”

"I-“

“Willow!” Delia appeared before me slightly out of breath, “Why are you running from us! We’re sorry we got
mad at you.” She grabbed my hand and started tugging me towards the playground, I looked over at the boy intending to apologize for leaving but he was gone.

***

*Anita’s POV*

There was a pounding head ache right between my eyes that really wouldn’t go away, the meds weren’t working and Faith was banging on something downstairs. With every bang my head pounded just a little. I had been so tired I hadn’t even gone to pick up the girls, Fredo had brought them home.

Delia started yelling, I winced flinging the blankets off of me and making my way out of the room.
The closer I got to downstairs the louder it got; I was tired and I needed them to be quiet for me just this once.

Delia was in tears trying to put her lunch box back together, Faith looked kind of guilty when I came in. I didn’t see Willow.

“What is going on?” I asked. Claudia looked uncomfortable, she wasn’t used to kids. I rubbed my temples.

“I was playing drums.” Faith started softly, “I didn’t break it on purpose.”

Cordelia sniffed, I took the box out of her hands and examined it. Faith had broken the little hinges.

“Why are you playing drums on your sister's lunch box?” I asked throwing the tin can on the counter which only served to make my headache worse.

“I was only play-“


“You always only play Faith!” I cut in failing to hide my irritation, “If you wanted to bang on something use your own stuff next time! This is the second lunch box of your sister’s that you broke.”

I picked Cordelia up off the floor, she sniffed again. It was her favorite lunch box, the one she only used at home, special edition Snoopy. It was kind of old, easier to break. Nathaniel had found it in a thrift shop.

“I don’t feel good and you keep making noise, “I used my shirt to wipe the tears from Delia’s face, “Go to your room and do your homework.”

“I don’t have any.” She replied with a pout, I glared at her.

“Well go up and just stay in your room, stare at the wall. I don’t care, when Micah gets home you’re going to help him make dinner.”

“That’s not fair!” she replied crossing her arms defiantly,

“I don’t care if it isn’t fair; it wasn’t fair that you broke your Delia’s lunch box now go!” She opened her mouth to protest, “Now!”

Grumbling she shuffled past me; I could hear her stomp up the stairs. The door slammed a second later.

“I’ll see if Nathaniel can find a new one okay?”

“It’s okay.” The seer sighed, “Maybe he can just buy new hinges or something.”

She picked up her broken lunch box and went into the living room.

“You okay?” Claudia asked when I sagged against the wall. My head felt like it was going to explode.

“I don’t feel good.” I rubbed my head again, “And where is Willow?”

“She was outside with Fredo.” The taller woman motioned to the open glass doors. A quick peek showed the redhead cross-legged on the grass under the tree in the backyard. Fredo was in front of her idly spinning one of his thinnest knives between his long fingers.

“I’m going to go lay down for a few more minutes, can you just keep an eye on the other two?” I asked, she nodded looking a bit sympathetic.

“Go get some rest; you’re going to overdo it one of these days.”

I didn’t argue with her.

***
(Willow’s POV)

“Do you have a girlfriend?” I asked Fredo, he shook his head pocketing his knife in its holder.

“Why not?” I asked picking at the grass, “You’re not ugly.”

He made a noise I think it was his version of a laugh and shrugged.

“I don’t want one.”

“Why?” I asked, “Don’t you want someone to love you like Anita has Micah and JC to love her?”

He shrugged, “It isn’t easy having people you care for in my line of work, they get hurt.”

He looked down at me, I made a noise.

“That’s so sad!” He shook his head, “Everyone should be loved, “I protested, “I can love you.”

He made that noise again, “I can and I won’t get hurt because you’ll protect me and I can even protect you!”

“You’re a kid Willow.”

“So!” I stood up, “I wasn’t always this little you know, and I could so kick your butt.”

“I thought you’d love me?” he replied with a serious face, it took me a minute to realize he was making a joke.

“Was that your version of a funny?” I asked dryly, “Because it needs some work.”

He only glanced at me, I rolled my eyes.

“Do you have family?”

He shook his head; “No.” the word was soft but flat, like he didn’t care. I took his hand in mine.

“I can be your family…” I replied just as softly, no one should ever be alone.

He shifted like he was uncomfortable, I let go of his hand.

“Can I play with your knives?”

“No.” I pouted making my eyes as big as I could.

“Please Fredo; you’ll be right here with me.”

“No, “he shook his head, “Anita will kill me”

I blinked at him, “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

***
(Micah’s POV)

Claudia was sitting on the couch when I entered the house, Faith was on the couch also, her head on a pillow in the wererat’s lap. Delia was in the recliner, feet tucked in towards her chest, asleep.

“Where’s Anita?” I asked dropping my jacket on the back of the couch.

“She’s asleep; she’s been asleep for half the day.” Faith replied, eyes on the cartoon in front of her. I recognized the Seven Dwarves dancing across the screen; Nathaniel had bought them the Snow White DVD three days ago.

“Have you had dinner?” I asked, it was close to eight thirty already.

“I had some cereal.” Faith replied eyes still on the screen.

“That’s not food.” I replied over my shoulder as I made my way to the stairs.

Anita was sleeping when I entered our room; I sat at the edge of the bed. She looked relaxed, the constant frown absent from her face. Her hair was soft under my fingertips. I felt her body tense for a second before relaxing, she opened her eyes sleepily.

“Hey, “I smiled, she blinked with a yawn.

“I was just getting up in a few minutes...” she started to rise; I pushed her back down softly with a shake of my head.

“Faith said you’ve been a sleep all afternoon, is something wrong?”

She couldn’t get sick because of the marks with Jean Claude, but maybe it was something else, something that could hurt Nathaniel and Damien through her.

“No, “she yawned again turning onto her back, I caught sight of her pale belly when her shirt rode up.

“I’m just tired,”

“Metaphysically?”

“No, “she shook her head closing her eyes again, “Just plain old normal tiredness. I’ve been going back and forth a lot these past few months, it’s catching up.”

When she reached for me, I went to her. Her lips were soft, yielding against my own. I fell onto the bed, covering her body half with mine, hands gently massaging the side of her stomach.

“That feels good.” She whispered as I trailed kisses down her neck. Smiling I continued my ministration, my body reacting to her curves, her smell.

I felt her relax against me, her breath deepening.

With a frown I looked up, she was asleep.

Shaking my head I got up from the bed, she turned onto her side, and I let her sleep.
***
(Willow’s POV)

I heard blood was blue when it’s in your veins but when air hits it, it turns red. Right now my red blood was seeping out of a gash on my arm.

Fredo had torn his shirt to cover it, apply pressure he said or I’d bleed to death for taking his knives without permission and cutting myself.

I didn’t think I’d bleed to death but it did hurt, and there was a lot of blood.

Faith had yelled so loud when she saw me ‘What happened Willow!’ I had been trying to sneak to the bathroom but with her and Fredo, the adults caught me. Micah came down first, took one look at me and then cursed quickly ushering me into the bathroom downstairs while I dripped blood on the white carpet.

I was crying, and I shouldn’t have been because it was my fault but they had been so shiny and I just wanted to show Fredo the magic I could do!

Was that so bad?

“What the hell happened?” I looked away from my slash 'cause it was bigger than a cut and looked at a sleepy Anita. Her hair was a tangled mass of curls down her back, her silk pajama bottoms were wrinkled…

“I was playing.”

“With knives, “Micah cut me off angrily, “She took them from Fredo with her magic.”

He rinsed my arm with water and that hurt and I started crying faster.

“Ow!”

He looked up, face softening, I sniffed.

“You shouldn’t have done what you did.”

“How did you get hurt?” Anita asked, she was getting the first aid kit from under the cupboard.

“I j-just wanted to sh-show F-Fredo a magic trick!”

She slammed the first aid kit on the counter, “With knives Willow?”

I shrugged looking down, “I did it once before, I didn’t think it would be so hard this time. My magic got away
from me…”

Micah smeared some kind of antiseptic cream on me, and then put some gauze, “It isn’t too deep, you don’t
need stitches.”

Swallowing I wiped my face with my free hand, my other arm throbbing.

“It was too much…It used to be hard to do magic but it isn’t any more I don’t know how to stuff some of it back down without shoving all of it back down.” The words were whispered guiltily.

“I don’t want you playing with knives Willow.” Anita replied angrily, “You could have seriously hurt yourself.
No more magic with knives.”

When I did nothing but look at her, she gave me a harsh glare, “Okay?!”

“Okay!” I snapped back, I hated when the grownups yelled at me.

I was grown up once too ya know!

She looked at me, and I looked at her.

“Are you mad at me?” I asked softly.

"Right now yes.” Anita replied, I looked at Micah he nodded too.

“But I didn’t do it on purpose…”

“But you could have got really hurt.” Micah replied in a soothing tone, I nodded.

“But I wasn’t.”

Micah looked over at Anita at my words, I didn’t know why.

“Go to the living room, I’m going to make you dinner.” Micah set me on the floor, I glanced at Anita as I
passed her, and she was still wearing her angry face.

But it wasn’t even my fault!

***
(Micah’s POV)

“We need to find them somewhere where they can get control of their powers.” The girls were safely tucked away in their room. Nathaniel was already sleeping, his back to us; all that shining auburn hair floating away from him, almost hanging off my side of the bed. Anita ran a hand through her hair and it got caught on a knot; I gently took her hand away from the tangle and smoothed it out on my own. She gave me sullen brown eyes.

“Why can’t they just be normal little girls?” The words were whispered, I sighed sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“They aren’t Anita, they are just like us. Different, they need help.”

She just shrugged, “I don’t want to wake up one day and find that Delia had a heart attack from accidentally touching one of us and getting a flash of what we had to deal with or come home to find Willow ‘Accidentally’ blew her arm off because she couldn’t control her magic, or Faith-“

“I get it!” she snapped finally looking at me head on.

“Do you?” I asked harshly, “You don’t want them to do magic, Faith can’t learn to fight. Your hindering them, it’s better to teach them how to control what they have instead of ignoring it. You once told Richard he wouldn’t want them if he knew they weren’t like other kids, but you’re acting just like him right now.”

“The hell I am!” she jumped to her feet pointing a finger at me, “I don’t see you trying to help them!”

“I don’t know how!” I replied just as angry, “I help Faith control the beast and that’s fine okay, but what
about her strength? She needs to know when to stop; she still hurts others on accident.”

The animator shook her head, “Last month she accidentally threw Delia into the wall when she got mad. If
Willow hadn’t been their Delia wouldn’t be here now.”

The witch had cushioned Delia’s fall with magic, the seer was able to walk away with only bruises, but it could have been worse.

“What do you want me to do?” she pulled away from me angrily, “What?!”

“WE need to find them help Anita. I’m going to find a coven that can help all three of them even if you don’t
want it.”

With that I grabbed the towel I had from the bed and walked into the bathroom, the animator said nothing else.
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