Title: Return to Me
Author: V. Mures
Spoilers: Up to Chosen
Disclaimer: I do not own these lovely characters or their world. As much fun as it would be to own a world, sadly I can barely afford to live in the world, let alone own it. :) The Buffyverse belongs to Joss Whedon, I just borrowed the characters for a bit.
Author's Notes: This story is unbetaed. All mistakes are my own. Constructive criticism is welcome. This was originally written for Lisa Roquin’s Spookathon.
A young woman wandered though the stacks of the large library. Her father was in a meeting with the other watchers and she had been left to her own devices. Looking at the titles of the books around her she wrinkled her nose. Ancient texts on prophecies and demonology just didn't look like any kind of fun. Sighing she wandered over to the section of the library that contained journals of the past watchers. Her favorites were the ones that were written by the founders of the Revised Council of Watchers. The lives of those legendary people were so interesting, she just couldn't resist. Sometimes she wondered how real it all was, cause she didn't really think that that much bad stuff could happen to any one group of people. But supposedly it was all true, and that made it all the cooler to her. Scanning through the diaries she found the one she really wanted to read, pulling out a leather bound journal with a willow tree embossed on the cover with the words Diary of Willow A. Rosenberg 2003-2004
. She knew where all her favorite entries were, and opening the book she once again became absorbed with her favorite story of true love rekindled.May 21, 2003
I would love for someone to explain to me why it is that extremely stupid songs get stuck in your head at the *most* inopportune moments. I'm sitting on a school bus chock full of wounded slayers and slayerettes and I'll I can think is "The wheels on the bus go round and round…" Seriously there has got to be something wrong with me, unless there is a demon of annoyance out targeting me right now. Or it could be shock, exhaustion, and well, shock. Those would make more sense than some random annoyance demon. But I have to admit that with our luck annoyance demons would be par for the course.
My eyes are drawn back to the empty landscape. Rough hewn mountain peaks tower along the horizon and lonely pine forests twist their way along the interstate. I think we might be in Colorado, but I'm not sure. I kind of lost track of states a while ago. I lean my head against the window; my head jerks up and then falls back again. I'm so tired still; maybe I'll rest my eyes, just for a little bit.
Well that was a short lived nap. Had yet another nightmare. These things are getting old real quick, but I doubt they'll stop anytime soon. The only thing unusual about this set of nightmares is that I'm not reliving what happened but dreaming about what is or might be happening around the world. I wonder sometimes if we did the right thing, activating all the potentials. But we really didn't have much of a choice. If we had had a backup plan we would have used it. Best capture what I remember of my dream while it is fresh. Maybe that will help me calm down some.
A young African girl--fists straining against the tentacle wrapped around her neck, mouth open wide but no sound emerging, eyes bulging, blood seeping from under the tentacle—is tossed to the side where the demon's spawn wait for their dinner. Just as her body hits the ground, her eyes pop open. "You…You are the cause of my death. See what your spell has done?"
With all these visions and the expected nightmares of the final battle and watching my hometown disappear under my feet it is no wonder I'm tired. You'd think I'd remember after several days of these nightmares, but nope I always got to go and fall asleep again. Pesky thing that need for sleep. Sadly I've got no reserves either. Nothing, Nada, Zip. Not enough energy to float a pencil, or imagine floating a pencil really.
Kennedy...I don't even know how to describe what's going on between us. She seems to fluctuate between worship and anger when she's with me. Why can't she understand that as powerful I as might be, there is a limit to that power. Despite the glowy white witch effect she told me about, I'm no goddess. I'm just a girl who in a moment of folly grabbed too much power and then had to learn to use it properly so it wouldn't use me. I wish I could do more for the wounded that basic first aid and the healing ritual I managed with Giles and Andrew...that at least stabilized everyone. Can't manage anything more powerful though, the slayer activation spell took everything I had, plus everything I could channel from the earth itself. I have nothing left.
She also doesn't understand why I feel the need to be near Xander and the other core Scoobies. I don't know why she's jealous of Xan, can't she see that he needs his friends right now. He's lost, heck we all are. We lost too many dear friends, old and new. We are struggling to cope with what we lost and what we've done. Ken's so happy to be a slayer that she hasn't realized the consequences of our actions. She had some preparation, but what of all those other new slayers who have had none. All those girls out there who suddenly have superpowers, will they freak out, misuse them, get killed because they're unprepared for the dangers that now hunt them? It's too much...too much to even think about right now.
Think I'll go keep Giles company while he drives. May as well do something useful since I can't sleep. Wonder how long it will take us to reach Cleveland and what we'll do once we're there. It's not like we've planned this out real well, but we don't really have a lot of places to go. Could have gone to L.A. and crashed with Angel for a while, but I don't think Buffy wants to deal with Angel right now. Can't say I blame her, if our lives were a tv show it'd be a soap opera.
May 24, 2003
Well we finally made it to Cleveland, just took four days of straight driving. Don't know how he did it, but good ol' Giles managed to fine us a place to recoup and possibly set up our Cleveland base of operations. It used to be some ritzy private boarding school way back when, but the city crept out to surround the campus. Eventually the neighborhood deteriorated and the school shut down. It needs some TLC, but will be nice once it's back on its feet. So far all we've managed is to clean out one of the dorms. Xan's been great at knowing just what needs to be fixed and how to do it. We've all helped where we could, though Ken sure does make a fuss over doing physical labor. She doesn't seem to get the fact that right now we don't have a lot of funds so the work has to be done by us. Giles is still trying to access the council's funds, but will likely have to go to England to sort it all out. He doesn't want to leave us yet, though, so the formal reformation of the council is just going to have to wait.
Jeez am I glad to be off that bus though. I thought Ken and Faith were going to go at each other a couple of times. The tension and grief on the bus was getting to much to handle. Now at least we can spread it out a bit more.
Am helping Andrew make dinner tonight, so gotta run. Am only hoping things will continue to get better, and attitudes will calm. Snippy cat-fights involving super strong girls do way to much damage to property.
May 30, 2003
Damn Kennedy, damn her. Who does she think she is?! Telling me she thinks I should retire from the slaying business since I'm no longer uberwitch. Saying that me and Xan would be better off away from the action. I was helping out before I found magic, and doing a good job of it too. Xan's saved us all a few times with no powers whatsoever. And it's not like I'm completely powerless, I'm just not as powerful as I was. Chances are that I will eventually be back to the levels I was before I went all Darth Willow and sucked up all that magic. But no, she has decided that she's better off going after some other powerful older woman and she wants nothing to do with me. I just hope she propositions Buffy or Faith. Their reaction would be priceless. It would serve her right to get her ass handed to her by those two. Of course she may still when the rest of the scoobs find out. Hmm...wonder who will do the most damage?
June 1, 2003
Apparently it was Giles who would do the most damage though none of it was physical. Apparently he's decided that Ken should stay here in Cleveland with Faith and Robin, but she's not to stay here as an assistant teacher. Nope she has to join the new found slayers in their training as she apparently “has not yet learned to control herself or think through her actions, and it would be a heinous mistake of the council to allow her to perform her duties until she learns to reign in her reckless behavior so that she doesn't get others killed for her mistakes.” Oh she'll get to teach some, and she'll get to be part of group patrols. But she won't have her own patrol, let alone lead a team, for a long while yet.
June 2, 2003
Well the rest of us have gotten our marching orders so to speak. Buffy and Dawn will be going through Europe looking for activated slayers and trying to live as normal a life while doing that as possible. Xander has decided to take Africa to search. He needs some time to himself to sort things out, and I can understand that. After I lost Tara, and then myself, it took the quiet of Devon to help me find myself again. And like I had the coven and Giles, Xan will have others to help him in Africa. Sam Zabuto has offered to travel with him, and I know that he will be able to keep in touch with the satellite phones Andrew and I modified with Giles help. I just hope he can find whatever he's looking for.
Faith and Robin will be staying here in Cleveland to work with most of the surviving baby slayers. New slayers will likely join them here at the school once we are able to get it up and running again. Thankfully Robin is trained to run a school. :) They will also be on the look at for any North American Slayers.
A few of the most practical baby slayers will be joining Sarah Michaels (she, like Sam Zabuto, is one of the few remaining watchers) and searching Central and South America. Still don't know who is going to take Australia or the various island nations throughout the world. We'll get to them eventually I guess.
Andrew and I will be heading back to jolly ol' England with Giles. He'll need our organizational, computer and researching skills to get the council back up and running. Maybe helping rebuild a international organization will build up Andrew's confidence and he'll stop trying so hard to fit in. He's not so bad once you get to know him. He just wants to belong somewhere so much it is painful, often to other people. You know I don't think it was until I really got a chance to hang out with Andrew that I realized how lucky I had been growing up. Sure things weren't all that great, and I was a big ol' nerd and all. But I had Xander and Jesse. No matter what I knew that there was somewhere I belonged and it was with those two. Then we lost Jesse, and gained Buffy and things changed so much. But I still had a place...I still had friends. Andrew never really had that, except with the other members of the terrible trio and sadly Warren was so nutty that he warped that friendship into something nightmarish.
June 30, 2003
This past month has been super busy. We managed to get all access to all the council funds and buildings, there were several council safe houses that the bringers missed in their swath of destruction. In fact we've set up shop in the largest one. It's a bit in the country, but still possible to get to London easily by train. I don't think I ever realized how much work went into running something like the council. It's no wonder the turned into cranky old bastards. But we've managed to recruit a few new watchers and are in the process of “training” them. Most of them are folks that knew about the council but had either retired, or refused to work with them (since as I've said they were a bunch of cranky old bastards). Our new watcher trainees, once they are finished with their revised council refresher course, will set up a recruitment office and begin the task of recruiting fresh talent for the new council. Personally I think we should change the name 'cause none of us or much with the watching-we're much more into doing. But tradition and all that, so for now it's still the Council of Watchers. Xan's right, it really should have been named “Stuffiness-R-Us,” but we are trying to get rid of all that stuffiness. We believe in a much more down to earth sort of council.
Xan and Sam are in South Africa right now. The past month has been tough for him, but I can tell from his emails and calls that the numerous challenges of living and traveling in Africa have given him a new focus. I worry about him, but I think he'll pull through this. Glad Sam is there to watch his back though.
Buffy and Dawn are in Paris, enjoying the food and shopping. There has been some slaying in there, and they've found some girls that they've sent on to Faith and Robin (the school is slowly getting underway, enough so that they can take a few more girls). But mostly their just enjoying being sisters and touring Europe.
Things have been going well here. Incredibly busy, but it's the good kind of busy. I think having something for us all to focus on has been a goddess sent gift as it has kept us from succumbing to our grief and guilt.
July 15, 2003
Well we got the watchers retrained, and have a few girls that we've located in the U.K. and Ireland living at the house. Faith and Robin sent Vi over to assist with their training since she's been doing really well at the newly named Summer's School for Girls. They think some time away from the other Sunndydale junior slayers will help her hone her leadership skills. It also seems there has been some tension between Vi and Kennedy since Vi has been allowed to do a few solo patrols and Ken is still grounded. Vi's pretty cool though, and I think she'll work well with the new girls.
August 3, 2003
Andrew is actually seeing someone! One of the new watchers, Bryan Daley. Bryan's kinda shy and reminds me a bit of Wesley when he first came to Sunnydale. He was the youngest of the new watcher recruits, having come from a family that used to be involved with the watchers, but apparently they had a falling out when Travers took over and stopped working with the council. The continued to teach their children about the night life though, and so Bryan was in the know when we approached his family. His dad, Michael is helping Giles with administrative work, but thinks Bryan is much more suited to field work than he is. Bryan didn't really agree, but was trying. It was awkwardly endearing and Andrew sort of adopted him, taking him out to lunch and making sure Bryan didn't feel left out of the group. Slowly it's developed into something more. It's so sweet.
Sadly I'm still cruising the single scene, but I think that may be for the best. I'm enjoying my work and after the disaster that was Kennedy (all I can say is that the end of the world can do strange things to a person's libido), and the wonder and sadness that was Tara, I think I could use some time to myself. So that's me, patching myself together and going on with life.
August 31, 2003
Got a postcard from Buffy and Dawn. They are in Rome and it sounds beautiful. Buffy is enjoying flirting with all the cute Italians (so is Dawn, but Buffy keeps telling her she's too young to flirt), and of course they both adore the shopping. They sent me a lovely outfit with matching shoes and purse! Squee! It's a suit with a tapered skirt and jacket in a lovely dark brown with a silk blouse that perfectly matches my eyes. The shoes and purse are both leather and match the shade of the suit perfectly. It's the perfect suit to wear for my meeting tomorrow. My friends love me.
September 17, 2003
Xander and Sam called to let us know that they are alright. The country they'd been traveling through had a sudden violent change of government and they had to skedaddle pretty quickly. Thankfully they'd already checked out the village they had heard about. Turns out that the rumors were just that, and there wasn't a slayer there. Thank the goddess they're alright. I don't think any of us could stand to loose another family member right now, and I sure wouldn't know what I'd do without my Xander.
September 20, 2003
It's been four months since the fall of Sunnydale. It's hard to believe that four months have gone by since that fateful day. The world didn't stop after all. Life went on despite our grief. We went on despite our grief. So much has happened and we are dealing with the changes as best we can. On the plus side, my magic levels have equalized. I'm back to being able to levitate small objects and do basic rituals. Can't just will things to be done anymore, but that's a good thing I think. Makes it harder for me to become addicted to the power again. I still have a bit of a connection to the earth, but it doesn't fill me with power, just lends me peace and emotional strength when I need it. Talk about having a rock to lean on.
October 29, 2003,
Giles is sending me, Vi, Clarissa, and Maddy out to a small town in Northern England. There have been quite a few stories of monster attacks out there lately so we are on our way out to investigate. It's a good team. 'Rissa and Maddy might be new, but they've done very well in their training and this will hopefully be a good training experience for them. I hate that they were called by my spell, but will do my best to protect them while they protect the world.
October 30, 2003,
So far our first search of the town has shown nothing, other than the mutilated sheep that drew us here in the first place. The stories are all conflicting. Some say it is a large cat beast, other's say it has horns, and others say it is some sort of alien doing experiments. Most of the stories have come from the pub goers, so if it weren't for the mutilated sheep we came across I would say this was nothing but old men telling tall tales. Sadly I know that too many tall tales have that grain of truth though. So research continues tomorrow.
October 31, 2003,
Two bodies were found this morning. Apparently a couple of hikers were attacked out on the moor last night. Both bodies were shredded by what would appear to be claws and both were half eaten, much like the sheep. It's the full moon, so I think it might be werewolves by the description, but we can't be sure so the girls and I are packing normal weaponry in addition to tranquilizer guns. If it is werewolves hopefully we can subdue them without harm.
November 1, 2003
It's...[several words scratched out]...Goddess, this is incredibly hard. We...[more words scribbled out]
Okay, Willow-girl, get a hold of yourself. Tell the story from the beginning...
We left the boarding house in the late evening, just as the moon was starting to rise. Armed to the teeth we headed out to where the bodies had been found. Vi took point, with Clarissa and Maddy to either side of me. It was a windy and partially cloudy night, you know the ones where the clouds skit across the sky covering the moon from time to time. It was cold, and we bundled up as best we could be and still move effectively. It's was strangely quiet out on the moor, the ambient sounds one would expect were just not there. The various rock out crops around us cast strange shadows in the changing moonlight. We didn't realize we had found our prey, until they found us. A large growling shadow leaped over one of the rocks. Next thing I know I'm flat on my back, the wind knocked out of my, a great weight on my chest and this horrible, sharp pain in my arm. Before I can really register the fact that I have a werewolf trying to eat me, again, the beast goes limp. Apparently Maddy had reacted on instinct, just like she was trained to do and killed the wolf with her sword. In doing so she saved my life, but enraged the wolf's mate. As the other werewolf came charging at Maggie, Vi shot it with the tranq gun. But the tranq's didn't take effect fast enough and the wolf managed to rake Maddy across the chest with it's claws. (I didn't check the sex of either wolf, so they'll remain it despite the fact that I know they were human most of the month.) Clarissa jumped to Maddy's defense and eventually had to kill the wolf because it was too enraged for the tranqs to work. Vi kept her head together and managed to get us patched up. She contacted Giles and had us evaced to a slayer friendly hospital. Maddy survived her wounds, though she'll have a lovely set of scars. She wasn't bitten, and lycanthropy apparently can't spread through the claw wounds. So all Maddy will have will be a lovely set of scars. All the girls are having a bit of a hard time dealing with the fact that we had to kill both werewolves. It can be harder to kill hostile demons when you know that except for those three days a month there human. Of course being human doesn't make one automatically sweet and innocent, but it is still hard to deal with. They believe they did the right thing though, since we probably all would have died otherwise, and are coming to terms with it.
Me, well I obviously survived as it's kinda hard to write in a journal when your dead (unless of course you are undead, then you could do it). I have a few more scars now, a set of bite marks on my left arm. And a few scratches elsewhere from where the wolf landed on me. And come next month I'll finally have a chance to really understand what Oz goes through.
November 9, 2003
I don't know how they did it, but somehow the gang managed to get a hold of the one person who actually knows how to control the wolf. Of course he lost control of the wolf the last time we saw each other, but hopefully enough time has passed for that not to happen again. And hopefully he can teach me to control the wolf as well.
I'm scared. I'm scared of what being a werewolf means, of how it will affect my already unstable life. I'm scared of seeing my first love again for the first time since I lost my Tara and my mind. For the first time since we changed the world. I wonder how he's changed, and how he will feel about the changes in me. I know he's changed, we all have in the past three years. I can only hope that once he's learned of my mistakes he'll still accept me, or at least be willing to teach me. Despite his wolf, he's always been a gentle person. Will he be able to understand the depths of insanity that grief drove me too? The other Scoobies were eventually able to forgive me and accept me back, though some days I'm still not sure if I deserved that forgiveness. And none of the them have treated me differently despite this new development. But despite all of our mistakes, all of our transgressions and misunderstandings, all the pain that we eventually caused each other, Oz will always hold a piece of my heart. For all of the bad stuff there was a lot of good stuff too. He was the first man to really notice me as a woman, and he always treated me like I was the best thing in his world. He was gentle and his quiet sense of humor always brightened my day. Our love was a blend of excitement, curiosity, quietness, and joy. So similar and yet so different to mine and Tara's love. Looking back whatever it was that Kennedy and I had just doesn't hold a candle to the other two.
According to Giles it will be a few weeks before he can get here. Goddess, please, I beg of you...let this go well.
November 18, 2003
Thank you, goddess. Oz arrived today, and things went great. No strange reaction at seeing each other
(just the usual reaction of old friends and lovers to seeing each other for the first time in a long time-happiness, regret, hope, concern). We found a quiet space where we could talk, and boy did we talk. People don't realize that Oz can do that, but if he's comfortable with a person and has stuff to say that boy can talk just fine. We shared what our lives had been like since we'd last seen each other. Oz told me of the various odd jobs he worked while traveling around the world, including working at a call center in India for a while. I told him of the hell that was Glory. We talked of those we had dated in that time. I told him of Tara's death and my actions afterward. He spoke of watching a mentor of his die from a hunter's poison and his loosing control of the wolf when it happened. I told him of the final battle in Sunnydale and the wreck of a relationship with Kennedy. He spoke of hiking through the many lonely areas of the planet, finding that connection with the earth that I was so familiar with.
We spoke of using that connection to find peace with ourselves and our inner demons, of learning to control the wolf. We both cried for those we'd lost, for the regrets and pains of the past. And as I sat curled up against his side, his smell of sage and earth strong in my nose, I looked up into his eyes and felt home.
A soft smile on her face, a slight sigh of breath caressing her lips, Willamina Davey gazed fondly at the wedding picture that was placed reverently in the back of the book. A petite redhead in a fairy tale dress grinned at the camera from within the arms of a slight and wiry blonde man in a classic tuxedo. The man had just the barest hint of a smile on his face, but somehow you new he was happy. Hearing her father call her, she carefully put the book back and skipped out to meet her father. Thinking about what her father always told her when she lost something she loved, she realized it was true. Sometimes things come back to you.