Blood on the Pavement.
Title: Blood on the Pavement
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Highlander belong to Panzer/Davis, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author's Notes: AU Fic, taking place about a year after Season 6 of BtVS, with the note that Willow has moved past what happened with Tara. In the Highlander world this has spoilers up to "The Darkness", which is early Season 2.
Notes2: My muses came up with this last night after watching "The Darkness".
Notes3: Part of a new Quick Fics branch I'm making called "What If".
The sun had already set, leaving the sky in star-speckled blackness, by the time Willow stepped out of the home she had been visiting. She glanced over her shoulder, giving a small wave to the woman that was standing there, watching her. She waved back and then disappeared, her duty for the evening completed.
She had watched over the One That Needs Watching.
The red head snorted at her own joke. It was a nickname she had given herself once the horrors of Tara's death had faded and the reality of everything she had tried to do had set in. In order to be set free again, she had to comply with certain. . .demands. . .made by the magical community at large. The main stipulation of it all being that she had to meet, weekly, with members of the community to learn self-control and the ability to harness her own power so that it would not swallow her whole again.
That was what the meetings were 'supposed' to be.
In reality, though, things were different. The coven members that took her in each week, no matter where she was or what she was doing, made it their goal to make her feel about as big on the face of the earth as a speck of dust. They would needle her with subtle threats, thinly veiled insults, promises that no one could atone for everything she had done.
No matter how hard they tried.
To listen to them talk she had nothing to look forward to except one day dying and being sent to the deepest bowels of Hell, a special place reserved for Hellspawn such as herself.
They didn't care that she had lived a good life to that point or that she was trying to live one now. They didn't care that she was doing good work everywhere that she went.
It didn't matter.
All the good deeds she could shove into her lifetime would never make up for the horrors she had almost inflicted on the earth in less than a day. Trying to destroy the world, it seemed, weighed heavily on one's soul.
But, really, what could she expect? She still held tight to the dream that one day she would do something that could make ammends for her past; but that hope was a weak one, and little to cling to when she was faced with coven members that were ready to have her strung up and made an example of what happened to wicked witches.
Still, the woman tonight hadn't been as bad as the ones back in Sunnydale. They were the cream of the 'beat Willow down' crop. This woman was a small fry in the insult department compared with the others.
She took a deep breath of air into her lungs, trying to exhale away the desolation the meeting had left her with. Only two more days left in Seacouver and then she'd have to go back to Sunnydale.
And she intended to use those two days to relax and wander around, exploring the magic shops and used book stores that the city had to offer. That was why she had come here, after all. To retrieve a book for Giles. Every little good deed counted, especially when trying to --
She froze in mid-step, staring off down the street. About twenty feet away a man was walking towards a young couple. He had his hands in his pockets and was dressed in a manner that immediately made Willow's mind scream 'trouble'. But, when he stopped to speak to them and nothing happened, she let herself relax for a moment, continuing up the street and towards her car.
That was when she saw the gun.
An icy chill filled the space where her heart was, and she felt her nails dig into her palms. He was exactly what she had expected of him, a street thug. A mugger with a gun.
She hated guns.
She took a step forward, and then another, as the couple began to empty out their pockets of everything they had. The man was being pushy, demaning more and more, and as she got within hearing rang she could hear the woman pleading with him that, no, she didn't have a purse.
Willow didn't hear the rest of his curse, her mind shutting down of conscious thought as the gun raised towards the pretty blonde. She felt the magic rip through her, surrounding the couple and shielding them from the would-be murdered with a hazy glow of blue energy. He turned before she could fathom what was happening, before she could shield herself.
The gun exploded, the sound filling the air for a second time.
Willow screamed, terror and rage filling her from head to toe as she let loose a bolt of pure energy. It traveled out and into the barrel of the gun, incinerating the thug where he stood. He didn't burn alive. Didn't leave behind a pile of ash. He simply ceased to exist.
She sighed, releasing the shield on the couple.
"Lady that was --" The man began, taking a step towards her.
"I --" Willow coughed, pain filling her body quite suddenly. She looked downwards as the pain began to radiate out from one central spot in her stomach area. A flower of blood was spreading quickly on the cream colored shirt, just over the top of her jeans. She gasped, stumbling, the man's strong arms reaching out to catch her as she fell forward, hands reaching instinctively for where she hurt and coming up with wetness. Her blood.
"Just lay still." He was saying. And the woman was screaming for someone. Footsteps on the pavement. "Hang on, alright? You can't die on us. Not when you just. . ."
". . A mugger. . ." The woman was babbling. "He had a gun. . .she. . shielded. . .Shot. . . ."
There was another voice now, murmuring to her, but it was getting so dark.
"It'll be okay," he whispered.
"Hurts." She sighed. There was something she could do to save herself. . .she had saved Buffy once. But the strength to do it was gone. The will to live faded.
"Just hold her hand, Richie."
Light was fading behind closed eyelids. She could scarcely feel his hand when it took hers. Such a handsome man, the one with the little blonde curls. She was glad he would live, enjoy life.
"Don't die. . please. . ." His voice was just a whisper. "If you die I can't spend the rest of my life thanking you for saving us."
She felt a smile curl her lips, the pain dripping away; like her blood on the pavement.
"She'll be fine. . ." Another voice cut in over hers, the words fading away as quickly as they came. Was she dreaming now? The pain was gone. . .
And there was just light.
Richie glanced up, smiling when he saw the woman that had entered the room.
"You should be resting."
She frowned. "Why? I feel fine."
"Yeah.. . . .well. . . you died." He smirked, tossing the magazine he had been reading to the coffee table. He swung his legs off of the couch to make room for her to sit down.
"It happens, or so I'm told." She shrugged. "It'll take some getting used to. No more magic-Willow. Now just Immortal-Willow. And She-Who-Must-Learn-to-Swing-a-Sword."
He smiled at the grimace on her face, pulling her into his arms. She liked to be held, and it wasn't something he minded terribly doing; beautiful women that liked to cuddle?
Yeah, he could handle that.
"Are they still in there?" Willow tilted her head towards a side hallway, indicating the back bedroom.
"You mean the lovebirds?" Richie snorted. "That's a big 'yes'. I think they're trying to make up for all the sex that -could- have been lost if you hadn't saved us."
Willow scrunched up her face. "Too much info, thanks."
He laughed. "Wanna go get something to eat?"
She shook her head. "Uh uh. Duncan said no going out without him. . . just in case."
Richie nodded. "I know. I was thinking something from the kitchen of Chez Richie. The finest macaroni and cheese in all of Seacouver."
"Ha!" She laughed, easing out of his arms and standing as he did the same. "Sounds great."
As she followed him into the kitchen, she had to wonder if this wasn't a blessing in disguise. A chance to live for as long as it would take to make things right. Sure, the head hunting would get old and definitely yucky.
But, in the end, what more could she have asked for?
A/N - Anyone want to see a sequel or series made out of this? Reviews help.