Damned And Cursed
~ Dawn ~
I wasn’t really expecting a reply. Aside from a few ‘indeed’s and a surprising laugh, he hasn’t said much. God, I wish he would. I hate this awkward silence. I don’t know why but every time we go quiet I’m filled with the desperate urge to talk – a lot.
“You’ll love her when you get to know her,” I go on. “Willow is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And the way she loves Sam… I’ve never seen another person look at someone that way. Well, except Sam. She looks at Willow that way too. They’re really perfect for each other.”
And I really need to stop talking.
There is only so long you can talk about a person before you start sounding like a stalker.
I think I’m at that point.
It’s not my fault that I sound like I’m the president of the Willow and Sam fan club, really it isn’t. I just want this to go perfectly. Which we all do, but I REALLY want this to go perfectly.
When it comes to love, us Scoobies are damned and cursed. Every single relationship we’ve all had has ended horribly. For a while there, I thought I was going to be the lucky one but a vampire shattered that dream for me.
So I’m now determined for this relationship to work.
And when Xander falls in love again, I’ll be determined for that to work too. Just as I will be for Giles, Anya, and Spike.
Before Buffy sacrificed herself, when she died the second time, she told me we had to look after each other. When she died the third and final time, she told me the exact same thing.
Oh, I know she asked all of us to look out for each other. She asked Spike to look after me, Xander to look after Willow, and Giles to look after all of us, but it’s hard. We all do a great job of making sure that we’re all okay physically and emotionally, but that’s not enough for me. I think Buffy would want more for all of us.
She’d want all of us to be happy.
So I’m sounding like Willow and Sam’s biggest fan because I want Willow to be happy, even if it’s with someone I don’t exactly approve of. Correction, someone I didn’t approve of. These days, I whole-heartedly approve of the Willow and Sam love.
If someone had told me a year ago that Sam Carter would be one of my closest friends, probably THE closest friend I have, I would’ve fallen on the floor laughing. It’s not that I hated Sam. I didn’t. When Willow introduced me to Sam I liked her straight away.
She was cool. She was smart, intelligent, could fly a jet… Pretty impressive to a college graduate who, at that time, had never been out of California. Despite the whole military thing, I initially thought she was someone who could make Willow happy.
But when Sam and Willow became more serious, and I watched their relationship more closely, I found myself not liking what I saw.
I went kind of cold on the Willow and Sam love. It’s really hard to warm to a person when they’re constantly hurting someone you love.
Sam never hurt Will physically it was always emotionally. It wasn’t so much the cancelled dates that bothered me. I hated seeing the hurt in Will’s eyes whenever Sam didn’t show up, but I understood.
What I hated was that Sam didn’t quit the military.
Willow and Sam had something that people would KILL for. I would’ve killed for that kind of love. Whenever I saw them together, before I starting resenting Sam, I’d be jealous. It made me ache for the love of my life and made me pray that I’d find another. They were lucky, so very lucky, but Sam always loved the military first.
Instead of spending romantic nights at the most expensive hotels, they met in dirty little motels where they spent the whole time hiding, terrified of being caught. Willow was her dirty little secret and, after a while, I began to be afraid that maybe Sam was using Willow. Yeah, I saw the love, but she wouldn’t even introduce Will to her ‘team’! Not even as a friend.
Will couldn’t call her at home or at work. Sam wouldn’t even go out in Sunnydale with Willow on a date. Even after Xander built this house, Will never went outside. She hid away in this house always waiting for Sam to come home… waiting for just two minutes of her time.
And believe me, most of the time it was two minutes.
Sam was killing Willow. You could see it in her eyes and I didn’t understand any of it. Every time she denied Willow, every time she walked out of a meal half eaten, Willow’s heart would break. Willow denies it, but we know her too well. Her eyes would loose that ‘light’ the more Sam left her.
I didn’t understand.
I couldn’t fathom why someone would choose a career over a love like Sam and Willow shared. I had love like that once and I would do ANYTHING to get it back. I knew… I knew Sam and Willow loved each other so much it hurt but I couldn’t understand why Sam didn’t quit her job and be with Willow all the time.
I understand now, of course, but back then I almost hated Sam for what she was doing to Willow… What she was giving up.
I think I did hate her. I must have, because that’s the only explanation for the steps I took to protect Will. I hated her enough to take matters into my own hands. I was tired of seeing Will slowly die. I wasn’t worried about Will going all end of the world like; I was worried that Willow would literally die.
So, one week before Sam and Willow got engaged, I had Spike call Willow to Sunnydale for some fake emergency and I flew to Colorado to confront Sam.
I came here to tell Sam to break up with Willow.
I was interfering where I didn’t belong, I knew that, but I didn’t care. I was at the point where I had seen too much heartbreak and pain in my life, and I couldn’t stand it anymore.
So when I stood on the front door step, begging Sam to save Willow by breaking up with her… everything changed.
I had never seen someone so devastated in my life.
I’ll never forget the look on Sam’s face when I told her exactly what she was doing to Will, and I’ll never forget the way Sam shook, went pale and panicked at the thought of losing Willow.
That day I found out exactly how much Sam loved Will and that day Sam finally chose Willow over the Air Force.
Actually, it was a weekend. Sam and I stayed up twenty-four hours straight after I arrived. We talked. I think we talked about things Sam was too scared to even tell Willow.
She was afraid of her relationship with Willow. I didn’t know, but it took Sam a long time to accept the fact that she was in love with a woman and even longer for her to give up her career shaped security blanket.
Sam, after her one nightstand with Willow, had dated men almost obsessively to convince herself that she wasn’t attracted to Willow. She had even slept with a couple. And when Sam and Willow made love for the first time, sober, Sam had freaked so much she went home and spent the entire weekend drunk.
For Sam, it wasn’t all romantic like I pictured in my head. It was life changing and Sam had felt ashamed and alone.
And the worst part was she didn’t have anyone to talk to. She couldn’t share it with her close friend Daniel, or confide in her other friend Janet. She had to get through all of it on her own, all the while wondering if anyone noticed anything different about her.
At work she made sure she didn’t get caught looking at women for too long. For a few months she waited until other females had showered before showering. It wasn’t logical, Sam knew that but she couldn’t stop herself.
Just like she couldn’t help herself from loving Willow.
I swear I wanted to kick my own ass that night.
It’s always easy to take someone’s side in a relationship when you don’t know the full story and that was what I had done. I never thought about things from Sam’s side. Sam was always so together, she never let on how hard this was for her, not even to Willow.
I always thought that Sam loved the Air Force more than Willow, but it’s the other way around. How could I not know that Sam loves Will so much she is willing to risk everything she had worked for, she LOVES, just to be with her?
Sam broke regulations, rules that she had come to love and live her life by. I never thought of it as a big deal, but I do now. Especially since I know Sam didn’t break regulations to be with Jack O’Neill. Oh yes, I know about that too.
Sam and I became best friends that night. Willow and Xander don’t know how we became so close; they don’t know that I came here to break them up. Just like I don’t know why Anya and I had to do that truth spell on Sam. But that’s okay, both Xander and Will promised me she wasn’t evil and that’s enough for me.
So, I guess, Buffy and my love for Will aren’t the only reasons I’m doing this.
My friendship with Sam is another.
And I swear NOTHING is going to ruin this.
Sam gave up her entire world to be with Will and I’m going to make sure all of her friends love Willow… or at least like her enough NOT to have a major wig over all the other bombs Will and Sam will be dropping in the coming weeks.
Which means I still have a lot of work to do before I win Murray over.
“So… Did you want something to eat or drink?” I ask. I’m pretty sure if I start talking again, I’ll start sounding all stalker like.
You know, I should have written things to say on cards like Willow suggested. Okay, I’d look dorky but it would be better than standing around awkwardly like this. I mean everyone is talking happily except the two of us. Murray isn’t even looking at me anymore, he’s too busy staring towards… Willow.
No… Oh no!
This can’t be good. Seeing your friends frozen on the spot, their faces panicked is never a good sign. Especially for Sunnydalians. They look so panicked that I don’t want to know what – or who – they’re staring at and…
Colonel O’Neill and General Carter.
Why? Why am I not surprised it’s those two? They’re the two people Will and Sam wanted to win over the most. And, from the looks on their faces… they don’t look won over.
If anything… they look a little suspicious.
As far as signs go, this so isn’t good.
What did I say? Damned and cursed!
“Carter,” Colonel O’Neill breaks the silence that has descended over the entire room. Even Dr Jackson and Giles are watching now. “Can I have a word?”
Anyone looking at Sam would’ve thought he had just asked her if she wanted all her teeth extracted without Novocain. No… Sam looks like Colonel O’Neill is asking her to sacrifice her first-born child.
Okay, I’m getting a little worried. Why do I have the feeling that this is about more than the typical adjustment issues?
“Actually, sir… Jack… I…”
“I need a word. Now.”
I’m now joining the ranks of the panicked.
Sam’s not moving. Willow looks like so scared that she’s about to pass out. Xander looks wigged… only Giles and I are the only ones confused.
Sam shakes her head. “Dinner is almost ready and…”
“Sam needs to check on it.” The words just popped out of my mouth, I swear. I have no idea why I said them, all I know is that Colonel O’Neill and Sam talking right now would possibly be the worst thing that could happen.
Not because of what the Colonel could say to Sam, but because Willow looks REALLY panicked. We’ve come to learn over the weeks since the baby was conceived that Willow plus magic plus pregnancy equals wonky magic. Her magic has been a little unreliable.
She lacks the control she once had.
And now is probably not the time for Will to lose control, not unless she wants these guys to know she’s a witch. Whatever is going on, it’s not good.
“I’m sure dinner can wait.”
“No, it can’t!” I protest a little too loudly. “It’s one of those meals you really have to keep an eye on. It’ll spoil if she doesn’t look…” I turn to Sam. “Maybe you and Will should both check on it.”
“Carter – ”
Oh no you don’t, Colonel O’Neill. “And while they’re looking at it,” I say to the Colonel and General Carter. “I can give you guys a tour of the house! You should see what they’ve done with the baby’s room…”
No! NO! Nonono… I didn’t just say that. I did NOT say that.
“Baby?” Colonel O’Neill isn’t finding Willow so interesting anymore. He’s looking right at me.
And I’m pretty sure I’m looking like a stunned mullet.
Okay, Summers, don’t panic. You can fix this. “Baby? I said baby… I meant the room that they would use for a baby. If they ever decide to have one. Not that they’re having one… because they’re not.” I should really be better at lying than this. No one believes me.
“You’re pregnant?” Dr Jackson asks in a hurt voice that makes me wince.
Sam shakes her head. “No.”
“Sam…” General Carter says her name in a way that, to me, means ‘the jig is up’. “Willow’s pregnant,” he tells them.
“SHE’S pregnant!” The way the Colonel says ‘she’ makes us all wince.
There is no fixing this.
“Oh God!” Willow’s breathing is coming in pants now.
“It’s okay, baby.” Sam puts her arm around Will as she shoots the Colonel a deadly look. “Just breathe.”
“No… It’s not okay… It’s not…” Willow’s gone way passed panicked and is almost hysterical.
I follow Giles’ lead and race to her side. We all know what’s coming next and I can only watch helplessly as Giles and Sam both try furiously to calm Willow down. They shower her with words of assurance but nothing seems to get through.
There is only one thing Willow loves more than Sam… and that’s the baby inside her.
The baby is the reason why Willow wants to be so desperately accepted into Sam’s family and having the Colonel finding out about the baby this way is the…
“They know, Giles, they know I’m different…” I hear Willow whisper and I freeze. “And now they know about the baby…”
They know WHAT?! My heart stops at the thought.
“It’s okay, Will,” Xander says.
She shakes her head; her body’s rocking back and forth. “It’s not… Oh God… Oh God!”
Willow lets out a whimper at the sound of the Colonel’s voice, and that’s when it happens.
We all hear it before we feel it. Those of us who know who and what Willow is recognize it immediately; the others simply look around in confusion. We know everything’s connected and that Willow’s connected to everything…
So none of us Scoobies are surprised when the room begins shaking as the Earth trembles along with Willow.