Deepest And Darkest
~ Giles ~
It’s funny how two simple words can change the entire atmosphere of a room. Every single person, both those who know what’s going on and those who don’t, relax at Samantha’s announcement. I’d like tell myself it’s not because we’re all safer with Willow oblivious to the world, but I stopped lying to myself years ago.
“Is she okay?” Dawn asks, concern marring her features.
Samantha nods, her eyes darting briefly to where her team and father are standing. “Xander said he’d stay with her, just in case she wakes.”
Yes, I would hate to imagine the state the house would be in if Willow woke to find her lover not by her side. She appeared calm when she, Samantha, and Xander went upstairs, but I’m not yet ready to believe that Willow is in complete control of her emotions.
Considering the amount of debris on the floor, I think it’s highly unlikely.
“Well, now that we know she’s okay,” Colonel O’Neill begins. “Carter, would you mind having a word with us outside?”
She hesitates, for which I’m entirely grateful. “Actually, sir… Jack...”
“No one’s going anywhere,” Dawn says in such a way that I’m suddenly reminded of her sister. “If you think for one second we’re going to let you get Sam alone to hound her for information, you’ve got another thing coming.”
The Colonel opens his mouth to protest, probably to deny the accusation, but closes it when Daniel puts his hand on his shoulder. “We’re not going to hound Sam for information,” Daniel assures Dawn. “We’re just… We’re just a little thrown. I mean, we didn’t know Willow was pregnant before a few minutes ago.”
Colonel O’Neill snorts. “We didn’t know anything
about her until a couple of days ago. We didn’t know who she was, what she did for a living, and we sure as hell didn’t know she’s not the most emotionally stable person on the planet. Hell, we still don’t! Well, except now we know not to upset her.”
Samantha flinched at the words.
“Don’t even think of taking their side, Daniel,” O’Neill all but yells. “We are
going to hound Sam for information.” He turns towards me. “Christ, what the hell do you expect? We come here thinking we’re just meeting Carter’s girlfriend and the next thing we know Willow’s pregnant and she’s bringing down the house. Literally.
I don’t know about Daniel, but I want to know what the hell is going on. NOW.”
“I know, Jack,” Daniel says. “I’m as confused and hurt as you are, but putting Sam on the spot isn’t going to help.”
“Letting the lies continue won’t help, either,” Jack snaps.
Actually, it surprises me to say this, but I have to agree with the Colonel. I wouldn’t mind a few answers myself, most particularly in regards to how exactly they knew Willow was different.
Especially since she lost control after
she realised they knew she was different.
I look at Samantha who looks like she’s being torn apart which, considering she’s standing between our two groups, I image that’s exactly how she’s feeling. In fact, I dare say she’s been feeling like that ever since she chose to pursue a relationship with Willow.
“Colonel O’Neill has a point,” I say when the silence in the room grows a little too heavy. “The moment for half truths and lies has passed.” Of course, I have no intention of telling them Willow’s secret, but they don’t need to know that.
You should never share a deep and dark secret unless it’s your own.
“Well…” Colonel O’Neill gives me a surprised look. “That’s good.”
“I’m sure you have a lot of questions,” I say, using a tone that I often use when dealing with the Watcher’s Council. “And I’ll be more than happy to answer any that you have.”
O’Neill nods. “Good.”
“So, what is it you need to know about Willow?”
“Giles!” Dawn protests in alarm.
I give her a gentle smile. “Dawn, I know you’re concerned, but it is my understanding that Sam trusts these men with her life, and the life of her child.”
Samantha nods. “I trust them. I trust them with Willow as well.”
There’s no hesitation in her voice, which relieves me somewhat. I’ve no doubt Willow’s talents will be revealed before the night is over and it is good to know these men are held in such high regard.
“Colonel, what is it you want to know?”
O’Neill hesitates while I make myself comfortable on the sofa. “How exactly is Willow different?”
I ignore Dawn’s outraged glare. “I’m afraid that’s not my secret to tell. Nor is it Sam’s.”
“Please, call me Rupert.”
“Jack.” He takes a deep breath. “Rupert, look, I understand that it’s not your secret, really, but the damn house almost fell down around our ears. Now, I don’t know how it’s possible, but… she did it.”
It’s obvious to us that Willow was responsible for the earthquake, but how is it that Samantha’s friends were able put two and two together? Regardless of the facts, it’s still an astounding leap of logic. “What makes you think Willow caused the earthquake?”
Jack favours me with an annoyed glare. “What do you think?”
“Actually, I’m not sure what I think,” I admit. “How is it, exactly, you and Jacob believe Willow is different? Earthquake aside, what brought you to that realisation.”
Daniel’s already confessed that he’s unaware of Willow’s secret, so it makes me believe that they are the only ones who had been aware of anything ‘out of the ordinary’.
Ahhh, I was wondering how long it would take for Samantha to become involved. “Samantha, I am merely trying to discern in exactly what way your father and Jack know
Willow is… Willow. As far as I can see, she did nothing to alert your father or Jack to her abilities prior to her outburst. Yet, it appears they somehow caught on that she was different.” Just like Willow had caught on that they suspected something. Unless Jack or her father were mages or warlocks (or demons), there is no way they should have sensed her power.
From the way Samantha’s face pales, I’m beginning to suspect she knows the answer.
“Yeah…” Dawn agrees. “Will said they knew before she started wigging. How would she know?”
“That’s right,” Jack says. I frown. There’s genuine surprise in his voice which makes me believe the thought had never occurred to him. “How did she know?”
All eyes turn to Samantha and now she truly looks torn. Torn and scared.
It appears Willow’s not the only one who harbours a deep and dark secret.
“Carter?” Jack prompts, his tone making it clear he was beginning to lose patience.
“I knew the same way you knew or rather General Carter knew.”
My heart drops to my feet at the sound of Willow’s voice. I turn to see her standing at the top of the stairs, expression grim, with Xander right behind her.
“I thought you were asleep!” Dawn exclaims.
Willow smile is more a grimace than anything else. “I woke up.”
Oh. “How are you feeling?” I ask as she makes her way down the stairs.
“Better,” she says, although I’m not sure I believe her. It hasn’t been that long since the Earth was shaking with her fear. I somehow suspect her cool exterior is solely for Sam’s family and friends’ benefit.
Perhaps ours as well.
She stands at the bottom of the stairs and studies each and every one of us. When her eyes rest on me she gives me an apologetic smile. I return the smile.
“So, I guess you guys have some questions.”
“A few,” Jack, unsurprisingly, says.
“Willow…” Sam looks between to her friends and then back to her fiancé. “Will, you don’t have to do this. I know my Dad and Jack have questions, but they can wait.”
Would they? Jack looks ready to argue and I have to admit that I
want answers as well. Although, I would prefer to get them from Samantha than Willow. I can see how frightened she is. She’s hiding it very well, but those who know her can see her distress.
She’s frightened, just like she was frightened the day she told Sam her secret.
“It’s okay, Sam, really. I mean, I’m pretty sure they won’t leave until they know.” A shadow passes over Willow’s face. “Besides, it’s not like… It’s not like telling them is going to put me in danger. They can’t hurt me, physically at least.”
Willow rarely speaks of the burden of having so much power has on her. At least not any more. Even since meeting Sam, she has become more powerful and, obviously, the implications of that have not been lost on her.
The only people in this room who don’t fear her are the ones who don’t know her.
I glance towards Jack and the others, not surprised to see them watching Willow with thoughtful expressions. I’m somewhat surprised they haven’t bombarded her with questions yet. Perhaps they do fear Willow the same way the rest of us do.
“Will, are you sure it’s wise to tell them?” Xander asks. “Remember the last time the military became involved in our situation?”
She thought carefully. “Two years ago?”
Oh yes, when Riley and his team (along with several others) helped us stop a horde of demons from overpopulating Sunnydale.
“I thought that went pretty good,” she says.
Xander favours her with a fond smile. “That’s not what I meant.”
“I know, Xan, but it’s kind of the same thing,” she tells him. “These guys are like Riley. They’re not like the Initiative. Sam… Sam wouldn’t work with them if they were. You know
that. They might not like what they hear, but they’re not going to go all Doctor Frankenstein on us.”
“Doctor Frankenstein?” Daniel repeats, confused.
“Yeah, you know, make a monster from lots of demon bits.”
She smiles and if her eyes hadn’t been full of fear, I would say she’s amused by their confusion. “Do you guys believe in the supernatural? Magic? Vampires? Demons?”
Her question is met by blank expressions..
“No, I didn’t think so.” Willow takes a deep breath, and then closes her eyes.
At first, I assume she’s taking a moment to gather her courage. That assumption flies out the window when the debris scattered around the room begins to shake.
“What the hell!” Jack exclaims.
We all watch as the debris moves through the air, returning to where it came from. I have to say, it is a rather creative way to come out, so to speak. Sam’s father and team watch, stunned, as vases remake themselves and cracks disappear. In only a matter of minutes, any sign of an earthquake has been eradicated.
I only wish the rest of Willow’s confessions would be so easy. It’s not telling people that she’s a witch that she fears, but telling people the kind of witch she is…
One feared by human and demon alike.
I just pray Willow’s deepest and darkest secret doesn’t come back to haunt her.