Disclaimer: To Joss, the Buffyverse. To Rowling, the Potterverse.
A/N: Forgive the introspection, slight angst, and general wandering nature of this chapter. It was a spur-of-the-moment, getting into Willow's head thing. Crossover begins in the 2nd chapter.
This is Season 4, Willow/Tara. Again, this is Willow's POV.
Feedback always appreciated.
I wonder what my parents would think of me now.
Four years, and that’s one thing I didn’t think about. Always too busy, too depressed, too confused. Too many things, and my parents were so far away from it they might as well be in a different world altogether.
Okay, it’s more like I...us, we are in a different world. We’re tighter than the cliques we hated in high school, more insular than the frats and sororities, more elite than the snobbiest jocks. That’s who we are. Yeah, go us. Go Scoobies. Hey, let’s save the world and party hardy!
That brings me back, somehow, to my parents. Maybe there’s no MIT, Harvard, or Oxford for me right now, but at this point, I might as well be one of those jerks who dropped out of high school and took on drug trafficking. Got a spell to try? I can do it right now. Something to hack into? Try me. Slay a demon, skip a class? Sure. Yeah, when I’m in the moment, I’ll still alphabetize and color-code my notes, but beyond that I have a new comfort zone, courtesy of one Slayer, Watcher, Witch, and...well, not Wardrobe. But Magic.
Magic, magic, magic. I can say it all different ways. Terror, caution, power, whimsy. It can be all those things. Tara knows it. I know it. Giles knows it. For something we know so well, we’re still always just a little out of our depth when it comes to magic. It’s a feeling I can’t help but hate. There are some things I wish I could control, things I need to control, especially when they’re such a large part of me.
I wonder a lot, how Xander, Buffy, Giles, and Tara do it. Or even Oz and Anya. We’re so, so close, but somehow we still keep steel walls between us. We never share.
Buffy never lets us in. She’ll cry on my shoulder maybe. Well, once, at least. But after that, it’s zilch from the Slayer. We’re all so close to a superhero, for lack of a better term, and we don’t get her inner monologue, or internal conflicts, or whatever. Nothing. Not anymore, anyway, and hardly at all from the beginning. I can’t help but wonder how much we’re missing.
Xander, best buddy o’ mine, when was the last time we had a heart-to-heart? After Oz left? Or when you got so stifled by the basement that one time, and crashed in mine and Buffy’s dorm for a week?
Giles, too, is feeling the distance, maybe in age, maybe in his relationship with Buffy. I’ve never thought how awkward it must be for him, to be surrounded by us, always a bunch of teens, especially when we act out. When we party, or tease, or joke, it’s like we force it on him and ourselves, to be young, carefree people. Especially after years spent among the company of all Watcher-type people, it can’t always be all “woo!” and fun. Maybe when Buffy and Giles are training, they’re different. Maybe they really are all Slayer and Watcher about it.
It’s still valid, anyway, the saving the world thing. I never want to downplay the actual danger of it, and its importance. Without our own problems, the Hellmouth is definitely still an area of potential mass destruction that we need to fight. And, if we’re the band of people fate or whatever chose to fight the forces of Evil, I’d rather we all be ones that, if we were in a book or movie or TV show, people could admire us, and our stalwartness, and integrity, and fearless dedication to our friend the hero. None of the pettier jealousies, or want of credit, or could-have-beens. Who knows if this, being Buffy’s friend, is worth it?
We never really, really found out if Buffy felt that killing Angel was worth it. Or Giles losing Jenny was worth it. Or Oz becoming a werewolf was worth it. They bore it, and said so little we never even wondered if it changed them, permanently. It’s in the media these days—childhood trauma. Those kids with abusive parents, those families starving, living like dogs, those victims of rape and war and suicide. Plenty of crime and horror and death to go around, but we ignore it. It’s mundane, it’s expected. Killing demons is much more fun. We’re saving the world. Give us a break.
Yeah, we’re probably all headcases. Lots of childhood trauma to go around. It’s a wonder Buffy even tries to date, or that I even touch computers, or that Giles lets Buffy go out and Slay every night. It’s a wonder Xander, so elated after graduation to live life, get away from his parents and the house he hates, is still stuck there. It’s a wonder Tara can love me like she does, with the kind of twisted love she grew up with.
So with all these insecurities, and doubts, and hurt, and wishes, it’s a wonder we don’t all connect like we should. We’re the Gang, the good guys. We’re not saviors or angels, thankfully – we are
human. Why can’t we be friends like we should? We love each other, we would die for each other. I’m sure that counts as friendship in hero-world, but when we’re in a room, we only toss corny jokes at each other and take comfort in a comradery based on a bit of trust, the little bit of ourselves we’re willing to lend out.
It’s like we’re scared of each other.
Giles still has difficulty leaking any detail of his past to us. Xander refuses to wipe that smile off his face, and tell us if he’s desperate, or angry, or feeling abandoned and ridiculed. Buffy is mortally afraid we’ll disapprove of her interests, her love life, her actions outside of Slaying. She expects us to stay untainted, and to her, we’re the trophies of friends she keeps alive and well, to some extent. We’re proof she’s doing good, she hasn’t failed yet, she has something to fight for and real human connections. It keeps her unique from other Slayers, and Buffy knows she needs every bit of abnormal to keep her from the fate of the usual Slayers, all so much more competent from the get-go than she.
I hide behind the books and Tara and magic and their approval. We’re all so conscious of each other’s approval, because without each other, we have nothing. We have no acknowledgment, no understanding, no secret heroic mission to keep us going in the path we chose for our lives. We know there’s no turning back, so we’re desperate to have validation, to hide from a world that may chuck us out or laugh us away at any moment. Our bravado is success against those below us—the vampires, demons, the bad guys.
Well, we live in our own little world, and now we’re stuck in it. For as long as it exists, anyway. It’s almost pure dumb luck that one of us hasn’t died yet. I can’t imagine what I would do if Buffy died, which is funny, because it’s so likely. But no, I’m used to that train of thought, and I’ll never let myself think it all the way through. We know the life expectancy and all that crap. Starting again, I can’t imagine what I would do if...Tara died. Or Giles died. What would we do? Would it just be me and Xander? I can see Buffy translating the grief into a full-out war, going out in a blaze of Hellmouth glory, shaping her own glorious suicide...
“Can I come in?”
I sigh. “Sure, just give me a minute.” The door’s locked, no one can get in anyway.
It’s not worth it. Even as I stash away all these useless herbs and charms and books, all of this power...I know there’s no solution. I won’t wipe my own memory. I won’t kill all five of us. I won’t try telepathically strong-arming someone to drop an atomic bomb on the Hellmouth. I won’t even dust Spike. I’m harmless. Completely harmless.
No harm can come of it.
ETA 5/1/08: I cut out a few paragraphs in this chapter and stuck a "The End" after the 3rd chapter, because I think this can stand on its own as a ficlet. It was, again, written spur-of-the-moment, and it's my first and possibly last Willow fic. It's rare that hers is the voice to start "speaking" to me- though if inspiration strikes, I'm not opposed to adding to this (ETA 10/18/08: there is a chapter 4 in the works). And on that note, I've been struggling in vain to get out the next Scooby's Survival Guide chapter, which is a Hitchhiker's Guide TTG cross, but I know I need to get my hands on the book before I can continue mutilating what I remember of the canon.
Thanks for reading. :)