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Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Buffy hesitates.
When Giles got home after the training session with Aura, he found Willow sitting on his couch and watching TV. Actually, he found Willow sitting his couch with the TV on and she was facing that direction. The look on her face told him that she probably wasn’t really seeing what was on the screen at all.
She did glance at him when he came through the door, so she wasn’t catatonic or spaced out. She probably knew she was watching TV but he doubted she could tell him what she was watching. So when he turned the TV off and sat next to her she didn’t even object.
“Have you finished your homework?” he inquired.
She nodded, sticking to the minimalist of communication that was her current mode of interaction since finding “Buffy’s body” at the Bronze.
Giles really hated that he was forbidden to tell her that Buffy was not dead but the warnings Angel had passed on to him were quite explicit that Willow could not be told. As it was, in order to protect Aura, and Buffy, he needed to get Willow out of Sunnydale. And he needed to explain that to her tonight before her parents arrived the next day.
He just wasn’t sure how to broach the subject so instead of diving into the topic that was really on his mind, he asked, “What did you have for dinner?”
“I picked up some Chinese on the way from school,” she replied with barely any emotion.
Giles took off his glasses but just held them by the right ear piece and kept silent for a few beats.
“Your parents will be arriving tomorrow and I intend to recommend to them that they transfer you to a school that is not located anywhere near Sunnydale,” he finally stated.
Willow’s face showed stunned surprise, which, given the circumstances, was an improvement over the forlorn look she’d been sporting ever since “Buffy’s death”.
“Why?” she managed to croak out.
“Unless at least one of your parents is going to stay here in town with you to look after you, you will be almost totally alone,” he said with a sigh. “With no more friends your own age to help you cope with all the losses you’ve suffered these past few months, I fear for your emotional health.”
“But you’ll need me to help with research when the new Slayer comes to protect The Hellmouth,” she said quickly, though no where near her usual babble speed.
“The Council isn’t sending a Slayer here,” he lied by telling her the truth. “I will be staying to monitor things and will contact them if I believe I need assistance.”
“Also, as I pointed out, you cannot continue to live here alone. Not only is it too dangerous, I cannot continue to house you without it becoming awkward for both of us,” he continued. “You have to understand, I am trying to do what I believe will help you come to terms with what has happened. Right now Sunnydale holds too many bad memories for you to deal with while you come to grips with what has happened. You need to go someplace where it will be safer and less stressful for you.”
“But I’ve been on my own for years without having any problems,” she said a bit tearfully.
“And if I had known that before I would have been obligated to contact Child Services and tell them of your parents’ neglect,” he replied. “Willow, you are an intelligent and bright young woman, but you are still a minor and, in the eyes of the law at least, still need adult supervision. While having your parents absent has allowed you to help out more without too much difficulty, it isn’t right for them to burden you with having to fend for yourself. Especially now after everything you’ve lost. Don’t let this town claim you as well. Escape and live a long full life. A life that will make your friends proud.”
Willow quickly moved from where she was sitting and hugged Giles around his waist as she softly cried into his chest.
“I’m going to miss you,” she softly sobbed.
“I’m going to miss you as well my dear,” he replied as he caressed her head a bit hesitantly. All the while cursing himself for emotionally manipulating her the way he did. Only the fact that he did believe she would be safer away from Sunnydale and that that was a situation that both Xander and Buffy would approve, made him not feel like a complete cad.
It didn’t take Aura long to make her way to her FWB’s place after she showered and changed. Although that wasn’t necessarily a good thing in that she still didn’t know how she was going to breech the subject of the Supernatural.
However, when her friend opened the door, yanked her inside, and shoved her tongue halfway down her throat while closing the door, she forgot pretty much anything else. Somehow, they got from the foyer to her friend’s bedroom and spent the better part of an hour giving each other mind blowing bliss which prevented Aura from using that time to think of anything other than her lover’s body and the sensations she got from pressing against it.
Finally rolling off her lover, Aura breathlessly asked, “Not that I’m complaining or anything, but why the all out sex-a-thon?”
“You said that you’d received some disturbing news and that is why you didn’t make it to The Bronze last night. I wasn’t sure you’d be in the mood after we talked about it so I figured to at least start the evening with something pleasant,” replied the brunette.
“It was way more than pleasant,” said Aura smiling.
Then she got serious and said, “I only hope it’s not the last time we get to please each other.”
“What do you mean? Are you sick? Dying?”
“No, I’m not sick or dying,” said Aura. “However, something has happened to me that might make you want to avoid me from now on.”
Before her lover can ask any more questions, Aura continued, “What is your honest opinion of Buffy Summers?”
Confused over the apparent non sequitur but seeing Aura’s face indicating she’s serious, she replied, “Not to speak ill of the dead, but Buffy was a freak, who hung out with losers and beat up on freaks.”
Her heart breaking at her lover’s words, Aura still pushes forward with her decision to tell her lover about herself, though leaving out the part where Buffy is still alive.
“Then, that means I’m a freak too,” replied Aura with tears silently slipping from her eyes.
“What!!! No, you aren’t a freak. You’re the best friend with benefits there ever was. And you know I don’t hang out with freaks. So you can’t be one.”
Aura slowly got off the bed and began gathering her clothes while her lover looked on confused.
“Aur, what’s going on? What are you doing?”
Not looking at her lover, Aura said, “I’m going to be beating up on freaks, just like Buffy did when she saved you from the things that invaded The Bronze shortly after she arrived. That makes me a freak. And since you just said you don’t hang out with freaks, I’m leaving so you can’t be accused of hanging out with a freak.”
Quickly getting up from the bed, the brunette grabbed Aura and swung her around so they were face to face.
“What the hell is gotten into you?” she practically screamed. “Is this some weird way of breaking up with me?”
She then took a good look at Aura’s face and saw the tear tracks on her checks and the miserable look on her face.
Her demeanor softening, she held Aura by the shoulders and quietly asked, “What’s going on? Please tell me why are you acting this way?”
Heaving a sigh, Aura decided to push on and possibly end up with her lover thinking she was crazy as well as being a freak.
“The things that attacked The Bronze and killed those people were vampires. Buffy’s a Vampire Slayer and now that she’s gone I am. As soon as I’ve had a bit more training I will be patrolling to search out and kill vampires and demons that prey upon the people of this town. As for breaking up with you, that depends on whether you can believe and accept what I’ve told you. If you can’t, then yes I’m breaking up with you.”
Her lover stood there, holding her shoulders and staring at her. Confusion clearly etched on her face.
Finally she pulled Aura over to the bed and had her sit beside her while holding her hands.
“Now. Tell me everything,” she ordered. “I’ll try and save my questions till the end.”
Aura told her that the Supernatural was real. As was magic. Sunnydale was built on top of a Hellmouth, which was exactly what it sounded like – a portal to Hell. There was a group that has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years that fought against the bad things and The Slayer their foot soldier. She had been given the power to summon the Slayer Essence, meaning she didn’t always have Slayer powers, to allow her to fight the bad guys who were drawn to the town but there would be times when she was just her normal self. Mr. Giles, the librarian, was the local rep for the group and her trainer. He would also be the best one to help explain more about what her being The Slayer meant. She would also have help from an ensouled vampire who was working on redemption. Her identity needed to be kept secret from the demon community to prevent her friends and family from being attacked like Buffy’s mom had been.
She didn’t tell her that the Slayer Essence came from a male ghost, or that Buffy was still alive. She also didn’t mention that Xander and Willow had been helping Buffy as she didn’t want to encourage her lover to do the same but rather let her make up her own mind.
Once she finished talking, Aura just sat there looking at her lover for some clue as to what she was thinking and, possibly, what she would decide about their relationship.
Finally, he lover said, “That has got to be the biggest load of horse manure I have ever heard. That’s too crazy for even The Enquirer. Too absurd for even the most die hard conspiracy theorist.”
Aura was about to interrupt her lover’s rant and defend her sanity when her lover continued, “In fact it’s so crazy and out there that it has to be true. ‘Cause, no offense, but you don’t have imagination enough to come up with such an outlandish story. If you were into geek stuff, I might be less inclined to believe but you’re not. So I do. Believe that is. It’s just . . . just hard to take in.”
“It was a bit much for me as well,” said Aura. “One minute I’m on my way to Mrs. Sims class and the next the Slayer Essence pops into me and I end up in the Library talking to Mr. Giles instead, learning all about my new destiny.”
“Why’d it pick you?” asked her lover.
“Not that I don’t think you can handle it,” she quickly added, not wanting to insult Aura.
“I asked the same question,” said Aura. “Apparently there are girls all over the world who have a certain something, not even the group Mr. Giles belongs to knows what, that makes them candidates for becoming The Slayer. Mr. Giles calls them Potentials. Buffy used to be The Slayer here on the Hellmouth but with her gone, a new Slayer needed to be here to replace her. I seem to have gotten the short straw by the fact that I already live here.”
“This is going to be dangerous for you. Isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Aura replied. “However, Mr. Giles intends to train me first before sending me out to do battle with the forces of darkness and even plans accompany me on patrol with Angel the first few times to evaluate how well I’m learning.”
“Have you met Angel?”
“Not yet,” said Aura. “He’s apparently doing his best to keep the demon and vampire population down while I get up to speed. I may meet him sometime in the next few days as Mr. Giles wants him to spar with me. Since Mr. Giles doesn’t have the speed and strength of a vampire, I can only really learn how to defend myself by fighting one. Since Angel has his soul and working for redemption, he provides the ability to get some experience safely instead of getting it on the job as has been the usual situation for a newly chosen Slayer.”
Silence descended for a bit and Aura was again getting nervous.
Finally she blurted out, “So, are we going to still be FWBs or even just hang out together anymore, or should we break it off so you aren’t put in danger.”
“Are you kidding? My girlfriend is an honest to god super hero. This is beyond awesome.”
“You realize you can’t tell anyone about this? Right?” asked Aura.
“Piffle. We’ve been keeping our involvement secret from everyone already,” said her lover. “What’s one more thing. Besides, I’d look terrible in those white coats with the super long sleeves.”
“I’m really glad you’re taking this so well,” said Aura. “I was afraid you’d freak and never want to see me again. Or that I’d have to summon the Slayer Essence to get you to believe me.”
“Is there some sort of ritual you have to do?”
“Not really,” replied Aura. “I just do a mental call and it comes to me.”
“First we need to put on bathrobes,” said Aura. “Not frilly, see-thru ones.”
“You have to be dressed to call the Essence?” her lover asked questioningly.
“No,” replied Aura. “But I will be less distracted and able to concentrate better, CeeCee.”