No time like the present
Disclaimer: I don't own or profit from these characters. Please god let me marry someone who does.
Willow sighed, fingering her newly re-grown hair as she leaned against the giant tree of her namesake. Who knew a simple cleansing and growth spell could spiral into the more literal sense of the word? Then again, her magick always did seem to act a bit hinky. Willow smiled, remembering how long it had been before she had convinced the coven to let her cut it. It had fallen all the way to her ass and then some. She had spent the whole next week letting her sister witches dress her up as the lady of shallot. More pictures had been taken of her that week than in her whole life. Eventually, Willow had argued her point that, while the medieval hair was fun and girly, it was incredibly impractical and the witches had agreed. By ‘agreed’ that meant, of course, she had only been allowed to cut it to her waist.
“Give me another week and I’ll have it to my shoulders.” Willow murmured to herself, fingering a flower laden braid. The witches hadn’t left her alone! There was hardly a strand that wasn’t braided or twisted and woven with bluebells.
“You’re not threatening to cut that hair again, are you?” A voice called. Willow leaned to peer around the tree.
“Hi, Cerene.” Willow waved as the elderly head of the coven parted the green curtain of willow branches.
“May I enter?” Cerene asked, bowing her head. Willow frowned.
“Of course you can. I mean, after all it is your property.” Willow smiled as the older woman sat to join her.
“I may have purchased the right to live her, Willow. But this space has always been yours.” Cerene tucked a copper braid behind Willow’s ear. “Ever since you came to us. What has it been now?”
“Three years.” Willow mumbled shuffling her bare feet.
“Still feeling guilty, I see?” Cerene clucked her tongue.
“Well, I did try to end the world.” Willow felt her cheeks rise in color. It still felt terrible to say.
“You were grieving, dear heart. Your grief was just strong enough to be heard by all.” Cerene wrapped an arm around her newest addition and gave a gentle squeeze before noticed a small red book lying at her feet. “What’s this?” She asked, picking up the untitled tome.
“A historical records book. I’ve been thinking about what you told me about alleviating my pain by recognizing others outside myself.” Willow’s face brightened considerably. “So I began to dig backwards in my past. You know, trying to get in touch with my family roots?”
“And where did these roots lead you?” Cerene chuckled.
“I’m only half jewish, for one.” Willow breathed a sigh of relief at that. She could now celebrate the fun Christian holidays like Christmas without guilt of fiery damnation for performing the traditional snoopy dance. Xander’s face flashed through her mind, happy and smiling, and Willow had to force herself past the memory of the friend she hadn’t spoken to in years. “I also traced back my mother’s maiden name, Watson, about three or four generations. There wasn’t much to tell, we were mostly Scottish middle class. I went back further and found out my incredibly great grandfather’s last name was LaRue. Apparently he lost some huge fortune and he and his family fled to Scotland.” Willow could barely contain her excitement. She always felt like such a dork to retell something interesting she’d just learned but she couldn’t help it. Who cared if her voice cracked or her cheeks got hot? It simply thrilled her.
“LaRue? That sounds French to me.” Cerene scoffed.
“Oh, don’t you get started, you British hussy.” Willow teased.
“So you’re French? That explains the poor judgement.”
“Cerene!” Willow often found herself floored by the elder woman’s sense of humor.
“Only joking, I swear. Continue your story.” Cerene gesture towards the book.
“Anyways,” Willow giggled, giving a playful glare. “The records led me to this book. It’s from the 1800’s and has details about why exactly he lost everything. Imagine my surprise when I read mention of vampires.”
“Vampires!” Cerene clutched her chest. “In an actual history book?”
“I suppose it was overlooked since it wasn’t an official log.” Willow shrugged.
“So what happened to all of his money then? Did the vampires steal it?”
“No, get this,” Willow sat up a little straighter, preparing to deliver the climax of her family history. “Apparently he had a sister; a twin! She fell in love with not one but two vampires and lived with them peacefully until the Catholic Church got wind of it.”
“I’m not sure I like where this story is going.” Cerene frowned.
“The church seized the girl, my great grandmother, and ended up burning her at the stake as a witch who was fornicating with the devil.” Willow felt her irritation buzz through her brain. “Can you believe that? They weren’t even hurting anyone and those stupid zealots just killed her!” The ground beneath them began to rumbled threateningly.
“Willow, honey,” Cerene laid a hand on Willow’s shoulder. “Calm down.”
“Oh, sorry!” Willow gasped, immediately retracting her leaking power. “I just get a little worked up is all. “I mean, I remember the way Spike talked about Dru…you remember Spike, right?”
“The blonde vampire with the DeSoto, correct?” Cerene had only known him as William the Bloody but Willow had reassured the coven on many occasions that she was certain the man was more than his past after he had cried out his love for his dark princess.
“I mean, vampires love differently than humans, I think. It lasts longer for one. I know time binds people but I can’t imagine loving someone for many lifetimes and then having them ripped away from you.” Willow was still stinging from Tara worse than she let on. She couldn’t fathom having been able to be with Tara for hundreds of years and then suddenly have her gone. She didn’t want to picture a pain worse than what she’d felt.
“Lifetimes? I thought the woman was human.” Ah, the interesting part.
“It doesn’t specifically say they turned her but I would imagine they had to. She sounded quite young when she was taken by the church and my grandfather was described as ‘too old’ rescue her.”
“What happened to her lovers?” Cerene asked.
“One escaped.” Willow tugged at her long, linen skirt. “The other was tortured.”
“I’m not sure if I want to hear more.” Cerene cringed.
“He tried to protect my great grandmother and ended up being overpowered. They burned his body in holy water for hours before he escaped, permanently scarred.” Willow smiled. “Which brings me to the happy part of the story.”
“There’s a happy part? Let’s hear it then.” Cerene fanned herself as if the story had been too much.
“He’s still alive!” Willow shouted happily.
“Who’s still alive?”
“The scarred vampire.” Willow huffed. Hadn’t Cerene been paying attention.
“My Goddess, after all this time?” Cerene asked.
“He lives in St. Louis, Missouri from what I can tell.” Willow smiled.
“Ah, I see.” Cerene smiled back. “You’re finally leaving us then.”
“Only for a little while.” Willow pleaded, clasping her hands. “C’mon I’ve been a good girl.”
“Willow, you’ve always been free to come and go as you please. You know that.” Cerene stood, dusting herself off.
“I just feel like I should meet this person who risked everything for a member of my family. I feel like we’re connected somehow.” Willow caressed the old book cover. It had taken a only pure coincidence whilst hacking through some random medical records to shake the rust off when she had stumbled upon information regarding an experimental treatment for a vampire named Asher. Half of his body was reported as covered in scars from holy water burns and Willow had known in an instant that it was him.
Destiny, it seemed was beating down Willow’s door side by side with Mr. Opportunity and she simply couldn’t ignore it. She had considered that he might still be smarting about the loss of his lover, but surely he’d want to know her family line lived on, right? Perhaps she could help him find some peace and maybe, just maybe find some of her own. Yes, writing a letter might be more formal and appropriate but Willow wasn’t one to have the nerves to stand waiting for a reply.
After all, there was no time like the present.