“I gonna kill Whistler!” seethed her best friend as she looked at Willow. The blonde shook her head as she took in her now-baggy clothes, they hung on her slightly thinner and smaller frame, the blonde turned to look at Giles as she tugged unhappily on her long hair. She was back to being nerdy little Willow Rosenberg!
“Buffy, as much as I despise Whistler, he was only the messenger,” stated Giles as he dropped onto the sofa at Buffy’s and Dawn’s apartment; most of the Scoobies were present with the exception of Faith who was in San Diego following up on a lead on a pack of demons that were wreaking havoc on the town.
“Though, he didn’t give us much warning, I’m inclined to kill him just for that.”
Willow looked at her slightly smaller hands in mystification, the scars that had been on her palms were gone leaving clean peach-coloured hands that were innocent of the war that she and her friends had been fighting for the last eight years; she blinked in sudden realization as her hand snapped up to touch her neck. The not-so-nice hickey that Harmony had given her a few years back had disappeared too.
Xander suddenly spoke up, “Hey, ya know, high school started a few months ago; you gonna go and be a student again?” the black patch was still covering his demolished eye as it had done for the past twenty months. “Tackle all the Cordelia’s and Harmony’s of mainstream education?”
Willow groaned, “How could I forget? Goddess, it’s happening all over again.” Except that she’d be going back to school with no Xander or Buffy to back her up, eyes downcast; she wondered desperately whether she’d be able to reject the plan that the PTB had for her.
She just didn’t want this, okay she DID want to help out on another Hellmouth where she would actually be needed, but as a CHILD! No way in the nine levels of Hades! Did she have a choice?
She screwed her hands into fists on her lap as she stared down at them, the true meaning of what had happened to her and the ramifications suddenly hit her; oh hell, if that was permanent her…um, adult life was over! Well…not unless she wanted to delve into some very morally-questionable activities and seeing as she didn’t view herself as a cradle-robber she was thinking…no.
She pressed her fists into her closed eyes and fought to not start freaking out, she took a deep breath and looked up, sitting back in the sofa she watched her friends discuss the meaning of her turn-back to adolescence; if the PTB didn’t turn her back what choice did she have? It was already done; she might as well take the opportunity thrust upon her and turn it into something that she’d have done anyway.
She HAD wanted to make more use of herself with all the power that she had, and while she didn’t mean for THIS to happen, she’d pretty much just been given a new challenge; she smirked to herself slightly….she did always like challenges, and whether they were knowledge-related or magic-related she was never the one to back down.
Willow would stay in more-than-regular contact with her friends of course but the challenge now would be to convince her family to let her go to Colorado Springs and the new Hellmouth; she frowned slightly and looked at Giles, “Why sent me as a child, though? I could’ve gone to Colorado Springs as an adult.”
The librarian was about say some when-
“Simple, Ms. Witch.”
Willow jumped in fright as the half-demon in black garb was suddenly staring at her from the opposite end of the pale green couch, “Eep!”
Whistler smirked at her mockingly, “Pretty ferocious sound for someone who almost ended the world two years ago.” The black bowler hand was perched on his head in a rather precarious position; he reached up to shift the hat slightly so it wouldn’t fall off.
Xander shook his head, “Not improved your dress-sense yet? Cordy would slaughter you if she were here.” Despite the humor directed towards Whistler Xander had a glint of anger in his dark eyes that would normally provoke some hesitancy in the receiver; the half-demon however was far more interested in avoiding Buffy’s wrath.
“Hey, Witch-girl wanted some answers,” snapped the demon, glancing briefly at the blonde Slayer. “And I’m about to deliver.” He turned away and dismissed them pointedly, though still keeping an eye in the blonde’s direction.
“Then deliver and vamoose,” said Buffy coolly.
Ignoring her, he turned to Willow and started his explanation on behalf of the PTB, “Simply put, Red, there’s an air force base in the same vicinity as where you’re going; the Powers don’t want any unwanted attention from the military- I’m sure you understand why- and so they thought it would be in everyone’s best interest to keep you out of the military radar. Basically, it’ll be easier to just send you, and only you, to the new Hellmouth.”
“We’ve got an army of Slayers, moron,” interrupted Dawn, folding her arms. “Why not just send them.”
“Because, Ms Bright-mind,” he countered sarcastically. “The PTB want you people to keep an almost-impossibly-low profile; and sending in waves of hormonal teenagers with superhuman strength isn’t their idea of ‘low-profile’.”
Dawn went pink and opened her mouth to counter his insult.
“Dawn! Guys,” started Willow suddenly. “I’m going.” Her declaration left behind a surprised silence; she looked around at her friends- no, family- and took a breath, she had to do this. “I just- how many Slayers have we got now?”
Buffy looked down, lips turned down into a frown, “Almost fifteen hundred.”
“How many are there?”
“Eighteen hundred,” said Buffy slowly. “That we’ve counted.”
Willow looked at her firmly, “Be honest, Buff. How much do you guys really need me?” they didn’t, Buffy was head Slayer; teaching all the littler ones; Xander was being all watcher-y and even Dawn was coming into her own- all those languages she knew; more than Willow herself.
After she’d voiced those facts, the redhead smiled to herself, and unlike her Dawn didn’t suck at Latin; goddess she hated that language-
Willow snapped out of her semi-daze as she noticed that the room had been silent for the last several seconds, Buffy was glowering at the carpet like it had snapped her Mr. Pointy in half, Dawn looked ready to bolt from the room in a huff and Xander…was looking at her with an unreadable expression on his usually humorous face, “I-I have all this power in me, guys. A-and I hardly ever use it…I don’t need to, the trouble’s taken care of before I need to lift a finger.”
The redhead’s thoughts drifted over to her ex-girlfriend, “And, Kennedy, I need to be away from her for now; ya know? The bigger point is, is that Colorado Springs could be another Sunnydale and I at least need to monitor it; just in case.”
Buffy glared at Whistler, “Can she at LEAST take Andrew with her?!”
Dawn scowled as she looked up, she said wryly, “Who’d cook for the Slayers?”
Willow sighed, “That what I mean, guys! Even Andrew’s making a difference here- and what am I doing?”
The former Key looked down, “You- you help me study; I can talk to you about stuff that…you’re like my super-cool magic-y sister.” Then she shrugged angrily. “But, whatever, who cares?” she stood up abruptly and made a bee-line for the door.
Willow blinked furiously, eyes downcast; to Dawn’s credit she didn’t slam the door like she would’ve done two years ago- her girl was growing up so fast, she looked up at her remaining friends, eyes slightly misty, “I need to do this.”
Buffy looked at her long and hard, hazel eyes probing her own emerald ones; her shoulders sagged a little as she sighed, “Will, you don’t need my permission to go do stuff; I’m not your boss. Just…don’t….be a stranger.”
Whistler mock-sniffed dramatically, “Aww, well as sickeningly-sweet as this is; I’m going to…’vamoose’ as you said. You’ll be able to sort out your own identity.” The half-demon stood up and backed into the shadows of the apartment. “And, FYI, Red; Yes, the age-deterioration is permanent. That’s that Powers for ya, lovely aren’t they?” He faded away.
Permanent? That was that then, if it was permanent…not undo-able; she might as well make the best of it…it wasn’t THAT bad, school had been okay…not great, definitely not easy; but it wasn’t the worst thing she’d been subjected to. Not by a long shot. She could make this work, sure; might even be fun…okay, she wouldn’t go THAT far!
Willow stood up, her internal babbling ceasing for the moment, to accept a hug from Xander, she needed a hug; the smell of sawdust was comforting, she closed her eyes and breathed it in.
Five minutes later, Dawn had refused to come down and stayed upstairs; Willow sighed and got ready to teleport to Colorado Springs, "I'll phone you when i get there."
Then she landed flat on her face; nose now full of the smell of fresh carpet; she rolled over onto her back to stare up at an unfamiliar ceiling, she leapt up into a sitting position and looked around in irritation, "I still need to work on my teleportation skills."
Glaring towards the heavens, for giving her this latest problem, she shook her head and was back to looking at her new accommodation, she sighed; the house was obviously nice but…she looked up irritably, “When I get up there I’m so gonna kick some Higher Being ass!” she blinked.
She needed to work on her quips.