Disclaimers: Standard. Joss, ME, et al own everything, I'm taking them out for a drive and making nothing from it.June, 2007 This hanging around for years waiting for Buffy sure is torture on your sit-down place
, Willow thought as she moved and once more got comfortable in lotus position. The real question is, it it worth it? Is this going to change anything for Buffy? Is it going to make it better for her?
Willow had asked herself these questions many times during her hermitage, and never given herself a satisfactory answer. See, the real problem is that long before this happened, Buffy was getting torn away from everyone and everything that meant anything to her. By the time the First came around, she was so damaged that all the king's horses couldn't put her together again.
Willow sighed. So many things had happened over those first seven years. If Buffy had had the attitude that she had that first year...so many things would have been different. Heck, if all of us had just made some different decisions...
Her thought processes came to a screeching halt as an answer, well, maybe an answer, hit her right between the eyes. Could it be...?
She grinned, sticking her tongue between her teeth as she began to hack the universe.One month later
The research was done, the spell was found, the elements were here. The spell itself would take a month to cast, with other spells keeping her healthy during the interim. She asked herself the only question truly left. Do I want to do this? There's no guarantee that things will be any better after this and I can't take it back, can't cast it again, at least I don't think that I can, I might be able to, but that would be another 10 years, and let's hope we don't have to!
She created a two-headed coin and flipped it.August, 1997
Willow and Xander walked along, trading movie quotes. Willow had just named the quote from "Witness," when a vamp showed up. Since there hadn't been one the whole summer, neither she nor Xander had their crosses or stakes. Happily, before the vamp got far more intimate than Xander ever wanted another male to be, he was pulled away and staked by the 5'2" Slayer, just back from her vacation in L.A. "Hi, guys....miss me?" And Willow fainted.
"Willow, Will, wake up!" The groggy redhead heard her best friend say. She seemed to be laying on a couch. "Giles, I came by, said hello, and she just fainted!"
Willow groaned and held her head as she slowly sat up. "Wow, what a trip. Could I get some water?" Buffy handed her some that she downed in a gulp. She looked around. Everyone is so young. Giles has no grey in his hair. Xander, Xander has both eyes! And Buffy!
Her eyes softened, and she let the breath that she hadn't known she was holding out.
"Guys? Guess you're wondering why I fainted." She smiled as she looked at her friends again.
"Well, yeah, Will. We've been through a whole lot worse than that. Have you been eating enough?" Buffy asked, concern written on her face.
"I have. It's just...wow, this is going to be a weird story, even by Hellmouth standards. The really, really short version is that I'm from your future. I managed to turn time back to now, and the faint was me inhabiting my younger self's body. Things have gotten really, really messed up and I'm trying to make them right."
A pin could have been dropped numerous times and been heard perfectly clearly in the silence that followed. The first to break it was Giles, who took his glasses off and polished them as he said quietly, "You seem to believe what you are saying, Willow. I hope that you will forgive us worrying that an injury while you fainted caused you to believe this?"
Willow grinned. "Nope, no bump on the noggin here," as she rubbed the back of her head. "But what you're really saying is, 'Prove you're who you say you are, right?" When he nodded, she smiled, "That's ok, Giles. I wouldn't expect you to be any other way. For you, Giles, you have a nickname, 'Ripper,' and a very, very nice music collection. That and you have an orb of Thesulah on your desk that you're using as a paperweight. Buffy, you have a friend called Billy Fordham that you went to school with for seven years. Xander. Oink, Oink." She grinned at her best male friend as he realized she knew he remembered being a hyena. "Are we good, everyone?"
After a moment's thought (and after Giles had run to his office and checked the Orb), everyone agreed to accept Willow as what she said that she was. "Pardon me for asking, Willow, "the Watcher said, "But why did you go to the trouble of coming back? I know the power required to travel back in time even a few days. If, as you seem to be saying, you have done it over the path of months or years, you must have some grave need."
Willow twisted her hair in her fingers, trying to decide how much to say. "Giles, I didn't travel back in time, I turned time back." As she watched Giles gasp, she continued. "And it wasn't just years, it was a decade." Giles' jaw was almost down on his chest, it had dropped so far in shock.
"Will, why is Giles acting so wiggy?" Buffy asked, not knowing the issues but reacting to his shock. She hadn't seen him so frozen since, well, ever.
"Buffy, if Willow is accurate in what she is telling us she has done, she is - or at least was - one of the two or three most powerful witches in existence." Giles said in a low voice. "The power required to cast a spell such as that - well, let me just tell you that destroying the world would be less of an exertion than that."
"You aren't wrong, Giles about either of those things, though I really wish I didn't know that first hand." Willow said, the smile dropping from her face. "Please believe that while we came out ahead, at least to the point when I came here, it was not without cost."
"Will-" Xander began, but seeing the look on his face, Willow smiled and recited.
"Broncos, Broncos, Rams, Ravens, Patriots." She looked at him. "I remember you from this time period, Xand. You want to get ahead. But hey, Some of our problems in the future are because of money, why not deal with that in our own way?"
"Will, I love you, would you marry me?" Xander was grinning.
"Sorry, Xand, no can do. It's because of some things that happen a bit further on, but it's not because I don't love my Xander. Listen, guys, this is going to take a while, can we deal with it tomorrow after school?" Willow felt wiped out. "Eight years takes quite a while, and if we go bouncing around, I'll forget something. Buffy, can you walk me home?"
It was agreed to meet in the library the next day, and the girls started walking home. "Willow, Xander just gave you the opening of a lifetime, and you turned him down. I would say who are you and what have you done with my Willow, but you already told me." She grinned at the redhead. "So spill. Is there a big hottie in your future? Is there a hottie in my future?"
Willow grinned at the blonde Slayer holding her hand. I wish it were as more than best friends, but she's been my best friend for so long.
"Well, Buff, there's a really nice guy in my future, but he turns out to be a werewolf. And there are several nice girls. For you, you can turn that on its end."
"You mean you're - and I'm -?" Buffy couldn't get the words out.
"Buffy, remember that this is how things were before I came back to change things. But as far as it goes, yes, I'm bi- mostly gay, and you're bi- mostly straight. I fell in love with a woman a couple of years from now, and we were together - mostly - until she was killed." Willow replied with tears in her eyes. "I was already in a bad place by then, and.... let's just say that's how I know how much power is needed to destroy the world. Does that make you freak?"
"No, no freak, Will. A freak-free atmosphere here. You must have loved her a lot."
"I did, Buffy. Almost as much as I love you." Willow hurriedly continued on as she saw Buffy about to speak. "Hold on, Buffy," she said, turning and looking straight into her eyes. "I have never said that to you, whether in this or the future time, because I didn't want to hurt our friendship. The reason I'm saying it is because in thinking over the things that happened to all of us over the next decade, almost all of the bad things were because we kept secrets from one another while trying to protect each other, or because we thought the other would hate us. Even though I'm going to say this tomorrow, it starts tonight. We can lie to other people all we want, but I am not going to lie to a Scooby again. What I said wasn't because I wanted something from you. It's because I feel that way about you. If you never want me as anything but your best friend, I'm still happy." She hugged Buffy tightly.
"That's great, Will," Buffy said, hugging her friend back. "I don't know how I really feel about all of that, I'll let you know when it all settles. Do thoughts settle? I'd think that they'd float. Anyway, I've got one question."
"What's a Scooby?"