So, yeah, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
belongs to me and I own the rights to all the characters and concepts I use in this story. That’s why I’m posting it for free, online, and live in a small dorm room. Seriously, no, this all belongs to Joss Whedon.
Willow had been by herself for a while, letting two years of information slowly process in her brain while C-SPAN droned in the background. She almost didn't believe Dawn because the story was so completely unbelievable. If Willow hadn't been able to access her reserves - reserves which, Willow supposed, were very capable of destroying the world, and more - she wouldn't have believed Dawn at all. Not that Dawn had any reason to lie to her, and something so wild and insane? If someone had kidnapped her and told her a story, they could have come up with something far
more likely than seven years of memory loss, attempted world destruction and activation of thousands of slayers. Especially if they were able to look and feel just like Dawn.
So, why did Willow still feel like this was unreal somehow?
Of course, Dawn did feel different. She felt older, more secure. With a hint of Spike. But Willow wasn't sure why she felt the latter. It wasn't so much an essential feeling, more of a surface, uh, thingy. And, now, the door was opening, and there she was again. Willow had been so distracted, she didn't even hear Dawn come up, and she said so.
"The hallway is carpeted, silly," Dawn had responded with a little laugh, "only slayers can hear someone walking on this."
Willow rolled her eyes, "True, I guess. I guess I keep thinking this is, uh, that this is," she said, trailing off.
"The house in Sunnydale?" Dawn said, with a little, reassuring smile. She felt more like Spike than she had before for some reason. What was it?
"Yeah," Willow said. "Like that. I mean, since Buffy's not here, I guess it shouldn't feel like that. And really this place isn't much like that."
"It is, sorta," Dawn said. "It feels," she stopped, searching for a word, "home-y."
"Home-y?" Willow said, with a smirk, "Learn that one at Oxford, did you?"
"California-speak is still the best form of the English language ever invented," Dawn declared. Then, she looked to Willow in mock horror, "Don't tell Giles I said that!"
Willow cracked up. "I dunno," Willow said, relapsing to the behavior she had always known, "I think I could use this to get something. If you want me to keep this quiet, you'll have to pay!"
Dawn looked up at Willow in mock horror again, "No, please, I'll do anything!"
Willow didn't respond for a few seconds as she let her giggles work their way through her system. "Uh, okay, um. Spill. Tell me about Kennedy. You didn't tell me anything about her in your story. Just that we kinda got together."
Dawn winced at Willow, the humorous glint disappearing from her face as her vise became entirely serious. "Um, I don't think," she stopped, before continuing, "I don't think I should interfere. I - I mean, a lot of it's kinda private. You and her. And I think you should probably hear it from her."
"Dawn, please," Willow said, deadly serious. "I need to know, and I don't know who she is. I woke up, naked in bed with a stranger. A stranger who's my wife. When last I remember, I'm not even allowed to have a wife. I need - I need," Willow trailed off, not able to find a word.
"Okay," Dawn said, slowly, "I can tell you what - what I can. But now isn't the best time. Alex should be back with the Chinese food soon."
"Alright," Willow conceded, before changing topics. "Ooh, Chinese food. Did you order beef with broccoli? I love beef with broccoli, and it's always been my favorite thing at Chinese restaurants. I do like trying new things, but I've always been perfectly happy about that, and I suppose-"
"Willow!" Dawn said, breaking off the babble, "Yes. We ordered you beef with broccoli. Everyone who has ever ordered Chinese food with you knows your love for beef with broccoli. Xander can do the 'Willow beef with broccoli babble' by heart. He's been able to do that as long as I've known you."
Willow smiled as her cheeks flushed, "Well, yeah." After a few seconds, another part of Dawn's words hit her. "Who's Alex?"
"Oh, Alex. I didn't tell you about Alex?" Dawn said, questioning. Willow resolutely shook her head, and Dawn knocked herself once on the forehead, "Dumb key. Alex is a high schooler. She lives with you and Kennedy. She's very religious, and she's legally your ward. She, uh, is in high school in the city. AP student, high marks. She's the youngest slayer in Philadelphia. 18," Dawn added, almost as an afterthought. "She puts my Classical Hebrew to shame."
"She's Jewish?" Willow asked, eyes widening.
Dawn looked at her, sarcasm dripping in her voice as she responded, "No, she's Hindu. That's why she chants in classical Hebrew."
This, however, earned Dawn a stern glare from the witch. Several seconds later, Dawn turned toward the window, trying to look away. "Ooh, that's Alex's car. Fooding time."
Willow looked at Dawn incredulously. "Seriously? 'Fooding time'?"
"I'm hungry!" Dawn complained, "I can't come up with something witty every time something new happens. That's Buffy's job."
Willow acknowledged Dawn wordlessly, and stood up from the bed, "I guess we'll be eating downstairs? Things haven't changed in the last ten years that we for some reason eat in our bedrooms every night, have they?"
Dawn smirked, "Nope. Just a normal dining room. Or kitchen. Depending on where Alex and Kennedy set up."
"Right," Willow said, following Dawn out of the room. There was silence as Willow trailed behind her, losing a little of her self control, and looking down at her best friend's now mature little sister's frame. Bad thoughts. Very bad thoughts. But she has a ni-
Willow's brain went to braking as everything suddenly tied together through a glance at Dawn's pocket. Why she felt like Spike.
"Dawnie!" Willow exclaimed, scandalized, "You smoke
Dawn stopped walking, and Willow could almost hear her wincing, despite looking the other direction. "Uh," Dawn said, averting her face downward (not that Willow had been able to see her face before that), "yeah."
Before Willow could respond, Dawn quickly continued, "And, uh, it's fine if you want to lecture me for the umpteen millionth time, but I want food now."
Willow was silent, recalculating. This was real. A detail like that simply wouldn't be made up by kidnappers. Somehow, that little detail was what finally forced Willow to admit it. This was not the same world. Time had passed, things had changed. Willow had missed seven years of her life. She was forced to admit it was real, now - something her mind hadn't really accepted all day. But, before the full recriminations of this realization could channel through Willow's mind, the odor of Chinese food suddenly filled her senses.Freak out later
, Willow told herself. Food now.