Title: Just Human Enough
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com )
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things AB belong to Laurell K Hamilton, et al.
Distribution: WLS, WLF, NHA, BMP, Aislin.
Author’s Note: Pairing #43 at The Quickie Challenge: http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com .
Still alive and kicking?
So why, might I ask, am I suddenly not human enough for the man I’ve been dating for the last five months?
I mean – its not like he can claim to be human himself.
No – he would be a werewolf. A werewolf ‘king’!
And yet. . . I’m not human enough for *him*.
It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.
A werewolf dumping the woman he supposedly loved simply because he found out she was a – gasp – witch.
He’s the one that has major hair problems once a month. And it isn’t as if he was all up front about that when we first started dating – so why would I have been all share-bear with my personal stuff, hmmm? There are a lot of things he and I should have and could have done. But that doesn’t matter now.
Not when he’s in the other room packing.
Because I didn’t tell him I was a witch.
Yeah, yeah. He told me two months ago about the werewolf thing, said it was necessary before we took the ‘next step’ of moving in together and sleeping together. True, that was the proper thing to do; I won’t deny that for a second.
But. . . I didn’t tell him about my own little secret. Didn’t step out of that proverbial broom closet to proclaim that I was a witch.
Still, that doesn’t make this my fault. Not really. The way he acts he would have been just as upset about my non-complete-human-ness if I had told him then or later. It wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest because I found out something I never knew about my boyfriend prior to tonight –
You heard me right.
Mister Richard Zeeman, oh so perfect science teacher and Ulfric to the local werewolf pack is a bigot.
He hates ‘monsters’.
Yes, that includes himself.
And witches, apparently, are just another form of ‘monster’ – at least to him. Personally, I never thought of myself as a monster. Just as I don’t think of werewolves as monsters. Richard really is fucked up in the head, if I do say so myself.
Speak of the devil. . .
“Willow. . .”
“What?” Oh. Go snappy me. Don’t let him see you cry, girlie. You’re better than that. Better than him. He’s just another prejudiced idiot. Emphasis on the idiot part since he’s prejudiced against the group of people he personally falls into.
“Look –“ He sighed, leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest.
“I don’t want to ‘look’. Nor do I want to listen.” And again for the not crying! I’m really a lot better at this hiding the pain thing than I thought I would be. Now if he would only just go away. Finish packing and leave me to my misery. Inconsiderate ass.
Oh look. . . he’s still there . . . And now he’s sitting down next to me.
What a cretin.
“Well. . . you don’t have to listen. . . but I’m going to talk anyway.”
I could see his face out of the corner of my eye and knew that arguing with him would be pointless. His resolve face was just about as good as mine was. So – fine. If he wanted to make this so much more painful on me than was necessary, then so be it. I’ll still get through it and one day, when he’s old and miserable and alone – that’s when I’ll be laughing.
“You know I love you. . .”
Oh yeah, sure I do.
“And I would never do anything to deliberately hurt you . . .”
As if breaking up with me isn’t deliberate or hurtful. Maybe he really isn’t as smart as I would have previously given him credit for.
“But, you weren’t truthful . . . “
“Well, you weren’t.” He repeats, more firmly this time. “And I can’t be with someone who isn’t willing to trust me one hundred percent.”
I know I look evil when I turn, slow-mo style, towards him, eyebrow raised.
“What were your exact words again, Richard? Oh, yeah, and I quote: ‘I thought you were normal Willow. I thought you were human.’ Funny, that has more to do with something I can’t change than with the fact that I didn’t tell you about it.”
“It’s not like that. . . “ He sighs.
But I can see in his eyes that it *is* like that. He’s ashamed of what he is. Wants a good human girl to take home to mommy. And I’m just not human enough for him. I may look human, act human. . . but I’m just another supernatural thing.
“Don’t flatter yourself with ideas that you’re all noble and stuff, Richard. You’re dumping me because I’m a witch. . . not because I neglected to tell you I was a witch. . .”
Standing up and looking down at him, I let my eyes go ebony with the power inside of me.
“Look at me – You’re right! I’m not *human*! I am a witch. . . Why do you think I was never scared of being with you, Richard? Let me clue you in – it’s because I can protect myself if you get all grrrr on me. One little flick of my wrist and I can have you bound and out of commission until you shift back to yourself. . . Says a lot about me that I’m capable of dealing with your lycanthropy but you can’t deal with me being who I am and have always been, since the day I was born.”
“Shh! I don’t want to hear any more. Go on, get out. Run away from a relationship we were both blissfully happy in. Run away, little Boy Scout. Couldn’t be prepared for this, huh?”
I leave before he can say a word, stumbling out the front door and into a world tinged silver with moonlight. Only half full. The forest should be safe tonight from weres.
Which is good, since I’m already deep within it before I even consider safety.
Barefoot in the woods is never a good idea, but my heart hurts too much for me to care. I wasn’t wolf enough for Oz, wasn’t witch enough for Tara even though her leaving brought out the real witch in me; and now I’m not human enough for Richard.
Life really sucks sometimes.
I stumble on a half-hidden log, falling onto my hands. The ground is wet with dew, and some dead leaves stick to my palms as I heave myself to my feet. They fall as I shake my hands, dancing delicately on their way to the ground; little spirals and turns in the air, like dancers in a ballet of nature.
This brings a smile to my face, the simple beauty of nature and I indulge in a rare moment of frivolity. Too many months spent hiding who I am. It feels good to just let go for a few moments.
With just a shred of power I urge the leaves back up into the air, along with a few dozen of their brethren. And there they dance for me, creating patterns in the air, circling and playing with my skin as I stand in the center, crying for the beauty that magic is and for the man that seems content not having it in his life. I cry because of a relationship that felt ‘right’ for once; and for the loss of that rightness in my life.
Sparkles of light join the fray of leaves, bits of static electricity that I have coaxed into visible form. They dance and mingle, merging and playing.
And I feel alive.
I can feel the trees in the forest, their roots deep in the earth. I can feel the little animals scurrying about. The moss that grows on the ground and trees is just as much of a living thing as everything else, and that, too, I can feel. It is all connected, just as I learned years ago. Everything is one, and we’re all a part of it. This is heaven, for me. Just standing here, under the moonlight, letting my powers out to play.
It’s the hitch of his breath that tells me I’m not alone.
But I don’t want to open my eyes. He’s standing there, and I can picture his mouth open; but is his face awed or disgusted? Who really cares? He’s said his piece and I’m just blowing off steam. Go away, Richard. Just leave me alone.
Leave me be with my witchy ways, let my magic keep me company and fill this void you left in my heart.
I crack open an eye to look at him. He’s right there, in the middle of this mini-maelstrom of leaf and spark. He looks ethereal, the magic is taunting his beast, bringing out amber in his eyes.
And even now I love him. Love the way the moonlight shines down into his hair. Love the way his t-shirt is just this side of too tight across those muscles in his chest. My own chest tightens and there’s that pain again. Why can’t he just leave me be?
“Come back inside. . . it’s cold out here. . .”
“Why do you care?” Not a cold voice, just a whisper.
“Because. . . “ And as he stops I can almost see him asking himself. Why *does* he care? Shouldn’t he be packing? Leaving? Running away with his little wolfy tail between his well-muscled legs?
“See. . . no good reason to care. . . go away now.”
“I. . .”
And again he stops. My patience is wearing thin, my heart broken, and he’s here badgering me about things he can’t even put into coherent statements.
“I love you.”
Now that was the last thing I expected to hear him say. He loves me. How . . . stupid of him considering he also seems to hate me.
“I’m sorry.” He says.
“What is this about, Richard?” The leaves fall back to the ground, the sparks dissipating back into the insubstantiality they came from. “You broke it off with me. . . not the other way around. Shouldn’t I be the one stalking you?”
“I’m not stalking you. . .” He protested, as though this offended whatever morals and sensibilities he actually clung to in his misguided life. “I was apologizing.”
“Okay. . . you did it. Now go.”
“You’re not making this easy, are you?” His mutter was just above a whisper, but I heard it. “I want to give things a second chance.”
Bad choice of words on his part.
“That’s awfully generous of you,” I coo, turning to him with darkness in my eyes. “But did you ever stop to think that maybe I don’t? That there never should have been a need for a second chance in the first place?”
It’s like a slap to his face, and he recoils just a little, putting distance between me and himself.
“Why should I sit around waiting to see if you get another attack of prejudice against poor little me, Richard? Hmm? Why?”
“I’m not perfect!” Oh goodie. He’s getting angry. “I’m sorry if I said the wrong thing! Damnit! But you did hide this from me and it was a shock.”
“So you deny that you’re prejudiced against the ‘monsters’?”
He sighs and stares at me.
“No. I don’t deny it. I’ve fought against what I am since the day I found out I was infected. Anita and I didn’t work out because she became too close to being what I was, what Jean-Claude was. . .”
“Yes.” I find myself nodding. “I can see where that may be hard. She’s everything all wrapped up into one. But me – I’m just a witch, Richard. And I never had a choice about that. . . Magic is in my blood. . . I can not use it and act like a normal human being. . . but inside I would be dying. . . Using what the Goddess gave me makes me feel alive.”
“I know.” He replies and I can see that awe enter his face again. “I saw that just now. . .watching you with those little sparks. . . the leaves. . . you looked so peaceful, so happy. So free.”
“Will you let me try again?” He whispers, taking my hand in his own. It’s so warm, almost sticky with sweat. Poor nervous little Richard.
“Yes. I won’t let you down again.”
Well, we all deserve second chances. Even bigoted, prejudiced, idiots of werewolves.
And I do love him.
But, Goddess forbid he ever pull this crap again.
Or else he might find out just how powerful I really, really am.