Author: renelf (Skip)
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon, X-Men to Marvel and Firestarter to Stephen King. I make no money from this.
Rating: R (for swears, violence and maybe some snuggles).
Spoilers: Buffy season 1. X2 the movie. Firestarter by Stephen King.
Dedication: For all the Californians who prayed last January as Canberra burned, we’re praying for you now.
Summary: Willow discovers her true family, her true self, her true destiny and her true love. Cross-over with X-Men with references to Stephen King’s Firestarter.
The day James McGee died, Sunnydale caught fire.
It began at the elementary school, just as class was being dismissed. Five year old Willow McGee had been called to the Principal’s office where she was met by her Aunt Charlie. At first, Willow was happy. Aunt Charlie always gave Willow the best presents and the best hugs and the best everything!
But Aunt Charlie wasn’t smiling. Aunt Charlie always smiled at Willow, and picked her up and hugged her so that their red hair intermingled until you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.
Aunt Charlie was crying. She tried to smile at Willow but she failed. Aunt Charlie picked Willow up and hugged her and whispered that everything would be alright. But Willow knew that everything wouldn’t be alright. Something was wrong. Aunt Charlie carried Willow out to her car. Willow tried to protest. Daddy always picked her up from school, he would miss her if she went with Aunt Charlie.
Aunt Charlie didn’t start the car. Willow always liked the way that Aunt Charlie drove really fast. Mommy said it was reckless but Willow just thought it was fun. Aunt Charlie turned to Willow, tears running down her cheeks. Willow began to get scared.
“I’m sorry Willow. I don’t know how to say this.” Aunt Charlie paused, pulled herself together and continued, “Your father was working on a ship today and, and there was an accident. He didn’t make it.”
Little Willow looked confused. “I don’t understand.”
“He died. He’s gone and he’s not coming back. I’m so sorry.” Aunt Charlie began to cry again.
Willow didn’t cry. She simply sat there as the truth sank in. She had lost her father. Her Daddy. The greatest, kindest, funniest, most understanding man in the whole wide world. She squeezed her eyes shut and sat. She didn’t feel Aunt Charlie’s arms around her. She didn’t hear Aunt Charlie’s comforting words. She didn’t feel anything. Then she felt cold, as if all the heat had been sucked out of her body.
As Aunt Charlie started the car to drive Willow home, Sunnydale Elementary began to burn. The fire spread to nearby houses until the entire town, from the Sunset Motel to the docks, was on fire.
It was the greatest disaster that Sunnydale had faced in almost a century. Its aftermath brought the community together as those who had been fortunate helped those who had lost everything. The cause of the fire was never discovered. It was remembered as Black Friday, the day that Sunnydale burned.
Willow McGee remembered it as the day her world fell apart.
Five year old John Allerdyce Jnr crept into the loungeroom as quietly as he could. If he was quiet enough, perhaps his father would let him stay and watch television for a little while. John Allerdyce Snr was sprawled out on the couch, a beer bottle almost slipping from his limp hand. John Jnr crawled forward, trying find a spot where he could see the television but his father couldn’t see him. He settled on cowering next to the couch.
“Mmmph.” John Snr woke with a snort and got a firmer grip on his bottle of beer. He looked at the tv. The news was on and the screen showed a helicopter shot of a small town in California. The entire town was on fire. John Snr turned up the volume.
“The town of Sunnydale was devastated yesterday by fires that raged into the night before being brought under control by fire-fighters. Extra trucks were brought in from nearby Berkley to aid in fighting the inferno. It is believed that the blaze began in the local elementary school…”
“Damn kids. Playing with matches. You see what happens when you play with matches Johnny? JOHNNY?” John Snr bellowed, before noticing his small son was sitting right beside him. “You see that? Don’t let me catch you playing with matches again.” John Snr cuffed his son on the ear to emphasise his point.
John Jnr ignored the hit, all his attention focussed on the flickering flames on the screen. He thought it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.