Parker looked curiously from Willow to their dad and back again as Willow gently took his hand and led him to the back of the house, through the back door and out into the backyard, with Booth following close behind them. Parker didn’t notice the anxious looks he and Willow were receiving from Dr. Brennan, Dr. Sweets, Dr. Saroyan and Angela. He was too busy trying to read Willow’s expression.
Willow looked serious... as if something was worrying her. Parker was pretty sure it had something to do with what happened the previous evening during Willow’s graduation ceremony. How could it not, really, given what had happened? Parker wasn’t entirely sure what had happened but he knew enough to know that it had been a big deal. He’d almost been killed by some crazed guy, the graduating class had become an army, and the school had blown up.
Nothing like that ever happened at Parker’s school and he hadn’t heard of it happening at any of the other schools near his house.
Willow sat down on the steps at the back of her house and patted the step beside her. Parker sat down beside her and their father sat down on his other side. Willow looked up, watching the white, fluffy clouds drift by in the sky far above them. Parker looked up too. He could see a cloud that looked like a rabbit and another that looked like a chicken.
“I used to do this all the time,” Willow said in a soft voice. “Xander and I would lay in the grass and look at the clouds. In the summer, we used to look up at the stars too. I used to teach him about astronomy and all the constellations and all that.”
“Why did you stop?” Parker asked. Willow shrugged, still looking up at the clouds.
“We were too busy with school and other things... and it got too dangerous.”
“Because of the monsters?” Parker asked softly. Willow glanced down at him and their eyes met.
“Exactly, Parker... The monsters were part of the reason we stopped. What you need to understand, Parker, is that monsters are real. You’ve seen them and you’ve seen what they can do... what they will do if they get the chance. Most people will say that there is no such thing as monsters. They belong to either three groups. The first group, and this is most people, have no reason to believe in monsters. They haven’t seen them and they have no evidence of monsters existing. The second group are the people that are in denial about what is going on and the third group are lying and they actually do believe in the supernatural and are trying to hide it. Your mom and my adoptive parents, for example, are in the first group.”
“They don’t know about the monsters, so they doesn’t believe in them,” Parker stated. Willow nodded encouragingly.
“Right, that’s why we can’t tell her. On the news it is saying there was gang attack the school and a gas explosion... Do you think you can tell your mom that?”
Parker nodded. “So then she won’t get scared?”
“I know you mom and I have always encouraged you to tell the truth, Parker, and the truth is important, but your mom... she’s better off not knowing about this. Knowing about this could get her into trouble.”
“Like knowing about secret things you do at your work, like what Dr. Hodgins talks about?” Parker replied. Booth stiffened, unable to believe Hodgins had told Parker about his conspiracy theories about the FBI.
“Yeah, something like that,” Booth answered.
“Can you do it, Parker? I know I shouldn’t be asking this of you, but it is important,” Willow continued. Parker nodded, a hint of resolve in his eye. Willow smiled, recognizing the beginning of Parker’s Resolve Face, one that was modeled on her own Resolve Face from during her speech.
“Good. As you saw, the supernatural is real. All of the things in scary stories, or well, most of them, are real but they aren’t impossible to fight. We fought many of the last night and every monster has a weakness – you just need to find it. You don’t need to worry about this for now, though, Parker. There aren’t many monsters in D.C. and the ones that do only come out at night. Most monsters can’t get into your house without an invitation either, so maybe you and your mom could make it a rule that you don’t actually invite people into the house after dark... even if you know them. It’s okay if they come over but you can’t say ‘come in’ or something like that.”
Parker nodded in understanding, grateful that his dad had shifted over and was rubbing has back reassuringly.
“Do you remember what... what the monsters looked like?” Willow asked. Parker wordlessly nodded.
“They won’t always look like that... Most of the time they look like normal people but they are burned by sunlight and they don’t like holy water or crosses,” she explained before exhaling and picking up a small, black box that had been sitting on her other side. Parker hadn’t even noticed it.
“Parker, I know that at the moment you think I’m a superhero but sometimes, I’m not going to be there to help you if you get trapped by a monster. This will help you. It will give you the chance to escape, okay? Escape for long enough for Dad or Dr. Brennan or somebody to come and help you, okay?” She passed Parker the box, which he opened. Inside were two crosses, a stake and three vials of holy water.
“Thank you, Willow,” Parker said, setting the box aside and hugging Willow tightly.
“You’re welcome, Parker,” Willow replied, hugging her brother back tightly in response. Over the top of Parker’s head, Booth nodded approvingly. He hadn’t wanted Parker to be told about the supernatural but he had known that after what he had seen at Willow’s graduation, there had been no way around it. The little bit of information Willow had provided had been enough to keep the seven-year-old safe. Once he was older, Willow would be able to tell him more, if he wanted to know, but for now Parker knew enough. Rebecca would be better off not knowing but the cover story the media had produced would be adequate reason for her to beef up her home security a little.
It hadn’t been a great situation but Booth was reasonably sure that the best outcome had been reached. It was, after all, highly unlikely that Rebecca would ever find out the truth.
“Why don’t you head inside, Parker? I need to talk to Dad about something,” Willow suggested gently. Parker nodded and picked p his box, carrying it back inside the house.
“He handled that well,” Willow observed to Booth, who nodded.
“He’s a good kid. I’ll be keeping an eye on him too. Depending on how he’s doing, I might get Sweets to talk to him. He likes Sweets.”
Willow nodded, knowing that it was good that her dad had someone like Sweets that knew the truth of what happened in Sunnydale... not just for Parker, but for Booth himself and the rest of the team. Willow knew that it was possible that she herself might need to speak to Sweets about what had happened. Every time she thought about it, she felt as if she was being consumed by guilt and even though it was still early days yet, the nightmares would continue on for ages, if they ever stopped.
“So, what did you want to talk to me about?”
Willow dragged her attention back onto Booth. “Yeah, you guys saw me protecting Parker, didn’t you?”
“And you saw what I did with the arrow.”
“The one on fire... Yeah, I saw that... Why do you ask?”
Willow sighed. She had hoped that Booth and the squints would fail to notice that the arrow that had taken down the vampire holding Parker had been on fire.
“Okay... this is going to sound weird, even after everything, but I think I should tell you about this.”
Booth blanched. “There’s not much that could surprise me at the moment,” he reminded her.
Willow shrugged. “I wouldn’t say that... Actually, don’t say that, you’ll jinx it... and while I’m thinking of it never ever say the W word in Sunnydale.”
“Wish,” Willow whispered. “Bad things happen when that word gets said.”
“There a so-called vengeance demons around and they grant people’s wishes... except they’re demons, so things don’t always go like you would think. Cordelia once w-worded that Buffy never came to Sunnydale and she went into an alternate reality where that was the case. She’s the only one who remembers it but the me from that dimension came here a few months later because of the same vengeance demon. Let’s just say that I know what I’m like as a vampire now.”
“You... you’re a vampire in this alternative dimension?” Booth asked.
Willow nodded. “Everyone thought the real me had been turned. I was all skanky and leather-wearing... even though I’d been turned when I was only fifteen.”
“Yeah, I shot her... the vampire me with a tranquilizer gun and then I had to dress up as her to infiltrate her hideout, leather and everything. It was very scary, especially when I broke my cover and they realized that I wasn’t a vampire.”
“You’re right... I am surprised by that,” Booth admitted. Willow smiled and shook her head.
“And that wasn’t even what I was going to tell you... that story just sort of came out. Still, nothing wrong with you knowing about the story of me and my vampire doppelganger. The good thing is that because she was turned so young... she never knew about you... so you and Parker and the rest of the Jeffersonian team would be fine.”
“Why wouldn’t we be?”
Willow bit her lip. “Vampires have a tendency of killing their human family members when they’re turned. For example, when he was first turned and was all evil and psychotic, Angel killed both his parents and his younger sister. He didn’t know that he got one of the local girls pregnant. Otherwise, he might have killed them as well... which would mean none of us... you, me, Parker and Jared, would have been born. Last year Angel lost his soul for a few months... just before I was in the coma and I know Giles, Buffy and Xander were worried about Angelus going after me or you guys because there was a theory that we were related. Thankfully he was too focused on Buffy... although did kill my fish. Still, the soul’s back now and I’m pretty sure it’s permanent.”
“How do you give a person back their soul?” Booth asked. He’s always thought your soul was a permanent part of you until you died... but then he remembered that Angel was actually dead.
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Ms. Calendar was a member of the gypsy clan that gave him back his soul in the first place. She was sent to watch him and to make sure he still felt bad about all the things he had done. He did, but he was in love with Buffy and when they were... together... you know... she made him feel as though he could forget about being a demon and he was happy. It was enough to break the curse. Ms. Calender found a copy of the original spell and began trying to translate it but the night she finished the translation, Angelus found her and knew what she was doing. He broke her neck. I’d been helping Ms. Calendar and Giles with rituals and a couple of small spells, so I tried the ritual. Drusilla and her gang attacked the library and a bookshelf was pushed on top of me. When I woke up, I knew that I had to try again, so I tried to do the ritual again... and it worked. I resouled Angel and brought him back... the Angel we were friends with. Ever since then, I’ve been aware of his soul... it formed a connection between us, if you like. It’s kind of made him a little more protective of me than he used to be and I’ll know the moment he loses his soul, if it happens again.”
“You did all that?” Booth asked. Willow nodded slowly.
“I am a witch... I have magical powers. I’m not very good, my control isn’t very good, but I’m slowly getting better. Giles has friends that live near MIT that I’m going to be working with to better control it. Hang on a moment.” Willow got up off the step and walked over the garden, finding a small stick and bringing it back. She sat down beside Booth and held her hand flat with the stick across it. She looked at the stick, willing it to rise, and it did, hovering about eight inches above her hand. Booth gulped. He had seen some very weird things over the years and especially in the last day or so, but this was extraordinary. He put his hand between Willow’s hand and the stick but it made no difference. The stick stayed up, hovering in mid air. Willow flexed her hand and it dropped back down and she tossed it into the garden.
“I know you’re Catholic and everything... and I respect that. Everyone’s entitled to their beliefs but please tell me that you’re not going to burn me at the stake.”
Booth choked. “Of course not... Why on earth would I burn you at the stake? It’s not like you’re hurting anyone by levitating sticks or anything.”
“True, but I have killed a vampire using a levitating pencil... only once, though.”
“But he was a bad guy, yes?” Booth asked.
Willow nodded. “Yes, considering he was holding me captive.”
“Then I’m sure God forgives you. If you’re using the powers to defeat vampires and demons and all that, I’m sure he approves.”
“Good to know... So, you won’t try to burn me at the stake?”
“Good, because I’ve already had a parental figure try and burn me at the stake and I do not want to go through that again. Those burns on my legs took ages to heal.”
Booth’s jaw dropped and Willow mentally kicked herself in the backside for the casual comment.
“You see that... that was something I wasn’t planning on telling you about.”A.N. The end is almost here, I hope you have all enjoyed the journey thus far. Thank you to everyone who has been reviewing, I really appreciate your feedback.
I don’t know when i will be able to update next...it is my birthday on Sunday, and I’m working most of next week, so writing time will be limited. Combine that with my last week of university (only one assignment to go!) and I’m a tad busy.
There will be two more chapters though (including an epilogue that will take place in season 7 of Bones, with a twenty year old Willow.)
Hope you enjoy