TWENTY: Kennedy, Buffy, Willow
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly, Supernatural, and Twilight. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++PREVIOUSLY: Willow and Tara performed the "spell" to raise D'Hoffryn. With the help of Fred's quantum physics equipment, they opened a portal to him. D'Hoffryn told Xander that he'd be a fool to wish for the new universe to be changed, because everyone he cared about had it so much better now that he'd done it. As a gift, D'Hoffryn stopped all the dreams. Afterward, Buffy, Willow, Tara, Faith, Satsu, and Kennedy all told Xander how much they appreciate what he did.+++++
TWENTY: Kennedy, Buffy, Willow
This chapter contains sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.
"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up." -Paul Valery
Kennedy had decided to go home to Boston for a while. Her team could manage on their own, and without her looking over their shoulders all the time they might even work faster. On Saturday she and Faith had checked out of the hotel and gone to stay with Willow and Tara. It had been a good weekend, and thankfully Willow had forgiven her for her behavior when they’d first met.
Now, though, it was Monday morning, and Kennedy and Faith were on the way to the airport. Kennedy hated airports -- she hated flying, was actually afraid of it, and hadn’t flown without the aid of a potent cocktail of anti-anxiety meds and sleep aids in almost a decade.
“I can keep your mind off things,” Faith said as they rode in the back of the limo, Kennedy snuggled against her lover. “If you want.”
“I think I’ll stick to the drugs, if it’s all the same to you.”
“Huh-uh.” Kennedy pushed away from Faith and stared into her dark eyes. “Over there, you were strong.” Kennedy knew instantly what Faith was talking about. “You were strong, and you were fearless. Now it’s time for you to be that person again.” Faith grinned. “Plus, when we get home, I’ll give you a really nice reward.”
“Home?” Kennedy asked.
“Sure, Ken. If you’ll have me.”
In that moment, Kennedy realized that Faith really did love her. Sure, she’d said it on Friday night, but not since. Kennedy hadn’t wanted to press her luck.Well, looks like I got lucky this time
, she thought.
“I’ll have you,” Kennedy said, slipping off the leather seat and kneeling in front of Faith, resting her palms on Faith’s knees. “Every night, I’ll have you. All to myself.” She cocked her head a little. “What about your job? Your clients?”
Faith shook her head. “It’ll be tough without the income, but--”
“I’ll help you.”
“No way,” Faith said. “I’ve been independent a long time. We’re going to be lovers; I’m not your concubine.”
“Faith, I would never--”
“I know,” she said, reaching down to cup Kennedy’s cheek. “I’ll find a way. If it means being with you... I’ll find a way.” Then she grinned and unsnapped the button of her leather pants. “Now, about what you were planning to do while you’re down there...”
Kennedy smiled and tugged at Faith’s pants; Faith lifted herself off the seat to help. “I’ve never had sex in the back of a limo before,” Kennedy said.
The pants were around Faith’s ankles now. Kennedy pushed apart her knees. “Ken baby,” Faith said, “I think you’re about to.”
Kennedy kissed the smooth skin of Faith’s thigh. “Hey, Faith?”
“I love you.”
Faith stared down at her with intense, dark eyes. “I love you too.” Then she grinned and reached for Kennedy’s hair, urging her closer.
Kennedy was only too happy to oblige.+++++
Buffy and Chris rode in to work together; they had plans to pick Joy up from day care that afternoon and bring her to Vi’s house to play with Amanda. It was a school night, true, but Buffy had decided that Joy needed a treat, and she wanted to talk to Vi about the dreams.
The dreams which were gone. D’Hoffryn, whoever or whatever he was, had made good on his promise; though she remembered the dreams she’d had, there had been no new ones over the weekend.
They both got off the elevator at the seventh floor; Buffy told Chris she wanted to talk to Satsu before going upstairs. She kissed him goodbye for the day and made her way to Satsu’s cube.
“You okay?” Buffy asked.
Satsu still looked somewhat drawn. She had a mug of coffee cupped in her hands, but seemed to be ignoring it. “I’m okay,” she said.
Buffy pushed some papers out of the way and sat on Satsu’s desk, her back to the window. “Tell me what’s wrong,” she said.
Satsu just shook her head. “Cal and I talked. It was a difficult weekend.”
“Don’t be.” Satsu sipped the coffee, then set the mug aside. “I didn’t cheat on him, and I didn’t lie to him. He just... it was a lot, y’know? Especially after I showed him the video feed that Fred took.”
Buffy hadn’t been too surprised Fred had done that; even if no one believed it, Buffy knew that the video was proof she hadn’t simply been hallucinating the huge demonic figure through the portal in... well, in reality.
“I’m sorry I kissed you,” Satsu said. “I shouldn’t have.”
“It’s okay,” Buffy said. “It was... good.” She still remembered the taste of Satsu’s lips, the sweet spiciness of cinnamon over the flavor that was simply Satsu. Her remembered dreams overlaid the one real kiss they’d had with the thousands they’d shared as vampire slayers -- something Buffy still refused to admit was even possible. But Satsu was married, and Chris... well... “I think Chris and I are going to start seeing each other exclusively,” she said. “We talked about it, and we really like being together. Plus, our kids get along.”
“That’s good,” Satsu said. “Did you tell him?”
“About the kiss, or about the other world?”
Buffy shrugged. “He took it about as well as I could expect. He’s not mad about the kiss, but he suggested no one tell Matt about it.”
“Don’t worry,” Satsu said. “I have no intention of doing so.”
“As for what we were before Xander did his thing..?” Buffy shrugged again. “He knows I’m happy being a mom. I wasn’t that, over there. We were dead over there.” She paused. “I think we all agree this is better.”
Buffy stood up and rested her hand on Satsu’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay,” she said. “Cal will come around.”
“I know.” She checked her watch. “You probably need to get going.”
Buffy nodded. “I’m just upstairs if you need me.”
Satsu nodded back, and Buffy headed for the stairs. She hoped that what she’d said would actually turn out to be true -- she hoped that, after everything they’d gone through, Satsu’s husband wouldn’t turn out to be unable to cope.
But if he was, then Buffy would be there for her friend, just like she’d been on the other side.Except without all the sex. Because, you know, with Chris now.
On her way to the stairs, she stopped at Chris’s desk, just to kiss him again.
“I’m sorry, Buffy,” Willow said.
“Why?” Buffy was in her usual chair in Willow’s office. “What’s wrong?”
“Xander told me everything.”
“Ev... everything?” Buffy looked confused.
Willow sighed and rested her hands on the arms of her chair. “You were the Slayer,” she said. “The oldest and best of the women chosen to fight evil. You were respected, looked up to, feared by everything evil on the planet. Even if you died, that was still taken away from you, and I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Buffy said. She smiled, and Willow saw her eyes glisten. “Maybe I’m not any of that, but I have Joy, and I have Chris, and I have my friends. I have a good life here, and... well, even if I didn’t, at least I wouldn’t be dead.”
Willow couldn’t help a small grin. “Touché,” she said. Then, “so. You and Chris Frost, huh?”
Buffy blushed slightly. “Yeah.” She looked past Willow, out the window. “I had a hard life over there, heartache and pain, and I died three times.” Willow knew that; Xander had told her. “That last one was pretty permanent, too.”
“But after Xander changed things,” Buffy continued, “I got a family. Maybe I had some heartache, maybe I had some pain, but it wasn’t nearly as bad. I’m happy, Willow. Don’t apologize to me for my happiness.”
Willow’s eyes widened. “Okay,” she said. “I won’t.” She still wasn’t one hundred percent okay with Xander changing the entire fabric of reality just for her, but that’s the way life was, and like it or not, she had to live with it.
At least she had Tara to help her through the tough parts.
Willow took a cleansing breath and opened her laptop, ready to get to work. Buffy picked up her pen and flipped to a fresh page in her notebook. “So. Here’s what’s going on today...”+
Tara was out at a professional event, which left Willow and Xander drinking wine and beer, respectively, sitting in the solarium, just the two of them. It still felt right, still felt like they were best friends despite everything, and Willow was glad for that.
Even after what Xander had just told her.
Xander nodded. “I guess it was D’Hoffryn’s parting gift,” he said, staring at his beer. “I had a lot of memories, a lot of stuff from my dreams, but when he left, I got everything.”
“Define ‘everything’,” Willow said.
“Everything about that world. Everything I experienced over there related to the supernatural -- all the stuff I got rid of over here, I remembered from over there.” He took a small drink. “The memories are perfect,” he said. “Everything from the day I met Buffy in 1997 as the new kid at Sunnydale High all the way through to the end of the world.” He chuckled dryly. “Well, the end of that world as we knew it, anyway.”
“How can you keep it all straight in your brain?” Willow asked.
“I don’t know,” Xander admitted. He put the beer down on a side table and got up from the bench, walking out toward the glass-pane wall of the solarium. Willow watched him pace and sipped her wine. Finally he said, “the experiences were important, I guess. Important enough that I could never forget them. My other self probably remembered every single thing that happened -- I know Buffy was important to me, just like you are -- and I guess D’Hoffryn gave me those memories.”
“I guess.” Willow was smart -- and she knew it -- but she didn’t know enough about magic or neuroscience to even begin to imagine what D’Hoffryn had done. Plus, hello, magic!
She finished her wine and put down the glass. “What are you going to do?”
He shrugged. “Head back to Ellen and Jo, I guess. Get out of the weird-stuff game.” She caught a smile on his lips. “I started writing down some of this stuff over the weekend. Maybe I’ll get a book deal out of it.”
“That would be cool. And then maybe Joss Whedon could make a TV show out of it.”
“What would he call it?” Xander asked. “‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’?”
Willow laughed at the very sound of that. “I guess you’re right.”
“Besides,” Xander said, “I don’t want him working on anything else until he’s done with Dollhouse.
“You’re such a dork.”
“So are you.”
Willow smiled and stood up, going over to hug Xander. “I still have last Thursday’s on the DVR. You want to watch it?”
They collected their drinks and went into the living room. Willow pulled up the latest episode and started the recording, and, just like they’d done for Voyager
back in their high school days, they shared the simple pleasure of watching a television show.
Willow wondered what happened to her favorite television shows in the other world. Had Firefly been saved after its first season? Had it run for six more? Had Cordelia Chase, her old quasi-acquaintance from high school, spent three years as a recurring villain only to become a good guy in the sixth season? What about the musical episode?
She shook her head. Xander had changed the world to save her from a broken heart and here she was worrying about Firefly
A commercial came on, and Willow stole a glance at Xander. “What’s wrong?”
“Just feeling down,” he said as Willow fast-forwarded. “It’s all over, and it’s official: no magic, no superpowers. Just human beings.”
Willow reached across the couch and patted his hand. “You sacrificed everything that made you special in that world. You gave me Tara after I lost her, and I’ll never stop being grateful. I owe you everything, Xander,” she said, her voice serious and soft. “You saved my life, and that’s a magic all its own.”
He smiled at her. “Thanks.”
“Anytime.” The show came back on. “Now, hush.”
Tara got home late; Willow was already in bed, half-asleep. She felt rather than saw Tara slip under the covers. “Hi, baby,” she said.
“Hi.” Then Tara pulled Willow close and kissed her. “I love you.”
“Love you too.”
They made love, slow and gentle and sweet, and when it was over, Willow found herself on her side with Tara spooned up behind her. Willow felt a smile come to her face.I have the woman I love. I have a friend who literally changed the world for me. I have a life I wouldn’t give up for any amount of money, or any amount of magic.
Things, Willow decided, were absolutely perfect.
She snuggled up against Tara and felt her partner’s hand drift lower. She let out a soft moan and turned onto her back so Tara could kiss her again.Who needs herbs and chanting anyway?
Willow thought, running her hands through Tara’s hair. I have all the magic I need right here.+++++
+++++Your continued readership, support, and reviews are, as always, greatly appreciated.
So, that's it. The final chapter (except for the epilogue). Not too much to say here; you'll see the author's note in the next part.
Next time: a storm is brewing.