Willow moved experimentally as she tried to wake up. This didn’t feel like her bed. She’d had the weirdest dream that she was being held in Snape’s house and he was force-feeding her yucky-tasting stuff. She blinked when she saw a super hairy Xander sitting in the chair by the bed she was in. He was reading a copy of The Daily Prophet and seemed utterly rapt.
“Xan-der?” Her voice had caught a little. She sounded very hoarse and weak even to her own ears.
He folded the paper and set it on the bedside table. “If the Sunnydale Times had done the moving pictures thing, I’d probably have read the paper more.”
“What... what are you doing here? Where...” But she recognized it. She was
at Snape’s. “Why am I... why are you...”
He put a hand on her shoulder. “Easy. Just take it easy. What do you remember?”
“I.... oh goddess. I... oh goddess. What did I do? They’re gonna kill me this time, Xander. They’re gonna put me down like a rabid dog. I messed up. I messed up so bad. I don’t even.. he took Dana. Dana’s out there somewhere and I...”
Willow reached out and felt... nothing. She couldn’t feel any of the slayers. Her connection to them was gone. She immediately started to panic.
“I can’t... they’re gone,” she started crying. “I can’t feel them. The slayers are all gone.”
Xander, at a complete loss, pulled her into a hug. “It’s okay. Just relax. Don’t get upset about it. We’ll figure this out. Old Hooknose out there seems pretty smart. You went, what? Twenty-two years it just being WIllow in your head. Had to be crowded with all those slay types talking around in there. I’m sure Professor X would have liked some peace and quiet every so often too.”
“I feel like a piece of me is missing now.”
“Then we’ll figure out a way to get it back,” Xander said firmly.
They had some of the best minds around as part of their team with the Council. Plus, he knew Angel and his group would do anything for Willow. Specifically Angel. As much as Xander hated it, he might have to contact Captain Forehead on this one. He and Angel now had grudging respect for one another. Emphasis on the grudging.
“You can’t know that,” Willow said, pulling back from him a little. “It was a gift,and I abused it. Xander I... I took control of Pevensie, and she was so scared. Draco really cares about her, and you know how frightening I am when I’m scary veiny Willow. He was about to charge me. Draco’s like a mama bear when someone he cares for is threatened. He wasn’t scared for himself.”
While Xander didn’t exactly gel with Draco Malfoy, he would give the wizard props for taking care of “his people”. That was one thing Xander had noticed about him, Draco was just like them when it came to protecting a loved one. It was the main reason he fit in with them so well.
“He’s never gonna forgive me now.”
“Yes, he will,” Xander said. “No one can stay mad at you for keeps, Will. You’re Willow. We love all your parts, even the scary ones... and that came out a little more sexual than I meant it to be.”
She actually giggled. Willow didn’t know she still could.
“I just mean, Draco’s your friend. He understands about you and your darkness. You slipped. It happened. Now we’re gonna deal.”
“Has Daphne been here?”
“Not since I’ve been here,” Xander said.
All he knew about Daphne was that she was the sister of one of the ladies in the coven. Oz had said he wasn’t overly fond of her, but Xander was betting some of that was that Oz wanted to be where Daphne was in regards to Willow. Xander understood that. He’d been in Oz’s place a couple of times himself. The friend guy. It was a terrible place to be when the feelings you had for someone were more than friendly.
“Oh,” Willow said, looking down.
“But you’ve been having major sleepy time since you came here. Maybe she’s waiting for you to be better and stuff. Don’t be a sad bunny. I want to tell you all about Thailand.”
Willow smiled. She had just tried to go all ‘kill all the jedis - even the younglings’ Anakin Skywalker, and Xander was treating her like nothing had happened. Willow had not realized how much she needed someone to treat her like she wasn’t about to go peeling the flesh off of living things until right this moment.
Xander returned her smile. He knew they would have to deal with what had happened, but not this day. Today he just wanted to sit with his best friend and talk about spicy noodles and beaches, to make her feel normal and not like they were scared they were going to have to bind her magic and lock her in a cell like Dana had been.