I Forgot Who I Was
Kasie had been avoiding her and Oz both for days, and Mac wasn’t having any more of it. She burst into the room they shared, but did not find her. Mac stood there and thought for a minute before she turned and headed for the roof.
She heard the door to the roof open, but didn’t turn. She was sitting on one of the corners of the building, her back to a pillar and her knees pulled up to her chest. Ever since the heist, all Kasie could think about was Willow falling to the ground and seizing because of the poison. She was promised that no one would get hurt, but two people had: Willow and Dana. Kasie wasn’t sure how she felt about the other slayer, after seeing her up close. Dana seemed just as lost as she was.
Kasie had hoped whoever came up to the roof was only trying to get some fresh air and would leave her alone, but steps sounded louder the closer they got. “I want to be alone.”
“And I’m thinkin’ ya have had enough o’ tha’,” Mac said, coming around to stand near where her friend was. “Wha’s happened?”
She clenched her jaw and kept looking out over the trees, keeping her head turned away. “Nothing. I just want some peace and quiet. This is the only place I can have that.”
Mac sighed and sat down next to her. “Talk to me. Ya have been different since Dana were back. I won’t let tha’ happen to ya. I know yer no’ normal, but neither am I. I willna let them put ya in a cell. Ya know tha’, righ’?”
Kasie sniffed loudly. She said that now, but once they found out what she did, she would be put right next to Dana. She had been contemplating asking Michael for a quick extraction out of the place, but she didn’t know where she would run to hide. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”
“I will,” Mac said firmly. “Now tell me what’s wrong this moment. Yer makin’ me worry. There’s nothin’ so bad, Kasie. Nothin’.”
How was she supposed to say that she thought she was having some sort of crisis and she felt like screaming, just like Dana did? “I’ve believed in something. I’ve lived this life and it’s not the same and I don’t have that to fall back on and I feel like I’m Pinocchio falling down the stairs because my strings were cut, except I can’t get back up. I can’t feel my legs.”
“Then let me help ya get back up. Yer no’ alone here, Kasie. I won’t let ya be, aye? What’s made ya lose yer faith?”
Kasie was doing that silly breathy gasp as she tried not to cry. Tears still spilled onto her cheeks though, and she wiped them away angrily. “Things just need to go back to the way they were. I need to not feel this way. That’s the only thing that will help.”
“We canna go back. No’ ever. We can only adapt and move forward. My Nana told me tha’ when Connor died. This will pass. Ya will get through. I’ll make sure of it. Now... tell me
Kasie took a deep breath, which was harder than she thought it would through all the stupid crying, and finally looked at Mac. “She wasn’t supposed to get hurt. They promised me no one would be hurt. But I saw her fall to the floor and I froze.”
“What are ya’ talkin’ ‘bout?”
But Mac had this very funny feeling she knew. She might use the brawn part of her brains and brawn more often, but she had still been sorted into Ravenclaw. Her brain connected the dots rather well.
“Ya helped some of yer old friends steal th’weapons, dinna ya?”
Kasie dropped her gaze. She really shouldn’t have told; she didn’t have exit strategies in place yet, but the truth just came out of her. “Michael was contacted by someone to steal the sword. He asked for my help. They only took the other things to keep authorities from realizing what was stolen when they first started their investigation. They were going to drop it back off in a month. Nothing bad was supposed to happen. No one was supposed to get hurt.”
“I know ya wouldna hurt anyone a’purpose,” Mac said. “Do ya know who contacted them? And Willow’s no’ hurt. She’s fine now. This weren’t yer fault. Stop actin’ like it is.”
“Michael told me after,” she admitted. “He wouldn’t tell me before, saying he didn’t know, but he did. It was that Ethan guy. He took all of the items they stole.”
“Does Michael know how to contact Ethan?”
She was acting normal, but really Mac was scared to death what they’d do to Kasie when they found out. She was tempted not to tell, but she was thinking with as bad as the poison shot into Willow was, that the evil they were fighting trumped Kasie’s need to hide this. Mac hated to make that call, and she would stand by her friend’s side, but they would have to tell WIllow, Giles and Buffy.
“I don’t know,” she said, her breathing quickening because she was starting to panic. “I called him after I got back and he told me who really contracted them. I sort of yelled at him. I don’t even know if he would take my calls.”
Kasie thunked her head against the wall she was leaning against. “Now do you think they won’t lock me up with Dana? Look out, Kasie’s still bad.”
“I told ya I wouldna let them,” Mac said. “Dinna mistake me. I’m no’ happy ‘bout this, but ya made a mistake. People do tha’. Willow can end the world and Nott raises dead bodies and no one’s locked them up as of yet. I won’t let them lock ya away. I swear it, and iffen they do, I’ll bust ya out.”
Kasie smiled. “They can’t hold me. If they even try it, I’ll disappear.” That she was sure of.
“Ya dinna need to, and iffen ya take off, Oz and I will track ya. Of that ya can bet. Ya dinna get to leave me behind. I willna stand for it, and I know Oz willna. We care ‘bout ya. We should tell Oz. He willna let them do anythin’ to ya.”
She shrunk farther back into her corner. “No. I let Michael and Jaime into the Museum and opened all those cases. I help them steal things and people were hurt. I’ll just leave a note and leave. I’m not cut out for this good guy crap.”
“No,” Mac shouted. “You will not leave me.”
She’d enunciated every word, a true sign she was upset.
“We’re tellin’ Oz, and we’ll figure this out. Yer no’ leavin’. I dinna accept tha’.”
“I’m not going to spend the rest of my life in a building full of people who can’t stand me, you aside. I’ve done that before and I won’t do it again!” she snapped. Kasie wasn’t going to stick around to see the distrust and disappointment.
“I don’t want you to leave,” Willow said.
Mac jumped so hard she hit her head. She had not even heard the other woman walk up.
Kasie’s entire body tensed up and she took unsteady breaths. She had not heard Willow come onto the roof. She stared at Willow, not able to judge her reaction. “I never for meant for you to get hurt,” she said after a moment. “I really didn’t.”
“I know,“ Willow said. “I’ve done a lot worse to my friends and I’m still here. We don’t expect you guys to be perfect, Kasie. You’re safe here. No one’s going to put you in a cell. Dana’s there because she’s dangerous, but also because she likes the padding on the walls.”
Kasie did too, but it was getting harder and harder to list the differences between her and Dana. “It would be easier if I left. You wouldn’t have to worry about me. Oz could devote all his time to Mac and I would hold her back.” She turned to Mac. “It’ll be better.”
Willow crouched down and responded before Mac could. “I disagree. I would still worry about you. Do you know what happened in that fight? The scythe came to me. It opened me back up to the slayers. One of them helped me. I had lost my connection after Dana was taken and I went dark. Oz doesn’t want to devote all his time to Mac, and Mac doesn’t want you to go. You two are what Buffy and Faith could have been. You work well together. That vampire? The hellhounds?”
Kasie angrily wiped at her tears again. “It was my fault Mac got her arm chewed up. Twice.”
“Now stop it,” Willow said. “You’re feeling sorry for yourself. Yes, it was bad that you helped steal the weapons, and if those demons had gotten ahold of those sais, it would have been uber bad, but they didn’t. It was a mistake. You were helping a friend.”
“M’arm’s fine now,” Mac said. “I mean it. Ya leave, I come after ya.”
“I’m not saying Giles won’t give you a lecture. He probably will, but we don’t punish harshly around here, and no one here is perfect.”
“When I agreed to take the job, I didn’t care that we were stealing for the museum,” she replied. “I didn’t care that I was stealing from the people I helped. I created that security system but I also made sure there was a loop that I could exploit. And I did. If the job had gone smoothly, I wouldn’t have told. I would have stolen again. Hell, I may do it again. I’m not putting more people at risk, though.”
Kasie settled into her corner. She would just stay up here. This feeling, this right here, was exactly why she used to work alone.
“I’ll let you stay up here if you want,” Willow said. “For now. Because you’re dealing and stuff. Kasie, it’s okay not to be alone... because you’re not anymore.”
She sniffled. “I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve always been Kasie Jade, thief with a side of slayer. But...I can’t...I’m not...” Kasie struggled to find her words. She didn’t know how to say her thoughts and make sense. “But I don’t think the two parts are okay with each other anymore.”
“So you become something different. I wasn’t always like I am now. It’s taken me a long time to reconcile what’s inside of me,” Willow said. “And even now I struggle with it. You’ll figure this out, and you’ll have us to help you if you need us.”
It was silent on the rooftop for a moment, only the breeze blowing. “How long do I have? Until everyone finds out?”
“We’re not going to tell everyone,” WIllow said.
Mac looked at her in shock.
“I’m the one who got hurt, and if I’m not mad, why does anyone else have the right to be? Giles, Buffy and Oz will need to be told, but just them. I don’t want to risk you feeling bad or thinking the other slayers are looking at you differently. I’m even debating telling Giles and Buffy, but I don’t like to keep secrets from them.”
Kasie was surprised. She fully expected everyone to know what she had done by the end of the day since Mac and Willow knew. She bit her lip in nervousness. “Just those three? No one else?”
“No one else,” Willow said.
Mac smiled at Willow. She was a bit envious of the redhead. She could never be that gracious to someone who had harmed her, but Mac was glad for Kasie’s sake that she wasn’t in WIllow’s place.
Kasie let out a shaky breath and dropped her gaze. Just for a moment, she allowed herself to hope. She could continue to stay here among friends and people could forgive her. Forgiveness wasn’t a concept she was used to.
“Okay,” she said softly.
“Can I hug you now or is it too soon?” Willow asked.
As soon as she was finished asking, Kasie launched herself at Willow and gripped tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered. Relief washed over her.
“Forgiveness is a pay it forward thing. When someone forgives you for a terrible wrong, you must forgive others when they need you to - not just for them but for you as well. Holding a grudge can chip away your being.”
Mac felt like she might cry for a second before she got herself under control. She would never be that forgiving, and it made her a little sad.
Kasie sat back and wiped away the last of her tears. “So I guess I should go unpack my emergency bag, huh?” she joked.
“Yes,” Mac said loudly.
“They would have tracked you,” Willow said. “I know Oz. He would have; he would not have stopped until he found you because that’s who he is.”
They slowly stood and Kasie brushed her pants off. “I’ve been tracked before. It wouldn’t have been easy.” She turned to Mac. “I would have made you work at it.”
“Oz found me one time because he could smell my fear, “ Willow said. “And that was when we were in high school. He’d have found you. He knows your scent now.”
They all looked at one another.
“That sounded way less creepy in my head.”