: If you recognize it, it's someone else's. Not for profit.
Willow stumbled onto the ground beyond the portal and glared as it closed. You'd better hold up your end of the deal!
She felt as if someone was smiling at her, then her head started aching as the knowledge that she would need to perform her assignment was given to her. Geez! Wanna give a person some warning?
Since no answer was forthcoming, she sighed and started making her way to the nearest road, which looked like it was just across the field.
A field that had apparently just been plowed and fertilized before the rainclouds that Willow could see in the distance had dropped their bounty on it. "Joy," she grumbled. "Save the world, and they give you muddy shoes." A sigh escaped her lips. At least I'm not wearing a dress, thank the Goddess.
After about ten minutes, she reached the side of the road and turned north, stomping her feet to get the clumps of clay off. Most of this time had also been spent in integrating the information that her Creator had given her. I think it'll work better if I contact the...wizards, they call themselves? first. I think they'll believe me sooner.
In the next quarter hour, her solitude was disturbed only by the mosquitoes and cicadas lining the long strip of asphalt. She was about to give up, draw power from the earth, and get information both on where exactly she was, and where she needed to go, when she heard a buzzing in the distance. After a few moments, it resolved itself into a motorcycle. Willow hung her head and trod on as it passed, only to look up as she heard the bike slow down and stop, seeing the driver, standing astride a nice looking bike with her helmet in her hand.
The blonde woman smiled at her. "Are you all right?"
Willow shrugged. "I've had better days. But, hey," she grinned as she showed her hands, "I've got all my fingers and my toes, so I can't complain too much."
"Do you need a ride?" the blonde woman asked. "I haven't seen any farmhouses lately, and it's more than ten miles to Tunica."
"I'd definitely rather ride than walk," Willow said, then she blushed. "That is, if you don't mind me holding on for dear life - I haven't been on one of these very much." Like at all
"I think that I can handle that." The woman stretched out her hand and smiled. "Samantha Carter, but you can call me Sam."
"So why were you out walking on a back road all alone?" Sam and Willow had stopped at a diner in Memphis for dinner.
"Um, would you believe I'm on a mission from God?" Willow said, blushing. After Sam snorted, she grinned and added, "It's all complicated, but the gist is, I wanted to see where an ex-girlfriend of mine grew up, and I got a ride here, and my ride back hadn't shown up by the time you showed up." She sighed. "I figured that it'd be faster to get to a town and find my own way than to wait. Besides," her eyes were fixed on the table, "I wasn't welcome at all there."
"Bad breakup?" Sam asked softly. Then her eyes widened. "Wait, you're -"
"Gay, yes, although my best friend would say I'm bi leaning towards gay." The smile she wore while she said that drained away. "And no, we didn't have a bad breakup. She was killed." She closed her eyes and sighed before opening them again. "I just wasn't welcome because I was the reason that Tara got away from her abusive relatives, and they didn't like having to clean up after themselves."
"I'm sorry," Sam reached out and gently squeezed Willow's hand while looking straight into her eyes. "Is there anything I can do?"
Willow shook her head. "It's been a year, and I've done my going crazy about it. It's always going to hurt, but I have to live my life." A goofy smile appeared on her face. "Besides," she said as she took the hand that Sam had in hers, brought it to her lips and kissed it, "You've done so much for me already."
Sam's face was the one blushing now. "Willow, I'm not - I mean I'm interested in someone, a he someone."
Willow arched an eyebrow. "And why don't you have a ring on your finger? Or at least have him coming with you?" Her smile dropped not a fraction.
"Well, we're in the military, and...he's my boss. We could both get into big trouble."
"And so you explain away the fact that he doesn't make any advances. It's not just a river in Egypt, Sam." Willow was about to continue when there was a buzzing at Sam's waist.
She held the cellphone to her ear. "Carter." "Yes, Sir." "I understand. I'm in Memphis, I'll take it to the 164th and catch a flight in from there. I've got a small personal issue, but depending on schedules, I should be wheels up in three hours." "Yes, Sir." She closed her phone and faced Willow. "I'm sorry, Willow, but I just got called in." She dug out her wallet.
Willow opened her purse, hoping that she had at least a couple of dollars to help pay, when she noticed that she did. Have three packs of bills, each with "$10,000," stamped on the band surrounding them. Letting out her breath, she searched and smiled when she had a ten-dollar bill, and put it on the table.
"Get called in from vacation a lot?"
Sam sported a wry grin. "Just about half the time that I take leave. But I do have to go. Is there anywhere that I can drop you off?"
"Are there any cybercafes on Beale Street?"
Two hours after Sam had dropped her off (with hugs and promises to keep in touch being exchanged), Willow was comfortably ensconced (a huge mocha by her side) in a corner booth at the Empire Coffee Company, building a life history for herself with the new phone and laptop that she had spent a chunk of the money that had appeared in her purse on. She pursed her lips. She was going to have to make this good enough that anyone just going over her files would think that they were real, but leave enough clues so that when Sam and her friends looked her up, they'd know that it wasn't real. Once she had her history down, she needed to issue a passport to herself, and plan a trip to Scotland. It helped that the "notice-me-not" cantrip that she'd mastered when she was a sophomore was working well. Almost too well
, she thought, noting the low level of coffee in her cup.
After she'd canceled the spell temporarily to get a refill and re-cast it, she noticed two men in very loud clothing wander by her. Man, those suits are from the Sixties! I wonder what Austin Powers rejects those are?
A sudden thought came to her and she quickly drank all of the water in her glass, only to refill it with a vial from her purse.
As it happened, they passed her by, the spell affecting them as well as the rest of the coffee shop, and stopped to talk quietly with a teenage girl in similarly dated clothing. Willow turned back to her laptop, the blues music washing over her.
Willow snuggled under the sheets and blanket in the hotel room that she had arranged, along with a rental car for the week. I think I've got it all dealt with, so now I can take a week off, waiting for my passport.
She smiled as she fell asleep.