angst and character deaths
main characters: Willow, Edward
contains mention of Willow/Tara and Buffy/Angel
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to any characters that you recognize. Willow & Sunnydale are from Joss Whedon, Edward is from Laurell K. Hamilton.
distribution: TNL, Paula, anyone else ask.
note: for Jinni's Poetry Quote Challenge #1. AU, loosely based on later half of season 6.
"Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality. "
-- Emily Dickinson - Because I could not stop for Death
* * * * *
She'd loved Tara, loved her so deeply and so powerfully that Tara had become her balance, her stability. When Tara had broken up with her over the magic problem, it had felt like a knife had been shoved into her and twisted. It had hurt.
Being without Tara had been far worse than not using magic, or not feeling useful. So, she'd managed to stop, to stop seeing Rack, to stop casting wild magics with Amy. To just... stop. all to put herself back together, to win Tara back. To be worthy again.
Then, Tara had been taken from her. Ripped away by a bullet, a bullet that hadn't even been meant for her, but for Buffy. Her world had shattered, her balance and heart gone, every bit of joy and happiness and hope ripped open and drowned in blood. Her sanity must have gone with it, or maybe it was her compassion, her ethics?
She'd hunted down Warren, who had shot the bullet. His death had been slow and agonizing. Then had been Rack, and she'd ripped all the magic from him. He'd died from the shock of it. Then, Giles and Buffy had tried to stop her, to kill her. And all because she'd slain a couple villains, people that had done things as bad as the demons that Buffy had been slaying.
Willow really hadn't been trying to kill Giles. He'd tried to immobilize her with a spell, and she'd just... flung him back into the shelves, which had broken at the impact. She'd felt his aura flare, and then fade away. Buffy had attacked her, saying that she'd done unforgivable things, crossed impossible lines. But it had been the same line Buffy had crossed. Killing Warren because he'd killed Tara wasn't that different from trying to feed Faith to Angel for poisoning the vampire, the only difference being that instead of leaving Warren in a coma, she'd killed him. And Angel had survived. Buffy had to die for that double standard.
She didn't really know what had happened to Xander. Had he ran away from Sunnydale? Had he gone off with Anya to try to forget? She wanted to know that he was safe, that he'd never feel the pain of having his lover die in his arms. But the Hellmouth was never safe.
Willow sat on the bluffs, watching the ocean. She'd killed Giles. She'd killed Buffy, and didn't quite feel a bad as she thought that she should. After all, hadn't Buffy wanted to go back to where-ever she'd been when she was dead before? None of it felt quite as real as Tara being gone.
She knew the moment that he stepped onto the bluffs. Nothing as obvious as a footstep, or the sound of one of his many guns cocking. No, she could feel him, a cold presence, one of the most damaged auras that she'd ever encountered in a living creature. It was as if parts of him had been cut away inside, until there was very little left inside of him.
She waited until he would be close enough to hear her before speaking. "Who are you, and why are you here?"
"I am Death." His voice was cold, entirely without emotion or judgment.
Willow paused, suddenly curious. She turned around, wanting to look at him, this man who called himself death. He seemed so... normal. Not quite Xander's height, with pale empty blue eyes and white blond hair. He had a small arsenal of weapons on him, and carried himself like a hunter.
With the faintest ghost of a smile, she replied. "I always thought Death wore this big black robe with a hood."
"That look would be very Medieval. Not terribly practical either." His smile was a bit wider than hers, but it didn't reach his eyes.
Willow considered that, a small part of her wondering why she was so calm. But none of this felt real. "You're supposed to kill me, aren't you?"
"Yes." He was watching her, with a handgun in his left hand, the right one empty.
Willow looked at him, wondering if anything ever reached his eyes, or if he'd lost so much of himself that he just didn't feel anymore. "Who asked you to come here?"
"Why do you ask? Are you planning some sort of vengeance on them?" He sounded calm, with only a small hint of curiosity.
Willow shrugged. "I've always been too curious. But hey, what are you going to do, shoot me for asking? It sort of looks like you were already planning that."
"Any last requests?" There was something in his voice, not quite kindness, or sympathy, but... perhaps an acknowledgement of her pain?
She looked at him, and held her hands out at her sides, palms upwards. "Make it quick."
Sometimes, death was a mercy. The same could be said of Death as well.
end Small Mercies.