For My Little Girl, Part 1Author:
BtVS, NCIS, SG-1, SGA, CSI (various), Leverage, The Sentinel, and maybe a few others to be added later.Rating:
M to be safe, will notify if rating goes up.Pairing(s):
Past Willow/Tara, hints of slash and het, no assigned main pairing yet but will be slash.Summary:
He had to get out of town. It wasn't just a fight for his own survival - not anymore - but for the future of a daughter he had yet to sire.Warnings:
Some very mild character bashing, adult language, mpreg of a sort...Genres:
A bit of angst, some funnies, some romance eventuallyTimeline:
Ignore it. All. Seriously. Only pertinent timeline is for BtVS – but that changes almost immediately after Warren shot Buffy and Tara. Suspend all canon for the duration of this story.Author's Notes:
Written for 2013 NaNo on RoughTrade, organized by the delightful Keira Marcos. I'm a tad bit out of practice writing anything these days, as real life's gotten in the way of fandom, but will do my best. Hope I haven't thrown in too many cliches *lol* A few weeks ago, I threw out a challenge on Voracity's Imaginings yahoo group – the idea would NOT go away, so I'm taking it up for NaNo this year. Hope everyone enjoys at least bits of it.Additional Author's Notes for TTH readers:
I can't beg for forgiveness because most of the past 18 months were beyond my control. However, for those who were following any of my previous stories... I've worked on them a bit, but might have to go back to rework them. My brain (and writing style) doesn't accept what's currently posted as 'good enough'.Disclaimer:
I am but a humble fanfiction author. I claim no moneys, gifts, donations or other worldly gain from the writing of this story. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, NCIS, CSI (all varieties), Criminal Minds, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, The Sentinel, and any other characters you may recognize belong to someone else. Word Count for this chapter:
2,597Word Count to Date:
With Buffy in the hospital, the rest of the Scoobies were taking turns doing minor patrols. Well,
Xander admitted, at least I'm trying. Buffy can't, Giles is stunned, and Willow's... What on the hellmouth is Wills doing anyways? I get that she's mourning – we all are, we loved Tara nearly as much as she did – but she's being all secrety and stuff.
Once a month or so, they tried to patrol out as far as Kingman's Bluff. It was on the boundary of the hellmouth's influence, but they had hints of some ancient temple that Giles said warranted monitoring. So that's where Xander was. Plus, bonus, it was quiet. He really did understand Willow's grief. Hadn't he felt much the same when Jesse was killed? Not that she spent much time thinking of their childhood friend. When Buffy came into their lives, Willow seemed to abandon the years of friendship with Xander and Jesse. It made sense, he guessed, that she would hang on to the first girl friend she'd found that wasn't trying to change her into a fashion plate or take advantage of her giant brain. Not that Buffy didn't do some of that too, but at least she treated Willow better that some home improvement project.
Wandering around the ruins of the ancient temple, Xander's mind kept creeping back to how much Willow had changed from the sniffly little girl in pigtails crying over her broken yellow crayon. He missed his buddy, nearly as much as he missed Jesse. The Willow who ran around town with them, pranking the librarian and scolding like a mother hen, fixing boo-boos and playing doctor from her mother's medical texts. That girl was long gone, with college and new friends and ideas. Far, far gone with her beloved Tara being killed.
His thoughts drifting to the wonderful, shy young woman they'd recently lost, Xander was barely aware of his surroundings. He heard a voice chanting, but it took him a moment to recognize whose. Almost immediately, he was on alert – Willow was at the peak of Kingman's Bluff, a place suspected of holding awesome power to those petitioning an ancient deity. That, he knew, could be very bad, especially with her shaky emotional state.
“Too many gods to choose from... Attis, Nemesis, Lucina, Atropos... alright, not that one, I'm sorta pissed at her. Asclepius? Maybe. How about just one pantheon, that should work. And the Greek gods were all about vengeance and coming back from the /chokes/
Xander walked toward the mourning young woman, being quiet without actually sneaking. So far she hadn't done anything to start a spell as he understood it.
“Gods of the ancient Greek, hear my plea! One of Hecate's maidens was taken sobs from her mortal life too soon, her work here unfinished. Aphrodite, I beg you to halt Atropos' vile scissors. Attis, Lucina, please bring her back to our lives. Nemesis!” Willow's voice breaks as she starts her last plea, her tears falling onto the stones at the highest part of the temple. “Nemesis, I beseech your power be added to your brothers and sisters in bringing Tara back into this world – her death was premature, she is needed so, so much. She has to come back, we need her, we love her, I... I can't do this without her.”She's breaking, again. That's no spell! But prayers are just as powerful,
Xander worried as he stepped toward his friend's shaking form. And much more unpredictable. Willow, what have you done?
“Please bring her back, however you can,” Willow's voice faded off into a whisper at the last words, her face turning white as she heard the unspoken answer to her prayer. “That wasn't what I meant!” Sliding down to her knees, she barely registered Xander's arms catching her. “She's going to be reborn. Oh Xander, she's coming back, but I've still lost her.”
He'd get the whole story out of her later. After getting them both off the windy bluff, with a good mug of hot chocolate and a box of tissues. Get her calmed down a bit. Because Xander knew through years of experience that a frantic Willow didn't always think about the consequences of her actions. And from the names he heard? Yeah, she was asking some of the wrong gods.
The trek down the rocky hillside was just hazardous enough to keep his attention. Too soon they were at his car, buckling in and heading back to town.
Part of him wanted to ask Giles for help, to see if maybe this... answered prayer could be altered or something. Maybe a way to make it safer for everyone. Especially Tara. But he honestly couldn't bring himself to bother the former watcher about it. Giles had taken to drinking as many meals as he ate, making his judgement a bit unreliable. And going to Buffy about it wouldn't be much better. She was a slay first, ask questions never sort – having to think about consequences? Not her strong suit. Anya would either cackle in glee over the whole thing, or get really worried about the ancient gods actually answering a prayer of this magnitude. Frankly, Xander was right with her on the worried. And Dawn, poor Dawn... she didn't need yet another trauma. Rumor had it that Spike had left town, not that he would be the best advice giver.
Which meant that Xander was on his own to deal with Willow's breakdown and possible pregnancy. Because the way she'd worded her prayer, and the look on her face when she was answered? Yeah, that's what it sounded like.
Less than a mile from the temple, Xander sent out his own silent prayer. Gods, I know Willow asked for this, for Tara to be brought back, but she can't be the mommy. Willow really believes that Tara was her soulmate. That would be way too weird, okay? We love Tara, we miss her like crazy, and we'd really love to have her back, but let someone else bring her into the world please. Someone who'll love and cherish her, not like her parents from this life. She's such a sweat, gentle soul. She deserves parents who will be good to her and give her all the love and opportunities that she couldn't have in this life.
On the ethereal realm, a small gathering of gods exchanged glances. The witch's prayer was heartfelt but selfish – not that unusual for humans. But the male's plea... he wanted the best for their fallen friend. Several smiles formed, some pleased and some wicked. They had time to plan. After all, it took nine months for a child to develop. With or without a standard womb.~ * ~
Buffy's wounds had been healed by Willow's stolen power, but the doctors insisted she stay overnight for observation. This was Sunnydale – they didn't question her miraculous recovery. Dawn was allowed to stay in her room on a roll-away. With the Summers girls taken care of, Xander kept his mind occupied on helping Willow. His oldest living friend, no matter how far apart they'd grown, he couldn't desert her.
Puttering around in his kitchen with the makings for soup and grilled cheese – if ever there was a time for comfort food, this was it – Xander watched his Willow-shaped friend flinch and twitch in her sleep. And thank you, Goddess, for making sure she takes a nap. I know she's torn apart right now, but the rest can only help.
Tomato soup, buttery grilled cheese, and more hot cocoa were ready in short order. He loaded up the coffee table before sitting down and gently shaking the redhead's foot.
“Hey Wills,” he said softly. “Let's get you fed and chocolated, then we'll figure this out, okay?”
Aching hazel eyes opened, their pain almost more than he could bear.
“Yeah, I know. You don't think you'll ever be hungry again. What's the point of eating or sleeping or taking a shower or going to work or school or anything really, when the one good thing in your life is gone? I get that, I really do!” Xander took her clammy hand in his own. “That was Jesse for me, Willow. We didn't talk about his death, it's like he didn't exist anymore for you. But he was closer than my friend, a brother, like my other half. I get it.
Casting her eyes away from his earnest gaze, Willow's breath hitched. “I wasn't a good friend, I'm so sorry, Xander. Maybe... maybe you do understand.”
He snorted at that. “No maybe about it. If he was still alive, I figure me and Jesse would be together now.” At Willow's shocked look, he grinned. “Yeah, nothing happened, but we were that close. We even talked about it a few times, how we'd move in together after getting out of Sunnyhell High. Only need a single bedroom.”
“Oh, wow, huh.”
Snickering, Xander handed her a cup of soup. “You need to eat, then take a shower. Cus lady? You be one smelly chica,” he slipped into a truly horrible Mexican accent. Then his expression turned serious once more. “And then you and I are going to sit down and talk about your trip up the bluff.” Her eyes squeezed shut and she shook her head. “Yes, we are. We really, really are.”
He took the untouched soup from her hands and placed it on the table. “Willow girl, you prayed to some pretty ancient gods, after sucking a bunch of magic up and stealing power. You got an answer – I saw the look on your face – and weren't happy with it. Which means you need help, and hey, here I am. Just like I've been since the yellow crayon incident.”
Willow chanced a quick look at her oldest friend. He was right, she knew. And no matter how often she and Buffy put him down about not being any help... he was the common sense and stability in their lives. Tara had taken that place, but now? Tara was gone, Buffy wasn't going to be making much sense for awhile, and Xander... wouldn't let her bull her way through this.
“I've been a bad friend for a long time, huh?” she asked in a little girl voice.
Xander just nodded. “You have. I have. Buffy has. We've all been pretty horrible to each other. But if ever there's a time to grow the hell up, it's now. Tell me what answer you were given, Wills.”
Reaching over to pick up a triangle of sandwich, Willow pulled tiny bits off and dropped them into her tomato soup. The ripples never lasted long enough, but just that repetitive action gave her time to gather her thoughts. “They... they agreed. About T-t-tara being needed. /sniffle/
And that she could come back.” Bigger chunks of cheesy bread met their fate in a soupy death. “But she'd have to be reborn to someone who already loved her and would be a great caretaker... parent. Which they said couldn't be me.” Tears started to drip down her cheeks.
“Willow, look at me,” Xander demanded in a no-nonsense voice. “You can't be her mother and lover at the same time.” She gasped, as if that thought hadn't even occurred to her. Which it apparently hadn't. Goddess save me from the unthinking geniuses in the world
. “Which means finding someone else to raise her. Someone who will be a good
parent, not like those jackasses we had to run off.” She nodded emphatically. “Someone who will love and cherish her as the most special person in the world as a daughter
.” Another nod, this one less enthusiastic. “It'll be like picking out the parents who'll adopt your child. We can search through all sorts of databases and articles to find the most protective, loving, smart people out there and choose from them who'll be her Mommy and Daddy.
“She won't be your Tara anymore, Wills,” he sadly said. “But she'll be back on earth, bringing her light and love and wonderfully caring nature to the world.”
Silently sobbing in both relief and loss, Willow threw her arms around Xander. He held on just as tightly, and they rocked back and forth to finally mourn the missing part of their lives.And if the gods are benevolent, we'll see her again someday. Tara, I miss you so much. Not just for Willow's sake – you were the bright light that kept us from sliding into the darker parts of hunting. None of us will be the same without you here to gently guide us. But you deserve this second chance. If anyone in all of history deserves to live another lifetime, you do. I wish you the best, most loving and protective parents we can find.
Hallie cackled in glee. She hadn't even needed to prompt them. This was definitely going to be a satisfying case. Smirking to herself, she answered the summons. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.”~ * ~
Over the next several days, Buffy was quite busy taking out her foul mood on every demon that hinted at being a threat to the safety of humans or kittens. The local poker circuit was shut down, cowering in fear at Willy's bar, and being purred into submission by the mass of tiny furballs they coudn't trade or eat.
While she was beating the fear of a frustrated, mourning slayer into the demon populace, Willow and Xander spent every waking minute researching and brainstorming. They both had the impression that the gods would give them a few weeks to make their decision about possible parents – although Xander kept having dreams where he personally was one of the dads. He chose not to share that with his buddy just yet, knowing that if he was one of the people responsible for raising the baby Tara he would have to move to be with the other father. She just didn't need that kind of stress along with everything else.
“You know, I could probably do a locator spell with some sort of genetic match to help our list,” Willow said out of nowhere. They had stopped for lunch on the fifth day, exhausted and more than a little frustrated. “It shouldn't be that difficult-”
Xander's hand went up in a 'hold on' gesture. “I'm sure there's something for that, Wills, but before you pull out the herbs we should talk with Giles. After your problems? Yeah, we want someone here who can monitor things a bit.” She gave him a kicked puppy look. “Don't even try that, Willow girl. You know how much trouble using magic has been for you. Tara was your tether, your counterbalance. Without her, I don't want you trying anything witchy unsupervised. Unless you'd like to call Ethan Rayne back? Yeah, so we talk to Giles. He loved Tara as much as the rest of us, he'll help.”
Unhappy with her buddy's doubts (however warranted) about her spellwork, Willow nodded and ate a bite of salad. “Fine, but we need to do it tonight. The new moon is one of the best times for stuff related to pregnancy, or y'know, childbearing stuff.”
Xander nodded he understood that much. “That should give us time to make sure he's dried out a bit. Maybe give him enough focus to get over his drinking some.” Until he figures out we'll have to move. Like Willow... hell, they're all going to take this badly.