Wrapping things up. Character deaths mentioned. All things come to an end eventually. Sorry.Word Count:
(Part 4 of 4)
She hadn’t spoken with her in over a decade, but the former Black Widow had followed Dawn’s final wishes to the letter. Their lives had gone in separate directions after the divorce. She’d been sucked back into the role of super spy and assassin that had defined so much of her life before the Avengers, and Dawn had taken over as head of the Council of Watchers after the death of the last of the original Scoobies.
The small cemetery, on private land near Lake Sunnydale, was protected from time and the elements with ancient protection wards. It had exhausted several powerful witches to raise them to Dawn’s strict specifications. But it was done. And the massive task of moving the new occupants from their scattered graves across the world and reburying them had finally been finished, supervised by the Widow.
Joyce Summers had been brought the shortest distance and laid to rest first, her original grave just down the road on the shore of the lake, in the only Sunnydale cemetery to survive the destruction of the small city. Next, the urn containing Buffy’s ashes, that had been secretly taken from the Council vault in London, had been placed to Joyce’s right.
The remains of Willow Rosenberg had disappeared in a flash of white light after her death, her place between Tara Maclay and Daniel Osborne a marker that was purely symbolic. They’d been placed to the north of the graves of the Summers women. Alexander Harris, one of Natasha’s harshest critics during the time she’d been married to Dawn, had been buried below Buffy to the south. Giles, his urn also secretly taken from the same Council vault, had been buried to her right.
Natasha Romanova was not a sentimental person. A long life had burned out her ability to feel that emotion her detractors claimed. But she felt a twinge of something as she placed the final urn, a deep jade reflecting the full moon, in its place to Joyce’s left. Dawn had insisted that she be cremated like her sister.
There were no prayers for her to say, no speeches to give. Some claimed she had no heart but she knew a part of her soul, if she had one, was buried with these three women. One she’d loved, in her own way, one who had challenged her during their brief encounter, and the other she’d regretted using. All three had been special. Hopefully her presence in their lives hadn’t harmed them like so many others.
"That’s a bit maudlin, don’t you think?" an echoing voice said, startling her from her thoughts. Turning towards the voice, Natasha found herself facing a faintly transparent redhead perched on Joyce’s ebony tombstone.
"Willow Rosenberg? You’re dead," she said, resisting the urge to make a superstitious gesture.
"After a fashion," the redhead said. "I told her she was going too far with this," she added, waving at the cemetery. "Buffy epically chewed her out for making you do this. Joyce just gave her a 'sad Mom' look, which is much worse." She shivered delicately.
"Are the others here?" Natasha asked, looking around.
"Nope," Willow said. "They’re all dead. The real thing. Not even ghosts. Moved on to the next part of their existence. Etcetera, etcetera."
"Heaven is a myth," Natasha said. "A superstition."
"Didn’t say they’re in Heaven," Willow said. "Not sure there is one, actually."
"Why aren’t you with them?" she asked.
"Dawn wanted to make sure you’d followed her directions," Willow said. "And she can’t come back so I said I would, being still mobile."
"I’ve followed them exactly," Natasha said, offended by the implication.
"Don’t care," Willow said. "It’s the thought that counts, and this is really for you, blah, blah, blah."
"You’re that First creature that Dawn talked about," Natasha said, suspiciously.
"Well, no. The First would have come back as Dawn and tried to get you to drown yourself in the lake. Or something equally self destructive," Willow said. "And no, I’m not going to try to prove it. That’s like trying to prove a negative."
"You can go back to wherever you came from," Natasha said.
"I think I’ll stick around for a bit," Willow said. "I do appreciate that you brought the rest of us here. Makes it easier to keep an eye on things. I do wonder why Dawn didn’t ask you to stick Anya next to Xander. Or Jenny next to Giles."
"Her instructions didn’t mention an Anya or Jenny," Natasha said, frowning.
"I know," Willow said. "Just think the omission is odd."
A low bell echoed across the cemetery.
"Oops, that’s for me," Willow said. "The whole goddess thing can be inconvenient at times."
Natasha stepped back as the air began to brighten around the being calling herself Willow.
"I’ll be back when it’s your turn," she said. "Which should be a while with that semi-immortality thing you’ve got going. There are three very demanding women waiting for you. Don’t keep them waiting too long."
"What?" Natasha said. "What do you mean?"
"Toodles," Willow said, giving her an amused grin before fading away to the sound of the same bell.