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The Cold Before Morning

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Summary: Willow goes to Toronto, and finds someone to share her grief with, Lucian LaCroix

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Forever KnightLucindaFR1311,773142,35930 Jan 0330 Jan 03Yes
Author: Lucinda
rating: pg 13
pairing: Willow/LaCroix
response to Quickie Challenge pairing #122
disclaimer: I do not own Willow - Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy does. I do not own LaCroix, whoever holds the rights to Forever Knight does.
the song is 'Dark Side of the Glass' performed by Lori Yates, found on the Forever Knight soundtrack.
distribution: WLS, NHA, Bite Me, Yourmision, Quickie challenge, Twisting the Hellmouth... anyone else please ask first, unless I said it was okay.
note: post season 6, AU

She'd been a very bad Willow, killing Warren, attacking her friends, destroying Giles shop, and oh, let's not forget nearly ending the world. Yes, she'd been a very bad Willow. Perhaps the fact that Warren had killed her lover had something to do with it, but... or maybe the fact that she knew the relationship that she'd had with Tara had never been really accepted by her friends. Or the fact that every time something terrible happened in her life, she had nobody there to cry on, nobody willing to listen to her pain.

Well, all of those were perfectly good reasons to be upset, but trying to end the world had been a bit too far.

Giles had even tried to help her afterwards, taking her away to England, not to kill her elsewhere, or to be certain her body would never be found, but in order to give her a chance to heal. A chance to rediscover her inner balance, to figure out who Willow was when she wasn't part of a couple. He'd removed her from the pervasive corruption of the Hellmouth. To place her under the guidance of people skilled in the proper and controlled use of magic. He had wanted to try to salvage a 'good Willow' from the remains of 'angry, hurt, black-magic Willow'.

It was more caring and compassion than anyone had offered her in a long, long time. She'd spent so many days crying, hoping that with tears she could release her pain and grief, hoping that she could let it out and it would be gone. And Giles was there for her, listening to her grief, her anguished loss, her dejected remorse over the near destruction of everything.

But eventually, she'd lost him. He'd returned to Sunnydale, to the Slayer that needed him so desperately, to the Slayer that he loved.

And Willow had been left behind. She'd spoken very briefly on the phone to Xander, and to Buffy. They'd listened to her apologize, and while Xander had accepted her apology, she had known from his voice that she'd shattered their friendship. Buffy hadn't even accepted her apology, making it clear that in her opinion, Willow had crossed an irreversible line, had become one of the bad guys. Evil, dangerous, a killer. It had been clear that if she'd returned to Sunnydale, Buffy would view her the same was she did one of the major demons. A threat.

Walking in shadows
Feel like I'm drifting away
Never able to touch a heart
Too cold to live this way
On the dark side of the glass
Alone on the edge
On the dark side of the glass
I'm the outsider
I'm the outsider
Looking in.

But Willow couldn't stay in England forever. It had been a place to hide, to relearn who she was, to let her battered and cracked heart heal. But there was no place for her to stay, not emotionally. She wasn't needed here, and while they were charming, it was clear that in their minds as well, this wasn't going to be her home.

She'd had to come to terms with what she'd done, and how it had changed her. She understood more of Angel's guilt now. She also understood his feeling that he had to help people, to atone for his actions.

Which was why she'd had to return to the world. She'd essentially opened an atlas and put her finger down randomly, repeating until she'd randomly chosen somewhere on land that spoke English. Toronto. She'd got everything together, and moved to Toronto, hoping to rebuild her life.

You can't run from what you are
You can't hide all the pain
When you look through empty eyes
Night falls and the darkness remains
On the dark side of the glass
Alone on the edge
On the dark side of the glass
I'm the outsider
I'm the outsider
Looking in.

She'd found a tiny apartment, and was now officially living on her own. She had a job with a computer company, which made more than enough money for the apartment and her living expenses. But she didn't date, she didn't go to parties, not that she had really been invited to many... or any at all. She had put herself back into the world, but the world didn't really seem to care.

Her occasional time away from her apartment was spent in fairly healthy activities. She'd found a good library, and an ice skating rink. What better way to try to exercise in the winter than ice skating? It was good for her, and didn't require any magic, or threaten the world in any way... only a few of the nearby skaters if she lost her balance. She'd been coming here often enough that the staff recognized her.

Tonight was New Year's Eve, and the place was crowded. Someone had convinced the management to allow champaign, doubtless in celebration of New Year's. Willow had only shaken her head... the ice and surrounding walkways would end up filled with drunken skaters, certain to cause problems.

She felt like the only person here trying not to drown in her sorrow. Around her were people talking with their friends, their families. Couples kissing and flirting, happy and secure in their togetherness. She skated on, alone on the edge of pain, her heart calling out for someone to share the night with, someone to pull her back from the edge of sorrow and grief.

On the dark side of the glass
Alone on the edge
On the dark side of the glass
I'm the outsider
I'm the outsider
Looking in.

Someone was skating beside her, on the edge of her personal space. His aura was old, ancient and chilled with grief and time and tragedy. She had no doubts that he was a vampire, or that he was in far more control of his actions and hunger than the vampires that fell to the lure of the Hellmouth. He was deliberately shadowing her movements, moving in the same speed and directions as she was.

Making a turn, she caught a look at his face. He looked older, his close cropped hair grey, his face lined by time and worry and harsh lessons. He was in dark clothing, looking incredibly somber, a figure of ice and shadow almost floating over the ice. His aura was filled with pain, as if he'd recently lost someone close to him, someone that he'd cared about. He was someone else filled with the same pain that she felt.

It was almost like a dance, or a shadow of hunting, the way he followed her over the ice. Her skating grew into wider arcs and curves as the party goers flowed away from the ice, crowing near the large television where the official count down to the New Year was being played. Willow ignored them, allowing her world to become the expanse of ice, the vampire following her, and her own thoughts. She was content to let their movements be a wordless testimony to loss, to the cold pain of lonely grief. Somehow, she had the feeling that he knew what she was doing, what she was attempting to cause their movements to become.

They were still skating as the last of the joyful people left the ice, spilling out into the streets in a noisy mass of humanity. The arena, now filled with shadows, was left to the two of them, Willow and the vampire. For what felt like a long time, the only sounds were the faint hissing of steel over ice.

"How long do you plan to skate this dance, fair lady?" His voice flowed through the air, rich with age and power. It seemed to touch something deep inside of her.

She allowed herself to drift to a halt, and turned to face him. "I don't even know your name..."

"Lucian LaCroix. What put such a shadow in your eyes? Why would such a lovely lady have no one to share this occasion with?" Curiosity was stirring in his eyes.

"I'm Willow. The person that I would have wanted the most to spend tonight with... they're dead now. And everyone else... I'm on the wrong side of a line now. Should I ask what put the pain into your eyes?" She couldn't explain why she was talking to him. Maybe he was trying some sort of mind control? No, she knew that the truth was that she was lonely, and he was someone who would understand her pain.

He gave a small nod, as if something that she'd said had been in line with his expectations. "I lost... my son. He and the woman that he loved... they died. A year ago tonight."

"You don't have anyone to mourn with, do you? Nobody to share stories of his life... existence with, to tell about his odd quirks and the things he did that drove you crazy... nobody to listen to how you'd give almost anything to have him back." She felt the need to reach out to him, to make contact with another mourning spirit, even if only for tonight.

He looked at her, his eyes showing surprise. "How did you..." He stopped, shaking his head slightly. "I suppose it doesn't matter how you knew any of it. But yes, I would like to have someone to mourn him with. You see my pain through the lens of your own... will you listen to me tell you about my son?"

"I think I'd like that. Maybe, if you want, I can tell you about Tara..." She found herself smiling at him.

"Perhaps you will allow me to take you somewhere a bit warmer? Somewhere a bit more comfortable for a long conversation." Lucian's voice was almost like honey.

She placed her hand on his arm, allowing him to lead her over to the place where their shoes awaited. "It is good to share your grief. Although, I wouldn't have expected someone like you to be the one I shared with..."

"Sometimes, it isn't who you'd expect to talk to that does you the most good. I think it's time I came in from the cold." She smiled at him, feeling as if the barrier separating her from the rest of the world was no longer quite so all encompassing. There was someone to talk to, someone that might understand. Maybe she wouldn't have to be alone anymore.


The End

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