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The End Of Her World

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Summary: Mid-Year Fic-a-Thon for Cat. When someone is lost, and pain is all there seems to be, can love still exist in a world of darkness?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Willow-CenteredrestiveFR2118,978152,2699 Jul 049 Jul 04Yes

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Illustration
Banner by the lovely EMI.

The End Of Her World


Author: Restive Nature (aka Bavite)


Rating: 21


Genre: Crossover of Buffy / X-men


Type: Angst


Pairing: Willow/ Logan


Spoilers: For Buffy, everything up to Season Seven "Lessons" and after the second X-men movie.


Timeline: Starts in Buffy Season Six "Villains" and continues to Season Seven "Lessons" and a few weeks after the end of the second X-men movie. (I followed the novelization of said movie.)


Disclaimer- Neither of these two universes belongs to me. They are the property of their creators Joss Whedon and Stan Lee. This fiction is for the purpose of entertainment only.


Summary- When someone is lost, and pain is all there seems to be, can love still exist in a world of darkness?


Dedication: To Cat for the TtH Mid Year Fic-a-Thon

Name: Cat


Author's Request


Genre: X-Men


Max Rating: NC-17


Characters: Logan, Remy, Willow,


Type: Angst/Romance (either or both, it's up to the writer)


Want To See: smoochies..suprise me


Not Want To See: Riley

The End Of Her World

Logan could hear her voice, slightly raised in antagonisation as he strode down the sunlit corridor of Xavier’s Mansion. He smirked lightly. It had been the same for the past two weeks. Scott would hover too much and Jean would chastise him. It made One-Eye nervous the first time he caught Logan watching the interaction between them. But Logan heard what Scott was missing, the gentle love that flowed through every fiber of the telekine’s body for the lanky auburn haired mutant. But Logan had already made a habit of annoying the younger man, and it was too ingrained at this late date to change. So he kept the deliberately knowing look upon his face as Scott beat a hasty exit from the sunroom where Jean practiced her daily meditation.

Logan knew what Scott still didn’t. That despite the attraction that had blossomed between the wild man and the redhead, their moment had passed and she had chosen Scott. Perhaps she had told him that and tried to show him that, but the young pup was still the tiniest bit insecure in the face of the other male’s rugged rough charm. "She chewin’ your ass out again?" Logan grunted in amusement. Scott threw him an aggrieved look, but then nodded tiredly, carefully adjusting his custom made ruby quartz glasses that protected his eyes. Or rather everyone else from their potentially deadly effects.

"Can’t help it," Scott sighed. Logan was not his first, nor even his second choice as confidante, but he was there. "For God sakes! She’s blind. I just want to help. This on top of everything else. It’s just too much."

"Not for her," Logan shrugged. Scott’s lips twisted up in a disgusted curl as he studied his nemesis. "So she can’t use her own eyes," he shrugged. "Then she’ll use everyone else’s."

"Yeah, I get that," Scott was close to snarling himself. "I know it with my mind, but remembering that at every moment of every day… well it’s tough."

Logan blew off the moment of openness Scott was giving him. "You’ll get used to it Slim," he announced. Scott, slightly dejected, nodded his agreement. It was true; Jean was not as vulnerable as they believed. Of course, she just had to shatter that idea when her pain-filled shriek pierced the building.

Both men spun around, Scott barely taking in the distinct snikt of Logan’s claws baring themselves. He was already running for his love’s sanctuary, Logan easily overtaking him, prepared to deal out a swift death to whatever it was attacking the school now. The pure grief, rage and pain he heard in Jean’s voice set his hackles to quivering. But there was nothing but the supine form of the redheaded mutant, shaking desperately on the floor, her hands grasping, her body twisting, seeking relief from the mental assault of her powers far reaching abilities.

Scott jumped forward to tenderly gather her into his arms. "Get the professor. Now!" he shouted when Logan continued to stay, no doubt assessing the threat to its fullest. Finally he snapped a nod and spun on his heels, trying to restrain himself from going straight through the walls to reach the fearsome telepath. But knowing the professor, he was already on his way, through more normal means of a route. That meant the hallways.

Logan was swearing softly by the time he’d made it to the other end of the house, where the professor’s study was situated. He hadn’t come upon the man, just a bunch of frightened students, hastily backpedaling from the slightly wild-eyed tornado ripping through their mist. None dared stop him to ask what was going on, if the school were under attack again. They’d certainly find out soon enough and had best be prepared.

Logan slammed the door to the study open, his mind warring with his body. If he hadn’t smelled the professor’s scent so strongly, emanating from this room, Logan would have been sure that Xavier was in another part of the house and they’d missed each other by chance. His soft chastisement turned into vehement raging of words better suited to roadhouses and taverns when he took in the physically crippled telepath, hunched over in his chair, twitching spasmodically. One hand was reaching for something. Logan rushed to his side, more than a little frightened. It took a devastating blow to take Charles Xavier out of the game.

"Hey," Logan growled roughly. "Charlie? Wake up." The professor’s head lolled a little, his muscles malleable under the pressure of Logan’s hands. Logan pulled his head up straight, being as gentle as he could, aware that he had the strength in his body to easily tear a man apart. He breathed a short sigh of relief that Charles’ eyes held some semblance of sense in them, despite the small trickle of spittle that ran down his chin.

"Jean," the telepath groaned softly. "Sunnydale."

"Son of a bitch!"

*****

Many eyes watched as Scott worriedly paced the outer hall of the infirmary. They had moved both Jean and the professor down there, unsure what to do in this situation. It took a while, but finally Jean calmed down a little bit, though she was still unable to speak. Whatever had initially caught her had yet to fully relent. The professor had recovered enough to tell them that Jean was in a maelstrom of unutterable grief that was paralyzing her mentally. Weak though he was from the backlash of both Jean’s and the other’s emotions swarming over him, he was trying to reach her. And not having much luck.

Scott was torn. The need to be there for Jean, yet the need to protect his cousins in Sunnydale played havoc with him. He had finally settled for pacing outside Jean’s room while calling his cousin’s home every fifteen minutes. After the first hour, he’d alternated, calling Buffy and Dawn’s friends. But there was no trace of them as yet. More hours and Rogue finally found for him the number for the Magic Box, where the young people his cousins hung around with congregated. But there was no answer there either. And then Jean had exploded again, this time screaming and vomiting, scaring the hell out of everyone around her. Yet still, this mysterious ailment would not release her.

After midnight now and still Scott tried. Logan watched, as did Storm and the others as he tiredly dialed the familiar number. Storm felt for him. Scott had just found his cousins last year. Losing them now, on top of what Jean was suffering would near kill him. She was brought from her musing as Scott’s body snapped to attention. Finally someone had answered.

<Hello? >

"Is Buffy there?" he asked quickly. "It’s her cousin, Scott."

*****

It took a while for Scott to get the whole story. And then to get the story in the correct order. Like with Jean, knowing that his cousin was the Slayer and being confronted with the physical manifestation of this destiny were two different things. He nearly collapsed when he heard what this villain Warren did to her. But finally, he had his answers. And a theory as to Jean and the professor’s reactions. He set the phone down and turned to face the others. They had only caught his end of the conversation, which mostly consisted of empathetic moans and grunts.

"What is it Scott?" Storm asked quietly, her face as grave as his. "What happened?"

All the emotion that Scott had held in check during the phone call came pouring forth. His throat was closing up as he tried to tell the rest. "Buffy was shot." There were surprised gasps from many of the gathered group. But Scott held his hand up and they fell quiet. "She’s okay. Willow saved her. But, the man who shot her, he was… he just…" He stopped and took a deep breath. "One of the shots went wild and killed Tara. Right in front of Willow." There was no need to explain more. Everyone who had the privilege of meeting one or both of the witches knew of their deep love for each other. "I think that’s what caused the initial breakdown for Jean and the professor picked up on both that and Jean’s distress." There were murmurs of agreement. Scott cleared his throat. "When they got home, Buffy and Xander found Dawn in Tara’s room, with… with the body."

At that point, there was a muffled sob from Storm, as well as from Rogue. The older woman shuffled a little closer to the teen, wrapping an arm around her shoulder as they shuddered with empathy. Storm quickly wiped away the stray tears from her cheeks. "What about the second incident?" she asked gently. There was no need to clarify further. Scott swallowed, the numb description his cousin had provided simply underscored the pure savageness of the act Willow had performed.

"Willow tracked this Warren down," he continued, his voice as blank as his cousin’s had been. It was the only way to get through this. "She tortured him, both physically and mentally. And then she… turned him inside out. Killed him. And then she disappeared." Silence filled the room. There were no words that could make any of this better.

Logan watched the man who was his adversary. He could easily hate him. Just as easily as Scott could hate him. There wasn’t friendship there and neither one ever expected there to be. But in the course of the day, Logan had found understanding. Flashes, such as he’d grown used to in his short memory of life pulsed through his mind. A woman, dead before him. Beloved, but gone. He knew with certainty that the woman had been someone extremely important to him. The blood of the scene indicated murder. He knew without doubt that he had experienced something similar to what Willow had. And in the part of him run purely on instinct, the majority of his entire being, he understood her. He was she and she was he. For his impulse and instinct would have demanded death. Logan took a small step forward, capturing everyone’s attention. "I’ll find her," he announced softly.

Scott’s head swung towards him. "What?" he asked, uncomprehending. He was unable to follow the swift nature in which Logan made his decision.

"I’m going to Sunnydale," Logan enunciated carefully, his eyes slightly hard. "I’ll find Willow." Scott was already shaking his head.

"It’d take too long," Scott argued. "No, I should go. She’s my cousin’s friend. I need to…" his throat began to close up again.

"No, you need to stay here with Jean," Logan decided, knowing immediately that it had already occurred to Scott. "You’ve heard from Buffy. You know that she and Dawn survived. That they’ll be okay." He offered those words in a general sense, realizing that the emotional undercurrent surrounding them would never dissipate. They all knew that. He turned to Storm, his plans already formulating. "Can you fly me out there?" he asked easily. Storm nodded and disengaged herself from Rogue. "Then let’s go."

"Aren’t you going to pack anything?" Rogue asked in a timid, confused voice. She had yet to understand the depth of the situation. If Willow was on a rampage, as Logan knew to expect of her, they had no time to waste. And the other adults were coming to realize this too. She’d already killed one man. What was to say that in her pain, another murder wasn’t on the way?

*****

Logan crouched among the trees, every nerve bundle through his body on high alert. The smells that washed around him were still present with a vengeance. His mind reeled at the onslaught, while his instincts snarled with satisfaction. Willow had killed here. That little maggot Warren had received his just desserts. Logan snarled softly as he crept closer to The Spot. He didn’t know what exactly to call it. But his senses guided him in. He circled the small area and could almost see in his mind’s eye, the maggot stripped bare, all his puny defenses gone. He imagined that while the simpleness of this man’s death may have taken only moments, the complications lasted forever. His death was agony, as Logan acknowledged it should be. Taking someone’s life, without thought, remorse, heedless of the far-reaching consequences… Logan’s mind snorted at the seeming high moral road the others took in regards to this predatory pain-filled act. But he knew he would have done the same. Maybe had done the same in a past life.

He pulled back out of the circle of death, slowly filtering out the scents until only one remained. Hers. It was easy to discern. So full of raw grief and rage. The others held the same, but to a lesser degree. Logan took a few steps then swore softly under his breath. She had done it again. Used her magic to take her elsewhere. It had confounded him at first, when he was tracking her scent. The sudden disappearance of the trail stunned him. But an earthy scent combined with the familiar smell of a sulfuric like element, in the exact spot made him stop and think. The sulfur he recognized, attributing it to Kurt’s mutation of teleportation. But the earth, the dirt, the smell of the wind through the trees, the wisp of sunshine warming dewdrops on grass. It made him think of burrowing through loam, the cool sensation of the earth surrounding and nurturing him. And then he realized it was the scent of her magic. When he combined the two scents, he realized what she had done. She had used her magic to take her somewhere else. The harder part was following her trail of thought. They had no idea what her plans were, besides vengeance. But she had killed Warren. It was just a matter of figuring out who else she held responsible.

"Logan?" his comm link crackled in his ear, the high-pitched whine accompanying it setting his teeth on edge. He pressed the corresponding button on his wristband.

"Yeah Storm?" he grunted. The line crackled again.

"You need to get back to the Magic Box," her voice was slightly distraught. When they had arrived on the BlackBird, she’d found that her mutation was going slightly haywire. The mystical forces in the area were playing havoc on her control. The small cloud cover she’d tried to pull up to hide their descent had nearly turned into a tornado. Would have if Logan hadn’t advised her to pull back. This was Sunnydale. The people here would wonder about the jet, if they even bothered to watch it for all of two seconds. And then they would happily dismiss it from their minds. Selective self-brainwashing at it’s best.

"What’s wrong?" he demanded, wondering if Willow was there. They’d all been searching for her. While the mutants had been flying in, Willow had loaded up on magic energy again and decimated the Sunnydale Police department in an effort to find the maggot’s companions. The pair had escaped with some help. The group had separated; Logan and Storm searching for Willow while the others got the lesser of their group to safety.

"Giles is here," Storm spoke quietly, but Logan could discern the regret in her voice. "He’s… hurt." There was more she wasn’t saying, but Logan wasn’t going to waste time with explanations.

"I’m on my way."

*****

When Logan arrived at the magic store, the destruction of the interior didn’t faze him. He focused immediately on the group before him. Storm and Anya were kneeling next to the prone older British man. Anya glanced up as the bell over the door clanked dully, her impassive face near to breaking. As much as she might try to hide it, this group of individuals had wormed their way into her heart and it was ever so much easier for someone else to shoulder responsibility. When Storm and Logan had shown up, she was relieved. And it showed again.

"What happened?" Logan demanded. Storm shook her head. She hadn’t been there. Anya rose from her crouch.

"Willow!" she snapped, gesturing with one hand at the haphazard mess littering the floor. "What else do you think? She came in here, destroyed my livelihood without so much as a by your leave. And I couldn’t even do anything. I mean, if someone wished for this to be stopped, I could have done that. I can’t wish for it myself. My God! If people would just remember that, then we wouldn’t have had a problem. I mean not that I would stop Willow from taking a little vengeance on Warren. But really, she should have left it to the professionals. But oh no, in her infinite wisdom, she let her emotions get involved and that’s always a mistake. I speak from experience, you know."

"Anya," Giles coughed softly from his prone position on the floor. "Do shut up." Surprisingly she listened. Logan turned from her, dismissing her ranting as the emotional release of someone too scared to know what she should be doing. He was correct. He looked to Storm for an explanation.

"Giles tried to stop her," she began simply. "But she drained him of his magic. She sent a fireball after the others and Buffy went to stop it." Logan nodded. The girl was so like her cousin that it was scary sometimes. Always wanting to do the right thing.

"Do we know where Willow is now?" he centered on the important part of this mission. Stopping the witch. Giles tried to nod, the motion causing him further pain. Logan laid a hand on his shoulder and Giles stilled.

"T-the Bluff," he croaked. "She’s going to end it." Logan’s brows furrowed as he read the deeper message in the man’s eyes. He sucked in a quick breath.

"How do I stop her?" he demanded.

"Love," Giles breathed out raspily. "It’s our greatest weakness. And our greatest strength."

Logan nodded, hearing the message within the simple words. Willow was too far-gone for logic and reasoning. Someone had to reach her on the primal level. And that was he.

*****

After receiving instructions how to get where Willow was currently at, Logan tore out of the shop. He caught up with Xander as he reached the base of the Bluff. Logan called out to him, but Xander either didn’t care to hear him in his quest to save his friend, or the shrieking thrum of magic pulsing through the earth deafened him as it did Logan. The older man shot after him, latching onto his arm and hauling him around to face him. The poor kid’s face was panicked as he shot glances up at the show of strange lights zooming around.

"Logan!" he gasped. "Will’s up there. I have to go!"

"Not this time," Logan shook his head and growled. Xander’s face showed his shock at being told no. He tried to shove the older man away from him, but he did barely more than cause Logan to grunt as if a gnat were pestering him.

"No kid, listen," he argued, lowering his tone. He glanced up at the lights swirling around, high overhead of them, blinking out as they descended over the cliff side. "She’s on the edge." Xander glanced up, mistaking his words for a physical description of his friend’s proximity to the breakaway section of land. Logan rolled his eyes. "I mean she’s close to losing it completely."

"She has lost it Logan," Xander sneered. "Or hadn’t you noticed the strange absence of geek boy?"

"That was just the tip of the iceberg," Logan grunted, his grip on Xander’s arm tightening. "Listen to me. I know what I’m talking about. You go up there and she’ll kick your ass all the way to hell!"

"Will’s my friend!" Xander shouted back. "She wouldn’t hurt me!"

"She doesn’t know friend or foe right now," Logan explained rapidly. He really didn’t have time for this. "Anyone gets near her and she’ll lash out."

"And what makes you think you know her better than her best friend?" Xander snarled. He had no time to react to the punch Logan threw, connecting with his jaw.

Logan watched impassively as the young man slid to the ground, unconscious. "Instinct kid," he muttered softly.

*****

The woman didn’t so much stand in the maelstrom of wind around her as she used the buffeting forces to come at her all at once, supporting her. Her mind shrieked with torments of agony, filling her from every aspect of life that crawled this earth. The magic continued to flow from her, sucked in by the pillar of the old temple. She watched as the column writhed and shuddered under her influx of the basic life force she shoved at it, grasping and drinking greedily of the misery of life. A sudden movement caught her eye and she turned her face. A figure stood about twenty feet from her. A familiar face to someone, but nothing more than a strand of the gut wrenching misery she was ridding herself of now. The figure was part of this world. Soon it, like everything else would be gone. And then the woman could rest.

The figure moved nearer, calling out a name. The woman shuddered slightly. She knew the name, knew it had been hers. But as the world had rushed in on her, she had become every woman. Every man, every child that hurt, that bled. She’d fed on the injustice of the universe until it had blinded her to everything else. She took action when none others had. She had the chance to take the pain from life. She had the chance to rest. And if she could just rest, then maybe, she could find the thing that was missing. The figure came closer still and the woman found herself focusing on him

She swept through Willow’s memories. She knew the figure, the man. He was Logan. He knew Scott. Scott was Buffy’s cousin. She made the connections quickly. Now she knew and it bothered her no more. She turned back to the pillar, focusing her intent upon it. But then she realized the mistake. She was still allowing the man to come too close. She turned once more to face him. "Stop!" she thundered one hand raised towards him. But he didn’t heed. A slight burst of the magic within flew from her hand, hitting him squarely in the chest. He flew backwards with the impact and she felt a tiny part of her cringe in shock.

‘You don’t treat friends that way!’ a voice shrieked at her. Willow’s voice.

"Not my friend," she growled softly, still watching the man. He shook his head, as if to clear it and rose up to his knees. He was defiant of her. That was to be expected. No one ever seemed to listen to Willow, as she knew they perceived her still to be. She reviewed again the little she knew of this man Logan. One of a group of mutants working towards the goal peace between mutants and ordinary people. They had discovered that his mutation was the strange metal that ran through his body, adhering to his skeleton, ending in an impressive set of claws in each hand. As long as he didn’t get close enough to her for him to try and use them, she wouldn’t worry. But when he rose up to his feet and kept coming, her attention drew further away from her hasty plan.

"Willow!" he shouted over the howling, piercing wind.

"Stop it!" the woman shouted. She felt odd, a flavor coating her tongue that should have been so familiar. It took her a moment to realize that it was fear. Her own fear. There was something about this man that set her more on edge than all the pain she’d enveloped in her desperate grab for power and control. She shook as emotion began to flood back in on her. She grit her teeth against the onslaught. He shouldn’t have been able to do this to her. She had been letting the emotion filter into the pillar, having found a way to end it. But his mere presence was bringing it back, and with it, she could feel her true self laid bare. The Willow she had buried deep. She held her hand up, gathering her will again. "Don’t come any closer!"

"Willow!" he called again, edging closer. "You don’t have to do this." His movements were reminiscent of an animal trying to lull its prey into a false sense of security. His gestures were slow and obvious. She wasn’t fooled.

"Yes I do!" she screamed. "Can’t you feel it?" He cocked his head to the side, questioning. She faltered just a little. "All the pain. All the suffering. I know you feel it. I can feel it from you too. I feel it all."

"Is that all you feel?" he asked, his voice steady, sure. Now it was her turn for puzzlement.

"What else is there?" she threw at him rashly. He took another step forward and her arm pulled back further.

"There’s love," his voice was soft, but it seared directly into her mind. Her face fell.

"No!" she raged. "Love is pain. It hurts too much."

"Love doesn’t hurt," he continued. "It never hurts. It’s something beautiful and it’s wild and it’s the best thing in the damn world."

"But it doesn’t stay!" she screamed. "It always goes away. The only thing left is pain and hurt and rage."

"Only if you let it be Willow," he answered sagely. "Let me help you. I can help you see the love you have. All of your friends-!"

"They don’t know!" she shrieked, tensing all over. "They’ve never lost the person they love most. They’ve never… they’ve…" she trailed off, her chest heaving as emotion flowed over her. She shook her head wildly. "I know what you’re doing, but it won’t work. I have to end it. This."

"No you don’t Willow," he urged fervently as he sidled closer. Her mind shrieked at her to stop him, that he would only hurt her, as everyone else had. That he wouldn’t understand. And she knew that at least to be true. No one understood how she hurt. No one could know all the pain that had gathered and coiled in the pit of her stomach. It was just too much. "If you just let it go, I promise, it’ll stop hurting as much."

But those were the wrong words to say to her. Logan realized it the instant they left his mouth, as her eyes grew darker. Obviously she mistook his meaning that if she would let the magic go, let it drain away from her, then the things closing in on her would go. She would be left with her grief and aside from her needed vengeance, it would be bearable. Or at least he hoped so. Before him was a strong woman. His heart had softened towards her and he knew that she needed to bend sometimes, lest she break completely. As she was breaking now.

"How dare you?" she howled, rage twisting her face. Let go? Of Tara? Let go of their love? That love was the very thing that sustained her in dark times and she couldn’t live without it. Finally, she hurled her arm forward, the magic swirling chaotically through her.

The blast that hit him this time was a thousand times more powerful than the first. And it had the desired effect her grieving mind had conspired. It struck him down into stillness, into quiet. ‘Oh Goddess. Oh Goddess, I killed him!’ Willow chanted to herself, even as her alter ego turned back to the pillar, heedless of the tears that streamed down her face.

It took a moment for Logan’s body to assess the damage done as his healing abilities kicked into gear. The magical blast had merely sent such a shock through his body, enough to stop his heart. The resulting fall on the hard earth made a tiny fissure like crack in his skull and wrenched his extremities. His mutant genome catalogued it impassively even as it worked to correct it. Logan was awake and aware in seconds as his limbs shook from the tremors of healing that raced through him. He swore silently, hating this part of his life. Sometimes healing could be more painful than injury. He winced a moment as his ankle realigned itself and figuring that he could stand now, began to push himself up. He limped forward two steps, until his knee untwisted itself and then he stole up to her side, unnoticed.

Willow gasped as she felt the hand on her arm. She spun around, the magic faltering once more. She looked up to see Logan staring down at her, the gentleness on his face unknown to others, a rebuke to her of what she had just done. "N-no!" she choked out. "You’re dead," her voice was quavering as inside, the real her, Willow was plain shell-shocked. How could this man still live? She had killed him. Just as her precious Tara had been struck down. Why did he live when she couldn’t? Oh yes, the magic. A magical death, a magical resurrection. She shoved his arm back, her face contorting. But he grabbed her arm before she could strike again.

"Give it up Willow," he snarled harshly. "I can keep this up all day." Disbelief filled her eyes, not that he could do so, but that he challenged her still. His grip tightened and he shifted warily, prepared for another attempt on his life. His body tense, he deliberately forced his voice to be even as he spoke again. "Is this what you really want? Do you want to see me dead on the ground? Just like Tara?" Again, mentioning Tara could have been a mistake. But Logan knew of no other way to tap into the pain and pull it from her. She had to confront this instead of running from it. He realized early on that all this had started as a way to purge her pain of he lover’s death, but it had escalated quickly. And judging by the acceleration of the thrumming that he felt through the earth, he didn’t have a lot of time left to change her mind.

"You’re not like Tara!" she raged back. She squeezed her eyes shut as her mind lost focus. Images poured through her mind of the woman she loved beyond death. She was so lost in those moments that she couldn’t even conceive of how to get Logan away from her. "You’ll never be like her. She was perfect. She was soft and loving. And that never should have happened to her. She was my light." Slowly her voice lost the hardened edge of pain, misery creeping through. "Why are you here?" she finally sobbed. "You can’t be here. You don’t care."

Logan carefully wrapped his arm around her waist, holding her up as her knees began to buckle. "I care," he murmured hoarsely. It was no lie. He had found a little bit of himself in her, and irrationally, it seemed to him that if he could just save her, maybe there was hope for him. He needed to save her. "I try not to," he admitted brokenly, emotion that he had held at bay so long coloring his voice. "But I do care. I thought revenge would keep me going. Needing to know what happened to me and why. But I found something else along the way darlin’." The endearment slipped from his lips unnoticed. "I think I got some friends, even when I didn’t ask for ‘em. People who cared about me just for me. People who care enough to try and stop me when I’m gonna go off the deep end. I thought I could be alone in this world, but it just don’t work that way. And that’s what you got too. Tara might not be here, but there are other people who love you just as much."

"I don’t want them," she shivered, crying, feeling the power draining from her as she let the admission slide from her. She choked out another sob. "I just want T-tara." And then the dam broke.

Logan pulled her closer, carefully lowering them both to the ground. He could feel the power and rage ebbing from her, from the earth. The pillar before them gave one last shuddering groan as the air around it stilled. Logan didn’t give it a single glance; all his thoughts focused on this tiny redhead trembling in his arms. He sat, cross-legged on the ground, with her in his lap. He rocked gently, feeling the instinctive need for soothing motion. Her tears didn’t lessen, but she moved with him, needing the gentle release from the high platform she’d fallen from.

"I c-can’t feel her," she hiccuped. "S-she’s gone. I n-need her. Please, I need her."

Her begging tore at his heart, mirroring grief of his lost past that he still held deep within himself. "Shh," he crooned. "She’s here darlin’. She’s in your heart. Her love will always be there. You just have to remember that."

"No," she sobbed raggedly. "I’ll forget her. I can’t forget her. She’s not here and I’ll forget her." Her eyes, luminous with tears lifted to his. "I need help. Please? I need… her."

He understood what she was asking. It sickened him slightly. But not for being used. He had done it himself before. Just using a body for relief. What pulled at him was his unflinching acceptance of being the one that was being used as a substitute. But there was no time for reflection. He would give her what she wanted and sort out the consequences later. Without word, he tilted her head back. She watched him; he eyes growing larger as his lips descended towards hers. Willow didn’t know what she had asked; knowing only that she had no idea how to reach Tara now that her lover was an empty shell of itself. She felt the brush of his wind-chapped lips against hers and recoiled slightly. "Close your eyes darlin’," he instructed softly. She did so and bit her lip as she felt those same lips move over her cheek, sipping the tears that stained her cheeks.

She remembered this. When Tara had held her close, their bodies entwined, carefully wiping the tears of happiness from Willow’s face. She felt those lips drift towards her chin, pressing against her jaw and then on down to her neck. She arched her back slightly, the memories pouring through her of times when Tara had worshipped her this way. Willow moaned as she felt herself being lowered to the ground. She whimpered when those lips left her a moment, sighing in relief when they were replaced with hands divesting her of her clothes. And then those lips were back. Slowly tracing the contour of her shoulder. Willow found herself becoming lost in the sensation.

Fingers skimmed over her breasts and she moaned softly. Kneading and caressing, arousing her body. Her mind skittered with past moments of love and desires all combining into this moment. Her hands came up, catching at the body over her. She frowned momentarily as imagination and reality collided. There was something off in the hardness she sensed under her searching fingers. She moved higher, eyes still pressed shut until she found something to lose herself in again. Her fingers threaded though the soft strands tickling at her skin. She rubbed her fingertips lightly over the scalp, pressing closer as lips and teeth found her hardened nipple. She groaned as she felt the teasing pressure deepen as a warm, moist mouth slid over her heated flesh.

Logan kept his eyes open, watching her, cataloguing her responses. So far it was working. She was losing herself in the moment, coming down, calming down. He wondered briefly how long she would stand this, how long she’d let her imagination run on. His lips moved to her breast, opening to take her nipple between his teeth. He tugged lightly and she arched beneath him, exhaling sharply. He rolled the turgid flesh and her hips came up sharply in reaction. He felt her fingers sliding through his hair, anchoring him to her. He bit back a groan as her hips came into contact with his own, his body reacting according to its nature. He needed to stay focused. This was for her, not him.

Willow’s hips jerked of their own volition, seeking more. She rasped out a sigh as those fingers drifted lower. She squirmed a little as they feathered over her ribs down to her hipbone. Her knees parted in eager anticipation. She gasped as they stroked her mound, at the same time as the teeth biting again. She bucked again. "Please?" her voice breathy, needy. She was rewarded immediately as one long finger found her bundle of nerves and stroked lightly. The lips moved, trickling their way across her chest. Willow loosened her grasp, her hands sliding down the neck until she encountered the denim shirt barring her way. She frowned, knowing that was wrong.

Logan bit back a groan as he felt her small hands let loose of him and move to push the denim shirt he wore away. He pulled away from her a little as he tried to ignore the flame of desire curling in his belly. Pushed away the images, scents and sounds that were filling his mind. Eyes still closed, Willow hurriedly unbuttoned the shirt, spreading it wide for her hands to continue exploring. He saw the uncertainty flicker on her face as she felt the sharper contours of his body, instead of the soft curves she was used to. He took her hand from his body and lifted it to his face. He parted his lips and drew in a pale finger. His tongue swirled around the digit and then he let it loose and guided her hand back to her own breast. Willow sucked in her breath as her own finger came into contact with her still protruding nipple. He let a half-smile slip over him as he saw the instant response as her muscles tightened in pleasure. He only wished that it could be for him.

Willow felt a little shock at how pleasing her own fingers could be upon her skin. Slowly, hesitantly, she circled her nipple, the moisture creating a slick path over her skin. It felt so good. She continued, moving her other hand to her other breast, continuing the tease herself as she felt those lips moving lower again, blowing warm puffs of air over her abdomen. She smiled as the finger rubbing at her was replaced by heated lips. She felt the push against her thighs and was ready for it.

Logan pressed a small kiss against her nub as she arched against him. He glanced up to see her joining happily into the pleasuring of her body. He inhaled her heady scent, so feminine and alluring. His tongue darted out, the first taste of her embedding itself on his senses. Willow moaned beneath him as his tongue licked all the way up her opening to flick against her clit. Logan lightly circled around the opening, teasing her further into a greater state of need.

Willow moaned, panting as those lips continued to tease her, her hips writhing beneath them in her quest for fulfillment. Just as she was about to beg for release, it was given. That mouth, those lips covered her fully, sucking at her. Those fingers played with her nub, rubbing gently, the pressure increasing slowly. She began to tremble as she could feel an orgasm building within her.

Logan pressed against her, his tongue darting in and out of her passage, feeling her body tensing under him. He groaned quietly against her, the vibration spreading through her flesh. Her hips jerked and he felt his cock twitch, painfully throbbing. One hand stole down to release the button and zipper of his jeans. The lessening of pressure against his arousal helped a little to keep his mind on his task and he moved his hand back to her thigh, wrapping around her as he continued to lave at her opening.

Willow felt the pressure building, almost too much to contain. She pinched her nipples hard just as long fingers dug into her thigh and that tongue attacked viciously now. Stabbing into the depths of her. "Oh, please," she heard herself moan. "Now, please." She was rewarded as the mouth and fingers exchanged places. Teeth nibbled at her clit as long fingers entered her passage, pressing into her. Thrusting quickly as the tongue flicked at her nub. She gasped as another finger was added and teeth bit down hard. She tried to muffle her scream as she felt the body move up and over her. Lips pressed against hers, entreating and she parted her lips. That tongue filled her and she tasted herself, the familiarity of this rite keeping her high as fingers thrust into her.

Willow moaned and panted a little as she began to descend from the orgasmic bliss, tears leaking from her eyes. "Tara," she cried softly as all motion stilled.

Logan heard her softly utter her lover’s name. He knew what was happening, had been expecting it, but it still hurt. He pulled away from her, needing to start distancing himself from the woman he’d just made a connection to. "No," she moaned, her legs quickly coming up around his waist to keep him from leaving. To keep her from losing what she thought she had already lost once. Logan jerked in surprise as the movement brought his cock unerringly to her tight passage. The suddenness of her movement sent his erection straight into her passage, as if drawn there.

Willow’s eyes snapped open and she saw with some shock, Logan’s face above hers. It was twisted with emotion and pain. Desire written in his eyes warred with the clenched teeth that bespoke of distaste. She bit her lip; the long forgotten sensation of being with a man like this shocked her into remembering. How she had lost Tara, how she had come to be here. And understanding set in on her. The gift that Logan had just given her. One last time with her love. If only she hadn’t been greedy. She licked her parched lips and squeezed her eyes shut again.

"God, I’m sorry Willow," Logan grunted softly, genuine regret lacing his voice. He tried to pull back, never having intended for them to be in this position.

Willow felt him retreating and her legs tightened around his waist unconsciously. Her mind was whirling with conscious recriminations that she had taken from him, so much in those short moments. The pain on his face registered in her heart and she knew that he understood her. She didn’t know how it was possible, but for that little time, they were the same. Both were seeking an end to pain and to loss. But while she had had it for a moment, he’d found no such relief. And she wanted it for him. It was the way, perhaps the only way to say thank you. "No," she whimpered, opening her eyes and staring up at him.

Logan shook his head, wondering if she were still lost in her dream of Tara. "Just let me-!" he began but Willow shook her head too. She pulled at his body gently, every movement screaming acceptance. Logan tried to resist, but when her hand stole up to caress his face, he turned to look fully into the depths of her eyes.

"It’s okay," she murmured. She turned her hand over to rub her knuckles over his jaw. He watched her slowly accepting everything about him, that it was he Logan and not Tara with her now. When she breathed out his name, and moved her other hand to push his jeans further down his legs, he realized that she was right there with him. She knew what was happening and she wasn’t refusing him. With a moan of relief and heart-wrenching pain that he shouldn’t be doing this, he sank fully into her. Willow pulled his lips back to hers, opening her mouth to tease at him with her tongue, her feet pushing his jeans right out of the way.

Logan stayed, embedded in her for long moments, needing to make sure that she would be okay with this. He couldn’t bear to begin only to have to stop now that he had her the way he needed her. But when her hips arched up into him, he knew that she could handle it. He pulled back and thrust in gently, letting his body follow an instinctive path. His tongue dueled with hers as he began to move in and out of her at a leisurely pace. Her hands scratched at his back and he moved a little quicker.

Willow gasped at how deep he was inside her. It had been so very long since a man had possessed her in this manner. And there were such close ties in the wildness of each. Willow could sense the dangerous edge that Logan was trying to hold back. But when he’d given so freely to her, she needed to do the same for him. Her hands moved over his back, scratching lightly, giving him permission to take what he needed from her. He grunted as her body moved under his, but it wasn’t enough.

Logan didn’t want just a body to be a receptacle for his. He needed the pleasure he was receiving to be echoed in his partner. He needed a physical connection, if not a spiritual one. To that end, he slid one arm under Willow’s knee, lifting her leg over his shoulder as he changed the angle of penetration. Willow gasped, her back arching as she moaned her pleasure. Logan’s eyes lit up as her hands grasped at him, her hips slamming into his as he thrust. He could feel how slick her passage was as the friction built between them, gratified that he could make her respond this way to him. He tilted his head down, capturing her lips once more as his hips moved faster, harder. He felt her begin to quiver around his cock as another orgasm flowed through her. The clenching muscles were so tight around him and Logan grunted at the silky heat constricting upon him. He pressed into her as far as he could as her body milked his cock.

He collapsed upon her, his strength momentarily spent. His head rested against her breast and Logan could feel her pounding heart start to slow. Her fingers combed through his hair and he wondered if it was just another unconscious gesture, maybe of friendship? He let his eyes drift shut a moment, wondering as he always did, when mindless sex had become enough for him. And right on the heels of that thought, the realization that this had been anything but.

*****

Logan stared out the window overlooking the driveway of the mansion. It had been a little over a month since that fateful day. After the madness, he had gathered Willow up and helped her dress and then he’d taken her back to the Summer’s home. The others were relieved to see her, but Willow hadn’t been ready for them, for the guilt. Logan had argued with Giles for over an hour about what was best for the heartbroken witch. The British Watcher was determined that Willow needed to learn to control the magic that ran through her veins. Logan was of the opinion that it was the emotion that led to the abuse of the magic. He was determined that she find a way to deal with it, work through it before she attempted the magic side of things. And finally, he convinced Giles of that. But he also knew that she would be unable to do so, in the place that was the center of her grief. He made arrangements to take her home, to the mansion, after he saw Dawn flinch away from her former friend when she got too close. The pain on Willow’s face was all the impetus needed.

And so now, it was her final day with them. Jean and the professor had recovered from their traumatic bout of being drawn into the center of Willow’s chaotic and dangerous emotions. And they were eager to help her for both her sake and their own. That none of them had to go through this again. They’d often seclude themselves for hours at a time, working through the grief and guilt she carried. Jean had confided that Willow was having a hard time dealing with it. But they expected that.

Logan knew this already. The whole house was filled with her scent. Somehow, he’d acquired all her scents in their brief moments of struggle and ensuing passion. The scent of her tears tugged at him at odd hours. The scent of her still fresh grief raged through him. Everything about her pulled at him. But out of respect, he kept his distance, unable to forget her initial reaction of seeing him for the first time in the house after they arrived. She’d flinched, and backed away, her face bright with embarrassment. He’d stayed still, determined that she would handle this on her own terms. She’d fled. He had taken care to stay out of her path after that.

She had approached him deliberately once and only once. And that was to simply whisper that he didn’t need to worry. There would be no consequences of their only time together. He’d searched her face for the layers of meaning behind her cryptic words. The telltale blush on her cheeks told him what she meant. Logan didn’t have the heart to tell her that he already knew there would be no child. That he was so attuned to her body that he had already sensed the changes in her progressing cycle. That he knew she’d started the morning before. He was saddened momentarily by the fact when he’d first noticed. Her child would have been beautiful. But he told himself that it was for the best. He’d just been a distraction, a body to help her through the moment. He’d simply nodded to her and let her flee again.

Now he was watching her leave. It was time for her to join Giles in England. A Coven of witches was waiting for her, determined to help her harness and direct her power for good. Logan’s eyes were glued to the small area between the sloping roof and the car, where she would emerge for Scott to drive her to the airport. He heard the door open behind him, but couldn’t turn away. He knew it was Jean by the scent of the other woman and the slightly hesitant shuffle in the stride that had once been so proud and forceful. He should have turned, letting her use his vision to guide her through the room. But he just couldn’t. Regardless of that, it didn’t take her long to join him at the window, drawn on perhaps by the harsh rays of the summer sun that glared down at them.

Just as her hand touched his shoulder, he tensed. A flash of red hair appeared below them and Jean sighed. "I’m sorry Logan," she offered, her voice low and full of sympathy. He shrugged away the hand on him. Jean didn’t take offence, some deep part of her understanding that even as Willow had grieved for Tara, Logan was grieving now.

"I could have loved her Jeannie," he whispered brokenly.

"I know," Jean answered softly and bit her lip. She waited but there were no more words forthcoming. She cast her mind forward, taking in Logan’s sight and at the same time, Willow’s. A strange picture formed in her mind. Willow, standing in the driveway, the car door open and waiting for her, staring up at the mansion, her face soft and mournful. Logan, his face stony, one hand pressed against the pane of window before him.

‘Thank you,’ Willow whispered in Jean’s mind, her words should have been for Logan alone.

‘Just don’t forget her love,’ Logan’s voice sounded in her mind, even though he said nothing aloud. Willow nodded once and turned to climb into the car. Jean tightened her senses, focusing on her friend. Another noise, sounding suspiciously like a door slamming shut. She reached forward, finding Logan still at the window. Belatedly she realized that she had likened it to the sound of the door to his heart closing. Jean bowed her head, moisture leaking from her eyes. What could have been Logan’s freedom, his beginning, was only just his end.

The End

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