Willow lay on the beach, her laptop open in front of her, as the sun shone down onto her back. Her red hair was tied in a knot on top of her head, her green eyes covered by sunglasses.
It was a week since the Scooby Gang had saved the world. Again. The Hellmouth was officially closed for business, seeing as there was no Hellmouth left. Sunnydale, the small town that had been her home her whole life, was gone. There was nothing left but a huge gaping hole where their lives used to be.
After they – no, after SPIKE – had closed the Hellmouth forever, the remaining group of survivors had set out to England. Giles had said that now that all the Slayers had been activated, they needed to be found. They needed to be trained by Watchers. The only problem was that there weren’t many Watchers left. Most had died when the Council Headquarters had been blown up. The ones that had survived were the ones who weren’t there when the explosion took place. They were with their assigned Potential Slayers, training them. But even most of those were dead, due to the Bringers.
So, Giles had decided to build a new Council. The Scooby Gang, together with the new Slayers, Andrew and Principal Wood, moved into Giles’ manor in Bath. It was then decided that that house would be the new Council Headquarters. It was big, had a basement ideal for a training area, as well as a large library and a vast area of land. There were enough rooms for all of them, some girls sharing with others, while Buffy, Xander, Giles, Faith and Willow had their own rooms.
The first thing Giles did upon arriving in his old house was call the remaining living Council members. He told them to come to England as soon as possible, telling them that he planned on putting the Council back into business. The next thing he did was tell everyone to get to work and clean up the place and make it fit for living in.
Willow sighed as she remembered just how the girls got to work. They had turned to her, saying that since she knew magic and all, couldn’t she magically turn the house into a place fit for living and training in? Being the reliable person that she was, Willow had nodded and together with Buffy and Faith, got to work.
They had worked their way from top to bottom, looking into every room, rearranging furniture, cleaning the walls and carpets, occasionally fixing the floors. Willow couldn’t remember the last time she had seen so much dust. It seemed to be everywhere. The only rooms that were relatively clean were Giles’ bedroom, the kitchen, dining room and living room. The rest were a mess. By the time they reached the basement, they had been in Bath for four days and had slept for only a grand total of a day, while the others had relaxed and rested after the draining battle.
Knowing that they would have enough time to relax after they were done, the three girls hadn’t complained about working. The sooner it was done, the better. The basement was the part of the house they were most looking forward to seeing, and they weren’t disappointed.
It spread out under the whole house, but it was a couple of meters wider and longer. The total area of the basement was 100m2. The walls were old and dank, but with a well used spell they were soon dry and new. The floor also looked worse for wear, cracks zigzagging from one wall to the other. Clasping hands with the two original Slayers, Willow had smoothed it out as well as turned it into nice grey tiles. Next they had had to decide what equipment should go where. Finally they had decided to line one wall with bars and punching bags, put the boxing ring into the middle of the room, the treadmills and other sport equipment lining another wall. Mats were spread out over the floor and a brand new stereo system resided in one of the corners. It was big things like this that drained most of the energy out of Willow, causing her to borrow some energy from Faith and Buffy. Thankfully, they had a lot of energy to give.
It had been a huge hit, everyone loved it and the three girls readied themselves for a well deserved rest. Only it didn’t come. Just as soon as they were finished cleaning up the whole house, which was on the fifth day of their arrival in England, the Watchers from around the world started arriving. Meetings began about what they planned on doing, where were the newly activated Slayers and who would go and get them, who was going to train them. Faith and Buffy had begged out of traveling, saying that surely they would be needed here more, with the other Slayers. Willow had said that training and gathering Slayers really wasn’t her expertise, wasn’t there anything magic related that they needed her for?
Of course there was: finding the Slayers. All of the documents about the other Slayers had been lost when the previous Council exploded. So, it was up to Willow to do a locator spell and locate the new Slayers. Willow had agreed and then said that she would be taking the rest of the summer off. She wanted to take a brake from all the slaying and danger, and just relax and maybe practice her magic in a nice, secluded place, away from commotion and teenage girls who didn’t know their own strength.
And now, she was here. Sunbathing on one of the most beautiful beaches she had ever seen, relaxed and rested. After thinking about where she wanted to go, Willow finally decided to go to Brazil. Ever since she first learned about it in geography when she was around twelve, Willow had wanted to go and see it someday. It seemed like the perfect choice. And it was indeed perfect.
The beach of Copacabana was beautiful, the sand was soft underneath her feet, the water was neither hot nor cold, it was just perfect. The perfect way to spend her first month and a half relaxing, before heading north to Los Angeles to check up on the LA team. Willow was excited about seeing them again. The last time they had seen each other was when Willow had been there to yet again ensole the vicious Angelus and to pick up Faith.
Willow smiled slightly when she thought about Faith. She had changed radically over the three years. But then again, isn’t that what prison is all about? Changing a person? The Faith before prison was a murderer, a Slayer turned bad and liking the darkness. Willow could relate to that and she understood Faith a bit better. She knew what it was like to taste the darkness, to take a human life. It was like a drug, so sweet and addictive. Willow could see now why Faith was so reluctant to go back to fighting on the side of good. But she had. Granted it took her three years in a state prison, but it helped. She was good now. Even friendly sometimes. She reminded Willow a little bit of Kennedy.
The smile vanished from her face when her thoughts turned to Kennedy. After the battle against the First, Kennedy had changed as well. Only not to the better. She now seemed to think that she was better than everyone else. Willow finally saw the bratty side of her now ex-girlfriend. To say that it was unappealing would be an understatement. They had broken up just two days after the battle.
Willow was single yet again and questioning if she should ever get into a relationship ever again. What were the three D’s that came with a relationship? Oh yes: death, desertion and divorce. In a way Willow had been through all three. First Oz deserted her, then Tara died and now she had ‘divorced’ from Kennedy. Living through all three just didn’t make dating look appealing.
Forcing those negative thoughts out of her head, Willow turned back to her lap top. She was currently looking through her hotmail inbox, checking to see if she had any new e-mails. A couple of junk mail (increase your breast size by two cups just by clicking here), a couple of e-mails from her friends from college and an e-mail from Buffy! Smiling happily, Willow opened it.Dear Willow,
Hey, how are you? How’s your holiday? I hope it’s going great and that you’re having a good time. Here everything is as it always is, i.e. complete chaos. Giles and his group of stuffy Watchers are getting ready to fly to different parts of the world and try to locate the Slayers. I can’t wait to get rid of them.
Faith and I are training with the girls, some of them are willing to learn, others (Kennedy) just act as if they already know everything there is to know. Dawnie is surprisingly excited about training with us. Even Andrew is making an effort to learn how to defend himself. Mostly he just serves for our amusement.
Poor Xander has finally started to grieve for Anya. He just sits in the library and looks off into space. I worry about him Wills. I’ve never seen him so lost. It’s like he’s got nothing to live for but carries on nevertheless, a shell. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?
Well, duty calls and Giles wants me to get off of the ‘ruddy machine’, so I’m leaving you now with hopes of a reply. Say hello to Angel for me when you’re up in LA. Also, Faith says that while you’re there; hook up with some hot Brazilian guy or chica (that was Andrew). Have some fun, you know you deserve it.
Lots of love and jealousy,
Buffy and the Scoobies.
What did I ever see in Kennedy? Willow thought as she clicked on reply.Dear Buffy,
Thanks loads for your e-mail, it cheered me up. I was kind of wallowing in the memories of my past relationships. Whatever did I see in Kennedy? She is such a brat!
Things here are good, the weather is great and the people are really nice. So far I haven’t hooked up with any guys or chicas, and I kind of doubt I will anyway. Don’t want another bad relationship to ruin my summer of relaxation.
The best advice I can give you about Xander is to just give him some time to deal. We all know what it’s like to lose our loved ones. Time is the best cure. Time and love and support. Listen to him, but don’t force him to talk if he doesn’t want to. He’ll talk when he wants you all to know how he feels. I’ve known him my whole life and I can guarantee that he will open up within a week.
How’s the training going? Not too many accidents I hope. Please keep me posted on everything that happens.
Send my love to everyone. Don’t work too hard, let the girls have some fun as well.
Clicking send, Willow looked around the beach. It was packed with people. Men, women, boys and girls of all ages and nationalities walked up and down the beach, swam in the ocean or just relaxed under the sun. There were also some dogs here and there, playing with the children or also just laying in the sand. Her eyes narrowed as they fell upon a black dog standing a couple of meters away from her.
The dog was large, shaggy and black and it seemed to be looking right at her. She looked back. He tilted his head to the right as if regarding her with great interest. Shaking her head, Willow looked back at her lap top, checking out some sites.
The next time she looked up, the black dog was gone.
* * *
The good thing about being an Animagus was that when you were in animal form, you could do whatever you wanted. You were free. Free to look at people, free to wander the streets, chase birds or just lie on the ground, watching everyday life pass you by.
Of course the chance of being caught here, in the grand Rio de Janeiro, amongst all the people was very small, Sirius Black preferred to keep a low profile. You never know when a wizard dressed as a common Muggle was around, looking for him. Therefore, Sirius only changed into his human form when it was absolutely necessary, when he was hungry and wanted a proper meal instead of rats for example.
He had been here in Brazil for a week. A week in which nothing extremely interesting had happened. He and Buckbeak had flown in during the night, taking shelter in a small cave near the beach of Copacabana.
Every day he would turn into the dog and go out to enjoy the sun after so many years of being locked up in the wizard prison, Azkaban. He would watch the Muggles with amusement. It amazed him to no end how they got through life without using magic. He would wander up and down the beach, looking at people and how they interacted.
In the early evening he would return to the cave and spend a little time with Buckbeak, telling him about his day. After the sun set he would head out in his human form and peruse the city when it was in its glory. Lovers walked up and down the streets, singing and dancing, going in and out of various dance clubs. Sirius had been in one or two clubs himself, watching with great interest as the couples danced various dances. It was quite different from the dancing he was used to seeing. It looked like fun though. He never tried it.
After a few hours he would head back to the cave, stopping in small restaurants and buying some take out food for Buckbeak and himself.
Today had been just like any other day. He woke up at dawn and took a swim in the ocean, using it as a bath. He ate the leftovers from last night and left the cave as a dog. He went to the beach and walked amongst the towels and people. It was around noon when he saw her. A pretty red head, lying in the sun, typing something on some machine he did not know. It wasn’t her beauty that stopped him, even though she was beautiful from the point he saw her, it was the power that surrounded her. He could feel the magic around her and stopped.
Was it possible that she was a witch sent to look for him? If yes, how did she know that he was here? And what was that machine? It didn’t look magical; it looked like a Muggle machine. Did that mean that she was a Muggle? If she was, why did powerful magic surround her?
A million questions ran through his mind as he regarded the red head warily. He kept looking at her even when she looked up and saw him. He saw her frown and inclined his head to the right, trying to tell if she was a friend or an enemy. They looked at each other for a few minutes before she looked back at the machine.
He trotted away, thoughts of the red head never far from his mind.