End of Hopes
End of Hopes
Main Characters: Willow, Richard (QPC #43), mention of Willow/Oz
contains mentioned violence & character death, also mention of illegal movie making practices..
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books.
Distribution: QPC, WWW, NHA, WLS, Bite Me please?, Twisting the Hellmouth
note: set slightly Au late season 4. Tara who? Just after Killing Dance for the AB-verse.
note 2: :words inside colons: are someone over the phone. This is the person on the 'other end'.
Richard looked around at the mess. Raina and Gabriel had their dirty set up, making their disgusting movies, and they'd come to stop them. With violence, of course, because there was very little else that would slow down a sadistic were-leapard and a sex crazed vicious werewolf.
Wrecked sets made the place look like some unholy mingling of tawdry bedrooms, oddly well lit dungeon and for some reason, what looked almost like a room from an old pirate boat. Broken electronics and opened film had been scattered through the warehouse, and then there were the bodies. Before they did something about them, they'd best figure out who all of the fallen were, discover if they would have to be notifying people that their dear son or daughter or lover had been killed.
One of the more mangled bodies belonged to a young man, hardly more than a boy, named Daniel Osborne. He'd come to St Louis hoping to learn control, and hadn't said much about his past beyond that he'd been infected by accident, and it had caused some problems. Poor boy had changed his hair color almost every week, and hadn't he been a musician of some sort? There had been something else, someone 'back home' to notify if anything really bad should occur. A girl, possibly his girlfriend? She had a nature name, some type of flower, or tree... he had her name and number written on a card to call if anything happened. Something had, and now Richard had the responsibility of telling the poor girl that Oz was dead. He wondered if she'd even known he was were, or if she'd care about his fate if she did know.
He had a heavy feeling as he looked over the fallen. They'd stopped Raina and Gabrial, but the price had been high... even higher than simply the number of people slain. Each death would leave a hole in people's lives, of their pack mates, of their families, their loved ones. Raina and Gabriel had also scarred the minds and spirits of everyone in the pack and the pard of leopards. He wondered if they could heal from those double tolls of suffering.
It wasn't until morning that he made his way into his house, feeling as if every muscle and bone in his body, including a few he'd never known existed, ached. He'd had a bit of sleep, after, but it hadn't been restful. And now, he had to start notifying families.
With a slow, careful breath, he pulled out the card Oz had left. In the young man's sloppy handwriting there was a caption 'Willow Rosenberg - quite the human. Best person for end of the world doom and cheering towards an E minor, diminishing ninth' There was a number, and Richard dialed with numb hands. There had been so much suffering, so many tears already shed...
After a few rings, the phone was picked up, and he heard a voice, a young woman. She sounded oddly sorrowful. :Hello? This is Willow, and Buffy's not in right now...:
"Willow Rosenberg? Did you know a Daniel Osborne?" He was trying to figure out how to break the news to her.
:Oz... you know Oz? Wait, you said 'did I know'... past tense is bad. What happened to Oz?: Her voice was worried now, and she seemed to have immediately understood the reasoning behind his call.
"I'm sorry.... there really isn't a gentle way to put this. Oz is dead." Richard winced as he heard the words. His voice sounded almost flat, as if all the compassion and care had been used up.
:Dead... oh no... Oz... How did it happen?: Her voice sounded almost broken, as if he'd just shattered something inside of her.
"Did you now about his condition?" He had to know how much he could tell her. If all she knew was that Oz had left, explaining that he'd been killed by a crazed wereleopard would be a bit much.
:I know that Oz is... was a werewolf. That's... that's a good part of the reason he left, he was afraid that he'd hurt someone else... Was there any other condition that I should know about?: She sounded as if she was trying to pull herself together, to find out as much as possible before giving in to tears.
Richard gave a small sigh of relief. It was good that someone, somewhere didn't think that lycanthropy made you less of a person. "That's what I mean. Sometimes, members of the pack try to keep it secret, they fear bad reactions. There was... Oz was helping try to stop something very bad, and unfortunately he died."
:How bad is very bad? Are you meaning illegal bad or mass destruction, summoning of ancient evils bad? And... is he, um, dead dead? He's not coming back, not going to be a vampire?: He could hear the tremor in her voice, and Richard wondered what sort of life she lead, that Oz had lead before coming to St Louis.
"Some of the local shifters were making snuff films, and Oz died in the efforts to shut them down. He was trying to do the right thing, to make the world a bit safer and better..." Richard stopped, his throat closed off by the pain and grief for what had happened to his pack. Maybe he wasn't the Ulfric, but they were his family.
:Oh god... that's horrible. Are you certain... were all of the people involved... stopped? They won't be making more problems?: She sounded shocked.
Thinking back on some of the various efforts to 'stop' the guilty parties, Richard gave a small noise, a strangled sound that could have been anything. "They've all been taken care of. But now, we have to try to pick up the pieces, to rebuild and heal."
:That's something at least. I was just... I was hoping that when Oz felt like he had some control over his inner wolf... I was hoping that he could come back here, to me. But now, Oz... he won't be coming back. And I'm going to have to accept that, that he's gone forever now. I can't keep hoping any more that one day...:
Richard winced, her pain all to evident to him. Broken hopes and dreams... and him starring as the bearer of ill tidings. "I'm sorry. If I could make it different... but I'm sorry. He was trying to be a hero, to make the world safer... I've had to make too many of these calls today. I'm just... sorry."
:It's not your fault. I just... he's really gone now. Before, I could pretend that it was just for a while, only until he stopped being afraid, but now? Now it's really over, he's not coming back to me. I... thank you for calling, for letting me know. It's better than wondering, did he find someone else, did he forget about me...:
"I wish I could help, but..." Richard's voice trailed away, and he felt so helpless. He could tell that her heart was breaking, or maybe cracking again along half healed lines, and there was nothing that he could do.
:Just that you're there and I'm here. I know, and I'll... I'll manage. Maybe you should talk to a friend for a bit before making any more of these calls, talk about something that isn't all death and pain. I'll just... let you go about your everything. Thanks for telling me.: Her voice was a bit faint, as if she were retreating inside herself.
But what could he do? As he hung up, hearing nothing but a dial tone on the other end, Richard sighed. So many dreams and hopes and lives broken by Raina and Gabriel... it hurt.
end End of Hopes.