Title: We Hurt the Ones We Love the Most
Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Genre: BtVS/AB Crossover.
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things AB belong to Laurell K Hamilton, et al. The song “I Don’t Care” is performed by Shakespeare’s Sister.
Distribution: WLS, WLF, NHA, BMP, Aislin, TQC, TtH. That’s it. Don’t ask.
Author’s Note: Pairing #41 at The Quickie Challenge – http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com
“Mark the spot you hate with an X
Then shoot your bow and arrow
Do your worst, get it all off your chest
I'll hold my breath and swallow
We hurt the ones we love the most
It's a subtle form of discipline”
The house was quiet when Willow opened the front door. Not odd for a Thursday afternoon considering her live-in boyfriend was always away on business. He wasn’t due back for at least another week and, though it made her heart sad when he was away – she knew it was for the best. This time apart made her realize all the more how much she loved him.
The front hall light was on, and this time the red head paused, frowning. She was sure she had turned that off before she left that morning.
Wait – scratch that.
She had never turned it on this morning, period. The last time it had been on was the night before, right before she turned it off on her way to the bedroom.
So – why was it on now?
Another tentative step into her home and she was staring down the hallway. At the end of that expanse of powder blue carpet was the linen closet, a place they used mainly for storage.
And it was open.
She took a step back and around the corner, flattening herself against the wall. Her heart was pounding in her chest and hyperventilating was a very real possibility. Someone had been in her home! A someone that could very well still be there. It took her two deep breaths to calm her thudding heart enough to remember one very important fact about herself.
She was a witch.
A damn good one at that.
There was no reason for her to be all heart-pouding, lump in her throat terrified. Not when she held enough power in her pinky to deal with a common household thief.
Now. . . if it wasn’t a common household thief. . . things might get tricky. Yep, then she’d have to use the magic she had not only in her pinky, but in her ring finger as well.
She stifled a laugh at her own insane thoughts and turned back down the hallway. The doors to the guest rooms were closed, just as they should have been, and she passed by them without a second thought. The door to her bedroom was open, however, and while that was not unusual, the state of affairs when she poked her head in the door was.
Clothing was tossed haphazardly on the bed and the floor near the dresser. She looked into the room further, making sure there was no one waiting to jump out at her, and then stepped inside. Her eyes ran instinctively to her jewelry box – but that hadn’t been opened. Nor had her personal nightstand, though her boyfriend’s was. She felt the first stirrings of something other than fear in her heart as she glanced once more at the clothing on the ground.
It was all hers.
Willow moved, unthinking, to the dresser, staring into the empty drawers.
Nothing of his was left in them.
She felt weak in the knees now, and sat heavily on the edge of the bed, staring down at the empty drawer of her boyfriend’s nightstand. Just as barren as the dresser had been. His cufflinks and the watches she had given him – all gone.
It felt unreal, like she was in a movie. But this wasn’t a movie, this was her life, and she was curious to see whether or not there was even a note from him. Something to say why, after two years, he was ending things with her. Packing up his things like he was being chased by demons out of Hell wasn’t his style. He was too calm and collected for that.
She made her way on trembling legs to the kitchen, green eyes watery with tears. There it was, on the noteboard by the fridge, where she had tacked the cards he had sent to her while he was gone this last time. A note, in a clean white envelope. It pulled easily from the board, sending the little purple pushpin that had been holding it clattering to the floor, finally rolling somewhere beneath the dishwasher.
She paid it no heed, instead taking the envelope to the living room, where she collapsed on the couch clutching it in her hand. Whatever had happened wasn’t good or else he wouldn’t have left like this. Without speaking to her one last time. She sniffled, sliding a nail under the flap and slowly tearing open the envelope until she could pull free the paper within it.
Just one page.
One single, notebook-lined page.
Again that feeling of movie angst and movie drama came rushing back to her. It was as if through someone else’s eyes she watched herself fold open the letter, his familiar handwriting black against the stark whiteness of the everyday paper.
I wish I could be there right now to tell you what I am about to say.
But I can’t.
The work I do. . . Well, it wasn’t everything I always told you it was. In fact – it was none of that. I’m not a salesman. I just couldn’t tell you what it was that I do – for your safety and mine. Too many people would have used you to get to me.
And I couldn’t allow that.
These past two years were some of the best of my life. You were wonderful. Everything a man could have hoped for.
So that’s what makes this even harder.
It wasn’t you and yes, I know that sounds stupidly stereotypical. Believe me in this, though. It wasn’t you. This is completely my fault and I leave you now to keep you safe.
I did love you and will always do so.
Willow let the letter drop from her fingers to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably. The letter was so short. For two years she had gotten only half a sheet of paper. And it said. . . nothing.
He was in trouble, but didn’t want to put her in front of it. He loved her, but not enough to try to work through whatever was happening with her.
She curled up on the couch, inviting the darkness of sleep to come take her away from the pain she was feeling at that moment. When she woke the problem would still be there. The source of her grief would still be waiting for her. There was nothing she could do about it, and the pain was already eating at her heart.
Edward was gone.
And she cried.