The guns stopped. Willow opened her eyes aware that something was not right. She should be dead, but magic coursed through her, reknitting the flesh and bones. But it wasn’t enough. It would never be enough. A figure was moving towards her, step by step and she realized that she was kneeling hands clutching at the cement. When had she fallen? She didn’t remember that, just pain only the pain. Then it happened. Someone screamed a question that echoed forever in her head.
“Why are they moving?” It bounced and broke and reverberated again. Feet raced past her and she heard the sounds of fighting, both before her and behind her. But still the one shadow moved closer, the barely checked wildness calling to her power. Like to like. Why were they moving… she wondered idly, then remembered and as the pain clamped down one more.
“Vampires…” She whispered, falling once more, then caught in his achingly gentle hands. There was blood on her face, in her mouth and she could taste it. He wiped it away. “Oz..” She sobbed, the pain ripping at her soul, dragging her downwards. The magic held her up, fought to keep her away from the light.
“Willow.” He said, sadly and not unkindly. The cool hands brushed her hair away, and his lips pressed once on her forehead. “Its time Willow, let go.”
'No!', screamed the magic, ripping frantically through her system. The cement ripped beneath her hand, the earths magic’s slowly seeping upwards and filling the empty places. Oz growled and held her upwards, the movement causing fresh blood to whisper from her skin. 'She is ours!' The magic screamed. 'She is us, we are her! She will not die!' Then softly, 'We will not die.'
Willow remembered dimly her days with Giles and the coven, of slowly building the glamour, piece by piece and the powerful shields that came with it. Of having to remake herself, at the news that Oz’s monastery had been taken over and that Oz, sweet and laidback Oz. Oz had been ordered to kill her. To break her down and destroy her completely. That Oz had agreed, with out even a moments hesitation. The earth had shown her, She’d seen it all. So the image had been re-spun, the hair lightened to a shade of gold and given curl. The eyes made blue and the height changed. They’d made for her a new identity, she was Giles’s cousin now, in the books, and in his home there were even pictures of a young Willow Giles.
Willow Rosenberg had been buried. A tiny cairn in the hills of England, aged through magic so that the rocks and body buried within were the right age, shape. Enough of her training had been done there so that the air and trees reeked of magic and of Willow. It was enough to fool anyone who didn’t know. She’d never gone back to Sunnydale. Never apologized. Never stood up with Anya and Xander when they’d married, going through the second ceremony without pause. Hadn’t seen Dawn graduate, Buffy retire when another new slayer was called. She’d seen Faith once, at a distance, and smiled to see the broken slayer standing tall, arm and arm with Angel. In a way Willow Rosenberg was dead.
“You..” She whispered, hearing the fighting, “Should go.”
“I have to see this to the end.” Oz returned, an odd light in his eyes.
“You’ll go to jail.” Willow returned, wanting him to go so that he wouldn’t die when she did. When her body shut down the magic would drain the area around her trying to keep her alive. That was when her magic reached for him and he dropped her. Stars rang bright in her head and she heard sirens. Then footsteps, coming from the haven. They stopped and so the sounds of fighting.
“Police.” Came a young and authoritative voice. “Back away from the girl.” Oz didn’t move, but instead pulled a gun and shot her one more time. He collapsed next to her as several bullets found his body. Willow screamed, the magic was desparate and seized on Oz. As the light faded from his eyes he took her hand and squeezed it.
“This way its you.” He whispered and died. Willow shuddred as the energy from his passing flowed inside of her. Still not enough. Then Cash was above her, a gentle hand on her face forcing her to look at him.
“I can save you.” He said gruffly, above him Julien Luna nodded gently. Willow felt her magic reaching out for them and she began to cry again, but still she nodded.