Life or cheap facsimile
Life goes on whether you like it or not. This was something that
Willow was beginning to accept as her stay in St. Louis stretched
from days to weeks. She had a new life now. True, her life
wasn't anywhere near as exciting as it had been in Sunnydale but
it was nice to be ordinary for once. She needed this little bit of
peace. She should have known that the minute you realize that
you're enjoying something that Life or whatever the Powers that
Be would cruelly take it away.
She had fallen into a comforting routine. She went to her classes
and then came home to Auntie. She had even begun making dinner for
her aunt. Her aunt didn't try to push up the recovery process.
This was something that Willow would tackle on her own time. This
didn't mean that Auntie would let Willow wallow in misery. They
would go out to cultural events such as plays and even attend such
mundane things as movies. Willow was beginning to have fun.
Her classes at the university were challenging enough to keep her
attention. She was even working on a project for Dr. Fane. He was
probably one of her better looking professors. It made getting up
for class easier at least. It was in his class that she met the
person who would change her life.
Michael wasn't that extraordinary to look at but there was
something about him. His hair was that indefinable shade somewhere
halfway between blonde and brunette, the color that most people
referred to as dirty dishwater blonde. His eyes were a warm
chocolate brown that always seemed to sparkle with some inner
Willow always felt a little off-center when Michael was near. He
had this overwhelming energy to him that made her nervous. She
wasn't sure what to make of it. Maybe she was starting to fall
into the dark trap of infatuation. She couldn't completely avoid
him. He was in her study group and midterms were fast approaching.
So, she did her best attempts at avoidance and achieved limited
success. Maybe if she hadn't tried so hard then she wouldn't
have drawn his attention. So, she was a bit dumbfounded to find
that she kept running into him every time she was on the campus. It
was like he had some sixth sense when it came to her.
She just didn't know what to make of his attentions. She may
have gotten older but inside she still harbored the Willow who
always felt not quite adequate in the romantic department. She
would give him a weak tentative smile and then rush off to be
somewhere he wasn't. She felt foolish but still couldn't
stop her reactions to him.
Her flight from Michael just seemed to encourage him for some
reason. Some guys really enjoy the chase and it was especially true
for Michael. She intrigued him to no end. He could feel her aura
and it was so overwhelming at times. She was a mystery that he
wanted to figure out. He knew his actions were beginning to verge
on stalker behavior but still he couldn't help himself.
The situation couldn't continue like it was. A resolution had to
come to pass. Michael didn't realize that it would be so
explosive. One shouldn't corner a nervous witch. It has a
tendency to shorten one's life expectancy.
The confrontation was long in coming and everything came to head one
moonlit night when Willow was leaving the library from a study
session. She had practically fled the library after the group
decided that was it for the evening. She was quick but Michael
still managed to catch up to her before she could get to commuter
"Michael, I really need to get home. My aunt is expecting me.
She worries when I'm out late at night," Willow pleaded. She
tugged ineffectually on her arm. Michael kept his iron hold on it.
He seemed to be even more confusing to her up close. He reminded
her of dog straining at its leash. This just fed her nervousness
more. Her instincts were telling her to get away now.
"Willow," he practically growled. "We need to talk. I
like you and you're avoiding me. I think you like me too."
He stepped closer to her. Having him encroach on her personal space
just made her heart beat faster. She was confused. Was this a
crush or was it fear? Or maybe it was fear that she had a crush?
She halted her mental babble before it could get out of hand. Need
to stay focused. Have to get away from Michael.
"Michael can we talk about this later?" she asked. "I
really need to go and now is just not the time." She attempted
to simultaneously back away and remove his hold on her arm. His
grip tightened. `Wow, he is strong' Willow thought to
herself. He yanked her to him. He slowly bent his head to hers. He
was going to kiss her. Willow tilted her head up to his. One
little kiss wouldn't hurt, right?
She looked up into his chocolate brown eyes and was shocked. The
eyes were no longer warm brown. They glowed with an inner light.
The brown of his eyes had faded to amber. Her unease increased. It
had been a while since she had been confronted with eyes like this.
She hadn't thought of that night in such a long time.
She had been in a chemistry lab at Sunnydale University struggling
with the moral dilemma of cursing her cheating boyfriend and his
lover. She had all the ingredients ready for the spell but she just
couldn't bring herself to curse Oz. She still loved him.
Just as she came to that realization, Veruca, Oz's lover, came
barging into the room. Veruca was like Oz. They were both
werewolves. Willow knew she was in danger. Veruca planned on
permanently eliminating her competition.
Oz burst into the room before Veruca could carry out her threat.
They both changed into their halfway forms and tore into each
other. Oz tore out Veruca's throat. He was lost in the
bloodlust and was going to kill Willow. Buffy saved the day again
by shooting Oz with a tranquilizer dart.
Buffy wasn't there to save the day this time. Willow was alone
with a werewolf. She had to flee. Her fear permeated the air
around her. Michael gave a low growl. The moon was too close to
full and his control was slipping.
Willow unconsciously began to build her power. She had to protect
herself. She had to get away. Michael could feel the fear and the
beast within awakened. He struggled for control to stop the change
from coming on. He was a new wolf and his control was not iron
tight. His growling grew in intensity.
Willow reacted when Michael's grip on her arms became bruising.
She centered herself and eyes darkened to black. She broke his hold
and tossed him back several feet into a tree. She turned from him
and ran as fast as she could to her car.
She increased her speed when she heard the ripping of clothes.
Michael was changing and she was in danger of becoming food. Her
breath was coming out in pants. The world had narrowed down to the
sounds of feet hitting the pavement, panting breaths, and her heart
trying to thud its way out of her chest.
She let out a scream when she felt the impact of Michael slamming
into her. He reared up and she rolled onto her back. She felt the
claws as they raked down her chest. The burning pain strengthened
her resolve. She lost herself to the magic once again. The power
surged and flowed out of her hands and into Michael's furry form.
He arched his back and howled in pain. She still continued to pour
her power into him. She had to stop him from killing her.
He convulsed on top of her. She realized that the screaming was no
longer coming from him but her. He shuddered one last time and was
still. She felt the world was spinning and she couldn't get her
bearings. Blackness danced on the fringe of her eyesight. She
needed to get him off of her. She was bleeding badly. She needed
help. That was the last thought she had before succumbing to the