Notes: Very quickly, no Willow/Kennedy relationship. Kennedy went
off with the other Potentials and Giles in this fic and Willow went
to deal with the army while Buffy took care of some First Evil-ish
Notes2: Okay, now I'm sure none of you had heard of this movie,
considering its a Hindi film from the 90s called "Karan and Arjun",
and it's going to be the inspiration for this story. As well,
Christopher Pike's Last Vampire series will be big for inspiration.
India was hot.
She hadn't thought it would be this hot. Sure, she had heard the reports, Graham had told her over and over again that it was hot, and yes, she did know that hundreds of people died every year due to heat stroke. But none of that even came close to providing understanding how hot it really was.
And this was the cool season.
"Thank God I didn't come in summer," the redhead muttered to herself, wincing when the hummer carrying her and five other soldiers hit a snag in the rather bumpy, unpaved road. She had been in this vehicle forever, and they hadn't been on a paved road for about a day. Her butt was starting to hurt from the continuous bouncing. They better stop soon.
"Just about a mile more," the soldier on her left informed her. She spared the young soldier a small smile before fading back into her own thoughts. The past few days had been anything but fun. After Graham had rather rudely ended her conversation with Dawn, he had proceeded to drag her out of her own home by the arm. She could have fought him, but she decided to let it slide. If she was going to work with Graham, she was planning on annoying only every OTHER day. Otherwise, things might get a bit tense.
He had dragged her all the way to the airport, not even listening to her minor contentions about her luggage, which he had left at her house. At the airport, he all but shoved her onto a private plane and told her not to move from her seat. And so she took the time to make a careful search of the entire airplane. When Graham found her, his jaw was kind of twitching. It was mildly entertaining.
After all the luggage had been stowed away, she chose the farthest seat from Graham and settled in for the twelve-hour plus flight. It hadn't been the most fun she had ever had. And by the end of the flight, she was completely exhausted.
But there was no rest for this weary witch. After landing in New Delhi, she and the rest of the army-boys had been carted off into hummers, driven to the train station, and then put on a train heading somewhere south of the capital. She had tried to ask, but Graham did his whole "you're-on-a-need-to-know-basis" thing. She hated it when he did that.
After the train deposited them well into the heartland of India, which was a good two days later, she was placed into this hummer with her five companions. Luckily, Graham have had enough of her unique brand of being surly and chosen to ride in one of the other hummers.
By the way, if this was all hush-hush, why were they riding around in huge cars, arranged in some sort of odd envoy? Very shotty planning if you asked her.
And the heat didn't make anything at all better. She was clad in a pair of shorts and cotton tank top but still wilting from the temperature. You know, California can get warm, and hot on several occasions, but at least it let up every now and then. India was a competely different story. She had to apply and reapply sun screen every hour or so, and the soldiers made her cover up a few times because they didn't want her to burn.
Whatever. She would gladly burn as long as she didn't have to melt.
She sighed, turning her head upwards and glancing around at the cloudless sky. The sun was shining overhead, beating down mercilessly upon her and her companions. God, she needed to be indoors, preferably somewhere with air-conditioning.
She came out of her thoughts when the hummer began to slow down. She watched curiously as they neared a small village. The edge of the town was lined with people, watching as this parade of cars came their way. Willow felt a small smile touch her lips as she looked at these people. She really loved the way the people dressed here, especially the women. It was just so colourful.
They rolled right into the centre of town, the soldiers seemingly ignoring the surrounding townspeople. Willow watched as the five men travelling with her hopped out of the car and headed for the small market off to the left. She made to follow, giving a slight *eep!* when Graham suddenly appeared at her door.
"Stay put," he ordered her shortly. And then he was off, following his fellow soldiers. She supposed they were getting supplies or stuff. But still, who was Graham to order her around?
The redhead snorted to herself, waiting until he was a good distance away from opening her door and jumping out. There was a soldier standing there, she thought his name was Jake, giving her a look.
"Stretching my legs," she whined. "Please?"
Jake looked indecisive. But after a while, her pouting and whining finally got to him. He gave her a curt nod.
"But don't go to far," he warned her. "Wearing shorts and all, you're bound to get a bad reaction from some of the other people around here. This town is very traditional."
"Will do," she promised. "Just around the hummer and then I'll hop back in."
Jake sighed and nodded, giving a tiny shooing motion with his hand. Willow smiled gratefully before she stretched her legs and walked for a bit. She was looking around the town in open curiosity. It was simple, very simply, and kind of dusty. But it seemed kind of cozy. She kept looking, turning around the back of the hummer and smacking right into someone.
"Oh, sorry!" Willow apologized. The guy in front of her looked up, showing her warm brown eyes that nearly knocked her on her butt. A smile crossed his lips and Willow was speechless. He was clad in a light blue suit, the colour reminding her of the colour of the sky.
"It's quite all right," he assured her. Willow blinked.
"You can speak English?" she asked, obviously delighted. She hadn't stumbled across one Indian that she could actually hold a conversation with. The man just laughed, taking her hand and giving it a light pat.
"It's not that I can speak it," he informed her. "It's that you can understand me."
"Huh?" the redhead was lost.
Crap! Graham had found out she was out of the hummer. Willow turned around, seeing the angry soldier bearing down on her fast.
"Be safe little one," the man behind her murmured. "A lot depends on your success."
Willow turned back, wondering what he was talking about. But he was gone. The redhead blinked, looking around her for any sight of the man.
She jumped when Graham all but shouted in her ear. The redhead faced him, confusion on her face.
"Did you see that man . . .?" she trailed off, casting her eyes around as she tried to catch sight of him.
"What man?" Graham asked. "And where'd you get that?"
Willow was startled, following Graham's gaze to her hand. Resting on her palm was a lotus flower she hadn't noticed before.
"What in the world . . ."
"Come on," Graham jostled her, taking her by the arm. He cast a suspicious look around before ushering the slack-jawed redhead back into the hummer. He shut the door, nodding to the driver.
"Let's get out of here."