Silent Images Of Me
***Well, last week started off horribly with the news of Jeff Hardy's release from the WWE, and left me unable to write fic. But I guess what's done is done, and though I would love mope around about it, it's time to be an adult and get over it . . . with a new fic! Besides, having the Canucks advance in the NHL playoffs kind of made me feel a lot better (yes I am a hocky loving Canadian who fully embraces that lovely stereotype). Surprisingly, it is not a Jeff-fic, or a crossover fic that I'm starting, which has got to be a first for me. So, here we go!***
Title: Silent Images Of Me
Disclaimer: Joss owns all things Buffy.
Spoilers: "The Killer In Me" for Season Seven, but as you will see, it's an AU fic.
Summary: What if Buffy hadn't been the one to get Spike's chip removed . . ?
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 thingies.
"Buffy was right. It was a conspiracy."
She got only hard looks in response. Willow shifted uncomfortably, remembering that this probably wasn't the best time for her to be providing colour commentary. After all, getting snarky with the large men toting guns was not a good idea, under any circumstances.
So she avoided eye contact, bending down so that she was next to Spike, a protective arm going around his shoulders when she saw the hostile looks washing across the faces of the men.
"You do realize that we don't have any obligation to do this, right?"
She nodded, her heart sinking just a bit. Her eyes remained focused on Spike, and the vampire looked back at her sullenly, blood slowly dribbling down from his nostrils.
"He needs help," she replied. "And we need for what's to come. Don't you think it's a bit of your responsibility to help us out just a little? I mean, come on, it's not like guarding the Hellmouth is a leisure thing for us. We do it because we have to."
"A vampire isn't likely to help your cause in the least," was the sharp answer. "He's better off dying-"
"We need him!" she repeated, tone becoming slightly agitated.
"It's still not our problem-"
"You're the ones who did this to him!" she shrieked, angry green eyes turning on the group of army men in front of her. "Look, I'll be the first to admit that Spike sans chip was not someone you wanted around. But times have changed. You chipped him, he got souled, and in the end, we still need him."
She only got silence in response. The redhead swallowed a frustrated growl, finding herself disdainful of those stupid stoic faces once more. She hated them the first time around, she still hated them now.
"It would not be beneficial for us in any way to help him," came the response.
"The world is going to end!" she tossed back in desperation. There was a snort coming from the back of the group.
"Isn't it always in this hell town?"
Willow closed her eyes, counting slowly down from ten in her head.
"I will not turn them to rats. I will not turn them to rats . . ."
Spike snickered at her whispered mantra. The redhead opened her eyes, taking in his condition once more.
"He's our friend," she quietly started. "I know that means nothing to you, but it means a hell of a lot to us. We need him alive, and we want him that way as well. I know you don't have to do this, but I'm asking you to."
"Agent Finn does not control the military."
"God! Can't you see this needs to be done?" she snapped
suddenly. "We're asking for your help. Please!"
There was another silence. It stretched on longer than the last one. She closed her eyes in defeat, biting her tongue to keep from trying. Remorsefully she looked down at Spike, letting him know she was sorry. She had tried.
The vampire nodded, struggling to get to his feet. She helped him up, slinging his arm over her shoulders and steering him to the door.
"There would be a price."
That made her stop. The redhead exchanged a look with Spike, seeing his obvious and immediate dislike of that condition. But Willow had made a promise to several people, Buffy included, that she would do everything to see this done.
"What kind of price?" she asked softly.
"We do this for you, somewhere down the road, you do something for us."
"That's vague," she muttered unhappily.
"That's the best you're going to get."
"Don't do it pet," Spike rasped. "They're just messing with us."
Willow shook her head, giving him a small reassuring smile.
"If I don't do this, none of us may live to see the end of the year," she reminded him gently. "I'll take a debt to the army if it means increasing the world's chances of survival."
"I don't like it," he firmly stated.
"I don't either," she admitted. "But what else can we do?"
"Does that mean you accept?"
Willow sighed again, turning herself and Spike around, meeting the eyes of the men there once more.
"Do it," she ordered shortly. "I agree."
And with that, the deal was sealed. Three men stepped forward, taking the vampire off her hands and carting him off somewhere. The redhead followed behind them cautiously, wondering if she would even live to regret doing this.
***Three years later***
Canda was definitely different.
Willow hadn't really expected to be all that different, but it was. Nothing too obvious, just subtle little things that she couldn't quite name that reminded her that she wasn't in Sunnydale anymore. But then again, not being in Sunnydale wasn't the worst thing in the world. In fact, it was down right heavenly.
Vancouver on a whole was a lovely city, though she hardly ever saw it. No, she was more than happy to stay in her small little house in Burnaby, hardly ever venturing near large city centres or the border. She had set up a new life here, and she enjoyed it.
It was a little lonelier, now that Dawn had moved out and onto university. The little brunette had been accepted into Berkley back in California and promptly moved back there just last month. Dawn too had been a little sad at the prospect of leaving Willow and the new city that had been her home since the fallout of the encounter with the First, but she also wanted to be out on her own for once. Willow would never stop being there for her, and vice versa, but time had come for Dawn to grow up and be her own person. It was a bit sad for Willow that Dawn's own person was waiting to be found so far away.
But at least Dawn would be nearer to Xander and Anya, who lived quite comfortably in the suburbs of San Francisco. She would never be too far away from friends and family, something Willow had been very grateful for. Dawn had lost an awful lot over the years, including her mother, her father in a manner, and her older sister not once, but twice. It was time that the girl had something to look forward to.
Willow herself never fully recovered from the fight with the First. One of the main reasons she moved to Canada was to get away from the memories of her best friend, dying once more to save a world that would never really know how close it had come to alienation. The Hellmouth was no longer her concern, Faith and several Potentials staying behind to look after it. She had been free to go, free to live her life peacefully, somewhere far away from the horrors of the
Hellmouth. Dawn came with her for the same reasons, though many of their friends had chosen to remain behind.
Time had changed the redhead, not so much on the outside, but definitely on the inside. She liked to think she had grown, even if only in the tiniest manner. She wasn't the little high school loser from her teens, nor was she the out of control wicca she had been several years ago. Willow wasn't stupid enough to believe herself to be wise and all knowing in any sense, rather that she had gotten a bit smarter. Time away from the Hellmouth had done wonders for her perspective on life, and it had gotten to the point where she was at peace with who she was.
Figures that serenity would be dashed so shortly after she had found it.
She had forgotten all about it, forgotten about the debt though it had weighed on her mind heavily for months after she had made the deal. After the fight was over, the First defeated, all traces of it was gone from her mind. She didn't even have Spike around to remind her, the vampire disappearing into the night after reassuring himself that the survivors were all well. The redhead always had the sneaking suspicion that Angel would know where to find Spike, but she had never asked, never pushed. If Spike wanted to see them, he would come find them, nothing else to be done about it.
But none of that meant others had forgotten about the debt. No, they may not have collected it right away, but they remembered it. No doubt saving it for just the right time, which coinciding perfectly with shattering the calm life she had built up for herself.
It came suddenly one Sunday morning, right when Willow had been making her way to collect the paper. She had been wearing nothing more than her Snoopy pyjamas, long red hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, completely unprepared what waited for her when she opened her front door that day.
He stood there, two large guys behind him, facing the yard as if on the lookout for something. She had been shocked to see him, any of them, staring openmouthed for a minute before it all came crashing back down on her.
He had been unchanged since the last time she saw him, the only evidence of the time gone by was a slight scar over his eyebrow, one that immediately reminded her of Spike. And remembering Spike caused another memory to come forward, one that clued her in to his presence here, at her front step.
"Willow Rosenburg? I am Agent Graham Miller, I need to have a word with you."