What You're Looking For
Willow Rosenburg sat on a bus and looked out the window as the sign saying she was leaving Sunnydale passed by. 'Come Again Soon' is what it said. Willow had no intention of returning. She was leaving Sunnydale and the Hellmouth forever.
She wanted a normal life. A life without demons and monsters. A life where she wasn't constantly in danger. Willow wanted....
Willow wanted Tara. But Tara was dead. She died saving Buffy. She died because Willow was in love with Buffy. She had always been in love with Buffy, but Buffy was an unattainable love. A person who could never love her back. Tara could, and did. Tara loved her enough to die in Buffy's place.
Willow couldn't forgive herself. She couldn't forgive herself for loving Buffy. She couldn't forgive herself for putting Tara is harms way time and time again. All because she couldn't let Buffy go. Tara died because she loved Buffy.
Willow didn't know where she was going. She didn't care. Anywhere would do. Her only requirement was that the place she was going didn't have a Hellmouth. Willow was tired. She was tired of it all. Willow wanted a normal life.
Willow wanted to forget.
* * * * * * * * *
"So she's gone?"
Xander, Spike, Angel, and Doyle where all sitting at a bar getting good and drunk. The entire group had arrived in Sunnydale a few days before. The only two people who had stayed behind were Kate and Cordelia, but they were set to arrive in the next few days.
"Is she coming back?" Spike asked.
"Why do you care?" Xander asked angrily.
"Hey, I like the little witch," Spike said defensively.
Xander laughed under his breath. The truth was he believed the bleached blonde vampire. Everyone liked Willow. It was just her way. Even when you wanted to see her dead, you couldn't help but like her anyway.
"She has spunk," Spike muttered more to himself than to the others.
"That she does mate." Doyle lifted up his glass. "To Willow. May she find what's she's looking for."
* * * * * * * *
The bus arrived in some small-unnamed town a little after midnight. Willow decided it was a good a place as any to get out. Willow grabbed her bag from the compartment and exited the bus.
The town looked deserted, but Willow had lived on the Hellmouth for too long and she knew to be on her guard. She walked a few blocks when she heard someone breathing.
*** Well at least that rules out vampires. ***
Willow shook her head. Even this far away from Sunnydale she couldn't get the darkness out of her head. Willow continued to walk until she sensed someone following her. A part of her told her to run but another was way too curious of its own good.
Nowhere Left To Run
Willow walked down the streets of Wolfton. She still had a hard time believing that the town was almost entirely populated by werewolves. Oz had called it, a safe place, a place where werewolves could go and not feel hunted or hated.
Oz had found a home. Willow smiled. She was happy for him. A few months before he had even become Pack Leader. Willow still wasn't sure what that meant, but she knew it was big.
Willow had been living in Wolfton for over a month. She had even gotten a job as the local healer. Most of the other wolves had been wary of her until they found out that she was Oz's friend. Then they became nice and friendly. (Well most of them anyway.)
Willow had talked with Oz for hours about Tara and how she died. She even told him how she felt about Buffy. Willow was glad to see Oz again and she was glad that he had found happiness.
"Hey, Willow." Willow turned from her musing and saw Kyle standing a few feet away.
"Hi, Kyle." Willow smiled at the young werewolf.
Kyle had been one of the first to accept Willow. He had been born in Wolfton and had known very few humans. Even with all the stories about how evil humans were, he still walked up to Willow the first day she arrived and they had been friends ever since.
"Where you going?" Kyle asked.
"Nowhere in particular."
"Oh." Kyle's eyes flashed with amusement. "Can I come?"
Willow smiled. "Sure."
Willow and Kyle walked through the town and into the woods. They continued to walk until they arrived at a river. There Willow stopped and sat on a rock and stared into the river.
"My daddy says the river talks to him," Kyle said after awhile.
Willow smiled. "What does the river tell him?"
Kyle paused for a moment. "Daddy says that even the river can't run forever. Eventually it hits a wall or a bank or the ocean. It has to stop some time."
"What does it do then?"
"It goes home."
"What if it doesn't have a home?"
Kyle smiled. "Everyone has a home Willow."
Willow smiled at the young werewolf. Although he was young, she saw intelligence in him. Like her, he had grown up in a sheltered yet dangerous environment. Unlike her, he knew of the danger from an early age. He was a special young man.
"Are you going home, Willow?" Kyle asked.
Willow thought about that for a moment. The truth was, she missed Sunnydale. Even with all the danger and the evil, it was her home. It would always be her home. Most of all she missed Buffy.
"I don't know," Willow said simply.
"OK." Kyle smiled and then looked up at the sky. "Its gonna be a full moon tonight. We better get going."
Willow nodded and followed Kyle out of the woods. Oz had taught the other werewolves how to stop the transformation and they had taught him how to embrace it. The werewolf inside of him wasn't evil. It was just primal. Like all primal needs, it needed a release. The werewolf could be controlled, but never defeated.
On the night of the full moon, all the werewolves in Wolfton allowed the change to happen. It was not struggled with or feared. It was embraced. Even the humans in the town celebrated the release. Oz had come to realize and except who he was.
He was Oz, Pack Leader to the Wolfton Werewolves.
* * * * * * * *
Willow awoke to find herself floating in a blue mist. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew she should have been afraid. Yet, she felt nothing but peace. After she got her bearings Willow looked up and saw what could only be identified as a Goddess.
"Who are you?" Willow asked.
The Goddess smiled. "My name is not important. My message is."
"Your destiny is not here, my little witch."
Willow frowned. "My destiny is gone."
"No it is not. Tara was not your destiny."
"I loved Tara," Willow said on the verge of tears.
"I know. And she loved you." The goddess paused. "She loved you enough to see beyond the veil. To see beyond her own wants and desires. She loved you enough to die in someone else's place."
"Yes, the Slayer."
"Why did she do it?" Willow could no longer hold back her tears.
"It was her destiny." The goddess paused again. "Every mortal come to a point where they must make a choice. Take one road or another. The road easily traveled or the road less traveled. Tara made her choice. " The goddess smiled. "She made the right one. "
"How can you say that!" Willow said angrily.
"Because Tara has found her reward. And you my child will find yours."
"You know the answer already. You just need to find the question."
With that the goddess vanished and Willow woke up from her dream.
* * * * * * *
"You're going back?" Oz asked Willow the next morning.
"I have to," Willow responded.
"Do you mind if I tag along?"
Oz smiled and handed Willow a card.
You are cordially invited to the wedding of
Willow smiled. "I guess they opted for the short engagement."
Oz smiled back, "Living on the Hellmouth, that's a good idea. Live in the short run." Oz smiled again. "By the way. You've got one too."
"You told them I was here."
Willow smiled at Oz. "Well then, we have a wedding to attend."
Two hours later Willow and Oz were on their way back to Sunnydale. They were on there way back home.
What You Make Of It
Cordelia was in her element. That was the thought that kept going through Kate's mind as she watched the woman she loved plan the wedding of Giles and Joyce. It had been pure genius to ask Cordelia to plan the party.
Not that there was much to plan. There weren't many guests. Neither Joyce nor Giles had anyone outside of Sunnydale and LA that they wanted to invite. Giles had some aunts that he was fond of and Joyce wanted to invite a friend of the family that she always considered to be her grandmother. Besides them, the only others to be invited were the Scooby gang. Which now included Kate and Doyle.
The actual wedding was going to be simple. And most definitely in the daytime. Angel and Spike would have to watch the taped footage, which Xander promised to make. Kate had found that funny. Both Angel and Spike had been disappointed to miss such an event. Spike had even stormed out and gotten drunk with Doyle, who was always up for another game of, "I can drink you under the table. "
The wedding was just a week away. Giles' aunts would arrive in Sunnydale the next morning and Joyce's "grandmother" would arrive the day after. Everything was set. And yet, there was something, or more to the point, someone missing.
Oz had called Giles they day after Willow had arrived in Wolfton. Since then there had been no word on either of them. Kate had heard stories about Oz and Willow and their breakup. She had never met the werewolf but she knew she would like him. Hell, she liked everyone else in the odd little family she had managed to become a part of.
"Kate would you mind coming with me to the gallery and help me with something?"
Kate was shaken out of her musings and saw Joyce standing by the door holding a big box. Kate immediately jumped up and helped carry the box to the car. After a few moments she consented to go to the only art gallery in Sunnydale.
"How long have you been a police officer, Kate?" Joyce asked, trying to make conversation.
Kate smiled. "Just about all my life. My father was a cop."
"I know you don't have much faith in cops." Kate smiled. "From what I've heard the police in Sunnydale are either very stupid or blind."
"Maybe a little of both." Joyce paused. "Buffy's been arrested more times then I can count."
"I know." When Joyce looked at her funny Kate continued, "When Angel showed up in LA I did a background check on him. Not much to find, but I did find a connection to your daughter."
"Must be an interesting read?" Joyce snickered.
"Oh yeah it is. Almost as interesting as the read on Angelus."
"Have you ever met, Angelus?"
"No. I haven't had the pleasure."
"I have." Joyce paused. "Definitely not someone I would want to meet again."
The conversation drifted for awhile. When they arrived at the gallery Kate helped Joyce move some boxes and some artifacts. They worked for a good hour before either of them spoke.
"I guess you are wondering why I asked you to come with me?"
"It crossed my mind."
Joyce paused. "Sunnydale is a strange town. In some ways everything about this town goes against the basic order of things. "
"What do you mean?"
"When Buffy and I arrived in this town I noticed one or two things." Joyce smiled. "I may not have known that my daughter is the slayer but I did realize that her two best friends didn't have a stable home life. Later, when Cordelia became a friend I realized she didn't either." Joyce paused. "I guess since most people don't live very long in this town, parents don't form strong attachments to their children. None of them had parents that cared much about them."
Kate didn't say anything. Cordelia never talked much about her family. Kate had always assumed it was because her father was in jail. Now Kate realized it was because Cordelia never really had a family to begin with.
Joyce continued, "Somewhere along the line, Rupert and I became their parents. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but it did." Joyce paused again. "I guess I am telling you this, because I care about Cordelia and I wanted to make sure...."
"I love her, Joyce."
Kate finally understood why Joyce had asked her to along. Joyce wanted to know what her intentions were with Cordelia.
Joyce smiled. "I just wanted to hear you say it. Cordelia is an interesting girl."
"Yes, she is." Kate smiled.
"Its funny. I always wanted a large family, and now I have it. I guess the old saying is true."
"What old saying?"
"That a family is what you make of it."
Kate could do nothing but agree. Especially since she had just been formally excepted into this very strange family.
If I Let You
Everything was ready. The plans had been made. The guests had arrived. Everything was going according to plan. More or less. The day of a wedding is hectic even if everything goes as planned, but nothing ever goes as planned when you live on a Hellmouth.
One. Giles couldn't find his glasses.
Two. Xander's best man outfit was all wrong.
Three. Buffy had gotten blood all over her dress. (Slaying in your formals is not a good idea.)
Four. The flowers were the wrong color.
Five. No Willow.
While everyone else was panicking to the extreme, Cordelia was in full wedding planner mode. In a matter of minutes she had found Giles' glasses (They were on his head), had called the tux guys for Xander (the new outfit arrived in time for the wedding), had gotten a new dress for Buffy (she figured Buffy would go through at least one) and gotten the right color flowers (Carnations are so not for weddings).
The only thing that was beyond even Cordelia's power was getting Willow to the wedding.
The last any of them had heard, Willow was living in some werewolf town that was run by Oz. Everyone got a kick out of that. They were all proud of what Oz had done with his life. They were also happy that there was someone to look after Willow.
Everyone was happy, except for Buffy.
Cordelia was no fool. Even without prophecy visions she could tell that Buffy had it bad for Willow. The way she sulked and brooded. It was just so much like Angel, Cordelia almost laughed. They had rubbed off on each other a little too well.
"Cordelia, help," Kate shouted from one of the upstairs bedrooms. "My shoes don't fit."
Cordelia smiled. "I'll be right there." Cordelia was about to head upstairs when the doorbell rang.
"You take care of Kate, Cordy." Buffy ran to the door. "I'll get the door."
Cordelia smiled and headed upstairs. She had just about made it when she heard a shriek.
Cordelia didn't need to turn around to see the looks on her two friends' faces. She just smiled and continued to head upstairs. Now the wedding could begin.
* * * * * * * *
Buffy and Willow were setting up for the wedding. Everything had finally been taken care of. Both of them were promising Cordelia anything she wanted, and both of them were hoping that she wouldn't collect.
"So, how was your trip?" Buffy asked.
"Not bad," Willow said simply.
"I'm not sure if I told you, but I am really sorry about Tara."
"I know," Willow said sadly, "I needed to get away."
"I understand. If anyone understands, it's me."
Both girls continued to work for awhile. Neither of them spoke. Neither of them knew exactly how to say what they needed to say.
"I did some thinking when I was away," Willow said finally.
"My future mostly."
"I had a dream the night before Oz and I decided to come back to Sunnydale. There this woman...a goddess really, who told me that I already knew the answers and that I just needed to find the questions."
"Did you?" Buffy said, not sure she understood.
"So, what are they?"
Buffy smiled. "Yes."
"The answer I came up with is, 'if I let you.'"
Buffy paused for a moment noticing her heart was beating faster then it had in a long time, "And the question?"
Willow paused for a moment, "Can you love me as much as I love you?"
A Hellmouth Of A Wedding
Buffy stood at her position, watching her mother getting married. Her mind however was on other things. Willow had told her she loved her. Buffy was going to respond but that was the moment Cordelia entered the church and ruined the moment. It didn't matter though. It was still the happiest moment in Buffy's life.
"... have chosen to say their own wedding vows."
Buffy tried hard to concentrate. This was an important moment in her mother's life and Buffy was determined to due her job. Even if her job was just to stand up for her mother.
Joyce smiled awkwardly, "I've been asked a few times, whether it was love at first sight." Joyce smirked, "I just smile at them and say no. How can I tell them that I hated you. I absolutely positively hated you. When we first met, I thought you were a dirty old man who spent way too much time around teenagers."
Everyone who knew the truth giggled a little.
Again people giggled.
"That was the moment I began to fall in love with you." Joyce paused again and wiped the tears from her face. "I fell in love with your dark side. The side of you that you call Ripper. I fell in love with your caring side. The side of you that has become a father to a bunch of teenagers, when you didn't have to be. I fell in love with the stuffy Englishman who drinks way to much tea. I fell in love with the librarian, the fighter, the scholar, the teacher, the father, I fell in love with you, Rupert Giles, and I will never stop falling in love with you."
Buffy listened to the words her mother said and realized how true they were. Her mother had finally found a man wouldn't lie to her, who wouldn't cheat on her, and most importantly, she found a man who loved her. He wasn't perfect, but he was real.
Giles choked back the emotions from his throat and spoke, "My dear Joyce. It wasn't love at first sight for me either. I did however have great respect for you. You were the woman who brought up such a wonderful young woman named Buffy. You were the woman who cared for her child in a time and place where very few parents care for their children. One of the greatest regrets in my life is not being able to tell you the truth about Buffy and myself. Here and now, in front of God and the people we both love, I promise to tell you the truth, always. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You make be believe again. You give me back something I thought I lost a long time ago. You gave me back hope."
Buffy looked around the church and saw that everyone was crying. The words hit them all. Buffy listened to the rest of the ceremony being performed. The whole time thinking about Willow and how her dreams had finally come true. Willow loved her too.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife," the priest paused, "You may kiss the Bride."
Where Do We Go From Here?
Buffy smiled at the red head asleep in here arms. In had been one interesting day to say the least. Her mom and Giles' wedding had gone without a hitch. The party afterward had been another story. One catastrophe after another. It was definitely a Hellmouth wedding.
Buffy had spent most of the night trying to talk to Willow. Each time it she thought she had a chance something got in her way. First it was Cordelia panicking when the cook got a sudden case of food poisoning. Buffy had to go to every restaurant in Sunnydale and bring back food for the guests. There was no way Cordelia would ruin her rep by serving food by cook who had food poisoning.
Buffy had gotten back just in time to see that a group of vampires had decided to crash the party.
*** And they didn't even have invitations. ***
The gang made quick work of them, only mildly ruining their formal wear. Even Joyce had gotten into the action. She had even managed to stake the lead vampire.
*** Slayer nothing. A pissed off bride is the ultimate weapon. ***
Explaining the fight had taken some quick thinking. Most of the guests didn't know about Sunnydale's demon residents. It had been Willow who explained about a local gang who loved causing trouble. Most of the guests just nodded and went back to the party.
There had been a few like Giles' Aunts who asked questions. Buffy liked both women. They were funny and intelligent, and they knew about Slayers and vampires. One of them had even made a comment about getting some action the next time.
After the impromptu fight everything settled down for awhile. Spike, Oz, Angel, and Doyle were sitting at a table playing drinking games. Cordelia, Kate, Xander, and Anya were sitting at another table trying to pretend they weren't playing footsie with each other. Willow was sitting at a table with Giles, Joyce, Giles' Aunts, and Joyce's grandmother. Buffy smiled and went to sit down next to Willow.
A short time later Giles and Joyce left to start their Honeymoon. Buffy tried not to get the wiggens but she still had trouble believing that her mother and her watcher had a love life, much less with each other.
Eventually the party ended. Most of the guests had left. By midnight the only ones left were the new and improved Scooby Gang, minus of course Giles and Joyce. The group began to clean up and then remembered they didn't have to. They had paid good money so that for once, somebody cleaned up their mess. They all laughed and then left.
On the way back to the dorm, Buffy and Willow had talked. For the first time, in a long time, they had truly talked. Buffy had learned more about Willow in those short minutes then she had, all the time they had known each other.
"So where do we go from here?" Willow asked.
Buffy just smiled. "Anywhere you want."
Buffy smiled and brushed a hair off of the sleeping Willow's face. They had both finally found each other and there was no way Buffy was ever going to let her go.
"So how was the Honeymoon, G'man?" Xander asked smugly.
"It was fine, and don't call me that," Giles said, pretending to be angry.
Giles and Joyce had spent a week in Hawaii. A pleasant, blissful, a not a demon in sight week. Now they were back to business. Giles had just the day before officially moved in with Joyce so Slayer Central had moved to the Joyce's (and now Giles') house.
"So no dirty details for the deprived minds?" Xander asked.
"No." Giles turned red.
"Hey, I saw that," Buffy exclaimed in mock horror.
The whole group, consisting of Kate, Cordelia, Buffy, Willow, Xander, Anya, Spike, Oz, Doyle, Joyce, Giles, and Angel laughed. Then a flash of light blinded them all. All they could see was the light and yet none of them were afraid. Then the light disappeared and in its place was a woman who could only be described as a goddess.
"Who are you?" Giles was the first to speak.
"My name is not important."
"I've seen you before," Willow said. "In my dreams."
"Yes, my child. You have all seen me before."
"You do seem familiar." Angel said simply.
"Yes, I've seen you before." Joyce looked the woman up and down. "When I was deciding where to move after Buffy was kicked out of school."
The goddess smiled. "Yes, and helped you to decide."
"Yes, that's right." Joyce smiled. "You told me to follow my heart."
"And it led you to Sunydale and your soul mate."
Joyce smiled and looked at Giles. At that moment she knew for sure she had made the right choice in coming to Sunnydale. Giles was her soul mate.
"Well, I've never seen you before," Anya said matter-of-factly.
The goddess smiled at Anya. "Yes, you have. I was there when you decided to become the patron saint of scorned women. I was there when you granted a wish to Cordelia. I was there when you decided to return to Sunnydale, to Xander."
"I didn't see you."
"But you heard me." The goddess paused.
The goddess turned to Spike. "Ahh, William the Bloody. The demon with a heart."
Everyone laughed except Willow. "I always knew you had a heart, you ol' demon you."
The Goddess turned to Angel. "And you Angelus, the demon with a soul." She turned to Doyle. "The Seer." She turned to Cordelia and Kate. "The prophet and the demon cop." She turned to Xander and Anya. "The eternal innocents." She turned to Giles and Joyce, "The parents." She turned to Oz. "The Werewolf King." And finally to Buffy and Willow. "The Slayer and the Hacker Witch." The Goddess paused. "You are all destiny's children."
"Who's a whats?" Xander asked.
"Destiny's children. You are the ones who were chosen a long time ago to be the driving force of fate. You are the ones who will change the world."
"You still didn't tell us who you are."
The Goddess smiled. "Ripper, I am the whisper you hear when you are not listening. I am the choice you have before you make a decision. I am..."
"Destiny," Willow said suddenly.
"Yes, my dear, and you are my children."
"Why are you here?" Angel asked.
"To give you a choice."
"What kind of choice?" Kate asked.
"A choice of destinies. Do you take the road traveled or the road less traveled. It is up to you."
At that the goddess vanished.
"What the Hell?" Spike said after a moment.
"I agree with Spike's sentiments." Xander responded, "What the Hell just happened?"
None of the spoke for a moment.
Giles removed his glasses, "I think she just offered us a normal life."