Summary: My continuation of Buffy after the end of Season 7. Because we all know there's more to it! All basically from Willow and Kennedy's POV.
~ ~ ~ Keep your arms and feet in and hold on tight ~ ~ ~
A bead of sweat formed on Willow Rosenberg's brow as she sat down on the cold tiled floor of Principal Wood's office. The room was functional looking, but chairs and papers were scattered in disarray. Candles were lit and herbs were out and the spell was ready to cast.
'I can do this. I can do this,' was the mantra she had been saying to herself for the past hour. She had left the other Scoobies scattered around the school. Buffy, Xander and Giles. Her heart clenched with fear at the thought that -well- this really might not work and this may be the last day for good kind on Earth. Then she shivered at the thought that this spell really might work and she might wig out with the black hair and the darkness and the face and- her thoughts on that stopped as she looked up at the young woman crouched down across the way from her.
Firm brown eyes watched her every moment and the look she was getting was very no nonsense. Goddess, she was beautiful. She sighed as she looked down and shifted a candle a little, the scythe lying down on the floor in front of her. "They should be in place," she said as she rested her wrists on her knees and looked across the way at Kennedy. "Okay, magic time." She smiled a little as her nerves fluttered. "You, ready to -heh- kill me?" she asked as those nerves came out in her voice as a little laugh as she looked to her girlfriend.
"Starting to be…" Kennedy says seriously as she watches her.
Willow gives another little smile. "Great. Pun. Right," she lets out. "Brace yourself." She closes her eyes and begins to start her spell.
Kennedy's eyes narrow slightly wishing her energy into the redhead. "Come on, Willow," she whispered. "Make it happen." The brunette watched, her body tense as Willow's voice becomes faster, the words mixing together so she can't even understand them.
Willow looks up, not even seeing Kennedy anymore as the scythe and her hands begin to glow and it travels up her body, her eyes wide and her breath coming fast.
"Oh… my… goddess."
Kennedy feels the energy rush through the room, a massive well of power that could crush her radiating from Willow and the scythe. Just when it seemed too much she felt it. She took in a breath as power filled her body. She was stronger, faster; her senses were picking out the scent of the candles and the sweetness of Willow's shampoo. She could feel the energy beneath her feet. The evil that dwells there and her body trembled for a fight. And she knew in that one breath what a true Slayer was. She was a Slayer and she could take on the world.
She took in a quick breath grinning at the feeling. "Oh," she stared only to look over and she stopped seeing Willow. "Willow?"
The glow of white power that surrounded the young witch was so radiant that it turns her hair to white as she looked up to the ceiling seeing far beyond it. Tears streamed down her cheeks, her smile that of sheer joy with the beauty that fills her body, all traces of darkness gone. Then the white glow left her turning her hair back to it's natural red shade as she took in another breath lowering her head back down to look at her concerned lover. Her body spent now that the spell was done.
Kennedy smiles proudly and fondly at her, seeing the radiant beauty truly for the first time that is Willow. Knowing that it was always there, but to see it was magnificent. "You, are a goddess," she says lovingly.
Willow looked over to her feeling Kennedy's power swell around her. Willow smiles back, exhausted. "And you're a Slayer." She picks up the scythe with the last of her strength and hands it to her. "Get this to Buffy."
Kennedy takes it, looking at her one last time before she sprints off out the door and towards the Hellmouth.
Willow watches her go as a grin forms on her face like she had just drunk half the coffee in Columbia and stayed up three weeks straight. She giggles as she collapses onto her side. "That was nifty," she says out loud to no one in particular.
Kennedy rushed down through the seal opening to see the fight going on. Young women and one vampire against the hordes of Hell and she grins. She spots Buffy. "Buffy!" she calls out. "Catch!" She throws the scythe knowing full well that Buffy will do exactly that. She watches to see the blond snatch it out of the air without even looking and swing it around in a blaze of steel and hefts a nasty right in two. Kennedy grinned as a vampire took a swing at her. She jumped back, kicked high and with a fist of steel she connected it with the vampire's face throwing him back five feet. It hurt a little but the rush was incredible.
"Oh," she says happily as she targets the next on comer. "I could get use to this."
The fight gets furious and Kennedy does her best taking in her new powers and the training she already had previous. She sees out of the corner of her eye as a few of the Slayers fall to the vampires but she doesn't stop. She can't stop, even when some of the vampires get past and up the stairs. They want out, to the sewers to escape. They won't be looking for Willow. 'Don't find her,' she warns them in her mind. 'Fight them harder or your girl is vampire food,' she tells herself.
Slowly she found herself backed up against the wall by two vampires as she blocked their blows and struck back when she sees Buffy lying on the ground. Her heart stopped for a moment only to be amazed as the blond slowly picked herself up and began to fight again. Not far from the seal she flinched as Spike screamed out and suddenly there's a massive light and energy shooting up through the vampire through the school and to the sky.
Sunlight or energy, Kennedy wasn't really sure which poured out from Spike decimating every vampire in its path like a laser beam until it's just the slayers and him. "Everyone out, now!" Faith orders to them.
Kennedy lets some of the younger girls go up the stairs then she starts up. She's got to get Willow out. She sprints back as debris rains about the hallways and the earth trembles beneath her feet. "Willow!" she calls out as she slams in through the principal's door and slides to a stop to see Willow was slowly trying to climb to her feet but not being very successful. "Come on," she says as she darts over and picks the redhead up. Slinging one arm about her shoulder she grabs both of her wrists to support her letting her lean on her as she wraps her other arm about her waist and guides her out.
Dawn is just behind them holding Xander's wrist forcing him to leave as he calls out for Anya, none of them knowing that the ex-demon is dead in a pile of bringer corpses less than ten feet away.
"Come on," Kennedy says getting Willow outside as Giles is there at the doorway directing the survivors out.
"To the bus," the Englishman yells to them. "Hurry!"
The trembling of the ground increases as Kennedy gets Willow to the bus. Picking her up in her arms she carries her on board as Wood revs the engine of the bus up. Kennedy finds a seat halfway down the aisle settling Willow into her lap and the redhead to tired to protest leaned into her resting her head into Kennedy's neck as she watches Slayers scramble on board.
Willow watched tiredly as she looks to her oldest friend across the aisle, scratches on his face and a little stunned looking and she looks around to see that Anya had not come on board. Andrew had claimed a seat to himself two seats behind Xander, huddled in fear and shock, which only meant one thing. Her heart dropped; as much as Xander and Anya had problems in their relationship she knew that Xander loved the quirky woman. She glanced back to see Dawn at the back of the bus watching… waiting. Faith came climbing on board right behind Giles as the school began to crumble.
Wood took off and the bus began its race through the dying city and Willow's heart stilled. Buffy had not climbed on board. She clenched Kennedy's arm softly, not having the strength to do so harder. "Buffy," she whispered.
Kennedy looked around the bus and cursed to herself not seeing the annoying woman on board. She kissed Willow's forehead. "She'll make it Will," she whispered to her as Willow trembled. "She'll make it." And she prayed to any higher beings out there that she would be right. To lose her friend would devastate the redhead. And… she had to admit she admired the blond. Now that she had the Slayer gift she understood exactly what Buffy had been trying to browbeat them into understand. However, now, she thought, looking around, she wasn't alone; there were probably hundreds of Slayers. She looked to Willow and kissed her head again. She really wasn't alone and for that she understood Buffy's attitude and demeanor. That knowledge, that feeling of being the only thing between mankind and hell, that had to damage your mind after so long.
She watched as the bus raced along, the engine screaming as the city literally fell away behind them. There was a thunk on the roof of the bus back a ways and Kennedy saw Willow smile softly at it.
Finally Faith called out. "Ease off. We're clear."
Slowly the bus came to a halt. Kennedy looked down at Willow and green eyes open and looked up at her. "Let's go see," Willow tells her.
Kennedy waits until those that can get off do. She helps Willow out and once on the ground they look back.
Willow swallowed as she felt Kennedy slip her arms about her waist holding her steady. Her childhood home, the place her grew up was gone. A crater in the earth and her heart broke. Tara's grave… Joyce's as well, the college, the high school, everything she owned. Gone. She watched as Buffy and Dawn walked a little ways from the bus towards the crater. She patted Kennedy's arm and they withdrew, the new Slayer knew that she needed this time to herself with her friends, the ones who started it all seven years ago. She walked towards her friends as Xander came up and held her as they went towards Buffy, Dawn, Faith and Giles.
They stop to look, as all that remained of the city was the sign. 'Welcome to Sunnydale'. The hole in the ground was massive, well over a mile around. Willow watched as the sign slowly toppled over into the crater, sort of as an ominous signal that their struggle was over. No more 'One Slayer', or the Hellmouth to guard against.
"Looks like the Hellmouth is officially closed for business," Faith said standing just behind Buffy and Willow.
Giles cleared his throat. "There is another one in Cleveland," he started then stopped as he got looks from his group. "Not to spoil the moment," he petered off.
"We saved the world," Xander said in a sad awe.
Willow took his hand and squeezed it, as she felt tired but excited that everything had worked. "We changed the world," she replied looking to Buffy. She felt it, all through her, her friend, Faith, the girls behind her and throughout the world. It had connected her with them and she knew them all. The spell she had cast had changed her. "I can feel them, Buffy," she said. "All over. There are slayers awakening everywhere."
It was then that she realized that just like Kennedy and the other girls she had been a potential as well. Not a Slayer, but a witch, her power was clean and pure, it had been diluted by dark magic as she struggled to unlock what was there to begin with and only then with that spell had her true self shown through. Something she was sure Tara had seen when they first met, something she couldn't see herself. Not until now. 'Goddess bless you Tara,' she thought.
"We'll have to find them," Dawn said from the other side of Buffy.
Willow let her power drift out and she knew where they were and she smiled knowing that her life was never going to be ordinary again. "We will," she assured her softly.
"Yes, because the mall was actually in Sunnydale, so there is no hope of going there tomorrow..." Giles started only to have Dawn interrupt.
"We destroyed the mall? I fought on the wrong side…" she replied a little grumpily.
"All those stores gone," Xander said as he wrapped an arm about Willow's shoulders and she leaned into him, her last reserve of strength was going. "The Gap, Starbucks, Toys R Us. Who will remember these landmarks unless we tell the world of them?"
"We have a lot of work ahead of us," Giles started.
"Can I push him in?" Faith asked glaring at the ex-watcher.
Willow watched Buffy as her friend just looked out over what was once Sunnydale, just watching, reflecting. "You got my vote," Willow said tiredly.
"I just want to sleep, yo. Like for a week," Faith said and Willow agreed, wanting to change it to a month as her brain started to shut down craving that healing sleep.
"Yeah, the First is scrunched, so…" she said. "What do you think we should do, Buffy?"
"Yeah," Faith said excitedly as she paced around a little behind her, "you're not the one and only chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a normal person. How's that feel?"
Dawn looked to her sister. "Buffy? What are we going to do now?"
Buffy slowly begins to smile as she decided on her answer. She turned and looked to them and slowly to the desert around them, then to the group waiting by the bus. "First. We head to L.A. Angel will take us in seeing how we don't have anything here. From there," she said with a soft smile. "We'll talk."
They smiled back as Buffy went over to Willow and hugged her and Willow drooped a little. "Sorry," Willow said back. "A little tired… spell stuff… you know."
Buffy nodded holding her friend. "Yeah, I know." She kissed her cheek. "You did good, Will."
Willow smiled as her heart was filled beyond bursting. Slowly they parted and Buffy went and hugged Xander as both of them held onto Willow keeping her upright. Willow felt another hand on her arm and looked to see Kennedy had come up watching her warily. "Just a little tired," she whispered as her eyes rolled back and the three that loved her most caught her before she fell.
Kennedy took her into her arms. "I'll watch out for her," she told them holding the redhead protectively.
Buffy and Xander smiled a little as the brunette held Willow and Buffy nodded. "Take good care of her Kennedy," she said. She looked her over about to say something but changed her mind then nodded towards the bus as Dawn came up and she put her arm about her sister. "Let's go find a new home."
"One without the creepy crawlies please," Dawn said as she yawned. "Too much."
Kennedy carried Willow back onto the bus looking to Wood who was looking worse for wear. He watched them; sweat beading down his face as the pain lit through him. Faith had moved him to the bench behind the driver's seat. "She okay?" he asked tiredly.
Kennedy sat down in the seat behind him and cradled Willow in her arms resting her back into her as the redheaded witch slept. "She will be," she replied. "You going to live?" she asked.
He nodded slowly as he swallowed and Faith climbed on board. "Yeah, he's got a bet with me," the dark Slayer said looking to Wood's wounds. "I'll beat ya back to life if you don't."
Kennedy looked between the two and smiled just a little seeing that the two opposites were attracted. The well-educated, somewhat refined principal and the ex-con high school drop out. Kennedy leaned into Willow taking in the scent of her hair. "Wake up, Will," she whispered softly. "You're missing out." She smiled as Willow didn't move and she knew she wouldn't as she kissed her ear and sat back up as the rest climbed on board and Giles took the driver's seat.
The eldest of the group sat for a minute then slowly stood and looked to them. All of them, taking them in and he smiled fondly at them. "You all did very well," he told them like a proud father. "Very well." He looked like he wanted to wipe his glasses off to focus on something else but he no longer had them. He nodded once then sat back down and started the bus up and headed on toward L.A.
Buffy sat back in the seat, exhausted as she held Dawn's hand; her sister hadn't left her side. She looked around and saw that a third of their group was gone, dead or lost to the destruction of Sunnydale. She saw that Xander was alone and Anya was missing. Anya, Spike, Amanda… others she didn't know their names. She closed her eyes and breathed out. There would be time to cry later when it all came crashing down.
She learned from these last two dark years as she took in Xander's face then to Kennedy and Willow. She would not turn her friends away again. Ever. They were friends until forever and she had a feeling that even if they choose not to fight the good fight anymore and went their separate ways, they would stay in touch. They had been through too much and bonded too close and she had almost seen that bond break. Never again she vowed.
She watched as Kennedy cared for Willow and though she was sad at the loss of Tara, she knew that Willow and Kennedy would be a fixture in her life. Witch and Slayer, partners and by her side, and Kennedy would be a pain in the ass and riding her about everything. It was her nature, as it was Buffy's. But the brunette if anything was loyal, tough and solid. Funny that she really didn't know anything about her other than her first name.
"Kennedy," she said softly looking at her. The young woman looked across the way at her. "What's your last name?"
Kennedy looked at her surprised as a few other heads turned to look at them. "What?" she asked.
Buffy smiled as she closed her eyes. "You're holding my best friend, planning the permanent fix thing, and I want to know what your last name is."
Kennedy blinked at this. "Um… Mars, actually."
Buffy opened her eyes and looked her way. "As in the planet?" she asked thinking it was an odd name.
Kennedy scowled. "Yeah."
"Like the Martian," Andrew finally piped up not watching them as he pressed his forehead to the window. He was a little out of it. "Marvin the Martian. He was cool."
Kennedy glared as she shook her head and looked back to Willow. "Kennedy Mars…" Xander said looking to her. "Like a Mars Bar." His stomach growled. "I could go for one," he said.
"You can eat at a time like this?" Rona whispered as she leaned on Vi. She needed a hospital but for the moment they were out of luck until they reached a big city. L.A. was an hour drive. She could make it though. She made it through the Hellmouth; she was going to be alive to see afterwards.
"Anya could do it," Xander said. "Sleep through anything, eat through anything," he said losing himself in memories.
"I got mints," Andrew said as he dug around in his pocket and pulled a half used pack of Mentos. "The breath saver. Didn't want to go into the fight with bad breath." He handed the pack over to Xander who took it half-heartedly but opened it up and stuck one in his mouth.
Kennedy listened to him ramble on for a little while then she pressed her cheek into Willow's hair and closed her eyes. If only they knew about her name. She assumed she'd have to tell them if they were going to be spending a lot of time together now that the first was gone.
~ ~ ~ L.A. here we come ~ ~ ~
The sun was just hitting noon when the bus drove into L.A. Kennedy was still awake and looking out at the massive city. She had never met Angel but Willow had mentioned him and had gone a week back to help out and bring Faith to Sunnydale. He lived in a rundown hotel.
She watched as people in SUV's and cars looked to the worn torn bunch half sleeping half just sitting in silence as the bus moved along. They weren't a pretty sight and onlookers reflected that back. Kennedy looked to Willow who hadn't budged other than to shift in her sleep. She herself had calmed down her slayer senses so new she squeaked when she turned to quick. Noises from the engine, whispered conversations, smells- some not so great, and she was getting hungry.
"Turn up here," Buffy said softly to Giles. The bus turned as the ex- watcher nodded that he had heard. Soon enough they were headed down normal streets and off the freeway and Kennedy spotted a sign with an H and an arrow on a sign and slowly the bus came up to a large hospital.
Buffy looked around as the bus pulled up the drive. "We can't all stay and wait here, way too many questions. Giles and I will stay here to fill things out and talk to the police about Sunnydale. Faith and Xander take the rest on to Angel's." She looked out as the bus pulled up and medical personnel came out of the sliding doors. "We'll call as soon as we can."
Kennedy watched as those with minor injuries helped others off. Willow was sleeping, she was fine and honestly she wanted lots of food and a warm bed to curl up around Willow on.
Faith looked her way as those going on the bus climbed back on, a handful in all. Four slayers, Willow, Xander and Andrew. "What's say we dig out our remaining cash and stop by the Frosty Freeze on the way," the dark slayer said to them. "I could eat a cow."
Vi sat down on the bench where Wood had been resting as Faith started the bus up. "I could eat two of them," she said softly. "Is it always like this?" she asked. "The hunger pains?"
"Oh yeah," Faith told them with a smile. "Luckily it don't all go to your hips." She pulled out of the hospital grounds.
Faith found the local hamburger joint and pulled in and shut the bus down. "What do we have on cash?" she asked.
"About twenty bucks," Xander said counting through what people had dug out of their pockets. Most hadn't thought to bring anything; then again they didn't think they'd be running from massive destruction either.
Faith nodded and took it as she stood up. "I can work with that." She nodded to Willow. "She wake up yet?" she asked.
Kennedy shook her head. "Still sleeping."
Faith nodded and hopped down the steps and over to the little stand that could hold about fourteen people with Andrew following her. Most of the tables were outside. Kennedy looked to see that everyone there was looking at them oddly too.
"Makes you feel all alone, doesn't it?" Xander asked softly as he crouched down and looked from the windows to Willow. He reached over and brushed back a bit of her hair that had fallen to her cheek. "Looking through everyone else's eyes then knowing what's really what."
Kennedy looked to the young man, maybe only three or four years older than her. As odd as he was, he was older now. The day had aged him. "Yeah," she said back as she looked to Willow then back outside. "Screw 'em," she said. "They'll never understand."
He nodded with a short smile. "What do you plan to do now that it's all over?" he asked.
Kennedy looked back to him. She saw what he was really asking. What did she plan to do about her and Willow now that she didn't need Buffy's protection anymore. "I don't know," she replied. "I guess whatever Willow wants to do."
Xander looked at her for a long moment then nodded. "Just don't hurt her. She's been hurt enough. And I know I've done enough of it myself."
Andrew came skipping back to the bus with a big soda fountain drink clutched to his chest as he sipped from the straw. Faith followed behind him with two big bags in her hands as she climbed on board and the smells of fast food made most of them groan with hunger. She smiled as she held them up. "I'm damn good I must admit!"
They divvyed up the food and tore into it. "This is a hell of a lot more than twenty bucks worth," Vi said as she ate down a hamburger in three bites.
Faith grinned as she wiped ketchup off her grin with the back of her hand as she chewed on her mouthful. "'Cause I'm damn good, I already said that."
Kennedy ate with Willow still in her arms and in a way wished the redhead would wake up and eat something.
Faith started the bus up again and they headed off for Angel's hotel. It took a little while as she maneuvered through the city into a more rundown area of Los Angeles. She looked to the hotel as the bus stopped. "A derelict for a vampire… sorta fitting," Kennedy, muttered under her breath. All that were slayers smiled at that. They had heard her.
Faith shut down the engine as one of the doors to the hotel opened. A big black man and a young white woman came out. Faith climbed out and smiled at them. She nodded to them. "Gunn, Fred, what's hangin'?"
Gunn, the black man, looked her over then the remainder of the group, six in all. "Are you the last?" he asked. "None of the others made it?"
Kennedy carried Willow off and Fred came over to them as Gunn and Faith talked. "Is she hurt?" she asked.
Kennedy shook her head. "She needs to sleep."
"Yeah, Red did with the major mojo," Faith said as Xander and Andrew joined them. "Kicked the First's ass back to hell, yo."
Gunn and Fred looked to them as another young woman came out from the hotel. "Cordelia," Xander said looking at her expanded stomach with wide eyes then to her. "Wow."
She made a face at him as she took in his eye patch. "I'm assuming that's not for fun and I'll return that wow with another," she told him as she looked to the group. "Where Buffy and what's wrong with Willow?"
"All a long story," Kennedy cut in wondering who the hell the queen bitch was. "I need a room for her."
Fred nodded. "I'll show you."
The group moved inside to the large foyer as Fred led Kennedy up the stairs to the first floor. She showed her a nice room with a queen- sized bed, a little dusty but nice. "Thanks," she said carefully putting the redhead down. Fred watched from the doorway as the brunette pulled off Willow's shoes and gently tucked a top blanket around the bottom half of the young witch. Finally the Slayer sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked back Willow's hair from her cheek.
"You love her, don't you?" Fred asked softly.
Kennedy looked to the other woman and smiled fondly. "More than anything," she replied. She stood and the two left Willow to sleep as they headed back to the main floor.
Cordelia was sitting on a couch, her eyes wide and in shock. "Gone? All of it?" she asked.
Xander nodded as Kennedy sat on the floor by the other new slayers. Angel, Wesley, Lorne, and Connor were there are well. "Wait," Angel said. "Let me see if I get this straight. Willow took Buffy's axe and gave every girl that was a potential the actual power of a slayer? You fought the vampires and Spike burned up with the amulet destroying the Hellmouth?"
Faith nodded. "Pretty much the whole of it," she replied.
The vampire's brow furrowed and he struck out at Vi. The teenager caught his fist before it reached her and instantly struck back hitting him in the nose. He held up his hands as the three new slayers there became defensive. "Just checking."
Kennedy grumbled as she sunk back down to the floor. "Don't," she said tiredly. "You wig me out enough… I just feel you and my instinct is to dust you." Vi and other young slayer nodded. Kennedy looked to green skinned demon Lorne. "You, I'm not sure about but you wig me out too."
"Nah," Faith said. "He's cool. Nice guy." Lorne smiled her way.
"Everything in Sunnydale is absolutely gone?" Cordelia asked again.
Xander rolled his eye. "More than gone, Cordy. There's a hole there now. It doesn't exist. Move past it."
The phone rang and Gunn answered it. "Yeah?" he grumbled then listened. "Xander, for you."
Xander hurried to the phone taking it from him. "Buffy?" he asked.
'Xan,' she said through the line. 'We're doing okay. Robin's going to be in a while, sliced and diced bad, so is Rona. Word was already up about the strangeness that is Sunnydale, but we had to tell the cops about the whole crater sitch, Giles did good with all the earthquake talk. It'll probably be on the news not too long from now.'
"How are you?" he asked. Dawn had stayed with the slayer, still not wanting to leave her side and Buffy had said nothing against it. "How's Dawnie?"
'Got my side stitched up. Good as new. Dawn's still in the shock mode but doin' well. You think you could swing around and pick some of us up. Need to get out of here and sleep for a while, after I find something to eat," Buffy told him.
"I'll be there as soon as I can, I'll get the eats," he said quickly. It wasn't long before he was off the phone. He looked to Angel. "I need some cash and I'll bring Buffy and some of the others back." He looked over to Faith. "Wood's going to be in a while."
Faith nodded. "I'll go with," she made a nonchalant look that she didn't care about the tall man and it was failing. "Check it all out you know."
Angel handed over some money and the two were gone shortly there after and there was a long silence. Three slayers and Andrew with people they didn't know. "You want," Andrew finally said looking to them. "We could play a game or something… until they come back. Make some popcorn, it'd be nice."
"MY WHOLE ARMANI WARDROBE WAS STILL THERE!" Cordelia let out, her brown eyes furious from where she was still fuming. "Buffy blew up enough of my shoes to make Imelda Marcos cry!" she scowled. "That's just so… Buffy," she stated unhappily.
Kennedy and Vi looked at each other for a moment with the same look. Was everyone from Sunnydale a little on the insane side?
Buffy, Dawn and Giles came into the hotel late in the afternoon along with four other slayers. Xander was moving the bus around to a parking lot, Faith had stayed at the hospital, though basically staying outside and bumming cigarettes off other smokers that hung out there as well.
Angel smiled as they came down the steps into the lobby. "Buffy," he said hugging her close. "I hear it was pretty wild."
Buffy nodded as she let him go. "On the positive side, yeah." She sighed as she looked around. "On the negative, we're all basically homeless. Looking for a place to crash." She looked up at him. "That okay with you?"
He nodded as he led her to one of the couches nearby. "Of course."
"Where are the others? Will…" she started.
"Fred has them in rooms and she's getting some ready for the rest of you guys. Cordy's sorta helping," he said softly. "Willow's upstairs with one of the girls."
"Kennedy," Buffy said as she relaxed back on the cushions. "She and Will - they have a thing."
"A thing?" Angel asked raising an eyebrow.
Buffy nodded. "A thing like we had a thing, but theirs is more of a thing - at least farther than our thing could go." She opened a tired eye. "Now I'm sounding like her."
Angel smiled and they were silent for a long moment. "I'm sorry-," he said. "About Spike." Buffy rotated her head a little to look up at him a little in disbelief. "Really," he told her.
"And your little pissing match from two days ago ended when?" she countered.
Angel sighed. "I'm not sure it ever will. But I did sire him, Buffy. In a way it's like losing a child."
"Big, scary, serial killer child," she said but there was a smile on her lips. Dawn was coming her direction with Xander following her. "We're all going to need some help to get on our feet. I hope that's okay."
Angel nodded as he saw that the others that had come were headed upstairs to rooms to finally rest. "I know you'd do the same for me, Buffy. Besides, with all that's happened, and Willow restoring my soul." He shrugged. "You're all family."
Buffy nodded at that as Dawn came up to them. "Weirdest family in the universe," she said to him. "Vampires, slayers, witches, watchers, demons, and patchy over there."
Xander made a face at that. "Patchy? That's an awful name, Buffster."
Dawn helped Buffy up. "We get our own rooms," she said cutting in almost giddy she had to share her room for so long. "Fred is so great."
Buffy and Angel both smiled at that. Dawn was coming back out a little from her somber mood at the hospital watching as they sewed Buffy's side up. She had been lucky the vampire's sword had hit nothing crucial. "Well, great for Fred. Let's go check up on Wills and hit the sack. I'm beat." She smiled at Angel as they headed upstairs as well.
With Dawn on one side and Xander on the other it was quiet as they took the steps. "Did she wake up at all?" Buffy asked as they saw Fred had stuck tape on each door saying who was in what room.
Xander shook his head. "Nope, she was totally out. Mind you Buffy Junior didn't let her go once." Buffy stopped and looked up at him and he gave her that lopsided grin. "Come on, Buff. She's tough, smart, and she does things her own way like you. That and she loves Will to no end." He gave her a look as her eyes opened a little at the implication. "J-just in a different way," he finished quickly.
Buffy smiled at that. "I hope so. I guess if I had to go gay I'd be on her doorstep," she said as they continued on. "However, I don't think I'm going to 'get gay' anytime soon." Tiredly she thought about that and she nodded slightly to herself. Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea with the luck she'd been having. Then she thought about it a little more and shook her head, maybe not.
Dawn smiled quietly as she listened to them. "There it is," she said pointing to the first door on the left. She knocked softly and found the door was unlocked. The three of them slowly peered in to see Kennedy spooned up against Willow on the bed holding her tight with her face tucked into red hair. Both of them sound asleep.
"Ahhh, isn't that cute," Xander said as they backed out and shut the door.
They walked further on down the hallway and there was one with Dawn and Buffy written on it. The Summers sister bid goodnight to Xander and they entered the room to find two twin beds. Buffy shut the door and with a sigh of relief she went to the closest and fell onto it with a groan. "I'm so tired," she said into the sheets.
Dawn sat down on the other bed and looked around then to her sister. "Buffy?" she asked and a blue eye from the other bed looked her way. "Not to worry you or anything, but what are we going to do? I mean, we have no home anymore… and school… what about that? And - and…"
Buffy raised a hand to stop her from going further. "Tonight, we don't worry. Sleep, rest, watch TV, don't care. Tomorrow we'll pow wow and figure things out."
Dawn did as she asked but didn't sleep any easier.
It took a moment. A long moment before Willow's brain synapses started to fire. She groaned a little as she shifted and her eyes blinked once before she shut them again to the bright light invading her senses.
"Willow?" a voice asked. She knew the voice, however, any names were not forthcoming in her mind. The warmth that covered her back and over her belly shifted and she was held closer. "Come on baby, wake up."
"Np," she got out as she turned to bury her face in the soft pillow under her head.
"Will, you've been asleep for 24 hours," the voice said again. There was a hand…that's what covered her stomach. The evil, evil fingers attached to them flexed on her bare skin and she shivered as it tickled. "Giles says it would be good for you to get up. You know, shower, eat, walk a bit. Then you can crash again."
"Ken-" she started as she tried to form words.
Lips caressed her neck and she smiled and leaned back into them. She liked that, smoochies there were nice. "Yup, it's your personal slayer, goddess of mine. Now let's get you up." Willow yawned as she shifted and slowly she opened her eyes again to the bright light of sunshine streaming through the window into the room. She looked around for a moment then slowly turned her head to look back at the brunette behind her, holding her close. She smiled sleepily and Kennedy smiled in return. Kennedy kissed her gently right before she sat up wrapping her arm the redhead bringing her up with her.
Willow blinked hard making the adjustment by sinking into Kennedy's body. Strong arms hold her close. "Whoa… head rush," she whispered as she leaned her face into Kennedy's neck. "But a nice place to have one."
Kennedy looked down at her a little surprised and more than pleased at her girlfriend's words. "Not that I'm not happy at that," the brunette said as she kissed her forehead. "But you seem a little loopy, Will."
"Loopy is me," Willow replied as she leaned into her and Kennedy didn't even budge from the excess weight forced on her. "I'm going to like having a slayer as a partner," she said as couldn't help it and kissed the side of Kennedy's neck. "Strong, sorta butchy, soft… you smell nice," she said headily as she felt some of her strength return and she kissed up along Kennedy's jaw.
Kennedy closed her eyes swallowing hard as soft, but possessive kisses moved along her jaw and throat while slender hands moved to touch her. "Oh Will," she said softly leaning down and capturing the redhead's lips with her own. Slowly as the intensity increased she feels something wet on her cheek. Kennedy opened her eyes to see Willow's are shut tight but tears flow from beneath them to trail down her cheeks and some of them spilled onto her. The younger slayer broke off the kiss. "Willow?" she asked worriedly.
Willow leaned into her. "It's all gone," she got out. "My past is all gone in - into a big hole." She opened beautiful watery green eyes to look up at her.
"Hey," Kennedy said very concerned but understanding. Today was the beginning of fallout for her lover, making her hold her closer. "We'll find a new home. It'll be okay." She stopped for a moment. "That is if you want to have a home with me - now that it's all over."
Willow saw that even for Kennedy's tough talk she was unsure of her position with her now. She smiled sadly as she reached up and cupped Kennedy's cheek. "You're kidding, right?" she asks. Brown eyes look her way and Willow smiled a little more. "You're part of my family now, Kennedy. A very important, integral part."
"But I'm not Tara," Kennedy replied.
Willow felt the sorrow of the last remaining mark of Tara gone as well. A tear fell. "No, you're not. Tara has a place in my heart and she always will," she said honestly. "But I have a big heart," she said kissing Kennedy's cheek. "And this potential. Sorta bratty, awfully beautiful, with these amazing brown eyes and - oh, this pierced tongue that can make a girl do the wiggy. She has a big place too. So, you know," she said as Kennedy smiled at the words. "There's no dying on me, because I think another hole there and there isn't much left of my heart."
Kennedy hugged her tight. "No, no dying. I'm not leaving." They sat there in silence for a few moments. "I'll take care of you Willow," she said softly. "I may have the family I was born to. In a way I never really knew them. Had my own thing goin' and then off with my watcher until I came here. And get this, I find this new family that isn't all that, but is. And I'm just getting into the swing of what it is to be in one so close. But it's mine and I take care of what's mine."
Willow smiled at that. Kennedy wasn't even out of her teens yet but she was pretty intelligent for her age, even if she was a brat. "You big, bad butch."
Kennedy smiled back. "Don't you forget it. I'm a slayer now and I got the strength to back it up." She slid over to the edge of the bed and picked Willow up as she went getting out of bed heading for the bathroom with the redhead in her arms. Willow squeaked a little in surprise as she was taken in, truly not expecting her girlfriend to do that. Kennedy leaned in to touch forehead to forehead. "You wanna get clean with me?" she offered. Willow's smile of delight was all she needed to kick the door shut behind her.
Willow smoothed down her borrowed skirt and blouse from Fred as Kennedy came out in tattered jeans and a blue t-shirt. She wasn't sure whose collection they came from, but they fit her well. They talked a little in the shower, Willow learned that Buffy and the majority of the surviving slayers were patched up and sent home… to Angel's hotel. Robin and Rona were kept at the hospital for the time being.
"You ready?" Kennedy asked as she sat down and slipped on her boots.
"Yup and yup," Willow replied. "I'm starving to be honest."
Kennedy smiled a little as she nodded once and finished tying up her second boot. "You should be, you slept through our pig out on the bus."
Willow frowned a little. "I missed out?"
Kennedy nodded as she stood. "Total pig out. And you were sleeping beauty through hamburgers."
Willow opened her mouth a little in shock only to close it and her bottom lip stuck out a little in the cutest pout it made Kennedy smile. "I missed hamburgers?"
Kennedy moved to hold her around her waist as she kissed that bottom lip. "You were out, Will. I coulda spilled all over you and you wouldn't have woken up." She nudged her towards the door.
"Were they greasy hamburgers? 'Cause Xander would only get greasy ones," Willow said still pouting as Kennedy opened the door. Buffy and Xander were there with Buffy poised to knock on the door. Willow's brow furrowed as she came out and poked Xander's chest lightly. "You ate greasy without me," she grumped.
"Well, good morning to you to, miss merry sunshine," Xander said. "I'll go get you greasy if it makes you happy."
Willow's pout went out farther as Buffy stepped between them. "No fighting so early in the morning kids," she said looking to Willow. "How are you doing?"
Willow looked to the blond and she smiled and nodded. "Good. Hungry but good." She pouted again. "Xander ate greasy without me," she said tattling on their friend.
Buffy wrapped an arm about Willow's shoulders and looked to Xander with her giving him a mirror pout. "I know he did with me too."
"Hey!" Xander said raising his hands. "Two on one is not fair."
Willow pouted a little longer before she let it go then she moved to hug him tight. "'slright, Xan," she said as she felt his arms come about her in a tight hug. They moved apart after a moment and Willow slipped her arm about Buffy's waist. "But I want food now!"
Buffy and Kennedy chuckled. "Alright, ya pushy b-witch," Xander said as Willow took Kennedy's hand in her free one and the four of them moved down the hallway towards the stairs.
Kennedy looked to them and stepped out a little. "How about I go find food?" she offered.
Willow saw that her girlfriend was giving them a chance to be alone for the first time since everything had happened. She smiled and kissed her gently. "Thanks."
Kennedy smiled back and soon was off. She grinned as she hopped the stairwell and went over the side. Willow stilled as she moved to see Kennedy land a twenty-foot drop perfectly. "I gotta get use to that," she whispered as she willed her heart to beat normally.
Buffy chuckled as she came to lean on the railing, Xander joining them. "You don't do that when I do stuff like that."
Willow smiled her way. "That's because I never knew you when you were a potential."
Buffy grinned. "I never got the chance to be one. Just happened."
The three were quiet as they looked to see most of their small group hanging out, some talking with others of Angel's group and just relaxing. Buffy turned to rest against the railing as she looked to her friends. "So," she said with a soft smile for her two best friends in the world, now her family in every sense of the word. "What do you two plan on doing now that Sunnydale is gone?"
Xander and Willow glanced at each other then at Buffy. "We-," Xander started as he rubbed the back of his neck. "Well I guess it depends on you," he said looking to her then to Willow. "You guys are my family. Dawnie, Giles… I wasn't really planning on leaving you guys."
Buffy looked to Willow. The redhead blushed a little then smiled. "I feel the same way," she said softly. "We - I did unlock the scythe though. All those girls out there now, untrained slayers. I - I'm responsible for that, they're going to need help."
"We did," Buffy told her laying a hand on Willow's arm. "It was a group effort, Will. You just have the major Wiccan mojo to do it. And I agree," she said folding her arms over her chest. "As much I want to just retire it all. We've got the first upper hand for the good of the world… ever. The First's undoing is our greatest weapon." She jerked her thumb over her shoulder to point at the scene one level down in the lobby. "We have twelve slayers here, and I know they aren't all going to stay with us. They have families, or they don't want this life. But it's a start with what we got now." She sighed as she shrugged. "It also means that the more we train the less I have to fight and I get a life without constantly battling." She bit her bottom lip as she looked to the carpeted floor at her feet. "I don't really know what else to do with my life."
"College," Willow said. "There's lots in L.A. or if we - you know go to Cleveland I mean its big universities," she said brightly. "Major universities and there are technical colleges and other places. You're a good student Buffy," she said seriously. "We could finish out there."
Buffy smiled at her friend. "I don't think any big place is going to take me in, Will. But you're master scholarship woman. They'd take you in a heartbeat."
Willow shook her head. "I don't want to go by myself, that's all alone and that's not so good all the time I mean I had - Tara - at Sunnydale when you left and I'm not sure I could just - they're big places and I'm not so big - and then there's the-"
Buffy clapped a hand over her friend's mouth. "Breathe Will or you're going to pass out." Willow looked her way worriedly but she took in one through her nose and Buffy backed off letting her go. "So," Buffy said as tears came to her eyes. "We're in this together?" she asked.
"Always," Xander said wrapping his arms about his two best girls. "We can be old and gray and whacking each other with walkers and fighting over the TV remote and who gets the green jello cup."
"Cleveland here we come," Willow said happily.
"You think Drew Carey actually lives there?" Xander asked only to have the two young women roll their eyes at the remark.
They headed down the stairs and towards the others. Buffy looked to see a brooding young man watching the slayers as he sat by Cordelia. Hovering could be a better word for it. She knew some of the story behind it all, but for the most part she just didn't even want to ask. Angel's son and Cordy's kid was going to be Angel's grandchild. She shivered mentally at how that soap opera played out. More wiggy was the thought that it 'could' have been her having Angel's child. She looked at Connor a little closer and 'ewww' bad, bad, bad.
Willow stopped and looked at Cordelia for the first time fully aware. "Cordy," she said firmly. Her voice was slightly gentle but there was reserve in it.
"Willow," Cordelia replied arching an eyebrow her way.
It was a long moment and everyone was silent. "You've changed," Willow said softly. "I think-" she said tilting her head a little to the side as she almost seemed to look into her soul. "Some not for the good."
Cordelia arched her eyebrow a little more. "Well, you know I was a bitch to start with." She looked her over. "Your clothing style is… like Fred's."
"That's because it is the clothes of Fred that I'm borrowing," Willow countered. She came over and looked to her, her eyes softening and slowly going a little white and everyone watched mostly a little scared and some curious. "Be careful Cordy," Willow said softly. They looked as if they were talking mentally then Willow nodded slightly and backed off.
"Prom queen and mousy nerd no longer," Cordy said letting out a breath. "A very long way from then."
"Actually," Xander said. "You never actually were Prom Queen."
Buffy smacked his stomach hard with the back of her hand and he grunted at the pain and shut up. "Long ago, Xan," she said as she looked to Cordelia. "I hear you're a little miffed at the loss of some Gucci's."
Cordelia smirked. "No more, what with insurance going wild at a whole city going under."
Buffy shook her head. "Guess you really didn't miss Sunnydale at all." She never really understood the woman. She thought she had changed when she came to L.A. Apparently not that much. It wasn't long before Cordelia left with Connor in tow and personally, Buffy was relieved.
Angel came in with Wesley from the basement. "Buffy," he said with a smile. He looked to Willow and came over and hugged her. "I hear you're more Wiccan than last time you were here." He leaned in. "I'm glad you're safe."
Willow smiled. She had always liked Angel. Soulful Angel. Nice friendly, big vampire with a heart of gold. "Thanks, thanks for letting us stay until we get on our feet again. Muchly appreciated."
Kennedy came in through the main doors from outside with two other slayers and Andrew following each carrying bags and containers with drinks. "But I lost my WHOLE comic book collection," he was complaining to her. "Some of those are just so not replaceable," he told her. "And my videos and I have a whole CD-" he stopped as he saw the group and the looks on their faces, none of which were happy. "Well, sort of important."
Kennedy shook her head as she came over with bags of food. "Greasy coming up," she said handing a bag over to Willow.
Willow smiled and soon food was being passed around from a local fast food. "So," Faith said as she sat back eating again for the fourth time that day and loving every minute of it. Fred had kept them all fed and found clean clothes for all of them. "B," she got out as she licked ketchup off her knuckles. "You gonna deal with us now?"
Buffy looked to see expectant faces look back at her. Even Giles looked to her when he had come in with Fred from a back office and had taken up places on the outer edges of the group, both of them carrying folders and papers and a big leather bound book. Willow nudged her. "Always the leader, Buffy," she said softly.
Buffy sighed and in a way she didn't want it, but it was also true. She was the leader, Willow and Xander her first lieutenants and Giles her counselor and guide. She looked to her half eaten chicken sandwich and sighed. "Everyone gets to decide what they want to do. It's your lives, and there's no major big bad trying to kill you. However, you are also slayers now. Untrained, but you've been in the biggest battle of any slayer outside of Faith and me. There are other slayers to find that don't know what's happened to them, or what to do with that power. I put that responsibility on my shoulders-"
"Our shoulders," Willow said firmly.
Buffy smiled at her. "Ours, mine, Willow and Xander's. It's also the first time we've gotten the upper hand over the big bad. Will's got her mojo flowin'. There are more slayers than just me." She became thoughtful and reflective. "I won't have to fight as hard. I can take more time to be me, more than just a slayer. But I can't just drop it either. So, the three of us and Dawn are going to Cleveland and the next Hellmouth. If you want to come I'll take you with open arms. If not, there's no hard feelings." She looked to Giles and he looked back. The decision to join them would be up to him.
"I'm in," Kennedy said from where she sat next to Willow.
"Well, that was a given," Dawn said from where she laid on her belly by Buffy's stretched out legs on the floor. Kennedy smiled and so did Willow. Kennedy wasn't Tara, but Dawn found she liked the slayer in her own way. And she hadn't seen Willow happy ever since the day Tara died. Not until Kennedy came in and just stormed over the redhead and just tore down the wall around her heart and old happy, fun Willow was re-emerging.
"Cleveland?" Faith asked. "It's pretty damn cold up there, B."
Buffy shrugged. "I have a feeling we'll be traveling a lot."
"Actually," Giles said and they all looked his way. "From what we can tell. Fred and I," he said nodding to the young woman. "The Hellmouth isn't actually in Cleveland, but nearby. In the village of Weatherly."
"Village?" Xander asked.
"A population of around 1,500," he told them. "We aren't exactly sure where the hellmouth is, but it is pinpointed there."
"How far from Cleveland are we talking, Giles?" Buffy asked.
"Right next to it, a town on the outskirts of downtown proper. Seven or so miles," he replied. "It's very beautiful there, I hear."
Buffy handed the remainder of her sandwich to Xander who promptly began to finish it off. "The next big question is where are we going to get money to start up there, and where are we going to stay?" She looked around. "It's going to have to be big enough to hold a few more people than what we've got let alone we need a place to train."
"Um… well," Giles started up again. "Seeing how there is no Watcher Council anymore. And there are only a handful of us remaining, I have spoken with them and we have decided that the majority of the funds the Council had will go into whatever is needed to rebuild… a new council."
They all looked at him curiously. "What do you mean by 'new council'?" Buffy asked. "Because I wasn't really all that fond of the old one, Giles."
He nodded as he stood up and looked around then at her for a moment. "I mean, a council that is made up of three groups; Watchers, Slayers and Wiccans. All with an equal say."
"That could be a little confusing," Angel broke in. "Everyone will have their own agenda."
Giles nodded. "In some senses, that is true. But not when the head of these groups are the best of friends." He looked to Buffy and Willow. "Xander, though none of them will be on the council as well. However, there must be a final vote and that is to the Head of the Council."
"You G?" Faith asked with a knowing look.
He looked her way but then to Buffy. "No, to the true leader of this group. Buffy."
"Cool," Willow said smiling at her friend. "You're like President of the weird and weirder."
"And you Willow," Giles said. "Are 'Vice President if you will. If for some reason Buffy cannot head the Council then it goes to you."
Willow scowled at this, not liking that idea a lot, but Buffy patted her leg in support. "We can have Round Office meetings and drink cocoa with extra marshmallows, Will."
"Oval Office," Dawn corrected her.
"Well…" Willow said thinking. "If cocoa's there then I'm in."
Buffy smiled as Kennedy kissed Willow's cheek. "So tell me, Giles," she said. "How rich are we now?"
Giles sighed. "You do realize it is not for shopping at the mall."
"Giles," she countered. "If you want the Circle Office to run, you need a mall."
Giles sighed more heavily at that. "We'll discuss that later."
Buffy smiled as she leaned her head on Willow's shoulder, Kennedy was already doing that on the other side and Willow was grinning happily. "So, now what?" Dawn asked as she crawled up and laid her head in her sister's lap not wanting to miss out on the happiness there.
"We get ready," Buffy said running her fingers through her sister's hair.
The EndSend Feedback to Author Back to Brycielan's Stories...