A Part of Her
Summary: Buffy goes to Willow for help in the aftermath of "Into the Woods."
Disclaimer: All of these characters remain the property of their owners/creators. . .I'm just borrowing them for a spell. . .
Rating: PG-13, for themes.
Time Frame: Just after the events of "Into the Woods" (this is your spoiler warning, folks).
Archiving: Be my guest, but e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know. . .I like to know where stuff I write ends up and I might want to see what else you've got.
A PART OF HER
Willow opened her eyes slowly, and as she gradually came into awareness the knock at the door repeated, more insistently than the last time. She glanced to her right and saw that Tara was still sleeping, and she smiled as she slipped out of bed and went to the door. She opened the door and saw Buffy standing there, dull-eyed and pale. Willow gasped and asked, "Buffy. . .what's wrong?"
Buffy walked into the room silently and sat down at the small table and waited for Willow to sit across from her before quietly telling her everything that had happened between her and Riley for the past few days, concluding with her desperate run to try to catch him before he left Sunnydale. By the time Buffy finished, there were tears in Willow's eyes, and one ran down her left cheek as Buffy concluded, "I tried his cell phone, but it isn't working. . .damn it, whatever the situation between us is, I didn't want him to leave like this! He probably thinks I hate him. . .Willow, what am I going to do now?"
Willow frowned, then replied, "I don't know, Buffy. . .we don't know where he is, or where he's going to be, which kind of gets in the way of a lot of options as far as spells go. . ."
"What about the Missive of Hermes, Willow?" Tara pulled up a chair: although she was not as visibly upset as Willow, she still looked concerned over the state Buffy was in.
Willow brightened and exclaimed, "You're right, Tara! That spell doesn't require knowledge of even the general location of the recipient, just-" Her face fell, and Buffy felt a surge of hope and fear go through her as she prodded, "What, Willow? What does the spell need?"
Willow sighed, then looked at Buffy and replied, "The spell requires the use of an item of extreme importance to both the sender and the recipient; also, the item must have been somehow involved in saving the life of one of the parties. . .it's a pretty stringent requirement. . . not to mention the fact that any message that needs to be sent must be inscribed on the item itself."
Willow was startled to see Buffy smiling softly, as if she was reliving a pleasant memory. The Slayer looked up into her best friend's eyes and calmly responded:
"Not a problem."
* * * * *
Riley gradually drifted back into consciousness, feeling the familiar ache that came from sleeping on a less than adequate mattress. He frowned as he realized that there was an odd, yet familiar sensation coming from his right hand. He pulled his hand out and brought it into the light. . .and he froze when he recognized the small object in it.
It was the small scarf that Buffy had wrapped around his hand to bind the wounds he had inflicted on it in the throes of his withdrawal from the drugs that the Initiative had hooked him on. He could still see the small bloodstains on it, and the nights of terror and longing that had marked his separation from Buffy in February, as he clung tightly to the tiny piece of fabric, came rushing back to him as if they had happened only yesterday. * I left this back in Sunnydale. . .how? * Curious, he opened the scarf and carried it into a better lighted area of the barracks, and his sharp eyes spotted the fine black lines that had been added to the red fabric. He experimented until he seemed to be looking at it from the right angle, then began to read:
I tried to get to you before you left, but I was too late. I don't hate you. I want you to be safe. Do what you have to, but stay alive, get well, and come back to us if you can. Whatever happens, I will always look back on the time we have had together with happiness.
Riley closed his eyes with pain and relief, and when he opened them again the desolate stare that had lived there for the past few days was gone. For now, his relationship with Buffy was over, but the object that he now carefully folded and placed in his left breast pocket had given him a sense of hope. He sighed and began his morning exercises.
As always, comments are welcomed and desired