Look Beneath The Cover
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Disclaimer: I own nothing in nor make any money off the stories that I write. All characters belong to their show creators. Any character that I create is mine and may not be used without asking.
Summary: A book should not be judged by its cover. Will Willow figure this out in time to help Harmony save lives?
Notes: This fic is set in season 4 but a few things will be changed around.
Harmony Kendall stood outside of a house shortly after sunset. She was hid behind a big oak tree that used to have fond memories for her. She pulled her jacket tighter in an attempt to block the cool night air. The problem with that was that nothing could block the coldness that ran through her body except a good dose of warm blood. She once had so many goals for herself but was now reduced to a soulless creature that hunted human beings for dinner. That thought made her shiver all the more, she hated what she was forced to become but nobody would ever know it. If she allowed anyone to see her weaknesses, she would surely be dusted in some grandiose fashion by the slayer, a Scooby, or a demonic creature.
As she scanned the street for something that was not there, she looked around the property. The house was fully surrounded by a deck that was decorated with hand-carved furniture, which was painted in various shades of white. There were two gates on the deck that her father had made sure were extra secured to withstand the so-called drugged up biker attacks that frequented Sunnydale. There were pretty flowers and big trees throughout the yard but they didn't seem lively to Harmony anymore, something was missing at this place. The grass, though green, didn't have the prettiness to it anymore. Finally, the birds that lived in the trees didn't sing so happily anymore. As she moved towards the side of the house, she saw what she was looking for. They had made it safely home again but their smiles were a little darker than a few months ago.
As Harmony watched her family walk inside their house, her mind drifted back to graduation. Everyone that was not found alive in the aftermath of the Sunnydale graduation tragedy was presumed dead. The town had set up a big memorial service for all those who lost their lives and it was a very sad event. As they read the names of all those who died in the fire just after sunset one night, Harmony heard her own name spoke aloud and then it hit her. Though she could walk around, eat and drink, she was merely a shell. Her heart ceased to beat on that fateful graduation night, extremities stopped working, brain stopped functioning and lastly, the breathing stopped.
As did a few others from that horrific graduation, Harmony awoke a short time later. She was a new creature, supposed to be a predator, a killer, evil and had no soul. As she relived the events that changed her life forever, a blood-tear escaped down her cheek. It escaped for the life that was cut so short, the love that she could no longer give her little brother, the goals that she would never be able to meet and mostly, the family time that she would never again be able to have.
As she walked away from the home that she used to feel loved and secure in, the hunger pain hit Harmony's belly and she knew that it was time for another hunt. The sad memories of her former home were quickly leaving her, as she entertained the idea of how to capture her next victim. She had the luxury of retaining a few of her ideals from when she had a soul, such as her high standards when it came to the human race. She was very meticulous when it came to deciding whom she would bite. She didn't want unclean humans because they stank and probably didn't have good blood. She didn't want narrow-minded people because it was beneath her to associate with such persons, even though she was very narrow-minded. Lastly, she did want the nicer looking men and women because it gave her a feeling of control over something in her undead life. Harmony Kendall had been all about looks and presentation in her short life and there was no need to change her ways now.
Willow stood sullenly in an alleyway on a Thursday night. It certainly wasn't the smartest thing that she'd done but she didn't care right at the moment. College was supposed to be different for her but it was turning out to be a worse extension of high school.
Buffy was thriving in college, or so it seemed to Willow. She had had a bump in the road with that Parker guy but her new interest seemed to be promising. Oz had decided to go seek out help for the wolf and left Willow. Willow suspected there was more to it though she had no proof of that.
Xander's life was a mirror of her own, down in the dumps but Willow was certain she could top his seeing as he had a fling going with an ex-demon. Willow's hopes that a new blue-eyed shy friend of hers could help her forget Oz and find her true sexual identity were also being quashed. She couldn't even get a not so in crowd girl to notice her, was her line of thinking as she stood wallowing in self-pity.
"Oh lookie here! If it isn't Willow rosengeek! Oh my gosh! I'm stunned to see you out here." The unmistakable voice of newly vamped Harmony Kendall rang out in the empty alley like a shot in the dark.
Seeing as Willow looked a little haggard and a lot tired to Harmony, in addition to the vampire wanting some help from her, she decided to pass on that morsel for the time being. As she was turning away from the redhead, Willow's words stopped her. "Did you come to try and bite me again? Are you and Spike on another mission to kill Buffy?"
The vampire rethought her position, there was nobody here and it would be easy to get her this time. "No to both," the vampire said and walked off in search of a victim.
As Harmony walked off, her behavior sparked Willow's curiosity. She had just had the let down of a lifetime and needed something to focus on besides the shock that she received when she entered the Bronze earlier in the evening. She had gone there to see if her new friend, whom she had a crush on, Tara Maclay was there. She had introduced the shy girl to the club a couple of weeks back and was glad that her friends liked Tara. Willow had always known in the back of her mind of her sexuality but didn't want to do anything about it until she met this wonderful person. As she entered the club, she saw Xander's mouth agape and then the reason why, Tara was dancing with Buffy. Willow's heart sank and she had quickly turned away from the spectacle. What she did not see was Tara's smile brightening upon sighting Willow.
As Willow stood up to go see what had prompted Harmony to behave so strangely, she heard scuffling sounds a short distance off. She knew that the vampire was getting dinner and hoped that she could get there in time to stop it. She was no slayer by far but Harmony, supposedly, was not the most evil vampire around, which meant that maybe she had a chance to save someone.
As she raced around a corner at top speed, she saw Harmony standing up with a disgusted look on her face. "You were not fast enough Willow." The vampire said and plastered a confident look on her face. What Willow did not see, was that Harmony did not sire the dying man.
"You weren't good enough for Spike Harmony." Willow retorted in the best jab that she could think of quickly.
Harmony glared at Willow with yellow eyes and the redhead stepped back. "Spikey is a neutered vampire you fool! Why would I really want to stay with the likes of him now?" Harmony had the look that Willow was used to seeing from their high school days on her face, as she berated the redhead in her classic Cordette fashion.
"According to him, you were grief-stricken when he dumped you. He says that you aren't even good at being a vampire." Willow taunted, as she wondered why she was doing this in the back of her mind. She had merely come here to find out why Harmony was acting so odd to keep her mind off Tara and Buffy. Now she was taunting the vampire into an angered state.
Harmony was in front of Willow in a flash and had the redhead on the ground with a quick shove. "Do you want to find out how good I am Willow?" Harmony asked and spat the last of the blood onto the redhead. "I left you alone back there but you couldn't leave me alone could you. Why is that Willow?" The vampire enquired with venom in her voice, as a red scaly creature watched them.
Willow looked up at the vampire, who stood over her in a superior manner. The Cordettes flaunted their superiority over her in school and now the vampire was continuing the routine. That old feeling crept its way back into Willow's head. The feeling of not being worth anything to anyone when she was not doing the things that she excelled n to help them. She knew that Buffy was her friend but also knew that she truly did not belong in that crowd, the popular crowd that consisted of pretty girls who could get dates with anyone. The thing that got Willow was that Tara didn't seem to fit into that crowd either but seemed comfortable dancing close with Buffy. "Just go," Willow said in a defeated tone of voice, as the vampire turned her head to the side and listened intently.
"I've got a much better idea," Harmony said with a smile on her face. "I could actually use your help and might find some way of returning the favor."
"You've got to be nuts!" Willow's voice rose to indicate that maybe her brain was coming back to life and she shouldn't be fraternizing with a vampire. Even if said vampire wasn't the smartest nor most dangerous vamp on the block.
"On the contrary my dear Willow." Harmony said and gestured for Willow to follow her. "Keep your voice down." Harmony added hoping that she could keep enough distance between she and Willow to fool the demon who was trying to acquire her services.
"Get real Harmony!" Willow's anger seethed through her words as she turned to face the vampire once again. "Why would I want to help you? It wasn't so long ago that you tried to bite me! You tormented the hell out of me from grammar school all the way up to graduation! Give me one good reason why I would want to help you so I can torment you by saying no! It'll be like a good payback time for me and I really could use a good payback time!"
Harmony looked at Willow with one of those dismissive looks that the Wiccan had grown so used to from her and her crew leader, Cordelia Chase. "Spike told me that the wolf left you. He said it was the perfect time to hit you where it hurts. He wants to kidnap you to get Buffy to come. There again, you are being used as second fiddle. What I want will put you at first fiddle and isn't going to hurt anyone."
"You've got five minutes and no more." Willow said and started after the vampire. There was a part of her that knew this was a bad move: while another part of her didn't care because that part wanted to be adventurous for a change. It was that part of her that knew it had to move forward at some point and show the world she was a capable person rather than a yes woman. "Wait a minute, Spike can't hurt humans anymore!" Willow shouted in an exasperated tone.
"Five minutes Willow." Harmony said as the two walked behind a shopping center. Harmony glanced wistfully up at the windows of the store that she once shunned. She would give anything now to be able to venture into that store during the day.
As Harmony glanced up at Willow's favorite clothing store, Willow caught a hint of something in the vampire's eyes. Was she mistaken or was there a hint of misery reflecting in the former snark princesses features? "Where are we going Harmony?" Willow questioned with a hint of nervousness in her voice. "I don't want to go into a crypt and don't think we should be seen walking the streets together for to long."
Harmony didn't answer but kept walking briskly. She didn't want to be seen on the streets under any circumstances' by anymore creatures then had already seen her right now, let alone with Willow. Thus being seen gave the vampire the zeal to move more quickly towards Willow's house.