Funnier in Latin

The When's and Where's of Writing Willow/Fred
by AngelJade

There are so many pairings out there brought forth by the imaginations of writers. Some pairings that would seem impossible in anything but fan fiction. Some pairings are based on characters that haven’t even met.

Fred/Willow stems mainly from ‘Orpheus’ (Season 4 Ats). Here we saw two characters who had only met briefly when Willow told Angel about Buffy’s death, exchange friendly conversation that became actual flirting.
For Fred, a previously straight character, this was unexpected. And of course, for Willow, who at the time is seeing Kennedy back in Sunnydale. There is little hope for this ‘ship to ever become canon. But it has opened a lot of opportunities for writers.

So how do you go about doing what Joss only hinted at in the series?
Here’s a simple guide to the main settings for Fred/Willow fiction:


Fred was rescued from Pylea at the end of season 2 Ats/season 5 BtVS. Being there five years means Fred was sucked into the portal just before Buffy appeared in Sunnydale. Making Willow 15-16 years old. Seeing as
Fred was at university at the time, that would make her at least 18. Possibility for the ‘ship at this point is unlikely, but for a friendship fic, you can break away from canon and create a basis for a later reunion or possibly an AU where Fred went to Sunnydale university instead, or was never sucked into Pylea. Because of Willow’s age, it is unlikely you will be able to make a relationship fic at this time.


Before it was ever rumoured Willow would guest on Angel, there was a possibility for fanfic writers to do it themselves, finding a reason for Willow to go to LA, or in fact Fred to go to Sunnydale. By setting your fiction in this time period, you don’t have to follow the rules Joss set in Orpheus and can manipulate the relationship however you wish. Maybe Fred and Willow don’t get on at first. Perhaps Fred could get caught up in Willow’s magic addiction phase. The possibilities are endless, but you need to decide how they’re going to meet. At this point, we don’t know how much they know about each other, only that they’ve seen each other’s faces. Although Fred knows enough about Willow later on to be able to call her for help with Angelus, we don’t know when she finds this information out.


Setting your fiction while Willow is in LA might be more of a struggle than you might think. We have to remember that at this time, things in Sunnydale are preventing Willow from staying long. And with everything going on in LA, a love story might be a little out of place. Fred has broken up with Gunn, therefore leaving her open for anything you want to happen. Willow, however, is involved with Kennedy and even says so to Fred. If you do want something to happen at this point, you either need to twist canon a little bit (Kennedy and Willow aren’t together, the whole Buffy storyline never happened and the potentials don’t exist, etc) or explain why Willow would want to cheat on Kennedy. To make it believable, try to imagine what would get Willow to do such a thing. She has changed a lot over the past few seasons, but she is not the type of girl to sleep around.

*Future fic*

After Orpheus, too much is going on in LA and Sunnydale, that placing a fic here might be difficult. Fred and Willow could keep in touch, and you could begin you fic with that idea, but to get actual face-to-face interaction may be difficult. After season seven, you no longer have to worry about what is going on in Sunnydale and who Willow is with. The plots in Ats matter, but it is much easier to twist those around to your
advantage. This is possibly the easiest place to write Fred/Willow, if only because you make up the rules. The further into the future it’s placed, the easier it gets. For example, if you write a fic set five years after season 5 of Angel, you can write almost anything. It may turn out later that you fic would become near impossible (if Fred were to die in season 5, for example) but it’s your version of the future and so it really doesn’t matter.

*Au fic*

Here’s where you get the power to write whatever you want. From, ‘Willow never liked Kennedy’ to ‘vampires don’t exist and Willow grew up in Texas next door to Fred’. It’s all possible. Straying too far from the storyline of Buffy and Angel might be a bad move though. It’s alright to create an AU world where vampires and slayers don’t exist, but to make it interesting to those people who want BtVS/Ats fic and not original fic with two borrowed characters, include the other characters some how. Make things familiar. Maybe Gunn could be Fred’s ex at high school when new student Willow arrives and makes friends with Buffy and Xander. It can still be a Willow/Fred, but at least you’re remaining true to the show you’re writing for.

For more information on when to set your Willow/Fred, find an episode guide or a timeline. Try to work out who is where, when and why. Once you have the right timeline for your fic, it’s simply a case of getting two people in *that* place at *that* time. From there, the rest is up to you.