Funnier in Latin
Title: In the Rain
Spoilers: Almost to the end of both series.
Summary: Alternate ending to the end of both series. Illyria ends it all, finally with Willow.
Author's Note: For Ari
The blue hand was latched around her neck. The fingers, stronger than any vampire, slayer, hell god she had known where gripping her, and had just begun to squeeze. But knowing she couldn't scream didn't seem to phase Willow. What froze her soul were the empty eyes looking back at her, into her. Eyes that she remembered. That was once full of tumultuous sparkle and questions. Fred's eyes.
"I don't know why I didn't think of just asking you to come here before. I mean who better to ask for help than the one person who had resouled Angelus before?"
"That's okay. You were busy trying to figure it out. Not thinking that the answer was that easy. Us scientists never think the answer is that easy." Willow bumped her hip against Fred's as they stood side by side at Angel's desk, looking over the parchments and books that lay scattered before them. The drive out to Los Angeles had been a long one. Too much on her mind. From the First, not knowing how to stop it, to the complexities of her new budding relationship with Kennedy, and the feelings of guilt that plagued her every time she looked into the young Slayerettes eyes. It was as though she could almost see through Kennedy and behind her was always Tara, looking sad, broken hearted. Whispering behind a veil of her golden hair, 'What happened to forever?'. Willow shook her head as she felt Fred's hand on top of her own.
"Are you okay? You are shaking like a leaf. Though why they say that I am not sure. Is there any proof that leaves shake? Aside from during a strong windstorm? And there certainly isn't a windstorm here. Unless of course you have a wind storm raging inside of you."
Willow blinked once and looking into Fred's kind and searching eyes. Such openness, honesty. She almost wanted to just take this thin, fragile, helpless woman into her arms and just absorb all that was good about her. Take it into her self in the hopes that it would chase away the thick black bile that lived inside of her now. And what made Willow purse her lips together was the truth that she knew the spell to do just that. And it was at the tip of her tongue.
"I'm fine." She swallowed and pulled her hand away, feeling the absence of good. "We should focus on this. The sooner I get Angel back, the sooner I can get back to Sunnydale."
"Sorry. I know I pulled you away from something pretty important huh?"
"Why don't we ever help each other out when those come up?" Fred mumbled opening another tomb.
"That would make too much sense. And this world is designed to make none."
Was this creature, this being, in truth an archangel? Was this vengeance? For all the evil that Willow had done to those she loved? For betraying Tara, Buffy, everyone? For being a murderer. Was dying at the hands of this creature that changed its shape, whose skin lightened from blue to pale. Who became Fred in appearance? Willow was going to die by the hands of the one person she never had given much thought to. Was that some sick irony? Was this how the cosmos played? Was this retribution for all the bad she had done, for all the bad that still lived and thrived inside of her?
"You prefer to die looking into this face. It would make you feel as though you were being cleansed?" The false lips and voice rasped, angrily.
Willow blinked her black eyes.
"I refuse to give you that satisfaction." Illyria threw Willow away from her, and Willow's body slammed against the far wall of the alleyway. The sound of breaking bones could be heard by both of them.
She could sense Fred moving about the office behind her. She was looking over the books, seeing what they had done so far, and double-checking the spell that had been used to remove the soul from Angel. From all that she had reviewed it was a simple spell, and she could use what she knew to resoul him. The only difficult part would be the fact that his soul was currently M.I.A. But that could be solved with a locator spell. She doubted who ever took the soul had released it into the ither. If they had, resouling him would be too simple. Keeping it contained would be the wises thing to do. It was what Willow would have done. Closing the book she turned around and at that moment Fred walked, or brushed past her. A coincidence that they were so close, that Fred moved so close, that Willow was turned around, that their bodies brushed against each other. That Willow felt the softness of Fred's body against her own. The brush of breasts, the heat of flesh, skin. She could smell the light natural scent that was Fred; she could feel the tickle of her doe colored hair as it brushed against her exposed neck and cheek. Willow's hand reached out and held onto Fred's upper arm, stopping both of their movements, keeping Fred's body close to her own. They looked into one other. Willow could see Fred's eyes widen, and then look away, but Willow was fixated on the way Fred's lips opened and the scent of her breath as it forced itself out of those wet lips. It was pure. Real. No longer truly innocent. But close enough. Still close enough to being innocent. Willow closed her eyes and felt Fred's aura. She was slapped by the vision of a wide-open valley covered in a blanket of soft snow.
"You dare cry? Who do you cry for? Do you cry for them? Or do you cry for yourself?"
"I am crying for Fred."
Illyria stepped back, her head turning to the side.
"I think of all of us, she was the only one who was pure. Innocent. At the beginning. She didn't choose any of this. It was chosen for her. She was thrown into this. Onto this path. She could have walked away a thousand times, but we all kept pulling her back into it. We tainted her. We teased her, we corrupted her and we pulled her into our world. We killed her. All of us did."
"Interesting. So you cry for me?" The voice and the body were a perfect match. Who was once Fred, kneeled beside Willow? A soft, gentle warm hand brushed hair away from her eyes, smoothed away some of the blood that was sliding down from the gash on her head. "You cry for me. With those pitch black eyes. I remember your hazel eyes Willow. I remember when we were working side by side. You gave me a look. Just one. It was... unsettling. It was a look like you wanted to devour me. Do you remember?"
"Did you want to? Devour me?"
"Was it a human want? Did you want to kiss me? Love me? Like Wesley did? Or was it something else?"
"Oh. I see. That explains your comments when you left with Faith. I always wondered." She bit her bottom lip. "You never could have had me then, either way. I was confused sure. But never about my sexuality. I never liked redheads."
Fred leaned down and kissed Willow's lips softly. Willow's mind was flooded with images of carnage, bodies being ripped in half, drawn and quartered, gutted while alive. Horrors of humanity. All visions that were Willow's own. Just reflected back at her.
Did Fred know that she was looking into the eyes of evil? Into the eyes of a killer, Willow wondered as she kept the young, beautiful scientist close to her body. Perhaps she did. She worked closely with Angel, Gunn, even Wesley. They were all killers as well. Though only Angel was close to Willow in pure evil. She wondered for a fleeting second if she too could be resouled. If she could regain some semblance of humanity? Or was it merely too late for her. Only a matter of time before the darkness that she had unleashed in herself took over. Took over and destroyed the tiny pieces of good left.
Her thumbs moved over Fred's bicep lovingly, gently. She could easily ingest this goodness. But how long would it last? How long would it keep with visions and nightmares away? Would destroying another life be worth it? Could she do that to someone as pure as Fred?
Inside Willow manically laughed. She took goodness from Tara, feeding off of her. Why couldn't she do the same to Fred? This brunette who was nearly a stranger. What would it matter? Really? Forget all of them. Forget Angel. For get the crew here in Los Angeles. She could take Fred home with her. Use her. She could....
"Faith is here." Willow growled low. And then forced a smile.
"Oh!" Fred smiled. "Wesley mentioned getting reinforcements. Didn't I tell you about that?"
"Must have, um slipped my mind?"
Willow released Fred. Her thoughts came back to her. A Slayer would be helpful back in Sunnydale. She would remember the greater good. She would keep her distance from Fred, and the goodness she exuded. It was almost too intoxicating.
Willow looked up at the iridescent eyes of the god trapped in human form. The twisted face. As if the feelings of this being could not be contained in such a small shell. Willow knew that feeling all to well. "Why did you do it?"
"Because I could. You know what that is like. In the times before. You did the same." Willow coughed blood. Remembering for a moment the look of shock on Angel's face as he dusted, hearing the scream from Buffy as she was forced to watch.
"They deserved better than to die at your hand. And you deserve worse than this simple end."
"With luck I will be tormented in hell."
"I would hope so."
Illyria lifted her foot, dropped it. Willow watched in slow motion as the boot sole came towards her face, until she felt the snap of pain, and then there was no more.