Into the Night


see title page for notes



Chapter Three

Willow went through her suitcase. She hadn't brought any party wear, but she did have a red sleeveless turtleneck and red skirt that would do. She hung them in the bathroom as she took a shower, hoping the steam would get rid of the wrinkles. It had been a long day already and she was still jet lagged and sore from sitting on the plane. The heat of the water eased the soreness, but didn't take care of the fatigue. After her shower, she decided to take a nap. She'd gotten on a plane at four in the morning to be here first thing and she was exhausted.

As she brushed out her long blonde hair, she thought about how Spike would react when he saw it - when he saw her. And how she would react when she saw him - alive.

Spike was really and truly alive.

Buffy was out of the country and out of the picture.

Kennedy was gone.

And Tara? Tara was… permanently gone.

There was nothing stopping them from being together now. Nothing except her ambivalence about her long-buried feelings. And her complete ignorance of how Spike felt about her.

She would present herself - when and if she presented herself; she still wasn't sure about how the logistics of any of this would work - as the Willow Spike remembered. Red hair, cheery disposition, the one who worked the magicks to help others. She imagined that person in her mind and, when she opened her eyes, that was who she saw in the mirror.

Glamours were no problem for her anymore. The red hair had taken her weeks to get right - it kept flickering in and out at first, freaking everybody out - but now she did it without even thinking about it. Funnily enough, it was one of the breaking points between her and Kennedy.

For someone who had started out wary of magick, Kennedy had changed her tune awfully fast when the real power of good magick came surging into her during the slayer spell. Willow found that, after that day, she could complete almost any spell she came across - with a little practice, of course.

Kennedy had encouraged her to increase her power and control even further, but Willow knew where that path led. She used magick as little as possible. She didn't transport unless it was a matter of life and death; she used her computer the old fashioned way to research; and she grew her herbs in her kitchen window without the aid of other-wordly powers rushing them along.

That was how the arguments had started. It was little things at first, and Kennedy had used every trick she could think of to convince Willow. She started by volunteering them to go to South America. Willow was sure now that it had been part of a plan to get her away from the friends who had so much influence over her. And who looked out for her, Willow thought. People who had her best interests at heart, not their own. People who knew how dark she could be and helped her when she needed to straighten herself out.

But Kennedy removed her from that influence and exerted her own. Willow didn't see it at the time, but in the weeks since Kennedy had left she had done a lot of remembering and introspection.

Standing in her hotel bathroom in California, Willow could still picture every detail of their apartment in Buenos Aires. Of the yellow and white kitchen where Kennedy threw a grocery bag across the room and told Willow that grocery shopping was beneath her.

"You're the most powerful witch in the world - you can make food appear out of thin air! Why are you wasting your time at the market, dealing with the crowds and those horrible smells!"

"That's not what magick is for, Kennedy. And that food has to come from somewhere. If it appears here, it's just being teleported from somewhere else. That's stealing. I've told you that."

"We are above the law, Willow," Kennedy had countered. "I kill demons, you kill demons - we save the lives of these pathetic people every damn day and don't get even a 'Gracias' for it. We deserve better. Better than this," she said, pointing at the food Willow had bought with what little money they had, "And better than them." Kennedy had come closer and made her voice softer. "You're special, Willow - extraordinary. You have power. It was given to you and you should use it."

"I do use it, just not to steal or get things I didn't earn."

There had been another fight another time about cleaning the apartment, and another about laundry, and yet another about getting rid of the rust stain in their toilet that the manager had said could not be removed by any cleaner known to him. Practically any task that Willow insisted they do manually had been the beginning of a heated discussion.

Kennedy was talented. Sometimes she argued, sometimes she tried reason and yet other times, in the most powerful betrayal, she had tried to use love-making as a tool to change Willow's mind.

When those tricks had ultimately failed, she tried a new tactic. It was while they were breaking into a morgue to check on the cause of death of several people in one night.

"You know, Willow, if you had learned how to perfect that sunlight spell, some of these people might not have died."

"What?" Willow had been incredulous. "Are you saying this is my fault?"

"I'm just saying that if you were willing to use your powers more - if you spent more time learning magick and less time cleaning the kitchen - then maybe you could be of some real use to this world. In case you haven't noticed, the monsters are winning. There are more slayers all over the world but the monsters are still gaining on us. Grow some balls, Willow. You have a talent - use it for pity's sake! Then maybe we could get out of this hell hole and live it up on the Riviera or someplace fun."

Willow tried to be patient. "We couldn't afford the Riviera."

Kennedy just shrugged. "I could. If I gave up slaying and went back to my parents and became the good little girl they always wanted, we could have enough money to go anywhere, do anything."

"With the slayer populace growing so quickly, I've already upset the balance of nature. Good and evil both need to exist. It's about balance. The earth needs balance in order to sustain itself - in order to sustain us. If you read any of those books I keep putting on your bedside table, you'd know this. Destroying the entire demon population in one fell swoop would upset that balance and that would have repercussions we can't possibly foresee."

But Kennedy hadn't understood; she hadn't even tried to.

It was one night while they were out having dinner that Kennedy had used her final trick. She had implied that she, as a slayer - a chosen one - deserved someone who was just as powerful, just as dedicated to the cause. And somehow Willow, in not embracing all that she could be, might not be worthy.

Willow had said nothing; she stood, paid the bill and walked away. Kennedy had caught up with her and when they reached their apartment in Buenos Aires, Kennedy had found that Willow was not complexly averse to using her power for menial tasks. All of Kennedy's belongings were packed and waiting for her when they arrived home. She didn't say a word, not even goodbye; she just picked up her bags and left.

Kennedy had shown with that one sentence, You might not be worthy of me that she was a poor stand-in for love. Willow had had love once - real and true love - with Tara. What she had with Kennedy wasn't love; it was a rebound. And now it was over. So Willow had used finally used her magick frivolously - but only to take out the real rubbish once and for all. She figured that this one use of magick would be the best way make her point and she had been right.

Willow cried that night, not for the loss of Kennedy, but for the shame she felt she had brought onto the memory of Tara's love. It would never have occurred to Tara to say anything like that. It wouldn't have come into the mind of anyone who loved you for who you were. Once you have had that, nothing less would ever be good enough.

Willow found rather quickly that her life was better without Kennedy. Lonelier, quieter, but better. She hadn't been communicating very frequently with Buffy or the others by then, but that was partly her fault, she knew. She hadn't wanted to admit to them quite how badly her relationship with Kennedy was going, so she had distanced herself. In trying to avoid their questions, she hadn't really noticed that they weren't asking any.

She brought herself back to the present and remembered her nap.

She sighed and walked into the gorgeous master bedroom. It had ivory walls and crown moulding, an ivory coverlet on the bed and more pale blue and yellow pillows than she had ever seen on one bed in her life. It was a lovely burled wood four post king size bed and she felt positively decadent pulling back the covers and snuggling down under them.

Wolfram and Hart had good taste, for an evil law firm.

But Angel and Spike would change the evil part. Angel was intelligent and resourceful; he'd have them on the straight and narrow in no time. And Spike had proved, even before he got his soul back, that there was more good inside him than he wanted everyone to believe. He could be kind, and compassionate, and he was smarter than he let on to most people.

With Fred and Gunn and Wesley, they'd have the evil cleaned out of there soon enough and they'd only be representing the good demons from then on.

At least that's what she told herself as she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

She slept less than an hour; a persistent thought kept wiggling its way into her brain so she made herself get up and get dressed, then unpacked her computer and connected to the internet.

She wondered what time it was in Rome.

Opening her email program, she thought of exactly what she could say to Dawn so that she would understand but anyone else - namely Buffy or Andrew - who happened to be in the room and possibly looking over her shoulder, would think was normal chitchat.

She didn't know if Dawn had told anyone else about Spike's once-again undead status; she doubted it. There would have been an all points bulletin from the Watcher's Council if she had.

She brought up a new email screen and typed:

Hi, Dawn. How have you been? It was nice hearing from you the other day. I'm glad your grades are up; I'm sure you'll get into college. I spoke to that guy you referred me to. He had loads of information for me. But I couldn't help but wonder how you knew this was a spell I'd be able to accomplish. It's unlike any of the spells you saw me work back in Sunnydale. We're still working on the details, and I don't know if I still have all of the ingredients he needs, but I'm going to give it a try and see how it works out. I'm not sure if this is important enough for a Watcher's Council memo, I guess we'll have to see what the results are.

Give my love to Buffy and Andrew when you see them. And of course love to you too, Little Miss Too-Smart-For-Her-Own-Good!


She read it over twice to make sure it sounded all right and then clicked Send. She mentally calculated that it would be one in the morning in Rome right now. She'd probably have to wait until at least tomorrow to hear back from Dawn, but that didn't stop her from checking her email anyway. Nothing.

She opened a Google page and looked for a Greek restaurant in LA that she could afford. It had been a long time since she'd had decent Greek food and she missed it. Cleveland wasn't known for its stellar restaurants, that was for sure. May as well get some decent food while she was here.