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Fallen

by Eena Angel


Willow knew that you were supposed to give white roses at
funerals. It was like some sort of funeral law. White represented
something. Willow knew it did, she just couldn't remember. Her
thoughts were pretty much muddled. And she decided that she didn't
like white roses.
Yellow roses were better. Yellow was for friendship. Willow
had a lot of respect for friendship. It was because of friendship
that the world didn't end at her hands. And that was good. The
world being able to exist was right. The lives of innocent people
shouldn't be brushed away in a fit of rage. Life should continue.
But it didn't stop her from wanting to die.
Everyone told her she was just depressed. That she had gone
through a lot and that was affecting her. It made her think dark
things, think that her life was pointless. Well, that was obvious.
Willow could tell that much through the muddle her mind had become.
But that wasn't it. She had been telling Buffy the truth
during her whacked out revenge kick. The only time Willow felt like
anything was when Tara looked at her. When those hazel eyes would
see her as wonderful, that's when Willow was alive.
She didn't have that anymore. She couldn't ever find it
again even if she wanted to. Willow didn't deserve that kind of
love. Not ever again. She deserved to be dead in the ground and
rotting. She knew but everyone else refused to acknowledge it.
But they were lucky that Willow was a coward. She couldn't
take her own life. She wanted to, but death already tainted her
hands. She could only see Warren's death and would chicken out.
Willow really was a loser. First a nerd, then a junkie, and now a
spineless suicidal killer. Gee, she sure was well rounded.
On the bright side, though she couldn't kill herself maybe
someone would do it for her. Willow had been banking on Spike doing
it for her. But low and behold, he came back to town with a brand
spanking new soul. Funny how things turned out.
Anyway, her death, how would that come about. It didn't take
long for Willow to figure out it wouldn't. Buffy and the others made
sure of that. She began to understand what her death would do to
them. After all the pain she had already caused, Willow couldn't
bring herself to do that to them.
So, death was scraped. But as for staying in Sunnydale, that
wouldn't have happened no matter what. They all knew, even Clem
knew. They chose to ignore it while Willow planned a way to get away
from the whole mess. They knew it was what she needed. Hell, they
left her alone at times, giving her the ample time to go away. Not
that they wanted her gone, but they understood that she would leave
no matter what. They accepted it subconsciously.
And she did leave. There was no way she would have stayed.
Just packed her bags and kissed them all goodbye. Given her magic
stuff to Anya, hugged Dawn and Buffy, and slept with Xander. Yeah,
she knew that was stupid. But they knew she was going and never
coming back. And of all the people in her life, Willow loved him the
most. Sure, they were just friends, but they couldn't leave it at
that. She wasn't in love with Xander; he wasn't in love with her.
It was like Spike and Anya. It just happened, and it was nice. She
left him while he slept.
On her way out of town, she swung by Spike's-well, William's
crypt. He sat huddled in the corner as usual, weeping from his
nightmares. Buffy and Dawn were trying to help him, but he would run
from their comfort. He didn't deserve it, he was a monster. A lot
like Angel, a lot like her. Damn but souls were irritating.
She had knelt beside him, whispering comforting words into
his ear. She gave him a kiss and helped him back into his bed. She
held his hand and stroked his hair until he calmed. He had let the
dye out of it. His hair was brown again. But god he looked handsome
like that.
He had squeezed her hand and thanked her. She smiled and
told him she was leaving. Told him that Buffy and Dawn would look
out for him, and Xander would be nicer. She promised to write to him
and made him promise to write her back. And if he ever picked up
poetry again, she wanted to read it.
He kissed the back of her hand and said a tearful goodbye.
She wiped the blood off his cheeks and gave him another kiss. Then
she picked up her bags and left Sunnydale for good.
*****
Jeff Hardy let his eyes wander the bar. He was drunk and
knew it. He wondered how he let Edge talk him into a drinking
competition. The man in question lay in a booth, head in Trish
Stratus's lap. He was worse off than Jeff. Jeff had tried to warn
him, but he wouldn't listen. Jeff hadn't been beaten in a drink off
since high school.
His eyes moved around the room, taking in the inhabitants.
His older brother Matt sat next to Trish, drinking and miserable over
Lita. Jeff felt for his brother. He missed Lita too, but Matt was
her boyfriend. Matt was missing out on a lot more. Of course, Matt
loved Lita purely, but Jeff couldn't help thinking vulgar thoughts.
It was the alcohol affecting his brain.
Bubba Ray Dudley sat on the other side of Trish, not entirely
happy that Edge was burrowing his head in his girlfriend's lap. Only
the fact that Trish kept nibbling on his neck kept him from putting
Edge through the table they had gathered around. RVD seemed to be
the only one who was sober. Probably because he was too busy kissing
Torrie Wilson to actually take a drink. God, those two had been down
each other's throat all night. It made Jeff want to wretch.
That was it for wrestlers. Other ordinary people lounged
about, half drunk, half sober. No one of any real interest. The bar
was pretty quiet. Jeff figured that was because it was almost two in
the morning. People tended to be pretty soused by then and that
usually put a damper on the rowdiness.
His eyes fell on a lone figure at the bar. A little redhead
downing a shot. He watched her place her glass back on the counter
and demand another. The bartender refilled her glass, shaking his
head slightly. The redhead merely downed it again. She was pretty
drunk too. Her eyes were red and her face forlorn. Jeff wondered
what made her so sad.
Without realizing he had done so, Jeff found himself settling
in next to the redhead. He peered at her closely in concern. She
shot him a wary look.
"Are you okay?" God he was drunk. He should really go back
to minding his own business by his friends, but he couldn't leave.
The redhead turned in her seat, gazing at him closely. After
apparently deciding it was an honest question she turned back to her
drink.
"I'm fine," was her curt reply.
"No you're not," he protested. Yep, too drunk to know better.
"Why do you care?"
"I don't like that you're sad."
It was the truth.
The redhead just shook her head.
"Well, get used to it," she laughed mirthlessly. "I plan on
staying sad for awhile."
"How come?"
"Because I deserve it."
"No one deserves to be that sad."
"You don't know me."
"I'd like to."
She gave him a sharp look at that one. Jeff wanted to kick
himself. If he weren't liable to end up on the whole with massive
injuries, he would have done so. But then again, the redhead might
do it for him.
"You don't know what you're asking," she finally replied.
"I think I do."
"You're drunk."
"I know that."
"You don't know what you want."
"Nah-uh. Alcohol makes you lose your inhibitions. It
doesn't make you confuse what you want."
"You should leave soon."
"Why?"
She turned to look at him. God, she had beautiful green
eyes. They were filled with unshed tears. Lord, he wanted to hold
her.
"Why?" he repeated.
"Because you might get what you asked for."
*****
When Willow woke up the next morning, she had no clue where
she was. Sunlight streamed in from a window. There were white walls
and decent furnishings. It was a hotel room, but not her hotel
room. Hell, Willow knew this wasn't her hotel. She had a feeling
she did something stupid last night.
Becoming aware of a heavy weight that was restricting her
movements, Willow glanced down and knew she did something stupid last
night.
There was a man on her. She hoped it was a man. She
couldn't tell from her angle. She could only see the top of his
head, which was multicoloured. She did a quick mental check and
failed to come up a single demon that had hair like Rainbow Brite.
Which begged the question: who the hell was this guy?
Willow tried to move out from under him, but he would have
none of that. The man had burrowed his head into Willow's chest.
His arms were wrapped around her waist and he wasn't letting go.
Stubborn even in his sleep, Willow wasn't so sure she liked that.
She laid back and tried to remember the previous night. She
went to a bar, got drunk, blanked out, and woke up naked with Rainbow
Brite. Damn, she was off to a great start on her own.
Overwhelmed, Willow began struggling under the weight of her
companion. It didn't get her anyway, but did wake him up.
He lifted his head and frowned at her. Willow's heart
stopped. He was gorgeous, a little weird, but gorgeous. His green
eyes stared into hers in confusion.
"Sleep now," he mumbled, setting his head down again.
Willow rolled her eyes.
"No, get off now," she replied. She struggled anew and he
just gripped her waist tighter.
"Can't, you'll leave," he muttered.
Willow gave him a look.
"What?"
"You said last night that you would probably try to leave in
the morning," he explained, begrudgingly becoming more awake. "You
said if I wanted to see you ever again, I better hold on pretty
tight."
Willow went red.
"You have to let me go," she ordered him.
"So you can leave?" he lifted himself up on one elbow. It
gave her some breathing room, but not enough to get away.
"That's the plan," she muttered, struggling again.
"I don't think so," he laid back down on her. "I think I
want to keep you."
"You don't get to decide!" Willow shouted at him. Who the
hell was this guy?
"Doesn't matter," he shrugged. "I usually get what I want."
"Who are you?" she demanded.
"I'm Jeff," he answered.
"Well, Jeff," Willow glared at him. "You better let me go
right now."
"But I want you to stay," he pouted.
"You don't always get what you want," she informed
him. "Now, let me go!"
"Stay," he whispered.
"No."
"Why not?"
"Because."
"Because why?"
She was silent for a moment.
"You don't know why, do you?" he asked her.
"When did you become the expert on me?" she demanded in
response.
"Last night," he answered. "You cried you would leave but
that you didn't want to. You don't want to be alone but you think
you deserve to be sad."
"I do," she whispered, finally stopping her struggles.
"Be sad with me," he offered.
"Are you insane? I just met you."
He shrugged.
"Maybe, but I want you to stay."
"What if I don't want to?" she countered.
"I have ways," he waggled his brows.
Willow had had enough.
"No."
Jeff readjusted himself so he lay right on top of the
redhead. He bent his head and delivered a kiss to her neck.
"Please?"
"No."
He continued to kiss her neck.
"Please?"
"No."
He made his way lower. His lips fluttered across her
collarbone.
"Please?"
"No," with less resolve this time.
He kissed even lower. His lips caressed the top of her chest.
"Please?"
"N-no," she managed to stutter out.
He went lower. Willow gasped at the contact of his lips and
her flesh.
"Please?"
"Wh-what?" she couldn't think. He was distracting her.
"Please stay."
"I can't," she whispered in a pained voice.
"Yes you can," he replied. "And you want to."
"What would I do here with you?"
"Travel with me."
"You travel a lot?"
"I'm a wrestler," he answered. "We travel a lot."
"I wouldn't have anything-"
"You can be my manager."
"I don't know anything about wrestling."
"But you could manage the managing."
"This is insane."
Jeff shrugged and resumed his kissing.
"Stop that!"
"Not until you agree to stay."
She glared down at the man. He merely grinned and continued
to kiss his way around her body. She tried to ignore it, but it
didn't work.
"Fine," she sighed.
He stopped and lifted his head to grin at her.
"Good," he climbed off her and yanked her to her feet.
Willow clutched at the bed sheets.
"Hello, naked here!" she protested.
He grinned again.
"Well aware of that," he whispered huskily in her ear.
Willow went beet red and starting protesting when he pulled on her
arm.
"Where are we going?" she demanded.
"We're going to take a shower," he replied mischievously.
It was the best damn shower she ever had.
*****
"Are you insane?"
Matt rolled his eyes at Jeff. His younger brother shrugged
and draped an arm around their new manager.
"You have to come out there," he explained to her. "That's
what a manager does."
"I'm not too sure about this manager thing," Willow replied
sourly.
"Then why'd you agree in the first place?" Trish asked.
"I was under duress," Willow shot Jeff a glare.
"I bet you were under something all right," Edge smirked at
her. Willow went red and returned her attention to her clients.
"I have stage fright," she informed them.
Matt's eyes bulged. When Jeff had come to him with the idea,
he had been against it. He assumed it was just some wrestling
wannabe using his brother to get into the WWE. Meeting with Willow,
Matt quickly came to the conclusion that it was entirely Jeff's
idea. The girl had no clue about wrestling. And now, she had stage
fright.
"You have stage fright," he repeated, rubbing his eyelids.
"That's what I said," Willow huffed. "I'm not going out
there."
"You have to," Jeff insisted again. "It's what managers do."
"I don't care, this whole thing was your stupid idea," Willow
poked him in the chest. "I could be in New York working at a diner
or something."
"That's your big goal?" Bubba asked in disbelief.
"No," Willow denied. "But at least I wouldn't be dragged
about in front of thousands of people."
"Don't forget the millions watching at home," Edge added
helpfully. Willow paled at that.
"Shut up Edge," Matt shook his head. "Look, Willow, if you
want to stay here with us you're going to have to walk us out."
"Oh well," the redhead sighed. "It was nice knowing you."
She gave a quick wave and headed for the door. Jeff snagged
her before she got too far.
"You're not leaving," he informed her.
"Damn it," she muttered in defeat. She turned pleading eyes
on Matt.
"You're his brother. Talk him out of this craziness."
"Red, I can't talk him out of anything," Matt told her
resignedly. "He's as stubborn as a mule and twice as dumb."
"Bite me Matt," Jeff shot back easily.
"Isn't that what Willow's here for?" Edge piped up.
Jeff frowned at him.
"Didn't we tell you to shut up already?"
Edge shrugged.
"I didn't listen."
Willow cleared her throat.
"Hello, remember me?" she waved for their attention. "I'm
not going out there. You can't make me."
Trish sighed and climbed out of Bubba's lap. She extended a
hand to the redhead.
"Come on," she urged. "I'll help you out."
"No need for help. I'm not going out there, remember?"
Trish merely pulled Willow along with her, waving off the
thankful look Jeff shot at her. When the two women had left the
locker room, Matt turned on his brother.
"What are you thinking?" he demanded. "That girl has no
business here. She has stage fright for Christ's sake."
"I want to keep her," Jeff replied stubbornly.
"Hate to break this to you Jeff, but she's not some sort of
pet you picked up at the pound," Bubba reminded him.
"I know that," Jeff sighed, running his hands through his
hair. "But if I let her go, she'll go back to being sad. And I
don't want that."
"You've known her for about two days," Matt interjected.
Jeff shrugged.
"I think I love her," was his only response.
"You think?" Edge repeated. "Dude, you slept with her and
then refused to let her leave your vicinity. I say that you
definitely love her. Why, I have no idea. Did you hit your head
that night at the bar or something?"
"A head injury would be a welcome change," Matt commented
dryly. "Then maybe he'll learn to think straight."
Jeff stuck his tongue out at his brother.
"She'll be great," he insisted. "Just wait and see."
Matt shook his head again.
"She better be little brother."
*****
Willow had ascertained that everyone in this company was
insane. Jeff was obviously way ahead of them in the acts of
insanity, but it didn't change the fact that they were all crazy.
Like this Trish Stratus woman. Didn't Willow already inform everyone
that she was not going out to ringside? So why was this woman
helping her put on makeup while giving her advice?
"Just focus on Jeff," Trish advised. "Remember why you're
here?"
"I'm here because he uses cruel methods of persuasion,"
Willow muttered darkly.
The blonde woman laughed.
"I think it's just because he's in love with you," she
giggled.
Willow sighed.
"He's not in love with me," she protested. "He doesn't even
know me."
"That may be the case, but he is in love with you," Trish
gave the redhead a meaningful look. "I've known Jeff Hardy a long
time. Never have I seen him this worked up over a girl."
"This is all insane, I'm not supposed to be here," Willow
whispered.
"Where are you supposed to be?"
"Somewhere else," Willow replied. "Alone."
"Why alone?"
"Because I deserve it."
"No, you think you deserve it," Trish amended. "Fate may
have a totally different opinion."
"Fate's a bitch," Willow stated bitterly.
"Fate's fate," Trish replied, brushing out Willow's long red
hair. "It just leads you down paths. What you do when you're there
is your choice. But did you ever think that maybe you're not meant
to be alone?"
Willow frowned.
"If I wasn't meant to be alone, Tara wouldn't have died,"
Willow argued pointedly.
"I don't know who Tara is, but I'm sorry that she died,"
Trish gazed at the young woman in front of her. "But what you could
have with Jeff, that's important."
"I don't love Jeff," Willow countered.
"But you might," Trish pointed out. "And maybe that's why
you met him."
Willow shook her head.
"I was meant for one person," Willow disagreed
stubbornly. "She was taken away from me. I should be alone now."
Trish sighed and wondered how she could get through to this
girl. She talked like her life was over. But didn't she see?
Her life could begin all over again.
*****
Willow stood with arms crossed glaring at the brothers in
front of her. With Trish's help, she had transformed into quite a
different Willow. Eyeliner and shadow brought out her green eyes,
her long red hair had been let down from its customary ponytail, and
she wore a lot of leather. Trish had been kind, and Willow uses that
word lightly, to lend her some ring apparel. Tight leather pants and
a tank top constituted ring apparel. Willow felt like an idiot.
"Don't I get a say in this?"
Jeff grinned.
"You're our manager," he chuckled. "You had a say in that.
This is what that entails."
Willow glared at him.
"Say in that my foot," she muttered darkly.
Music started up. Matt and Jeff edged for the curtains.
Willow stood still for two seconds before she tried to turn tail and
flee. Arms around her waist prevented that from happening.
"Put me down!" she shrieked. Her demand fell on deaf ears.
With a laugh, Jeff pulled her through the curtains and onto the
ramp. Lights and noise bombarded her instantly. Willow faltered
slightly, senses overwhelmed.
"I hate you," she sputtered at Jeff. He merely grinned and
planted a kiss on her neck. She shot him an exasperated look.
"The following match is for the WWE Tag Team Championships.
Making their way to the ring, being accompanied by Willow," cried the
ring announcer. "Matt and Jeff, the Hardy Boys!"
The crowd roared in approval. Willow dimly wondered who had
told the announcer her name. She had just recently been talked into
this right?
Suddenly, Matt yanked her up and dragged her down the ramp,
leaving a slightly flabbergasted Jeff on the stage. Spinning her
around a few times, Matt put her on her feet at the ring.
"Climb in," he invited before sliding into the ring himself.
Rolling her eyes, Willow climbed the ring stairs and slipped between
the ropes. Jeff had caught up to them and was shooting his brother
dirty looks for taking off with his girl. Both Hardy brothers leapt
to the turnbuckles and played to the crowd. Willow watched in
amusement as they raced from corner to corner, jumping, dancing, and
basically getting the fans psyched up. Only when their music died
did they calm down.
"Listen," Matt advised, approaching her. "When the others
arrive, just duck out of the ring. And stay away from Rico!"
"Rico?" Willow repeated, eyebrows raised.
Jeff opened his mouth to explain but was cut off by new music
blaring out across the arena. The fans jumped in with a chorus
of "boos" as three people appeared on the stage.
"Making their way to the ring, being accompanied by Rico,
they are the tag team champions, Billy and Chuck!"
Willow gave an unimpressed chuckle at the sight of the
opponents.
"Are those sideburns or Velcro?" she whispered to Matt.
The older Hardy laughed.
"Supposedly sideburns, but everyone has their doubts."
"Stay away from him Willow," Jeff warned her. "I don't want
him going after you."
"Why would he do that?" Willow demanded. "I'm not in the
match."
Matt and Jeff stared at her.
"You've never really watched a single show before, have you?"
Willow shook her head.
"Remind me to show you some tapes afterwards," Jeff told her,
ushering the redhead to the ropes.
Willow shot him a curious look before jumping down to
ringside.
*****
The match was fast paced and brutal. Willow cringed every
few seconds when a wrestler was slammed, choked, or just plain given
a beating. She learned a lot from that night at ringside.
First of all, she learned that not only were Matt and Jeff
insane, they were apparently suicidal as well. Her heart would leap
up her throat every time they performed one of their high-flying
stunts. Halfway through the match, Willow wondered how long she
could be their manager before succumbing to a heart attack.
The second thing she learned was that Billy and Chuck were
really bad cheaters. Their personal stylist Rico was as involved in
the match as they were. It made Willow's blood boil.
The third thing she learned was that maybe Trish was on to
something. Willow didn't have to be here, she let herself be dragged
around by Jeff Hardy. She could have left anytime after the bell
rung, but she didn't. Hell, she could have left any point before
this. Jeff had no right to keep her here. She wasn't being held
captive. On some level, Willow liked the prospect of staying with
Jeff. He seemed to want to take care of her, and that was a welcome
change.
And the final thing Willow learned was what managers in the
WWE were really for. Towards the end of the match, she had seen Rico
grabbed the belts and go to offer them to Billy while Chuck had the
ref distracted.
Marching over there, Willow grabbed onto the belts before
Rico could pass them along.
"I've had enough of you," she told him sternly, tugging on
her end of the titles. Rico shot her a disbelieving look and the two
commenced a slight tug-of-war over the titles. Seeing Billy stretch
a hand out to her, Willow promptly stepped on Rico's foot. The
stylist screamed and released his hold on the belts. Stumbling from
the force of it, Willow had inadvertently struck Billy squarely in
the head with the titles. She had stopped in her tracks, staring
open-mouthed at the man she had just clocked.
Snarling from behind warned her Rico had arisen. Willow
whirled around, bringing the belts down on the stylist's head before
she could really give the situation a thought. The man crumpled down
at her feet.
Willow looked on in shame.
*****
Jeff had seen Rico approaching the ring with the belts. He
also saw Willow approach him and the slight confrontation they had.
His heart constricted when he saw Billy Gunn stretch a hand out to
his redhead.
Frantically, he made his way over to the wrestler, only to be
shocked when Willow decked him with the titles. The ref had been
distracted the entire time. Matt crept up behind Chuck and threw him
out of the ring. He looked over at Jeff.
"Now little brother!" he instructed. Wasting little time,
Jeff jumped up to the turnbuckle. Matt set Billy up for him with a
Twist of Fate. Rising to his feet and balancing on top of the ring
post, Jeff saluted the crowd and flew into a Swanton bomb.
Recovering from the landing, Jeff pulled Billy in for the
three count. The crowd chanted along with the referee.
One. Two. Three.
They won. They won the tag titles. And it was mostly due to
the little redhead his brother had been so against bringing out with
them.
Jeff turned to find Willow, to pull her into a celebration.
Spotting her, the young man stopped. She gazed down at a fallen
Rico, title belts in her hands. The redhead looked positively
shameful. He exchanged a look with Matt.
The elder Hardy shrugged and approached the redhead.
"We won, way to go Willow," he thanked her. Willow nodded
mutely, still holding the title belts to her chest. Matt gently
pried them from her arms and led her over to Jeff. The trio made
their way up the ramp, the brothers waving their belts in victory.
"The winners of this match and the new WWE Tag Team
Champions, Matt and Jeff, the Hardy Boys!"
The crowd gave them a thundering ovation. Jeff pulled Willow
into a hug.
"I didn't mean to hit him," she whispered to Jeff when he
gathered her in up his arms.
"It's okay," Jeff told her. "It happens here. It's not a
big deal."
"Yes it is," she whispered back tearfully. "I don't want to
hurt anyone. Not ever again."
Jeff frowned and hugged her tightly. He glanced at Matt over
her head. The elder brother looked at the redhead and shrugged.
Jeff wondered what she was talking about. She was a sweet little
thing.
How did she hurt anyone before? And why never again?
*****
Willow was still feeling miserable later in the evening. She
sat on the hotel bed, hair still wet from the shower. She was
watching television, an old rerun of Scooby Doo. Jeff was in the
shower. Yes, she was staying with him. Why, who the hell knew? It
made as much sense as her being his manager.
She watched idly as Scooby and Shaggy ran from another
unidentifiable monster. Willow gave a half-hearted laugh when they
stumbled across another hidden hallway. Amazing the abundance of
hidden hallways in Scooby Doo cartoons. And how come they almost
always ended up in a mansion? It was repetitive.
"I can't believe I'm here dissecting Scooby Doo," she
muttered to herself. "I'm worse than Xander."
"Who's Xander?"
She looked up at the question. Jeff walked in, rubbing his
hair with a towel. He was shirtless and Willow had no problem with
that. She decided that even if she wasn't happy with Jeff, there was
no reason for her to be upset with his body.
She raked her eyes over his midsection. Nope, no reason to
be upset with his body.
Jeff looked down at her, an expectant look in his eyes.
"What?"
"Who is Xander?" he repeated.
"Just some guy," she replied vaguely. She watched in
amusement as he stiffened physically.
"A guy," he repeated. "Some sort of ex-boyfriend guy?"
"Kind of," she smirked at him. "Jealous?"
"Yes," he answered truthfully. "I like you too much to
imagine you with other guys."
"Would girls be okay?" she asked.
He grinned.
"More than okay," he assured her.
Willow shook her head. She was reminded of that talk her and
Tara had with Anya not too long ago.
"You're a pervert," she told him.
"Nah, just all things Willow turn me on," he grinned,
climbing onto the bed with her. Willow watched him approach with a
wary eye.
"I make you perverted?" she asked, backing up when he
continued to advance.
"If you look at it like that way," he shrugged, coming to a
stop when he was directly on top of her. Jeff grinned down at the
redhead beneath him.
"I like to think of it in pleasanter terms."
"Such as?" Willow asked as he bent to kiss her neck.
"Love," he whispered in her ear.
Willow sighed and pushed at him.
"You don't love me," she told him.
"I'd beg to differ."
"You don't know me."
"Give me a chance. I could."
"You might not like what you find out."
"That's awfully pessimistic," he told her.
"It's the truth," she looked up at him. "Run while you can."
"I think I'll stay," he smiled at her.
"Why?"
He grinned and proceeded to show her why.
*****
They fell into a bit of a pattern then. Willow would
accompany Matt and Jeff almost everywhere in her capacity as
manager. Autographs sessions, house show, promotional tours, you
name it, she was there. She was getting quite a following too.
Signs began to appear, linking her name with the Hardys. She had her
own bio on the WWE Website. Hell, she even had her own t-shirt. It
read "Green-Eyed Monster" on the front along with her picture. The
back had "Jealous?" on it.
Matt and Jeff continued their reign as tag champs. They had
the traditional rematch with Billy and Chuck. Rico spent the entire
match trying to make her pay for the turn out of the first one.
Unfortunately for him, Edge and Bubba had been put on Willow duty.
The time that the man approached her during the match, the two of
them ran down to ringside and proceeded to give him the beat down of
his life. Even though Willow knew he had it coming, she still felt
guilty. She was the cause of another person's pain. It just didn't
end for her.
Anyway, she got a legion of four wrestling protectors. When
Test had tried to hit on her, Matt and Jeff jumped him in the
backstage. When Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman tried to attack her,
Bubba and Edge interfered. She was never without protection, and she
really didn't mind it.
Matt was fast turning out to be her friend. He was like the
parent of the group. He would settle squabbles and look out for
everyone. He would often just sit with Willow when she was feeling
bad about one of the beat downs happening at her expense. He never
tried to say anything. Just sat next to her, going through his
wrestling gear. Willow appreciated it.
Edge and Bubba were darlings. They took care of her like a
pair of older brothers. They fended off unwanted advances, kept an
eye on her while she was at ringside, and brought her a lot of ice
cream. They would even insist on taking her out for cones certain
nights. They babied her.
Trish was fast becoming her girlfriend. Any time Willow felt
overwhelmed by the males attending to her, Trish would somehow sense
it. She would grab the redhead and wave the men off with a
proclamation of "girl time". They went shopping, painted toenails
and even had a sleepover once. Not more than once because their
respective guys didn't want to be without them for too long.
And Jeff, what could she say about Jeff? He was fast
becoming the centre of her life. Though she denied it, deep down she
believed it when Jeff told her that he loved her. He didn't say it a
lot, because it usually put her in one of her moods. But slowly,
Willow was becoming convinced. It would have been great to ignore
it, but she couldn't. It made her sad to think she would have to
leave because of that. When people loved her, they ended up ass deep
in shit they could no way handle. Or they ended up dead. Willow
didn't have the best track record with love.
And the prospect of leaving depressed her. Ever since Tara
died, Willow had been haunted. She could only remember two things:
Tara's death and Warren's death. Though she didn't feel sorry for
killing him, she did feel bad about the act itself. Murder was
wrong, no matter what the reason. And she felt guilty that there
were people in Warren's life who would miss him. As for Tara, there
was always that dull ache in her heart when Willow thought of the
blonde witch who she loved so much. It was ever present. She had
lost the love of her life. It was all she could think of at times.
But when she was with Jeff, she could forget for a while.
This strange man with his rainbow hair could make her forget she was
miserable. At nights, with him inside her, kissing her, telling her
he loved her, Willow could almost believe this was reality. That
this is what she was meant for, where she should be. Tara and Warren
faded into the background. The guilt, the pain, the hurt, it was
gone. She could even forget the hell that is Sunnydale California
when she was with him.
But in the mornings, it would all come back to her. Tara,
Warren, her actions, the pain she inflicted, and the pain she felt.
It would all come back and Willow would have to stop herself from
crying. Even with Jeff lying with her, arms wrapped tightly around
her waist, couldn't deflect those emotions in the mornings. Willow
remembered everything she lost and everything she had thrown away.
And she would resolve to leave that day.
Then Jeff would wake up. He had some sort of six sense when
it came to Willow. Whenever she would make up her mind, he would
wake. He would rise and drag her into the shower. He wouldn't leave
her side until the thought left her. Until he knew she wouldn't
leave the second he turned around.
It was all mounting to the one thing she had feared from the
beginning of this whole mess. The one thing she didn't deserve,
something that she should be denied for the rest of her life. And
the one thing she was too much a coward to stop.
Willow Rosenburg was falling in love with Jeff Hardy.
*****
Willow really should have seen this coming. She knew she
couldn't run from her old life no matter what, but she thought she
would have a brief hiatus. But she should have at least expected
it. She banked entirely too much on the fact that none of her
friends watched wrestling. However, she forgot that she didn't know
one Charles Gunn that well.
So it was in LA when her old life met headfirst with her new
one. Funny, until it happened, Willow didn't know she considered
this to be her new life. She didn't figure this was a life. It was
just something that happened after she left. She had never planned
on staying, and yet, four months later, she was still there.
She felt it that first morning in the City of Angels. She
had been sleeping, Jeff tucking her into his body. They never slept
any different. Always with him holding onto her. It was like he
really was afraid she would leave him while he slept.
Anyway, it was morning, late morning at that. Jeff was a
late sleeper. Willow never used to be that way, but she guessed Jeff
was rubbing off on her.
So it was late morning when Willow stirred. Her eyes
fluttered open and she knew. Sitting upright, her mind whirled. Of
course it would happen, she had been stupid to think it wouldn't. It
didn't matter that no one she knew watched wrestling, he always
knew. Willow figured that out a long time ago.
"What's wrong?" Jeff mumbled, slowly waking up.
"I'm going downstairs," she explained, hurriedly reaching for
clothing.
"What? Why? You hungry?"
"Nope," Willow shook her head. "Gotta meet someone."
"What? Who?" but his question fell on deaf ears as the
redhead was already out the door.
Grumbling, Jeff rushed to get dressed and follow his sort-of
girlfriend.
*****
She felt it the moment she exited the elevator. She cast a
glance around the lobby. Nope, not there. That left the hotel
restaurant.
"Willow?" she heard someone call her name. The redhead
turned to see her friends seated at a table eating breakfast.
"You two are never up this early," Trish frowned at her
friend. "Where's Jeff?"
"He's coming," Willow answered distractedly, eyes scanning
the tables. Then she saw him, seating in the shadows, watching her
intently.
"Angel," she breathed.
"What did you say?" Matt looked at her in concern. He
exchanged glances with Trish, Bubba, and Edge. "Are you okay-"
"Excuse me for a second," Willow brushed them off. She made
her way to the corner where he sat waiting.
Jeff came running up at that second. Matt grabbed his arm
when he started to follow the redhead.
"What?" Jeff demanded.
"I think she needs some privacy," he gave his younger brother
a look. "Sit down."
Jeff sat down in a huff, eyes intent on Willow. He watched
as she approached some tall guy in the corner. The man stood and
enveloped his redhead into a large hug. Jeff bristled.
"Who the hell is that guy?"
*****
"Angel," Willow stated, stopping in front of his table.
The dark haired vampire rose to his feet and pulled her into
a massive hug.
"Willow," he said in relief. Willow hugged him back, eyes
prickling with tears.
He pulled back and stared into her eyes.
"How did you find me?"
"How could I not little one?" he smiled at her. "I can
always tell when you're near. One of the side effects, remember?"
Willow nodded. She had forgotten about that. When she had
done the soul restoration spell, it made a connection between her and
the vampire. In order for his soul to remain in power over the
demon, her soul fed his. So while Buffy would always be his beloved,
the little redhead was in fact his soul mate.
"And Gunn is a rabid wrestling fan," Angel added,
grinning. "He brought me one of your shirts. Interesting."
"What are you doing here?" she whispered.
"How could I stay away?"
"Are you going to answer every question with a question?" she
frowned at him. "Cause that is so annoying."
Angel chuckled at her.
"Same old Willow," he smiled.
"I wish," the redhead grumbled.
Angel pulled her into a seat.
"So," he started.
"So," she repeated. "What's up?"
"Oh nothing, just this friend of mine up and left one day,"
Angel answered. "And just when we thought we would never see her
again, she shows up on national television. On wrestling no less."
"Sounds kind of unbelievable to me," Willow giggled.
"Yeah, especially since she suffers from terrible stage
fright," Angel looked at her suspiciously. "And this one guy with
multi-coloured hair is always hanging all over her."
Willow rolled her eyes.
"Relax big brother," she admonished him. "I am an adult. I
can handle guys hanging all over me."
"Good, because that guy is so in love with you, he can't see
two inches in front of his face."
Willow sighed and looked at the tabletop.
"Is that what you came to tell me?" she asked. "Cause I kind
of already knew that."
"I came to see if you love him back."
Willow frowned.
"I think that's a little personal."
"Well, I'm asking anyway," Angel looked her right in the
eyes. "That guy could get seriously hurt. Could you do that Willow?"
"Look Angel, I'm not in the mood for lectures."
"Well, I think you need one," he interjected. "Willow, Tara
is gone."
"Don't you think I know that?" Willow shook with immediate
rage.
"I don't think you do," Angel replied softly. "You're
clinging to something that is gone. And if you aren't careful, your
Jeff is going to get emotionally scarred."
Willow was silent.
"Do you care about him?"
"Yes," was the whispered reply.
"Do you love him?"
"I don't know. I don't deserve to be loved-"
"Wait," Angel held up his hand. "You never use to let me get
away with that kind of self-loathing, I'm going to return the
favour. If anyone on this earth deserves that kind of love, it's
you."
Willow smiled at him.
"Thanks."
"You're welcome. Now about Jeff."
"He takes care of me," Willow sighed. "It feels so nice.
And he needs me; he clings to me like some sort of lifeline. I don't
know if I am in love with him, but I know I could be."
"And?"
"And that makes me afraid."
Angel nodded.
"I know that you want to leave behind your old life, and I
get that. And I won't intrude any longer-"
"You're not intruding," Willow quickly interrupted.
"Yeah, that's why you ran in here like the devil was on your
trail," he shot her a grin. "I understand clean breaks Willow. But
I do want to leave you with some food for thought."
He leaned in close.
"That guy, Jeff, he loves you. I can see it from just
watching television. You can't fake that kind of love. And
sometimes, just sometimes, I see you smiling around him. That makes
me think you do love him back. But even if you think that isn't
enough to replace what you lost, know this. When Jeff looks at you,
even from television, I can see that to him, you are the most
wonderful creature on this earth."
Willow paused at that. Angel leaned over and placed a kiss
on her forehead.
"And before I forget, here you go," Angel placed a bag of
gifts in front of her.
"Oh Angel-"
"Please," he held his hand again. "Do you think any of us
would have forgotten your birthday?"
He placed another kiss on her head.
"Be happy Willow," he advised her. "It's the one thing we
all want for you."
And then he walked away, leaving Willow's thoughts in turmoil.
*****
Jeff watched as the mysterious man kissed his girl, not once
but twice. He was twitching by the end of it. Matt just held onto
his arm, shooting him warning looks. The whole group watched as the
man put on his coat and walked away from Willow.
In passing, he stopped next to their table, giving all a
brief glance.
"Take care of her," he told them. "And Jeff, if you hurt my
friend, I will beat you to death with a shovel."
And then he left.
*****
"I'll go," Trish jumped up before any of the males could
rise. She hurried over to her redheaded friend. Willow remained
seated at the table where the strange man had left her. Trish took
the seat beside her.
"Willow?"
The redhead glanced up at her.
"Hey Trish," she greeted. "And before you ask, that was
Angel. A very old friend of mine. He came to check up on me."
Trish nodded.
"Jeff is about to explode," Trish informed her.
Willow sighed and grabbed the bag Angel had handed her.
"Let's go calm him down."
Trish rose to follow her when the blonde took notice of the
bag.
"Is it your birthday or something?" she joked, looking at the
bag of presents.
"Well . . ."
"Willow!" the blonde stopped in her tracks. "How could you
not tell us your birthday was coming?"
"It's not that important," Willow protested feebly.
Trish rolled her eyes.
"Yeah right. How old are you?"
"Twenty-two."
"And you didn't think to tell us?"
"Twenty-two is not a landmark age."
"That's besides the point!" Trish put her hands on her
hips. "It's your birthday and you didn't even tell us."
"It's not-"
"Yes, it is," Trish interrupted. "And you are so going to
celebrate. I'm taking you shopping."
"Fine," Willow rolled her eyes. "Birthday shopping would be
nice. Now, let's go diffuse my boy- Jeff."
Trish followed her, smirking at the near slip. Willow
thought of Jeff as her boyfriend. Maybe there was hope for them
after all.
*****
"Trish, I'm have never been more tired in my life," Willow
complained. "You're an evil shopper."
"No, I'm an effective one," Trish grinned at her. "You look
about as worn out as Jeff's credit card."
Willow winced at that.
"I'm going to pay him back," she protested.
Trish scoffed.
"Like he would let you," the blonde rolled her
eyes. "Boyfriends spend money on their girlfriends. They don't
expect reimbursements."
"Is that why you maxed out Bubba's Visa?" Willow needled her
friend.
"He shouldn't have given it to me if he didn't want to run
that risk," Trish sniffed. "Besides, most of this stuff is for him
to enjoy as well."
Trish hefted the Victoria's Secret bag. Willow grinned.
"Yeah, he might be okay if you show him what you bought."
"Definitely," the blonde giggled. They turned down the
hallway leading to their locker room. "I just hope he can wait until
after the show."
"He won't have to," Willow smirked. "Most of what you wear
at ringside would make those look decent."
Trish huffed and shoved at the giggling redhead.
"This is the thanks I get for taking you shopping on your
birthday," the blonde wiped away a fake tear. "I'm so under
appreciated."
"Usually you're just under Bubba," Willow couldn't help
adding.
"Oh, like your Miss Restraint and Virtue around Jeff," Trish
raised an eyebrow. "Don't you think I know what you two do all night
long?"
"Look! We reached the locker room!" Willow beamed at her
friend. "Let's drop this conservation and go inside."
Trish smiled at the redhead's back.
"Anything you say."
*****
Willow knew something was up when she entered the locker room
to find it pitch dark.
"What the f-"
"SURPRISE!" came a collective shout. Lights were turned down
and various wrestlers came tumbling into her view. Willow froze.
Her eyes flicked to the Happy Birthday sign strung across the wall.
She took in the balloons and streamers, and the huge pile of gifts.
She turned to Trish.
"What?" the blonde smirked. "You think you would have gotten
off so easily?"
Willow smiled and hugged her friend.
"Thank you," she smiled. Drawing back, she whacked Trish on
the arm.
"But never do anything like this again!"
"Ooh, here come the boys!" Trish said, twirling her around.
Matt, Edge, and Bubba engulfed Willow into a large hug.
"Happy Birthday Red!" Matt grinned, planting a kiss on her
cheek.
"We bought you an ice cream cake," Edge informed her.
"How come I'm not surprised," she replied dryly.
Bubba shrugged.
"You know us too well, but not well enough. Otherwise, you
would have seen this coming a mile away."
Jeff pushed his way through the other men and took the
redhead into his own arms. Planting a kiss on her lips, he grinned
down at Willow.
"Surprised?"
"Totally," she gave him a smile. "But if you ever do this to
me again, I'll beat you to death with a shovel."
Jeff faltered at her words. She frowned at him.
"What?"
"That's the second time today I heard that," he looked at her
inquisitively. "Is that shovel thing something significant where you
come from?"
Willow frowned and then understood.
"Stupid overprotective vampire."
Jeff just shot her another strange look.
"What did you just say?"
Willow just smiled and kissed him.
"Wouldn't you like to know."
*****
Things were rushed after that. Lita, the redheaded companion
to the Hardy Boys, returned a few weeks after Willow's birthday.
There was a bit of apprehension on Willow's part. On one hand, Lita
returning to retake her post would give Willow the perfect reason to
leave. On the other hand, Willow didn't want to leave. She didn't
analyze that feeling much. She just chalked it up to sex. Yup,
Willow was staying for the nookie, not at all for the man who loved
her like no tomorrow.
And if she told herself that enough, she would almost believe
it. Then Jeff would wander into the room and do something to make
her smile. A non-sexual thing to make her smile. Willow just liked
being around him. As much as she fought it, she was in a
relationship with the young daredevil.
Anyway, her fears were unfounded. Lita returned and accepted
the other redhead. In fact, Lita was added to Willow's list of
clients. And she was cool. Willow really appreciated Lita's
friendliness. The redhead incorporated Willow into the fold instead
of rejecting her out of jealousy. And from what Willow had seen in
the WWE, she had really been expecting the jealousy thing.
Though Trish remained possibly her best friend, Lita soon
became another close friend. The three girls took to hanging out a
lot. They had numerous sleepovers because none of the guys seemed to
want to piss Lita off.
Jeff and Matt lost the titles a little later. Those creeps
from the NWO had stolen them. That big jerk off Kevin Nash had
interfered, allowing X-Pac and Booker T to pick up the win. Willow
had seethed for about a month. A minor feud between Team X-treme and
the NWO developed. It ended when Kevin tried to drag Willow
physically into it. Bubba and Edge gave him such a savage beat down;
the big man had been out for a month. The rest of the goons backed
off after that, but kept the titles. Ironically, they lost them to
Billy and Chuck two weeks later. The Hardys were contenders for the
titles. Things had almost come full circle.
Willow was comfortable. She wasn't as easily depressed
anymore. Her moods were cheerier. She took up babbling again. One
knew that Willow Rosenburg was happy if she was babbling. Her
friends thought it was hysterical. Jeff found it a turn on. Big
surprise there. She could take up bottle collecting and he would
find it sexy. The guy was one big hormone where it concerned
Willow. Not that she was complaining or anything. She rather
enjoyed it. She wasn't use to having that kind of effect on guys.
It was nice.
Things with Jeff were an all around nice. He even took her
home for Christmas holidays. His family was great, especially his
dad. Matt, being the considerate one, had brought her a menorah.
Jeff one-upped him by taking Willow to a synagogue. He had sat next
to her while she sat listening to the service. He didn't understand
a lot of it and plenty of the patrons were looking at him funny. He
just held Willow's hand. It made her heart do funny flitting things.
Things would have remained great if she hadn't messed them
up. But what could she do? Even though Willow liked her life here,
it wasn't real. None of her friends knew anything about her life
prior to this. And she didn't think they would understand. So this
was temporary. At least it was supposed to be.
That changed one January morning. Trish had taken her
shopping. They had been walking and chatting like they normally do
when Willow caught a glimpse of multi-coloured hair. She did a
double take.
"Is that Jeff?" she asked, edging closer to the shop she had
seen him in.
"Ah, I don't think so," Trish denied nervously. "Let's go-"
Willow didn't hear the rest of her words. It was Jeff. He,
Matt, and Lita were in a jewellery shop. She entered it quietly and
then she heard them.
"Willow will love it," she heard Lita assure Jeff. Willow's
eyes flicked to thing she would love. And her heart stopped.
They were standing in front of a display of rings.
Engagement rings. And Jeff was buying one for her.
She dropped her bags. Trish by that time had followed Willow
in. The blonde was trying to get her to leave before the others
noticed, but it was too late.
Jeff turned and saw her there. That's when Willow got a good
look at the ring. It was gorgeous. An emerald surrounded by
diamonds. And it was for her.
"Willow, you weren't-"
Willow didn't hear the rest. She turned and ran out of the
shop.
*****
Willow raced into her hotel room, breathless. Edge and Bubba
had tried to intercept her in the lobby, but she had pushed past
them. No doubt they had gotten a call from Trish warning them of the
incoming redhead.
Willow stumbled over to her bags. Jeff brought her an
engagement ring. That meant he wanted to be engaged. That would
mean this whole temporary thing would become permanent. That wasn't
right.
She hurriedly shoved clothes into her suitcases. She
couldn't marry Jeff. Jeff knew nothing about her. He didn't know
about Tara or Warren. He hasn't seen the things that go bump in the
night. He hasn't been exposed to the amount of death Willow has.
And he would be in no way safe from Willow if she ever went down that
path again.
Tears blurred her vision. She couldn't believe she had to
leave because the man who loved her wanted to marry her. It was all
backwards.
Willow angrily brushed her tears away. Crying wouldn't solve
anything. Crying wouldn't bring Tara back, wouldn't erase what she
had done, and would in no way erase the pain she was about to cause.
This was going to break Jeff, but it was for his own good. Willow
was dangerous, poison to everything she touched. She was surprised
things had been going so well. But it all came to an end now.
"Willow!" Jeff shot through the door. "You have to let me-"
He stopped when he saw what she was doing. Willow's heart
broke at the look on his face.
"No," he whispered.
"Yes," she replied firmly. "I let this carry on for too
long. It's over."
"NO!" this time in a yell. "I can't believe you're leaving
because I want to marry you."
"Why do you want to marry me?" she countered. "Because you
love me? You don't know me!"
"Yes, I do!" Jeff's eyes were frantic. "I do know you.
You're Willow. You hate frogs, are scared of spiders, and love
cookies and cream ice cream. You watch Scooby Doo when you're
depressed. You watch old vampire movies and chuckle about how they
are so wrong. You babble when happy and go into stony silences when
you're not. You have stage fright, but you muster the courage to
walk out in front of thousands. You're fiercely loyal and you love
your friends. And you're running. You've been running for a long
time."
"And the pattern continues," she muttered, eyes burning from
his words.
"A year Willow," he whispered. "You've been with me for a
year. How can you throw it all away?"
"Have you ever stopped to think I don't love you!" she
shrieked. That was low, she knew it. But he wasn't backing off so
she called for drastic measures.
Jeff's eyes darkened at that one. He moved towards her,
gripping her face in his hands.
"If you don't love me, then why are you crying right now?" he
demanded.
Willow was silent. She pushed him away and turned to look
out the window.
"I can't keep you here," his voice broke the silence. "I've
tried for a year, but that isn't how I want it. I want you here with
me because you want to be here. So, no more tricks, no more games.
I love you and I want you to stay. And after a year, I hope that's
enough."
Willow remained looking out the window. She didn't trust
herself to speak.
"I'm going to the arena," he spoke again. "Either you'll be
here or you won't."
She heard him place something on the dresser. He picked up
his wrestling gear and left.
Willow sunk to the floor and cried.
*****
Jeff met his friends out in the hallway.
"Let's get to the arena," he told them quietly.
"Jeff, let us talk to her," Trish offered, pointing at
herself and Lita. "We can-"
"No," he interrupted. "This time it's all Willow. She can
stay or leave, it's her choice. Time to see what she really wants.
I can only pray she wants me."
"It'll be okay little brother," Matt patted his arm. "She
loves you. I know it."
"It isn't about her loving me," Jeff whispered. "It's about
her letting go and staying with me."
With that, he stalked off to the elevator. His friends
followed sympathetically behind him. Matt shot a look at the closed
hotel room door.
He prayed Willow came to her senses. And fast. His
brother's heart couldn't take much more of this.
*****
Willow was still crying. She didn't know for how long, but
she knew it had been a while. Things were kind of blurring together.
Jeff had left for the arena and she was leaving. There was no way
around it. Willow had to leave.
"Are you sure about that?"
Willow lifted her head at the sound of the familiar voice.
Through the film of tears she saw the impossible. Willow jerked
upright.
"Oh great," she muttered. "Now I'm hallucinating."
Tara, or maybe just a vision of Tara, shrugged her shoulders.
"It's entirely possible," the blonde witch agreed. "But then
again, it's also possible that you're just dreaming or that I am
really here."
"You're not here," Willow whispered, broken. "You left me."
"I didn't leave you baby," Tara smiled at her. "I died, but I
didn't leave you. Not in your heart. But that's not why I'm here."
"Why are you here?"
"To stop you from royally screwing up your life," Tara
replied. She looked Willow straight in the eyes. "This isn't like you
Willow."
"What? Jeff?" Willow was confused. "I guess I always knew I
was more bisexual than gay-"
"Not that," Tara rolled her eyes. "I mean, running from him.
Is that what you really want to do?"
"I have to do it," Willow replied evenly.
"No you don't," Tara shook her head. "You're drowning in
despair baby. I don't want you to end up like that. I want you to
happy. And if Jeff makes you happy, why are you running?"
"He doesn't know the truth-"
"You never told him the truth," Tara interrupted. "Do you
really think it would change the way he feels about you?"
"Yes, murder changes everything!"
"You can't live in the past Willow," Tara looked at her with
sadness. "You have to let it go. I'm gone baby, but you're still
here. And people here love you. You weren't sent to Jeff by accident.
I knew he would be the one to fill that hole you created inside
yourself."
"So now you're taking responsibility for me and Jeff," Willow
raised her eyebrows.
"Don't look at me like that," Tara admonished. "You know,
that Trish woman was right. She's overly well endowed, but she was
right. Fate has something more in store for you than a lifetime of
loneliness and despair. But Fate can only do so much. You have to
take some action on your own."
"What do you want me to do?" Willow moaned. "I can't forget
about you-"
"No one asked you to," Tara interrupted once more. "Remember
me always, but don't stop living on account of it."
Willow was silent.
"Answer me this: Do you love Jeff?"
"Yes," was the whispered reply.
"Then, isn't your choice made? Could you really lose him?"
"If it keeps him safe from me, yeah I could."
Tara shook her head.
"Jeff was never in any danger from you," the blonde witch
smiled at her former lover. "But if you really could stand to lose
him, I'd check out the television right about now."
"What?" Willow looked confused.
"Call it a test," Tara shrugged. "Either way, by the end of
the night, you should know where you stand."
And then the blonde witch disappeared from sight.
*****
Willow sat on the hotel room floor. She wasn't sure if that
was real or just some product of her mind. She didn't really want to
know. Her eyes flicked to the television set in front of the bed.
Resignedly, she flicked it on. Surprise, surprise, wrestling was on.
Willow could hear JR and the King conversing.
"Damn those NWO jerks," she heard JR exclaim. "The Hardys had
won their titles and then they did that!"
The camera flicked to a scene of carnage. Remnants of a
broken table and scattered dented chairs littered the ringside area.
Willow picked out a piece of blue hair amid the destruction.
"Jeff Hardy isn't moving," JR announced. Willow's heart
constricted.
"God, I can't believe that!" the King exclaimed. "JR, I can't
tell. Is he even breathing?"
Willow tore out of the room.
*****

Willow hated hospitals. Nothing good ever happened if it
involved the hospital. All those people who she had seen die in a
hospital. Not to mention all the times she was in the hospital
herself. Hospitals stank.
She raced through the halls, skidding to a stop in front of
the nurses' desk. When she had phoned Trish, the woman had informed
Willow Jeff had been taken to the hospital for treatment. She didn't
say what was wrong, just that he hadn't regained consciousness before
he left. That didn't ease Willow's mind at all.
The cab ride over all Willow did was debate her actions. So
she was going to see him, she never said she didn't care about him.
And she didn't want him hurt. Of course, by leaving, she was
inflicting a great amount of emotional hurt on him. But she did
believe in some ways that it was best for him. Her thoughts went on
and on in that pattern. Soon her head hurt too much for her to
analyze any longer. Her goal had become to get to the hospital, to
get to Jeff. And possibly breaking every bone in Kevin Nash's
body. Bastard put Jeff through a table, and that was one of the
pleasanter things he had done. Nash was really lucky she wasn't a
practicing witch anymore.
At the nurses' desk, Willow hit a roadblock.
"Where is Jeff Hardy?"
The nurse attending rolled her eyes.
"Look miss, we understand that Mr. Hardy has quite a number
of fans, but you cannot see him. That's restricted to family and
friends."
Willow seethed.
"I'm not some stupid fan!" she hissed at the nurse. "Now let
me in!"
"If you're not a fan, then who are you?" the nurse demanded.
Willow stilled. She reached into her jacket pocket and
squeezed the item there. Jeff had left it on the dresser. It was the
ring, the engagement ring that had sent her into hysterics. And made
her pack to leave. The nurse had a point. Who was she?
Coming to an answer after so long, Willow raised her eyes to
meet the nurse. Pulling her Resolve Face to the front, Willow
answered.
"I'm his fiancée."
*****
Matt had seen Willow come in. His hopes went soaring. His
brother had been so depressed after their fight. The only times he
came to in the ride to the hospital were spent demanding for the
redhead. It broke his heart to tell Jeff that she wasn't there. He
had cried. Jeff Hardy had cried when he heard that Willow hadn't
come. It made Matt so angry. He just left Jeff with Lita with the
intention of finding Willow and yelling at her.
That's when he saw her come in. Her eyes were frantic, face
paler than usual, and tears coming down her cheeks. He watched in
silence the altercation between her and the nurse. And he heard the
words. The words that convinced him that everything would be okay.
"I'm his fiancée."
Matt had run out into the foyer and wrapped Willow up in his
arms. The redhead was shocked but responded none the less.
"Thank god," he mumbled into her hair. "I thought I was going
to have to come after you."
"Well, I would have deserved it," Willow laughed. She pulled
away from Matt, eyes worried.
"Is he . . ."
"He's fine," Matt assured her. "Bruised ribs and a
concussion, but that's it."
"That's it huh?" Willow raised her eyebrows. Matt grinned at
her.
"You know us. He's actually had worse than this. Physically
anyway."
Willow cast her eyes down.
"Emotionally, I pretty much jerked him around," she finished
shamefully.
"Willow, did you mean that?" Matt asked. "About being his
fiancée? Because if you didn't, I don't think I can let you in to
see him."
The redhead nodded.
"I meant it," she affirmed. "But the question remains whether
or not he wants me to be."
Matt laughed at her.
"Right, like that's a hard one. He'd walk through Hell and
back to have you with him."
Willow grimaced at his choice of words.
"I still have things to tell him," she told Matt. "And if he
still
wants to be with me by the end of it, then I'm staying."
"Well," Matt smiled at her. "Let me be the first to say,
welcome to the family."
*****
When Jeff came to, he was aware of a slight headache. Okay,
he was aware that his head felt like someone had tried to crack it
open with a nutcracker. He really hated being put through tables.
Jeff turned to the side and caught a flash of red hair. His
heart rose. Willow!
Hearing his movements, the redhead raised her head. His heart
sank to see Lita smiling at him in relief.
"Oh boy you had us worried!" Lita exclaimed, reaching over to
give him a hug. He groaned a little when she put some pressure on his
bruised ribs.
"Oh right, sorry," she gave him an apologetic grimace.
"It's okay," he mumbled. He had his health, but no Willow. Oh
well, he would survive. Yeah right.
Lita saw the look on his face and understood.
"She's not here man," she whispered softly. Jeff nodded and
felt a lump rising in his throat. He was too old to be crying over
girls.
"I mean, Edge and Bubba had to carry her out of here, but she
will be back. Crazy girl. Spent the entire night here, not eating or
sleeping-"
"Wait!" Jeff interrupted. "She was here?"
Lita gave him a devilish grin.
"Of course she was here. And she wouldn't leave. Edge and
Bubba slung her over their shoulders to take her back to the hotel.
She just went to get a change of clothes and some food. Nearly drove
herself insane all night at your bedside."
"She was here," Jeff whispered. He grinned like an idiot.
"She was here!" he repeated louder.
Lita rolled her eyes.
"That's what I said. Damn you boys are hard of hearing."
"When will she be back?" he demanded. Jeff didn't care that
Lita was kidding with him; he just wanted his redhead right now.
"How's about now?" a soft voice came from the doorway. There
framed by the figures of his friends stood Willow. She had stayed.
"Can we get a minute?" Willow asked the others. They shuffled
away from the door. Lita discreetly pulled the blinds shut and shut
the door on her way out.
Willow and Jeff just stared at one another. He broke the
silence first.
"Come here."
She all but flew into his arms. He raised her up and pulled
her down on his body. Their lips met in a furious kiss.
*****
"Don't," came the warning from Lita. She shot Bubba a dirty
look as the big man edged away from the door.
"It's been a little while," he whined. "I want to know
what's happening."
"Use your imagination," Edge waggled his eyebrows.
Lita turned a death glare on her friend.
"Oh come on," he insisted. "What else would they be doing?"
"Maybe we should knock loudly or something," Trish
mused. "Wouldn't want the doctor to walk in on some hanky panky."
"No one is going in there," Matt spoke up. "They need time."
The other wrestlers settled down to wait on their friends.
*****
Willow was kissing the hell out of Jeff. She straddled his
front, hands tangled in his hair. He kissed her back ferociously,
hands groping every part of her body he could get at. As his hand
sidled up her shirt, Willow broke the kiss.
"Not the time or place for that," she panted against his lips.
"You never know until you try," he responded, pulling her
back into the kiss. His hand resumed its journey. Willow giggled
and pulled back again.
"We're in a hospital and you're not recovered," she gave him
a look.
"Am so recovered," he protested. She poked his taped ribs
and he couldn't help but wince.
"Yeah right," Willow shook her finger at him. "No nookie for
you."
"You don't mean forever right?" Jeff looked decisively
worried.
"No, just for now," she grinned and tried to move off him.
His hands latched onto her ass and held her in place.
"How about a dry hump then?" he asked, eyes twinkling.
"Always thinking with your libido," Willow rolled her
eyes. "What do you think I am? Some kind of nympho?"
He chuckled.
"A man can dream."
Willow gave him another poke in the ribs. He winced and let
her go. She slid off and tucked herself into his side. Jeff was
content to keep her there when he saw the ring on her finger.
"Does that mean yes?" he asked her.
Willow fingered her ring.
"It does, it will," she sighed and rose up to a sitting
position. Jeff groaned.
"Don't tell me that it isn't going to happen, because a guy
can only take so-"
"No," she interrupted. "I want to marry you. I would like
to marry you. Whether you still want to marry me, that remains to be
decided."
"Willow, I want to marry you," Jeff held her hand and kissed
her palm. "Nothing can make me change my mind."
Willow sighed again and looked Jeff in the eye.
"Let's test that theory."
*****
Xander Harris and his wife Anya wandered into the Summers'
house.
"Hello ladies!" he yelled into the hallway. "We come bearing
gifts. Well, not gifts, but I brought in your mail."
"We're in the kitchen!" came the reply from Dawn.
"Come in, we have pancakes!" Buffy yelled as well.
"Ooh, pancakes," Anya dumped the rest of the mail in Xander's
hands and wandered away.
"Women can't even carry their own mail. But if you try to
open a door for them, watch out!" Xander rolled his eyes. He dumped
the letters on the coffee table, stopping when something caught his
eye.
An envelope with all five of their names on it. Puzzled,
Xander opened it. Inside there were two pieces of paper.
The first read:
You are cordially invited to the wedding of
Jeffery Nero Hardy
And
Willow Sasha Rosenburg
On May 30, 2003
Please RVSP by April 30.
The other read:
Please come. Engaged and nervous Willow needs you.
"Xander?"
He looked up and saw Anya, Buffy, and Dawn approaching him.
Anya was looking at him in concern.
"Honey? You okay?"
He realized he was crying.
"Everything's fine," he answered, handing them the papers.
Buffy grabbed them and the other two gathered around her. All three
gave collective gasps. Xander smiled at them and gathered them into
his arms.
"Everything's okay," he whispered. They all hugged him back,
tears of joy streaming down their faces.
For the first time in a long time, everything was okay.


The End.
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The authors own nothing. Joss, UPN, WB, etc. own Buffy, the show, the characters, the places, and the backstory. The authors own any original plots.