The when’s and where’s of Willow/Fred
by Angel Jade
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
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.
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.
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