Didn't Turn Back

Buffy the vampire slayer. Buffy doesn't go back to Willow at the end of Wrecked. Hours later Spike finds Willow with a bruised head and shredded arms nearly dead. Love vs guilt.

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3. Muffled

[Summers House 6:54AM]> The phone hadn't finished its first ring when the slayer picked it up. “Hello? Is Willow okay?” She asked, holding the phone with both hands. “Yes, Ms. Rosenberg is fine. She's, um, actually she's, well all of her injuries seem to have, um, vanished. I've never seen or heard of anything like this happening before.” He paused and Buffy said in her head She must of healed herself with magic or something.

“Oh, and um she's starting to wake up, so you can come down and see her again if you-” Buffy cut him off, “We'll be right there.” and hung up. She put the phone back and rushed over to the door and called out “DAWN COME DOWN STAIRS, WE'RE GOING TO SEE WILLOW!” Dawn scrambled around in her room for several seconds, then her footsteps came thundering down the stairs.

She muttered as she descended from the second floor. “Okay, okay, okay. Don't leave without me.” “Wouldn't dream of it kid.” The slayer said as she opened the front door. "I'm not a kid."

 

[Willow's New Hospital Room 6:25AM]> Tara was sitting in a white, metal chair. With her snicker clad feet on the chairs edge and her arms wrapped around her knees. She had stopped crying and started following everyone of Willow's tiniest movements. Xander walked into the cold, white walled room, with a cup of coffee in each hand. “Well, hello the witchy one.” He said smiling.

Tara didn't move. Xander had been trying to make the blonde laugh for the last few hours, no luck so far. Xander kept his smile on, and he held the cup up to Tara. He nudged her, and she jumped. “Sorry, didn't mean to scare you."
 

The witch looked up at him and said “It's fine, I j-just di-didn't hear you come in.” “Coffee?” He asked, raising the cup in front of her. Her eyes turned to it. “Oh, thanks, Xander.” She reached out and took it from him. He walked to the seat on the other side of the bed and sat down. He sipped at his cup, but she just held hers. The carpenter kept his eyes on the blonde.

“You know you can't drink it through your hand.” He joked. “S-sorry, I just” She trailed off, her gaze shirting to the hot cup. “I know. But, Tara,” He said and paused until the witch looked at him. “She will be okay.” Tara smiled a small smile. Then turned back to Willow.

[Willow's Hospital Room 7:03AM]> Willow had started moving in her bed and the doctor said he just called Buffy and Dawn a few minutes ago and that they're on their way here. “Okay, thanks doctor.” Xander had said in reply to the information about the Summers.

Several minutes later Buffy quietly opened the door. “Is she awake?” The slayer asked in a whisper. “Not yet, Buff.” Xander told her. She stepped in quietly, followed by Dawn. “How are you doing Tara?” Dawn asked. “She's kinda been in daze for a while,” Xander told the two. "You've got to nudge her out of it.” Xander said.

Tara's arms shot to the her chairs armrests, and she pushed herself up and over to Willow, who had just let out a quiet groan. All the eyes in the room locked on the bed-ridden witch. She opened her eyes slowly and, at seeing Tara, pulled her blanket over her head and curled up in a ball underneath it.

The Scoobies heard her start to cry quietly. “Willow, it-it's okay. It's just me. I'm s-sorry I left, I-I p-promise I'll come back and not leave again. W-Willow please, let m-me help.” Tara was trying hard not to cry again. “W-Will, please.” When Willow spoke, her voice was barely a whisper. “Please go, Tara.”

Tara choked back a sob. “Willow, plea-”. “Tara, please get away from me.” Tara straightened up and stepped backwards. Buffy's arm came around the other blondes shoulders. “Come on Tara, Lets go back to the waiting room, okay?” Tara didn't answer her, she just walked out of the room, the slayer at her side.

Xander, who was standing now, sat on the edge of Willows bed and rested a hand on her blanket covered head. “Xander?” Willow asked. “Yeah Will?” There was a pause before Willow spoke again. “Go away.” Xander looked surprised, even though the first time she had woken up she had screamed for them all to go, he didn't expect her to do it again.

“Willow I'm not gonna leave, you know it takes more than just asking to get rid of me.” Usually Willow replied to something like that with a small snorted laugh or a half smile. But this time she was silent. And Xander's concern grew, and he gulped. “And why wouldn't you want me be to here anyway? I'm great company.”

“I don't want to hurt you Xander, but I will if you don't leave.” Her crying had stopped somewhere in her last sentence and he could hear the resolve in her voice. “Willow, you know I love you. So there isn't really any chance that I'll go away.” Xander said. “Xander pleas-”. “Do you remember the first day of kindergarten?”

He didn't wait for an answer before he continued. “You broke the yellow crayon, and you were too scared and embarressed to tell anyone. You know, you've come a long way since then. Although hiding under a blanket isn't a terrific notion. You're still Willow, so I'm never gonna leave you. Whether it's crayon breaky Willow or threatening me while hiding under a blanket Willow. As long as it's still Willow. And I won't let you stop being Willow."

They were silent for a long while, Xander's hand still rested on her head, the blanket being the only thing separating his hand from her pale, ginger head. Then Dawn spoke from the by the door. “Um, I'm gonna go to bathroom.” Xander looked at her. He had forgotten Dawn was there. “Okay.” He said, and she left.

“Okay, Willow you have to come out from under that blanket.” Xander complained jokingly. Willow shifted her shoulders but stayed under the blanket. “Please?” Xander asked. Several seconds passed, and she didn't move, then hesitantly, she pulled the white fabric to her shoulders, and her tear streaked face was lying on its side, eyes staring unblinkingly at her best friend.

“There's the black eyed girl.” Xander commented smiling. Willow's brow furrowed in confusion. “Black eyed girl?” Xander nodded, he was excited Willow was doing something other than crying or telling him to get out. “Earlier. When you woke up the first time, your eyes were black.” “Oh.” was all she said. They looked at each other for a long while. Xander soon broke the silence.

“So how are you feeling, Will?” She turned her head and looked herself over. Then lifted her arms to look at the cuts that weren't there anymore. “I guess I'm okay.” Though what she said was good, she looked like nothing could be worse. “What's wrong, Will?” She dropped her arms back on her bed and looked at the ceiling. “Xander,” She said slowly.

“You really don't want to know.” She turned to look at him again. They watched each other unblinkingly until there was a knock at the door, and Buffy popped her head in.

“Hey Xander.” She said smiling. Then she noticed Willow and excitement filled her face. “Willow you're awake!” The slayer rushed into the room and over to the witch. “Are you okay? What happened? What attacked you?” “I'm fine Buffy.” Willow said trying to sound happy. “What happened? What attacked you?” She asked again.

“I called Giles, and he said it sounded like this armless red atlantic demon that sucks peoples blood out through their wrists. They usually attack boats or beaches, but sometimes they get on land. He doesn't know why it came this far inland. They're red, armless and slimy. Was the thing that attacked you red, armless and or slimy?” Buffy babbled out her call to her former watcher and didn't stop until Willow interrupted her.

“Buffy, it wasn't a demon.” The slayer just looked at her for a few seconds, waiting for the witch to continue, but she didn't so Buffy asked. “Then what was it?” Willow averted her eyes and said. “It doesn't matter Buffy. It's gone. Can we just forget about this?” When Buffy didn't answer Willow added. “Please?” The slayer took a deep breath. “Okay, Will.” The witch still wouldn't meet her gaze.

“Well,” Xander spoke up abruptly, trying to break the tension that filled the room. “I'm gonna go talk to the doctor and see when we can take you home.”

Willow turned to him and smiled a fake smile.

When Xander came back into the room, Buffy was sitting in the seat Tara was in earlier. And her and Willow were talking. “Good news, black eyed girl.” He said and both girls ceased their conversation and looked at him. “'Black eyed girl'? You're calling her 'black eyed girl' now?” Buffy asked, clearly amused. Willow huffed a laugh and explained to the slayer. “Xander said last time I woke up my eyes were black, so he's not ever gonna let me forgot the earlier blackness of my eyes.” The witch switched her gaze to the carpenter. “What's the good news, Xander?”

Xander was happy to find Willow in a supposed good mood. “I talked to the doc, and he said they're just going to do a blood test and if everything turns up okay then you're free to go.” He said with an immense smile. “That's great, thanks Xander.” Buffy said, then turned back to the redhead. “Are you excited to get back home, Will?”

Willow faked a convincing smile and mirrored the slayers excitement. “Yeah, I can't wait. This place smells funny.”

The next person to enter the room was a male nurse, who looked annoyed. “Is everything okay?” The slayer asked, her smile gone. The nurse nodded. “Yeah, everything's fine. The analysis department just has lots of things to analyze, so they wont be able to do your blood until tonight.” “Okay, thanks.” Willow said, and the nurse left the room. The door swung shut and Buffy turned back to Willow.

“Um, Willow?” Willow looked at Buffy. “Yeah?” Buffy paused for a few seconds, then continued. “Can Tara come back in?” Willow's fake smile faltered, and she said painfully. “No.” The slayer was going to press the issue further, but Willow spoke again. “I'm gonna go to the bathroom.” She pulled her blanket off and slid her legs over the beds edge.

There was a small toilet and hand basin behind a door in her hospital room. She stepped inside and shut the door. Willow quietly muttered a spell and a blue light slid over all 4 of the bathrooms walls. She broke down again. Her legs crumpled, and she fell to the floor. Her sobbing wasn't all that quiet this time. But Xander and Buffy couldn't hear anything happening from within the room, thanks to the witches spell.

[Willow Hospital Room] > “Any idea why she doesn’t want to see Tara?” Buffy asked Xander. “None.” He replied. It was quiet for a minute, then Xander said “What do you think happened?” Buffy shook her head, still staring at the bathroom door. “I don’t know, she said it wasn’t demon, maybe another witch? or maybe Warren, Jonathan and that other guy did something to knock her out and tried to kill her to mess with me.” Xander nodded.

“Yeah, they could’ve done something. Later we should go and ask them.” Buffy looked at him. “And by ‘we’ I mean you, and by ‘ask’ I mean hit them really hard until they tell you what happened.” He said smiling slightly. A low, rattling sounded from inside a cabinet by the window. And Buffy and Xander swirled their heads around to look at it. The rattling was only there for a second, but it was definitely there.

The slayer stood and cautiously walked over to it. She whipped open its doors and was surprised to find it empty. “Huh.” Buffy said, raising her eyebrows. “It's empty.” “The slayer everybody.” Xander said jokingly.

Buffy shut the cabinet and went back to her chair. “That did rattle, right?” “Yes, there was a definite rattle.” The flush of a toilet filled the room and was soon followed by the bathroom door opening. “Hey Will, have fun in there?” Xander asked. Willow smiled and said "Yeah I rode a pony and had cake." Xander and Buffy found themselves feeling a bit better about Willow. The three talked for a while.

Willow was sitting cross-legged in her bed, the slayer was sitting with one leg under herself and Xander was slouching in his chair. A knock at the door announced the slayers younger sister. “Hey, Dawn.” Xander said. “What's up, kiddo?” Buffy asked before she turned her head yo look at her sister. The teen didn't answer either of them, she just looked at the witch. Dawn looked like she was mere seconds away from crying.

“Um, Willow, I'm er, I'm sorry I slapped you before. I was just angry, Im sorry, can you forgive me?” Dawn asked. “Dawn you don't have to apologize. It was completely my fault. I took you to Rack, and then I crashed a car and hurt your arm. I'm so sorry. You've got nothing to apologize for. But I do, can you forgive me?” Dawn smiled. “Of course, Willow.” Willow smiled and opened her arms. Dawn rushed over and hugged her.

“I'm so sorry, Dawnie.” Willow said over the teens shoulder. “It's fine Willow, I'm okay.” They separated and Dawn asked “Are you okay? I mean you look like you're okay, but you could not be okay. So are you okay?” The witch laughed a little at the girls babbling. “I'm fine, just tired.” “Oh, we could turn off the lights and go and you could sleep. Do you want us to do that? We should do that. We're gonna do that.”

She ceased her babbling and ran to the light switch and flicked it off. “Come on Buffy and Xander, Willow needs to sleep.” Dawn opened the door and waited for her sister and the carpenter. “Okay, okay, okay, we'll go.” Buffy said, she hugged the redhead before joining her sister in the doorway. Xander stood and hugged Willow too. “See ya later black eyed girl.” “Bye, Xander, bye Buffy, bye Dawnie.” She waved as they left the room.

Thud! And the door was shut. Willows hands shot up to her head and she groaned. A headache had started pounding at her skull for a quite some time and she was feeling like she was about to pass out. “Why do these take so long to work?” She quietly asked herself. She leaned her head against the wall and shut her eyes. Her headache got worse and worse as time passed. But eventually her heart beat slowed and unconsciousness welcomed her with open arms.

Willow heard a thud followed by distant voices. Then the voices got louder and someone was shaking her by her shoulders. Buffy's muffled voice hit her ears but she couldn't hear her words. Xander's voice sounded from further away, then her doctors voice joined the muffled, wordless ensemble. A bright light shone through her eyelids. Someone gently opened one of her eyelids and flashed an even brighter light into it.

But she couldn't move her eyes, her arms, her legs, her head, her anything. A high pitched beeping echoed around her. It got slower and slower and slower, then something cold was pressed against her chest and sent a huge shock through her. It didn't hurt, but it made her fingers and toes tingle. The beeping got faster, then it slowed, ZAP! It got faster, then slower, then another zap, but this time the beeping didn't go faster.

It just slowed more. And more, and more. Then she could hear someone crying. A mans voice became clear enough for her to hear him say “Call it.” Another mans voice said a 4 digit number. A scream pierced the air and then, after a few seconds, there was silence.

[Inside Willow's head]> 16 year old Willow was spinning around in a circle. She stopped suddenly and stared at the older, creeper version of herself. “Why did you start the beeping again? I was gone! Why couldn't you let me leave?” The smiling witch, dressed all in black, with her black hair swaying slightly in a fantom breeze. “Like I said before. If you die now, I'm not going to happen.” And Willow heard muffled cheering. Then all she saw were the insides of her eyelids.

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