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Fic! Waiting For You - World, Mostly Turning
Even in the darkness, every colour can be found
Fic! Waiting For You
For flurblewig on her birthday.

Serenity on the Hellmouth Round 1 - Best Willow/Other - Waiting For You Serenity on the Hellmouth Round 1 - Judge's Choice - Waiting For You

Title: Waiting For You
Setting: Post-Chosen
Rating: G
Word Count: 1609
Disclaimer: Joss likes fanfic. He said so.

Thanks to sunnyd_lite for the beta.


Sometimes you think you know how things will work out. And then the universe turns everything upside-down, with a little bit of inside-out thrown in for good measure, and you realise that not only was your first idea wrong, but so was your second and your third. Sometimes even your fourth.

Willow runs her fingers over the gilded frame of a mirror and smiles ruefully at her reflection. She looks tired--fourteen hours of jet lag will do that to a person. And, well, a little old too. Twenty-odd years-–sometimes very odd-–of fighting evil will definitely do that. The streaks of white hair that frame her face remind her of the spell that activated the Potentials so long ago. But, hey, it’s a lot better to be prematurely grey than prematurely dark and veiny. She’d be the one to know about that. She turns away from the mirror with a grimace, pauses to admire a rack of brightly coloured silk scarves, and then threads her way out of the shop and back into the Basi Caddesi, the main alley of the Grand Bazaar.

Magic. It’s one of the many things that she had been wrong about, and not just once, either. She grew up reading fairytales and wanting to believe in magic so very badly because it held the promise of making the world beautiful and exciting and perfect. But then her mother told her that the myths were just that, and she needed to develop her capacity for critical thinking, and really, shouldn’t she be reading things that were less misogynistic and better reflections of contemporary feminist constructs anyway? So she put the fairytales away and magic wasn’t real for her anymore-–until she got to high school and met Giles and Miss Calendar and found out that it was.

The seller in the next stall has tables covered with a dazzling assortment of inlaid wooden boxes, brass candleholders, carved figurines, glasswork, beads, and other trinkets and treasures. Some of the items are new and pretending to be old, while others are genuine antiquities. Faint traces of magic cling to a few of them, although she doubts the vendor knows this. There’s a cracked Orb of Thessulah, most of its power drained away through the fissure. A warm aura surrounds an engraved pendant bearing the likeness of Gula, the ancient Mesopotamian goddess of healing. Near the back of one of the tables is a dark-stained wooden cylinder plugged at either end with cork. Something about it doesn’t feel right, so Willow pries out one of the stoppers and unfurls the parchment she finds within. The runes inscribed upon it make the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She engages briefly in the time-honoured ritual of pazarlik with the owner of the shop, then pays him a handful of lirasi and tucks the tube into an inside pocket of her cloak. She’ll bring it back to the Council for translation, and if it is what she thinks it is, to have it destroyed.

Her understanding of magic has gone through more transformations than her high school self would ever have thought possible. At first, it was a plaything, an amusement-–a way of making pencils spin and stuffed animals come to life. Then she began to comprehend the tremendous power it offered to her before realising, almost too late, the frightening power it could hold over her. The memory of the dark force that filled her with hatred and rage at the same time as it emptied her of everything it meant to be herself still stalks her on some nights. It turns her dreams into nightmares and wakes her to the sound of her own screams. It took every shred of willpower she could summon, as well as the support of a benevolent coven, to bring her safely back from the brink of annihilation and to teach her how to channel mystical energies without burning herself-–and the world-–to a cinder. Today, she’s considered a master of the arcane arts, but she’s careful not to let the recognition go to her head. She always pays magic the respect that it’s due.

The next shop along the way is filled with heaps of carpets, kilims, and seccades. She’s so entranced by the rich hues and intricate patterns that she nearly misses the sly hand of a young yankesici sliding into her purse in search of her wallet. She shoos him away and holds her bag more closely to her body to protect it. A cat watches the scene with an air of regal detachment from its perch atop a mahogany cabinet. Its facial markings remind her of the long-departed Miss Kitty Fantastico. She reaches up to pet it before heading across the aisle to a gleaming assortment of copper pots and bowls made in the Ottoman tradition.

Her thoughts of Miss Kitty Fantastico lead her inevitably to Tara. For years after that horrible day, all of her thoughts led to Tara. Time has been kind in this respect, however, and while she will always miss her, the sharp pain of loss has finally been replaced by a peaceful warmth. Tara is with her still, then and always.

Willow sighs with bemusement. If there’s been anything in her life more unpredictable and mysterious and filled with U-turns than magic, it’s matters of the heart. For years, she believed no one would ever look twice at shy, mousy Willow, although she also spent all that time hoping-–in a hopeless sort of way-–that Xander would. Her feelings for Oz had grown cautiously out of Xander’s rejection and developed into a comfortable place of happiness and trust. Until, that is, his abrupt departure sent her swirling down into a void of misery so intense that she'd attracted the notice of D'Hoffryn. After pulling herself back up from that, no one had been more surprised than Willow to learn that she actually was kinda gay and to find her in Tara’s arms. She thought she’d be there forever, and wanted nothing more, but the universe has never let her off that easy.

A brass lantern shaped like Aladdin’s lamp makes her smile. It’s a little tacky, and she knows it’s a silly thing meant for tourists, but she picks it up anyway and gives it a surreptitious rub. No genie. Darn. But, then again, wishes have a habit of not giving you what you think you’re going to get, so maybe it’s just as well.

On the whole, she has to say that she’s done a lot better with the magic than she has with the relationships. She never really expected the thing with Kennedy to last, and it didn’t. After a spectacular blow-out in Rio de Janeiro, the wilful Slayer went back to the U.S. and now helps to run a Council-affiliated training facility financed by her wealthy family. The most success she’s had in a relationship since then was with Morag, a pretty Scottish witch she met through the coven in the Cotswolds. But after several years together, Morag fell in love with and left her for someone else. Which, don’t get her wrong, hurt plenty, but at least no offers from vengeance demons or potentially world-ending temper tantrums came of it.

She’s been on her own for a while now, having come through a series of brief and ill-advised encounters with both men and women, and spends most of her time travelling on missions for the Council. She’s been to places all over the world and to a few ethereal planes off of it. The shy, mousy Willow of yesteryear would be amazed at the things she’s done. She has good friends and loves her work, so she really can’t complain. And she doesn’t, despite feeling occasionally envious of those around her who have husbands or wives or partners. She knows she won’t always be alone. There’s someone out there for her-–she can feel it. She just has to wait a little longer.

The shafts of sunlight beaming down through the apertures in the vaulted ceiling of the Kapali Carsi are growing more slanted, and shop owners are starting to put away their wares. The day is coming to a close. Her body clock has been telling her for some time that she really ought to be asleep, but this is her first trip to Istanbul, and something is calling to her, keeping her awake. She decides to buy the Aladdin’s lamp as a souvenir, goes through another round of bargaining, and then heads outside into the evening twilight. She stops for a few minutes to admire the ornate Nuruosmaniye Mosque and to watch the changing colours of the sky over its domed prayer hall and slender minarets. She has an odd but comfortable sense of expectancy, and she’s in no hurry to get back to her hotel room.

Sometimes you think you know how things will work out. And then the universe catches you by the collar, shows you just how very wrong you are, and hurtles you off in a direction you never, ever imagined.

But once in a while--once in a very great while--it turns out that you were right.

Someone comes up behind her and a hand gently squeezes her shoulder. She can feel the corners of her eyes crinkling as she smiles in certain recognition, and she reaches up to lay her own hand over his. And she’s not at all surprised.


Prompt: Oz/Willow, post-Chosen, fate


22 comments or Leave a comment
cindergal From: cindergal Date: December 13th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, Istanbul. That's a really lovely look at Willow, and Oz/Willow will always have a special place in my heart.
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: December 13th, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! :-) I loved Willow and Tara together, but I do miss Oz.
flurblewig From: flurblewig Date: December 13th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ohhhhhh - that is so unutterably perfect. The visual details were wonderful, the older-and-wiser Willow-voice was fantastic (loved the little remembrance of Sheila, snerk!) and the weaving-in of the theme was gloriously done. I loved Tara but Oz remains my Willow OTP and I have absolute and total faith that this happens, one day :-)

Thank you so much, hon. I love it to great big huge BITS :-)

desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: December 13th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whee - I'm glad you liked! Of the three prompts you gave me, you had to know I'd choose this one. 'Cause - Woz. :-)

I hope it's not too blindingly obvious that I've never been to Istanbul. Internet research is a wonderful thing.

I wrote this and finished my Giles fic within three days of one another. I don't think my brain has recovered yet!

::hugs back::
debxena From: debxena Date: December 13th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was lovely! A real pleasure to read :)
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: December 13th, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
::squees:: Thank you!
sunnyd_lite From: sunnyd_lite Date: December 14th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
You should definitely be proud of this piece, still lovin it!
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: December 14th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! ::smooch:: I changed the second paragraph a little bit to make it flow more smoothly like you suggested.

It's definitely more cheerful than the Giles fic I posted a few weeks ago. Talk about polar opposites. I finished both within three days of one another - I thought my head was going to explode!
(Deleted comment)
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: December 16th, 2005 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! ::beams::
viciouswishes From: viciouswishes Date: January 6th, 2006 07:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I love this. Wonderful sense of place and great look into Willow's past. It definitely made me go, 'aww.'
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: January 6th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked. I got to see lots of pretty pictures of Istanbul while researching it on the web, so it was fun to write.
talesofspike From: talesofspike Date: March 28th, 2006 09:06 am (UTC) (Link)
This was a lovely piece. Just the way things I'd like to imagine things would turn out.
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: March 29th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! The episode where Oz leaves always makes me teary, so I just had to do it. :-)
enigmaticblues From: enigmaticblues Date: April 8th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was lovely. I was steered this way by a friend, and I'm glad I was.
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: April 8th, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

Your icon is so very pretty, BTW. :-)
enigmaticblues From: enigmaticblues Date: April 8th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! It was made by the lovely beanbeans.
beadattitude From: beadattitude Date: June 29th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this makes me SO happy! It's got a gentleness that's so Willow/Oz.
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: June 29th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you liked it. :-) I was fond of Tara, especially when they finally started giving her more of a personality in S6, but Oz was just so... cool. And he and Willow were a cute couple.

Thanks for reading!
elisi From: elisi Date: July 1st, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for linking to this - it's lovely. And yes, Jim is very right - your writing is gorgeous. :)
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: July 1st, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! ::glows:: You're so nice. :-)
mireille719 From: mireille719 Date: December 18th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Holiday feedback!

The detail in this is lovely; you create a real sense of place through your writing. And I liked the view of this older, wiser Willow, who actually learned lessons from the past and seems to be using them to avoid making the same mistakes again. It's a beautiful little story, and you do so well in capturing an entire life in just a few words. (And the fact that I enjoyed it despite not liking Willow/Oz set post-S4, as a rule, speaks volumes about the quality of your writing.) Thank you for linking me to it; I'm sorry I overlooked it when it was first posted!
desoto_hia873 From: desoto_hia873 Date: December 18th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Holiday feedback!

Thank you! I've never been to Istanbul, so I had to rely on what I could find on the web for what the Bazaar would be like. Someday, someone who's been there is going to read this and say, "No, no, no, it's not like that at all!"

But until then, I'm glad it painted a picture for you. Thanks for reading!
22 comments or Leave a comment