Title: Ashes to Ashes
Author: Rick MacLeod
Pairing: None, however implied Willow/Tara
Rating: NC-17 for language and adult themes
Summary: A sequel to bellatemple
's fic, "Tangent". Done in POV, with a quick shift to 3rd person.
Spoilers: Everything up to and including "Seeing Red", as well as Donnie Darko the movie.
Disclaimer: Not only do I not own 'em, I don't even own the twisted 'verse I'm playing in. Much love to bellatemple
, Joss Whedon, and Richard Kelly.
Author's Notes: I had the honor of having bellatemple
herself read her crossover fic to me, and I cried so hard, I knew I'd fallen in love. This is my unworthy attempt at playing in her fanon. Also, there are a couple of different endings. I'm not sure which one works better, so let me know.
Feedback: PLEASE!?!? I've never followed-up anyone else before, I could really use some concrit on this.
Distribution: Want...Ask...Have. Archived at http://rickmacleod.bravehost.com
These words are all that remains of the strange events that seem to have somehow lead up to the actions of Willow Rosenberg yesterday. These tattered scraps appeared in Devon, it seems, the moment that Ms. MacLay was killed.
The details of this "tangent universe" Ms. MacLay refers to are sketchy at best. I believe the book she is referring to is 'The Philosophy of Time Travel' by Roberta Sparrow, long since considered by this Council to be a work of fiction. However, certain facts, such as the existence of these notes, cannot be ignored.
The bullet which killed Ms. MacLay was not fired from the same gun as the one that injured Buffy Summers. All of those involved in the events surrounding her death have reported a strange sense of abstraction, as though waking from a dream. I confess, myself, to have had a similar reaction. It is my recommendation that a group be dispatched immediately to investigate the information in Ms. Sparrow's book. I suspect that the findings may prove invaluable.
It is of utmost importance that Willow Rosenberg never learns of the existence of these scraps. The fate of the world as well as the fate of Ms. Rosenberg depends on her ignorance.
--Rupert Giles, Watcher
The note at the bottom of Tara's diary entries. I wanted to die when I read it. I wanted to kill him when I read it, too. But I'd deal with them, no, him later.
I searched through the rest of his office for the book, but he'd already sent it to the Council. Why that, and not this? Maybe he wanted me to find it. But no, not knowing what I'm capable of now. I don't get it.
I know how to bring her back, now. I need to find that book.
I found Warren, that wasn't hard. Computer geeks leave trails, I should know. I've got him locked away, somewhere no one will find him. I need him. Tara talked about being the "living receiver". Well, I'm gonna make Warren one. He's the one who started this, he'll end it too.
Breaking into the evidence lockers at the police station proved easy enough, a glamour to look like a cop, and it was easy as pie. Found the bullet, though I don't know what to do with it yet.
The nosebleeds are getting worse.
Every time I cast the simplest spell now, my nose becomes Niagara Falls.
I broke Faith out of jail, too. Cast a glamour on her and sent her after the book. I need to research this.
I went to the Magic Box, needing answers. I absorbed all the books we had. I mean literally. I just called the knowledge to me, and sucked it up. Too bad the after affect is blank pages. Oh well, it doesn't matter. Either I get Tara back, or the whole world goes where she did.
Faith arrived back yesterday. I can't believe it's been almost a week. Funny thing, I can't absorb the book. I have to fucking read it. I guess it's because of the inherent magickal properties in the book itself. Or maybe it has to do with the physics of the primary universe. Either way, I understand what's going on now.
I tried my first ritual with Warren tonight. I wanted to flay him, but Faith said that maybe the living receiver needed to be whole. It made sense. Too bad it didn't work anyway.
So I've been reading more of this book, and maybe this is an extension of the tangent universe. That would make Tara the manipulated dead, not the living receiver. Too bad I don't know who is.
I contacted Ethan Rayne today. I figured if anyone would understand this, it'd be him. He's flying out here from England, he'll be here tomorrow.
Ethan thinks Faith could do it. Play the living receiver, that is. If she shoots Warren, with a little bit of magickal help from Ethan and me, it could work. She not only fits the metaphysical qualifications, but she's also not really connected, seeing as in the primary universe, she's in jail. She's also willing to try. Buffy thinks I'm just evil, and out of my mind. She thinks I'm going to try and destroy the world. Only if this doesn't work.
We've come to the old temple, it's nice and deserted. So, here we go, we've got Warren, and Faith's got the gun with the artifact loaded. I guess we'll see if this works.
Willow woke up, hearing a gunshot. Climbing over Tara, she looked out the window. Warren lay in the garden, a gun in his hand. Buffy stood a few feet away, looking shocked and confused. Willow stepped back from the window, a look of horror on her face, and out of the corner of her eye, saw Tara sitting in bed, clutching her midsection. Willow reached up and stroked her own chest, feeling a mild pain, and sat next to Tara.
Buffy sat down hard on the ground, her hand idly playing with the shoulder of her blouse.
Coming downstairs, Willow and Tara rushed over to Buffy.
"I don't know what happened, Wills. He's just…dead."
Sitting in her jail cell, Faith wakes up suddenly, looks around, and smiles.
Willow looked around, and saw Ethan making a hasty retreat. Shaking her head, she held her hand out for the gun Faith was holding.
Faith handed her the gun. "So, you gonna cast a spell on me so I can sneak back in?"
Willow nodded, and waved her hand. "Not like it matters." She waved her hand once more, and Warren disappeared, virtually exploding into a million tiny pieces, scattering to the four winds. As she began to chant, the temple began to rise from the earth. She saw Xander approach her from somewhere off to her left.
"Willow, don't do this."