(Special thanks to MistressAshley for creating this lovely work of art! Please check out her stuff, she is FABulous!)A/N:
O’Dearest Readers! The end has arrived! Thank you all so, so much for reading and reviewing. Honestly, I doubt I would have written such a convoluted and lengthy story without the support of everyone who reviewed. So to everyone who reviewed, thank you so much. To those who helped me with brainstorming and editing at some point along the way (Greywizard, AllenPitt, and DeepBlueJoy), many thanks as well for your time, creativity, and keen eye. To my generous artists at TtH who donated art (Methos, borgrabit, and MistressAshley), you are all amazing and I thank you for your time. And for those who have been reading it, thanks for experiencing this (exactly) 8-month journey with me :)
It was late May, a month after Sunnydale had played hide-and-go seek with the world by collapsing into a crater. Time had gone by at a nice, relaxed pace since the First Evil had been vanquished. After the memorial service for those who were killed in the battle (seventeen potentials, two wizards, and twenty-three men from Wolfram and Hart’s security team), the Angel Investigations gang immediately went back to L.A. and their newly acquired law firm. Unsurprisingly, Connor declined his father’s invitation to return to L.A. and opted to stay with the Scoobies and Slayers.
The path for the Scoobs and Slayers, however, was less clear than Angel’s team. Giles had quickly pointed out the new challenges that awaited them – reorganizing the Watcher’s Council, finding the newly called Slayers, and putting all of the new Slayers into training. Plus, he babbled on about some Hellmouth in Cleveland that they should take a look at.
However, Giles was unanimously overruled by everyone else who decided that a month-long vacation was in order.
The young Slayers were transported, thanks to the American Department of Magical Affairs, back to their homes and families. The few Slayers who were alone in the world, thanks to Bringers killing their families, were quickly invited by their fellow Slayers to go back home with them.
Giles had returned back to England and did the G-Man style of relaxing – he worked. After making contact with a few retired Watchers and the very few who had not been murdered, he went about organizing the Watchers Council’s assets. As the senior Watcher – not only because he technically ‘watched’ dozens of slayers instead of just Buffy, but also because he had helped to save the entire freaking world – Giles had essentially become the new Director of the Council. Judging by the well thought-out manner in which he organized the Council post-apocalypse, it was clear that Giles had been making plans beforehand. Within two weeks, he had re-opened an ancient Council asset, a castle, and began housing the new Slayers and Watchers who were re-joining the organization. Connor, Andrew, and Robin also made their home at the castle and were helping Giles develop training seminars for the new Slayers and other reorganization work.
Xander, hero that he was, went with Giles to England to ‘help’ set-up the Council, but in actuality, he moved there to be able to spend time with Tonks. Sure, he was a boon to Giles’ reorganization plan, but after seeing a chance at happiness in the romance department, Xander was eager to be closer to his new girlfriend.
Remus had taken Anya back to his home in the English countryside where Willow assumed they were probably doing it like bunnies… well, probably not like bunnies since the idea of floppy-eared creatures were probably the only
thing to put a hold on Anya’s sex drive, but Willow was sure it was something like that. Since Giles had access to the Council’s reserve of money, which was in the billions range, he had immediately offered the hard-working werewolf a paying job as a Watcher and professor at the soon-to-be-established Slayer Academy. Remus had been thrilled by the opportunity, although Anya seemed displeased that with Remus’ working schedule her sex needs would not get satisfied as often. Anya, for her part, had begrudgingly agreed to help Giles as well – but only for lots of shiny United Kingdom banknotes.
Faith, not used to spending so much time with other people, had quickly taken off with the promise that she would show up later in the summer. No one was quite sure where she went, but after her actions in the war against the First, people trusted her to come back and help.
Luna went back home to her house in Ottery St. Catchpole to reconnect with home and her father. The soon-to-be fourteen year old girl had taken the major changes in her life remarkably well for someone her age, but it was clear that she needed a break – and a time to be a kid again.
Buffy, Dawn, and Spike had decided on using their new Council funds – it had been decided that each Slayer and other ‘employees’ would be paid, including retroactive pay – to travel to the world’s most relaxing locales. So far, Willow thought that they had been to St. Lucia, the Canary Islands, Rome, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro. Each place with a beach had been Buffy’s idea, while the historical European cities were the request of the history-geeky Dawn. It both was and was not surprising that Spike was asked to accompany them, but Willow thought it made sense. After everything they had been through, not even Xander could hate the idea of Spike spending time with Buffy.
As for her and Sirius? They had gone back ‘home’ to the cottage that had started it all.
Their bond had strengthened after Sirius saved Willow from Lucius Malfoy, but the days afterward had been a struggle that had taken time to get over. Willow had remembered how she had been tricked into killing a lion…which she later learned had been Secretary Katherine Asp’s niece, Jenny. The pain of realizing what a dark act she had committed made her alternate between vomiting and sobbing for two days afterward. That evil place that she had been in…just thinking about it sent shivers down her spine. A dark part of her thought it was ironic that Lucius had controlled her mind just as she had similarly done with Tara the year before.
The memory of her former lover still brought a smile to Willow’s face. She could easily recall her gentle smile that radiated goodness and those shy yet observant eyes that used to cut through Willow’s soul with a mere glance.
Time was a tricky thing, Willow realized. It was hard to believe that Tara had died slightly over a year ago – it seemed so long ago, like another lifetime. A part of Willow would always, always
miss her baby, but the part that used to scream in misery at her loss was fully healed.
And while thoughts of Tara made Willow smile from memories past, thoughts of Sirius still made her knees weaken and her breathing heighten.
It pained her to think of what she had unknowingly put him through when she fell under Lucius’ spell. Inadvertently, she had put her love through terrible heartache, all because she had been foolish enough to trust Kennedy – or rather, Lucius. Her mouth dried at the thought of it and a vein pulsed in her forehead. Sometimes, Willow wasn’t sure if she could forgive herself for allowing that to happen. After all, Sirius’ pain was her pain – and her pain, his.
To no one’s surprise, her guilt had led to plenty of cookie baking for Sirius…who had actually gotten so sick of them – although he never mentioned it – that Willow had noticed Sirius sneaking platefuls of them to Buckbeak.
She watched him now, making sandwiches for them in the kitchen (with extra-extra pickles for her and the crusts cut off for him), and she was almost overwhelmed by the love she felt in her heart for him. As he glanced up after sliding the unneeded ingredients back into the fridge, he tossed her such a wide, genuinely happy smile that she forgot to breathe for a moment.
“Here you go, love,” he said as he plopped two plates on the kitchen table and dropped into the seat across from her.
“Thanks, Padfoot,” she grinned. Since returning last month to the cottage she had taken to calling Sirius by his nickname again – somehow, it just felt right.
Of course, since he was still a wanted fugitive in England (although not in America, thanks to the awesomeness of Secretary Asp!), maybe it was better if she learned not to call him by his real name, anyways.
They ate in silence, but it was a comfortable silence. Growing up, Willow used to hate silence. When people didn’t talk, she assumed that they were judging her or making mean comments in their head, which is why she would start talking and talking until the babble developed. But with a select few people – Xander and Buffy being the main two – she was okay with silence. With Sirius, the silence wasn’t tense or gave off the sense of boredom; instead, it filled her with a calm feeling inside.
“So what time should we leave tomorrow?” he asked as she began to collect the dishes and wash them in the sink.
Raising her voice slightly to be heard over the running water, she answered him. “Well, Giles, Buffy, Xander, and I are meeting for ‘tea time’ in the afternoon.” She used a poor imitation of Sirius’ accent when she said ‘tea time’ and she smirked at his scowl. “I figure it’ll take Buckbeack a couple hours to get us there, so maybe at noon? We can have an early lunch.”
Sirius nodded and Willow wondered why he looked so pensive at the moment. Hurrying with her dish washing, she impulsively grabbed his hand. Pulling him to his feet, she gave him an impish smile. “Come on, let’s cuddle.”
He let out a barking laugh and followed her into their bedroom. “You know, I never ‘cuddled’ with a woman until I met you,” he smirked as she pulled him underneath the covers and wove her legs in between his.
“That’s only because you needed the right cuddle buddy,” she let out a girlish giggle as he wrapped his arms around her.
Sirius snorted. He, being a man, didn’t want Willow to think that he liked
cuddling or anything…but, he actually kinda did. It felt nice holding Willow – the world seemed safer and better when she was in his arms.
“So,” Willow began after several minutes of comfortable silence. “Do you think you’ll be okay going back to that old house of yours while Buckbeak is living at the Council Castle and I’m traveling with Buffy?” Her voice was soft and nonchalant – clearly she was worried about how he would fare being alone, but she was trying to pretend she wasn’t.
“I’ll be fine, Willow,” he reassured her. “Dumbledore needed a location for the Order of the Phoenix and my family’s old house is the best place, thanks to all my father’s protection spells. Besides, while I’m stuck hiding out there and cleaning, Remus, Anya, Xander, and, Merlin
,” he rolled his eyes, “even Andrew said he’d come. Also, the Weasleys will be arriving soon to help clean the house as well.”
Curling her head against his chest, she tried to hide her frown. She really didn’t like the thought of being away from Sirius and him being by himself. After hearing his descriptions of his experiences growing up there and the current state of the house, she didn’t think it sounded like a good place for him to be. But , she guessed she didn’t really have much of a choice.
Since only she and Luna could find the new Slayers – Willow, due to her role in the activation spell, and Luna, because she was the Guardian – she and Buffy were leaving tomorrow night to begin their search in Asia. After she got to spend a bit more time at home, Luna would be leaving, with Spike as her companion and protector, to find Slayers in North America. It was imperative that these girls, who were probably very confused about their new powers, be found as quickly as possible and offered a place at the Slayer Academy.
“I know,” she sighed. “I just hate the idea of being apart from you for a whole month.”
He gifted her with a soft kiss that quickly dissolved into liquid fire.
“You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you,” he murmured through ragged breaths.
Her lips curved into a teasing smile. “Show me?” she purred as her hand traced patterns on his chest
Letting out a deep chuckle, Sirius proceeded to do just that.
As his lips roved over her body, Willow realized with a smile that this man had entered her house to steal food, but ended up stealing something much more unexpected – her heart.~*~THE END~*~
I would really, really, really love to hear what you have to say, Dearest Readers, now that the story is finally complete. Even if it’s just one word, I would truly appreciate a comment. For anyone who’s been reading but has never reviewed, this is the time where you finally hit that ‘Review’ button *grins*
In the next 24 hours a companion piece to Willow’s Thief will be posted. It’ll feature Luna & Spike finding slayers across America and Luna finding out what (and perhaps who) makes up part of her legacy. This will be a multi-cross with Supernatural.
Due to popular opinion, there are plans set to write a sequel to ‘Willow’s Thief’ that will take place during Book 5 of Harry Potter and involve the gang taking on Voldemort. Pairings will include: Willow/Sirius, Xander/Tonks, Anya/Remus, Dawn/?, and Faith/?? (as of now). Not sure when this will arrive…after 8 months of non-stop writing in this verse I’ll likely need a bit of a break. Still, be on the look out :)
...EDITED 9/14/11...the sequel IS out now...you can find it here
!***THANK YOU FOR READING***