AN: Tried to add this earlier but my computer hates me. This story is sort of based on challenge 767...but only sort of because the only thing I actually like about that challenge is the original premise: Willow in Randland.
Feel free to review, constructive or otherwise. Flames will be saved, pressed, brainwashed and returned to sender. Have a nice day!
PS. Before I forget: NOTHING IS MINE!!! NOTHING!!!!
“Wake up Willow.”
With a crash, Willow Rosenberg woke, and lost the precarious balance on the chair she had been perched on, only to come crashing to the floor in a flurry of red hair and pages covered in her meticulous scrawl. Scowling, she blinked away the last remains of sleepiness and glared at the person who had so rudely interrupted her sleepy time.
“You fell asleep researching again, didn’t you?”
Grinning down at the still floored Willow, Dawn Summers extended a hand to give her friend and fellow ex-Scooby a boost.
Grumbling under her breath, Willow brushed herself off after having accepted Dawns help, partly because her jeans and the burgundy blouse she had ‘liberated’ from Faith’s closet had acquired a fine layer of Archive dust, but in the most part to cover her sheepish blush.
In the year since their group had defeated The First and ended Sunnydale’s existence as Demon Vacations Spot No. 1, Willow had, somewhat reluctantly, accepted a position in Giles’ rapidly expanding re-development of the Watchers Council. Now that the known number of newly activated Slayers was known to be around the five hundred mark, Willow was becoming somewhat uncomfortable with the responsibility of her new position, acting both as Research Girl and teaching basic magic to potential Watchers.
It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy her job, but she missed being out in the field instead of being cooped up in a building all day, teaching students - who sometimes had more than a decade on her - how to float a pencil. Buffy had decided, now that the Council had everything more or less under control, that she was taking a lengthy, much overdue, holiday and had deposited Dawn at Council headquarters only to disappear off the face of the planet. For some bizarre reason, she had taken Andrew with her, not that most members of the revamped Council could be heard to complain about that particular development.
“So, what were you looking at last night?” asked Dawn, then frowning slightly she added, “you have been here all night, haven’t you? You’re still wearing the same clothes as yesterday and you look all…rumpled.”
With a squeak, Willow righted herself, and attempted to smooth out the creases adoring her attire only to quickly give it up as a hopeless job; wrinkles decorated her clothing and would no doubt only be banished by ironing or some form of heavy – possibly black -magic. Sighing slightly, the redhead, brushed a hand over her eyes. However much sleep she had managed to catch simply hadn’t been enough.
“Nothing special really, just trying to adapt this spell I found in one of the Darli’it spellbooks. You know, those demons we found in Cleveland, the one’s that lived under Wal-mart and used puppy livers as catalysts in their regenerative potions? Well, they’re good spells, but I don’t want to have to use dog parts so I was trying to see if maybe I could use calf liver instead…turns out that if you use those, the potion explodes and everything in a ten foot radius turns purple.”
Picturing a disgruntled and tremendously violet coloured Willow, Dawn stifled a giggle and nodded, attempting to appear serious, “Purple…coulda been worse though, like pink.”
“Ugh, don’t even joke about that,” Willow shuddered “Pink? With my hair colour? Molly Ringwald eat your heart out.”
“So, you gonna keep trying or give up?” Dawn asked, already knowing what the answer would be.
“Give up? Moi? Never! I’m gonna kick this potion’s behind, if I have to go through the entire animal kingdom to do it…I thought I might try sheep next, wanna help?”
“Ugh, you know, while I enjoy playing with entrails as much as the next moderately sane person I think I’ll give this one a miss and take some of the girls to the market instead,” said Dawn, smiling affectionately, “want me to bring back any animal parts for you?”
Sighing slightly, Willow resigned herself to another sticky afternoon spent by herself, mucking with innards. “No, I think I have everything I need, Giles keeps a well stocked abattoir…which now that it occurs to me, is actually quite worrying.”
“Oh I think he mentioned something about his third cousin twice removed being a butcher or something and then I stopped listening…you know Giles…” here Dawn trailed off, yes Willow DID know Giles, hence her surprise at his penchant for pre-packaged meat products, “anyway, I’m off, try not to blow up anything priceless while I’m gone, ‘kay?”
Grumbling at the retreating girl’s back, Willow returned to the pre-prepared vials of the potion she had brewed up yesterday. Knowing that the first couple of experiments were bound to fail, she had cooked up enough samples to keep her in experimentation for a good long while, all she had to do was add the substitute livers and the potion would be (hypothetically speaking) good to go.
Grasping a piece of sheep liver with a set of sugar tongs she had ‘accidentally’ borrowed from Giles’ favourite tea service, Willow muttered a quick prayer to all and any deities that might be listening and dropped the sweetmeat into the potion vial and immediately assumed the fallout position, ie. curled into the foetal position and screwed her eyes tightly shut.
When the sound of explosions failed to assail her delicate hearing, Willow decided to take that as a good sign and opened one of her eyes.
The other eye quickly followed upon discovery that neither her own self, nor any of the objects in the vial’s vicinity had adopted any strange or other worldly colours.
She decided to take this as an extremely good sign, the potion was displaying neither signs of sentience (unlike experiment 31/C - liver of pigeon with a smidge of parsley…she’d spent three quarters of an hour attempting to pry the now self-propelling potion off her copy of “Cauldrons for Dummies” while it quoted pages 31-67 at her) nor behaving in any manner that might be construed as homicidal.
In fact, all it was doing was bubbling slightly in a completely inoffensive manner.
Humming cheerily, Willow discarded her protective oven mitts and reached over the vial to grasp her clipboard and make notes.
It was, perhaps only somewhat inevitably that the potion took this moment to react.
With a sound reminiscent of three dinosaurs belching, the potion made a remarkable impression of Mt. Vesuvius erupting and surged upwards. Willow snatched back her arm but not being a Slayer her reflexes – honed by years of potion evasion as they were – simply were no match for the wrath of experiment 37/A.
With a squelch in which Willow later swore she heard a note of triumph, the potion soaked into the sleeve of her borrowed shirt, gave off a mushroom cloud of greenish smoke and then she blacked out.
When Dawn returned to the laboratory three hours later, the only hint that Willow had ever been there were her gently smoking boots, still next to the table covered in potions.
Of Willow herself, there was no sign.