Rating: NC-17, eventually
Pairing: Willow/Lindsey, Giles
Word Count: 923 this chapter
Summary: Willow makes an unexpected friend at the coven.
Timeline: Through "Beneath You" (beginning BtVS S7).
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Betas: velvetwhip & menomegirl (Happy Birthday!)
Willow slowly made her way to the stables after her lessons were finished. Giles was out riding and had asked her to meet him there when she was done. She still wasn't comfortable being around the horses, but she tried to remind herself that Tara had always said they don't really like to eat arms.
The brief smile that had formed at the memory of Tara trying to convince her to go riding faded just as quickly. She would never have the opportunity to go riding with Tara now, or do anything else with her…ever. Tara was gone and Willow had nearly ended the world in her grief.
Willow had been with the Coven for over a month now and, amazingly, they hadn't locked her in a dungeon or bound her powers - at least not yet. She still wasn't sure that they wouldn't do so if they decided she was too much of a risk.
She was even more surprised that Giles was still here. After everything that she had done to him when she was all scary and veiny, he was still being supporto-guy. She imagined that this was what having a real father was like - someone who would love you no matter what you did or who you loved.
Willow's melancholy thoughts brought her the rest of the way to the barn. Someone was riding in the paddock, but it wasn't Giles.
With a sigh of resignation, Willow entered the stables. She could see some horses were in their stalls, but she wasn't sure which one belonged to Giles' stallion.
About halfway down, there was one horse not in its stall. It was tethered to the wall, being groomed by a very attractive man. Not that Willow was suddenly interested in men again, or even wanted to be interested in anyone, but she could still notice he was good-looking. It was hard to deny how well his jeans hugged his ass, or the appeal of the play of muscles beneath his t-shirt.
Chastising her traitorous brain, Willow took a hesitant step forward. Licking her lips, she asked, "Excuse me, have you seen Giles? Rupert Giles?"
The man turned around to look at her and he was just as handsome from the front as behind.
"Not lately," he said, then glanced at a clock on the wall. "He should be back soon, though, I imagine."
"You're American," Willow pointed out, surprised.
He laughed. "So are you," he countered.
Willow blushed. "Yeah. Sorry, I, um, guess I wasn't expecting it. I haven't seen any other Americans here, until now."
"Well then, you must have been in all the wrong places," he said. Wiping his hand on his leg as he came closer, he held it out to Willow. "I'm Lindsey."
"Willow," she said, shaking his hand. It was warm, and rough from hard labor.
"You the one that tried to end the world?" Lindsey lightly asked, not releasing her hand.
Willow blushed again and pulled away. "You heard about that?"
"Hard not to around here," Lindsey said. "Everyone was all in a frenzy when you went dark. If they hadn't been able to reach your friend Giles, I don't know what they would have done."
"You've been here that long?" Willow asked, surprised. She'd assumed that since she hadn't heard of another American being here that he was new.
Lindsey nodded. "Been here going on a year now. I help out in the stables as part of my room and board."
Willow's eyebrows furrowed. "Oh, you aren't just… I mean, you don't just… work here?"
Lindsey laughed again. It was a sound Willow could get used to. "No, I'm here for the Coven's help, same as you."
"But you don't practice magics," Willow said. "At least, you don't feel like someone who practices."
"What do I feel like?" Lindsey teasingly asked.
He was flirting with her! Willow had no idea how to react to that. She decided to ignore it.
She unfocused her eyes and let her senses expand to better read Lindsey. She frowned at what she found. "You have a stain on your soul, but you don't feel evil."
Lindsey smiled. Apparently the rumors about this woman were true. She was powerful.
"Thanks, I think. And I'm not - evil, that is. Or, at least I'm trying not to be," Lindsey admitted.
"But you were?" Willow asked.
"Ah, Willow, you're here," Giles said, interrupting the conversation.
Willow turned to see Giles leading his horse towards them. Only he wasn't looking at her, he was glaring at Lindsey. She caught Lindsey nod slightly out of the corner of her eye as he started to back away.
"Willow, it was a pleasure meeting you, but I should get back to Elphaba over there," Lindsey said.
"Oh, okay. It was nice meeting you, too," Willow said, her displeasure at the conversation ending evident in her voice.
"Mr. Giles," Lindsey acknowledged before returning to brushing the horse.
As Giles led his own horse to a tether, he suggested, "Willow, why don't you go back up to the house? I'll be up in a bit, just as soon as I've rubbed Ambrosius down."
"But…" Willow glanced at Giles' face, at the resolute expression there, and folded. "Fine."
Willow glanced back at Lindsey, who had moved to stand on the other side of the horse, Elphaba, so he could covertly watch them. He cocked his head in a small gesture showing he understood. Willow nodded in thanks before scurrying out of the barn.
Continue to Chapter Two