Summary: Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest consequences.
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.
Author's Note #1: This story was inspired by a vignette written by aaronlisa, and has been written with her permission to expand on it. (Alternate Realities: Willow #2)
Author's Note #2: I played around with the timeline a bit during Season 2 for this story. Pretend that Willow and Oz had been dating for a month or so when Phases occurs. (Dialogue borrowed from both Phases and Becoming I & II courtesy of www.buffyworld.com)
Author's Note #3: Thank you to my tireless betas for holding my hand through the months it has taken me to write this story.
Spike was asleep when Willow got to the cave. He looked so peaceful; and dead, lying there on his back, not breathing. Which, she told herself, he was.
She crept in, careful not to make any sound that would wake the vampire, and blanketed him with his coat. She was turning to leave when a hand closed around her ankle, causing her to yelp in surprise.
"Going somewhere?" Spike drawled, his piercing blue eyes staring up at her.
"Yeah, I, um, need to get back to the library before the moon rises," Willow nervously told him.
"So you believe me then," Spike stated, releasing her leg and sitting up.
Willow nodded. "I found my balcony doors ripped open and my clothes from yesterday were torn to shreds. When I got to school, Oz and I compared notes. He woke up naked in the woods too."
"Bet you're sorry you woke up with me instead of 'im." Spike leered at the blush that rose on Willow's cheeks.
"I don't know about that. It would have been so embarrassing if we'd woken up naked together with no memories."
"And it wasn't embarrassing waking up naked with me?" Spike quirked an eyebrow knowingly.
"Oh, it was. But that's not the same," Willow protested. "You're not my boyfriend. Plus, you were fully clothed when I woke up."
"Should think that'd be worse. I am a demon after all. Who knows what I could have done to your sweet, vulnerable body while you were unconscious."
Willow's eyes widened in shock; she hadn't thought about that. She felt her heart begin to race. "Y-you didn't do anything, did you?"
Spike let her panic for a few minutes, relishing her fear, his face a cold, blank slate. Finally, he let his lips quirk into a grin.
"Nah." Willow let out the breath she'd been holding. "Didn't have any time to."
"I-I should really be going," Willow stammered as she inched towards the opening of the cave. "It's getting late."
"Right. You've got to get to the library," Spike smirked. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. "Tell me something… Your mate going to be there?"
"Of course," Willow crossed her arms over her chest defensively. "Giles is gonna lock us in the book cage so that we don't hurt anyone."
"Together?" Spike pressed.
"I think so. Why?" she asked, wishing he'd hurry up and get to the point.
"If you're so worried about seeing each other nekkid, what's going to happen in the morning? Better yet, what do you think is going to happen between two animals, trapped together in a cage, with their mate?"
Willow paled, realizing what he was implying. She turned and ran, making her way to the library as fast as her legs would carry her, Spike's laughter following her.
Bursting through the doors of the library, half an hour before moonrise, Willow blurted out, "We can't be locked up together."
Four surprised faces looked back at her as Willow tried to catch her breath.
"Yes, we weren't planning on it," Giles slowly agreed, gesturing towards the large cage on the wall next to his office.
"Oh. Well, good." Willow shuffled over to sit next to Oz.
"That was some entrance, Wills," Xander said, trying to lighten the awkward silence that had fallen since Willow's arrival. Not that it had been all that comfortable before she got there. He still wasn't sure how to act around Oz. After all, the musician had gone and turned his best friend into a monster.
"Yeah, sorry about that. I just kinda got to thinking. You know this girl's brain, always working. I was, uh, staring at my closet thinking of what to bring since it was likely that I'd wake up all naked again, when it occurred to me that Oz would be waking up all naked too. And while you're my boyfriend, I'm just not ready to see you naked, or for you to see me naked," Willow said turning to Oz. "Then I started worrying about what a boy animal and a girl animal would do all night locked up together in a cage and panic ensued. So, um, where'd the other cage come from?"
Pulling himself from thoughts of a naked Willow, Xander coughed and said, "Remember my Aunt Rita who works for the pound? Well, I told her that Jesse had found a wild dog that he insisted on keeping, but his mom wouldn't let him let it roam around while they were sleeping. She sold me that real cheap."
"You used Jesse's memory to get a cage?"
"I know, but it's the only thing I could think of. She wouldn't have believed it if I'd said it was for me 'cause she knows my parents would never let me have a dog. Yours either. I figured that she wouldn't remember that Jesse was dead, just that he was my friend."
"No, you did the right thing," Willow agreed. "Oh, no!"
"Willow?" Buffy questioned, speaking for the first time. She was having an even worse time dealing with this new development than Xander was. She was the Slayer after all. She should be killing monsters, not forming a halfway house for them.
"I was so anxious about the whole waking up naked with Oz thing that I forgot to bring a change of clothes with me," Willow groaned. Oz rubbed her back soothingly.
Relieved to have something productive to do, Buffy offered, "No problem. I can swing by your house during patrol and pick up some things for you. You can shower in the locker room before school."
"Willow, not to be the tiresome adult, but what did you tell your parents about where you'd be tonight?" Giles asked. "And you Oz?"
"Oh, they're out of town," Willow said.
"Late band practice. Crashing with Devon," Oz answered.
"Ah, very good." Giles glanced at the clock and regretfully said, "I believe the time is upon us. If you don't mind…" he gestured to the cages.
Everyone stood and pushed away from the table.
Oz pulled Willow into his arms, feeling her shaking slightly from nerves. "It's going to be okay. I'll be right across the room," he whispered for her ears only. She nodded against his shoulder, squeezing him tighter. Drawing back slightly, Oz kissed her reassuringly.
"Hey," Xander exclaimed, seeing the kiss. "That's what got you into this mess!"
Willow giggled as the kiss broke. With one last peck on his lips, she walked into the book cage and closed the door. She turned to see Oz secure in the other cage.
Trying not to think about what was about to happen she asked, "What about in the morning?"
Giles indicated the pile of towels and sheets. "We will be putting these up before dawn to allow you both some privacy."
"You didn't think I was going to leave you alone in here with dog-boy all night, did you?" Xander cajoled.
"Xander, you don't have to do that. It's probably going to be really boring for you," Willow said, silently grateful that her best friend wanted to be there for her.
Moving to stand right in front of Willow, Xander sincerely told her, "Hey, you're going through something big. Nothing could stop me from being here."
"Thank you, Xander," Willow said, a tear slipping down her cheek. Her eyes suddenly went wide and she gasped.
Xander, Giles and Buffy watched in a combination of fascination and horror as their friends began to grow fur, their features shifted, eyes bled to black, clothes fell in tatters. Soon, nothing remained of the humans they called 'friend', snarling wolves glared at them in their stead.
"Amazing," Giles uttered, the single word summing it up for all of them.
Spike left the cave as soon as there was enough shade to safely do so. The sun was setting, so he figured that by the time he reached the edge of the woods, it would be dark enough to make his way to the mansion. At least now he had a better idea of where he was, the diminishing light giving him clues as to which direction he should take.
His wheelchair was where he had hidden it in a bush outside his room. He reluctantly slid into it and wheeled himself through the doors. He paused, just inside the doorway, upon seeing Angelus fucking Drusilla on his bed.
"Might I ask what you bloody well think you're doing on my bed?" Spike growled.
Not losing his rhythm, Angelus replied. "I know it's been a while, rollerboy, but I'd think it's pretty obvious."
"We were waiting for you," Drusilla cooed, even as she moved against her sire. "But you were gone ever so long."
Ignoring the cries of completion coming from his bed, Spike made a mental note to burn the sheets. "Ran into a spot of trouble while I was hunting. Ended up getting too close to dawn. Had to take cover." He wasn't about to say that he had gotten lost and had had to spend the day in a cave.
"And what kind of trouble could you get into?" Angelus smirked, pulling his clothes back on.
"Actually, I ran into a werewolf," Spike said.
Drusilla bounced on the bed, unashamed of her nakedness. "Did you bring me a doggie?"
"Sorry, pet. Turned back into to a human."
"Still could have brought it home. Chained it up until the moon called to wake it up again," she pouted.
"So, what, you just came across it as it was changing back? That's hardly something to keep you out all day," Angelus said, bored already.
"Ah, but the interesting part was who the wolf turned out to be," Spike smirked.
"Was it someone yummy? Did you eat it?" Drusilla asked.
Angelus shuddered. "Werewolves in human form are rancid. Blood's tainted. Don't eat them if you can help it, princess. Besides, you'd just make it human again."
"What?" Spike asked in surprise, looking at Angelus. He'd never heard that before.
Angelus grinned at Spike's curiosity. His boy still had much to learn about being a vampire. "That's right, Spike my boy. Little known fact in the demon world: A vampire's saliva counteracts the werewolf virus in a human's blood."
"You're pulling my leg," Spike denied. That just seemed too easy.
"It's the honest to Hades truth," Angelus swore. "Found out myself by accident. Happened when I was a young thing, merely a decade old. Darla and I came across a werewolf in the English countryside. I was curious. I wrestled it into submission and knocked it out. We chained it up in the abandoned barn we were hiding out in. Come daylight, it turned into this ugly farmer. I'd worked up an appetite from subduing the thing, and seeing as how it looked human now, decided to have a snack of it. The thing swore I'd pay for biting it come moonrise, but I just laughed, reminding it that I had it chained up already."
"Let me guess," Spike interrupted. "The moon rose and nothing happened."
"Got it in one."
"And how do you know its cycle wasn't just over?" Spike pointed out.
"Because, that night, my boy, was the night of the actual full moon," Angelus said in triumph.
"Huh." Spike slouched back in his chair. "Well, I'll be damned."
"That was a lovely story, Daddy," Drusilla said. "Tell us another."
"What would you like to hear, Dru?" Angelus asked, making himself comfortable on the bed.
Spike tuned them out, thinking over everything Angelus had just told him. Apparently, he had the power to cure the slayer's little friend of her newfound lycanthropy. He wondered what he should do with this interesting bit of knowledge.
A slow, wicked grin crept over his face as he thought of what he could make her do in exchange for his bite.
"SPIKE!" Angelus bellowed, finally catching Spike's attention.
"What?" he snapped back.
"You never told us who it was playing wolf," Angelus reminded him.
"Oh, it was nobody," Spike lied. "No one you need to worry about."
Angelus went back to fawning over Dru, leaving Spike to plot out the best way to use his knowledge to his benefit.
To be continued...