by Scy

Getting a wish granted does not lead to the happiest of endings.

Often those recipients of exceptional luck begin to operate under the assumption that they're protected by some greater power. It really gets messy when they decide that little is so much les than a whole lot and god-kings catch on.

People who hope and muddle through are appreciative of what tiny steps are made. So they never get wishes granted, but usually find good housing or extra change on the ground.


Fred stands in the grocery store, more than a few miles from any place that would feed her without charge. An upper-class, business section of the city, and she comes here for the scenery.

Dressed in her cleanest best, just so no one will ask that she shop. Trying for a bit of 'what used to be normal', she scans the titles of books and pretends to be engrossed in a cover slightly less offensive than all the others.

Seasonal changes, the melting of polar ice caps, global warming, so much has happened while she ducked out.

Returned to a place where movies are made and those stars are just as quickly sent spiraling down as ascending to glory and wonderful things.


''s just like fairy tales.'

Kennedy had been sweet and earnest about how much she wanted to have 'a thing' with Willow.

She was cute too, aggressive about what she wanted- which was admirable, if a little intimidating. A taste of what Willow could do had been the building of lines separating a possible happiness. Too much of magic being not what she had expected, and that might have been part of waking up to how massive responsibility was. The role of a witch as more than a cuddly woman with some odd habits had become clear.

None of that saved a girl when the time for defeating evil came and she became just another obstacle.


The girl-out-of-a-cave had been raised well enough to let someone have their spaces and not whisper harm into the thread of inner words. Being around the others wasn't frightening, their voices had too much hope for her to be frightened. Volume was what drove her into retreat. That and unexpected conflicts with never-ending heights.

Being sought after by men seemed fascinating in print and theory. Practice was entirely different and uncomfortable.

They grappled long enough that in a breakup was ribbon and thoughts of skipping off, leaving a space of desperation unnoticed even when occupied.

She has seen the couples and the way that they wear their hair and love in such a way that they glow at those who are unable to find their own happiness.

Charles was supposed to be where she could go- pancake kisses and paper crowns that somehow gleamed in sunshine moments.

Then he tried to show her she didn't have to be a killer. As if serving justice wasn't the point.

Not something gentle, but now that he was razors and bubbling regret she saw how badly protection worked when unneeded.

She'd learned in Pylea was that muscles weren't everything. The strong were cut down as examples, same as plotting hangers-back.

What she'd lost had been years. No amount of doing the deed for her would rectify the situation, and if anything, seeing how jagged her morality truly was had begun the decay of their relationship.


Fred isn't cold and vicious the way dreams portray the girls wanted by many. Willow thinks that if she really was that way, then it might be scarier to touch her and think about how sharp edges can be without love.

She thinks about romance, all the great loves written out and perfumed in reiterated tragedy. But when the book closes it is realism that keeps Fred alive.

Dark places for hiding and invention seems connected to knowing where to hide. And when to step out.

Nothing is ever truly created or destroyed just shifted.

Gunn has a great capacity to love and while not enough for Fred, there were others to appreciate it.

Angel took Gunn aside to make sure there were rules and them left them to fight and love as they could.

The vampire was more calm about the 'employee and son' thing than Willow had expected, but then he had to have imagined worse matches.


Neither of them was desperate to rediscover love. Loss in any incarnation needed time for healing. It was enough to be understood.

Being in close contact gradually brought the rights of intimacy.


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