She was glad to be back with him. As of late, Macy Welsh had been having second thoughts about her relationship with Jeffrey Larger. He had been pressuring her to quit working at their town’s health clinic but she had not budged. Macy felt her work was important, to get proper health care and contraceptives to teens and adults. Jeffrey, more conservative as of late, had started to disapprove of her behavior. Things had gotten so bad they almost broken up, finally everything coming to a head with her moving out two weeks ago.
Jeffrey had gotten in touch four nights ago, proposing a weekend away in the country to clear the air in their relationship and try to reconcile. As the weekend had gone on, they had fought a few times; all hope seemed lost. Suddenly, on Sunday evening, Macy had started to see his side of things. If they wanted things to work she might have to bend a little more, he was right. Now, the next evening, sitting in a restaurant eating dinner quietly, Macy stared at him with glazed over glee in her eyes. Why had she ever considered not staying with him?
They sat and talked over dinner, talking of the future for the first time in a long time. Suddenly, Jeffrey got up and pulled out his chair, getting down on one knee. He pulled a box out of his jacket pocket, a beautiful diamond ring inside.
“Macy Welsh, will you marry me?”
Tears started going down Macy’s cheeks as she broke down and cried. She fell into his arms, whispering “yes” quietly into his ear. Jeffrey held her tight and ran his hand across her back. Everything had gone according to plan.
Willow Rosenberg sat in a chair looking out at her view. Her mood had improved from the previous few days with the opening of the Academy. Quietly she wrote in her journal, continuing from where her lover Kennedy had cut her off the day before and then further on:
Today marks the first day of classes at The Academy. All classes will be meeting today to do a short orientation and go over what they will be learning in the next few months. In September, we are hoping to have a few teachers here to teach basic courses to the girls. Literature, History, Mathematics, things of that nature… uh, school stuff. Giles is also putting together a history of the Slayer course in his spare time.
Before she could go on, there was a knock at her door. Ashley would be coming to get her for breakfast. Willow was excited to see the girl, for she would be the first young woman Willow would see in their new uniforms. She also found it wonderful to have someone whom Willow could count on; her lover Kennedy’s schedule was chaotic. She missed Kennedy’s touch, her arms wrapped around the Wiccan’s body every night. Willow did not want to wake up alone anymore, but she put on a brave face and put the thought in the back of her head. Tossing aside her journal to finish later on when she had a moment, Willow went to the door to greet her young assistant. When the door opened, she could not believe the sight in front of her eyes.
“Ashley, wow, the uniforms look great,” was all Willow could get out. Ashley did a twirl to show off the outfit. Each Slayer, Witch, and Watcher had a uniform, which was mandatory to wear during the week. The matching parts consisted of dark black pants, black boots, and black zip up sweatshirts. The shirts they wore told you immediately what they were studying. Each student wore a shirt under their sweatshirt of a different color, which resembled soccer jerseys. Witches wore red, Slayers yellow and Watchers blue. Each also wore a patch on their sweatshirt to show what “team” they belonged.
Willow invited Ashley to come inside for a minute while she got her notes together for her first day of teaching. She noticed that Ashley kept glancing at her but looked away quickly whenever Willow looked up. Willow smiled and nodded towards the door, sliding her bag over one shoulder. They made their way down into the courtyard and outside. Ashley started to walk away as she did every morning, but Willow grabbed her arm gently, bringing the girl in her direction and towards the memorial. She leaned over and whispered in the girl’s ear, “you can join me if you want to; I don’t want you to feel as if I am superior to you in any way, okay?” Willow smiled and put her hand on Ashley’s shoulder, brushing away a few strands of her dark brown hair.
They came out from the underground tunnel in front of the right side of the castle. About fifty feet ahead of them two Slayers stood in a watchtower overlooking the grounds. Willow led Ashley towards the watchtower, smiling at the first Slayer to turn around towards them as they approached. “Good morning,” she said loudly to them when they got close enough. There were two towers watching over the Academy grounds. Both were equipped around the clock with two Slayers. The girls rotated who did shifts based on a drawing of straws at the beginning of the week. This was a futile exercise really, as there was enough Magic surrounding the grounds to keep out anything bad, but Willow never told any of the girls.
One of the girls came down from the tower to greet Willow and Ashley. The girls name was Mary Ellen, a Slayer from Kentucky in the states. She approached them, stopped about ten feet from them, and quietly said, “Good morning Madam.” Willow gave Mary Ellen a nod to give her report. “Madam, Ms. Summers, Ms. Holburn, and Ms. Adams will be arriving in about five minutes.” The Slayer paused, pulling a small telescope out of the bag on her shoulder. “If you look through this telescope you can see them.”
Willow grinned at the girl and took the telescope into her hands, looking through the glass. About two miles down the road she could see a car approaching. She closed her eyes gently and used her own Magic to see the inside of the car. In the car was Persephone, a new Slayer recruited during The Alpha Team’s last trip through Europe. In the back seat sat Dawn Summers, who looked as if she had aged about five years in the past 11 months since Willow had last seen her. Next to Dawn was Kit, her friend from Sunnydale. Willow did not know her too well, only having met her at the Summer’s home a few times.
What Willow saw next made her break her concentration. A few minutes had elapsed and the car was actually coming up the hill towards the tower now. Ashley came over to where Willow stood, grabbing her arm gently to steady her. “Are you okay?” she said quietly. She put up a hand to say she was fine.
When all three of the people standing in front of Willow gave her a perplexed look, she grinned at them. “Things just got a lot more interesting here.”
Willow could not believe what she had seen. Little Dawn Summers had a girlfriend. This revelation came out of nowhere. There was a not a single mention in any letter or email she had written to Willow. They sat on the grass under a tree on the left side of the castle catching up. Willow sent Persephone and Kit ahead to let everyone know Dawn and those who had accompanied her had arrived and that Dawn and Willow would be inside for breakfast shortly.
“Are you gay?”
Dawn smiled at her friend and shrugged. “I don’t know…maybe? I like guys still, I think, but it’s just…”
“…you like Kit better…” Willow finished for her.
Dawn brightened for a moment. “Yeah that is totally how things were for me. I never intended to like girls. I mean, when you and Tara lived with us I was always curious, but I guess everyone goes through a curious phase right?” She stopped for a second to look towards the castle. “I don’t know what I am Willow, I just know I love Kit.”
Willow took Dawn’s left hand into her own and squeezed gently, smiling reassuringly. “Things were the same for Tara and me. Before I knew what was happening, I was not in love with Oz anymore and I was madly in love with another, and that person was a women. When it hit me finally, at first it was disorienting but then I realized it did not matter what gender the person I loved was. A lot of people could learn from us.”
Suddenly the wind blew a bit harder than usual, giving Dawn a moment to consider her next question. “Do you ever hear from Oz?”
Willow looked down for a moment and let out a small chuckle. She then stared off at their beautiful surroundings for about ten seconds. Dawn looked at her closely, thinking about how much older Willow looked. “I heard from Oz right after Sunnydale went poof. A few weeks later, he came one night when we were staying near Disneyland. We went out to the woods and talked, cleared the aired on some things. He was mostly just worried about what happened.”
Before she could stop herself, Dawn blurted out her next question. “Have you talked to my sister?”
Willow stood and pulled Dawn up with her. They needed to start getting back to the dining hall so proper introductions could be made. They had walked about a half mile before Willow spoke again. “Buffy and I spoke about three months ago. She has a home in Italy we purchased for her with Council funds. She has been staying there on and off in between trips abroad. Last we spoke she was going around Europe researching where Slayers lived before Columbus sailed to the Americas.” They got to the bridge in front of the castle and crossed quietly. After greeting the Slayer on guard at the door, they walked inside, crossing the halls until they came before the large wooden double doors. They paused before going in. Willow turned to Buffy’s sister, “and hey, if you or Kit ever needs to talk, you know I am here.”
Dawn reached over, hugged her gently, and then pulled away. Willow opened the doors to the dining hall and they entered.
The room went quiet when the huge double doors opened. Ashley was sitting in her new chair at the big table next to Giles, who had been telling her about various research techniques Willow had used over the years. She was nervous, not used to Willow not being here with her amongst the elite. As Giles spoke her gaze passed by him and towards Faith, whispering in the ear of the girl next to her whose name Ashley had learned last night was Vi. She then moved her eyes towards where Willow usually sat and in the middle of them was the Kennedy.
Before she could continue this thought, the double doors in front of the hall opened wide. Ashley smiled as Willow, an attractive brown-haired girl, and two girls with darker, black hair came walking through the doors. The room became quiet immediately as their Head Mistress put up a hand to signify she wanted to speak.
Willow smiled at how quickly the crowd had quieted down. She paused for a moment and heard a small grumble come out of her stomach; this speech would have to be quick. “Thank you everyone. Today is a special day here at The Academy. Not only is the first day of classes for the first class ever to walk these grounds today, but this day has been made even more special.” She turned slightly and pointed towards Dawn. “I would like to introduce Dawn Summers,” she paused for the usual ohs and ahs at the mention of the Summer’s name. “… and Kit Holbern. Since the introductions are now over, I need to eat.”
A chuckle went up from some people in the room as Willow and the others moved their way through the crowd towards their chairs. Willow sat down next to her lover and kissed her quickly, wanting to get right down to eating.
Once breakfast was over and Willow had dismissed everyone, she approached Kit and pulled her to the side. Willow informed her Lilac would like to speak privately in her office. Kit said goodbye to Dawn, not even bothering to hide their affections for each other. Almost every member of the core group had approached her or Dawn and let them know how happy they were for them, which made Kit happy.
She made her way up into one of the spiraling staircases in the four towers, which hugged each corner of the castle. Each tower held at the top an office for each of the four department heads, Giles, Willow, Lilac, and Faith. Following the directions she had received from Willow, Kit soon found herself at the door of Lilac’s office. Standing in place nervously for a minute, she sighed quietly and knocked on the door.
A feminine voice welcomed Kit from inside the room as she opened the door. The neatly kept office had one side devoted to Wicca items, the other devoted to some sort of shrine. A large bookshelf sat behind the desk Lilac sat at, the Witch quietly reading something on the laptop in front of her. Kit stood nervously in the room for a minute before Lilac looked up. “Sit down Kit, please; I will be with you in a moment.” Quietly Kit complied, sitting down in one of the two chairs in front of her. She looked around the room while she waited for Lilac, recognizing some of the texts on the bookshelf, a few Magic books she herself owned, and a tattered copy of Homer’s Odyssey.
Finally after a few minutes had passed Lilac looked up again and handed Kit a small booklet. Her gaze was already returning to the screen before she spoke. “In your hands is a small etiquette book I have developed for the Magic program, some people may find the book pretentious or overly bitchy, but I find it’s best to lay down rules and expectations. When you get a chance, look at the book. Right now there is only one other young women,” she paused for a moment and looked Kit right in the eye, “…and you will call yourself and those around you ‘young women.’ You are over eighteen; I do not want to hear any ‘girl’ bullshit. You fucking Americans, no matter what happens, you always treat women as though they are fucking toys. Understand?”
Kit nodded quickly, totally overwhelmed by how cool this women was. “Of course, thinking about it now, everyone does call all the…young women around here girls.”
Lilac made a facial expression somewhat similar to a smile, but not quite. “Good. Now get out of here, I will see you for orientation in about thirty minutes.” Kit got up to leave but Lilac called to her again and she turned around.
Kit smiled at her teacher and nodded, shaking her hand again. She headed out the door. Lilac turned back to her screen, troubled further by what she read.
Kit found what Lilac said to be true; there really were only two young women in the Magic class. As she walked into the room, she saw Willow pulling a book out of her bag and looking away, lost in thought. In the middle of the room Kit noticed a large circular table where Lilac and a young women with brown hair sat. Lilac was writing in a notebook, eyes narrowed as she furiously wrote. The other young woman got up out of her chair and extended a hand out to Kit in greeting. “Hello, my name is Allison.” Kit smiled back and took her hand firmly. She paused for a moment, taking her in. Allison had long brown hair going down below her shoulders. The witch was about her height but a little chubbier, and wore dark black glasses. Before she could continue the conversation, Lilac got up and moved towards the front of the table. Both young women got quiet immediately and listened to what she would say, as did Willow, who sat down on a chair and listened.
After the meeting ended, Willow asked Kit to join here in the library for a tour. As part of her Wicca education, occasionally Kit would be doing research for Willow. Willow and Kit made their way up to the library. The room they needed to go to was in the back in the far corner. The library was about the size of a high school library with a decent amount of stacks and room for more if needed. At the entrance stood two Slayers who stoically nodded to Willow and Kit as they passed into the library.
“These are the stacks, and over there is where our microfilm is stored. I will show you how to use the machine later.” Willow said as they walked around a bit. They passed by a row of computers and headed into the actual stacks; Willow admiring the books Giles had brought in earlier. Kit followed her quietly, overwhelmed by all of the books surrounding her. As she leaned her arm towards her neck to scratch an itch on her head her elbow bumped the stack next to her, knocking a jewel off. Quickly Willow turned as she heard Kit mutter a curse and knell to dive at the jewel. Kit got her small hands underneath the jewel and caught it. Rising up, the orange jewel shone brightly through the room for a few moments before going dark. After staring at what was in her small hands for a few moments, Kit quietly handed the jewel to Willow.
Willow examined the jewel for a few minutes before looking up at Kit. “Where did this come from?”
The young Wiccan shrugged at the redhead. “I-I’m not sure Willow, I was scratching my neck and suddenly the jewel bumped off the shelf. I did not see anything there before I swear! Willow I-”
Willow cut her off. “No, I believe you.” She examined the jewel closely. “We should take the jewel to…” Willow paused for a moment. “…I guess we are already in the library?”
Ashley enjoyed driving in new Slayers when asked to, but the one in her care right now was troubling her. She had picked up Adicia, a seventeen years old girl, a few hours ago down in London. Adicia was a recently discovered Slayer, activated about eight months ago. Ashley kept trying to make conversation with the girl, but the girl would just answer in one-word answers or a nod. She seemed preoccupied, staring out the window of the car deep in thought. Ashley was okay with the silence; she was used to Willow often having bouts of quietness, even shutting themselves away for a day or two. Something about Adicia troubled her though. She decided to try to make small talk one more time. “So Adicia, I read your file, I am sorry about your parents.”
Through the mirror, Ashley could see Adicia close her eyes slowly and sigh. “Yes, they were killed last year. A few weeks later were when I was ‘activated,’ as you say. Soon after I found myself shuttled away to relatives in Germany, but my powers and the changes I went through made me an outcast so I ran away to England. I got board with a women and her daughter doing odd jobs to make rent. Then your academy got in touch, and here I am.” Once she finished speaking, her eyes darted right back out the window and she did not speak again the rest of the ride. After Faith met Adicia and Ashley, she led them to the main lawn for the first Slayer orientation.
Faith made her way across the grounds towards her castle. She was still adjusting to the fact that she had her own small castle to herself. Sure, she had a few little Slayers as a sort of staff, but otherwise the castle was all hers. Faith chuckled to herself at how amazing it was how one can go from cold-blooded killer and renegade Slayer to “Head Mistress of Slayage.” She smiled as she walked and made her way closer to home. Finally, Faith had her life together for the most part and was moving forward instead of backwards.
The funniest thing of course was Kennedy even considering Faith would not sense her watching her the past two nights. Hilarious, really.
“Mummy! Adicia was on the telephone! She said she arrived nicely and all is good.” The girl ran across the room to give her mother a big hug. Mummy squeezed her tight, holding her for a minute before letting go and whispering for her to start dinner. Today was a great day; Adicia had infiltrated the academy and would report her findings back to Mummy. Drusilla was curious about their arrival in England, curious about the Witch and the brown haired Slayer. The visions had told her much lately, she needed to know more.
“Alright Giles, thank you.”
Willow hung up the phone quietly and walked back across the room to where Kit stood waiting for her. The young Wiccan looked up at Willow, eager to find out what they had found. Before Kit could speak, Willow put up a hand. “Giles said the gem is the Matrica. Slayers used the gem during the reign of the Romans. What the gem does, no one knows, all of the Watchers journals from the time were lost during the fall of the Roman Empire.”
Before Willow or Kit could say anything further, an orange light enveloped both women and swept them away. After a moment of disorientation, both Kit and Willow were walking down a long corridor. Around them on both sides, they could see visions of past Slayers, both in victory and in death. Willow paused at the site of Amanda and Kendra’s deaths; Kit at the final vision to be shown, Buffy Summers darting past her lover into the vortex to defeat Glory.
After things calmed down, Kit pointed ahead to where a figure stood in the shadows. Almost feeling drawn towards the shadowy figure ahead of them, Willow and Kit started walking in its direction. Soon enough they came to be right in front of said figure. Taking a step forward towards them, the figure revealed itself as a human. After a long moment, it pulled the hood covering the head down, revealing her identity to the two Wiccans. Willow gasped at the sight and took a step back, falling into Kit. Steadying herself, she looked the robed figure in the eyes.