|07:34 pm - Fic: The Knowing part 1 of 15, Willow/Giles, Willow/Ethan rated PG|
TITLE: The Knowing part one
PAIRING: W/G, W/Ethan, there may be others but it hasn't occurred to me, yet RATING: PG
FEEDBACK: Sure! - always looking for ways to make my stories better.
NOTES: Future-fic. New character. This story assumes that a romantic relationship took place between Giles and Willow after the gang headed to Cleveland. But the rest...I'm not sure of. We will all fill in the blanks as we go along. Permission to use these characters relating to BtVS & AtS has not been given. Joss, Twentieth Century Fox, UPN, WB & Mutant Enemy own TM and copyrighted them. Serena Michaels is mine, though...all mine...and you can't use her...This is purely for fun, and no copyright infringement is intended. You know the drill...
The Knowing part one
"I'm Serena Michaels. Come with me, please." She stepped around a large patch of muddy ground as she led him deeper into the woods.
Giles followed closely behind the woman who looked and sounded like she was in charge.
"Watch your step here," she held up a piece of yellow 'caution' tape for him to step under.
"There's a little blood spatter off to the side there - please be careful not to disturb the evidence."
He had never been to an actual 'crime scene' where a full-fledged police investigation was going on. Though he had seen his share of dismembered bodies, both human and supernatural, there was something about this experience that turned his stomach. Maybe it was just the feeling in the air, the eeriness of it all, but he couldn’t dismiss it.
"Been in upstate New York long?" She was nonchalant about everything, as though stepping over blood stained drop cloths was the most natural thing in the world.
"Not very." Giles looked around for any clues that might lead him to an explanation he could give her. So far it look like your average run-of-the-mill vampire attack.
“You bought the Hightower Retreat in the Catskills, right? About half an hour from here?”
“Yes.” He was trying to keep up with her.
“My parents used to take me and my sister there when we were kids. Every summer. We loved it. But after the owners were found murdered twenty five years ago…well, nobody wanted to set foot on the property again. It was a shame – 5000 acres of land...rumor has it the place is full of ghosts and vampires and things that go bump in the night.” She turned and looked over her shoulder at him. “If you believe in that sort of thing.”
“Yes,” Giles offered her nothing more.
She sensed she was beginning to annoy him with her idle chatter. “Must have cost you a fortune. You fixing up the place to re-open it? I’d love to see it again.”
“No, it’s sort of…a workspace for me.” He followed close behind, mimicking her footsteps around little flags and people taking pictures of things he couldn’t even see.
“126 rooms, two tennis courts, three Olympic sized swimming pools, one golf course, hiking trails, a baseball diamond, riding stables, three kitchens, two ballrooms, and a 300-seat movie theater? You must like your privacy.”
Of course it sounded ridiculous to him. But even though she had called him in on this investigation he sensed that she honestly didn’t believe in vampires and demons. And he didn’t want to convince her. He had started living his life by allowing the innocent people in the world to remain innocent. Once a person knew the truth….they could never turn it off. The knowing never stopped.
"I have a sort of...extended family with me. We all work together." He neglected to mention that his family included 2 vampire slayers, several demons, a few ex-demons, two vampires with souls, a mortal or two, a guy named Wesley who he couldn’t exactly fit into any of those categories, and an occasional visit from the ghost of a lawyer that nobody but Wesley and one of the vampires was happy to see.
"The guys up at precinct think I'm crazy for calling you." She kept walking, leading Giles further ahead, deeper into the woods, further into the crime scene.
"Oh?" He wasn't surprised.
"Yeah," she stopped and turned to him. "Actually, they think you're crazy. Some kinda ghost buster or something." She noticed his lack of surprise. "Boys in blue aren't exactly into supernatural disturbances. They like things they can shoot and kill, makes it easier for them to sleep at night."
"I understand." He removed his glasses when the lenses misted up from the rain that had just started to fall around them.
She smiled at him, but it was a smile full of pity. Though she had never met him before she knew a lot about Giles. News travels fast and he was a new player in town. Men like him aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. When someone shows up in the vicinity who has a history steeped in the occult, people tend to keep an eye on him. It could have gone either way for Serena at this point – expert testimony or suspect. She kept her mind open to either possibility.
She reached into the back pocket of her jeans and pulled out a dry handkerchief and handed it to him before she turned and walked a few more feet to a blood-soaked sheet that was covering, what looked like, a human body. "To be honest I don’t know what to believe," she said. "I’d like to say that things are black and white, but…I’ve seen too much I can’t explain. Cops always like to have answers, though, even if they make them up just to pacify themselves. Not me. I want to know what’s been doing this to people.”
“There are others?” He couldn't believe he hadn't heard about a rash of murders like this.
“Four including the victim we found tonight. All within the past month. All in this five-mile stretch of land.” She was comfortable when she spoke, as if she had every aspect of the murders burned into her brain.
“I’ll help if I can.” He figured he would look at the body and tell her it was a vampire attack and she would either choose to believe him or not.
“The victim is 29 year old Willow Rayne. Her wallet and purse were found half a mile north of here along with some herbs and oils. Looks like she was a practicing witch, not uncommon these days. She was found about three hours ago by a bunch of kids who were up here partying, though it looks like she's been dead for quite some time." Serena bent down and touched the edge of the sheet as if she were going to pull it off of the body, but she stopped when she caught Rupert's expression. She stood up and went to him to apologize for her abruptness. "I'm sorry. I forget, sometimes, that not everyone is used to seeing what I see on a daily basis. Do you need a minute?"
"Did you say Willow...Rayne?" It took every ounce of his breath to force those words out of his mouth. He was numb. The thought was absurd and yet, somehow, he knew that it was going to be true.
"Yes. Do you know her?"
The color had drained from his face, his bottom lip now quivering as the rain intensified.
"I desperately hope not." He took a deep breath as visions of Willow Rosenberg swirled around his mind, from the day she walked into the library at Sunnydale High School, to the day she packed her bags and left them in Cleveland without so much as a note. Truthfully, it was Giles she was leaving, not the others. And he hated himself for it. "Would you mind if I..." He nodded toward the body.
She understood. "Go ahead. Whenever you're ready. Although, I have to caution you, this is an investigation and the rainfall isn't helping. We have to finish gathering all the evidence before it's all washed away. Someone might come and move you along if you take too much time. I'll keep them away as long as I can." She was kind when she said this, as kind as anyone could be in this situation.
"I understand. I just need a moment." It never occurred to him that taking the time to wonder 'what if' was doing more damage to him than the actuality of the situation in front of him. Had Willow married Ethan Rayne? And was this her body in a bloodied mass at his feet? Had she really abandoned her responsibilities and her friendships for a life with Ethan? And did it get her killed? If he had just lifted the sheet he may have seen someone he didn't recognize and he would have worried for nothing. But he knew stark reality. And he knew irony. And he knew that things never went well in his world. Chances are if he cared about someone...they met with a brutal end before their time.
Serena took a few steps back and pulled out her cell phone. She allowed him as much privacy as she could but she could not leave him alone with the body.
Giles bent down on one knee and tore off the bloody sheet.
~~end part 1~~~