Not an amazing feat in itself. The white flakes floated gently down from the sky, blanketing the ground in white. What was amazing was that it was snowing in California. In Sunnydale to be precise. But, that would be considered normal for the one Starbucks town. If it wasn’t snowing, that would be abnormal. To make a long story short (too late), it was snowing.
And with the snow came the fun. Children, teens and adults all playing in the fluffy white stuff. Making snowmen, having snowball fights, building snow forts - all the normal things one did when it snowed. And everyone seemed to be having fun. Except for one person. The Chosen One.
The Chosen One. The one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to stop the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness. Except she was no longer the only Chosen One. There were two. Two girls in all the world with the strength and skill to stop the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness. Unless you included their assistants. To make another long story short (too late), two Slayers and four Slayerettes were not having fun.
They were standing in one of the many cemeteries that littered the small suburb in California. There were many cemeteries because many, many people died in Sunnydale. They died because of the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness who decided to make it their home as well. Which is why there was need for the Chosen One…er, Two.
Actually, one of the six standing in the cemetery had a little holiday cheer. But that was because she was Jewish and her holidays already started. And had ended. Hanukkah was only eight days long. But the residual cheer from celebrating with her family held on to this Christmas Eve. So, Willow Rosenberg was somewhat happy as she stood in the snow. At least no one was yelling at one another.
"I can’t believe I’m still here with you losers."
Cordelia Chase shoved her leather clad hands in the pockets of her designer coat. The cheerleader glared at the group, especially one boy in particular. "I have better things to do with my time."
"Cordelia, Giles told us all to be here," Buffy Summers, one of the two Chosen Ones (er…right), said. "And be here we are."
"It’s not like the snow isn’t nice," Willow commented.
"Shut up, Willow," Cordelia said.
"Hey, don’t talk to Willow like that," Oz Green came to the defense of his girlfriend…former.
"Why do you care? She was the one lip locked with gak face over there," Cordelia said.
"I may not be happy with what happened," Oz said in his calming voice. "But I still don’t want you to talk to Willow like that."
"That’s it, I’m outta here," Faith, the other one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to stop the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness, stated. She turned and started towards the direction of the front gates.
A shadow detached itself (from what, another shadow?) and stepped in front of her. "You can’t leave," Angel said. He was also not having fun. In the snow. Or otherwise. So that made seven people…er, no six people and one vampire with a soul unhappily standing around one of the many cemeteries in Sunnydale which were populated with the many casualties of the many demons, vampires and forces of darkness who decided to make the suburb of California their home. To make a long story short (too late), it was snowing.
Or did I already mention that?
"Move vampire," Faith said, standing toe to toe with the creature in question.
"No," Angel answered. "We are all suppose to stay here."
"So says the blood sucking fiend," Xander Harris, one of the four who assisted the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to stop the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness, except there were now two girls in all the world (alright, already!)…er, said.
"Xander, stop it," Buffy chided. "We’re all here and we’re all staying here until Giles says otherwise, got it?"
"Where is our tweedy librarian anyway?" Oz asked looking around for the Watcher, so aptly named because he watched over the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to stop (oh, do shut up)…stuff.
"He’s not so late," Xander said, looking at his Tweedy Bird watch, which was a gift from Willow, the red head who was the former girlfriend of Oz whom caught the two of them kissing along with Cordelia (they were having a menage a troi?)…anyway, no one was happy. Even though it was snowing. In California. Which was abnormal unless you lived in a one Starbucks town called Sunnydale, where the abnormal is normal and the normal is abnormal. (Confused yet? I am.)
"Maybe the Gilesmobile broke down," Willow suggested. "And he’s stranded in the middle of nowhere, cold, tired, hungry and has to walk ten miles, uphill, in the snow to get to a phone…"
"Will, you’ve thought about this way too much," Buffy told her friend. Willow grinned in slight embarrassment. "I say we give him ten more minutes, then we go."
"Alright, I suppose ten minutes more won’t do too much to ruin my standing," Cordelia said.
As much as Xander wanted to, he refrained from shooting back an insult at the brunette. Those days were over. No more. Caput. Done. Sionara. Adios, (we get the idea)…amigo.
"I didn’t know Giles asked you to be here, too," Buffy said to the vampire who was still blocking the second Chosen One.
Angel shrugged and he avoided her gaze. Not that he didn’t like her eyes. In fact, Angel thought her eyes were beautiful and if he had a choice he would sit around all night staring into them. But he didn’t have a choice. Which was one of the many reasons why he was unhappy. That, and the snow.
Did I mention it was snowing?
"Oh, good, you’re all here," Giles said as he approached the unhappy seven-some. The tweed clad man rubbed his hands together and shoved them into his coat pockets. "I was detained."
"Was it your car?" Willow asked. "Did you have to walk ten miles in the snow, uphill, to get to a phone…"
"Er…no," Giles interrupted the hacker. He looked down at the grave they were milling about on (can they all mill on the same small plot of dirt?) and sighed. Jenny. The wonderful techno-pagan who had captured the tweed heart (his heart is tweed?) of Rupert Giles, Watcher extraordinaire, who is aptly named because he watches the one girl in all the world with the strength and the skill to stop the demons (except for Eyghon, that was Angel), the vampires (except for Angelus, who is Angel) and the forces of darkness (except for the curse, which broke Angel).
"So, what brings all us oh so happy campers out here to the cemetery in the snow?" Xander asked. He kicked some of the annoying, white stuff.
"I would like us all to gather in a circle, please," Giles instructed. The seven not happy people…er, six people and vampire, gathered as directed. Giles looked at the faces and frowned. "This is not right." He began to move bodies around (boy, they dig fast) so starting with Jenny Calendar’s headstone as midnight and moving clockwise, an empty spot for Giles stood next to Buffy, who stood next to Angel, who stood next to Cordelia, who stood next to Xander, who stood next to Willow, who stood next to Oz, who stood next to Faith, who stood next to the headstone.
(Get all that?)
"I take it there’s a reason for all this?" Buffy asked Giles.
"Yes, of-of course," Giles said. He looked at his watch, which was not a Tweedy Bird one, "We have an, er, extremely potent prophecy that occurs on this particular night."
"Then why are we here instead of at the library researching it?" Willow asked. She was so the research girl. (I thought that was the net girl?)
"I’ve, uh, already completed all the necessary preparations," Giles answered. "In a few moments you will hear bells ring…"
"Sleigh bells, jingle bells, door bells, hell’s bells?" Xander said in his usual wisecracking manner.
"Church bells," Giles clarified. "And when you hear the first one, you each must search your soul for the one miracle you wish would…would occur."
"I don’t believe in miracles," Faith stated.
"It is necessary that you each participate or…or certain disaster would befall us," Giles warned. "Before the bells toll twelve (‘ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee’), you must each say the-the miracle, as it were, aloud."
"That doesn’t sound too hard," Cordelia said.
"And you must hold hands."
"On second thought," Cordelia changed her mind. She glared at the boy to her left. He kept his head down, trying hard not to comment in return.
"Faith," Giles said to the second girl in all the world with the strength and skill to stop the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness. "To complete the circle, I need you to-to touch the headstone."
"Eew," Faith said, making a face.
"Is there any sort of limit on what the miracle could be?" Oz asked.
"Yes. The past cannot be changed, so it would do no good to…wish it so," Giles replied. "How-however, the future is up for grabs."
"G-man, did you just make a joke?" Xander said.
"Xander, how many times must I ask you not to call me that?" Giles said with a sigh. He looked at his watch again. The non-Tweedy Bird one. "It is almost time. Please join hands and try to, uh, clear your mind."
Each being in the circle took their neighbors hand, except for Faith and Giles, who touched the headstone with their free hand. There was a collective sigh as each tried to stop thinking of who’s hand they held. The snow continued to fall, landing lightly on the various heads around the circle. (It’s time to get serious now.)
The first sound of the bell rang loud and true throughout Sunnydale, the one Starbucks town where the demons, the vampires and the forces of darkness called home. Which was why there were so many cemeteries.
Slightly startled, the group jumped then looked nervously at their neighbors before doing as instructed by Giles.
Faith closed her eyes and let her senses take over. Her senses that had aided her so much in the past. The ones that could not save her Watcher. The ones that told her she was not a part of the tight knit group that shared the cemetery with her. She was alone.
Oz closed his eyes and immediately saw the one thing that meant the most to him. The one thing that knew everything about him and accepted him. The one thing that caused his heart to break.
Willow closed her eyes and was very aware of the two boys on either side of her. Men, really, for they had all grown up rapidly this past year. The two men who both held her heart. The two men who’s hearts she caused so much pain.
Xander closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind. The images, however, kept bombarding him. Images of closets and arguments. Images of hospitals and vampires. Images of a certain blond, a brunette and a red head. Each of whom he loved. Each of whom he had hurt.
Cordelia closed her eyes and sighed. Not so long ago the cheerleader had everything. Guys, popularity, status and friends. But she knew that she didn’t have anything until her life meshed with the group standing in the cemetery on Christmas Eve. And now, she had nothing again.
Angel closed his eyes and listened to the heartbeats of those around him. One in particular stood out, loud and clear as it pumped life into the woman by his side. And she was a woman, forced to grow up and hold the weight of the world on her shoulders at the age of sixteen. And it was the one heart which could never forgive him.
Buffy closed her eyes and felt the pressure of her life fall upon her. Being the Slayer was not an option anymore. It was who she was and she wanted it no other way. But because of this, her life was destined to be short. And she knew she would never be able to have the one thing that would make her short life bearable.
Giles closed his eyes and saw the faces of those he loved. He had lost one of them, and had come close to losing each of the others many times. And it was the one he failed to save that hurt so much.
The soul of the one who is buried beneath the snow and the earth where they stood had moved on, but she still was aware. She was aware of the pain she had caused the group and of the love she felt for one man. The love she could never have.
"I wish to belong."
"I wish for Willow to find love."
"I wish for the love of a man and the love of a friend to be separate."
"I wish for hearts to be healed."
"I wish to be loved in return."
"I wish for forgiveness."
"I wish to love without fear."
"I wish to find peace."
< I wish for their love for one another to stay strong. >
A light so bright it burned vampires outside of the circle to ashes surrounded the group. And in the center of that light was a star, the same star that kept travelers on their path so as not to lose their way.
Living on a Hellmouth had jaded the group as to what could be considered strange. But this phenomenon that was before them awed each one.
Do you believe?
The question was like a whisper in each of their minds. And each thought the same thing - believe in what?
Do you believe in each other?
There was no hesitation, no thought to the word as those in the circle said it. It was the truth they knew from the bottom of their souls.
Then so shall it be.
A gust of wind picked up and swirled the snow within the circle. The light flashed brilliantly one time then disappeared.
The friends blinked at one another in the darkness, still holding hands. Willow was the first to speak.
"Xander, I’ve loved you for as long as I can remember, but it’s time for me to move on," she said. "I know in my heart that I love you as a friend, but Oz as a man."
Xander nodded and Willow turned to Oz, not dropping either boy’s hand. "Forgive me?"
"Always," Oz told her.
"You guys," Cordelia said. "I want for you all to know that I really need you as my friends, even you Xander. I loved all the time we spent together, even if it ruined my manicure."
"We wouldn’t be the same without you, Cordy," Xander said, squeezing her hand. "Who would bring the dip?" Small laughter infiltrated the group. "And Angel? About that forgiveness? It’s already been done."
Angel turned to each person as they agreed with Xander’s statement. Giles looked him in the eye and told the vampire the words he needed to hear from the Watcher. And when he did, the tweed clad man felt peace.
Buffy looked up to the man she loved more than life itself. "Angel?"
Angel brought his gaze to the blond at his side, his eyes filled with tears, dreading that the one who’s forgiveness he needed the most would not give it.
"I love you," she told him. "And I forgive you if you forgive me."
"For what?" Angel said, startled that Buffy would say such a thing.
"For knowing that no matter how long my life is, you’ll be the only man I’ll ever truly want to be with," Buffy said. "There will never be anyone else."
"Then there will never be any need," Angel replied softly. "I love you."
Buffy’s own eyes overflowed with tears as she understood what Angel was telling her. For however long as she lived, they would be together.
Xander smiled as he saw his own wish come true.
Giles cleared his throat. "Um…if-if you do not protest," he said. "I would think that everyone would like a group hug?"
Smiles were abundant as seven dropped hands and came together in the center of the circle where the star had glowed so brightly. Faith stood outside the group, fists clenched.
"Faith? Where are you?" Buffy’s voice came from somewhere in the center of the hug. "I count seven heads, not eight."
The group split and turned to Faith. She didn’t move, only looked at them with trepidation.
"Get her!" Xander suddenly yelled. With laugher, five of the seven converged on the Slayer and engulfed her in a massive hug.
Jenny looked down upon them and smiled, her own miracle fulfilled.
Angel turned to Giles and shook the librarians hand. "Thank you, Rupert," he said. "How did you ever find a prophecy that would do this?"
"It was rather strange, actually," Giles replied. "I was shelving the books from our most recent adventure when I came upon a title I did not know I had in my possession. It held all sorts of history and this prophecy. I-I figured it would be best if we complied with what had be written, just in-in case."
Angel smiled, which did not happen too often. "I’m glad you did."
"So am I, Angel. So am I."
The six teens noticed the two older men at that moment and instantly shouted in disapproval. Their laughter rang into the night as they scooped up handfuls of snow and a massive snowball fight ensued between the vampire, the Watcher, the two Slayers and the Slayerettes.
Two non-humans sat in the distance, smiles on their own faces (well, mine’s really a smirk) as they watched the close knit group. They thought about all the planning and hard work (I did the work, you just sat around and said cryptic things) that was put into getting the prophecy to the Watcher.
Buffy was the strongest Slayer in the history of all Slayers. This was because she had the support and help from her friends (which is not in the handbook) and the love of a man which defied all logic. Which is why, when the small group started to disintegrate, it was decided by the powers that be to repair that which had been broken. Hence, the miracles.
Which wouldn’t have happened without the help of a demon (with a really ugly hat) who helped keep the balance between good and evil and a vampire who was all heart. (Hey, wait a minute, you sod. Who the bloody hell decided I’ve gone soft?)
And it was still snowing.