Willow's Child


Disclaimer:I own nothing, except Sophie.

From the second Willow woke the next morning, she could sense that something was wrong. She felt around on the bed next to her, and realised Sophie was missing. The Wicca sat bolt up right, trying not to panic. Maybe the little girl had just gone to the bathroom.

"Sophie!" she called. "Sophie, where are you?" Willow paused when she noticed her shoulder bag missing from its usual place hanging on the doorknob, and its contents strewn over the floor. "Sophie, this isn't funny!" the witch cried, panicking as she looked under the bed before beginning to search through the closet. "If you're hiding somewhere you better come out right now Missy!" Willow then noticed the absence of the photo of herself and Tara that had taken pride of place on her bedside table since the Scoobie's move to Cleveland three years ago, and the familiar drawing that lay in it's place. Suddenly, the events of the previous night came rushing back to her, in particular Sophie's anguish at the thought that the demons had hurt Faith because of her, and the girl's look of disbelief when the dark slayer tried to convince her otherwise.

"She's run away" Willow said to herself, gasping in realisation. "She wants to protect me." The witch's eyes filled with tears. "I'm the adult, I was supposed to be protecting her!" Willow shook her head, wiping the tears from her eyes. This was no time for crying. She had to find Sophie before the demons did. Quickly dressing, the wicca bolted downstairs, finding Giles, Andrew, and Dawn in the kitchen eating breakfast.

"Okay everyone, Sophie's run away so we have to go look for her right now!"

"Oh dear" said Giles, standing and cleaning his glasses while Dawn and Andrew rushed to dump their dirty dishes in the sink. "What on Earth could have possessed the precious little thing to run away?"

"I think she thinks she's protecting me from the demons" Willow explained. "She doesn't want me to get hurt like Faith did. Now, I'll go call Xander and ask him to help and one of you guys can go wake Buff-"

"Buffy's not here" Andrew interrupted "She went to the store because.. well, she didn't tell us why exactly. I think she mentioned Faith needing something."

"And she left her cell phone behind" said Dawn, the annoyance in her voice mirroring the feelings of everybody else in the room.

"Well, we'll just have to leave her a note then" said Willow. "I'll call Xander and then we can get going."

A little while later, Buffy returned, carrying a shopping bag containing a new pair of pyjamas for Faith. The pink ones seriously didn't suit her and Buffy wanted to do something nice for her to thank her for sticking around. Feeling the familiar tingle of the slayer bond, she opened the door to see Faith hobbling towards it still sporting a noticeable limp, a small piece of paper scrunched in her hand.

"Faith! What the hell are you doing?" Buffy cried, dropping the bag and running to the younger slayer. "You're supposed to be resting!"

"Not anymore I'm not" said Faith, pushing the paper, a note from Willow, into Buffy's hand. "Little Red ran away. We've gotta go help the others look for her."

"Well that's just great. This is the last thing we need" said Buffy, crumpling the note after she'd read it. "That kid's caused nothing but trouble"

"Hey, don't blame the kid B" said Faith quietly feeling a strange surge of anger, as she pulled on her jacket and continued heading towards the door.

"But it's true! I mean, things would be a whole lot easier if Willow'd never.." That did it. For some reason, Faith snapped.

"I SAID DON'T BLAME THE DAMN KID BUFFY!" She screamed, causing the other slayer to start, which calmed Faith down a little. "You cant go around blamin' kids for shit that ain't their fault 'cause if ya do they'll start turnin' out like me. And that's when stuff like this happens to 'em" she lifted her shirt, exposing the thin scar on her stomach. Buffy closed her eyes, looking away. She preferred to forget that that stage of their relationship had ever happened.

"Faith, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.."

"Forget it, B. Let's just get goin'" she tossed Buffy a spare motorcycle helmet. "We'll cover more ground if we take the bike."

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