"Quasimodo..."

PG-13...

Summary: Buffy and William finally reconnect after the battle at Wolfram-Hart, LA.

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Archived at the "normal" Buffyverse (Note the quotes!) page of the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.angelfire.com/zine2/buffyrebecca/index.html



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Rome...Buffy and Dawn's apartment...

A week after the destruction of Wolfram-Hart and the Senior Partners...

The television in the room showed a gesturing Charles Laughton as Quasimodo, the Hunchback...Courageously battling back the hordes assaulting his cathedral home to save his beloved gypsy girl...

"And Angel is recovering ok?..." Buffy spoke quietly into the phone...Dawn watching her...Listening...

Nothing Unlife-threatening...William's voice replied... "Unless you count the hair damage, which of course for him..." She chuckled, then hissed at him... "When are you gonna lay off him, Will?..."

When I win and can afford to be big about it...the reply came...

"You don't need the body to be human, William..." she told him... "You were human years ago..."

Dawn staring intently now...Please, Buf...Will...

"But anyway..." Buffy hastily broke the silence her last statement had created...As Laughton on screen continued his valiant fight...Knowing the hopelessness of his cause.... "I mainly wanted to say how sorry I was I didn't hear about things in time...Will, I would have been there if I coulda...Please believe me..."

Believe her...Dawn closed her eyes...Oh, Will...

I know...his voice came back...

A cup fell from a tray in Buffy's lap with a loud clatter...

"Anything wrong...?" Will's voice, an anxious edge...As Dawn raced to get the cup...Thanks...Buffy nodded to her...

"No...God, what?...You think the bogeymen are gonna take me just cause you're not here...?" she chuckled into the phone...

Yeah...she went on...Andy tole me about your visit....

Bless you Andy...For for once keepin' your big trap...Dawn sighed to herself...

And curse you for not telling them...He would have stayed, I know he would...



Even after he saw...And knew...

"And damn you for not sticking round to see me and Dawn...Jerk..." Buffy mock fumed at the phone... "The Immortal wanted to meet you in the unliving flesh at last..."

But I told him you had no guts to face me...she joked...Then turned serious... "You guys did get the head thing?...Good, he said it was important..."

Sweet guy, that Immortal...Dawn thought...And decent, not to spread the word...If only he...

"No, Will...It was my fault, too...As soon as Andy told me, I should've called you...But..."

Yes...Dawn shook her head silently...Or I should've called for you...Whatever you said, I should've ...

"I cried when I heard about you, I want you to know...And about the hands, Will...Are they ok?...Good..."

Ummn...she paused...

Oh, Buffy...Dawn thought...Knowing the question Will was trying to put...Tell him...

"Things are different now...Ummn...The Immortal and I...Well..." she paused... "I hope you can understand, William..."

But...

"I did mean it...At the cavern...I want you to know that too...And I always will, in my own way...I only wish I could give you more...Will..." her voice broke a bit...

It would be no sin for me to grab the phone right now...Dawn thought, trembling...Grab it and...

But Buffy was eyeing her carefully now, as if she knew...And her voice was steady...The Slayer in command...

"I hope I'm not hurting you too much, Will...Please believe me...I would never want to hurt you..."

Long as you're not killing any one human...she chuckled...

"Tell Angel how sorry I am about Wesley...And believe me, if I had known how Giles treated you guys when you called about Ms. Burkle..." a cold tone... "I've told him I'll never work for him again if he ever..."

What?...she stopped suddenly...Dawn regarding her face...A tremor on it like joy...And fear...

Yes, oh please, yes...Dawn thought...

"If maybe...Sometime..." his voice on the phone paused... "If you'd like me to drop by Rome..."

"I'm sorry William..." she said softly... "I just don't think that's a good idea..." She looked at the TV screen...

A moment later they said their goodbyes...

***

"Hard to believe just a month ago I could still dance..." she smiled at Dawn... "Well, the Immortal was a kind guy to try and help me...But he made no promises his treatments would last...And I'm glad the guys...That he...Saw me that way one last time..."

"Buffy...?" Dawn eyed her... "You know he'd come...And...The way he loves you..." She eyed the twisted, wasted, paralyzed body of Buffy Summers...In the last months of the incurable disease bequeathed to her unknowingly by Dracula...

"He'd there with you...Right to..."



She waved a trembling hand...I know he'd come...And stay...To the end of the world...she nodded...

"It's better this way, Dawnie...I want him to remember me as I was...Not come back to me for pity of me...I've been enough torment to him all these years...I won't make him suffer this...Watching me die this way... "

She eyed the screen...Where Laughton's Quasimodo watched his Esmerelda vanishing in the distance...Turning to the stone gargoyles of his beloved Notre Dame...

"Why was I not made of stone...Like thee?..." she repeated after him softly...

***