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TITLE: Gord's Willow-Centric Buffy Fanfic #1:  Winter in Sunnydale
AUTHOR: Gord / _ash_@mailcity.com
DISTRIBUTION: Ask permission, please.
SUMMARY: An ice age has hit Sunnydale; Willow enters the work force
RATING: PG 
DISCLAIMER:  I don't own Willow, or BtVS -- Joss Whedon and the WB do!  Whatever
they don't want to claim for themselves is original content and belongs to me.
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Gord's Willow-Centric Buffy Fanfic #1: Winter in Sunnydale


[1]

It is Thursday, after school, about 3:45 in the afternoon.  Willow is seated in the
library and, as usual, the place is deserted.  Giles is apparently off in the stacks,
reshelving books.  Willow wears denim overalls, a long sleeved red shirt, the ends
of which play out over her palms, and a fall jacket.  A light mist escapes through
her lips as she breathes.  Occasionally, she shivers.  The foreign winter chill enshrouding
Sunnydale had students, as well as teachers, bundled up against the cold permeating
the building; the California school had not been built to combat temperatures so
extreme.

Initially, a genuine excitement had swept through the town when, just three weeks
ago, Sunnydale experienced its first snowfall in more than thirty years.  Pictures
of teens engaged in snowball fights and children hurtling down local hills on make-shift
sleds accompanied lead stories in the local paper.  Parents acceded to their children's
pleas to spend every waking moment frolicking in the exotic winter wonderland, fearful
they mightn't see another snowfall. Three weeks and thirty-eight inches of accumulated
snow later, the town's residents had other reasons to be fearful.  Four people frozen
dead in the last week and the gentle flakes just kept coming down.  Rare it was,
now, to find someone who didn't wish for the typical, green, Sunnydale Christmas,
twelve days hence.  There had been talk of closing the school a week early, though
Principal Snyder quickly extinguished that hope, pointing out that 75% of the student
body lived within 10 minutes walking distance.  While her friends were disappointed
about the non-closure of the school, Willow secretly rejoiced.  She loved school.


Biting her pencil and looking pensively at the sheet of paper on the desk in front
of her, Willow looks up as Buffy enters the library.  Buffy is dressed in sweats
and her hair is tied back in a pigtail.  A large gym bag hangs from her right hand.
 "Hey Will, what's up?"

"Oh, Buffy!  Not much...still kinda bummed about not getting next week off."  Willow
turns over the sheet of paper as Buffy takes the seat across from her.  Buffy responds
to her friend's comment with a skeptical look and Willow quickly continues, "So how
was cheerleader practice?"

"The usual," Buffy shrugs, "Mostly standing around listening to Cordelia question
how long she can  continue to work with us 'amateurs'."  Buffy grimaces and rubs
her nose with the palm of her hand.  "You'd think she wants to be a professional
cheerleader when she grows up!  Anyway, so what are you working on?"  Buffy motions
to the sheet of paper in front of Willow with her chin as she puts her hands in her
pockets.  Willow hesitates..."uh"...Buffy looks around.  "And where's Xander?  I
thought he was supposed to meet us here?"

"He got detention," Willow recovers, laughing, "Principal Snyder was substituting
for Ms. Calendar today, her car wouldn't start or something, and Xander got detention
when he leaned back, trying to balance a pencil on his upper lip, and fell off his
chair."  Buffy rolls her eyes as Willow continues, "Oh, he's all right, but Principal
Snyder wasn't exactly pleased.  The rest of the class almost got detention too when
we couldn't stop laughing.  Anyway, he should be here in a few minutes.  Though he
said his detention time would probably eliminate all of his planned study time."
 Willow rests her chin in her hand as she recollects fondly on how Xander can be
so cool, in a manic, self-deprecating type way.

"Typical Xander," grins Buffy.  Glimpsing again the overturned page in front of Willow,
Buffy sees it has writing on the reverse.  Grabbing it before Willow can object,
she recognizes it for what it is, and accuses, "Willow!  What's this?  A *job* application?
 What brought on this spate of delerium?"

Buffy starts to read the application, much to Willow's embarrassment.  "Here, Buffy,
I'm not done with it yet, its still, er, rough."  Willow makes a grab for the paper
across the table but Buffy smiles as she jerks it out of Willow's reach and begins
reading.  Just then, Xander sashays into the library with his backpack slung over
his left shoulder and a floppy toque on his head.

Walking over to join his friends, Xander says, "Hey now!  I can't have my two best
girls fighting!  What's with all the grabbing?  I mean, if there's going to be grabbing
going on, I don't want to be left out of it!"

Willow settles back down in her seat, crossing her arms across her chest and looking
sullen, "Buffy took my very, er, preliminary resume and won't give it back."  Buffy
continues to smile as she reads to herself.

Xander brightens up at Willow's remark, "Ooooh!  A resume." He looks at Buffy, "Do
tell, do tell," while offering Willow small consolation with, "Come on Will, there's
no secrets between us pals.  If you want, I'll even check you into the nut house
before you do anything really stupid, like actually get a job."  Willow continues
to pout.  "Hey!  Don't look so down.  I'm sure Buffy and I can give you some helpful
pointers!  What *do* you need a job for anyway?"
 
Willow throws back her head and stares at the ceiling in resignation, "I need to
get a job so I can, um, go on this french immersion trip to France that Mrs. Reed
has planned for, uh, next year."  Willow straightens, wrapping her arms about her,
"If you insist on giving me advice on my resume can you just let me sit here, peacefully,
remembering the good old times...you know, like when I was suspended upside down
awaiting execution."
  
Xander pipes up, "Wow, you're really planning on going to France eh?  Cool!  I'd
go too, but, you know, someone has to stay here and protect Buffy.  Can't abandon
my duty now can I?  Not that you should feel guilty for wanting to go." Xander raises
his hands defensively.  "As a good Slayerette, I'll just have to take your place
at various functions when you're gone.  Just make sure you let me know about all
the slumber parties you two have planned so I can attend in your absence.  So, when
exactly are you planning on going?"

Buffy gives Xander a disgusted look that he counters with a sheepish grin and shrug
of his shoulders.  This friendly banter with her friends has Willow beginning to
regain her natural, cheery disposition.  Buffy starts reading aloud from the sheet
of paper before her, "Employment history:  None;  Educational background:  Currently
attending Sunnydale high school;  Special skills:  Aptitude in computers.  Some familiarity
with spoken and written french.  Hmm...do you think it sounds, just a little, reserved?"


"No problem! Let's spice it up!" replies Xander grabbing the application in unison
with Willow's defensive protest of, "What!?  I mean its not like I can say I'm skilled
at hacking into computer systems or researching vampire lore.  Do you think I should
just make stuff up?  I mean, I could have put down 'reasonably proficient' in spoken
and written french rather than just 'some familiarity' but I didn't want them to,
er, think that they could transfer me to their, ah, french division."

"Willow, chill. This is a waitressing application for Mike's Kitchen for God's sake.
 They don't expect you to have a masters degree in agricultural engineering.  Give
me your pencil."  Willow gives her pencil to Xander.  "Okay, help me out here Buff,
under special skills what should we put?"  Xander taps the pencil against his chin.

"Well, put down 'excellent communication and interpersonal skills'.  That's important
in the food service industry.  Prospective employers would like that."

"Good. Good."  Xander writes Buffy's suggestion down to Willow's chagrin. "What else?
 How about 'excellent team player' who...works well in groups?" 

Buffy nods her approval, "Yeah, put that down."

"Um, hello?" Willow interjects, "But don't you think my application should be, well,
you know, about *me*?  And, uh, have some semblance of truth to it?"

Buffy defends their representations, "What!?  You get along well with people, right?
 Besides this is the sort of stuff that everyone will put in their application whether
its true or not.  I mean, if you can't disprove it, then its not exactly untruthful
now is it?"

Xander smiles at Buffy, "A woman after my own heart.  Do you want to scooch closer,
I'm getting kind of cold over here by myself."  

Willow does a sarcastic impression of Xander, "Excellent team player, superior interpersonal
skills.  Lets see, how much truth is there to that?  I mean, I suppose I get along
well with people...until I try to start interacting with them that is."  She slowly
runs her hand through her hair in exasperation.

"Come on Will, stop selling yourself short!" encourages Buffy.  "Anyway, the application
is probably just a formality.  It'll be your sparkling personality in the interview
that gets you the job." 

*An interveiew*, Willow thought, groaning aloud.  Maybe she could forego this trip
to France.

Giles appears from behind the stacks.  "Er, hi Buffy, everyone."  He pauses, "Is
there any trouble I should be aware of?"

"Relax Giles, there's no trouble," says Buffy, "Except, of course, for the ice age
outside."
 
"Willow's planning on pledging her eternal soul to that high-demon known as 'the
punch clock' though!" Xander says cheerily.

Giles approaches the table where everyone is seated, "You're getting a job Willow?
 That's delightful.  Its refreshing to see that the spirit of actually working for
a living hasn't abandoned your generation entirely.  I remember my first job...."

"Giles, can you spare us the trip down memory lane?" Buffy interrupts.  "Besides,
Willow doesn't have the job yet, we're just filling out the application.  Hey! Can
we put you down as a reference?"

This gave Willow a slight bit of hope. "Yeah, that'd be great Mr. Giles.  I mean
if I could put you down as a character reference, to ah, vouch for my good character,
then maybe I'd stand a better chance at actually getting this job."

"Certainly I'll be a character reference for you Willow.  I can vouch for your keen
mind, devotion to duty, excellent research skills...what type of job are you applying
for exactly."

Hesitantly, Willow replies, "Ah, waitress.  Its not going to be my career though,
its just sort of temporary, to raise some money."

"Hey Willow, all work is noble, isn't that what your philosophers say... like a philosopher
would know anything about work..." adds Xander.  "Anyway, I've gotta bail or else
the pizza my mom's ordering for supper will be frozen solid.  See you guys at the
bronze tonight?  To celebrate Willow's official entry into the work force?"

"What do you say Will? Are you up for it!?" Buffy asks hopefully.

She thinks it over briefly and then agrees, "Okay!"  Willow always liked going to
the bronze with Buffy and Xander.  Buffy and Xander separately that is, er, Buffy
and Xander both, but not Buffy and Xander together, she meant.  This cold must be
freezing her brain.
 
"Great!" replies Xander, "See you there."  He swings the library doors wide with
both hands as he exits.

"So any luck finding out what's up with the strange weather Mr. Giles?" Willow asks
as she retrieves her application from the table and carefully puts it in her notebook.


"Unfortunately no.  I was hoping to get an Inuit text on unusual North American weather
patterns today but the courier never showed up.  Until I receive it, I'm kind of
at a standstill.  Though by all accounts, the local climate its definitely unnatural...I
wouldn't be surprised if it was connected to the hellmouth in some way."  Giles adjusts
his glasses.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Willow volunteered.

"No, I'm afraid not.  You really shouldn't be staying too late after school in this
weather though.  You should be at home, keeping warm."  Giles rubs his arms vigorously.
 "I really must retrieve my jacket now, I seemed to have left it in the stacks."
 Giles disappears into the depths of the library. 

 "Do you want to just go home now Buffy?  I really don't feel like studying anymore.
 Its already pretty late."  Willow starts packing up her stuff, anticipating Buffy's
response.

"I don't know Will, you're the one that's always extolling the benefits of studying
- sometimes I think you're in league with my mother!  But, okay, you twisted my arm.
 I'll walk out with you."  Buffy shouts into the stacks, "Bye Giles!"

"Bye Giles!" Willow adds, "And thanks again for agreeing to be a reference."

Buffy and Willow return to their lockers to get their heavy coats for the walk home.

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Okay, that's the end of chapter 1.  I'm expecting about 12-15 chapters of this length
before the story concludes, with a new chapter emerging every 10 days or so.  If
you can't guess from the opening, it is expected to be a fairly standard BtVS story
with the character focus primarily on Willow and her entry into the workforce.  The
"ice age" and its causes will drive the horror/action plot and will become more prominent
as the story progresses.

This is my absolute first attempt at writing fanfic so any comments or corrections
will be greatly appreciated.  I would particularly like some feedback on what you
think of the tense used in the story (basically present) and the descriptive/narrative
balance.  I can add more descriptive text but am thinking the chapters shouldn't
get too long or else people may lose interest.  Thank you for reading.  If you provide
some feedback, I will return the favor if you have a story you want to send me. 
Gord.  :)


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