Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia

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Snowflake Challenge #13

Challenge 13

In your own space, create a fanwork. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Title: A Time For Wolves
Author: Kairos
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (set at some point post-NFA) and The New Mutants (original comics series of the 80s, set in some undefined AU)
Wordcount: 1866
Summary: Worlds collide. Seems like everyone around here is either a witch or a wolf.
Rating: General, aside from some strong language.
Notes: I've been working on this for ages, and had the idea in my head for years upon years. Thought it would be cool to finish it before The New Mutants movie finally came out, and to use it to fill a prompt a Discord friend gave me and also check off this Snowflake challenge.

But the more thought I put into it, the more dissatisfied I get, and I've already done a total rewrite once and resolved to do another. Thing is, I hate to just throw away fanfiction I've written before anyone sees it...so here's my compromise. I'm not posting this anywhere else, and I will eventually complete some version of it, but it can at least serve to fill the Snowflake prompt.

Any questions about the characters/pairing/world used here, I'll gladly answer in the comments.

There was a new kind of friendship blooming steadily between Oz and Willow since they had arrived in the New York of this odd parallel dimension. It was a far cry from their young love that had ended so badly, but Oz was simply relieved that the tension was gone. She talked to him now with honesty and humor, and even seemed to sometimes seek out his company over Buffy and Xander’s. Of course, she was in high demand and her leisure time was sparse, but it was the sense of camaraderie that mattered most anyway.

Today she came into the kitchen while he was washing dishes and offhandedly inquired, “Who’s the new girl?” At the same time, she telekinetically opened a cupboard too high for either of them to reach, and a few small bottles floated out over her head.

Oz had to pause and think, because technically, all of them were new. After Buffy and Faith had returned from the unplanned adventure that introduced them to the X-Men, they had approached every one of their friends and allies and explained that their various abilities were once again needed for saving the world -- albeit not quite the one they were used to saving. For Oz it had been an easy decision, and he had followed the Slayers back across the dimensional barrier to lend his aid, along with no fewer than eleven others.

The Scooby Gang had come to this world’s Westchester with the express purpose of joining forces with the X-Men, but rather than hosting them at Xavier’s fabled school, the mutant superheroes had established a new base so that everyone could feel that they were on the same footing. So far, five days had gone by with little interpersonal conflict, but their work hadn’t left much room for it anyway: everyone had been too focused to get on each other’s nerves.

“Hm?” he responded.

Willow inspected the labels on the floating bottles and then grabbed one and sent the others back up into the cupboard. “The girl that was with the X-Men today?” she said. “Maybe seventeen, cute as a button, hair like she’s totally copying me?”

“Oh.” He turned the tap off and blinked hard before turning to face her. “She’s not new. She was the wolf that was with Dani.”

Back in Sunnydale, Willow had usually been the one shocking people, not the one who was shocked, and Oz had a hunch that the change bothered her more than she would admit. “Hang on. You’re telling me that Danielle Moonstar’s very good dog is a werewolf?”

Oz shook his head. “No, I guess in her case it’s just her mutant power. Far as I can tell, she can change back and forth at will. Dunno why she hasn’t wanted to be human until today.”

“Did you talk to her?”

“Not yet.”

Willow leaned back against the counter, fiddling with the bottle in her hand. It smelled like vanilla, and was likely an ingredient for one of her home-brewed spells. “So how could you tell she was the dog?”

Wolf, Oz wanted to correct her, but he knew she meant no harm. The quiet, red-furred canine did look like a dog to those less intimately acquainted with the species, he supposed. Before answering Willow’s question, though, he had to sigh. Some of the changes bothered him too. “I don’t know,” he stated.

Her brow furrowed briefly, but she never had been able to resist a mystery in need of solving. “Is it a smell thing?”

“Dunno,” Oz repeated. “Hard to tell, once you’re in the subliminal zone. When you asked who the new girl was it took me a moment to even get what you were talking about. To me it was just obvious she was Wolfsbane.”

Willow looked suddenly giddy. “Her name is Wolfsbane? This just keeps getting better.” She straightened up and danced the bottle across her hand before tucking it into the pocket of her long skirt. “Okay, I’m going to go cast a thing and then make use of this perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation with Moonstar.”

Oz chuckled, not at all surprised that Willow’s real interest was in the Cheyenne mutant beauty, Danielle. He didn’t know why she had been calling her by her last name, but he suspected they had already pinged each other’s gaydar. Danielle was younger than Willow, but no younger than her last girlfriend, Kennedy -- and much more pleasant, by all accounts.

“Good luck,” he said before turning back to the dishes. “Oh, and Wolfsbane isn’t copying you. Her hair color is natural.” He smiled at her over his shoulder. “That one is a smell thing.”


Two hours of analyzing locations for their next mission, with only moderate success, had Willow in a foul temper. It was compounded when she returned to the base to find that everyone from Sunnydale was finished with dinner, and only a few of the mutants were still sitting at the tables.

All of them looked up when she entered with her bowl of lo mein and glass of pineapple juice, and most offered an agreeable nod before turning their attention back to their own food and conversations, but none indicated that they wanted her to sit with them. Well, then, she would just have to invite herself, and that meant she had her choice of companions.

Moonstar was there, and so was the little redhead, Wolfsbane. It would have been a perfect opening to find out more about both of them, except that at the moment they seemed particularly wrapped up in each other, making some kind of plan for the next day. Willow was intrigued. What kind of relationship did they have? Was there an underlying romance, or was it like herself and Oz -- a lesbian and her wolf?

By chance, Danielle glanced up long enough for a second of eye contact with Willow, which was enough to make Wolfsbane look up too. Having effectively, if unintentionally, paused their discussion, Willow smiled broadly and set down her food beside Danielle’s empty dishes. “Hiya, X-Friends!” she said as she pulled out a chair for herself. “Oops, that sounded better in my head. You knew I meant ‘friends who are X-Men’ and not ‘former friends’, right? Just seemed like you X-Guys like to put X in front of all your X-Nouns. But I’m peachy with changing terminology when I’ve got it wrong.”

“You’ve got it wrong,” Danielle replied, smoothly and with no sign of offense taken.

Willow raised her eyebrows, fork paused in midair.

Wolfsbane, apparently emboldened by Danielle’s reply, took up the thread herself with a musically strong Scottish accent. “Dani and me, we are nae X-Men. Not yet.”

“We’re the New Mutants,” Danielle affirmed. “We might graduate into the core team someday, but personally, I think we do well enough on our own.”

Willow swallowed her mouthful of noodles and nodded. “Gotcha. New Mutants it is. And also in agreement about you rocking it without the senior team’s backup.”

She meant it as straightforward praise, but Wolfsbane blushed and looked away. A few awkward beats later, the young polymorph excused herself and cleared her place at the table, then walked away with inexplicable haste.

Willow watched her go and then turned back to Danielle. “Did I get something else wrong?” she asked.

Danielle shrugged. “She’s shy.”

“Yeah? I used to be a lot like that. Computer nerd before it was cool. Assuming it’s cool now. I haven’t really checked. Anyway, my shell only started to crack when I met Buffy. And then discovered the joys of spellcasting for fun and profit. And, no big about it or anything, but, came out.” She tried not to put too much of a wink in her tone when she added, “Maybe Wolfsbane’s on a path of self-discovery too.”

Danielle appeared somewhere between irritated and amused. “Her name is Rahne, you know.”

“Rain? R-A-I-N?”

“R-A-H-N-E. Wolfsbane is her mutant name. Like I’m Mirage in the field.”

Willow didn’t have to ask about that moniker; she had already seen Danielle creating her terrifying or beautiful illusions. It made sense, just like the name Wolfsbane didn’t. “I was wondering,” she said cautiously. “I use wolfsbane in some spells. It’s actually my staple for vampire protection sachets, invisibility, stuff like that. And it’s super pretty, but it’s also kind of...incredibly poisonous? Especially to werewolves, hence the name and all.”

“Heh.” It was clearly a well-worn topic for Danielle. “You want to know whose bright idea it was to stick that name on Rahne?”

Willow nodded. “She strikes me as very wolf but not so much with the bane.”

“Professor Xavier came up with it. Because of her ‘inner struggle’, he said. Damned telepathic genius, he has no idea.”

She sounded genuinely resentful, almost angry, and Willow was startled. Xavier himself hadn’t been involved in the X-Men’s current projects, but all of them spoke about him with highest respect. It seemed like Danielle was releasing some pent-up frustration that she couldn’t discuss with those closest to her.

Willow, who had sat down with a clear intent to coax her new friends into some talk about their personal lives, found herself unprepared. “Is Rahne okay here?” she asked. “Is the Professor not the one who should be helping her with the inner struggle thing?”

Danielle answered with an unhappy shrug. “There’s no one else. We’re mutants. At least with us she doesn’t have some crazed asshole preacher telling her she’s the spawn of Satan.”

“Did that really...?”

“He was her fucking legal guardian,” Danielle all but snarled.

There was a silence, and it was the large, echoing kind. Nobody was left in the dining hall but the two of them. Danielle shook her head, looking down at the table, then looked as if she was about to push her chair up and leave without another word, but something interrupted her. She turned and gazed toward the door, intently enough that Willow thought there must be something there, but neither her eyes nor ears nor magical senses clued her in.

Danielle’s mouth quirked into a half-smile, and her body relaxed. “I need to chill. She’s getting worried about me.”

The implications of that hit Willow all at once. “Wait, are you telepathic too?”

“Only with her. Only when she’s in wolf form. I’ve got an animal communication thing.” She did stand up, then, and her face had lost its smile. “That doesn’t mean Rahne is an animal, though.”

“Of course not,” Willow agreed, but Dani had already waved a hand in goodbye and gathered up what was left on the table onto her tray. Willow stayed at her seat, thinking at first that she needed to text Buffy to figure out where she was needed next, but then leaving her phone in her pocket and following Danielle with her eyes.

The red canine that was Wolfsbane appeared in the doorway just as Danielle was leaving. She trotted a circle around her friend, met Willow’s eyes for a second, and then dashed away as if beckoned by the call of the wild.
Tags: character: oz, character: willow, fanfiction, fic: btvs/ats, fic: crossover, fic: x-men, x-men

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