Secret Slasha — The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha — The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Butterfly Wings
By Dolores
For Beth

There seemed to be far too many canapés for just one person. Oz sat and waited for another student to come through the door, but none came. He met the software company representatives on his own.


Sometime you wonder how things could have been, if you had made a different choice at some critical moment.

It's like chaos theory, though instead of butterfly wings it's a signature, or a kiss, or Ms Calender convincing you to see a law firm instead of a software company at the Careers Fair.

Or maybe it's just fate.


Lilah had learned never to openly question orders from Holland (at least not in his earshot), but this didn't prevent her from silently wondering what she'd done to deserve this particular assignment. She had not spent years in law school to waste time recruiting teenagers for Wolfram and Hart.

But hers was not to question why and all that. The Senior Partners worked in mysterious ways.

Though even if this was vital work in the furtherance of evil, it was fucking tedious. Okay, she'd got to flirt like hell with the sultry little computer science teacher, but ten minutes wasn't quite time enough to seduce her. She'd need at least fifteen.

When the girl came in, Lilah had to wonder what Holland was thinking. A dowdy redhead dressed in what appeared to be a patchwork quilt was not exactly Wolfram and Hart's corporate image.

They exchanged pleasantries, the girl shy and a little awkward. Lilah examined the girl's résumé as if she was interested.

"Your computer skills are impressive, Ms Rosenburg. In fact, your grades across the board are outstanding. And Wolfram and Hart is always looking out for bright young people."

Lilah looked up and offered the girl her most dazzling smile.

"So I'm very pleased to say that we're offering you a scholarship to UCLA. We'll pay your fees, and you'll receive a very handsome allowance. In return, you'll work for us during the vacations -- though we'll still give you some time off -- and then you would take a paid position with us for a minimum period after you graduate. So you get to live comfortably whilst at college and you get a guaranteed position when you leave. Of course, we'd like you to accept as soon as possible -- we only have a few of these scholarships available."

She kept smiling, and the girl offered her a nervous smile in return, and babbled something about needing to think about it. But Lilah just knew she'd succeeded. Piece of cake.

Before she left, Lilah called in on the computer science teacher. It took seventeen minutes.


I signed the agreement the day after we met. I don't remember exactly what I was thinking. Maybe I was little intimidated, maybe a little infatuated with Ms Morgan -- and I think I thought I should have a back up plan in case I didn't get into Harvard or Yale or wherever I thought I was going to go. After all, I could always decline later, couldn't I?

Of course, they were a law firm. I should have figured there'd be no way out of the agreement.

But, in the end, I didn't want one anyway.


Cordelia and Larry burst into the room, ready to rescue their friends. Before them, Xander and Willow were sharing a kiss. Cordelia looked at them both in silent horror, then fled from the room. They heard her scream moments later.

By her hospital bed, Xander begged forgiveness. Whatever he said (and Willow always suspected he'd blamed her), it worked, and Cordelia forgave him. But she could not forgive Willow, and her sharp comments slowly sapped at Willow's confidence and undermined her belief that she was truly part of the Scooby Gang.

Xander, too scared of losing Cordelia, would not speak up on her behalf, and Buffy was either too busy with slaying or too preoccupied with her relationship with Angel to realise how alienated Willow was becoming.

On the night the Hellmouth opened, Faith seduced Willow, taking her virginity. She couldn't tell the others, and when it became clear just how bad Faith had become the shame consumed her. By the prom, she'd made up her mind to leave Sunnydale and take the scholarship with the law firm.


It wasn't long before I realised Wolfram and Hart had some dealings with the supernatural world. I wasn't actually that surprised, and Ms Morgan assured me that they were one of the few firms that not only understood the needs of demons, witches, werewolves and others, but helped protect them in a way others could not.

Soon after that, I told Ms Morgan in my monthly supervision meeting that I'd been dabbling in magic. She seemed pleased: she even found me a coven in Santa Barbara, and requested that they help me develop my skills. I would be powerful, the witches told me, and if I'd been more perceptive I might not have taken that as a compliment.


On her first day, Willow was shown to her office in Wolfram and Hart's technical research department. There were two desks; Willow's and another at which sat a pretty, thin girl with long, brown hair. She said her name was Winifred -- Fred to most people -- and she was a physicist.

At that first meeting it never occurred to Willow to ask why a law firm needed a physicist, but Fred's desk was always covered with charts and scrolls and artifacts, covered in figures and symbols in obscure scripts that Willow thought she recognised from Giles' texts.

Later, Fred told her that she'd been about to take a job at a library when she was approached by a man with a midwestern accent about working for Wolfram and Hart. They wanted a codebreaker, someone with advanced mathematical skills who could decipher texts for them. And they would pay her way through college, an offer she could not refuse.

It soon became apparent that Willow's function was to be a computer expert -- hack her way into protected systems and extract data that, as often as not, she would then pass to Fred so she could work out what it said. They fast learned from each other, so that it didn't take long before they became a pretty good team.

And if it seemed slightly illegal to break into private files, then the cases they dealt with for the most part were always the defence of a clearly wronged party, or to help protect someone vulnerable from a rapacious corporation or vindictive district attorney.

And if a few were less clear cut, then the good they did elsewhere surely made up for them.


The power and influence of Wolfram and Hart was like a faint hum in the background. You knew it was there if you stopped to think about it, but most of the time it was easy to ignore its existence.

But the longer you stayed there, the more difficult it was to ever escape. Ms Morgan never said as much, but I can't ever recall a leaving party for a staff member. People left -- or at least, you stopped seeing them around, and their details would disappear from the email system. But there was never a Hallmark card that everybody signed.

Of course I thought about it. But I knew I couldn't just go. Even without the whispered rumours about the fate of people like Gavin, even if they hadn't been paying for my college fees, even if they didn't have records of me committing dozens of felonies in their service, even if I didn't want to continue learning magic, then there was always Fred to think of.

And over time, it becomes easier to accept. I'd lost touch with the Scooby Gang, I barely spoke to my parents -- what else did I have?


About eight months after they started working together, it happened.

It was two in the morning and they were working on a really difficult piece of ancient Etruscan prophecy, sat on the floor with papyrus and printouts scattered around them. They'd ordered pizza and Fred had spilt some tomato sauce on her shirt. Willow had grabbed a tissue from her bag and started wiping at the stain, and they were both giggling and Fred's glasses were slightly askew like they always were and a lock of hair had fallen across her face and then suddenly they were kissing.

And the glasses got in the way so Willow lifted them away and tossed them across the office, and then they were lying on the floor, rolling around on top of documents and barely avoiding the pizza box.

Willow moved into Fred's apartment that weekend.


I've ruined careers, I know that. A few keystrokes and years of research is deleted, or the data corrupted so that the opposite conclusion is reached.

Sometimes I've discovered location of certain people or demons or whatever. I also do security, find out if anyone is breaking into Wolfram and Hart's systems and if so who they are. But all I do is give that information to Ms Morgan. I don't question what she does with it, or what happens to those people. I don't need to know.

I was never expected to kill anyone myself. No Bond-style redirection of space lasers so they obliterate large cities, or even using my magic skills -- though I know with those I could. But I know the information I've extracted has probably led to some deaths, directly or indirectly.

But they're just names on screens. It's all kinda abstract.

The only name I care about is Fred.


Buffy led the attack on Wolfram and Hart, flanked by Angel and Riley and followed by the rest of the gang. She'd had doubts about taking Riley along as Oz's death had hit him hard.

Oz had broken into Wolfram and Hart's systems. The data he'd extracted was gone and he'd fallen to a silver bullet before he could tell anyone what he'd seen -- but his written notes were enough to convince Buffy they had to take the firm down now, before they unleashed the apocalypse.

They burst through the front doors, armed to the teeth and protected by such spells as Tara could muster. They set to work.

On the top floor, Holland Manners prepared his escape and initiated the firm's defence strategy.

A curt nod to his bodyguard and Fred's struggling ceased as her neck was snapped.


It was chaos. Blood oozed from a cut on Lilah's cheek, and she was limping. She found me searching for Fred on the eighth floor, crying her name as I searched through offices deserted by their usual occupants.

"Willow. I'm so sorry. I -- they've killed her," she said, tears welling. "Fred is dead."

Everything suddenly stopped. I fell to my knees, nauseous. But then the rage burned white hot and I no longer felt sick.

My head snapped up and I locked my gaze on her. "Where are they?" I demanded. I didn't even know who 'they' were. Not that I cared.

For a moment she paled, and looked genuinely scared for the first time in the three years I had known her. Perhaps this was because my eyes had turned totally black. "You'll be killed too," Lilah breathed. "They're too powerful."

I got up. Lilah had no idea.

"We're going to the library. I need to read some books."

Some butterfly wings had flapped somewhere, and there was about to be a hurricame.