The dark gray sky showered away the blood on the drenched fields. Once green hills of hope, now heard the whispers of death. The anguished cries for help and salvation still echoed across the cold wind, while the red liquid that coursed through their bodies spilled and mixed with the large puddles of mud all around.
His arms were weak, but he would not stop. His trembling hands grabbed onto the loosened and wet earth, pulling himself towards her. Each move was excruciating, but he could not stop. Somehow, he found the strength he needed to move forward stored in his heart and soul. He crawled slowly, losing the feeling in his legs. He reached her and thanked the good above for this final chance. Placing his arm around her small body, he felt how cold she had become. Uncontrollable tears streaked down his dark face.
“My beloved,” his strained
voice managed to say as he placed his head on her chest.
“I am here,” she whispered, all feeling slowly leaving her.
He pulled his head up and looked into the green eyes he had always adored. He could see the twinkle in them fading.
“I have...I failed thee,” he told her painfully, more tears spilling.
“Never...never...you...you are the reason...the reason...I was born...You are my purpose for...for which I live....I love thee with....with all...all my..heart...Never forget me....never...You...you are my light...the light in..in my eyes..,” she whispered to him, wishing she could feel him one last time.
“Thou own my heart, thou art my soul. I shall love thee forever...and then even more,” his voice becoming lower.
“Forever.... I shall... shall see thee once more.... forever..,” she said, knowing her time had come.
He kissed her once more, tasting the blood that spilled from her lips. He pulled back and looked at her bruised face. She gave him a small, weak smile, her life with him flashing before her.
“Together... forever... beloved...,” her final words drifting into the blistering wind, over the lonely hills, the life in her gone.
He saw the twinkle in her eyes disappear and began to sob softly, knowing she was gone. He kissed her once more, then laid his head back on her chest. He now knew how blessed he was for each day she had spent with him. He closed his eyes, laying in her arms, thanking God above for their last moment together. He was ready and with his final words he whispered the words to his slain love, “Together...for..eternity.”
The hills went silent
as the sky began to cry harder.
Willow awoke crying, not able to catch on to the dream --memory-- she saw while asleep. A terrible feeling of loss and loneliness fueled her sobs. Loss of what, she was never sure, only that it hurt like nothing else she had ever experienced. She tried to reason with herself, telling herself it was because Oz was on tour for a couple of days, leaving her alone. But deep inside she knew that wasn’t it. Over the past few months she knew what had been happening. She wasn’t stupid; they had been drifting apart, more on her side than his. When he had told her at the Bronze two nights ago he would be leaving, she had not felt any sadness, only happiness for him. This was his dream and she was happy it was happening to him. She had hugged him and wished him well. He pulled back and kissed her, and it was as soft and sweet as all his kisses had been before. He had walked her home that night, perhaps wishing to hear some pleas for him to stay, but none came. She hugged and kissed him once again, telling him she would miss him terribly while he was gone, wishing she could attend all his gigs. He smiled at her, telling her how much he loved her and how he would miss her as well. She nodded her head and smiled, placing one last kiss on his lips and wished him luck. She entered her house and waved good-bye to her boyfriend, then closed the door, hoping she would feel the same as he.
Now, in the second night of his absence, she admitted the truth. She did not miss him terribly as she had told him she would. She felt as she had been feeling these past few weeks for him, a love, but a love of only friendship. As she lay in bed crying, she wished to know why she felt a larger void in herself than before. An intense feeling of loss overwhelmed her and she wasn’t sure why. Four nights of complete sadness and depression gripped her as they had never before. The only way she achieved any sleep was by crying herself into it. She looked at the clock on her nightstand, wiping her eyes. The red digits glowed 3:45. A deeper sense of loss and desperation rocked her, her sobs becoming louder. She reached over for her phone, knowing who could save her from this state. She punched in the numbers, holding her breath. She was patient and on the fourth ring a simple hello on the other end found its way in helping her mend the hurt in her.
“Angel?” her strained voice managed to say.
“Willow? What’s wrong?” he asked, concerned.
“I’m not...I’m not sure... It’s happening...it’s happening again,” she said in hiccups.
“I’ll be right over,” he told her immediately.
She thanked him and
hung up. She got up from bed, still crying, and decided to change into
something more appropriate than her nightshirt. As she waited for him to
arrive, she thought of how it all had began. Four nights ago, as she watched
Oz play in the Bronze, a sudden sadness had engulfed her. It had been after
spending the day at the fair with her friends. She tried to hold back her
sudden tears, but could not. It was too much for her to take. Tears began
to fall against her will. She felt the Bronze suffocating her. She took
a glance back, and seeing Xander and Cordelia completely into each other,
she got up and sprinted to the door. She took in the fresh air, able to
breath once more, as she let herself sob softly. She ran down the block,
not sure where she was going, only trying to get as far away from the Bronze
as she could. Her tired legs were the only things that stopped
her at the park, forcing her to sit on a bench. She continued weeping openly, wishing to find a way to stop the tears, a way to stop such pain. It was cutting her in half and she couldn’t understand why. It was the voice of her friend in back of her that had helped her to control herself a bit. Embarrassed, she tried to wipe her tears away, hoping to stop the rest from spilling, but it was useless. He sat next to her, his hand daring to touch her shoulder lightly.
“Willow,” his deep soft voice said.
That had been more then enough to encourage her to do what she did next. She turned to him, looking at him once, then hugged him tightly, holding on to him, as she would to dear life. Her head rested against his chest, crying harder. After only a moment he placed his strong arms around her, holding her. Exhausted by all the emotions that ran through her, she fell asleep in his arms. She awoke to find herself in his new apartment. He had laid next to her on the bed, staying close to her. He awoke a moment later, perhaps sensing her staring at him intently. She hadn’t meant to, but she never quite realized how truly handsome he was. She blushed and looked away. He had asked her for whom she shed her tears for, or whom or what she grieved over. She was not able to tell him, since she did not know either, but somehow by his presence, by his friendship, the pain seemed to become bearable, seemed to slowly disappear. She thanked him for that. They spent all night doing something she now rarely did with anyone anymore, talk the night through. They shared their lives with each other, as much as they could. She left his house with a new appreciation of him and their friendship, hoping it would continue to grow. She had gone to school that morning without a worry of the night before, only to find herself at his door once the sun had set, as the overwhelming despair once more had overtaken her. He had welcomed her in, not asking what was wrong, only holding her until her sobbing subsided. He caressed her hair, and told her the words that still remained close to her heart.
“I will always be here,”
He was, and for that she was grateful.
Once again she left his house at the break of dawn, thankful for his attentions. She left for school in high spirits, only to have them fall to a dangerous low by mid-day.
“Will, are you O.K.?” Buffy had asked her before their last class.
“Sure, fine, great, wonderful,” she told her, hoping the fake smile on her face was convincing.
“Really, so how are you?” she asked, wanting to change the subject.
“O.K. I guess. Training’s good. Slaying’s good. Loneliness good,” she said with a small smile.
“What about Angel?” she asked, curious to hear the response.
“Weird, distant, cryptic, everything you can think of. He hasn’t joined me patrolling these past few days. I go visit him at the mansion, but he isn’t there. I guess he forgot to give me his forwarding address,” she said with a little sadness in her voice.
Willow was confused. Angel didn’t live at the mansion anymore. He had moved into a new, nicer studio style loft, close to the Bronze. She thought Buffy had known. “Buffy, what’s happened between you too?” she asked, needing to know.
“It’s hard, Willow. I’m happy he’s back from Hell, but he won’t talk to me about it He won’t talk to me at all for that matter. I know I still love him, but I’m still scared of him,” she revealed.
“Buffy, it’s Angel, not Angelus, and he’s been back for five months. He wouldn’t hurt you. You have to know that”, she told, feeling a bit angry.
“It’s easy for you to say,” Buffy remarked.
“No, no it isn’t. He almost killed me at the school remember? And my fish, I don’t think they went on to afterlife peacefully. But that was Angelus, not Angel. It wasn’t him who did all the bad things; it was the demon.”
“I just can’t forgive like you, I guess. I can’t see past his actions,” she told her on the verge of tears.
“Then you don’t deserve his love or be loved by him,” she said, anger building in her, not quite sure why she had told her that.
Buffy looked at her and snapped. “What? I don’t deserve his love? What if he doesn’t deserve mine?” she said, stopping in the middle of the hall.
“That isn’t love then, Buffy.”
“I love him.”
“Not enough. You’re scared to love enough, or scared he won’t love you enough. He doesn’t need to prove to you that he deserves it, nor do you. Love is a wonderful gift we give to each other. Maybe you should start working on your friendship with him, before you start something more serious,” she told her.
“This is all because of Oz?” she asked, surprised to hear her friend talk about love as if she were a pro at it.
“Oz?” she asked confused.
“Yeah, Oz. You know, your boyfriend. It sounds like you’re talking from experience, something I guess I don’t have. You must really love Oz,” she said a bit envious.
“Yeah, Oz...I should go, Buffy. I need to get to class,” she said as she picked up her pace. She needed to get away, knowing her tears were not far behind.
Buffy remained in the
hallway a bit confused by her actions, then let the words she told her
sink in. She was right, maybe the place to start was from friendship. It
was something to think about. She headed off to class, feeling a bit more
optimistic about her love life. Willow had ran out of the building, crying
harder with every step. She had skipped her last class, racing home. Every
instinct in her told her to run to his apartment, but she refused to do
so. He was probably already tired of the cry baby. She lay in bed, thankful
her parents were out of town for at least two weeks. All she wanted to
do was talk to him, ask him to take the pain away. She was being a child.
She would not call. She closed her eyes, hoping sleep would numb her. It
was of no use. She would not move
the void in her away, store it away as she had before. It now threatened to swallow her whole, or kill her softly. An hour later, the ringing of the phone forced her to open her red sore eyes. She reached for it, hoping deep inside it was him.
“Hello?” her low, hope filled voice said.
“Angel?” she replied, a smile spreading across her face.
“How are you?”
“Better, thank you. You should be sleeping, Angel.”
“You don’t sound better. Have you been crying?” he asked, full of worry.
“I was. But I’m better now,” she told him with a small smile.
“Why didn’t you come over?” he asked, a tint of sadness in his voice.
“I didn’t want to bother you. You need to sleep.”
“It isn’t a bother, Willow. Whenever you need to talk, I’m here, a call or a house away, which ever you need more. Please remember that.”
“You’re too kind.”
“Will you call me when you need me?” he asked.
“Good. I’ll be able to sleep a bit better. I just wanted to make sure you were O.K.”
“Thank you Angel.”
“That’s what friends are for, aren’t they?” he asked.
“Yes, they are, and I’m glad you’re one of them.”
“Rest, and remember, I’ll be here,” he told her.
“I know. Go to bed. You need rest, too. Angel?”
“It should be the other way around, you know?”
“No, it shouldn’t. Now go and rest.”
No one had ever lifted her spirits higher than he had at that moment. It was wonderful. She got out of bed and took a shower, a burst of energy overwhelming her. It was still early, so she decided to go to the Bronze and wait for her friends. She left early, the same sadness she fought against daring to take hold of her again. She hoped it was sadness over missing Oz, but after she stepped into her room, she tried to analyze what she really felt. It wasn’t fair to treat him this way. It wasn’t. She kicked herself for that. She reached for the phone, wondering if he was home. His answering machine picked up. Just the sound of his voice had made her smile. She didn’t leave a message, knowing he was probably out with Buffy patrolling. She felt a sudden sadness inside. She refused to let go of her festive mood. She changed for bed, feeling the void in her filling. For the first time in three nights, she slept with no tears, or so she thought, until she awoke screaming in the middle of the night, her eyes full of tears. Now she stood, close to four in the morning, waiting for the only person who knew of this terrible occurrence in her, the only person who seemed to be able to pull her out of it. She waited patiently on her bed for him to come. A knock on her window make her jump as more tears fell. She opened the French doors, inviting him in. He pulled her in his arms, knowing she needed to be comforted. He held her, whispering soothing words. He held her for an hour, her sobs slowly stopping. Again, with sleep overcoming her, he placed her in bed, kissing her softly on her warm cheek, disappearing into the fading night.
“So, Will, how long is Oz out for?” Xander asked as they waited for Giles and Buffy to arrive.
“Two more days, I think.”
“Miss him?” Cordelia asked.
“Yeah,” she said simply.
“Must be hard,” Cordy commented.
“What’s hard?” Willow asked, a bit confused.
“Oz, gone for so long. I know how much you love him,” Xander told her.
“I’ll manage,” she told them, feeling a little low about lying to them.
Xander found her reply
a bit disturbing. He was about to ask her something, but was cut off by
“I’m glad everyone is here.”
“What’s wrong, Giles?” Willow asked.
“Yeah, what happened, tweed man?” Xander added.
“I received a message last night from one of my sources in Italy. Included was a prophecy,” Giles replied.
“I really don’t like those,” Cordelia commented, shifting in her seat.
“I know, they make you think,” Xander said cheerfully. Cordelia sent him a deadly stare.
“Actually, I’m not sure you can even call it a prophecy. It came out of a legends book,” Giles revealed. The group began to moan aloud.
“That should make it a lot easier,” Xander said sarcastically.
“Just more of a challenge,” Giles explained.
“Ready?” Buffy asked as she entered the room.
“Are you sure Angel is coming?” Giles asked her.
“Should be on his way,” Buffy replied.
“Wait....no one told me Angel was invited!” Xander said angrirly.
“He can help us,” Buffy told him.
“Really?” Xander said doubtfully.
“He can, Xander,” Willow included.
Cordelia took his hand and urged him to calm down.
“I just can’t forget,” Xander told Cordelia. She ran her hand over his hair.
“Then forgive,” Willow told them all, knowing they shared the same feelings as Xander. They looked at her, surprised. She looked so sure about the reply, they weighed that option carefully. Willow looked up and saw him standing behind the stacks. She smiled at him, her heart beating faster, her mood swelling up to happiness. He looked at her and returned a smile, then noticed the silence in the room. “Hi Angel,” Willow said cheerfully,
“Hello, Willow,” Angel remained in the shadows, away from the sunlight streaming in through a nearby window. They awoke from their thoughts, acknowledging him.
“We should begin,” Giles said.
“Okay, so what is the icky stuff?” Buffy asked.
“It’s about a witch,” he began as he pulled a piece of paper from his jacket.
“Like we don’t have enough of those around?” Cordelia commented.
“He says a rather powerful warlock may be on his way to Sunnydale.”
“A man?” Buffy asked, sounding somewhat surprised.
“He seems to be looking for something that will make him immortal.”
“A vampire,” Xander commented.
“I’m sure you can find those in other places too, dweep boy,” Cordelia said as she hit him on the arm, making everyone in the room chuckle.
“What kind of witch is he?” Willow asked a bit fearfully.
“An evil one. He’s caused all kind of havoc in Europe and the UK. It’s rumored he’s one of the most powerfull in existence.”
“How are we supposed to stop him?” There was worry in Buffy’s voice
“I’m not sure. We have to try and get as much information about him as we can,” Giles replied.
“What is the second part...the legend?” Willow asked him.
“The final day shall come when destined souls shall meet to battle the fates of immortality,” Giles replied.
Willow’s face went deadly pale as she heard the legend, shivers running up and down her spine. Everyone one else began to complain, not knowing what it meant. Despair invaded Willow. She tried extremely hard to keep herself under control, knowing that tears would soon threaten her.
“There seems to be more to the legend, so I’ve asked a friend in Ireland to research it for me, and if necessary to send me the book as soon as possible,” he told them.
“Have you ever heard of this?” Buffy asked Angel.
He awoke from his thoughts and emotions and looked at Buffy.
“Never”, he replied, knowing he had not, but feeling as if he should.
“How soon is he coming?” Cordelia asked.
“I don’t have a date. I’m hoping we have at least a couple of weeks, but it might be less. My source wasn’t able to tell me. The warlock is still in Italy,” he replied.
“What’s his name?” Xander asked.
Willow looked at Giles, suddenly filled with unreasoning fear.
“They aren’t sure what his real name is. My friend in Ireland will be researching that as well,” Giles replied.
“What do we do now?” Buffy asked.
“Wait, research, patrol.
Keep a look out for anything out of the usual -- new strangers who come
into town, things that may be bewitched, anything. Keep an eye on everything.
Willow, I don’t want you or Amy using your powers during this time. If
you must, keep it limited, just in case. We’re not sure what this man wants
and it’s best to keep temptation out of his way,” he said as he looked at Willow.
Willow nodded her head in agreement, looking down at the floor, hoping they did not see her face. A tear escaped and she knew she would have to leave.
“Now we should start looking through the prophecy books. See if we can find anything there that would be able to help us. Angel, do you think you might know someone in Ireland who can help us out?” Giles asked him.
Angel had been looking carefully at Willow, so he almost didn’t hear what Giles said. “Ah?...yes, I know a couple of people who would be able to help. I’ll try to speak with them tonight,” he told him.
Willow excused herself
to the bathroom and left. Once outside the library she let her tears run
freely. She ran to one of the classrooms nearby, locking the door behind
her. She covered her mouth with her hand, wishing her sobs would stop,
but they did not. She looked out the window and saw a couple who walked
hand in hand across the campus. The sight made her tears hurt more, the
void in her deepen. She closed her eyes, seeing a momentar memory/image.
She was smiling, standing on a cliff, looking out over the ocean. She felt
safe and warm, so loved and cared for. She was happy, in love. She felt
strong arms wrapped around her. Then the image was gone, as quickly as
it had come it left her. She tried desperately to hold on to it, so hard
to get it back, but it was useless.
She opened her eyes, a feeling of complete warmth washing over her. She wiped her tears away, controlling her emotions. She went to the bathroom, and splashed her face with water, hoping to leave no signs of her past tears.
Angel lay in bed worried
about Willow. He still had two hours before the sun set and he could go
and see how she was doing. Ever since the night he had followed her to
the park, something between them had changed forever. Even before that,
he had felt a connection to Willow he could not explain. He was able to
moods, feel her near him, even when she was not. It was an odd feeling, but one he became accustomed to quickly. Once he thought about it more, he realized it had all started the day he came back from hell. He awoke to find himself in her arms. He had tried to control his overwhelming feelings of guilt and remorse, not wanting to wake her. His sobs became louder, waking her. She had rocked him softly, caressing his hair, asking him to tell
her what he was feeling. It was the first time in ages he did. He opened his entire heart to her, telling her about the time he spent in Hell, as well as the last thing he remembered seeing before he was sent there -- Buffy. She stayed with him that entire night and the following one as well. She had not left his side, even eating it front of him if needed be. She had restocked his supplies and fed him when he was hungry, since he was still too weak to do so himself.
It had been a hard battle, but Willow had won. She had the right to claim his soul, and for that he would be eternally grateful. She had not just saved him from Angelus, but saved him from hell. She risked her life, her soul, in order to save him -- a person she called friend. It had been the hardest two nights he had ever gone through, but in the end had found salvation in her arms. Since that night, it had become a regular occurrence for her to come over and talk to him. It had even been her idea for him to move.
“In order start over, you have to let go,” she’d told him. It made sense. She had helped him pick the new place he would be calling home. It was a building he owned near the Bronze. She even helped him decorate.
Her next mission, as
she liked calling them, was to help the others heal and hopefully be able
to look past the wounds that still hurt. He tried to convince her it was
impossible, he was a demon that deserved their hatred. That night, Willow
had almost punched him for that remark; she did, however, slap sense into
him, literally. She had
somehow convinced him that he was not responsible for what Angelus had done, and he needed to get over that. He was not a superhero, but if he still wanted to find redemption just by doing “good” things, he would find it. Third, he was her friend and she would help him and be there for him forever. What he had done to deserve such a wonderful gift from God, he wasn’t sure, but he thanked Him every night for it. With Willow in his life, Buffy
slowly began to disappear from his nightmares and slowly from his thoughts. The void he felt from her loss soon began to dissapear. For the first time in a long while he felt good, simply because of the will and stubbornness of a small red head with a heart of gold. She even urged him to start talking to Buffy once more.
“Talking can help ease open wounds.” She had told him with her resolve face.
The first talk with her had been strenuous, bad enough that afterwards he woke up Willow in the middle of the night, seeking her comfort. She listened to him intently, making suggestions, then telling him how proud she was of him, something he never thought he would hear again. After that night, he continued talking to Buffy, trying to find a common ground, even joining her at times for patrols. All done with the push and the help of a soul he believed had come from the heavens above.
She had gone through so much for him, almost losing her friends because of him. He had asked her once, why she was doing it. Why she was willing to lose her friends, solely to help a damned man. She looked at him, her green eyes meeting his and with a smile simply said, “Because your my friend and I missed you.”
Now, in her need, he was happy to be there for her. It had been weird, but the night he found her in the park, he had had a sudden urge to go to the Bronze. Willow had been starting to make progress with Xander, Cordelia, and Buffy. She would invite him when they went out, and they even started to say ‘hi’ to him.
The moment he saw her
head droop low and rush out of the Bronze, he followed her, knowing something
was terrible wrong. He found her in the park, crying. He wanted to comfort
her, not knowing the best way. He had touched her shoulder, then felt her
arms around him, making him smile, pulling her closer to him. She told
she wasn’t sure why she felt so horrible. All she understood was that she was scared, lonely and very sad, so sad it threatened to engulf her. She stayed with him that night at his apartment and then returned looking for him the next. It was just something Willow was not able to explain, something she couldn’t understand. Then Oz had left and I asked her about him, if perhaps his departure affected her more then she thought. She simply shook her
head no. He was not the reason for her sadness. He knew her relationship with Oz was changing. She had
confided in him, about the changes in her feelings for Oz. He was becoming more of a friend then love mate. She still felt strongly for him, but those feelings ran deeper in friendship than any other way. She wasn’t sure why her feelings had changed, but she felt guiltier each day as she saw his feelings for her grow. She did not want to break his heart, but she knew that she would have to tell him if she could not meet his own happiness in their relationship.
Angel could not find any other explanation for her state. Willow was passing through a rough time and he wasn’t sure how to end it. He smiled as he thought of what Willow had told him -- in his arms she found the comfort she sought, the pain becoming beareable. I was her cure, she had told me with a smile.
His eyelids dropped,
seeking the reward of sleep.
Willow was not able to concentrate as she searched the net. Her thoughts drifted to what she’d seen when she had closed her eyes earlier. It had felt so real, as if she had really been there. But she knew she had never stood on a cliff, held by someone. Yet she felt as if she had. It unnerved her, as she remembered the words the woman had told her at the fair. It wasn’t possible. It was absurd, she told herself. Yet, in a strange way, it made sense to her, making a part of her believe it. She shook her head, causing a reaction from Giles.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m not feeling well,” she told him.
“Why don’t you head home,” he told her.
“Are you sure?” she asked, rubbing her eyes.
“I don’t think there’s much more to do, not until we can get a bit more information at least.”
Willow nodded in agreement and thanked him. She told her friends she would meet them at the Bronze later if she felt better.
“Poor Willow, I’m sure she misses Oz,” Buffy said as her friend left the library.
Willow made it home
before the sun set. She flopped on her bed, trying to meditate in order
to bring back the image she had seen. It was not working. As hard as she
tried, she couldn’t. It was not a long time after that she heard a knock
on the French doors. Without opening her eyes she knew who her visitor
was and it made
her smile. She opened her eyes and motioned for him to come in. He did so gladly, carrying a small box with him.
“How are you?” he asked.
“O.K.,” she replied.
“You didn’t seem well at the library.”
“I know. I wasn’t, but I am now,” she told him with a smile, as he sat beside her on the bed.
“Good... I brought you something,” he said as he fidgeted a bit.
Willow’s smile grew larger. She looked at the box, wondering what it would be.
“You didn’t have...,” she started to explain.
“I wanted to,” he told her as he handed her the box in his hand.
Willow accepted it graciously and carefully began to take off the bow and paper, finally opening the box. She removed the tissue paper from the top and gasped at the beauty of the item. She took out the fragile crystal castle from the box and placed in it in the palm of her hand. It was heavy and rather big. The light from the moon cast an array of colors in it. The fine design and texture gave the castle more detail, more life to it. The skillful cutting made it smooth to the touch. She looked at it with wonder for what seemed like forever, her eyes lighting up. It was the loveliest gift she had ever received in her life. She carefully placed it on her dresser across from her and then hugged him.
“I love it,” she whispered in his ear, tears of happiness forming in her eyes.
“I was hoping you’d like it. You know, it’s a magical castle,” he told her as he hugged her tightly.
“And what kind of magical castle is it?” she asked, wanting to hear his story.
“Where dreams are granted,” he told her.
She pulled back, seeing him smile.
“It was nothing. This doesn’t even come close to all that you’ve given me, Willow. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you for that.”
“You don’t need to. We’re friends.”
Angel’s smile lit up the room.
“Follow me?” he asked, needing to know if she would.
“Anywhere,” she replied, completely trusting him.
He took her hand and pulled her to the door.
The castle glistened in the dark, happy to have been returned to its rightful owner.
Willow climbed over the fence, jumping down and into the waiting arms of the man below. “This is illegal you know?” she told him as he put her down.
“I know, but I can’t change the hours,” Angel told her.
Willow understood and wished it could be different. He took her hand and headed inside the botanical garden. They walked and talked, noticing how pretty the garden looked at night. It was in the reflection of the moonlight that Willow picked a flower, handing it to Angel. He accepted it after his initial shock. No one had ever given him a flower before. It usually worked the other way, he thought.
“The Irish Daffodil,” Willow said, not sure how she knew.
“You think I’m chivalrous?”, he asked, knowing the symbolism of the flower.
“The only person I know who is,” she replied.
“That would be because I’m 245 years old,” he said with a chuckle.
“True, but you’ve lived through centuries, you would have lost it”, she pointed it out to him, “your just naturally a good person.”
He looked deep into her green eyes and marveled at them. Willow could not stop from blushing. Breaking the intense gaze, she continued the walk. The silence between them was peaceful, settling their souls. They again resumed talking about her day, then drifting lazily into her past and his. They spoke for hours, learning more about each other, enjoying every minute of their time together. Willow looked up at the moon which serenaded them on a bench, then looked at Angel. She could see a twinkle in his eyes, his hair looked lighter for a moment. She wondered how he would look in the daylight, a hope growing in her. She wasn’t sure how to ask.
“What do you miss most about the day?”
Angel arched his eyebrow in surprise. “It would have to be the rain”, he replied.
Willow’s eyes opened wide. She had not expected that reply. Then thought of something. “The rainbow?”
Angel smiled, never
knowing anyone who knew him so well. He nodded his head in agreement.
“I loved the way the rain washes everything, then the sun comes out and dries it, sometimes even showing off with a rainbow,” he further explained.
He seemed to try to
remember how it looked, and that tore at Willow’s heart. She would help
him remember. She had found her next mission.
It was close to three in the morning when they arrived on her front porch. She thanked him for the wonderful evening, and opened the door. The air around them had turned electric and Willow began to get goosebumps all over her body. She waited before she entered, wondering if he felt the same sensation as she. He said goodnight, but before he left, he handed her a lovely purple lilac. Her face once more lit up, wondering when he had picked it. He took one of her hands, pulling it elegantly to his mouth. He placed a soft kiss on her fingers, making her temperature rise dangerously.
“Thank you for a wonderful
evening, milady.” Willow blushed as he reluctantly released her hand. He
to walk backwards, his eyes still looking at her. He stopped at the sidewalk, waiting. Willow entered the house, looking one last time at him, before closing the door. She leaned against the door, looking down at the flower in her hand before bringing it up to her nose to smell. She closed her eyes, then saw something. *She saw herself accept the flower, knowing then what it meant. Her sister was always telling her stories about it. Her heart sped up, waiting to see, waiting to see what he would do. She was too timid, she couldn’t look back up at him. She just couldn’t, knowing his eyes would be her undoing. Those beautiful eyes--*
Then, as quickly as
it had appeared in her mind, it was gone. She searched her mind, looking,
hoping to find it once more, but it was useless. She opened her eyes and
looked down at the flower in her hand, an overwhelming warmness shaking
her body. It was wonderful, simply wonderful. Her thoughts drifted back
to the fair. Could it be? she thought. Was it possible? She replayed the
conversation in her mind. Looking closer at the events of the night, she
realized that was when it had all started. She felt it had always been
in her, waiting, waiting to emerge. She placed the flower on the table
next to the phone. She did not want to go alone, so she grabbed the phone
and called the only person who could help her.
“So, does this mean no class?” Amy asked as she met Willow at her door.
“Do you mind?” the redhead asked, feeling a bit worried.
“No, just let me leave my bag here. The books I brought over are too heavy to carry.”
Willow did as she was
asked and thanked her for coming along. Over the past year their friendship
had grown stronger. Since Buffy had left over the summer, and Xander had
found Cordelia, she found fewer people to turn to and talk. When she brought
back Angel, Amy was the only person who continued talking to her. She knew
she could count on her and that made Willow happy.
“I hope I didn’t call you too late last night.”
“I was just getting ready for bed,” she lied.
“Thank you for coming, Amy.”
“No problem, but I’m still confused about where we’re going.”
“I went to a fair a couple of days ago. I need to go back and speak to a woman I met there”.
“She told me something, and I need to know more about it,” she tried to explain.
“Cool. Then what are we doing?” she asked.
“Research, I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun...”
“It’s cool, Willow.
We’re friends and I can help,” she said as they walked down the block.
“It’s you,” the old
woman behind the booth said the instant she saw her.
Willow gave her a small smile before asking, “May I speak to you?”
“Of course,” she agreed, handing Amy the balls for the game.
Amy looked at the dark woman confused.
“Remember, one dollar for three balls. And if they have to throw down all three stacks for a price,” she instructed the blond witch.
Amy accepted the balls reluctantly. It appeared she was in charge of the booth until they returned. Willow gave her a weary smile, leaving with the woman. Before Amy could protest, a customer placed his dollar bill on the counter.
“You returned”, she told her as she motioned for her to seat in front of her. She had taken her to a trailer, and offered her something to drink.
“I had to”, she replied a bit low.
“You’ve remembered haven’t you?”, she asked her anxiously.
“I’m not sure I have”, she replied carefully.
“You still don’t completely believe?”
“It’s hard to, I’ve never really thought about it before”.
“But the eyes don’t lie”, she told her.
Willow looked at her for a moment, trying to see if she was lying to her. “What do you see in my eyes?”, she asked, fearing a bit what she would say.
“You’ve lived for so many years. Your far older then the years you have here in the present, But I think you know that. Your meant to know that, if not I never would have seen it”.
“What do you see?”, she asked fidgeting in her seat.
“An aura around you, a magical one. Your a witch”, she told her.
“How did you...”, she began to ask uneasy.
“I can see it. I’m very old Willow, lived too long, seen too much. I see things others cannot, I was gifted with it as I am sure you have been gifted with what you have. You have a golden glow to you that I can see, your eyes hold the wisdom of thousands of years. You seem to be looking, looking perhaps for your second half”, she explained to her.
“My second half?”
“There are souls that
are meant to always to be together, they search for each other each lifetime,
only reaching true happiness when they do. There are different kinds of
soulmates. Groups of souls reincarnate together, learning and bonding in
different ways. They are all linked to each other in different ways. The
usually is together each time, other times only in passing”.
“So the same people I know now, I’ve known in different times?’, Willow asked trying to understand.
“Possibly, only they were all different then, as I am sure you were as well”.
“How can you know?”, knowing she was holding back something.
“In this lifetime, it is meant for you to know what you were”.
“Why this one?”, fearing what she replied.
“It means you are meant to do something here, correct what has been wronged, or change your fate. You can only do that by learning from your past errors”, she hesitated.
Willow read the fear in her eyes. She knew what she meant.
“This is my final chance isn’t it? That’s how you know about me, that’s what you can see in my eyes?”, she asked her close to tears.
“I know it is, by the sadness in them, I just know”, she replied.
“I have a boyfriend”, she told the woman, wondering if that made a difference.
“It is not he you seek. You still feel empty inside, like a void you cannot fill. That is the sadness I see in your eyes. A loneliness like no other, sadness too deep. Tell me Willow, do you really love him?”, she asked, already knowing the answer.
“I do”, she said defensively.
“Then why are you so sad? Are you confusing love with friendship, or gratefulness with love. Look deep in your heart, is he the one?”, she asked her voice becoming soft.
Willow’s eyes watered. She knew the truth, just scared to admit it. Tears began to run down her cheeks. “He is....he is...my friend”, she replied, ashamed, looking down at her hands on the table.
“It was the gentleman that tried to win the bear for you?”, she asked, remembering her with a boy the first time she saw her.
Willow nodded, then looked up. “How will I find him?”, she asked, knowing what she was saying was true.
“Bodies change, but souls do not. You must look deep in him to find him”, she replied, patting her hand.
“His eyes, that’s how I will see, that is how I will find him”, she said reasoning what she had said.
A shiver swept through her at her own revelation. She knew she was right, she understood what she said, which scared her as well.
“Willow, what made you start crying at the booth that afternoon”, she asked.
“I saw the medallion you were wearing. It’s a Celtic crest. When I closed my eyes, I saw a village burned to the ground somewhere. Then I felt a sadness inside that cut deep. I know I’m being foolish”, she told her.
The woman took out a chain from underneath her shirt. “This one?”, she asked.
Willow looked at it
closer, then closed her eyes and nodded.
“Take it”, she told her. “I can’t, it’s yours”, she replied quickly.
“If it can help you
take it, perhaps it will help you remember”. Willow’s reaction made
her eye her suspiciously.
“You have remembered?”, she said a bit surprised.
“I think...bits and pieces...I get flashes....in my head...I see things...feel things.....I know it sounds stupid...but I can’t see him...everything is still a big mess...I don’t know what to do...what to think”, she explained.
The woman nodded, sensing
her confusion. “You will know how it is. You’ve just had your eyes
Listen to your heart, to your soul,, that’s how you’ll find him”.
“What about my memories?”
“You’ll have to find someone who can regress you back”.
“Someone you can trust. Let him take you back to your past, that’s the only way. You’ll be able to bring back bits and pieces, but not enough. I don’t know how much time you have left”, she told her concerned.
“I know someone...”, she remarked out loud .
“Then speak to him as soon as you can. I’ll be here if you need me. The fair will be here till Monday, then were on the road once more. Take this, as a gift to remember me by”, she said as she took off the pendant and handed it to her. Willow accepted it, thanking her.
Willow left feeling
confused, and scared, for there was a longing in her that had re-awakened.
She believed and knew what she had to do.
“I think it’s this one”, Amy told her, handing her the book.
Willow read it intently, a smile appearing on her face. It had to be it. After five hours of research, they had found what she had been looking for.
“I have two of the metal we need, but the other one I guess we can buy”, Amy told her.
Willow took out the medallion she had been given and showed it to Amy. “Willow, where did you get this?”, she asked her surprised.
“The woman in the fair gave it to me”, she replied with a smile.
“Then you have everything. What does the crest mean?”, she asked.
Willow thought for a moment then knew. “Connected for Eternity”, she replied with a smile.
“How did you know?”
“I don’t know, I just did”, she told her.
“Then you do believe what she told you?”
“I don’t know, it feels right. We’ve talked about Oz before Amy, What she told me was, everything so far has been right. I’m scared, I don’t know if I’m crazy for believing it, or if I didn’t believe in it.
“You know what this means then?
“She said you had to find your soulmate. In your “memories”, you’ve been with him and if certain souls reincarnate in groups, then that means someone you already know is him”, she said, hoping she made sense.
Willow hadn’t thought about it. “That means your soulmate is either Giles, Xander, or Angel, since you say it isn’t Oz. The only other guy you know is Spike, and I don’t think he counts, he loves that crazy chick, Drucilla”.
“Which one?”, she asked worried, but excited.
“Xander seems the most logical choose at this point”.
“Cordelia”, she reminded her.
“True, but you’ve known him longer, not to mention you loved him before. Maybe, like the woman said, he has to open his eyes?”, she said, laughing a bit, hearing how silly the conversation sounded.
Willow throw her a pillow, joining in the laughter. Amy looked at the watch on the her nightstand.
“You have an hour and a half before the sun sets, you have to get moving if you want to do this”, Amy reminded her.
“Then you have an hour to get ready for your date tonight”, she said with a smile.
Amy blushed. Making Willow laugh.
Willow had told Amy everything. From the first day she had met the woman at the fair, to the emotional rollercoaster she was on. She even told her about the conversation she had had with the woman. Amy was still a bit skeptical about it, but supported Willow and would help her in what ever she needed.
“So does this mean you’ve opened your eyes?”, Willow asked with a wicked smile.
Amy blushed once more. Willow had caught her flirting with a guy from school, who was also playing hooky for the day. She’d known him for years, but never really paid attention, until today, when he placed dollar after dollar on her counter to win a stuffed bear, which he finally did after $15 dollars and gave it in turn to the person he had wanted to win it for, her. Tonight would be there first date.
“I am definently seeing
him in a new light”, she replied, making them both laugh out loud.
Willow let herself
in with the spare key Angel had given her. He had told her he wanted her
to think of his apartment as her second home, and she did. She carefully
went up the stairs to the second floor, heading to his bedroom. She made
sure not to trip over anything on the floor as she entered his dark bedroom.
She tried to
be as careful as possible, not wanting to wake him. She made sure she had everything she needed on her. She sat down on the bed next to him and gazed at him. Even in sleep he seemed to be punishing himself. She was happy to see he slept with no shirt on, it would be alot easier for her. She took the pendant from her pocket. It was still the crest, but she had entwined the other metals needed into it. She was ready. She took one deep breath and soon saw Angel begin to wake. She quickly placed her hand over his eyes, whispering words into the air.
“Angel?”, she asked in a very soft voice, close to a whisper.
“Willow?”, he mumbled.
“Do you trust me?”, she asked,
“Yes...but what?”, he said as he fought to get out of the sleep that refused to abandon him.
“Good. It will hurt Angel, but stay asleep, do not open your eyes to me. Sleep Angel, trust me and sleep”, her hypnotic voice said.
“But..?”, he was about to protest.
“Do you trust me?”, she asked, fearing he did not.
“I do”, he replied, calming down a bit.
“Then trust me, sleep for me Angel. Sleep”, she coaxed.
He did as she asked and fell back to the sleep that beckoned him. She saw his body stop moving, his eyes be still and knew he did. She smiled then began the spell. She placed the charm in the middle of her hand, then began to chant the words, making the charm glow. After ten minutes of chanting, the crest glowed a strong gold. The next part would be the hardest. She placed the pendant on his right shoulder, and began to see it burning his skin. She pushed on the pedant farther down on his skin, chanting. It would a long hard process, but she would do it, she only hoped he trusted her enough not to wake. If he did, everything she was doing would be fruitless. She found strength in her to continue the strenuous ritual. She only hoped Angel would trust her enough to stay asleep.
After hearing Willow’s
voice, he had calmed himself down. Then she had asked him to trust her.
something he did, never questioning it. He remained asleep, but then felt
his body burning, He was in so much pain, he wanted it to stop, but then
Willow’s words haunted him. “Good. It will hurt Angel, but stay asleep,
do not open your
eyes to me. Sleep Angel, trust me and sleep” He trusted her. He took the pain, fighting to continue sleeping. He would not let her down. He swallowed his pain, sinking into sleep, trying to relax, thinking of her.
Willow awoke passed
out on the floor next to his bed. She rubbed her eyes, then slowly began
to get up. She was still tired, but felt good enough to get up. She looked
at her watch and pushed the Indiglow button. It was four in the morning.
It was a night like this she was happy her parents were out for two weeks
on a business trip. She looked down at the person on the bed and smiled.
He had remained asleep. It had taken her at least two hours to perform
the spell. At the end she had simply fainted, collapsing onto the floor.
The spell had taken a lot out of her. She still needed sleep and took off
her shoes, followed by her bulky sweater. She kept on the small shirt she
had on and moved over to the other side of the bed. She lied down next
to him, over his covers. She had to make
sure he remained sleeping to complete the change. She closed her eyes, sleep coming in waves. Two hours later, Willow awoke. She opened her eyes quickly and looked at her watch. It still wasn’t time, but knew Angel wouldn’t want to miss it. She got up and headed for the bathroom. She took a look at herself, then tried to comb her hair with her fingers. She looked terrible, but that wasn’t important now. She stepped back to his room and saw him still sleeping. She headed to the kitchen, taking what he needed. She went back, sitting next to him and started to wake him.
He slowly began to wake up, He blinked several times, focusing on her. He was hungry and his head throbbed. His game slipped as he felt his body feel the acheaingness of pain. Willow jumped a bit back, then settled back, closer to him then before. She handed him a bottle, smiling. Angel accepted the bottle reluctantly. He had never really feed with someone so close, unless of course that person was as well. He still wasn’t quite sure why he was so sore and tired. He knew Willow had something to do about it. She handed him a second bottle, He took it greedily. Once the demon feed, it left him alone. He looked at her, wiping his mouth,, looking more guilty then ever. She touched his cheek then wiped away some blood from the corner of his mouth. She knew she should have been disgusted by it, but she wasn’t. It was a part of him she had accepted a long time ago. She knew it wasn’t him who feasted, but the demon. It seemed she was the only one who understood. He looked at her astonished at the acceptance in her eyes. Yet as he looked deeper in her green eyes, they seemed acheingly familiar, as though he had seen them before such a long time ago. He shook the thought off.
“So do you think you can walk me home?”, she asked him, her smile becoming larger.
He looked at the clock next to him and saw he had slept through the entire night, something he had never done. He looked at her worried. It would be less then ten minutes before the sunrise.
“I can’t Willow”, he said, a sadness in his voice.
“Follow me?”, she asked him as she stood up.
“Where?”, he asked seeing a small twinkle in her eye.
“Follow me?”, she asked again as she took his hand in hers.
He did as she asked.
He got out of bed, boxer shorts his only cover and followed her as she
led him. At that moment he knew he would follow her where ever she asked
him to go. They went up the spiral stairway to the third floor, heading
to the open terrace. Angel stopped for a moment, not sure what she wanted
to do. When she
pulled him to follow her, he knew what she wanted and fear swept through him. He froze. Willow turned around and looked into his frightened eyes. She touched his cheek once more.
“Do you trust me?”, she asked him once more.
“Of course, but Willow I can’t...”, he tried to explain.
“Then follow me”, she
said, cutting him off. He searched her eyes for a reason, and found reassurance.
If this was what she was asking for, he would do it. He owed her his life,
even his soul. He trusted her, and followed her as she pulled him towards
the sliding doors. Angel held his breath as they stepped onto the open
terrace. They had a nice view of the sunrise. He saw the night begin to
fade, the sky beginning to change. His hand squeezed Willow’s hard. She
would sense his body become rigid. She asked him to place his arms around
her. He looked down at her, his panicked eyes, seeking some kind of explanation,
and found a tenderness in them he had never seen before. He did as she
asked, placing his arms around her as they turned to face the sky ahead.
Angel closed his eyes, not sure what to say, thinking off all he had done,
and what he would no longer be able to do. Perhaps it was time for him
to rest, to die. He waited for his fate, not quite sure why Willow had
picked now. Willow ntwined her arms in his and looked up at him as the
first signs of the sun’s rays began to shower them. Willow looked at
up at Angel, whose eyes were clenched tight, his face stiff. She smiled.
“Angel, I know it’s been a long time, but you really can’t see the sunrise with your eyes close”.
Angel was confused. He slowly began to open his eyes, squinting into the sky as he saw rays in the sky.
“What the...”, he was about to say, but was stopped.
Then it happened.