by Sam Newell
The tweed clad man looked up, slightly startled at the sound of the main door opening.
"Who..who's there." He stuttered fearfully, the library rarely had unexpected visitors. Eventually, a young red head came into his line of vision.
"Ahh, you must be Mr Faversham." Harold Faversham managed to place the
accent as American, but was still floundering
as to who the girl could possibly be.
"My name's Willow Rosenburg and I think that you might have something that I'm looking for."
"I'm still not quite clear on how you heard of this place Ms Rosenburg. You say that you found out from Rupert Giles?"
Willow nodded. Harold shook his head in frustration, the girl not only
claimed to know of the watcher organisation, but of the
slayer as well.
"Lets go over this one more time..." He said with a sigh. "You are the
slayer's best friend, her watcher told you of this place and
you thought that you'd come all the way to England for a book."
"I wouldn't exactly say Giles *told* me about this place." Willow hedged.
"Then how exactly did you find out?"
"Well, the information was just lying around his office..." The librarian gave her a hard glare.
"You stole it." He accused. Willow had the good grace to look sheepish.
"The information that I'm looking for is really important. And I'm not
leaving without it." Willow's resolve face slid firmly into
place. Harold sighed.
"What is it that you're looking for?"
Willow stepped up on the stool and her eyes skimmed over the titles of the dusty volumes. With an exclamation of delight, she pulled a leather bound book of the shelf.
Disturbing about a century's worth of dust in the process. Sneezing
wildly, Willow carefully climbed down and added the
book to a growing pile on a trolly next to her. She wheeled the trolly into the large open space in the centre of the library and started to unload the books.
Willow yawned and looked at her watch. It was 3am, the time when good
little witches should be in bed. Harold had
dozed off in the corner, he hadn't trusted her enough to leave her on her own, but had promptly dozed off at about 10.
Sighing, she turned another page and continued her reading.
Harold was woken by the shrill ringing of a phone.
Willow was still at the table reading through the huge pile of books
she'd managed to amass earlier the previous day. She
had also, by the looks of it, helped herself to his coffee.
"I'll get it." He mumbled sleepily. Willow chuckled slightly and took her mobile phone out of her backpack. "Hello?" She winced and held the phone a little way from her ear. "I'm fine Buffy, sorry I didn't call you. I just needed to do...stuff, but quickly." Another pause. "You're not going to like this." A short pause. "I'm in England."
The shout from the woman on the other end of the phone was so loud, even Harold heard it. "Calm down. I'll be back soon, hopefully." Pause. "I can't tell you. Resolve face!" The threat was apparently enough to silence the worried slayer.
"Okay, give my love to the others." Quickly she hung up and put the phone on the table. Willow turned her eyes back to the book and let out a frustrated moan.
"I'm never going to find it!" Harold raised an eyebrow in curiosity.
"Find what?" Willow just waved her free hand in his direction, not looking up from her page.
It was late in the afternoon before Willow got out a laptop and started typing furiously, copying from the book that was lying open on the table in front of her. As quickly as she begun typing, she stopped and shut the computer down.
"Thank you Mr Faversham, you've been most helpful." She smiled at him and hurried out of the library.
Harold watched the swinging door and started muttering under his breath as he cleared the books away.
"Lemme get this straight...you went all the way to England to sit in a library with a Giles clone and do research?" Xander's tone clearly indicated that he thought she was mad. "And what exactly were you researching and how come I wasn't invited." Willow frowned down the phone at him.
"Enough with the questions already! I was doing research for a spell
that I'm thinking of doing. Okay? and I didn't invite
you guys along because I thought that you'd be bored witless." Unconsciously Willow held her breath hoping that her friend would buy the story she was telling.
"Well when you put it like that, it all just seems so much clearer." Xander's voice was just dripping with sarcasm by now.
"And I'm off again tonight."
"Where to this time?" He asked curiously.
"Just to visit a friend." Willow replied enigmatically. "My train leaves
in a few hours. I need to do some packing. I'll call you
later in the week." Willow hung up the phone and started to dial another number.
Willow stood alone on the platform, starting to realise that a lonely railway platform in LA wasn't the best place to be at night. Cordelia had promised to be there to pick her up, Willow snorted derisively at herself for relying on Cordelia.
Sighing, she started to lift her bag up to go and hail a cab outside
the station. She almost screamed when a hand rested
over hers, taking her bag away.
"Welcome to Los Angeles." A familiar masculine voice came from above. Trying to control her heart rhythm from the shock, it was all Willow could do to smile weakly up at him.
Willow looked around the small room, it's decoration was typically male, simplistic almost to a fault. But then again, it wasn't as if Angel had guests very often.
A soft knock on the door shook her out of her reverie.
"Come in." She already knew who it was.
The door opened slightly and Angel stuck his head through the crack.
"I'm just going out for a few hours. I'll be back before sunrise, make yourself at home." He paused. "If you need anything, call Cordelia." He handed her a small business card with a simple motif and a phone number on it. "That's the office number." He stated simply.
Willow opened her mouth the thank him, but door was already closing behind him.
It was midday when Willow's woke up. Blearily, she stumbled out of the bed and towards the door. Angel was pottering around in the small kitchen to her suprise. He turned round and greeted her with a small smile.
"Coffee?" he asked holding out a mug.
Willow gratefully accepted. An uncomfortable silence fell between them.
Angel stared intently at Willow, who was studying his
"I think we need to talk." Willow eventually said.
Angel indicated that they should go into the small sitting room and
waited until she was sat down on the sofa before speaking.
"Don't get me wrong Willow, it's great to see you again, but why are you here?"
Willow shifted slightly on the sofa and smiled slightly as she took another sip of her coffee. Finally she met his curious eyes.
"You know how I was trying to find a way of anchoring your soul to your body. Before..." She trailed off, not needing or wanting to finish the sentence, before the Mayor's ascension, before he fed from Buffy, before he left. Angel nodded slightly at the memories.
"I thought you gave up on that when I came here. You had no reason to carry on looking." Willow shook her head.
"I carried on because you're a friend. Anyway, about two months ago, I found a lead in a rather obscure text that Giles had hidden away in his office. It lead me to the Watcher's library in England. " Willow paused, remembering her research, what she had found and what would be the best way to say what she had found.
Angel's voice pulled her back to reality.
"You've found a way of binding my soul to my body?" He asked, sounding as though he was almost afraid to believe it could be true.Willow smiled softly at him.
"Not quite Angel. I've found a way to restore your humanity."
"You've WHAT!" asked Angel, incredulous.
He quickly became aware of the fact that his mouth was slightly open, consciously, he made the effort to shut it. Willow smiled openly at his reaction.
"I've found a way to make you human again."
Angel looked blankly at Willow for a few moments.
"I didn't think it could be done." He finally said.
"Neither did I." Willow paused. "There's a reason why it's been hidden
away in the deepest recesses of the Watcher's
Library." She paused again and looked away from Angel's penetrating stare.
"It's more than just a spell." Angel continued to stare at her.
"I'm sorry Willow, but I think that I've had enough bombshells dropped on me for one day." He shook his head blearily before continuing.
"I'm really tired right now and I really need to sleep. We'll continue with this in the morning."
He stood up and walked out of the room without a backwards glance.
Angel stared at the ceiling, frustrated. He'd given up on trying
to sleep several hours ago. His hyperactive mind just wouldn't let him
forget Willow's words for a few hours sleep. To be human again was
almost all he had dreamed of for the past 100 years
of his existence, and now all of a sudden, Willow waved her magic wand and said, 'Your wish is my command.'
Angel frowned and forced his eyes shut before drifting into an uneasy and dreamless sleep.
The high pitched beeping from his alarm clock woke him up half an hour
before sunset. He quickly pulled on his discarded
pants and walked out into the sitting room.
"Do you want to hear what the spell entails?" Angel was slightly startled to hear Willow's voice, but he hid it well.
He turned to find Willow stood in the door leading to the kitchen, watching him intently. He gestured for her to take a seat. Once she was sat, she took a deep breath and began.
"It's not exactly a spell, it's more of a ritual. It's a cleansing ritual. You purge your body and soul of the demon." Angel nodded.
"I'd figured as much." He stated curtly.
"There's more, there's a right of ownership passage. You have to fight the combinination of your demon and your inner demons. If you lose, you lose your soul, humanity. Angel, if you don't win the battle, you'd become Angelus again."
If it was physically possible, Angel would have paled.