I Heard a Rumor
After Willow gives Giles a warm welcome after returning from England to Sunnydale, post-magic recovery, the gang believe the two had a love affair. Buffy is the only voice of reason until...(PG-13)
Making Sense
Set 10 years post finale, a brief encounter forces Willow and Buffy to look deeper into their relationship.(PG-13)
Making Plans
Spicier sequel to Making Sense with Buffy's thoughts on the 'morning after'. (NC-17)
Private Conversations
Set during season five, Willow and Tara do a little experimentation and magic in the bedroom, with unexpected results. (R) 
Anya's List
Convinced that D'Hoffryn is going to kill her, Anya makes a bucket list, but she needs Willow's help with number 8. (NC-17)
Tough Love
Tara becomes the victim of a gay hate crime and the scoobies get a glimpse into the not so rosy side of Willow and Tara's life. (R
Ice Cream Dreams
So what if Xander's dream didn't end when he crawled into the back of his ice cream truck in the season four ender. (NC-17; Pairing W/T/X)
Interview With A Vampire
Willow visits Angel after her 'black magic bender'. (PG)
You. Me. Formal Wear.
Xander is stuck for a date to his contractor's association so he turns to 'old reliable' with unexpected results (PG-13)
12 Weeks
Chronicle of Willow's collapse  in 'Grave' until her return back to Sunnydale in 'Same Time Same Place'. Warning contains difficult topics like death, suicide and other unpleasant feelings.  (R)
Virgin Sacrifice
Willow needs a virgin for a spell and Kennedy is more than happy to help. (NC-17
Karamel Sutra
Willow sends Kennedy on a mission for a little Ben and Jerry's. (NC-17)
It's What I Do
Set after season seven, 'Get it Done'. Willow and Buffy have a chat and Ole fashioned scoobie bonding. (PG)
Show Me
Tara's in a horny spurt and tries to convince Willow to blow off a class.  (NC-17)
Coming Out All Wrong
Will and Tara come out, stumbling, to one last person in the Scoobie circle. (PG)
Coming Out of the Bedroom
Tara decides her love life with Willow needs spicing up & smut ensues (NC-17)
To Those Who Wield 
Set during the season 6 breakup of Will and Tara, the two ex's must work together and do battle with their vampire alter egos who are threatening their existence. (NC-17)
Set after Chosen and before our virtual season, Watchers. (PG-13)

Title: 12 Weeks

Author: CN Winters

Fandom: Buffy fanfiction; Willow fanfiction

Disclaimer: Joss owns 'em. I'm just borrowing them.

Authors Note: For those squeamish with the thought of suicide you might want to skip this story.

Synopsis: Willow's life and thoughts after the season six ender 'Grave' and her time in England.

Feedback: Of course, cnwinters71@yahoo.com Let me know what you think.


Day 7

I walk into the room with a spell-casting book in my grasp and I can feel all the eyes turn to me. I feel like an intruder. Nervously I scan the room, looking for a seat.

An elderly woman looks up from a book and rises to her feet with a warm smile, coming over to greet me. "You must be Willow Rosenberg," she begins. "Mr. Giles said you would be arriving today."

I nod. "Yes, I'm Willow."

"Class," she announces in a thick British accent, "I'd like you all to meet Ms. Willow Rosenberg. She's Mr. Giles charge visiting from America."

No one says anything, in fact they now all turn away not wanting to look at me. The woman motions me to a desk in the circle and I take my place. "I'm Rosa Hagness, dear. One of the instructors in the coven." she tells me. "You may call me Rosa or Mrs. Hagness, whichever you prefer. We're waiting for a few others but we'll begin shortly."

I thank her and give her another respectful nod before she walks away. I look around the room and see a young woman looking in my direction. Quickly she turns away, looking back at her book. My sigh must have been heavier than I assume because I feel a tug on my sleeve.

"Don't worry about them," the young woman next to me whispers in an English accent. She about my age with shoulder length black hair and crystal blue eyes. "They've heard lots of rumors but I've never been one to believe everything I hear."

"If it's about me it's probably true."

"You blew up an entire town?"

"Well, an entire magic shop," I shrug. "But I've done worse too." Much worse.

Still she offers me her hand. "Althenea Dimmons."

"Willow Rosenberg. But I guess you know that huh?" I say lamely.

Her grin is warm. "How long are you here?"

"I'm not sure," I answer her honestly. "At least the next three months."

"Not enough time for you build a solid relationship Althenea. But then again, that never stopped you before. "

We both turn to the foreign voice that's entered our conversation two desks down.

"That's Mary Prinz," Althenea tells me. "She's a S.I.T. and witch who thinks she knows it all."

"I don't think," she answers smugly. "I know."

"What's a sit?" I ask.

Althenea grins. "Not a sit. An S.I.T – Slayer in training."

"Oh…they have those?" Willow asked. "I thought the chosen one was just…you know…chosen."

"With the last true Slayer, I hear that was the case. A lot of watcher red tape led to her being lost in the shuffle somehow. But now the council is taking an interest in all the girls they feel may be slayers someday. So instead of another big surprise, they train them in advance. Once they're called into service they're prepared."

"So tell me Miss Rosenberg," Mary says poking into our conversation again. "…Is it true you gotta thing for the birds?"

At first I'm not sure what she means by birds. But then it hits me…Women.

"Why? You lookin' for a date?" I counter. My anger at her arrogant attitude is beginning to overshadow my nervousness. "Sorry but you're not my type."

"I bet Althenea is…Isn't that right Althenea?" Mary nods to the woman sitting next to me.

Mary also looks to be about our age and she reminds me of someone. Dark hair, dark eyes. I wonder for a moment and then I realize – she's just like Faith, all attitude and mouth.

"Just ignore her," Althenea tells me.

"You can't ignore me," Mary smiles. "I'm the chosen one or at least I will be soon."

"I beg to differ," I tell her.

"Why's that?"

"Because I know THE Slayer…Not a wannabe but the genuine article."

"Rumor has it you almost killed the Slayer." I flinch and I'm sure she saw it. "But she just gave you a reprieve since you KNOW her… right? She'd rather let you kill her than take your life?…Realize something quick, witch. When the time comes and I tangle with you because your black magics threaten the world…you'll be a dead woman."

"That's enough…Miss Rosenberg, may I see you outside?"

I look over to Mrs. Hagness who's standing up from her desk. Oh, God. Now I've done it. Not even 10 minutes and I've messed up again.

We all watch as Mrs. Hagness walks out of the room. Althenea gives me a pat on the arm for support and I walk out, passing Mary who has another smug look on her face. It's so hard not to reach over and try to slap it off. But I begin my breathing exercise that Giles started with me.

Once outside I shut the door and turn to Mrs. Hagness. "I'm sorry. I'm not-."

"Don't worry about it," she tells me. "I'm not upset with you. You have to understand that Mary has a lot on her shoulders but I do plan to speak to her Watcher about her behavior moments ago. I brought you out here to let you know that she gives all the newcomers a difficult go of it. And there are many rumors floating through these halls about you. I won't lie. And I must confess. Having you in my class is…a bit…unnerving… I can feel your darkness that still lies inside. It won't be easy but Mr. Giles has informed me that he feels you can handle it. And I trust Mr. Giles…From what I just witnessed. I would say he's right," she grinned. "Keep holding your ground Willow. Don't give into your temptations. Listen to what I have to say. Learn your lessons well. And the rumors won't mean anything, nor anything that might have transpired recently on the Hellmouth. Am I understood?"

"Yes ma'am," I nod. Isn't this great? I …unnerve… the most powerful witch in the room.

"Very well then," she grins. "Back to class we go."


Day 25

"Hey! You're home early."

I stand at the kitchen stove checking to see if the water was boiling as Giles comes in.

"Meeting didn't take as long as I expected. I'm not sure if that's good or bad." Giles walks over and inhales deeply. "Whatever it is your cooking it smells wonderful."

"Spaghetti," I tell him. "Since most of the food at the market looks like the part of the animal that should be thrown away…" I pause which earns me a chuckle from Giles. "This seemed like a safer bet. Actually I was gonna make chicken noodle soup – it is the food of my people ya know," I tease. "But after I got the chicken out I realized…I have nothing to cut this with – no knives in the house. So I went with Spaghetti instead."

He leans against his refrigerator with his arms folded across his chest. "Do you think you can handle the knives being back in the house?"

"I think you're the better one to answer that than I am Giles."

"I think you're ready but do you?"

I pause a moment and I grin. "You know…giving up would be a whole lot easier…but I'm sticking it out. I gave you my word and I meant it. I've had more nightmares since that first night – you know that. But…it feels different…It's like… I had to hit rock bottom before I, you know, could pick myself up again? I mean, I-I can't say I'm making great strides yet but at least I'm standing upright again. And pretty soon I'll be trying some baby steps. A-And that's all good, right?"

Giles smiles. "I'll bring the knives back in tonight."

I give him a grin. "Good…Now I'll make able to make soup." I turn back around and put the pasta into the water.

Giles starts to chuckle and I turn around. "What?"

"Nothing," he smiles.

"Oh come on. You can't hold out on me."

"Well… y-you cook for me, you clean for me. All the benefits of having a wife…Well, minus one," he grins.

"Why Giles, you dirty old man."

"I didn't say which benefit my dear so who has the dirty mind," he laughs before both turn a bright red.

I laugh and throw the dishrag I have on my shoulder at him. "Touché… If only you were 20 years younger Giles – and female. I might just shack up with you for good." I wink before going back to my cooking. "But moving onto more important topics, what did the council say?"

"Seems your speculations are correct. The hellmouth is getting more…what did you call it? Hellmouthy?"

"Strange things are afoot at the Circle K. That's for sure…Did they say anything in particular?"

"No they didn't but they are interested in the visions you've been having. I told them as much as I know. Is there anything further you might have for me to take to them?"

I shake my head. "No I don’t. I'm not even sure if they can be called visions - just feelings really. I haven't 'witnessed' anything yet but if I do you'll be the first to know…I just wish I had more to give you."

"That's quite alright…It will get better in time. As your skills improve, you'll be more focused."

I gave a sigh. "Yeah, that's if I don't get all veiny and turn Mary Prinez into the human torch when she slings one too many insults my way…She worries me Giles."

"You think she'll harm you?"

"No, I think I'll harm her," I tell him honestly. "Some days I-I find myself looking at my hands and arms wondering if I'm gonna 'meltdown' and blow the school up. I don't wanna get all 'Carrie' on them Giles and it bothers me. Nobody in class speaks to me. Hell, they don't even look at me. Even the instructors of the coven like Mrs. Hagness seem…afraid of me."

"But I thought you made a friend. Althenea was it?"

"Well yeah Althenea…but I think…She's looking for a girlfriend and I'm definitely not on the market so she's wasting her time. It's just…" Giles waits for me to continue without interrupting my thoughts. "They look at me like I'm evil – the students, even the instructors. And every look is different. For some I see fear, in others I see contempt…In a few like Mary I see…I don't know…jealousy almost…like she wishes she had that power. It just gets tough sometimes."

"Well, as you said, you knew it wouldn't be easy."

"Yeah I know and I'm sticking it out. It's just that…Gaia above…I feel like the same freak back in high school all over again Giles. You know what I was like back then – total spaz. The only friend I had was Xander and then later Buffy too but…I feel like the outsider and I thought I was passed that, you know?"

"Can I be perfectly honest with you?" Giles began. I just nod. "When I knew you in high school I understood exactly why you felt like an outcast. The reason wasn't because you were a freak Willow. The reason was because you were exceptional. You were smart with a dry wit that others rarely saw or possessed themselves. The same is true today so I'm not surprised you feel the same again…You're more powerful than they are. And they all know it.

So yes, it's very much like high school again. And truth be known you shouldn't change that for anyone. I know you've had your doubts but you are a great asset to everyone who loves you and to the residents of Sunnydale who will never even know your name. They get up, they eat breakfast, they schlep to their jobs as you might say-."

I laugh because hearing a slang word out of such an English mouth is just….funny. I quickly hold up my finger. "Okay – for the record, yes I'm Jewish but I have never used the word schlep in my lifetime," I add with a grin.

"Point taken," he says with a slight chuckle. "In any case, these Sunnydale residents are oblivious but they have you to thank because you've protected the human way of life time and time again…We have the hardest job in the world sometimes. We love the Slayer – and we do what we do because it's the good fight; it's the right thing for us. So you're not a freak Willow. As I said, you're exceptional. And personally, I wouldn't have it any other way."

"At least you try to see me," I say softly.

He cocks his head. "I do. You think the others don't?"

"I think my parents don't," I answer firmly. "I always tried to be the good girl. Be seen but not heard. You know, only child, a real go-getter, hoping to hear a 'That's our gal' from them once in awhile…Truth is, they never noticed me. They still don't. And I'm surprised they tore themselves away from their vacation to come to the funeral," I chuckle miserably. "Hell even at the graveside, y-you led me away, not them - putting an arm around me, telling me I wasn't alone. They didn't do that. Don't you think as my parents they should be the ones to do that? And that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the fact I have you Giles. I do. More than I think you realize. It's just…they're my parents…I'm trying to make sense of everything in my life. And why after all of these years do I still care? Why is it so important that I think they love me? Or maybe the real question is…why don't they love? Why am I nothing more than a shadow to them? And why did the fact that they ignored me make me do things like magic to make me feel better about myself – to make me feel special?" I shake it off and chuckle nervously. "I'm sorry Giles. Didn't mean to get all Freudian on you just then."

"Willow," Giles begins as he walks over. He runs a hand over the back of my head before resting it on my shoulder with a firm grasp. "I'm convinced that the best families aren't the ones that we're born into. They're the ones we make. But still it's hard when you can't be everything you think your parents want. I understand." Giles grins and give me a pat before walking to the refrigerator. "Believe me I understand," he adds as he pulls out a pitcher of cold water.

"What were your folks like?"

He pours a glass and takes a drink first.

"Well, my mother stayed at home. She had two sons – myself and a stillbirth baby. My father was a Watcher. Of course he wanted me to take over the family business so to speak. And like all good sons, I didn't," he grins mischievously. "...I liked my psychology classes and playing guitar. I liked getting rowdy with my friends after school. Buggaring my instructors during school was my second favorite hobby…I liked magic…I liked my vinyl collection…I liked being everything my parents hated…But in spite of all my rebellion…I still wanted them to accept me."

"An irresponsible hellraiser? I just can't see it Giles," I grin.

"I didn't get the nickname Ripper for nothing," he counters.

"So how did you become a watcher?"

"The black arts actually. And Ethan Raine."

"Ethan Raine?"

Giles nods. "See, when I started to dabble in black magic, and that's putting it mildly, I realized just how dangerous the world is and how fragile…There was a bloke who had his eye on young lady I'd been seeing. I decide to work a little magic to eliminate the competition."

"What happened?"

Giles pauses and licks his lips. "I did a spell. The results of which made his car lose control. He and five of his friends died. Ethan and I went out to celebrate when we heard the news by getting drunk and doing another spell on a couple girls we fancied. A simple lust spell. One night stand sort of thing…I didn't even do the spell on the girl I killed those boys for. It was someone I'd met only once before."

I can't believe my ears. "Jeeze Giles."

"I'd like to say I cleaned up my act after that but I didn't…More spells. More girls. More deaths…But the time did come when I had to take a serious look at where my life was going. And I knew I had to make a choice of which side I was going to be on…So…I did…It wasn't until I saw the darkness that filled the world – that filled myself – that I could make a real choice about my future."

"And you turned it around?"

Giles took a sip as he nods.

"I choose the good fight. Ethan…he didn't…He liked the chaos of it all. But I knew I had to do what I thought was right…Just like you're doing now…The power is alluring, seductive…but in the end if all you have is power you find life isn't very fulfilling."

"Maybe we're a lot more alike than I ever thought," I reply.

"I believe we are…Well, I'm going to settle in before dinner," he says making his way from the kitchen.

"Hey Giles?"

He stops and turns around with a grin.

"Thanks for bringing back the knives…it really does means a lot to me." He can tell I'm not just talking about the cutlery.

"No thanks needed Willow. You've earned my trust."

I grin and go back to my cooking. But a thought occurs to me that chases the smile away. Giles trusts me again. But will the gang ever reach that point?


Day 30

"Okay class. Today we're going to try a simple exercise," Mrs. Hagness begins. We're all sitting in a large circle. "As we've been instructing everything is connected to the earth and you will use these skills today. You will levitate this rose and slowly pick the petals off. Miss Rosenberg and Miss Dimmons, please come to the center and sit across from each other. Miss Rosenberg you will perform the spell and Miss Dimmons will be your anchor."

The word 'anchor' pierces through me. I had an anchor but she's dead and I'm not sure I'm ready for a new one yet.

"No offense to Althenea but do you mind if I do this one alone. I don't want an anchor."

"It can be dangerous," she tells me.

"What's the worse that could happen?"

"You could spontaneously combust," she answers.

Hmmm…."Yeah that could be bad…but…maybe you could just keep a cup of water handy so if I start to smoke you can put me out?"

The comment actually makes a few people around us chuckle and Mrs. Hagness tries not to grin.

"It's your decision Willow," she replies seriously.

I nod understandingly. "No anchor. I wanna try."

"Very well then."

I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly before looking around the circle.

"I've tried this spell before with…with someone and the rose got a little out of control. If it looks like it's moving toward you t-then chances are it is so…duck."

With that I close my eyes and concentrate on my breath. When I feel the rose lift I open my eyes to see it. One by one I 'will' the petals off until there's nothing more than a stem. Gently I rest it back to the ground and let out a long breath. I did it. I controlled it. I had power over it and I feel myself grin.

"Well done," Mrs. Hagness compliments. "Exceptional control. Who wants to try next?"

I make my way to leave the circle when she picks up the barren stem and hands it to me. "Here. You've earned it," she grins.

I give a small grin of my own and take it. Secretly, I can't wait to show Giles.

Day 40

"Willow you have to get up. We're going to be late."

"Just five more minutes? Please?" I mumble into the pillow.

"I told you last night you should have gone to bed instead of staying up to read that spell book."

Oh yeah, that spell book! That was cool. It was about the root system and how everything, even humans, is connected to the earth. It even had meditations to use for healing flesh, which if I ever get back in good with the scoobies could certainly help out. I only managed to get halfway through it last night but I'll be able to read more today. The thought wakes me up and I sit up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

Giles steps inside the bedroom and yanks the covers off my body.


"Get up now," he tells me.

"I'm up. I'm up."

"Where the bloody hell are my shoes?"

"How would I know?" I tell him as I finally leave the bed and make my way to the bathroom. "Do I have time for a shower?"

"No," he tells me. "It's a half hour to our meeting and it takes 15 minutes to get there."

"Well can I at least brush my teeth and my hair?" I ask.

"If you go now and quit arguing? Yes," he says looking under the bed for his shoes.

"Which shoes are you looking for?" I call out as I walk through the house.

"My brown ones," he yells back.

"Check the hall closet," I shout back as I close the bathroom door. As I put the toothpaste on my brush I hear him yell a 'Thank you' and I have to grin. How the guy managed to survive before I got here is a mystery. I race along to finish up and come out in my robe. He's in the living room and gives me that 'Giles look' before he starts pointing at his watch.

"You're still not dressed?"

"Going now," I tell him as I walk back to the bedroom.

After I finish putting on my clothes I wonder if I should wait just a few extra minutes just for spite and to see if he starts making that clicking noise with his tongue when he's upset. Besides it's only a watchers council meeting. I'm not even a Slayer so why the hell should I be there? I figure I've given Giles enough grief and passive resistance isn't going to help either one of us. I put on my shoes and grab my coat as I exit.

"Hurry up Giles. We're gonna be late," I tell him with a smirk as I walk quickly out the door.


Quentin Travers. I'd forgot how much I dislike this man until I see him walking over to Giles and I with a smile. I could fake a smile like Giles is at this moment but why bother.

"You're early," he says as he walks over. I make sure to flash Giles a 'Willow look' in response. "Excellent. The council is assembled so we'll start right away."

We walking inside Mrs. Hagness' class room and I'm surprised to find her there. Uh oh! What'd I do now? This is certainly not good and I find myself standing closer to Giles. He must have picked up on it because he starts to lean down to me.

"It's alright," he says. "Don't worry."

"The council would like to ask you some questions Miss Rosenberg. Please have a seat," Travers tells me, pointing to a chair. Cautiously, I sit down. "It's our understanding from Mrs. Hagness that you've done extremely well in your studies here so far."

"Yeah, a regular four point 'o' er. What do you want Travers?" Wish this guy would cut to the chase.

He grins and looks to Giles. "She's got spirit. I'll give her that," he says.

Spirit. I don't have spirit. Quite the opposite. I have nothing left to lose. It's been over a month and Buffy still won't speak to me. No one at home does. Well that's not true. I've spoken to Xander once with a conversation no deeper than 'How's the weather?'. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Would I be ready to speak to them now if they called? I don't think I am. I don't think I'll ever be.

I watch as Travers turns back to me. "You're here today Miss Rosenberg because we'd like to advance your classes. Move you up and onto bigger things. In fact we'd like to make you part of the coven itself and not just a student."

"Why's that?"

"You've surpassed all your studies at this time. And as it turns out, you'll be needed at the Hellmouth sooner than we expected."

"I'm not ready to go back there. I'm not sure if I'll ever go back there," I tell him honestly.

"I understand you've had some difficult times recently and-."

"Difficult times? Let me tell you about my 'difficult times'. My lover died in my arms. I nearly killed my best friends with the Black Arts. Oh yeah and let's not forget the whole trying to end the world thing too…I'm not welcomed at the Hellmouth and I'm in no rush to get back there anytime soon."

"It wouldn't be soon. You still have a few weeks of training left and we feel-."

I give a sarcastic snort. "A few weeks of training? Most of your coven has studied years and I don't see you in a mad rush to send them any where near Sunnydale. Why do I get the cushy job?"

"You know the Slayer. How she thinks. How she works. You are also far more powerful than any current students. Perhaps even more powerful than some of our instructors who are part of the coven you're joining."

"Well at this point I'm not even on speaking terms with your Slayer. And it wasn't magics I was using. It was black arts and I'm trying to get away from that. I'm trying to learn to balance and now you want to throw me back in for your purposes. I don't think so Travers," I say as I rise. "Find yourself another lackey because it ain't me."

I'm almost to the door when I hear Giles call out my name making me stop. I turn to face him.

"Please hear them out?" It's not a command but a request. Why can I never say no to this man?…I know why. He loves me – unconditionally…And I feel the same for him, even after the Ripper tales he's been sharing with me.

"You've got two minutes," I tell Travers. He starts to open his mouth and I add, "For Giles. Not for you or you or you or you," I say pointing to a few other council members scattered about the room. "So speak quick."

"Something is coming to Sunnydale," Travers begins. "You've felt it. The coven's elders have felt it too. No other student has. You are the one we need. The one the Slayer needs-."

"Buffy," I stop him. "Her name is Buffy. Your Slayer has a name. Try using it once in awhile. Maybe it will help you remember she's human. Grant it a-a super human but still a human…Continue."

He licks his lips nervously and I have to admit I like the fact I'm making him squirm. "Buffy," he starts again, this time stressing her name, "is about to come up against something dangerous to the Slayer line. Something grander than any of us could imagine. She'll need everything at her disposal to face it."

"Oh right. Like when she turned 18 and you took her powers away while fighting a badass super Vamp? Oh wait! Or how about when she went up against brain sucking Glory but you wanted her to play 20 questions first before you'd tell her a damn thing? Forgive me for even THINKING IT, but I doubt highly that Buffy's best interests are in your heart Travers."

My sarcasm isn't going over well with the room. The council looks pissed with the exception of Giles who has a smirk on his face. He knows I’m telling the truth. The truth that he can't mention for fear of being cut out of the loop again. His eyes silently cheer me on.

"When Buffy falls another will take her place. We know this. We understand this. Perhaps that's something that you should learn too. Our primary focus is fighting the forces of darkness, not protecting an active Slayer. That's a watchers job - to give her what she needs to see her tasks are carried out. Mr. Giles has taught the Slay-Buffy…everything she needs to know. But in order to fight this darkness she'll need your powers."

"So your solution to the latest rising problem is to have one of the darkest of the dark witches at Buffy's side? A witch who doubts her course in life and whether she can control that darkness within herself? And you want her sitting right on the Hellmouth?…To borrow a Giles phrase - that makes you 'profoundly stupid'."

"As it stands right now…no, we don't want you there. We want you here, learning control, discovering a new outlet for your energy, to get you in touch with the true ways of the Wicca Religion. With your knowledge and aptitude we have no doubt that a few weeks is all you'll require before going back…Consider this Miss Rosenberg. How would you feel if the fate of Buffy and that of your friends rested in your hands but your fear stopped you from returning? What if they died like your lover because you weren't there to prevent it?"

I grin. "Sorry Travers but emotional blackmail won't work on me. And emotions aren't something I have much of at the moment aside of anger and despair. I'm not what you need right now."

"Right now you're not. But you will be. All the council is asking is that you consider it."

"Are we done now?" I ask as my hands move definitely to my hips.

"For now, yes," Travers answered.

"Good," I retort. "Giles? I'll be in the car."

With that, I leave the classroom without looking back.

Day 47

"Willow!" I turn to see Althenea come toward me, picking up her pace. "How are you? I haven't seen much of you since you've been in private sessions with the coven."

We start to walk side by side as I head to yet another tutorial. "Same ole. Same ole," I tell her. I see an inquisitive look. "American term. Means the same - not better but then again not worse. How about you? Find a new anchor yet?" I grin.

"Yeah Mary," she sighs.

"Condolences," I grin. And she follows suit.

"We're heading to the Techno Palace tonight. Want to come?"

"Techno Palace? A dance club?"

She nods.

"Well I dance like a Jewish, white girl," I grin. "I'm not sure if you'd want me stepping on your toes."

"I'm not much of a dancer myself to be honest. But it would be nice to just hang out for a while. We could catch up and you could tell me about your work at the coven."

I know I have to put the breaks on right now. "Look Althenea. I'm flattered really. But I'm not sure if I'm the kinda girl you want to be courting. To be totally honest, I'm a wreck and you deserve to spend your time on someone…who's not."

"Is this about what Mary said?" She doesn't wait for an answer. "Willow, I'm not looking for anything more than a friend. I don't have many friends here…Okay I have no friends here," she grins sadly. "They all think I'm going to make a pass at them or something and that's not the case. The only reason they asked me to go is because I was standing there and they felt they had to invite me too. It just would be nice to talk to someone who's…well…like me."

But I'm not like you, I think to myself. "Yes we both do the witchcraft thingy and we both have an attraction to the 'fairer sex' but…You're a good person Althenea. I can't say that I'm the same."

"I don't think that's true. You've done some harsh things yes but you're a good person too Willow. I can see it in your aura."

"Aura or not, I started using magics to help the people around me but at some point I used it to help myself. I put a spell on my girlfriend to make her forget a fight we had and nearly got us killed. I used magic for everything that I saw fit not to mention using it to hurt the people I love. Somewhere along the way, I lost what it means to be a true Wiccan and I'm paying the price. I don't want to drag you into that."

"Who said anything about 'dragging'? Look. A couple of drinks and a couple of dances. That's all I'm asking," she tells me. "Maybe you should stop focusing on all the wrong deeds you did and start moving toward forgiving yourself…I'm not going to push alright? The invitation is there. We'll be meeting at 7 tonight." I watch as she pulls out a piece of paper and writes something down before handing it to me. "That's the address. I hope to see you there but if not…maybe I'll catch you around again sometime."

I take the piece of paper. There's something about her…she reminds me of myself many years ago. It probably took everything she had to make the offer to me and against my better judgment I hear my voice saying, "Okay, I'll be there."

"Really? You mean it?"

"Yeah," I nod. "Maybe you're right. Maybe a night out of Giles place would do me good."

"Great! I'll see you there then…7pm."

"7 pm," I nod.

She smiles and waves goodbye as she turns around and walks back the other way. I look at the paper again and wonder if I just lost what's left of my mind I recently found.


"I'm going out tonight Giles. If that's okay, I mean?"

"Certainly. You're not a prisoner here," he tells me before taking a bit of his dinner.

I made sheppard's pie but without the pig guts or cows feet or whatever it is the yokels put in this stuff. I had to go into the city to actually get ground chuck. Yeah I'm a carnivore and damn proud of it I must say. Sure, it costs me a pretty penny but hey…I needed some real meat. I think I'm starting to have iron withdrawals. I dreamt of a Big Mac from Sunnydale last night because I think even the hamburgers over here are made with something other than old Bessie. But then again there's that big debate that the food back home is kangaroo meat but that's just a rumor. I know when I learned the DoubleMeat Palace served veggies I felt sooo cheated after all those years of thinking I was building my cholesterol levels. At least their fries were always greasy.

"Althenea asked me to meet at a club. Catch up on what's going on," I tell him.

"Oh really," he smirks. And I know what he's thinking.

"It's not a date," I insist. He continues to grin. "It's just a 'hey, how ya doin' get together thingy."

He chews but he doesn't lose his grin. Alright. Now he's starting to be annoying.

"What about you?" I ask turning the tables.

"What about me?" he replies.

"It's Saturday night. You shouldn't be sitting all alone. Don't you got a honey tucked away at some flat in London someplace?"

"No. No 'honey's' to speak of," he answers.

"Oh come on Giles. You're moderately young and quite handsome. I'm sure you could get a date."

"Thank you I think," he replies with a bewildered look. "A-Actually, I was seeing someone but it's a bit on again off again."

"Right now it's off I'm assuming?"

"I'm not sure. I haven't spoken to her recently."

"Well pick up the damn phone," I tell him. "Give her a call. You really need a life Giles and I refuse to be the reason you stay home."

"To be honest, I don't mind being home…I've wanted to look after you."

"Well I don’t think I need a nurse-maid. Hey! I know what! Why don't you call her tonight? Sure it's short notice and all but maybe she'd like to get together. You two could hook up. Meanwhile, I can go to the club and explain to Althenea repeatedly why any attraction to me is bad news."

"I don't think an attraction to you is bad news Willow. Too soon perhaps but not bad news."

"Says you…But let's look at my history. Xander – who didn't know I even existed romantically. Oz – werewolf. Enough said. Then Xander again but that ended with his girlfriend getting spiked on a collapsed staircase. Then Oz again who cheated on me and then nearly ate me and not in good way. Then Tara…" I trail off. I'm tempted to add 'she's dead because of me' but instead I stick some mashed potatoes in my mouth.

"It wasn't your fault," he says softly.

I set down my fork and shake my head. "How do you do that? How do you know exactly what I'm thinking?"

"I read it in your eyes," he replies softly.

"That's scary Giles."

"And you're being evasive," he retorts, finishing off the last of his dinner. I try not to grin. I am being evasive and I know he won't let me get away.

"She's not dead because of you Willow. It was just her time. Unfortunately you had to bear witness to it."

"I just keep thinking of…all kinds of things, you know? Like maybe…maybe if she'd waited just a few more days to come back to me. Maybe if I told her we should take things slow again and sent her back to the dorm. Maybe if I went over to the window when she mentioned that Xander and Buffy were making up I could have taken the shot. Maybe it wouldn't have killed me. Maybe I would have saw it and pushed her out of the way…Lots of maybe's huh?"

"Yes," he agrees, "but not one of them can hold you accountable for her death…You will move on at some point Willow. And you will find love again."

"Find love?" I snort. "I'm having a hell of a time finding me Giles let alone someone else."

"True," he nods. "But there will come a time when you realize your place and you'll accept affection again. It might take time and you might not feel worthy at first but don't let that stop you from trying. In fact…I'd like you to make another promise."

I sigh. "Another promise? I think I'm promised out Giles."

He grins. "Promise me that once you feel more grounded; once you realize your place in life, you'll allow yourself the chance to move on and love someone else."

"You're not hooking me up with Althenea are you?"

"Lord no," he chuckles. "I think it's too soon for you and overseas relationships rarely work. Believe me I know first hand…I mean later…somewhere down the road. You're too young to give up on loving someone and consider if the situation were reversed. Would you want Tara to spend the rest of her life lonely, mourning you?"

"Tara with another girl? If I were dead?"

He just nods.

"I'd want her to be celibate the rest of her life. Maybe join a convent." The tiniest of grins comes to my face when I think how ridiculous it sounds out loud.

He tries not to chuckle. "You don't really mean that, do you?"

Darn tootin' I think with a grin. That's my first reaction anyway but the longer I sit there the more I realize that no, I wouldn't. Feeling this way, this ache…I wouldn't wish it on anyone, especially Tara. And if the right girl did come along to offer her support, maybe someone to pick her up and dust her off…yeah, I would want her to move on.

"Well I wouldn't want her to forget about me," I said. In a quieter voice I add, "And I don't want to forget about her."

"She wouldn't. Not any more than you would her."

I think about it some more and start to nod. "Then yeah…Yeah I guess I would. She'd deserve to be happy and I guess if I wasn't the one around to make her happy then…Yeah I would want her to find somebody…Just as long as she wasn't prettier than me," I add with a grin. "I'm shallow alright?"

Giles doesn't hold back his laugh this time. He sighs and pats my hand. "It's good to see you coming around."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I ask him.

"You…As you might say you're getting 'Willowy' again. Little by little."

"Yeah well... It's odd, Giles. I know she's dead but somewhere in my mind I have this feeling I'm going to go home and she'll be there. Do you think that's odd?"

"I think it's totally logical. Just remember that the reality of her not being there will be painful. But that's okay. Baby steps after all."

"Oh yeah, I'm just full of baby steps," I tell him. Somehow my progress doesn't seem to be as speedy as I'd like.

"That's fine. No one's asking you to run a marathon."

"Nobody except the Watchers Council," I add sarcastically.

"They can sod off," Giles replies before taking a drink.

"Giles! Such language!" I say in mock shame. "How dare you speak so poorly of them? Especially after they bought me clothes and everything." He grins at my sarcasm.

"Told you everything had a price," he grinned.

"Well it's good to know my existence is worth a couple pairs of jeans and a few sweaters. I will admit however the leather bomber jacket is pretty cool but again…I'm not sure if it's worth my life."

"That's very optimistic of you. When you first got here your life wasn't worth living. I think you are making great strides Willow. Even if you don't see it."

"Maybe I am," I consider. "And I've been thinking a lot about what you've said. I've been going to the advanced classes. Listening to that little voice in my head like you said. Thinking about where I'm at, where I've been, where I'm going. I'm still clueless on most of it," I giggle before turning serious. "Nah…I'm getting there…Actually I was thinking…"

"About what?" he says as he gets up to rise off his empty plate.

"About what you said. About what my purpose was before Tara came along."

"Any ideas?"

"Yeah. Buffy."


I grin. "When I told Buffy I decided on Sunnydale U she could have done cartwheels. But then she realized what I would be 'throwing away'. She told me there were safer schools. Safer prisons actually," I chuckle as I remember the two of us lying on a blanket, talking about the future and our plans after graduation. The world was wide open to us back then. Funny how things changed in just a few short years.

"I told her that I wanted to help her fight the evil in the world. I wanted to be a Wiccan…And I think I still do Giles. I don't think that's changed. Well…the part about Buffy has changed. I don't think she wants me around and I don't blame her really."

"Maybe you should call her? Speak with her?"

"No," I answer quickly. "I just…I wouldn't know what to say. 'Sorry I kicked your ass and tried to kill you' just doesn't seem to work, ya know?"

"You have to speak to her at some point."

Why did Giles have to be so damn logical? It was pain in the ass sometimes.

"Yeah I know," I answer with a sigh. "Maybe after I get back to Sunnydale. If I am going to talk to her I'd like it to be face to face. She deserves that. Plus I have a better chance of getting my stuff out of her house before she gives me the boot."

"I don't think she'll do that."

"But you don't know that she won't, do you?"

Giles purses his lips. "Honestly I don't. She's asked about you when I've called over but…It's hard to say what she's really thinking. You've hurt her greatly but you have the chance at making amends."

"Well all I know is I'm not ready to see them. Any of them actually."

"Well keep up those baby steps. As you've said you will get there with time. There's no rush."

"Again…I mention the Council."

Giles grins. "This latest evil has them concerned. And they don't think the Slayer alone can handle it."

"Do I have to remind you too that the 'Slayer' has a name?"

"No," Giles grins. "I'm quite aware of it. Even lost my job because I had the 'love of a father' for her according the council. Thank god they didn't think it was another kind of love."

I chuckle and pick up my plate, taking it to the sink. "Don't worry about these," I tell him pointing at the dishes. "It won't be a long night and I'll do them when I get back."

"No arguments here," he answers.

"So are you gonna do it?"

"Do what?"

"Call your lady friend?"

He looks undecided.

"Oh come on! Do it! Do it!"

"You're really pushing this aren't you?"

"Yeah I am. You need a night out Giles. I'll be fine…So go. Have fun."

I look at my watch. It's 6 pm so I know I better start getting ready so I can catch the bus in time. He still looks unsure when I leave but after I start to change I can hear him on the phone and I grin. Guess he's not the only one who can give advice.


The bass is loud. The place is packed. And I'm starting to wonder if this was such a good idea. I wander through the crowd when I feel a tug on my arm.

"You made it!"

Althenea is beaming.

"Where's your friends?" I ask as I look around.

"What?" she says cocking an ear. It's so damn loud in here I know she won't be able to hear me. I nod back toward the bar and pull her along. It's a little quieter back here but not much.

"What did you say?" she asks again.

Our voices are still loud but at least we can be heard.

"I asked where your friends were."

"They're not my friends remember? But to answer your question, they left about 15 minutes ago. Said this place was dead even though we're elbow to elbow in here. I wanted to stay to see if you'd make it."

"I'm sorry," I apologize. "The transfer over here was running late."

"That's okay. Like I said, I really don't enjoy being with them anyway. I just thought it would be nice to get out."

The sound is already starting to get to me. "Well since it's just us, mind if we find a coffee shop or something a bit more quieter? I hate having to yell in your ear."

She nods and gives me a grin. She motions her head toward the exit and I follow her out.

The evening air is cool compared to the packed bar.

"Ahh," I say finally resting my eardrums as we walk along the street. "Much better."

"Not a party girl huh?"

"Not really. There's a club where I live. Called the Bronze. It's pretty cool and I like the music but it's not nearly as packed or as loud."

"There's a pub I know about. Some place none of the other girls will go."

"A dive bar?"

"A gay pub," she grins. "Wanna go. We can talk openly and actually talk instead of scream."

Gay for two years and never set foot in a gay bar. What the hell. "Okay, lead the way."

It's only a few blocks away. We walk inside and I'm relieved that she was right. Much quieter without the relentless bass ringing in my ears. A couple leave a pool table and Althenea asked if it's okay that we take over. She starts to rack the balls as a waitress comes over. She orders a gin and tonic and asks me what I'd like.

"Rum and Coke," I answer.

"You break," Althenea tells me.

I take off my jacket and rest it on a chair next to a nearby table as I pick out my stick from the wall. I'm actually pretty good at pool. It's got more to do with my physics knowledge than any actual skill.

"You're not gonna beat me too bad are you?" Althenea asked.

"I'll try to go easy on you," I tell her as I line up my shot.

I send the cue down the table at lightening speed, knocking in both a solid and strip.

"Call it," she says.

I check out the table. "Solids seem to be my best bet."

"Solids? You've got a stripe right by the pocket," she points.

"Yeah but I've got nowhere to go after I make the shot but if I do this," I say as I bounce the cue off the bumper sending a solid into the side pocket, "it lines me up for three more shots," I add as I point them out.

"Bloody Hell," she sighs. "You are good."

I give a small chuckle. "Nah just a major geek who likes physics, mathematics and a bunch of other boring stuff."

"That's not boring," Althenea replies. "Without people that understand that 'boring stuff' we'd all still be living in caves trying to create fire."

'It's good to know I lack the culinary finesse of a caveman.'

Xander's words from our beach trip come back to me and I have to smile. It was a great day…until I screwed it up with magic gone array, yet again. Sure I got the fire started for Xander but I didn't get the balance right and brought the rainstorm too. Up until that time it was a good day anyway.

Buffy and Riley were happy and in love. Tara was there although she refused to wear her two-piece bathing suit she looked yummy in. I remember telling her maybe it was better that she didn't wear it. It might be a bit awkward for my friends if I took her right there on the beach. She promised she'd make for not wearing it when we were back at her dorm room…She didn't disappoint.

For a split second I think that I can't wait to get home to see her. Instantly, I can feel my grin fall. She's not at home. She'll never come home again. No more dorms. No more cuddles. No more two-piece bathing suits. No more anything.

The waitress brings our drinks and Althenea pays her before I can. I try to give Althenea the money but she won't hear of it, saying it's my turn to make another shot. I stuff it back in my pocket with the insistence that the next round was on me.

By my forth round my shooting was crappy. My words were slurred. And I didn't seem to have a care in the world. Except when I thought about Tara. Althenea must have noticed it as we sat at the table.

"Tara again?" she asks.

I grin sadly. "It shows huh?"

"I wish I was good with words. I wish I could think of something to say to make you feel better."

I brush her off and reach for my glass, finishing it off. "You know maybe it's the booze talking but I wonder if I'm even gay. I wonder if I'll ever kiss another girl and if I do…How would it be?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean…Will I freak? Will I care enough about someone that I'd want to kiss them? Do you think T-Tara will be watching me, thinking 'That bitch doesn't even give a shit that I'm gone'? " My words sound slurred even in my own ears. "I made a promise to Giles tonight that someday I'd move on but. I can't let her be dead and if someone did come along…I mean how do I handle that? And how do you I know that I won't get another girl killed? Killed…like I killed Tara?"

"You didn't kill Tara," Althenea tells me. "Someone else shot her."

"But she died because she knew me. She died because she was in my bedroom…You know there's a part of me that thinks, every now and then, it's a dream. All of this. At some point I'm gonna wake up and she's gonna be right there beside me. She's gonna hold me. She's gonna shush me and tell me to relax. And when that doesn't work she'll make love to me and prove that she's still there. Flesh and blood. That's crazy huh?…I'm crazy, aren't I?"

"No," Althenea answers. "Sounds like you love her."

"She's my everything…She WAS my everything. Now she's worm food…And all the powers I had were useless. I couldn't save her. I tried but…mystical fuckin' death my ass…I should have been able to bring her back!"

I slam my glass back down on the table. I look to see if it shattered but it didn't. And if it did why should I care? Why do I always have to be the good fuckin' girl? Not breaking things. Making sure everything is okay. Trying to help everyone but myself. Why am I such a fuckin' mess yet try to make the world a tidy place to live in? And why am I still sitting in this pub?

I spent my life being a shadow. Ignored by my parents. Pining for Xander, my best bud, who loved every women in the world but me. Falling for a guy who's part animal and takes the first 'other' woman he's attracted to to bed. And then taking up with Tara who left me when things got too rough for her, only to kill her in the end. Why would I even want to put myself through that again? Giles promise be damned. This love shit is pointless.

I wish I could be like Faith. She didn't give a shit what anyone thought. She'd fuck 'em and leave 'em. No sorrows. No regrets. But not me…oh no, not me…I saddle myself with guilt from everyone around me. I stand tall…And then I crumble…But I keep getting back up, don't I? And for what? For who? Certainly not myself. It's always for everyone else. I'm Giles hacker. Buffy's big gun. Xander's confessionary. Dawn's surrogate 'father' and Anya's antagonist because let's face it - the woman's gotta have conflict in her life somewhere. She lives for it, craves it. It's her calling in life. When she couldn't dish out vengeance as a demon I was the perfect outlet.

"I need another drink," I tell Althenea.

"I think you've had enough," she says gently.

How could I have enough? I'm still conscious.

Reluctantly I agree. After all one more would be bad and I'm not a naughty girl, right? Oh sure, I go ballistic once in awhile, destroy everything around me but I always 'do the right thing' in the end. Old reliable. Reliability sucks. I literally slide off the bar stool and grab my coat.

"Let me take you home," Althenea tells me. "I've got a car back by the club."

"I'll take the bus again," I tell her.

"Right and forget where the bloody hell you're supposed to go? I think not. Mr. Giles and the coven would have my head."

"Be a shame," I tell her. "It is a pretty head."

Am I flirting with her? I can't tell. From the look on her face neither can she which is good. Lord, I know I'm drunk now.

I follow her outside and she helps me into her car. It's little car. Looks like a circus clown car and I chuckle to myself. Wonder if Bozo and Crusty are someplace in back? I turn around but there is no back. I give her directions and she says she thinks she can find it. We drive along in silence and when we finally arrive at Giles street I point out the house.

"There it is," I tell her.

"Are you sure?" she asks. "I don't want to leave you in the middle of nowhere."

"I know all the houses in this country look the same," I tease her. "But this is it. That's Giles car over there," I say pointing again. "Anyway, thanks for the ride," I tell her.

I'm not sure how it happened but she leans over and she kisses me softly on the lips. She pulls back slowly with a smile. "I'm not good with words like I said. But maybe that helped. Now you can say you've kissed another girl."

"Not quite what I meant," I tell her.

"I know. But it's a start." Her grin is warm and I can't help but smile too. "…See you around the coven?" she adds cheerfully.

"Oh yeah," I sigh. "Like it or not I'll be there."

I open the door and give a wave before shutting the door and staggering up the cobblestone path to Giles door. She's still watching even after I unlock the door with the key Giles gave me. Probably wants to be sure I'm at the right place. She's a sweet kid. Okay she's only two years younger than me but I've got lifetimes on her at this point. I wave again as I walk inside shutting and locking the door behind me.

"Ah, you're home," Giles says walking from the kitchen into his living area. He's got some soft music on, a fire going and a glass of wine in his hand. What a nice little seductive lair he's got here. Maybe I returned too soon?

"Should I come back?" I ask. "Lady friend still here?"

At first he looks confused before starting to chatter. "Oh that. No…We had dinner but I'm alone now. Thought I'd just do some reading tonight," he says as he walks and sits down on the sofa.

He looks good. Damn good. Dockers and a blue crewneck sweater. Tweed Giles was always too stuffy but dressed down Giles always looked hot, especially when he played guitar. Goddess above! I am drunk. I'm having issues all over again. Oh, shit! Fuck the issues. Fuck being the good girl.

He's reading as I approach. I take my jacket off and let it fall to the floor. The sound makes him look up and I'm standing above him. Carefully I take the book from his hand. I know as I reach out it has to be one of the two books I see before my blurry eyes. I toss it next to him on the sofa and pull the wine glass from his hand. I take a drink and rest it on the small end table as I straddle his hips. Gently, I pull the glasses from his face and I hear him nervously clear his throat.

"Wi-Willow? Wha-What are you doing?"

What am I doing? That's a good question...I'm sick of being the good girl that's what I'm doing. I'm sick of always doing the right thing.

"Whatever you want me to do," I tell him before I lean down, letting my lips snare his. I feel his hands shoot to my arms in protest yet that doesn't stop him from returning the kiss and silently I'm pleased. I pull back slightly, tilting my head to the other side, to reclaim his lips. I'm not quick enough because there's enough of a lapse that he pushes back and away from me.

"Are you drunk?" he asks me.

"Just a little," I confess. Okay it wasn't a confession. It was a lie. I'm a lot drunk.

He gives me that goddamn disapproving glare. Like he's so righteous. God that fucking annoys the shit out of me. I reach down and stroke the zipper of his Dockers. I grin when I feel his erection. I start to stroke him again but he grabs my hand.

"Don't," he tells me.

"Don't? Obviously you're having fun," I chuckle.

His sigh is heavy and I lean over again and begin nipping at his earlobe. "Dear Lord," he says gently. I giggle softly.

"Come on Giles. Let the Ripper come out and play," I whisper in his ear.

He moans and I feel his hands grip onto my denim clad thighs. His breaths grow more rapid with each passing second.

"Look, y-you have to stop this," he tells me.

"Don't wanna stop," I answer as my hands work their way back to his waistband. I start to undo the button. "All the advantages of being married minus one," I whisper. "You know what a perfectionist I am. I gotta have a perfect score."

He groans and I feel him rise up - his lips capturing my neck, his fingers burying themselves in my hair. Before I know it he shoves the book to the floor and my back is lying against the sofa. I should feel something right? Some fireworks? Some wetness? Nope. Nothing. Dry as a bone. I know the peck from Althenea did more for me than what I'm feeling at this moment. And to be honest it didn't do much at all. Yes you are really gay Will. No doubt about it.

I look up to see that he's leaning over me but the look in his eyes isn't raw passion that I was expecting. It's compassion.

"No," he says softly. "I won't do it."

I watch him move away quickly, darting off the sofa.

I suddenly realized he was only trying to divert my attention long enough to get away. Sure his body reacted to my touch but…Let's face it…He might be Giles but he's still a man. And Giles is a smart man alright. Smarter than me still. He gave me what I wanted as a diversion.

I suddenly realize why I continue to be the good girl. Being the bad girl is just too painfully embarrassing and it's just not…me. I haul myself into a sitting position, resting on my elbows as I watch him pace the small room.

"I'm sorry Giles," I begin.

"Well you're still grieving Willow. You're evaluating everything in your life. And perhaps this is just one of the waters that you wanted to test. You knew you'd be safe with me and…God I need another drink."

I watch Giles dart to the kitchen. He comes back in chugging on the wine bottle, not opting for a glass. I start to laugh. I can't help it.

"This is not funny," he tells me.

"Are you really sure you wanna down that bottle?" I ask. "If we're both drunk then who knows what might happen."

He was the voice of reason after all but if that voice is gone… Quickly he stops, nearly choking in the process.

"You're right," he nods putting the bottle down. "You're absolutely right." He continues to pace again.

"Giles I'm sorry," I try to begin again.

"No, I'm sorry Willow. I should have never…No. You're drunk and I…You…No. It's entirely my fault."

I grin at his babbling. "You're fault? So you've always had lusty feelings for me?" I ask, already know what he'll say.

"No! Good gracious no!" he replies.

"Not many men have. Good thing I realized I’m still gay huh?" I tell him as I sit up, feeling a bit defeated.

He stops his pacing and comes to kneel in front of me.

"That's not what I meant Willow. You're a very beautiful, young woman. Emphasis on the word young…And yes I…reacted…but any love I'll ever feel is strictly platonic…Well maybe 'strictly' is too strong a word. After all I did consider it if only for a split second but I would never-."

I put a finger over his lips to stop him. "I get it Giles so stop apologizing. I came on to you remember?"

"Well, yes I remember and truth be told I'd like to forget…but-."

"But nothing," I tell him. "Let's just go to bed and call it a night. I promise I'll keep my hands to myself. And this will be our little secret."

I watch him nod. "You go on ahead. I'm going to stay up a bit longer."

"Are we…okay Giles?"

"We're fine Willow. Just sleep it off."

Suddenly I feel very tired and going to sleep does sound like the best option. "Okay. Goodnight Giles."

"Goodnight Willow."


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV |



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