“I love you.” Xander said as he stepped closer.
“Stop. “ Willow said weakly, tears starting to fall. Xander got right up to her, allowing his friend to hit him with her fists. Xander just stood there and takes it and after a moment she stopped hitting him and began to sob. She fell to her knees. Xander knelt with her, wrapping his arms around her as she sobbed.
“I love you.” Xander said softly holding her tightly as the veins faded from her face and her hair returned to its usual red.
After almost an hour of crying, Willow’s sobs turned into hiccups. Xander rubbed her back muttering soothing sounds until they faded. When Willow was finally quiet, Xander helped his friend to her feet and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. He lead her slowly back to Buffy’s house.
When the pair reached the door, Xander opened the door and led Willow in. The first thing they heard as they made their way into the living room was Giles’s voice speaking in a hushed tone.
Xander, ignoring everyone, led Willow to the loveseat and gave her a gentle push to sit down. He looked up when the redhead was sitting on the loveseat. He took in his friends faces; they all had various combinations of sorrow, sympathy, relief and mistrust on them.
“Anya, would you please get me some tea?” He asked softly as he turned towards the hall.
The former vengeance demon nodded and made her way to the kitchen.
When she brought the tea back she saw Xander tucking a blanket around Willow. She handed the cup to Xander who smiled his thanks and gave the cup to Willow. “Drink that up.” He said soothingly.
Willow cradled the tea, allowing the warmth of the cup seep into her hands, the occasional tear running down her face unnoticed. Finally she did as bidden and sipped at the warm liquid.
“Absolutely not.” Giles growled before hanging the phone up.
Giles looked at solemn group gathered in Buffy’s living room. “That was the council, they want me to bring Willow to them to ‘take care of.’”
Willow paid no heed to what the watcher said, her attention soley focused on the cup of tea.
Xander’s eyes narrowed. “No!”
“She was trying to end the world,” Dawn whispered hesidently, “but she’s our friend… that doesn’t seem right.”
Giles nodded. “That was an unexpected side effect of the dose of pure white magick she absorbed from me.” He said. “The coven that lended me the magick have agreed to take her in and get her grounded, and I had planned to take her to England so they could help her, but with the council’s wishes that’s no longer possible.” He said.
“What else can we do?” Buffy asked
Giles removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. “We won’t let them take her.” He stated firmly. “Unfortunatly, its unsafe for her to remain here. The hellmouth will tempt her and the council would easily find her here… it would be safer to hide her elsewhere.” He said.
“Los Angeles…” Buffy said after a while. “Perhaps Angel might help.” She said shooting a wairly glance at Xander.
Xander surprisingly said nothing about Angel, although his mouth thinned slightly.
“Giles looked at the gathered youngsters. “Its an idea… while I call him, please try to think of other ideas, just incase it doesn’t work out.” He said as he removed a small book out of his pocket and flicked through it until he found Angel’s number. He listened to the phone ring, and when it picked up he tuned out his young friends.
“Angel Investigations, we help the helpless.”
“May I please speak to Angel.” Giles asked unable to place the voice.
“Certainly.” A few moments later, Giles heard Angel’s voice on the other end.
“Angel, this is Giles.” He said as calm as possible.
“Rupert, how may I help you?” Angel asked curious to know why the watcher had called.
“The council wants Willow dead-” He started
“Why? Willow couldn’t have done anything wrong.” The vampire said surprised.
“I assume you don’t know about Willow’s magick problems?” he asked, and without waiting for an answer continued on. “Willow’s girlfriend was murdered and in a fit of pain, anger and vengence turned to black magic to avenge her. The magick eventually took over and she tried to end the world, Xander was able to talk her out of it, but the council found out and wants to kill her.”
“Oh.” Angel said. “Its too dangerous right now for me to watch her, but I do have a temporary solution. However I don’t think you’ll like it.”
Giles let out a sigh. “I doubt I’ll like many solutions, but right now I’m grasphing at staws, what is it?”
“Alright, but please don’t interupt me.” Angel said, waiting for an affirmative sound before he continued. “Some of the Vampire Council is currently visiting for a few months, its not an ideal solution, but I can arrange for Willow to be a temporary Pomme de Sang for one of the Vampires.” He said. “Of them, I would trust Asher the most, he’s of a bloodline that like to pammer their human servants, pets and Pomme de Sangs, and he might be able to help with Willow’s grief, after all he has suffered a similar painful loss of a loved one.” He said. “And the Vampire council would protect her from the Watcher’s council, because she would be acting as a Pomme de Sang and they are very strict about harm coming to Pomme de Sangs, and also just to spite the Watcher’s council.”
Giles was silent for a long time. “I don’t like that at all, Angel.” He said.
“Neither do I, but it’s the only thing I can think of in such a short time. If you can think of anything else, that wonderful, but I’ll go start negotiating for it just in case.”
“Alright.” Giles said resigned. “I hope we can come up with another solution though.”
“Me too. Good luck.” Angel said before hanging up.
Giles put the phone down. He turned to the Scoobies and explained what Angel had said. He answered ther questions and concerns and assured them, that Angel’s plan was a last resort.
After several hours and still no better plan the group finally decided to take Angel up on his offer, until a better solution could be found.
When everything had been arranged, Willow and Xander drove to LA to meet Angel.
When they arrived, Angel was waiting for them. Angel and Xander exchanged words. When the young man was satisfied that Angel wouldn’t let harm come to Willow while he was there, Xander gave his best friend a hug and reminded her to call him if she needed some one to talk to and then left, reluctant, but knowing he needed to return to Sunndale to make sure the Watcher Council was still out of the loop.
Angel led Willow to a bed room. “This is where you will be staying Willow.” He said kindly. “I’m sorry to here about Tara, and I am sorry that the only thing we could come up with was you acting as a Pomme de Sang.” He said. “Why don’t you take a nap and after you get some sleep I’ll tell you more about what will happen and about Asher.” He said
Willow gave him a teary smile. “I know.” She whispered. “Thank you.”
Angel nodded and dtepped out, closing the door some to give Willow privacy, but leaving it ajar to make it easier for him to keep his senses on her to make sure she didn’t do anything foolish.
A couple days later, Angel and Asher knocked on Willow’s door. When Willow gave a soft “come in,” the two vampires entered her oom.
“Willow this is Asher, and you will be acting as his Pomme de Sang while he is in this city.” Angel said softly to the emotionally damged witch, and then in a much sterner voice he turned to Asher. “Asher this is Willow, whom I have spoken to you about earlier. Remember if you you harm her in any way, I will make the torture those priests gave you seem like foreplay.”
Asher nodded and when Angel was satisifed he gave a final nod to them and stepped out.
“Come here my ma petite fleur triste.” Asher whispered as he took a step towards the bed where Willow huddled, looking so small and pale against the red silk sheets.
When Willow just blinked at the vampire, emotional pain radiating off her, the scarred vampire sat on the edge of the bed and murmmered in French until she relaxed. He reached a hand out and smoothed her hair. After several minutes he lifted her into his lap, still murmmering soothingly. He brushed the hair of her neck and nuzzled it slightly.
Willow closed her eyes as she felt the fangs pierce the pale flesh of her neck. The feelings the feeding invoked were amazing, easily rivaling the feeling of a magick high. She knew that once the feeding euphoria faded that she would once again wallow in guilt and disgust at herself. Soon the pleasure of the bite pushed the thoughts out of her mind.
After Asher pulled away, she fell into an uneasy sleep. When she woke a few hours later, Asher looked at her kindly, the one half of his face still hidden in shadows. “Go to the bathroom la petite, take a bubble bath, and then we’ll speak.”
Willow nodded. “Alright sir.” She said remembering Angel’s warning to be polite.
“You may call me Asher, jeune Saule.” He said not unkindly recalling what Angelus had told him about the witch.
Willow nodded and shyly walked towards the bathroom. She started the bathwater and then hoisted herself onto the porcelain counter of the sink. She looked in the mirror thoughtfully. The bite on her neck was little more than a pair of crimson smears. It hadn’t bean painful, in fact it had been almost joyful. Strange, she thought, that Harmony’s bite had been so painful and yet had taken place in a relatively present period of her life when compared to the present, and the bite she had just received had be so pleasant and in her most painful stage of life such far.
She laughed slightly, an unhappy sound. So strange her life seemed, she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that she, one of the original Scoobies who had dedicated her life to fighting against the forces of darkness had been reduced to nothing more than a vampire’s whore (as temporary as it might be)—oh how the mighty have fallen.
The invisible worm
That flies in the night
In the howling storm
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy
- 'The Sick Rose' by William Blake