Purity & Insanity

FanFiction Archive

Bonds of Soul and Demon - Restless Spirits

Willow hadn't been around her friends very much over the past few days. They were still convinced that there was something going on between her and Spike. She knew better, but they weren't listening. She had been given another book of poetry, with more pictures of her tucked into the pages. There had also been some nice perfumed oil that smelled of Sandalwood that had found it's way to her desk, with a crimson silk ribbon around the bottle.

She was getting the oddest feeling about the school lately. She kept feeling like there was something wrong, someone watching her. She had been staying late at the computer lab, grading the computer projects that the students had turned in. Occasionally, she was certain that she heard voices from the hallway, always at one particular spot. HE was angry that SHE was leaving him, pleading with her to stay, angry that she would go. Willow had no idea who the voices belonged to, every time she looked the corner was empty.

It was still troubling her when she went to sleep that night. She found herself sitting on a couch covered with dark brown leather. The Master was giving orders to a group of minions, ordering them to begin packing for a major move. The minions seemed unable to see her. After they had all left, he turned towards Willow and smiled.

"Hello daughter. What has been troubling you? If it's the Slayer again, we can always arrange to get rid of her." His voice was calm, as if the life or death of a slayer was meaningless to him. He sat in a large chair that matched the couch.

Willow chewed on her lip as she thought about his question. If this was in fact only a dream, the whole set up would merely let her subconcious sift her memories for information. If she was in fact talking to the spirit of the now dead master, if he had welcomed her to the Order of Aurelius, she had bigger concerns than talking to the ghost of a dead vampire.

"I keep hearing voices at the school. Not when it's busy, and all the students are crowding the halls, but later. When I'm sitting in the computer lab chacking programs, I hear these voices, a man and a woman. She's upset, and afraid, and she's telling him that she's breaking up with him, that they're over. At first, he's sad, begging her not to leave him. Then, he gets angry, and he's screaming at her. Nobody's ever there when I look." Willow looked at the Master, seeing that he was listening to her.

"It keeps happening, so it wasn't just one night with not enough sleep. What I don't know is why I hear the voices. Is the school haunted? Did somebody sneak in a radio that keeps playing a drama program over and over? Not knowing what's happening is frustrating."

"Is that the only thing bothering you? Or just the easiest one to blame your troubles on?" He was smiling, confident that there was more on her mind. His voice was not mocking, only concerned, as if he were a parent talking to a beloved child.

"Angelus, you, all of this. I keep dreaming about you, and your family. I don't understand it. It's a bit freaky." Willow looked at him, her expression between amused and worried. "Are you really here, or am I just dreaming the wierdest mental support group ever? If this is real, sort of, why am I talking to you, I mean, you're dead, and Buffy smashed your bones with a hammer. I just don't understand."

He smiled at her, as if she were a student that had just asked an excellent question. "You are now a part of the Order of Aurelius. The pendant on your necklace was made long ago, as a mark and seal of the family. When your blood fell on the stone, it bound you to the family. You are one of us now, and as long as you wear the seal, our spirits, our memories can offer you guidance and support. Technically, yes, I am dead and gone from the waking world. Spirits are not so easy to get rid of as that. You are speaking to a reflection of me, as real as your past. What I know, I can choose to talk about with you. You see me like this" he gestured at the room around them "so that your mind will have a reference. The images will come in a form you can cope with."

"Now, as for the possibility of ghosts in your school.. I suggest that you learn if there were any particularly sudden deaths of a man and a woman, a pair that fit the voices killed at the school. Perhaps search for a place a radio could have been hidden as well."


Willow woke up the next morning. She had dreamed of the Master, and talked about the voices at the school. That was part of what had caused her to decide on her course of action. She would go to school early, and search the area for a radio, or speaker of some sort. It would be best to rule out any sort of mechanical cause for what was going on. Looking up the history of the school to see if there had been any double murders or maybe a murder/suicide in the past would be useful as well.

She carefully searched the section of hallway, determining that there was no radio. There didn't appear to be any speakers or microphones, and the drama club met on the other side of the school. That told Willow that the source of the voices weren't the drama kids, nor a radio set up and left. Either somebody was going to the hall and trying to freak people out, or there was something supernatural at work.

Willow was not expecting lunch to be interrupted by an argueing couple getting out of hand during the lunch period. Somehow, the guy, one of the juniors on the basketball team, had produced a gun, and shot his girlfriend in the chest. Julia was currently in the hospital in serious condition, but expected to recover. Matt was being held in jail on assault charges, and everyone was still trying to figure out how he had got the gun into the school. Other people were trying to figure out where the gun had gone after the shooting. There had undeniably been a gun, but it was gone now.

Willow didn't recall hearing anything to indicate that Matt was the sort to be carrying a gun,let alone to school, and he'd never had a reputation for being dangerous. The thing that really gave Wilow a chilly prickling feeling was that they had been arguing in that corner, the spot that Willow had been hearing the voices from. Witnesses to the fight said that Julie had told Matt she was breaking up with him, and when she tried to walk away, he shot her. She had fallen to the floor, blood forming a crimson pool around her, and Matt had been about to turn the gun on himself when a few of the guys from the football team had tackled him. The gun had vanished in the confusion.

It was definately time to investigate the past of Sunnydale High as a crime sight. At the very least, it should turn up with some colorful things.


Willow had finished checking the next group of assigned programs, and had decided to stay in the computer lab to try to look up some of the history of the High School. If there had been any unusual events that could have caused the ghosts, it would have been in the paper. So, she had began the tedious mess of searching through back issues of the Sunnydale paper in hopes of finding something. She was searching, not wholely certain what she was seeking, but she knew that she would know it when she found it. It would be something dramatic, and there should be a reference to guns, based on what had happened. Willow was convinced that there were two ghosts haunting that spot, that He had somehow shot Her, and then himself. They were posessing people, and repeating their actions. If Willow wanted to be able to do anything about it, she would probably need their names, or at least more than a general what.

She was so busy searching through back issues of the paper that she didn't notice the voices start whispering again. When they were screaming, she noticed. The man's voice sounded almost familiar... Feeling a sudden dreadful knowledge of what would happen, Willow darted to the teacher's lounge, which had a phone, and immediately called 911. She told them that there were two people screaming at each other, and she had seen a gun. The lounge was close enough that the sound of the gunshot carried over the phone to the ears of the operator.

Willow dropped the phone, and ran back to the corridor. Several other people had started to gather there. There were several teachers, Giles,and some of the athletes that had been staying after school for practice. She could regocnize one of the cheerleaders, Tiffany, staring at her hands in horrified shock. Her boyfriend Jack was on the floor, bleeding from his shoulder, glassy eyed with shock.

There was no sign of a gun.

Willow caught Giles eyes, and tried to convey the need to speak with him privately. They managed to meet in the library, which was empty. Giles looked quite disturbed, and poured himself a cup of tea, and then offered one to Willow.

"That was a most unsettling scene. I can't imagine why she would have shot that young man. Willow, do you have any idea what happened to the gun? There seems to be a sudden rash of shootings lately." Giles sounded a bit rattled.

"Actually, I have a theory about that, Giles." Willow sipped her tea, wrapping her hands around the hot cup in an effort to ward of the chill that had crept into her spine from her grim thoughts. "I think we're dealing with a pair of ghosts. He had and arguement with Her about Her wanting to leave him, and He shot her. Then, He was so upset that He killed himself. Somehow, they've gained the ability to posess people, and they're re-enacting their death."

"Dear God, are you certain?" Giles looked appalled and intregued by the implications.

"Fairly. I keep hearing voices there. Theres a man, and it starts with him begging his girlfriend not to leave him. She's insistant though, and then he gets angry and screams at her to stay with him. Then there's sobbing, and I think apologies, and everything fades out. It's kind of distorted most of the time, and at first, I wasn't certain that I was really hearing someting. I thought maybe it was a radio, or the drama club or something like that." She shuddered slightly, and sipped her tea again. "I checked, and the drama club only meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they're working on a bit of a Cats, and you can't hear them from the computer lab when they rehearse. So I looked for a radio, or a speaker, or some other form of technological explanation, and found nothing."

"Giles, the words they were shouting are the same ones I keep hearing from the computer lab. The same words, over and over. I'm just really glad that so far nobody's died from this. I think... I think the gun's the one he used, or a memory of it. It's real enough to be shot with, but it's gone after the event is over." Willow was a bit pale herself, contemplating the whole matter.

"I've been looking into the past of the school, I think if we want to get rid of the ghost, we might need to know who they are, or were. Giles, do they cover what verb tense applies to ghosts in your Watcher's training? umm I think we probably need to know what happened before we can send them on. At the very least, it makes me feel like i'm trying to do something." Willow sounded nervous, and worried. Vampires she knew how to deal with, at least a little. She knew how to find what she needed on demons. Ghosts were new.

"Actualy, that sounds very logical. We most likely need to know what happened before we can help them to ah move on, as it were. I will help you try to find the information. Most likely, there is something more required than simple proximity to the point of death to enable the spirits to posess the poeple. Perhaps if we could determine the common factors, that will be of assistance as well." Giles was forming a plan. Plans always made him feel better. He might not have control of the situation, but a plan gave him direction.


Angelus was feeling puzzled and frustrated. Willow had been here, in his house, in his arms the night she had asked him to help destroy He Who Hunts. She had been gone when he got back, and she had not returned to him. He had to see her agian, had to understand why she had fled from him. Surely she felt the same attraction to him as he felt for her? There had certainly been interest from her when they had kissed.

He had to find her. Only Willow could satisfy the cravings he had, to touch her, taste her, to make her his very own mate for all time. But she wasn't here. She wasn't here and he was starting to get impatient. He would simply have to go find her.

His lips curved into a sensuous smile. Yes, he would find Willow and remind her of everything that he had to offer her. Picking up the small box containing his latest gift for her, he swept out the door, headed towards Willow's home. He could pick her up some flowers on the way.

Willow wasn't at her house, which was somewhat frustrating. He left her the large bouquet of flowers, with tiger lilies and daisies and some cheerful little yellow things he didn't remember the name of, sitting on the small table beside her bed. He saw the volume of poetry that he had given her sitting there, with a scrap of green ribbon marking a place nearly halfway through the book.

Seeing unmistakable evidence that she had like his gifts, he smiled. It was reasurring that she liked them, it had been so long since he had actually tried to win the affections of a mortal that he had worried he wouldn't remember the right way to go about it. It didn't seem like he was doing to terrible at it, but patience was not his virtue.

Where would Willow be if she wasn't at her house? The most likely place would be the school, helping to research some new menace to Sunnydale. Really, you'd think that the various demons would learn, but the challenge probably only made it seem more exciting. Not that he'd mind if the Slayer were killed, but something might bother Willow. Well, he knew where the school was, and would have no difficulty searching for her inside the building.

He moved quietly down the halls, his senses alert for possible danger. It was possible that the Slayer might be here, although she had never been particularly good at sensing the souled version of him. It would be simplest to avoid her. The library was quiet, and when he slipped inside to double check, he only saw Rupert Giles, busily searching through a few thick volumes.

Curious. There was definitely something troubling the Watcher, but the Slayer was nowhere nearby, and there was no indication that there had been a research session with everyone. Hmmm Willow wasn't in the library. Where else could she be...

He finally located her in the computer classroom. She was using one of the computers, and with an odd twinge, he realized that it was the same one that the gypsy woman had used. She appeared to be entirely focused on something, frowning as she looked at the screen.

Smiling with anticipation, he slowly moved towards her, keeping his footsteps as soft as possible. He managed to get around behind Willow without her showing any signs of noticing. He placed on hand on her shoulder, and spoke into the quiet of the room. "Did you miss me?"

Willow jumped, clearly startled by his words. She hadn't noticed him then. "Ahh Angelus! You startled me." She was breathing fast, and turned in her chair to face him.

He smiled at Willow. While she had definately been startled, she didn't look upset to see him. "You went away and didn't come back. I had to find out why." His voice was practically a purr.

Willow felt a pleasant shiver run through her, chasing some of the chill away. One of her hands came to rest on top of his, her thumb rubbing over the back of his. "I had a sudden case of nerves and logic. I mean, there's the whole colorful past you have, and Buffy'll want to kill us both when she finds out about this, and why would someone as gorgeous as you want me anyhow and.." In her state of nervous excitement, Willow had started to babble.

While Angelus thought it was sweet, he didn't want to hear her explain all the reasons why she worried about their future. He pulled her up from the chair and kissed her, intent on showing her just how much he had missed her. He held her close enough that their bodies were in continuous contact, wanting to be as close to her as he could possibly be.

He kissed her breathless, one arm wrapped around her back to hold her to him, one hand running through her silky hair. One of willow's hands had reached up, running her fingers over his brwo and cheek, her eyes wide and delighted. Her other hand rested on his arm, gently rubbing over his muscle, or possibly the silk of his shirt, a dark red that reminded him a bit of blood.

He kissed her again, and when she finally needed to gasp desparately for air, he moved from her lips, kissing his way over her cheek, his breath causing her ear to feel tingly and her stomach to flutter. He then changed directions, kissing down along the side of her throat, nibbling slightly over her pulse. Willow clung to him, her knees weak.

There was a sudden crash of thunder outside, startling them both, and interrupting Angelus' line of kisses. At some point, his human features had changed, giving way to his vampiric face, and when he jumped, he drew a thin line of blood on Willow's throat.

After they stood a few moments, blinking in surprise from the thunder, he leaned back over, and slowly licked the trickle of blood off her neck. "Only pleasure, my Willow. I will only bring you pleasure. But, I missed you. Don't just disappear like that again?" His voice was husky with passion, and he didn't even realize how close to pleading his tone actually was.

Willow was a bit dazed from his attentions. "wow...if that's how you let me know you missed me... wow. pleasure good... umm. Sentances. right. I missed you to, and pleasure sounds... not like something to be explored here in the computer room."


What Angelus didn't realize was that Drucilla was incredibly jealous and posessive of him. The fact that he left her alone with Spike so that he could pursue his courting of Willow, whom Dru called the little tree, infuritared her. Dru had decided that the little tree was her rival for the affections of her Daddy. That was why she had decided that the little tree must be cut down. She planned to kill Willow, on the plan that with the tree gone, her Daddy would return to her.

She had left the mansion that night, intending to follow Angelus and learn where the little tree lived. That way, she could kill her when she left the sanctuary of her home. She had to follow at a distance, so her Daddy wouldn't hear her. When he moved on to the school, she followed, stopping briefly along the way to grab a quick bite to eat. Dru didn't realize that Spike was following her. She was so used to him being around, protecting her from everything that she no longer noticed the feeling of his presence.

Spike had realized that Dru was angry about Willow. He had known for years that she was obsessed with Angelus, and wanted her Daddy. While he was delighted that when Angelus had returned, he hadn't brought the dark haired vampiress back into his bed, he also knew how much it had infuriated Dru. He had a feeling that Dru might try to do something drastic. That was why he had followed her out of the mansion.

Spike had a bad feeling about Dru's motivation. He was also getting incredibly irritated with the whole situation. He had catered to her every whim for over a century, giving her any gift she asked for: jewelry, pretty dresses with pretty girls in them, flowers, porcelain dolls, perfumes. He had done everything for her, even risking his own life to save her from that angry mob in Prague. She repaid his devotion by lusting after her sire, obsessing and trying to plot her way into Angelus' bed. Spike was no more than a consolation prize to her, and it was getting to be just too much.

Now, Dru was trying to find a way to kill Willow. He'd met her, talked to her, and thought that Willow seemed to a real sweet girl. She was lovely, although redheads had never been his preference, very intelligent, and perceptive. She had courage, and a definate inner strength. He liked Willow, and thought that she would be good for Angelus.

That meant he'd best make certain that Dru didn't kill Willow before Angelus could bring her into the family. He watched as the woman that had been his dark goddess for over a century moved down the street, her flowing white dress and dark hair fluttering in the wind, making him have the unexpectedly poetic thought that she was like a lost soul, seeking the one thing she thought she could depend on. Poetic as the image was, it didn't help Spike's mood any at all.

The sky was filled with dark storm clouds, and the air smelled of a building electrical charge, but no rain. There would be a lightning storm soon, the sort that could start massive fires if a place were dry. Spike had a feeling that something signifigant would happen tonight. He rather doubted that it would be anything good.

As soon as Spike stepped through the doors of the high school, he felt an icy chill of foreboding run down his spine. There would be trouble here tonight. Not vampires or demons, or even Slayer trouble, no, this would be something else. It would be something elusive and supernatural, the sort of thing you couldn't fight. He only hoped he'd survive this night in one piece.


"What were you looking for anyhow? Before I distracted you that is... Not that you seemed to be objecting." Angelus smiled at Willow, one hand still playing with a lock of her hair.

Willow looked at him, dressed in silk and leather, smiling at her, a trace of her blood still on the corner of his mouth and smiled. He looked amazingly sexy, giving her this urge to just... well, that was entirely beside the point. "I'm pretty sure the school has a pair of ghosts. They've been possessing people and reenacting their deaths, and the people they've possessed are getting hurt, badly. I want to try to find a way to help them go before they get someone killed. That's what I've been doing here. I'm checking the back issues of the Sunnydale paper for headlines about a double murder or a murder suicide here at the school."

"Ahhh, let me guess. Giles is also looking for information? I looked for you in the library," Willow gasped in surprise and concern, prompting another smile from Angelus. "Don't worry, my Willow. Giles didn't see me, but he had a pile of thick books. Probably focusing on more what to do when you know who they were." Angelus nodded thoughtfully, remembering the things Angel had learned about the watcher.

Willow's computer beeped, prompting her to look at the screen. Angelus stood behind her, massaging her shoulders with his strong hands. "Oh, yeah, there's a knot right there... umm I think we found them. Look, 'Murder-Suicide Baffles Town', that must be them. I'd best go tell Giles about this." Willow tapped a button, printing the article out so that she could take it with her.

Picking up the paper that the article had printed out on, Willow smiled at Angelus. She walked out the door, headed down the hallway towards the library. She shivered suddenly as she crossed the section of hall that had been the site of the occurances. Angelus saunted after her, admiring his Willow, and mentally listing her wonderful traits. He followed her, having an unsettling feeling that something would happen tonight, something that would endanger his Willow. He waited outside the doors to the library, listening carefully to her conversation with Giles.

He was cetain that the Watcher wouldn't trust him. Probably think he was an evil menace, out to cause some extrememly memoriable or violent chaos. Maybe he blamed Angelus for the loss of Angel and hte heartache the Slayer had suffered? Not that the Slayer's pain was a problem for him, but it hadn't been his goal.

His goal was keeping Willow safe, and eventually making her his. Everything else was secondary. That meant dealing with whatever was going on here, because obviously, Willow was going to worry and research until the problem was over. Giles was like a father to Willow, so it would be best not to have to hurt him. Which was the whole reason that he was staying out of the watcher's sight.

The conversation that followed covered the few facts that the article had, and a short debate over the best method of exorsism to use on the spirits. Eventually, Giles and Willow came to an agreement on a ceremony, and Willow was asked to go pick up a few herbs from the biology lab. Giles intended to set up the diagrams that they would require.

Suddenly, Angelus frowned. He could sense Spike and Dru nearby. Why were they here? His feeling of trouble increased. Suddenly, the idea of this exorcism was sounding a great deal more appealing. He hoped it could be done quickly, time was running out. Thunder rolled overhead, only adding to the feelings of danger in the air.

He followed Willow as she walked to the biology room, muttering to himself about how he had just found hs Willow, he wasn't about to let anything, including a pair of ghosts come between them. Willow knew he was there, seemed to be glad of his presence in fact. He walked close beside her, hoping that if his presence wasn't enough to keep her safe, it would at least help keep her calm.

They had no difficulty gathering the herbs from the lab, and there was also a container of sea salt, tucked into the back of the chemical storage room. Willow carefully placed everything into her backpack, so that it would be easy to carry and there would be less chance of dropping something.

They were halfway up the stairs to the level of the library when Willow suddenly began to sink into the floor. She shrieked in sudden panic, and clutched at Angelus in fear. She was clinging to his hand, trying to keep from getting sucked entirely into the floor.

Hearing Willow's scream, Giles rushed from the library. He was praying that the ghosts hadn't possesed Willow, uncertain what could be causing her such fear. He turned the corner to see Willow half sunken into the floor, with Angelus clinging to one hand, her backpack tossed onto the hall floor above the stairs. Thunder echoed again, this time rattling the windows of the building.


Giles was momentarily stunned by the scene. Willow, sinking into the floor, clinging to Angelus, who appeared to be trying to pull her out of the floor. He decided to analyze later, and start with getting Willow out of the floor.

Concerned about Willow, Giles moved closer, reaching for her other hand. Working together, Giles and Angelus managed to pull Willow out of the stair landing to the safety of the hall, which had remained solid. Willow stumbled a bit as she stepped onto the solid hall floor, and Angelus caught her, pulling her close to him.

"Are you alright, my sweet? Other than surprised and afraid, are you injured? Willow?" Angelus sounded worried, as if Willow's health was of great concern to him.

Willow was content to let him hold her against him, her heart still racing from the experience. She was trembling slightly, and wrapped her arms around Angelus, certain that he would not let her fall. "Scared and a bit freaked, but undamaged. You didn't let me go, I might have been sucked into the floor and trapped, because I don't think I would have gone to the basement..."

Angelus kissed Willow, ending her nervous babbling. "I'm not letting you go. Especially not to a sinking floor."

Willow smiled slightly, her cheeks pink as she blushed. "Oh, the herbs. I put them in my backpack, it should be over there by the lockers. You said we needed them to perform the exorcism. I think we all agree now that exorcising the ghosts is sounding pretty good now."

Giles came to the unpleasant realization that there was something personal between Angelus and Willow. Personal in the same way that Buffy had been involved with Angel. This was very unexpected, and quite disturbing. He would have to ponder and worry about this development later, after the exorcism. He was a tiny bit relieved to see that Angelus seemed to be concerned for Willow, trying to keep her safe. It appeared that he might have the time to worry about the implications of a relationship between Willow and Angelus.

The unlikely trio hurried down the hall to the library, which was in the process of being set up for a ritual exorcism. Giles carried the backpack, looking unhappy and worried. Angleus carried Willow, who looked rather content to be curled in his arms. They had no time to loose.

Only Angelus knew that Spike and Dru were very close to them. He did not know that they had actually entered the school building. He couldn't have known that Dru had stepped into the fateful location on the corridor, or that the fact that her lover was so close to her, combined with the tormented and painful nature of their relationship left his childer vulnerable to the possession of the spirits in the school.

Dru stepped into the corner, and stopped suddenly. For a moment, there was a flicker of a pale gold light within her eyes. She tossed her hair over her shoulder, and smoothed her skirt, frowning slightly at the wrinkles in it's legnth. She brushed her hair back from her face, her posture and bearing now different than the moment that she had entered the school. She wiped an unseen tear from her cheek.

" Dru? Love, what are you doing here at the school? It's not a good place..." Spike followed her into the hall, his sentance interrupted in the middle. He tensed for a moment, his frown becoming a grimace of resistance for a moment before fading. When words once more came from his lips, his british accent was gone. "Why, Baby? Why would you do this to me? Haven't I given you everything? Catered to your every whim, treated you like a princess? Why would you suddenly decide that I'm not good enough for you anymore?"

He stepped towards her, his expression pleading, nothing of Spike showing in his posture or movement. He moved like a desparate man, not like the lethal hunter he was. "What more could you ask for? Just tell me and it's yours... I'd do anything for you, you know that Baby."

She turned to him, her expression torn between sorrow and anger. "You can't give me what I need. You could never be my future, only my past. We just won't work. That's why I have to leave you. I'm leaving tonight, and you can't stop me." Her voice carried a soft California accent. With her words, she turned her back on her lover, and began to walk slowly away.

"No! Don't do this to me! You can't leave me like that... I won't let you go." The desperation in his voice was shifting to anger. Slowly, his hand reached into the pocket of his duster, and removed a gleaming steel gun fromt he pocket that had moments before carried only cigarettes and matches.

"I'm not letting you walk away from me. I need you in my life. There's no way I'd let you go that easily." He pulled the trigger.

A burst of bright red appeared between her shoulderblades as the bullet entered her flesh. She jerked with the impact, and fell to the floor, twisting as she fell, staring at her lover in surprise. The gunshot echoed through the building.


They had just finished putting all the herbs into a bowl, and tracing the diagram in salt when a gunshot echoed through the school building. Willow and Giles both jumped, nervous and unsure what was going on. Angelus winced, not from the volume of the sound, but from the sudded stab of pain from one of his childer.

Giles handed Angelus and Willow each a sheet of paper with some words hastily written on them, and they began the chant. Giles lit the herbs, and they concentrated on sending the unquiet ghost out of the school, to go wherever the spirits of the dead were supposed to go. They repeated the words over and over as the herbs burned, producing a thick sharp scented smoke.

The figure that was not Spike gasped in horrified dismay at the sight of his lover, fallen to the floor in the center of a crimson puddle. He had done this to her, silenced her voice, stilled her beauty forever. How could he have done that? How could he live with this on his concience? He lifted the gun once more, intent to turn it on himself. Let him suffer for her death...

"No! Don't do this! You don't need to kill yourself my love! I forgive you, it's over now. Please, for me?" Her voice stopped the slow rise of his hand, and the gun clattered to the floor.

"Baby? But... how... I shot you... I should..." His voice betrayed the depths of his grief and pain.

She rose to her feet, reaching towards him with her hand. "I could never stay angry with you my love. How could I stay angry for this? We've been hurting each other too long, it's time to forgive and forget. Dance with me, please?" As she spoke, a song began to play in the background. "This always was my favorite song..."

The two lovers danced to the music, finally having found peace with each other. As they kissed, the spirits moved on. Whether it was from the long overdue settling of their issues or the ceremony in the library, who could say? The important point was that they had left.

Spike and Dru returned to the mansion, feeling the lingering remnants of the unfaded passion of the ghosts. Besides, Spike felt terrible for shooting Dru, even if it hadn't quite been him. He wanted to make it up to her in a very personal and attentive manner.

In the library, the ritual was finished. Willow looked exhausted, and Giles couldn't blame her for it. She had put in a long day at school, with her own classes and the ones that she had found herself teaching. Then, there had been the first shooting, and this dreadful ordeal afterwards. He couldn't muster an objection when Angelus gathered Willow into his arms and left the library. Instead, he began to sweep up the salt, and considered the possible outcomes of Willow's new relationship. They weren't very soothing thoughts.

Angelus took Willow back to her house, carefully tucking her into her bed when he realized that she had fallen asleep on the journey. He smoothed the covers over her, and kissed her lips very gently. "Rest well my Willow."

On to 'Darkest Before The Dawn'

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