He could hear her voice. Eric shook his head while from
the half-closed door of his study, came Willow’s voice.
She had just entered his apartment, and had been loudly greeted by Xander.
He could hear happiness in her voice, he could almost smell it. She was
laughing at something Xander was telling her about his training.
Eric closed his eyes. He had tried his best not to let Willow change
history, when he had sent her back in time.
He had put spells on her; he had chosen to send her back in time to the
day William had been turned. He had been so busy trying to protect history,
William and the Eletti that he had totally overlooked the possibility that
his younger self could fall for that young witch.
He had done a good job. History hadn’t changed, he had made sure of that.
William had forgotten about that weird redhead he had met the day before
being turned. He had fallen in love with Drusilla, and followed the orders.
His cover hadn’t blown. Angelus had never associated the redhead to that
young man Drusilla had turned under that pouring rain.
Eric had carefully erased all the proofs of her existence in the past, and
he had never talked about her to William or the Eletti, yet Eric hadn’t
forgotten Willow. As the years had gone by he had gotten used to the
recollections, he had gotten used to that bittersweet heartache that had
never really left him.
He had known he was going to meet Willow again, one day…and that he would
see her loving another man. He had known she would love his Eletti, and
although it had almost killed him to do so, he had sent him to Sunnydale…he
had made sure history didn’t change.
He had hoped his feelings were going to fade, but when they had brought
her back and he had seen her, still wet from that pouring rain, still
scared for Angelus’ attack, kneeling in front of Spike and giving him the
antidote, totally oblivious of the other people in Giles’ living room, he
had realized he had never really stopped loving her.
He got up from his chair and slowly headed toward the door. Willow was
quietly talking to Xander about Buffy.
“I swear, she wigged me out big time! She totally zoned out on me, it was
like she wasn’t even the same person…and then she snapped out of it and
behaved as if nothing had happened. What the hell is happening to her?”
Xander paused for some instants, before saying, “Maybe you should ask Eric…”
“Do I have to? Couldn’t I talk to Giles?” Willow asked.
Eric lightly shook his head, bitterly smiling at her words. Willow didn’t
like him and she didn’t make a mystery out of it.
What was worst was that he couldn’t blame her… not when his younger self
had virtually forced her to witness William’s death. William had hinted
something about the nightmares she was having, and had asked him how long
she was going to suffer from the spells’ aftereffects. He had realized
then, that Willow hadn’t told him what she had seen. What he had forced
her to see.
He blinked when he heard her steps approaching. He quickly headed toward
his desk and sat behind it, blocking out his thoughts, blocking her out,
as he was used to.
“Come in” He said, when he heard the knocking on the door.
Willow entered his study. She looked nervous and was quite pale. Eric
cocked an eyebrow at her and asked, “Willow, may I help you?”
He watched how she was wriggling her hands; he rested his back against the
chair, placing his hands on his thighs waiting for her to speak.
“Ahem…yes, I…needed to talk to you about Buffy…Xander told me Giles is
talking to Spike so…” She shrugged, not finishing the sentence.
“Take a seat” Eric said casually interrupting her, satisfied by how
collected his voice sounded. Satisfied by how in control he looked.
The redhead nodded and sat on a chair in front of the desk. She took a
deep breath before saying, “Something weird, happened this morning… “ She
looked at him, for a second, Eric nodded at her silently inviting her to
go on. Willow cleared her throat and continued, “Buffy began acting
“Define strange” Eric said.
The Eletti taught control, they taught how to suppress feelings, how to
suppress pain. Eric couldn’t help thinking he hadn’t needed their lessons,
ever. Hiding his humanity, his feelings had always been a second nature to
He calmly waited for Willow to talk, taking in every frantic heart beat of
the young red-head who was sitting in front of him.
“She…” Willow started after a moment “she totally zoned out…she claimed
she could sense Spike’s demon…but he wasn’t there, then she snapped out of
it and she didn't even remember what had happened…what the hell is going
Eric lightly pursed his lips. Giles had asked them not to talk about what
was happening to Buffy, at least until they had proofs. He just shrugged
and said, “I think you should ask Rupert.”
“You know what’s going on, don’t you?” Willow asked in an angry voice.
Eric nodded, but didn’t talk.
He was surprised by Willow’s reply, “It figures…”
“Glad to have met your expectations” Eric commented cocking an eyebrow at
her. He was used to people hating him, yet why Willow’s words, why did the
anger in her voice cut so deeply?
She didn’t even imagine how deeply her words affected him while she
continued in her tirade, “My world would turn on its axis if you didn’t
She got up from the chair and hissed, “I think I'll better talk to someone
who has actual answers…”
The Eletti taught not to show any sign of weakness, they taught how to
control the body language Eric was one of the best gheraious among the
Eletti, he had trained dozens of potential Eletti, yet it took all of his
strength not to get up from his chair as well to stop Willow and tell her
everything she wanted to know.
He could see himself doing that, he could see himself talking to her,
trying to explain to her he had to be a cold bastard to survive…not to go
crazy every time he looked at her, every time he saw how much William and
she were in love.
He could see himself telling her that he didn’t care she was with William,
he didn’t care he had no rights to love her the way he did.
Discipline, was what had made him survive, even before he had become an
Eletti, so he just nodded at her before asking, “Where is the Slayer?”
“Anya drove her to her mother’s…and for God’s sake, she has a name
Eric…use it! Would it kill you to do so?” Willow snapped.
Eric knitted his eyebrows. Although Willow didn’t exactly like him, she
was usually more polite, less snappish.
She shook her head and said, “Forget it, I'll go and talk to Giles….”
She turned and headed toward the door. Eric stopped her though, by saying,
“What?” She asked turning.
Eric noticed deep circles under her eyes, and how the red of her hair
violently contrasted with her pale, too pale complexion. He was worried
about her, yet he didn’t show his concern, while coldly asking, “Are you
“No, I’m worried sick for my best friend!” She snapped, she then took a
deep breath and marveled, “I’m just tired…” She pursed her lips and smiled
before murmuring under her breath, “and quite a bitch, I guess…”
Eric couldn’t help smiling at her words, but didn’t say anything; it was
Willow who spoke, “Eric? Tell me Buffy isn’t in danger…”
Eric just shrugged at her words before saying; “She is the Slayer,
Willow…she’s always in danger…”
Willow nodded at him, her voice held a deep resolve when she said, “She
isn’t alone, Eric…we won’t let anyone hurt her…”
<Including herself? >
He silently wondered looking at Willow, the young redhead, held his gaze,
he could see how determined she was in her willingness to protect her best
friend. Hadn’t she had a similar look when she had asked him to do
whatever he could to protect William and his calling before going back in
He didn’t lower his gaze. It wasn’t his style. He gently smiled at her and
said, “Why don’t you go to William?”
Willow nodded, and Eric noticed how she fingered William’s ring with her
fingertips. Only then did he lower his gaze, he switched on his laptop,
starting to type something on it.
He heard Willow letting out a sigh, and then gently closing the door
behind her shoulders. Only then did Eric look up. He closed his eyes and
lightly shook his head.
What had he gotten himself into?
He should have left Sunnydale as soon as Willow had come back from the
past. He should have left as soon as he had realized he was still in love
Yet he had remained.
He still looked like the perfect gheraious, the perfect Eletti, as
always…to the eyes of everyone, including William.
William…who didn’t even suspect his mentor had fallen in love with the
woman he loved.
William, the only witness of his biggest sin.
He rested his head against the headrest of his chair, feeling all the
weight of his four centuries and half on his shoulders.
“I hate you Sunnydale…” He murmured closing his eyes, “I’ve always hated
It was strange for Buffy to be in her old house. She kept looking around
in the big kitchen, while her mother, was tending to their lunch.
She was glad she was spending some quality time with her mother. After her
initial reaction to the news of her pregnancy, her mother had seemed to
come around, accepting her relationship with Giles, and mostly had started
being an enthusiastic grandma-to-be.
It looked like her main concern now, was when Giles was going to make an
honest woman out of her…. that’s what she had been talking about.
“White dress, mom? Wouldn’t it be a bit redundant?” Buffy asked, while
laying the table.
Joyce turned toward her and shot her an exasperated look.
Buffy grinned at her but said, “I’m serious…we don’t care about these
Joyce sighed and leant against the fridge, she crossed her arms over her
chest before saying, “That’s no true, honey…don’t you recall all your
plans when you were …”
“A child?” Buffy finished for her. Joyce nodded; she took a big tray from
the fridge and placed it on the table.
Buffy shrugged and said, “That’s the point. I’m not a child anymore…and
besides…what I really dreamt about was marrying Christian Slater…but then
Merrick found me, and I haven’t been a child, since then…” She smiled at
her mother and said, “Mom…I’m happy, really! I’m blissfully happy…you know
what I’m dreaming about now? A small wedding, with just you and the guys…”
“Who are you? What have you done to my daughter?” Joyce teased her.
Buffy laughed and taking some chips from the tray said, “I’m a new
improved version of her…”
Joyce smiled at her words. They sat together and ate their lunch, making
small talk; Buffy kept shooting glances at her mother. It looked like she
was hiding something from her. She took a deep breath and asked, “Ok,
“Spill what, honey?” Joyce asked. She took a sip of wine from her glass
and said, “Ok…there’s something I need to tell you”
Buffy arched her eyebrows at her; she rested her elbows on the table and
asked, “Is everything alright?”
“Oh…yes, honey, of course it is!” She smiled at her, and stretched a hand
on the table, taking her hand in hers.
“What’s the what, then?”
“I received a job offer…a very good job offer…” Joyce slowly said.
“That’s wonderful, mom!” Buffy exclaimed, she squeezed tighter Joyce’s
hand in hers and asked, “But why do I feel I’m not going to like what
you’re about to say?”
Joyce let go of Buffy’s hand and said, “Because you know me too well. I
should move to St. Francisco if I accepted the offer…”
“St. Francisco?” Buffy asked. She rested her back against the chair, and
blinked, she cleared her throat before saying, “What…what are you going to
Joyce let out a sigh, she shrugged and said, “I don’t know, honey…I’d lie
if I told you I’m not tempted to accept, because I am…”
Buffy nodded, she sniffled and murmured, “It would be terribly selfish of
me to ask you to stay now, wouldn’t it?”
Joyce shook her head, she smiled and said, “No, but it’s terribly selfish
of me being tempted to accept…especially now…but then I look at you…you
have a man who adores you, and a whole army among vampires, witches and
former demons to protect you, better than I ever could…”
Buffy blinked back tears, “Mom, it’s not the same thing…and you know that
…some of the things I've done…hell, most of the things I do…would scare a
normal person blind…but you dealt with them…you are part of my world! I’m
sorry if I made you feel cut out from my life, lately”
“No, honey, you have nothing to be sorry about!” She sighed and said in a
low voice, “God knows whether I want to be here with you, now…but truth is
I feel like I haven’t been really part of your world for a long time…you
are your own woman, Buffy… I wouldn’t even consider the offer if you were
alone…but you aren’t…and besides St. Francisco is not that far away from
“Do you want my blessing?” Buffy asked.
“I want to make sure you understand, honey…”
Buffy took a deep breath. To say she didn’t want her mother to leave meant
using an euphemism. Yet there were other things to consider, such as the
fact that she was going to be safer away from the Hellmouth and its
She shrugged and said, “I understand mom…this doesn’t mean I’m not going
to miss you, though.”
“We’ll see each other often, honey…and hey! I’m going to be a grandmother
soon…and I fully intend to spoil my grand-child rotten!”
Buffy laughed, and then shaking her head said, “Can you believe it? I’m
going to be a mother!”
Joyce cocked her eyebrows at her, a smile playing on her lips.
Buffy snorted before saying, “Ok, ok…I know…dense, much?”
Joyce smiled at her daughter, and then said; “I was thinking that Rupert
and you could move here…you will need more space after the baby is borne”
Buffy blinked surprised. She hadn’t ever considered the option of moving
out from Giles’ apartment.
She looked around, that house held so many memories to her; a dreamy smile
crept on her lips when realization dawned on her. That wasn’t home any
more for her.
Giles’ small apartment, with its nice smell of old books and herbal tea
was her home, now. Her real home.
“Honey?” Her mother’s distraught voice distracted her from her thoughts.
“What?” She asked, blinking.
“Your hand…” Joyce said in a low voice, pointing down with her eyes.
Buffy followed her mother’s gaze, only to find out she had shattered the
empty glass she had been holding in her hand.
Blood was plenty gushing out from three big wounds on her open palm. Tiny
glass’s fragments glittered in her hand, the blood had stained them, and
they almost looked like tiny rubies.
Buffy swallowed. She hadn’t even heard the glass shattering; she hadn’t
even felt it cutting her hand.
<Why doesn’t it hurt? >
She silently wondered. While Joyce helped her tending her wound, Buffy
couldn’t help noticing the low grumble in her stomach.
Color drained from her face when she realized all that blood hadn’t
It had aroused her.
She had craved to taste it.
She had craved for more…and not necessarily for her own.
“She usually makes two rounds of patrolling” Daniel Laughton, a short
brunette, middle-aged man said, looking at two men in front of him.
He had arrived to Sunnydale a few hours before. He would have come sooner
to the little town, but the situation in London, at the Council had
required his presence. The news of the Slayer’s pregnancy had been source
of turmoil. A long time had passed since a Slayer had gotten pregnant, and
the current situation, with a Slayer who refused to hear from the Council
and another one, in prison convicted for murder made it all more
Part of the problems within the Council had been caused by younger
watchers, who had been vehemently against any possible action against the
Slayer…in the end, however, they had been forced to concur with them…the
older Watchers. A pregnant Slayer needed to be dealt with.
When he had arrived to Sunnydale, the old lighthouse had been already
prepared for what was going to happen. Magical shields had been created to
protect it. All the rooms were ready for what was about to happen.
“She isn’t going to be alone, you know that…one of them is always with her
during her patrols.” A young blonde man, said. He was the one who was
going to perform the spells needed for the procedure, Maximillian
Hawthorne, that was his name, looked for a moment at the silent man who
was sitting next to him before adding, “We’ve been spying on
her…unfortunately, we haven’t been able to determine yet who is the father
of her child, their houses are all shielded and there is magic surrounding
them all the time…the signals are quite confused. Last night she appeared
to be in three places at the same time.”
“I’m aware of that but you know what the orders are, we have to take the
Slayer and start the procedure…” Daniel said nodding. The Slayer and her
friends had been taking precautions, yet they hadn’t thought about hiding
the hospital’s records.
He looked at the two men in front of him, he could see that both the young
men were having doubts about their actions…and he didn’t like it.
“I already told Charles yesterday…I don’t really fancy another rogue
Slayer. But, sir…this procedure…I haven’t ever heard of it…I barely knew
about the Obscuritas itself…”
“I do realize that the procedure may seem unorthodox, but it has proven of
invaluable help in the past. You have to remember, Mr. Hawthorne that we
are not talking about an average Slayer.”
“Is there something average, about a Slayer, sir?” Charles Dutton, the man
who had been silent until that moment, asked.
“No…” Daniel admitted, “that’s what usually makes a pregnant Slayer
something to fear, to loathe…but this Slayer…can you imagine what would
happen if she ever reached Obscuritas? She would be far worse than any
enemy she has ever fought…”
“How can we be so sure she has indeed approached Obscuritas?” Charles
asked, “What if she’s just pregnant?”
Daniel smirked at his words. He had heard the same complaints back home.
“Do you really care to find out, Mr. Dutton?” He asked, “Let me tell you a
story then: a century ago, a Chinese Slayer got pregnant. Her watcher in
his diary kept writing about how strong she was getting, how heightened
her senses were, how proud he was of her fighting skills…he hadn’t
believed in the Obscuritas, he hadn’t informed the Council of what was
going on …he had thought it was just an old tale…told to scare watchers,
to prevent them from letting their Slayers having sexual experiences”
“What happened?” The dark-haired man asked.
“His blood made it difficult for us to read the last pages of his diary.
She had reached Obscuritas, and well…we could say she switched sides…”
“Was she dealt with?” Charles asked in a low voice.
“Don’t they all one way or another?” Daniel replied. He shrugged and said,
“None of us have to like it, we pledge to assist and guide the Slayer,
that’s what Watchers are for…but believe me, if a Slayer as powerful as
Buffy Summers ever reached Obscuritas, no one would be able to stop her…”