Willow watched the scenes from Jarod's past with growing horror. Each bit of footage she was shown was worse then the last. But even after seeing some of the things the Centre had done to Jarod, she held on to some hope.
"I realize now that the Centre really is a terrible place. And I can't even express how sorry I am about what happened to you. But I haven't seen any proof that Robert is involved in this."
Spike couldn't help but roll his eyes at Willow's statement. The little chit was trying so hard to hang on to the idea of the man she had fallen in love with. It was rather sweet really, if not a little pathetic.
Jarod looked at Willow sadly. She seemed to be a really nice young woman; he hated to have to break her heart like this. He wanted so badly to wring Mr. Lyle's neck. It was bad enough that the
Centre was trying to get their hands on the girl, but to go about it in such a horrible way; it really pissed Jarod off. Something would have to be done.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Rosenberg. I really am. I hate to have to do this to you. But you have to realize that Lyle is very much involved in the Centre." He pulled out another disk and placed it into the player.
The footage started and Willow's eyes widened when she recognized one of the men on the screen.
"That's Robert," she said softly. "What is he doing?"
"He's doing an experiment. He's stopping my heart." Jarod's voice was flat, it was hard for him to watch this particular incident.
"Why?" Spike asked, incredulous. These people did things that would have made Angelus proud.
"To see if he could." Jarod explained simply.
Willow watched in silence. When the tape was finally over, Willow still didn't say a word. She drew her legs up close to her chest, wrapping her arms around herself. She was shaking slightly. She couldn't believe that it was true. How could the man she was in love with be a monster? How could she have fallen for someone like this?
"Willow...." Spike began, his voice filled with concern.
"No." Willow shook her head. "No. Don't. Don't say anything."
Spike stood up and took a step toward Willow. She quickly scrambled to her feet. "Don't touch me." Tears were streaming down her face. She looked from Spike to Jarod and back again. She could read the concern on both their faces, but she didn't want to deal with that right now.
"I....I can't...." Willow's voice trailed off. She turned and rushed out of the hotel room, and into the night. She ran as fast and as hard as she could. Finally she collapsed on a park bench. She found herself unable to breathe. She choked, sobbing, as she tried to draw air into her lungs.
"I'm so sorry, Ms. Rosenberg."
Willow looked up to see Jarod sitting beside her. She hadn't even noticed him arrive. He rubbed her back gently.
"It's all right. You don't have to say anything. Just try to calm down. You don't want to hyperventilate. Breathe, just breathe. In and out. That's it."
For some reason Willow found Jarod's presence calming. She focused on the sound of his voice, listening to his instructions. In and out. In and out. Finally she was able to breathe normally again.
She looked up at Jarod with eyes filed with tears.
"Why? Why would he do this? Why would anyone do this?"
Willow's voice was so quite that Jarod had to strain to hear her. He sighed. "The Centre wants you to do some sort of spell for them. I'm not sure what. I actually believe that their intentions might go beyond that. From what I've heard you're a fairly powerful witch, from what I know of the Centre, they'll want to observe you, to experiment on you."
"How could I have fallen for it. He seems....he seemed so perfect."
"Lyle is a psychopath. But he's brilliant. He is very good at his job. Anyone would have been taken in by his act. It's not any fault of yours." The look in Willow's eyes nearly broke Jarod's heart. He would do anything to fix it. She just looked broken. "I want to help you Willow. I'll do anything I can do help you through this."
Willow was silent for a moment. When she spoke again her voice had changed. She still sounded devastated, but there was an edge of anger in her tone now. "I want to get back at him Jarod. I want to get back at him, and the Centre. Can you help me?"
Jarod couldn't help but smile. If there was one thing he had perfected during his years away from the Centre, it was getting revenge.
"Yes, Willow. I think I can help you."