And you guys thought I had abandonded this story ... for shame.
We adjourned to the basement since Sirius had still not made up the empty room. Everyone had retrieved their bags and I was holding the White Witch book that the Headmaster had given me because it was a bit too big for stuffing away.
Sirius took them from me for his last chivalrous act and stepped aside for me to do the casting. I made the ceremonial circle of salt and held D'Hoffryn's token firm in my hand while I recited the words of summoning.
A second after I finished he was there before me, this time expecting to be called.
"Are you ready to return?"
My eyes shifted to Sirius. Now or never, mister.
He stepped forward with my things at his side and took me in his free arm.
"I'll never forget you, Willow."
I didn't have a chance to reply before my lips were captured by his.
D'Hoffryn sighed. "Please tell me you are involved with this human."
Sirius and I broke apart and I stared at the Lord of the Vengeance Demons.
"Uh ... sorta."
Everyone started looking at each other with morbid curiosity. Sirius was the only one that had the courage to say anything.
"Why would that be excellent. We are separating."
D'Hoffryn cocked his head and squinted. "Is that the Legend of the White Witch you are holding?"
"Nosey much?" Buffy interjected.
The demon sighed again. "Oh, turn to page 792 and be quick about it before I leave you all stranded here."
I took the book from Sirius and sat it on the ground hastily thumbing through the pages. When I reached 792 I opened the book wide and scanned the title of the spell.
Everything you wanted to know about Inter-dimensional
Travel and journeys through time.
"You've got to be kidding me!"
Everyone started to hover near and read over my shoulder.
D'Hoffryn scooted over to Sirius. "You, Wizard-boy. Treat this witch right and then when she's least expecting it, cheat on her."
Sirius backed away. "What?"
I flipped the page, "He wants you to cheat on me so I'll get all vengeancey and pull out your entrails. Then I'll be ready to join him and his merry band of vengeance demons."
He looked down in horror. "What?"
D'Hoffryn smiled, which wasn't a pretty sight. "And all the other demons wonder why I only recruit the female of the species."
After finishing the second page I knew I didn't have to make the decision. It was already made for me.
"I'm staying, guys."
Xander almost jumped me. "What?"
Faith laughed, "I think the male I.Q. level around here is dropping fast. She's staying, Zeppo."
Willow ignored Faith's jibe. "I can come and go anytime I want. I can also send you guys home and not bother D'Hoffryn."
She turned to smile her thanks and found the horned demon gone from the premises.
"So does this mean we can come visit?" asked Buffy with a hopeful grin on her face.
I shrugged my shoulders with thoughtful introspection and looked at D'Hoffryn's token. "I suppose I could charm something like this ..."
I was interrupted by a now familiar presence standing behind me clearing his throat. A small smile crossed my face. My priorities shifted to something more akin to my future happiness, or more to the point, our future happiness. So I stood and rotated in place.
My hand lay flat on the center of his chest before I let my eyes meet the heat of Sirius Black's. I didn't think my voice would work from the sudden dryness of my throat, but I gave it a hardy try in any case.
The seductive smile I had grown to adore over in the short span of time we had been in this world made blood rush to my face.
Could he have said my name any more provocatively?
I closed my eyes and reopened them as if he had kissed me with his voice alone. "Um ... would you mind taking my things to our room. I want to say goodbye to my friends before you welcome me back properly."
His hand cupped and caressed one side of my face. "Don't keep me waiting long," he whispered.
I turned back around and sighed before I through all thoughts of farewells to the wind and chased after him.
"Our room? Someone's gonna get some," a certain naughty-minded slayer singsonged.
"Faith!" Buffy scolded halfheartedly.
Xander scuffed the toe of his boot against the bare floor. "And as usual it isn't me."
Buffy shook her head. "Can we get off the sex talk?"
"Just cause you ain't gettin' any as of late, B, doesn't mean the rest of us have to join the convent."
Xander perked up at that thought. "Oh, convent ... lots of girls that that aren't supposed to talk and haven't seen a man in years."
The visible cogs of thought cranked through his head and I laughed. "Hello, do the words 'vow of celibacy' mean anything."
At my own words I realized my friends that I had traveled to hell and back with were leaving this alternate world and there was a chance that I might never see them again. Granted I could visited them whenever I felt like it, but in our line of business there was always the chance that one or all of them might not make it through the next apocalyptic event.
With Buffy, no more words were needed. She slid into me with a sisterly embrace.
"You take care of yourself, Wil. Don't do anything too crazy until you've had a chance to beam me back over here."
Xander slid into our hug. "That goes triple for me, little camper. Just give the word and we'll come back to kick some wizarding butt."
I half laughed and half sobbed as I let my emotion slide down my face in the form of salty tears. "I promise."