Discoveries of Old
Title: Discoveries of Old
Content: language and violence
Spoilers: basic season 4
Disclaimers: Nothing belongs to me :( It's all Joss' and whoever owns Highlander
Distribution: Fever of Fate, Willow's Guys, Bite Me Please, Fire and Ice, everyone who has my other stories, anybody else, just ask
Summary: Willow’s got a secret, and Spike wants to know what it is.
The only sound in the small dorm room was the click of computer keys as Willow's hands practically flew across the keyboard. It had taken her almost two and a half years to build contacts in the pagan online community, but with determination and a little help from some files she had found on Jenny Calendar's computer, Willow had found acceptance in the exclusive group. It was through the community that she had met the person she was currently instant messaging. The computer made a quiet beep, and the window changed as the reply appeared on the screen.
~MysticTree~ Merry Meet! Evening Trav.
~TimelessTraveler~ Hey Mysty. How was your day?
~MysticTree~ I got a 98 % on my dissertation on Neurological Disorders, and I got the highest grade in the class on my history test.
~TimelessTraveler~ That's fantastic, I knew you could do it.
~MysticTree~ Yeah, I love my history class. We just finished the Celtic clans and we're going to start the Welsh next week.
~TimelessTraveler~ I'm glad you're enjoying it. How is everything else?
~MysticTree~ Pretty good. I've been working on my concentration, and focusing like you said. It's helping quite a bit.
~TimelessTraveler~ I'm glad. Emotional control, focus and concentration, can really improve your casting abilities.
~MysticTree~ Yeah, I've noticed that my spells have been better lately.
~TimelessTraveler~ It's getting pretty late. Shouldn't you be getting ready?
~MysticTree~ You're right. I should be going. Same time, right?
~TimelessTraveler~ Yes. Same as always.
~MysticTree~ Just checking. I'll see you then.
~TimelessTraveler~ Be safe.
The fight started out slow, but soon began to gain in speed and intensity. He seemed to move with an almost effortless grace, while his female opponent appeared to concentrate greatly as she avoided his advances. If an observer had been present they would have been hard pressed to say when exactly the swords had been brought into play, but they were, and the sound of steel against steel soon echoed through the air as the two parried and blocked each other's moves.
As the moves became more frenzied, the man was able to penetrate her defenses, leaving a long cut on her shoulder. Momentarily distracted by the pain in her arm, she stumbled and was unable to block his next move before he made contact with her lower abdomen.
Her left arm moved to block the wound, her feet stumbling slightly as she tried to counter his next thrust. The slight loss of balance was all the opening he needed and a sharp clang was heard as he knocked the sword out of her hands. The bright fluorescent lights reflected off of the man's blade as it cut through the air in a smooth arc, headed towards the neck of the young woman who lay on the ground, her short red hair falling around her face.
There was nothing unusual about the fact that the young woman stood in her shower at 10:30 at night, but the red tinted water swirling around the drain betrayed the normality of the action. The young woman hissed in pain as she ran the wash cloth over her stomach. Continuing to clean herself, she listened to the soft refrains that drifted in from the small stereo system in the next room. As the minutes went by, the water turned a light pink before finally becoming clear as all of the blood was washed from the woman's body.
Shutting off the water and stepping out of the shower, she dried off, then wrapped her thin form in a large navy blue towel. Slowly walking into the adjoining bedroom, she took off the towel and used it to ring out her hair so that it was no longer dripping water onto the carpet. Dropping the now wet towel, she carefully made her way to her dresser where she opened a fairly large and well-stocked first aid kit.
Removing a tube of antibacterial ointment, she liberally covered the lower left portion of her stomach, as well as her left shoulder and a small section on her right calf. Next, she took several pieces of first aid tape and used them to place butterfly sutures over the wound on her abdomen. Once she had closed the cut, she taped several layers of gauze over it. Repeating the process on her shoulder and leg, the woman proceeded to examine the various other bruises and cuts that littered her pale skin.
Deciding that the smaller injuries did not need further care, she slipped on a lose t-shirt. Turning off the light and slipping between her pale yellow sheets, she allowed the soft music to lead her into slumber's waiting arms.
Willow walked cautiously down the hall towards her dorm room, and quietly opening the door, she stepped inside. Turning around, she headed over to her bookcase where she picked up her Latin and history books and put them into her bag. Just as she was about to leave the room, the door opened, revealing the blonde slayer as she entered the room the two young women shared.
"Hey Will. Long time no see. Where were you last night? You were gone when I got back from patrol, and you never came in last night. I was worried." Placing her purse on her bed, Buffy looked expectantly at her roommate.
"I, um, well... I've been pretty busy lately. You know, studying and stuff."
"You were studying all night last night?" Disbelief was clear in the blonde's voice as she looked over at her friend.
"Well, not exactly. I was at the bookstore until really late, getting some books for my English paper. When I was done, I just went back to my parent's house. It was late and their house was closer than the dorm. Plus I promised I would check on the house every couple of days while they're on vacation." The hacker nervously chewed on her bottom lip as she waited to see her friend's reaction to her explanation.
"Oh, ok. I was just kind of worried when you weren't here this morning."
"Sorry, I'll try and let you know if I'm going to be staying at the house. That way you won't have to worry."
"All right." Before the blonde had the chance to voice the question Willow could see forming, the witch glanced none too subtly at her watch.
"Look, I've got to go, some people in my Science class are getting together to study for our test tomorrow and I don't want to be late." Before the last word had left her mouth, she’d grabbed her now full bag and left the room, leaving Buffy no choice but to simply watch as the redhead headed off down the hall.
* * * * * * * * * *
The members of Sunnydale's resident demon hunters talked amongst themselves as Spike sat in the living room, listening. The slayer's high pitched voice drifted to his ears as she explained to her watcher what had happened at school that day.
"Yeah. She just walked off, saying she had a study group or something. She's been doing that a lot lately. It's like she's avoiding me or something."
"Well, do you have any reason to believe she is attempting to limit her time in your, uh, presence?" A hint of concern marred the Englishman's accent as he questioned the young woman in front of him.
"I don't know. I can't think of why she would be avoiding me, but she's been acting kind of strange lately. Sometimes when I try to talk to her, it's like she's somewhere else."
"So, she's been distracted?" Buffy nodded her head in agreement with his words. "Maybe she's just a little preoccupied with school."
"No, I think it's something else. I've noticed the same things that Buff has. I've tried to talk to her about it, but she always seems to change the subject. I mean, I've hardly seen her in the last three months. She doesn't get together with us anymore unless it's a research party, or an end of the world prevention thing. Whenever one of us asks her to go somewhere, or do something, she always says she has homework, or a test to study for." Xander commented as he removed a candy bar from his bag.
"Well, maybe she has something better to do." The ex-demon shrugged her shoulders in response to the glares she received from the others. "What? It _has_ been over three months since Oz left. Maybe she finally got herself a new orgasm friend. I mean, if I were her, I would have gotten one a long time ago. I don't know how she’s gone as long as she has without sex." Buffy and Xander rolled their eyes at the characteristic reply from the girl while Giles merely shook his head at her forthright attitude.
"Despite the vulgar bluntness, I think Anya might actually have a point. Perhaps Willow does have a new gentleman friend with whom she has been spending her time, as of late."
"I guess it's possible. But if it were a guy, why wouldn't she tell Xan or me? I mean, we're her friends."
"Maybe she wants to keep it a secret. I've heard that mystery does add something to the sex." As usual, Anya's tact was less than apparent.
"I don't know. I mean, I still think she would have told us, although that would explain why she's been sleeping at her parents' house lately." The blonde shrugged her shoulders. "Well, if that's the case, then I think we should all be happy for her. Plus it doesn't hurt that she hasn't been whining nearly as much as she used to. Whoever it is, I'd certainly like to thank him. I'd gotten pretty tired of listening to her complain about Oz constantly." The others nodded their heads in agreement.
The former vengeance demon looked over at the slayer, somewhat put off by the girl's last statement. She had spent over a thousand years granting wishes for woman just like Willow, who had been deeply hurt and betrayed by a lover. The hacker may have complained and moped for a month or two, then brooded for a couple more, but in the end, had handled the situation with a lot more maturity and understanding than the majority of the woman that she had helped.
Anya pulled her thoughts back to the present as Xander asked her to hand him the chocolate bar he had stashed in her purse. Rolling her eyes at her boyfriend, she glanced over at the clock, wondering how long they would have to remain at the watcher's house. She had plans with Xander to go see a movie and then go back to his basement to have sex. She really didn't want to be late.
The vampire was surprised when the occupants of the small apartment went back to their various tasks. When the conversation first started, he had expected to have to listen to them drone on about the witch for at least an hour. Instead it had only lasted about fifteen minutes; and while he was grateful that he didn't have to listen to them, he found that his curiosity had been piqued. He knew first hand what betrayal could do to a person, or a vampire for that matter, and he doubted that the girl could have gotten over the wolf so quickly without any help. From what he could tell, she had gone through it by herself. By the time he had shown up at the watcher's townhouse on Thanksgiving, her friends had already grown tired of her misery and the wolf had only left her about two weeks earlier. In the months he had been there, her friends had done nothing to help the heartbroken girl deal with the pain of her loss.
It had taken him months, and a whole lot of killing, to get over his princess. *I'd bet that she's had help. There's no way that she's gone from the pathetic, depressed girl she was when I got here, to the happy, if not preoccupied one she has been lately. Maybe Anya's right and she has found someone to help her forget about the fur ball.* The vampire wasn't sure why that idea didn't sit well with him. However, he was unable to further explore his reaction to the thought of the hacker with another man, as the object of his thoughts entered the apartment.
Several distracted 'hi's and 'hello's greeted the witch as she went over to the table to grab a book. After glancing around, she made her way over to the only empty seat left in the small home, right next to Spike. The young woman slowly lowered herself onto the couch, emitting a quiet grunt when her body made contact with the piece of furniture. So quiet, in fact that if it hadn't been for his superior vampire hearing the blonde probably wouldn't have even caught it.
Using his peripheral vision, he watched as she gingerly sat the book in her lap and began to skim the text in search of pertinent information on the current threat to the residents of Sunnydale. He took in her appearance and frowned at the loose khaki colored pants and light blue long-sleeve shirt. *It must be ninety degrees outside, why is she wearing pants and long sleeves?* Now that he thought about it, she had been wearing similar attire for weeks, despite the hot weather. Shaking his head at her strange behavior, he went back to reading his book.
Nearly three hours passed in which the turning of pages and the crumpling of Xander's candy wrapper were the only sounds in the townhouse. The silence was broken when Buffy suddenly stood and closed the book that she had been reading. "It's getting late. I should patrol. I've got a date with Riley tonight and I don't want to be late," the slayer announced as she gathered her things to leave.
"Does that mean we can go now?" Anya was eager to leave the watcher's house so that she and Xander could get to the movie they were planning on watching.
"Yes, you are all free to leave. I will need everyone to return tomorrow morning, though, so that we can continue." The teenagers nodded their heads in agreement before leaving.
"Giles, would it be all right if I stayed a little longer? I found something in the book I'm reading that refers to a group of demons a lot like the one we encountered. I wanted to look them up online, but I'll probably need to refer to the book, and don't want to carry it to the dorm just to carry it back tomorrow." The redhead gestured to the large tome as proof of her reluctance to carry it.
"Why, yes, of course Willow. That would be perfectly all right. You may stay as long as you'd like." The watcher smiled at the hacker, pleased that she had chosen to remain and help.
Willow took her laptop out of her bag and plugged it into the phone jack in the wall. Connecting to the Internet, she began her search. She remained in that position for the next two hours, only moving her head to glance occasionally at the book beside her. When it seemed likely that she would never find the information she was looking for, her head shot up and she gestured enthusiastically to the watcher. "I found it!" Giles walked over to where the girl was sitting to see what exactly she had found.
"See, it's a Vanour demon. They aren't very strong, but they are exceptionally fast, and hard to find. They only come out every three weeks, and don't stay in one place very long, so it's rare to see them more than twice. Buffy first saw it last week, so it should come out of hiding sometime toward the end of next week. If Buffy can surprise it, all she has to do is cut off its left leg. Apparently that's where its heart is. They aren't good fighters so it should be relatively easy to kill. As long as it doesn't run, she should have no problem."
"Thank you very much Willow. If you'd like, you're free to go now. I'll call the others and inform them that they need not come over tomorrow."
She nodded her head and put her computer back in its case. While the watcher went to call Buffy and Xander, she slowly stood and placed the book on the bookshelf. "Is it all right if I have a glass of water before I leave?"
"Of course, help yourself." The older man said as he dialed Xander's number.
Spike watched as she walked stiffly to the kitchen. Turning off the television, he followed her. She turned as he came into the room behind her. "Spike, did you want something?" In response, he held up the box of Wheat-A-Bits that he had picked up. "Oh, ok," she said, going back to the cupboard to get a glass. Reaching up with her right arm, she hissed as her muscles protested to the movement.
"You ok ducks?"
"Yeah, just stiff from sitting so long." Making her way back over to the freezer, she put some ice in her glass. Turning to go back to the sink to fill it with water, she ran into Spike, who was about to get a bag of blood from the fridge. She let out a gasp of pain and her hand flew to her left shoulder. Spike smelled the blood before he saw it. She held her hand over the obvious wound as the dark red blood began to seep through the material of her sleeve.
"Ah, shit." The blonde raised his eyebrows at the quiet exclamation, never having heard the witch curse before. "Spike, would you go out and get my bag off the couch?" When he didn't move, she pushed him out of the way. He noticed her look around the room warily; making sure the watcher was no where in sight before she went back into the living room to fetch her bag. She then quickly went into the bathroom and shut the door behind her.
She emerged five minutes later, wearing a gray sweater in place of the now bloody shirt. "What was that about pet?" The vampire asked, gesturing to her arm. The only thing he could figure out was that she had hurt her arm recently, and from the amount of bleeding, he guessed it was a fairly bad injury. *She hasn't patrolled with the slayer lately. According to her friends, she hasn't done anything but study. So how did the chit hurt her shoulder?* Something was going on with the redhead, and it wasn't just some new guy as her friends assumed. He stood next to her as she picked up the bag containing her computer and noticed her grimace of pain as she slung it over her shoulder. Before she could answer, Giles returned from upstairs.
"Hey Giles." Spike could hear just a touch of relief in her voice. "I'm going to leave. I’ve got a big paper due in two days and I still haven’t gotten much of it done."
"Oh, then by all means, go. I've kept you long enough." Opening the door for her, he gave her a small smile. "Your help has been much appreciated."
"You're welcome Giles. I'll see you later." Spike's eyes followed her as she exited the apartment, question after question tumbling through his mind. He didn't understand why it bothered him that she was acting so strangely, he just knew something was definitely going on, and he didn't like it one bit.
The moonlight reflected off the headstones, casting an eerie glow throughout the small cemetery. Quiet footsteps sounded as the young woman slowly made her way through the maze of headstones and mausoleums. Turning her head slightly to the left, she looked around as if searching for someone or something. As she walked around the corner of one of the large crypts, she stopped and stood still for several seconds before spinning quickly and kicking out with her left leg in an upward arc, connecting with the chest of the approaching individual.
As her left foot hit the ground, she reached behind her back and withdrew a sword from its scabbard under her sweatshirt. Bringing it around in front of her, she moved into a fighting stance, her left foot somewhat behind her with her body turned slightly, her sword grasped firmly in her hands and positioned to strike.
The long blade seemed to dance through the air in her small hands, but the fluid, graceful movements of the tall man across from her were able to easily block any advance she attempted. After about ten minutes of fighting, he bought his sword up, and then back down, directly towards her head. The woman saw the move coming and leaned to the side as the blade cut through the air, narrowly missing her arm. She had really begun to hate that sword.
Glaring up at the man’s laughing face, she brought her sword up to block his before it reached its target. Spinning on her right foot, she swung her sword towards his midsection. Her opponent was able to dodge her blade, however, and turned, coming up from behind her. With a sweeping motion, he kicked her feet out from under her, causing her to land hard on her right hip and lose hold of her weapon in the process.
Adam saw his small friend hit the ground, and placing his blade into it’s scabbard, made his way quickly to her side. Reaching out with his right hand, he pulled the redhead to her feet and watched as she gingerly brushed the dirt from her clothing. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I’m okay." A slight grunt of pain escaped her lips as she sheathed her own sword.
"How about I walk you home?" She nodded in agreement, and the two left the cemetery. They had covered several blocks when Adam stopped and looked suspiciously around the dark streets; sensing someone watching them.
"What is it?"
"I don’t know, just a weird feeling." With one more glance, he took the young woman’s hand and increased their pace. "Let’s just get you home, shall we?" They reached the two-story home several minutes later.
Fishing her keys from the front pocket of her jeans, she unlocked the door and turned to her friend. "Thanks for walking me home." Smiling, she hugged him close. "G’night Trav. I’ll talk with you Friday, around five, okay?"
Placing a light kiss on each of her cheeks, he hugged her back. Sleep tight my little Mys." With a small wave, the two separated, the redhead disappearing into the dark house, as Adam continued down the scantly lit suburban street.
* * * * * * * * * * *
The vampire exhaled a cloud of smoke as he turned the corner onto the quiet street. He stopped short in his tracks when a strange feeling overcame him. Stepping behind a tall tree, he looked up and down the street for the source of the feeling. He was surprised when he saw the two figures turn the corner in front of him. He recognized the shock of scarlet hair immediately, but the tall man at her side was unfamiliar to him. He was surprised when the man stopped and looked around him as if aware of the blonde’s eyes on the pair. *Well, well, what do we have here?*
Following the two at a discreet distance and making sure to remain hidden, Spike watched as they approached the witch’s residence. An unidentifiable feeling settled in the pit of his stomach as the dark-haired gentleman kissed the petite hacker. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he knew he didn’t like it. Spinning on his booted heel, he turned and stalked away from the small porch. *Things just got a bit more intriguing.*