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Willow looked at her mentor steadily as he cleaned his glasses, she waited for an answer with an outward appearance of patience that she didn’t feel inside; her eyes flitted down to stare at the small stack of books that were on the desk beside her. They were sitting precariously close to the edge of the table, the redhead would wait until after Giles gave her a straight answer to her question.
Well, actually it was more of her asking for his opinion on her predicament.
“Willow,” he started, replacing his glasses on his nose again. “Whether or not you’re needed here you are always welcome and wanted here, I hope you know that.” his sea-green eyes stared into her own emerald ones with the kinda of fatherly warmth that Willow always wished she could see in her own dad’s.
Willow fiddled with her necklace anxiously, “I know that, Giles. I do, but I think I could do more somewhere that actually needs me; there’s other Hellmouths around America and a few of the Slayers-
Giles shook his head warily, “They don’t need help, Will. Faith’s um, fighting techniques are quite sufficient enough; and besides I have another assignment for you to do that I think will interest you.”
The small Cleveland public library was quiet and deserted, the place was ‘officially’ closed for a few days according to the sign hanging at the door; that was just buying some time for them to move some of the occult books to the new Slayers’ and Watchers’ Council.
The redhead folded her arms across her chest and cocked her head inquiringly, “I’m listening.” Eyes wide with curiosity she looked at him to continue.
Giles smiled at her slightly veiled enthusiasm, “There’s an unguarded, newly-discovered Hellmouth that’s has just become active, it’s in Colorado Springs and I think I should tell you that a, um messenger, for lack of a better term, came to see me. He said that the Powers that Be felt that your magical capabilities aren’t being put to good use; they want to give you a challenge. They want you situated at the local High School.”
As a teacher? Willow blinked and nodded, “O-okay, when should I go?”
The ex-Librarian frowned slightly, “Whistler didn’t give me the specific details-
Whistler? Wasn’t that the guy that-
Suddenly an indescribable feeling washed over her, bile rose up into her throat and her vision blurred; her stomach heaved and she scrambled for the bathroom door two meters away from her.
Her knees flared with pain as they hit the hard floor, she ignored it as her lunch of Mac and Cheese made an unfortunate reappearance; her stomach cramped horribly; her legs, arm- hell, everything, seized up in agony. Luckily she’d finished throwing up when her arms slid off the toilet seat and she crumpled to the floor; she was vaguely aware of Giles’ anxious voice next to her as she curled in on herself.
Someone was smoothing her hair away from her face, she whimpered slightly as her scalp burned red hot….
Then it was over.
Willow remained in her fetal position as the pain slowly faded away, she was aware of the hand that was holding her hair away from her face, she opened her eyes which had been clenched shut seconds ago and looked up into Giles’ anxiety-filled eyes, “Giles?”
Giles looked confused, “Do you feel alright, Willow?” he was looking at her strangely.
The redhead uncurled herself and sat up quickly, “I feel better than five seconds ago, if that’s what you mean.” Far better, what the hell had that all been about?
Giles blinked at her, the same odd look on his face, “Are you sure you feel alright? It’s just…
Why did he keep looking at her like that? “’Just’ what?”
Giles grasped her upper arm and helped her up into a standing position, “I don’t think the Powers gave us much of a warning with this.” He stood her in front of a mirror-
Willow mouth dropped open in absolute shock as she stared at herself- her YOUNGER self- in the mirror; god, look at her! Her hair was back to long again after she’d cut it two weeks ago, her eyes- wide with shock; brighter than she’d ever seen them since she’d found out about vamps and demons. Her face was fuller, and had the faint smatter of freckles that had seemed to vanish after going to college and…. “You know, they could have warned me before that happened.”
Giles nodded faintly.
Willow drew a sharp intake of breath at the realization that she wasn’t going to teach students, she was going to BE a student; and a fifteen year old one at that! “Now I know why Buff threatens Whistler.