"A lot of it is intuitive."
"Uh huh," Willow gave Sylvie a tiny smile. "So what are we doing here, then?"
The red head gestured at the variety of objects that lay on the kitchen table.
An egg, a glass, a handsized piece of brick and a metal bar were among the
myriad of things sitting before here.
And for the life of her she couldn't figure out exactly what they were doing.
With only a few days left until her first full moon, she had hoped to be
blissfully ignoring everything that involved lycanthropy. At this point it was
terrifying just to think about what was going to happen to her. That absolute
loss of control when she shifted.
The loss of her humanity, as she'd come to call it in her head.
"Learning to control your strength," Sylvia smirked. "Richard said you broke a
glass this morning."
"Yeah, well..." Willow blushed, chalking up another mark in favor of finding
own apartment ASAP. And a job, she thought with a groan. Where there came
living expenses there had to be money to pay them, after all. She appreciated
everything that Richard had done for her, but she couldn't mooch off of him for
the next couple months while she learned to adapt to everything. He had already
been too kind.
In fact, he'd become a good friend at some point when she wasn't paying
attention. The type of friend that she sat up with late at night, watching
movies and eating ice cream. The kind of friend that didn't judge her for what
she was becoming.
Not that her Sunnydale friends were being judgemental. In fact, they were being
so supportive that it made her cringe sometimes. Paris was still on the run and
Buffy had even gone as far as to draft Angel and his connections into looking
for the wayward wolf. Xander called once a day just to 'make sure she was
It was enough to make her scream.
He'd gotten pretty freaked when she growled at him earlier that morning, in
fact. Still, maybe he shouldn't call so early in the morning, even if he and
Buffy -had- just gotten back from a long night of slaying?
"So I just practice picking them up?"
"Picking them up, holding them, seeing exactly how much pressure you can put on
each item before you break it." Sylvie smiled reassuringly. "You're teaching
yourself the boundaries of your strength, basically, and how to hold it back
when you need to."
"This is going to get messy," Willow eyed the egg again, raising her eyebrows.
"You sure Richard is okay with this?"
"What?" Willow frowned with confusion when the other woman paused.
"He just wants whats best for you," Sylvie shrugged, a knowing glimmer in her
eye. "And right now that's learning to control your strength."
The red head's frown didn't lessen in the least with the feeble attempt at a
cover up, but she didn't press Sylvie for any more details. Whatever it was,
the other woman obviously didn't want to say anything.
Which meant that it was bad.
It had to be.
She reached for the egg, hand hovering over it indecisively. She thought about
the exercise she was about to do, Sylvie's comment regarding Richard, and the
hesitation the other wolf had shown.
And it all snapped together in her head rather resoundingly.
"He doesn't want me around anymore," she whispered to herself, taking a step
back from the table. Of course. It made perfect sense. The sooner she learned to
control this new side of herself, the sooner she could not only get out of his
house, but all of St. Louis, as well.
"What?" Sylvie's face echoed Willow's frown. "No, Willow. That's not it. Not at
"Yeah, right," Willow shrugged. "I'm sure me being here has put a serious crimp
in his lifestyle." She shook her head, turning her attention back to the
objects her would-be teacher had given her to practice with. Resolve built up
inside of her. She was Richard's friend and that meant that she needed to give
him his space if that was what he wanted.
And it was, obviously.
She palmed the egg with as much gentleness as she could manage given the current
shaking state of her hands. Sylvie's eyes were sad as she looked toward the
other woman again.
"Okay.. so I just concentrate, right?"
She had screwed up.
Sylvie guided Willow through the exercises she had devised, mentally cursing
Richard liked Willow.
He hadn't come right out and said it, but it was clear to anyone that had known
him for any length of time, especially those, like her, that had been around
during the entire Anita debacle. He was smiling more now. He lit up when the
red head was mentioned. And she wasn't the only one that had noticed that he
and Willow spent a lot of time together that had nothing to do with the pack or
the upcoming full moon.
And Sylvie liked Richard being happy. A happy Ulfric meant an Ulfric that wasn't likely to throw himself to his knees in front of the first challenger that came his way. Anita had left him broken in so many ways... and Willow was putting the pieces back together whether she realized it or not. The days, weeks, since Paris' attack on the petite woman had changed him for the better.
In a way, Paris had done exactly what she'd wanted to. She'd set them on a path to have a new Lupa.
But thanks to one little slip of the tongue, now Willow thought that Richard
didn't want her around. Which absolutely wasn't the case. In fact, their Ulfric
had a surprise visitor coming into town just for her the day before the full
moon. He'd arranged it all behind her back, with the express intent of cheering
her up before her life proceeded to change forever.
Not something he did for just any new member to the pack, she snorted with soft
And now... this.
"Willow, listen to me." She put a hand on the other woman's wrist. "He doesn't
want you gone. It's not that at all. I just had something else on my mind."
She waited with baited breath to see if the other woman would believe her little white lie, wondering if she could hear her heart beating just a little faster. It wasn't her place to tell Willow was she suspected of her Ulfric.
That was solely between the two of them.
Provided it did not appear that he was going to dance around the issue too long and ruin everything.
"Really?" Willow asked, the sadness fading from her eyes. "Wow. In that case, I'm a little embarassed."
Sylvie chuckled under her breath, relief washing through her as she directed Willow discreetly back to the task at hand, before any more questions could be raised.
"Okay - so, back to the egg."
A/N: Just what is it that Richard has planned for Willow? Coming up in the next part. Stay 'tuned'.