NOTE: Quita had given me permission to add to this story years ago and I had this all typed up on my computer but never managed to remember to upload it. I’m afraid this is all I have – I don’t normally write in book fandoms (some weird hang up of mine) so this was a bit of a one-shot for me. Though if anyone would like to take up the ball, I’m sure Quita wouldn’t mind. –Gaeriel
Giles was surprised at her question. "Squidage? Where on earth did you hear that?"
Willow shrugged. "A bunch of boys were getting excited over a broom and a guy there told me they were used to play something called Squidage."
His confused expression vanished. "Oh! You mean Quidditch. It's a game they play in the wizarding world. It's like football I suppose, only a bit more complicated."
"When you say football..."
"Soccer." Giles took a sip of his tea and sat back in his seat. "If you're really interested, I could try and get tickets for a game some time. The Watcher's Council is always getting offered them. We even sometimes take them up on it."
"Really?" Willow grinned. "Though I still think it's kinda silly, actually flying on a broom. I mean, clichéd much? Next thing you'll tell me that they go around wearing pointy hats and mixing things in cauldrons under the light of the full moon."
Giles chuckled. "Well, not all of them. The pointed hats are a little outdated. Though there are certain potions that require a full moon."
Willow blinked at Giles before deciding she really did not want to know. She picked up her glass of iced tea and stirred it around. "So how do they hide this place? Wouldn't satellite photos or something pick it up?"
Giles grinned at her. "Magic."
She rolled her eyes and drank her tea.
He finished his cup and set it down on the saucer. Giles was glad to see the change that had come over Willow. Since coming to England, she had done little but mope. But an afternoon in Diagon Alley and he saw glimmerings of the old Willow peeking out. If only she would get rid of that blasted black hair... "Well, I really don't have anything else to do for today. Do you want to spend some time looking around and shopping?"
She hurriedly gulped the rest of her tea and smiled at the Watcher. "Ready!"
When the two finally made it back to the compound, their arms were laden down with packages. The coven was startled to see Willow smiling for the first time they'd ever seen.
It was not until she was about to fall asleep that night did the witch remember her grief. She lay in her bed staring at the ceiling, feeling guilty for forgetting what had happened to Tara. "How could I have fun and be happy without you?" she whispered into the dark.
* * * * *
Willow was standing in the middle of a deserted Diagon Alley. The sun was shining brightly on the street but there was no sound but the slight breeze that brushed past her ear. "Hello? Is anyone there?"
Willow whirled around and came face to face with herself. It was her, but a different her: a younger, innocent, carefree her. Red hair framed the face that looked back from the mirror at her every day. A smile tugged at the lips of the other her and green eyes twinkled.
"What are you doing here? Who are you?" Willow whispered.
"Don't you know?" The other shrugged one shoulder and tilted her head slightly. The gesture was so familiar it was eerie. "I'm you."
"You're not me. There's nothing left of you in me. You died when Tara did."
A hint of sadness crossed the other's face. "I wish that were true. But I'm still in there. Inside." She reached out and touched Willow's chest, over her heart. "You have me locked away but I came out again today, for a little while."
Willow turned away, angrily brushing tears out of her eyes. "Today was a mistake," she told the other harshly.
A gentle hand touched her shoulder. "Was it?" The other walked around and forced Willow to look at her. Green eyes stared into green. "Let me out? Please? Tara would want you to be happy-Willow."
"How can I be happy with her gone?" Willow shouted at her double. "She was my love, my life, my everything! So tell me how the hell am I supposed to be happy when she's dead?"
The other's face crumpled. "I can't help you there." She sighed and scuffled her feet against the cobblestones. "It was too soon," she said sadly. "I see that now. Goodbye."
She disappeared and Willow was left standing alone. She looked at her reflection in the window the shop she had been standing in front of earlier, the one with the broomstick. Tear marks stained her face and she looked utterly miserable.
* * * * *
Willow stumbled out of her room and headed for the dining room, still dressed in her pajamas. Giles was already up and sitting at the table, reading a newspaper and finishing his breakfast. When she entered, he looked up and his eyes widened. "Good Lord, Willow! You look terrible. What happened?"
She sat down and poured herself a cup of coffee. "Just some bad dreams." She gulped down the coffee, nearly scalding her throat in the process.
Giles nodded in sympathy and put his newspaper aside. "I managed to get in touch with the Council after our outing yesterday and got us tickets to a Quidditch game. Are you still interested in going?"
Willow listlessly swirled her coffee around in her mug. "Maybe. I don't know."
He cleared his throat. "Well, I have the tickets. Just think about it. The game's not for another week."
She nodded and took another gulp of coffee. "I think I'm going to take a shower," she said quietly before leaving.
Giles sighed after she left. And they had been making such progress too...