Chapter 33: A narrow escape
A narrow escapeAN: Title sucks again. Thanks for the last reviews, and no, I’m not working for the Ministry :) Or at least not knowingly, might be that they have got me imperiused... who knows... in that case of course I have a good excuse and cannot really be held responsible for the course of the story :D
Helen was staring at Angelus’ face in the mirror, as he strolled up towards her. It was the same face as Angel’s, and yet he looked so very differently. Also his eyes seemed darker and clearer, piercing at her in a way that it almost felt as if they were stinging into her. If ever there was something to the saying that someone’s mere look can hurt - this seemed to be such a case.
She gulped, then frantically slipped her hand into the pocket of her skirt, when she realized the horrible fact – she had left her wand in the trousers, that she had taken off earlier when she was changing her clothes after the long flight.
Angel was only a few steps away, yet taking his time as he was striding slowly towards her, as if he knew that she was powerless against him.
“I have been thirsting after this for so long,” he said and his eyes wandered hungrily to her neckline. Helen found that she couldn’t move, the terror of her desperate situation seemed to have paralyzed her completely.
Angel grabbed her on the elbow and pulled her closer to him. She closed her eyes. She sensed his fingers brush her neck, then heard him exhale with relish “Oh” as he inhaled her scent and moaned in what she thought was a pleasant anticipation.
She clenched and all her muscles tensed as she expected to feel his teeth on her skin any second now, when she suddenly heard a loud cry “No!” and opened her eyes and realized that it was her own voice that said that. As if some part of her had just woken up, determined that this would not be the end.
“What-“ Angel pulled away a little, but without letting go of her.
And then she yelled: “Averto!
” A light flash hit Angel in the chest and he fell back. Helen stared for a split second, surprised herself, then turned around to run upstairs in hope that she would get to her wand before Angel would be back on his feet. Yet she didn’t even reach the top step, when she was grabbed by her ankle and pulled down by his strong hands and then turned around rather roughly to face him. He looked inflamed with rage.
He packed her at her shoulders and shook her whole body furiously. “Don’t... ever... do... that... again...” He foamed.
,” Helen said, but apart from a short stream of blue sparkles nothing happened. Blood was dripping out of her nose and she was losing her focus. The times when she could perform any spell without her wand, without a word and most importantly without any negative effect on herself, were over.
Angel’s face now turned into its demonic shape just before he grasped her head again shouting: “This will teach ya!”
Her eyes widened as she quickly realized that he was about to snap her neck in the fury.
She closed her eyes again and whispered, thinking at the same time that she did not want this to be her last word: “Detineo
There was a loud rumbling, and when she opened her eyes, Angel just landed on the floor at the bottom of the staircase, he seemed unconscious, but Helen didn’t want to lose time checking. She turned around, and she almost fell down herself as the staircase seemed to be swinging under her feet like a ropeway, her vision got fuzzy. When she reached the top floor her knees gave in. She didn’t really know how she managed to crawl across the hall to the door of her bedroom. She was experiencing the unpleasant but only too familiar sensation of too low blood pressure and the aggravating dizziness it was causing. She felt weak, her head was droning and she was shivering uncontrollably when she heard noises and moans from downstairs, that were without doubt the signs that Angel was coming to himself. She narrowed her eyes, trying to focus her blurry vision to locate the bed, where the trousers laid upon. When she got to it, she grabbed in the pockets and found her wand, then supported herself at the edge of the bed to stand up. She raised her wand, closed her eyes and disapparated.
Xander, Willow, Buffy and Cordelia turned their heads towards the racks at the back of the library as a pop sounded from there, followed by several loud bangs. All four of them got to their feet and Giles appeared in the doorframe of his office. He was holding a book and didn’t raise his eyes from it, when he said loudly: “Xander, Cordelia, if you are again doing... things
... back there...,” he began in a strict voice, when an annoyed cough interrupted him. Only now he saw that the two suspects were standing there around the main table along with Buffy and Willow.
“Ouch, oh,” Helen’s weak voice reached them from the back, “Merlin, I really need to sort out my locating again or I might get myself killed one day, or worse – splinched,” they heard her murmur.
Giles threw the book on the counter and hurried towards the back racks, so did the others. There right in front of the back exit door Helen was half-laying half-sitting on the floor, with her back turned to them, supporting herself on her elbows, just about to get up. Around her several books had been thrown out of the two closest racks, which now looked dangerously unstable, one of them tipped over and was now leant on the wall. The small trolley that used to stand next to the door laid smashed on the floor.
For a brief moment the five Scoobies just stared, then Cordelia was the first to find her speech again: “I think someone owes me and Xander an apology,” she said smugly and looked expectantly at Giles, but he ignored her.
Instead he helped Helen get up. “What happened?” He asked and gasped as he saw her white face. She was shivering on her whole body, her blouse was trickled with blood that was still flowing from her nose.
She looked at the other four and suddenly wished they would not be there – that they would not see her like this, it was bad enough that Giles did – these bloody apparitions in the library were almost becoming a recurring theme with her.
“Ah-Angel,” she said.
“What about him?” Buffy asked, her face hardened at the mention of his name.
“He was at my house,” Helen replied and shook her head desperately, “I was so stupid, I thought it was you,” she looked up at Giles, “and invited him in.”
Now it was Giles’ face that went dark, she noticed him stiffen.
“What happened?” Buffy asked gloomily.
Helen furrowed her brows, passing in her head over the few moments and the exchange with the vampire. “I-eh... don’t know, I don’t understand really...,” she said slowly.
The others exchanged confused looks.
“What do you mean?” Giles asked. “What did he do to you?”
“He-he was about to bite me, I didn’t have my wand... and then I tried a-a forfending spell to-to keep him off me... a-and it worked,” she said, clearly still amazed herself. Then she shortly described what had followed afterwards. She heard Giles exhale strangely as she mentioned how Angel wanted to snap her neck.
“I heard him coming to himself just before I found my wand and disapparated,” she finished.
They all looked at each other, many things were mirrored in their eyes. Hardness and determination were – not quite successfully – trying to hide the exasperation and hurt in Buffy’s, frustration and compassion read in Willow’s, expectation and something saying “I told you so” in Xander’s.
“Anyway,” Helen tried to smile, “what’s new with you?” She asked with an unconvincing lightness in her voice.
“Not much,” Cordelia replied casually, “Buffy liquidated her almost step-father-“
Buffy raised her eyes in horror, just as Willow hurried to defend her: “He was a robot!”
“Yeah, at least I didn’t put a love spell on the whole female Sunnydale-population to make Cordelia like me again,” Buffy grumbled, “and almost got myself killed by a mad bunch of worshipping crazy women.”
Xander scratched his head embarrassed, it seemed that for the first time he had nothing to retort.
“Or turned Buffy into a rat,” Willow added, throwing him a meaningful look. Helen opened her mouth without knowing really what to say. She had learned meanwhile, that sentences like those didn’t necessarily have to be jokes in Sunnydale.
Only now Giles spoke at last: “Y-yes, we can talk about that-uh... later.”
They moved again to walk back to their research table – judging by the huge piles of books they all had been in full research mode when Helen’s arrival interrupted them. The four Scoobies sat down back to their books, while Giles motioned to Helen to follow him into his office. There she threw a quick glance back into the library to make sure none of the kids had followed them, and when she turned around Giles immediately pulled her into his arms and kissed her, then without a word he gently pushed her onto the only armchair in the small room, then disappeared for a moment and returned with a wet handkerchief, knelt in front of her and softly cleaned away the last blood trails from her face, while her heart was throbbing wildly at the touch.
“How was the rest of your trip?” He asked when he finished.
She told him about the semi-fruitful meeting with Secundus Travers and about the discovery that Quentin Travers was a squib. They would have to discuss the whole council affair more properly and extensively quite soon. She left out the threat that Rodolphus had pronounced after his trial.
“Giles?” Buffy’s loud voice calling him interrupted them.
Giles gave Helen an apologetic look, then got up and walked out into the library. “What is it? Did you find something interesting?” He asked.
“No,” Buffy replied, “nothing on the book-front.” From her look Giles could tell that she was about to say or suggest something of which she already knew he would not agree with. “I think I should go to Helen’s house, he might still be there.”
“I don’t think that would be wise,” he answered cautiously, he wasn’t at all sure what her motives were. “Besides, I doubt very much that you would find him there. He probably left as soon as he found that Helen was gone.”
“Yes, but she said he had blacked out, maybe he’s...,” hurt
, Buffy thought, when a huge bulge built in her throat when she realized, that once again she was thinking rather of Angel, not of Angelus, not wanting to admit that the former was no more a part of the latter, that Angel was gone.
Giles looked at her sympathetically. He felt that she wasn’t ready yet. Even if he would send her, even if she met Angel now, she wouldn’t really be ready to face him. He suspected that she wanted to see him, that she would want to seek him out to talk to him, to see once more, whether there really wasn’t a tiny last bit of her boyfriend left in him, because it was still too hard, too painful for her to accept, especially when she thought that technically she
was the one to blame for what he had become. On the other hand he knew that the more she would see and experience now of the true Angelus, the sooner she might be able to part with Angel, to let go, but still...
“We talked about this, Buffy,” he said softly and walked closer over to her, “I think you should stay out of the streets, just for a while.”
“Ok, right,” she smiled feeling awkward, as if caught at doing something the wrong way on purpose, “... you’re-eh... probably right.”
Giles fatherly laid his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it gently, then walked over to the table, where the three others were sitting, only Willow however seemed to be still working, Xander was staring blankly at the pages of an old book in front of him and Cordelia was drawing little flowers all over her notes, looking bored, then observed her finger nails and frowning she murmured: “I should have brought my nail polish...”
“Have you found anything?” Giles asked them, ignoring once again Cordelia’s remark.
Xander and Cordelia merely looked up and threw him an irritated glare each, while Willow shook her head desperately and said: “No, nothing at all, no gypsy curses in here.”
“And no mention of any Klaberdash either,” Cordelia said.
“It’s Calderash, Cordelia, I wrote it down for you, twice,” Giles replied, trying to stay patient.
“Oh,” Cordelia raised her brows somewhat surprised, but then said, “well, I’m sure them neither.”
Giles and Willow exchanged short nods, silently agreeing that Willow would check Cordelia’s pile again, to make sure there really was no reference to the correct Romani name.
“Alright, I think you did enough for today, it’s quite late, I’d say you go home,” Giles said, then turned at Willow, who was about to protest as she wanted to finish her research. “You can take those books home with you, Willow, if you like, just-uh... take good care of them and bring them back tomorrow.”
He shot a quick look towards his office and Willow seemed to have understood that he wished for him and Helen to be left alone at last. She smiled understandingly. “Ok,” she said, stood up and began to pack her things and the few books into her backpack, while the others waited for her.
“We’ll meet tomorrow after your classes again,” Giles said as they were about to go.
“Yeah, I don’t see what’s the point of it, we’re not gonna find anything, we don’t even know what we’re looking for,” Cordelia groused.
Xander looked at her. “Motivational speaker, ‘eh?” He said and grinned.
“What?” She asked annoyed, when they finally swung the library door to leave.Helen was running fast. Every few yards she would stumble as the tunnel, that resembled very much the one leading from Hogwarts to the Shrieking Shack, was drowned in almost total darkness. A couple of times she ran against the wall when she didn’t realize the tunnel taking a sharp turn to the right. Only with her hands she kept feeling around for the stony walls of the narrow path ahead. Dark
and narrow – she was trying not to think of how much she always feared those two things. She heard his footsteps following her, judging by the sound of them he wasn’t in a hurry, but neither did she hear him stumble or hit the wall at any point, it was as if he could see perfectly well the way in front of him. And he was laughing.
“Wait for me on the other side, Helen, will ya?” He drawled and she shivered. From the sound of his voice she could tell that his face had turned into its vampire-features.
Without stopping she turned around to see whether he was catching up. But naturally she couldn’t see anything. Suddenly she tripped over something and fell and then the something moaned quietly. “Helen...” Goose bumps ran through her whole body.
“You-you’re not... safe,” he whispered heavily. She could not see his face, hesitantly she reached out her hands to feel for it. The moment her fingers touched his cheeks, she knew it was him indeed, her hand wandered downwards to his lips, they were wet with some liquid that seemed to be flowing out his nose, it wasn’t hard to guess that it was blood. On his forehead, right above his right eye was a wet large wound. Though she couldn’t but feel it with her hands, she knew it was the wound from the dreadful car accident seven years ago. “It wasn’t worth it...,” he said and she froze at those words. They were all the wrong way round. “Run, you must run, you’re not safe here.” Then his left hand grabbed hers and gently pushed her away. “You must go!”
“No,” she whispered and it was not so much a protest against leaving, rather than a desperate wish that this all not be true.
Angel’s footsteps echoed louder this time and reminded her again why she was here.
“Go,” Claudius said one last time, sounding more firm, almost angry now.
She got up and began to run again. Soon she could feel the floor under her feet rising gradually – the end of the tunnel was close. And indeed after a minute or two she saw in front of her a shining silhouette of a door. She couldn’t hear Angel’s footsteps anymore and felt a little relieved. Nevertheless she sped up, thinking that once she would reach the door and what she assumed had to be sunlight on the other side of it, she would be safe.
When she reached the door and placed her hand on the doorknob, her heart stopped. She saw a shadow behind it – someone just stepped to the door at its other side. She let go of the doorknob and in panic turned around. Angel’s laughter sounded behind her. He was getting closer. She turned back and startled she noticed that the feet on the other side of the door were gone. Could it be that she had just been imagining things? Maybe there was no one there, it only had been a trick of light. With her heart beating fast and loud she pushed down the doorknob carefully and with a loud and unpleasant creak opened the door.
Something was wrong. There was no sunlight. Instead she was standing in the doorframe of a large, old and rather decrepit looking room, with timber floor board and dark wood panelling. Right above her a bulb hung off the ceiling that was spreading a very bright light, which however did not reach the far corners of the room. Therefore she did not notice immediately the person who was sitting in one of the corners, his hands tied at the back of the chair. Above him a grand old oil painting hung on the wall that she didn’t recognize, with a large branch of a cherry-tree in the foreground. Only when a heavy sigh escaped the man’s lips Helen turned her eyes towards him, alarmed.
“Giles!” She cried out and ran towards him.
He didn’t seem to hear her, he was only barely conscious, his chin resting on his chest. From the tunnel Angel’s footsteps sounded louder and louder. She desperately looked around her, not knowing what to do. There was another door at the opposite wall.
“Hee-leeen,” Angel was shouting, “don’t go too far or you’ll get lost,” he laughed.
She got up and ran towards the other door, and before opening it she turned around as she could hear Angel being very close. Not letting her eyes go off the tunnel-exit she opened the other door and when she finally turned her head to see where this door led to, her lips let out a gasp of shock.
“Hello, poppet,” Rodolphus greeted her gleefully, standing in front of her, then began walking towards her, forcing her to step back into the room where Giles was.
She was receding towards the dark corner of the room. Though she was literally filled with panic and terror, she was instinctively determined to protect Giles. To her utter horror only now she noticed that there was another person in the very same corner, standing in its darkest shadow. The person walked around Giles’ chair and knelt down at his side. The face was distorted, and first Helen thought it was an unknown vampire. She stared at it puzzled, completely unable to do anything. When it bent down slightly and sank its teeth into Giles’ neck, a strip of light enlightened its face and Helen recognized her at once.
“No,” she whispered for the second time, but Bellatrix the Vampire ignored her and bit even deeper into Giles’ neck. Helen could see blood flowing from underneath Bellatrix’ teeth, disappearing in the collar of Giles’ shirt, then appearing again on his chest as it soaked the thin fabric and red stains were beginning to form on it.
“I told you I would come for you,” Rodolphus said, his voice sounded weird, it wasn’t full of hatred as she would have expected it to be. It was calm, almost... friendly, inviting, and that was scaring her even more.
Angel’s steps sounded now only a few yards away and Helen’s eyes kept switching frantically between the tunnel-door and Rodolphus. She didn’t know how, suddenly she held her wand in her right hand and at that moment Angel stepped in.
Excuto,” she said and waved her wand at Angel, but he only laughed at the blue sparks that emerged from it.
Frustrated she turned at Rodolphus, who was now pointing his wand at her with a wide grin on his face, and said in an even lower, more anxious voice that sounded more like a whine: “
Rodolphus and Angel exchanged cheerful and amused looks.
The wizard then pointed his wand at the blue harmless flash of light that had emerged from Helen’s wand and suddenly the blue sparks formed themselves into some sort of a firework and were rising high above Helen’s head, while she was watching them with open mouth. Then Rodolphus murmured, still pointing his wand at the blue sparkling cloud: “
Demitto,” and split of a second later Helen felt dozens of tiny sharp glass splitters hit her face, causing little painful scratches all over it.
“It’s the other way round,” Angel said, rebuking her. Rodolphus motioned with his head towards Bellatrix, as if she was explanation enough for Angel’s words.
Helen turned around to see Bellatrix the Vampire still sunk into Giles’ neck. He looked several shades paler than just a minute ago, as if she had already drunk all of his blood. Helen wanted to shout, for she couldn’t move, her feet seemed to have been forged into the wooden floor. She opened her mouth, but no sound emerged from it, only soundless and the more despairing “No... No...”
Giles re-entered his office and smiled as he noticed that Helen had sunk her head on her shoulder, her eyes were closed – she must have fallen asleep during his short absence. No wonder, with the jet-leg and the Angel-experience she must have been exhausted. He came closer, pondering over whether he should wake her or leave her rest for just a little bit more, when he saw her furrowing her brows. She must have been dreaming. She opened her mouth slightly and her head jerked a little. Giles noticed drops of sweat on her forehead now. Then she moaned, several times. He frowned and bent down over her, then placed his hand gently on hers to wake her up as softly as possible from what clearly was not a pleasant dream. He flinched immediately as he touched her – her hand was sweaty and ice-cold.
Helen suddenly opened her eyes, her heart was throbbing in her chest loudly and at a high speed. For a brief moment she just looked Giles in the eyes, then hesitantly, almost anxiously threw stolen glances at their surroundings to make sure that she was awake and those things from a few moment earlier were nothing but a nightmare.
“Bad dream?” He asked softly.
She looked at him intently. The unreleased scream from the dream was still pressing on her tongue. She swallowed, then managed a weak smile. “Nothing-eh... horrible,” she replied at last, then straightened herself up in the armchair as her legs had gone numb during the short sleep.
Giles smiled back at her and observed her face for a little longer, sensing that something had disquieted her.
“Are the others gone?” She asked to change the subject.
“Yes, I told them to go,” he said, “we haven’t found much, but-uh...,” he stood up and walked slowly across the room, “... I’m not even sure what we’re looking for, or what I’m hoping to find,” he sighed and sounded tired and exhausted himself.
“What have you been researching? Something on Angel?”
“Yes,” he raised his head again, “oh, right, I didn’t tell you yet.”
“Tell me what?”
“I was talking to your friend, Charles Weasley,” he began and Helen flustered immediately. Giles? Talking to Charlie? O-oo...Looks like the nightmare isn't over
, her inner voice said ironically.
“Really?” She asked trying to cover the trepidation in her voice. Charlie wouldn’t tell him about that... mishap... surely... we had agreed not to talk of it anymore...
“Yes, he was here, two days ago. He had thought you would already be back from London – he hadn’t attended the trial as I understand,” he continued, while rummaging among the notes on his desk. “And he told me some very interesting things.”
Helen panicked now. “What things?” She asked in a higher voice than she intended, but Giles didn’t notice.
“Not too much, but-uh... it is a start,” he said, when he turned back at her and looked her in the eyes. From the look Helen realized that her fears were unfounded and what he was about to say had nothing to do with hers and Charlie’s short common past. “He said that he had been asking around a bit among his local acquaintances and though they didn’t seem to know a whole lot, the common denominator seemed to be the name Calderash
, a clan of Romani, living in the northern parts of Romania, somewhere between the towns of-uh...,” he paused to take a look on a piece of paper lying on his desk, “Bistriţa and-uh... Borşa.”
Helen was listening carefully.
“However, it looks like they’re not there anymore.”
“Well, I’ve asked Mr. Weasley to find out, but-uh... my guess would be that they most probably had left already before or during the war.”
“Oh, right,” Helen sighed resigned, “you’re probably right, those weren’t particularly good times for the Romani in Europe,” she said.
“Still,” he said like he wasn’t going to give up hope that they might discover something useful in the end, “Mr. Weasley promised to help us and ask around some more. Maybe we will find out where they wandered and how we can find or contact them now, and from there we would only be a short step away from understanding the curse and-,” he suddenly stopped, but Helen was sure it wasn’t the end of his thought.
“You think that we should attempt to curse him again?” She asked quietly.
Giles shrugged and didn’t answer immediately. He was leaning with his back onto his desk, his hands in his pockets, a clear sign that he didn’t know what to do, what the right thing would be. “I don’t know.”
Then he pushed himself off his desk, grabbing his jacket. “But there is no point in speculating over it until we know more about the curse.”
During the drive to Giles’ apartment Helen was silent. The bits of the previous dream kept popping into her mind and Giles saw her closing her eyes painfully a couple of times
“Are you sure you’re alright?” He asked her when they walked into his flat and he closed the door behind them.
“I’m fine!” She snapped. “I wish people would stop treating me like I’m an invalid!”
Giles raised his brows, surprised at hearing her voice sounding this irascible and huffy, he had never before seen her so riled.
“I’m sorry,” she said pleading almost immediately, and threw her arms around her in a helpless and tired gesture, “It’s just-,” then shook her head, “forget it.” She walked over to the sofa and threw herself on it.
For a short moment Giles did nothing and watched her. She rested her head on the back of the sofa and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, his face was only inches from hers. He was glaring at her with this half strict, half indulgent look, the corners of his mouth were twitched into a barely perceptible smile. “You’re telling me, right now,” he said with this incredible, unearthly calmness in his voice that Helen suspected was infectious. How is he doing this?
She wondered. It wasn’t the first time when after hearing his voice she felt that all her anxieties had been if not entirely ridiculous, then certainly at least exaggerated and trivial.
“Do I have to?” She tried it with a last piece of a not very convincing resistance.
Giles smirked, clearly he had some ace up his sleeve. “Well, you don’t,” he said, then paused. “I expect that you must be hungry...”
She nodded, erroneously assuming that he had changed the topic of their conversation at last. “Oh, yes, I’m utterly starved! The lunch on the flight was rather disappointing,” she said, then noticed his triumphant look and looked at him suspiciously.
“Well. It’s like this: no tell – no dinner,” he said simply.
She looked at him with big eyes, opened her mouth, pretending to be shocked and appalled, but couldn’t help it and laughed in the end. “Alright, fine, you win.”
Giles sat down on the sofa right next to her and she told him about Rodolphus’ last threatening words after the trial. When she finished, she looked up at him and smiled unconvincingly. “That’s all.”
“No, it’s not,” he said slowly, glaring at her intently.
She squirmed. She did not intend to tell him about the silly dreams. “Nothing, really. Look, I’m sorry I was so cranky, the past few days were so tedious, and I haven’t slept much, bad dreams... and lots of thoughts... and...,” then she turned to him, “I’m glad to be back,” she said in a whisper and kissed him to stop him from quizzing her about it.
Giles was preparing dinner and Helen was sitting on a stool at the counter that separated the kitchen from the living room, fascinated she was observing his cooking artistry.
“On the plus side – thanks to Angel and my own foolishness of inviting him in I have now the excuse to stay here and profit from your cooking indefinitely, I guess,” she said brightly.
“Hm, I must disappoint you there,” Giles replied, searching for some spices for the meal he was preparing in the pan. “When it comes to Angel you’re not safe here either, I had invited him in at Christmas when I thought he could tell me more-“ He turned around at her. “Hang on. You said before that you had shook him off with some spell earlier,” he said bewildered.
“Yes,” she said frowning herself.
“B-but how is that possible? We thought you couldn’t harm him!”
Helen shook her head slowly, she had been just as stumped before as Giles was now, but then with the dream and everything she forgot all about it.
“Could it be that-uh... somehow... your powers are back?”
“No, no, it couldn’t... though I managed to do it without the wand, you saw the state I was in afterwards, that would not be the case if I was in full possession of my former powers, I would show no effects of any spells... I don’t understand it myself...,” she muttered and tried to recall the scene that had happened at her house couple of hours ago. “I-eh... the stunning spell didn’t work, that I remember...,” she was reviewing her actions methodically, “i-it was the deterring charm that worked! Yes, that and the averting spell I used first to keep him off me.” She looked somewhat nonplussed by this realization. “But why? How?”
“And those two spell, were the effects of them what you would expect normally?” Giles asked.
She shrugged. “Yes, pretty much.”
“Hm,” Giles murmured, before remembering Angel’s cryptic words at Christmas, “it’s the other way round
,” he said thoughtfully, more to himself.AN: I have a question :) Does anyone know by any chance, what was the painting in the Becoming 2 episode – in the manor house where Spike, Angel, Drusilla and Acathla were staying? I haven’t watched it recently, but I remember that in the scene where Angel is talking to Giles while Giles is tied up in the chair there was a shot or a glimpse of a painting on the wall, looked kind of Japanese or Chinese (but I might be totally wrong there) if I remember right – there’s a cherry tree on it, a tiny person in what looks like a snowy landscape – I can’t find any reference to it and I wondered if it might be “real”, having a name, or just a décor...
Anyways, thanks again for still reading, hope you’re not bored yet, and as always – review, comment, nag, if you have a spare minute :)