Willow slipped through the portrait-hole to find Spike waiting for her and pulling her to her feet. He looked her over.
“Your eyes are black, luv.” Willow looked at him, still fuming as he took her to a mirror. Her sopping wet hair whipped around her face in a wind of her own making. She could feel her power rushing through her body looking for an outlet. Yes, her eyes were black. But she knew that already.
“I can't clamp it down.” Willow felt the first current of fear run through her body. “It wants out.” She looked to Spike as if he had answers.
Spike regarded her coolly. “You're still drained, Red. That's a tiny fraction of the power you're used to carrying around.” Willow noticed that Spike had no reflection in the mirror.
“What?!” Willow touched the mirror, there were tiny black veins in her face that were fading with her surprise. The green of her eyes flickered behind the black. “How can that be? It's too much!”
“You've been drained for how long? Three, four weeks?” Willow nodded. “It's like feeding a starving man food – if he eats too much, or too rich, he'll kill himself for having too much. You can't hold it because you've been empty – starving – for too long.”
“Are you sure?”
“I can smell your power. You've got the barest flicker of your usual energy.” Spike steered her to the showers. “Go, take a shower, you're freezing. You'll exhaust the little progress you've made if you use power to make yourself comfortable.” Willow watched in a stupor as Spike adjusted taps in the bath. “Try to relax. If you use up what you've gained, you'll be back to the beginning.”
Willow sank into the warm tub, feeling the magical lavender scented bubbles foaming and popping about her ears. It did feel good. She tried to relax, beginning one of the meditations Tara had shown her. Somewhere in the midst of her meditations she heard Spike's voice.
“You shouldn't pay no mind to that idiot sister of mine. She knows her transfigurations, no doubt, but she has always hated me.” Willow looked up, surprised to see Spike squatting by the tub, watching her closely. A mouse, she felt like a little wet mouse, and Spike was definitely the cat. She wondered if he
felt as predatory as she definitely felt like prey. Spike sniffed at the air. “Sorry, habit. I'm a bit peckish, but I'm not going to eat you, luv. Albus has made arrangements for me to have some blood at dinnertime.” Spike looked up checking the light in the windows. “In about 15 minutes.”
“Mmmf.” Willow rose out of her trance. “Why does she hate you?”
“Partly because I'm the child of father's second marriage, and her mother died before I was born.” Spike looked a little sheepish. “I suppose I could be a bit more sympathetic, but, hey, demon here. I had nothing to do with her mother's death. And, I was courting her best friend when I died. She'd just refused me, and I went looking for death – found my dark Princess.” Willow looked at him curiously. “Evidently, Cecily died not long after me – at least according to Min.”
Willow raised an eyebrow at this. That had certainly never made the Watcher's Journals. “You were engaged?”
“Well, no. Not to my knowledge.” Spike shrugged. “I saw Cecily back in Sunnydale. First time I laid eyes on her in over a century. Course, now she's demon-girl's girlfriend. You know, Halfrek.”
“She didn't?” Willow's eyes widened.
“Must have. I'm guessing her father refused to let us marry, and she went about attracting old D'Hoffryn's attentions.” Willow sank deeper into the bath, letting the bubbles cover her head, deep in thought.
“Someone's at the door, luv. Don't drown in there.” Willow rose out of the water with a snort, watching Spike's lean form exit the room.