Return to Van Rosenberg Chapter Twenty-Three

Van Rosenberg

Author: Alcy
Rating: R for supernatural violence and (eventually) hot, gay lovin'
Disclaimers: I don't own any of the Buffy, Tomb Raider or Dracula characters. This fic is of course AU so no spoilers for any season.

Memories came back to Willow at odd times, most of the time she knew which life they were from. However there were some, mostly from her childhood, that she could not put a date to. Those, besides her memories of time spent with Tara at Hagley Park, were her most cherished. Most involved mischievous pranks in the company of a small redheaded boy. Often she could not tell whether it was Abraham or Alex unless the boy was almost a young man in which case it was Abraham as Alex had died at a young age.

A few days after emerging from the mirror with her twin personalities, Willow had managed to sort herself out to the point where she was functioning at somewhere approaching normality. She was not the Willow Rosenberg she had once been, but nor was she Willow Van Helsing. Instead the two personalities had merged into one, to the point where Willow almost considered herself an entirely new person. She had definitely decided that it was the oddest case of reincarnation she had ever stumbled across and she knew that as soon as the whole business with the skull was behind her, she would write it up and present the paper to the Royal Society. The fact that she herself was the subject did not faze her...although she was rather dismayed to discover that the thought of public speaking still left her terrified. She was sure she could face down a whole cadre of vampires on her own, but she was also sure she could not stand up in front of a room full of crusty, grey-haired men and speak.

While Willow had mostly confined herself to Gordon Square, rarely leaving her home as she regained a twisted but functional sense of self, it did not take her long to remember that in this life she had parents and she decided to visit them. Although along with the memory of parents came all sorts of unpleasant associations, Willow very promptly deciding that bad parents were much better than no parents at all. It was with a sense of the unknown that she found herself once again standing on the top step of the quaint, well-proportioned terraced house owned by Ira and Sheila Rosenberg. When she reached up to knock on the pale blue door, she did so with a firm, confident hand.

The door was opened rather promptly by her mother. Any warm smile of greeting that she may have been thinking about was quickly replaced with a blatant frown as she gazed down at Willow's attire. Willow followed her gaze and almost instantly realised that she should have thought to wear a dress to visit her parents. As it was, she had donned her customary three piece suit, it was the grey one which was somewhat worn and tired looking and had definitely seen better days. As Willow lifted her gaze after deciding it couldn't be helped, she idly wondered if her mother would react any differently if she were wearing a dapper new suit.

"Wilhelmina Rosenberg, whatever are you wearing?" Sheila blustered; her cheeks turning bright look positively...mannish."

"Clothes," Willow replied simply," As one does."

"Men's clothes!" Sheila squeaked, her hands making awkward birdlike motions as she appeared poised on the verge of a breakdown.

Willow shrugged casually, hardly willing to apologise for upsetting her mother for simply wearing clothes.

"Quickly, come upstairs and change into one of your old dresses before the Colonel sees you!" Sheila suggested, her face brightening at her brilliant plan.

"I will not wear a dress for your comfort...or fathers, "Willow decided very firmly, "I am quite comfortable."

"Well..." Sheila was completely taken aback by Willow's unexpected reply, she appeared indecisive for a few moments, as though wondering whether she should allow her into the home, however, she fixed an all too broad smile on her face and beckoned Willow inside with a wave of her podgy hand.

Sheila ushered Willow quickly into the parlour where Ira's stout frame was wedged into an overstuffed chair, his feet up on an ottoman in front of him and a large brandy at his side. He peered over his newspaper as Willow moved forward to brush her lips against his cheek,

"Father," she murmured politely, he smelt of brandy and cigar smoke.

As she drew back she watched his features move into a more restrained version of her mother's frown. Willow could see straight through his expression and knew that he was on the verge of outrage. No lady of civilised breeding would dare be seen in public so blatantly wearing men's attire. To see his own daughter flaunting the very natural rules governing such things was cause for grave concern indeed. Willow calmly met his gaze, even as she lowered herself onto a hard chair just opposite her father. Sheila sat also, casting worried glances between her husband and daughter as though she were afraid of what would happen next.

Much to Sheila's relief, the arrival of an immaculately attired butler with a tea tray sliced through the tension, although it still simmered away under the surface. Willow knew her mother was one step away from hysterics as she crammed an entire slice of tea cake into her mouth and chewed a little too enthusiastically, as though trying to occupy her mind with eating rather than thinking. The Colonel did not trade his brandy for tea, taking a large swallow to polish off his glass and make room for a refill. Willow accepted a cup of tea that she did not want and let it balance on her knee.

"The Colonel and I received your note," Sheila had finally swallowed her cake, freeing up her jaws for speech once more, "We did not even know you were in Europe so it came as a surprise to us to hear that you had been attacked by a band of thugs."

Willow had sent no such note, she realised that it must have been either Faith or Lara writing to advise her parents, tactfully avoiding the use of the word 'vampire.' No doubt her friends very sensibly thought that her parents might wish to visit her in the hospital or even at her little flat when she recovered enough to go home. Clearly her friends did not know her parents very well.

"I very nearly died," Willow answered, fighting to restrain from mentioning their absence as she knew her mother would have an apology pre-prepared.

"The Colonel and I desperately wanted to visit," Sheila nodded enthusiastically, trying to prod the Colonel into a reaction with a stiff glare, "But I knew it would only upset me to see my darling little girl lying in a hospital bed and you know how delicate my health is...but it is so good to see you up and walking around now. Wasn't it thoughtful of her to visit us, Colonel?"

Ira merely grunted in response, far more interested in the advertisements on the back page of The Times than he was in his daughter's wellbeing. Although his lack of response angered Willow she bit her lip and finally took a sip of her tea. She realised that she should hardly have been surprised, her father had grown increasingly distant with each year that passed since Alex's death, almost to the point where he acted as though he no longer had any children.

In the silence that followed, as Sheila ate more cake and her father took another swill of brandy, Willow found herself wishing she could be anywhere else. Even being on that godforsaken plain at Covasna was preferable to being in her parent's house...vampires and all. She began concocting excuses in her head, ways to beg her leave so soon after arriving without seeming rude. Eventually however, it was another of her mother's infernal conversations which solved the problem for her...permanently.

"You know, Willow," Sheila's mouth was still working around her latest piece of tea cake, "If you were wed this business in Europe would not have happened, you would have had a strong man at your side...or better yet, you would have been at home running your house and preparing for your children."

Willow did a perfect impression of Ira's grunt in response to her mother's statement.

Sheila appeared not to notice as she continued, "You know dear, Sir Joseph Pharazyn is still unmarried, unfortunate man, his wife dies and then his fiancÚ, poor Beth McGregor, upped and died on him as well. Still, I don't know how she ever would have coped with those seven children; she was always so terribly weak and sickly."

Willow could no longer restrain herself from commenting, "I am not looking for a husband and I am most certainly not looking for seven children!"

Sheila's mouth formed into a perfect 'o', a lump of cake still sitting on her tongue as she struggled to interpret Willow's statement. She could not possibly conceive of her daughter meaning literally that she did not want a husband, there simply had to be some other explanation. The tea cake worked around in her mouth as she pondered the possibilities.

"Have you already found yourself a young man dear?" her mother inquired tentatively, "Do you fear from telling us because he is of an inferior ilk, is he a common man...or possibly an immigrant?"

No, Willow heard her own teeth grating, She died and joined the ranks of the evil undead.

"You really must feel as though you can tell us, Willow," her mother continued, "We would consider any young man if he was of good character..."

"We bloody well would not!" Ira managed to string together a sentence, finally lowering his paper to sit on his lap.

"Why should it matter who I chose?" Willow growled in reply, looking from Sheila to Ira in turn, "It should not matter whether they be rich or poor, British or or woman."

Sheila frowned, "Man or woman...Wilhelmina, have you lost you mind?"

Willow almost laughed, "In a manner of speaking yes, but I've gained an entirely new one to replace it.

She watched the faces of both parents flicker in between confusion and terror as they wondered whether she truly had gone mad. While Willow felt that she herself was far from sane, she at least knew one very crucial piece of information about herself, past or present. She set down the barely touched cup of tea on a small side table, brushed the palms of her hands over her trousers and stood.

"Mother, Father," Willow turned to each in turn, "There will be no wedding...not now, not ever...unless one day in a future where people are far more enlightened and tolerant, women are permitted to marry each other...and of course if I ever found another woman to love."

Willow derived no satisfaction from the looks of horror on her parent's faces; she was simply stating the truth about herself with absolutely no regard for the consequences.

In a fluster Sheila rose from her seat and waved her arms in her husband's direction, "Quickly Colonel, quickly, call the doctor!"

Willow sighed in exasperation, "I am not sick mother, I am just a lesbian."

Sheila stared at Willow with absolutely no comprehension on her face, "What is a 'lesbian'?"

"It means, mother, that I fuck women," Willow replied casually.

"I should denounce you here and now!" Ira roared, obviously knowing full well what a 'lesbian' was as he finally rose from his chair, the newspaper slid forgotten to the floor.

"You know what; I'm not going to give you that satisfaction. Ira...Sheila, farewell, I would say that I will miss you but there's absolutely nothing to miss...about either of you," Willow was surprised at just how calmly the words flowed from her lips and she realised that she had spent more than a decade wanting to say just those words.

Willow felt nothing but ambivalence at seeing the horrified expression on her mother's face and the outraged expression on her father's. In all honestly, she was glad that the truth was out and terribly glad that she would not have to endure another of her mother's conversations about potential husbands.

Like the military man he was, Ira stalked towards Willow. He lifted his hand to slap her across the face but he had not expected her to move. Willow easily ducked his glancing blow; her hand then snatched out and seized his wrist.

"You will not make me into an image of your choosing," Willow growled in a low voice, "I will not hide who I am!"

"You are a freak!" Ira spat, "And no daughter of mine!"

Sheila had collapsed into the couch, her entire body heaving with loud cries but Willow felt no sympathy for she knew it was not really her she was crying over, it was the memory of a girl who had never existed.

She let go of her father's wrist and glared at him for a fraction longer than necessary before spinning on her heels and walking out of the house for the very last time. It was not until she had exited the house and moved down the steps that she realised the momentous nature of her actions.

As a consequence, she had no family.

Willow wandered the streets of London for almost an hour before she found herself, almost by instinct, standing at the entrance to another building. This time however she felt none of the unpleasantness associated with her parent's home. She glanced up at the British Museum and realised that, except for Abraham and Tara, every single person she loved was inside the building.

She walked in the front entrance, quickly bypassing the stares of any staff who may have remembered her breakdown from a few days earlier and into the bowels of the employee only areas of the museum. As she walked the dark corridors she realised with some amount of satisfaction that she was indeed home in the sense of being somewhere she felt safe and comfortable. This feeling only increased as she pushed open the door to her little office. It smelt a little musty after being empty for over two months but her face broke into a broad grin at the sight of so many familiar treasures. Her desk was as messy as ever, the shelves upon shelves of books, the idols crammed into their respective niches, the war spears stacked into one corner; everything was in its place. With a cry of glee she fell down on the rag rug at her feet and flopped over onto her back, staring up at the ceiling and the topmost shelves of books above her head.

Willow was still laughing when she was startled by a soft knock on the already open door. She swivelled slightly to see a rather red-faced Myles Cavendish standing in the door way.

"Is now not a good time?" he ventured quietly, "I just wanted to..."

He got no further as Willow sprang to her feet and enveloped him with her arms, "Myles!"

"...say hello," Myles finished.

Myles was more than a little red-faced as Willow finally let him go, his expression was still a little nervous as though he did not quite know what to say...and he was more than a little put off by the most un-Willow-like display of exuberant affection he had just experienced.

"Um...I have work to do but I just wanted to stop know," he explained further.

"I know, Myles," Willow nodded, "It is good to see you, honestly."

The young man nodded, a small grin spreading infectiously across his face before he continued on his way. Willow was barely left alone in her office long enough to sit down before Lara Croft entered, still relying on a wooden cane to help her around the building. Willow thought the Director looked a little pale, her skin stretched tightly across her cheeks as though she had not had a great deal of sleep for some time.

Willow sat up a little straighter in her chair, wondering if she ought to offer Lara a seat but she realised that there were no others in the room.

"I am glad you are back, Willow," she nodded her head slightly, her voice as deep-throated and luscious as ever.

"Back in the building or back to sanity?" Willow commented quickly before biting her lip, Willow Rosenberg would never have uttered such a thing in the presence of Croft...but then again, she was not entirely Willow Rosenberg.

Lara laughed, a full and rich sound, "If you would allow me to say it...then both."

"I am sorry for my behaviour in the foyer the other day," Willow apologised.

"Nonsense," Lara shook her head, "You were scared."

The sound of heavy footsteps running down the corridor caused them both to look up to the doorway. A few moments later Faith entered, her chest heaving slightly.

"One of the staff told me you had come in, Will..." Faith paused when she realised Lara was there, "Oh, I'm sorry I didn't realise you already had company."

"It is no problem," Lara replied before Willow could open her mouth "I was just stopping by to welcome Willow back into the building...for the second time."

Willow smiled at the comment but Faith did not share her amusement.

"You show concern for her now, but did you do the same when you sent her off to Europe?" Faith still would not look at Lara, "She very nearly did not come back...not alive anyway!"

"Faith," Willow interrupted, "That is not fair..."

"It is bloody fair! She has been playing all of us, especially," Faith finally lifted her gaze and looked straight at Lara, "Was our relationship merely so you could keep a closer eye on Willow?"

"No, Faith...our relationship had absolutely nothing to do with was just complicated by those matters...believe me when I say I never intended to keep you in the dark...'

"Like hell you did...what do you say to some fresh air?" Faith suggested looking at Willow, she would not even turn her head slightly to meet Lara's searching gaze.

Willow glanced back and forth between the two women as though she were caught in the middle of something but when Faith gave her a quick glare she gave up and nodded. Faith quickly linked her arm through Willow's and made a rather swift beeline for the door without a glance over her shoulder. Willow glanced over her shoulder and gave Lara an apologetic smile which was returned quickly but without any great effort. The smile did not reach her eyes which were wet and intensely sad.

Lara's expression stayed with Willow as she and Faith made their way out of the museum. She also realised that Faith's entire body was tense and she did not feel her relax until they were both strolling in the park a short distance from the museum.

"You're feeling fine...I mean you're acting with something resembling normality so you must be feeling a little...clearer?" Faith asked as they walked, eager to steer the topic away from her confrontation...or lack of one, with Lara.

"Yes, as you say, something resembling normality," Willow shrugged, instead of continuing to walk she found a convenient bench and sat, Faith followed suit, "I feel like a quilt, you know, bits and pieces slowly being joined together to create a whole person...which is odd because I already thought I was complete to begin with."

Willow shrugged again and ran shaking hands over the legs of her suit. She distinctly remembered sitting on this same bench, or one very close to it, and eating her lunch from a tin lunch box. Another associated memory also stirred but she could not dredge up much more at that time. She let it go and instead turned her attention to her friend sitting on the bench beside her.

"Why won't you forgive her?" Willow ventured quietly, "Whatever she did, it is obvious she loves you."

Faith did not need any further explanation; she knew immediately that Willow was referring to Lara and the heated words the two of them had shared in her office. She regretted that it had taken place in front of Willow, one of the last things her friend need at this difficult time was to see such a public outburst of what had been an intensely private passion. It was somewhat odd that someone who had been through so much could even think to ask someone else about the problems in their life. Then again, she knew could expect nothing less from Willow.

"She put your life in danger, Will," Faith replied fervently, her tone indicating just how seriously she took Willow's safety.

"Faith, I am quite capable of taking care of myself," Willow replied, a little saddened that she was the wedge who had been driven between the two lovers.

"Well you can now that you're manifesting Willow Van Helsing who, if I can just add, sounds like one freakishly scary woman!" Faith commented in an animated voice before remembering that she might as well have been talking to the woman herself, "Sorry...I am still dealing with a few issues involving jealously and a bruised ego."

"I understand...but you also keep changing the topic," Willow admonished her friend lightly.

"Perhaps because I don't want to talk about it," Faith replied heavily, "I know you're only trying to help but I would really appreciate it if we could talk about something else...talking about that woman is only going to anger me...and remind me just how much I want her. Damn that woman and her breasts!"

As Faith let out a sigh that was half born out of frustration and half from longing, Willow felt her cheeks burn. She had to turn her head. It was a few moments before Faith noticed her behaviour. She reached out and laid a gentle hand on her shoulder, drawing Willow downwards until her head was nestled comfortably in her lap. When she laid the back of her hand against Willow's cheek, she found it hot to the touch.

"I speak without thinking, sometimes I should be thankful my love life is not as complicated as yours," Faith was sincere but she could not resist making one particular comment, "Not to mention the fact that you haven't had sex for over a hundred years."

Willow responded with a small smile, Faith spoke the truth, "You don't miss what you don't know...the only problem is I do know what I'm missing, the fire burns within me and there's no way to quench it, not with the woman I long for anyway."

While Willow knew that it was not only Tara who could stir such feelings within her body, as evidenced by her past love for Ayako and her infatuation with Lara Croft's breast, Tara was where her heart truly lay. Even though it had been over one hundred years, she still remembered the passion of their lovemaking and the way it had felt to be brought to orgasm by the one you loved. Clearer still in her mind was the frantic alley coupling with the vampire who had been Tara. Her cheeks coloured at that particular memory.

"Would you and I make a good couple?" Faith asked, interrupting Willow's chain of thought.

Willow was effectively rendered speechless for a moment; she turned over so she was lying on her back staring up into Faith's eyes. She was surprised to find that there was no jesting smile playing across Faith's lips.

"I don't know," Willow replied, thinking for just a moment before giving the briefest of answers, "No."

"You're right," Faith agreed a little too quickly.

Willow detected the tiny element of hurt in her friend's voice and she quickly sat up, meeting her gaze directly.

"Faith...are you serious?" Willow asked quietly.

She studied her friend's face but could not tell immediately what she was thinking. Where the expression had been evident in her voice, her eyes were veiled. Willow had to admit that she had never thought of Faith in a sexual way, they had always been friends....more than friends even, sisters. She loved the other woman dearly and the thought of being intimate with her, as beautiful as she was, was almost unpleasant.

Faith shook her head quickly, "I am sorry, Will, perhaps you newfound status as a woman of action has spurred me to think odd thoughts."

"Or perhaps served to remind you that you already have a woman of action who loves you," Willow commented.

Faith narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "I am not entirely sure I approve of these new developments in your are suddenly much too insightful."

The two women sat in the park for a short while longer until the cold drove Willow indoors, she still felt weaker than normal due to her healing shoulder injury. It was with some relief that she sank back behind her desk, Faith stood, leaning against the doorway as she watched her friend start to leaf through the stacks of papers in front of her. While a part of her felt rather strange at the pleasure she derived from the feel of paper upon her skin, a larger part was relieved to be back behind a desk, away from the front lines of the battle with evil.

"You know, Faith," Willow commented before her friend left her, "I don't think I want to spend all day sitting here, would you like to spar with me later on today...I will promise to go easy on you if that helps your bruised ego?"

She continued to leaf through the piles, one sheet fell from amidst others and fluttered to the floor. Willow pushed her chair back so she could stoop to pick it up.

"Now I know there is something wrong with you!" Faith said in disbelief, "I suppose you would like me to find you an Atramen or two to take on?"

Willow did not reply to Faith's question, instead she stared at the piece of paper she had just retrieved. It was not a page of text but rather it was a pencil sketch...a sketch of Tara's face. She stared at it in silence for a few moments, realising that this picture was drawn with a great deal of attention to detail. It was almost as though each stroke of the pencil on the paper had been a loving caress. Everything about the face was perfect to the point where Willow felt like crumpling the paper in her fist and throwing it across her office. However, there was something about the was almost as though the subject was not the demon Willow remembered so clearly, but rather the young woman who had died so long ago.

Eventually curiosity drove Faith to approach the desk and see for herself what lay on the paper that had captured Willow's attention.

"Do you remember her?" Faith asked quietly when she saw that it was a picture of Tara that Willow held, Willow's 'mystery woman.'

"Why should I remember her?" Willow whispered in a worried voice, "You know her?"

"Of Covasna..."

More memories flooded Willow's consciousness to the point where she felt as though she might pass out. The tin lunch box came back to her and she realised that it was on that day that Willow Rosenberg had first seen the vampire formerly known as Tara Maclay. There were other meetings, Tara had spoken little, evoking little of what had taken place in her past...All her memories of the demon were cloudy but she clearly remembered the demon's presence at Covasna where she had sustained her shoulder wound. Willow felt her fists clenching around the paper...two wounds in Tara's presence, one fatal; it was too much of a coincidence. With a savage movement, she tore the sketch in half and tossed the pieces to the floor.

"I must speak with Giles," Willow announced decisively.

Giles was not in his workroom when Willow came looking for him but she found him in the next most logical place, the library. The sight of mentor and oldest friend surrounded by a large stack of books took her back in time and she paused for a moment, letting the scene have a calming effect on her. By the time Giles sensed her presence her anger had abated somewhat and she was able to summon a small smile. She approached and perched atop the table Giles was resting on, scooting several books to one side with a swat of her hand.

Giles narrowed his eyes as the stack of books tumbled and went sliding across the well polished table, one close to falling off the table altogether. He stood and collected them back into their neat stack.

"I see you're beginning to manifest some less than desirable personality traits," he commented, moving the books well out of Willow's reach.

"I'm also beginning to think book learning is overrated," Willow replied with a dismissive shrug, picking up another and flipping through it as Giles continued to tidy his space, "The real learning is in the the dead of night when you're backed into a corner and faced with four or five vampires, all just itching to sink their fangs into your flesh and get a taste of your can't tell me there's a book that would be more worthwhile than that experience?"

"Willow, you've never been backed into a corner with even one vampire," Giles set her straight rather bluntly, completely dismissing the fact that her other half had truly lived that situation more than once, he had already decided that it was far easier to see her as Willow Rosenberg...with a few added personality quirks.

Willow frowned and her mouth twisted into a slight pout, "That's not entirely true is it, Giles?"

"What do you mean?" Giles had to stop fidgeting with his books as they were all arranged in perfect piles, to continue arranging them would only serve to make Willow aware of just how uncomfortable he still was around her.

"The demon who was Tara is out there and I've seen her, spoken to her...been close to her," Willow spoke quietly, restraining her voice from the angry shouts she truly wanted to be able to make, "Doesn't that strike you as a little odd?"

"Odd?" Giles squeaked nervously, "Odd in what sense?"

Willow gave an annoyed grunt as his deliberate evasion, this was exactly the sort of thing she had come to confront Giles about and she could tell he was going to be difficult about it.

"Giles, the last thing I remember from Willow Van Helsing's life was that demon standing over, with my own bloody sword in her fist...she killed me for god's sake, Giles!"

"It must be difficult," Giles whispered uncomfortably.

"Difficult?" Willow snapped, jumping down from the table and pacing a few steps, "It's bloody awful...imagine for a second how it would feel to meet your own murderer, to stand face to face with them knowing what they've done but you with no bloody clue! I remember standing close to her, having her stare at me on several occasions, knowing full well what she did to me and she had the nerve to be cryptic and refuse to answer my questions!"

"Willow, there are a number of things you are yet to understand..." Giles began.

"Well help me to understand them!" Willow demanded, spinning to face Giles, "Help me to understand why that demon is back in my life again...and more to the point, did you know she was skulking around me?"

From the expression on Giles's face, Willow did not even need her mentor to open his mouth and answer that question. He knew. He had been there at Covasna, had watched Tara plunge the sword into her back and yet he knew she was back again. Willow stared at him with a flabbergasted expression on her face for a few moments while his mouth worked soundlessly as he tried to form a coherent explanation. At that point in time Willow wasn't interested in hearing excuses, she could only struggle to reign in her temper, a temper she was still coming to grips with.

She had to drag her gaze away before he received a fist in his face just as Faith had done the day before. She crossed to the nearest of the solid bookshelves and pressed her forehead against the cool wood, blocking out everything except the sound of her own breathing. Being as intelligent as he was, Giles knew to let her be.

It amazed Willow just how vividly she remembered each of her recent meetings with the demon. Although with a few moments reflection she realised that this was because she had instinctively felt the connection between them and in a way, history was repeating itself as she fell in love with her all over again. Willow clenched her fists; even just the thought of it was repulsive.

When she turned back to search Giles's expression once more she immediately knew that he was not going to give her the answers she needed.

"Why," was all Willow needed to ask.

"You are not yet ready."

"Predictable," Willow muttered, thoroughly unimpressed.

"You are not!" Giles's voice was sterner, as though she were once again the small girl he had taught, "And I will say nothing until you are...a few days at least, except to say that she has suffered immensely in the years since Willow Van Helsing's death."

"I died!" Willow was entirely unsympathetic, "She bloody well deserves several lifetimes of suffering!"

"You're a little upset about it then?" Giles mused most unhelpfully.

"Upset?" Willow was hard pressed to think of a more inappropriate descriptor, "Giles I'm livid, what kind of vampire hunter lets a vampire kill her and get away with it?"

"Well, most people don't come back to carry out their own revenge," Giles pointed out in a matter of fact tone.

"Well I bloody well did come back!" Willow growled, slamming a fist into the cupped palm of her other hand, "And the next time I see that double-crossing bitch I'm going to take up the sharpest stake I can find, shove it in her chest and watch that smug smile disappear from her face!"

Continue to Van Rosenberg Chapter Twenty-Five

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