In The Darkness: Part 4 – Illusions

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.

— Marcus Aurelius

Author’s Notes: AU/Futurefic.There are parts of this that are not quite “right”; Willow’s recall of past events is deliberately misconstrued.

Continuing to fill in the backstory; Elise talks to Willow.

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Own nothing whatsoever regarding Buffy or Angel. Joss & co. owns all. Elise is my creation.

Pairing: B/A, A/Other

Distribution: My site, EverySixSeconds; sites currently with permission to host my fics; all others please ask.

Originally posted: Apr 1, 2005

Revised and reposted: May 31, 2015

It was just after noon when Elise pushed open the door to the Wolfram & Hart Information Services Department and walked through the short row of cubicles to reach the office at the back. The sign on the door read, “Willow Rosenberg, Director.”

She knocked and waited for a response.

“Yes? Come in.”

“Hi Willow. Do you have some time right now? I’d like to talk to you.”

“Let me just hand this over to Gavin to run, and I’ll be right with you,” Willow said as she came to her feet, a stack of papers in hand.  She gestured to the chairs in front of her desk and started toward the door. “Make yourself at home.”

“Okay, thank you.”

While she waited, Elise scanned the contents of the expansive, but windowless office.  She and Willow had seldom, if ever, interacted, and this was the first time she had even been in this part of the building. The walls were painted a dark, forest green, complimentary to the golden beige carpet on the floor. Along one side of the room was a massive cabinet, the doors closed and, from all appearances, securely locked. The subtle smell of smoke and herbs lingered in the air. On the credenza behind the desk there was a small marble bowl, a sprinkling of various herbs and the stubs of several black candles. Curious, Elise leaned forward to get a better look.

“So what did you need?” Willow asked as she swept back into the office.  Noting the direction of the novelists’ inquisitive gaze, her own expression became shuttered. Without a word, she swept the items up and placed them on a shelf below, closing the credenza door firmly.

The items themselves were curious. Willow’s behavior however, made them curiouser still. But, Elise cautioned herself, she didn’t know Willow very well; perhaps there was nothing unusual at all. Instead, she smiled and explained, “I’m working on an idea for a new book, and I was hoping you might be able to help me.”

“How so?” Willow asked, taking a seat at her desk and glancing at her guest.

“I’m sorry, this is a bit awkward, so I’m just going to be straight with you. I’m interested in writing a book about a Slayer. I’d like to use Buffy… her story… as the premise.” Gently Elise added, “I know you were friends.”

Willow looked away. “Yes, best friends.”

“If the topic is too painful for you, please say so. It’s not my intention to open old wounds.”

“No, no. I mean, it hurts, but I can talk about her,” Willow replied, returning her gaze back to Elise. “Is this because you’re seeing Angel? Or are you really writing a book?” Her expression was somber, her tone curt.

“I’m really writing a book. That’s the plan, anyway. I haven’t actually started it yet. I’m just researching.”

“Researching Buffy. Is this a story about her, her life, or slaying or what?”

“Right now, I’m thinking it may be a love story as much as anything else.”

“Buffy and…”

Elise’s brows lifted in surprise. “Angel.”

“Oh, yes, of course. I wasn’t sure. I mean, there was Spike, and Riley too. And with you and Angel… I didn’t think you’d… well, never mind.”

“Seeing Angel may have prompted the idea, but I can assure you this has nothing to do with jealousy – or anything else – about his previous girlfriend,” Elise replied candidly.  “Every woman has more than one relationship, but there’s only one first love,” she continued agreeably. “Besides, or perhaps more relevantly, it sounds like their story, what Buffy and Angel had, was very unique. A vampire and a Slayer, falling in love?  That’s what will make for an interesting story, and that’s the perspective I’d like to take.”

“I see. So what did you want to know from me?” Willow asked solicitously.

“Anything you’re willing to share. As her closest friend and confidant, you have more insight and information about Buffy than almost anyone else,” Elise said, taking her tape recorder out of the bag and holding it up for inspection. “Do you mind?”

“No, I don’t mind.” Willow replied with a simple shake of her head. “Well, if you want to hear about Buffy and Angel specifically…”

“Yes, that would be wonderful. Would you mind starting with how they met?”

“We were in high school. He showed up one night, gave her some cryptic advice about vampires, and then disappeared. He did that a few times. One time he gave her a silver cross necklace, another time he gave her his leather jacket. She used to wear both of them pretty much all the time back then. She had a huge crush on him, right from the beginning.”

“Did she know he was a vampire?”

“No, not at first… and if I remember it right, she found out one night after he helped her fight off these assassin types – the Three, I think it was. He ended up staying over at her house, and well, stuff happened. They ended up kissing, and he vamped out on her.  After that she thought he attacked her Mom, but that was Darla – who was actually the vamp who made Angel one.”

Elise considered the information for a moment. She did remember seeing something in one of the books about Angel’s sire being  a vampire named Darla. She made a note to check more on that detail later. “Then what happened?”

“Buffy went after Angel, and Darla was there. Angel saved Buffy from Darla by staking her. He disappeared after that only to show up a few days later at the Bronze… they talked, and decided they couldn’t have a relationship, and that was the end of it between them for a little while.”

“That seems to be a consistent theme with them.” Elise noted thoughtfully.

Willow nodded. “Yes, it was. You should have seen Buffy when Angel broke up with her just before prom. She was devastated.”

“Before we get to that, can you tell me what brought them back together? I mean, I had thought they had decided they couldn’t be… together that is.”

“Let me think… there was the Master’s death… no, that wasn’t it. Actually, it might have been me, now that I think about it.” Willow’s expression brightened and she smiled. “Buffy would see Angel, and they’d talk or he’d drop some clue about some demon or vampire, but nothing more. So one night Buffy and Cordelia had gone to a frat party, which just happened to be for sacrificing girls to this giant wormy. Buffy lied to both Giles and Angel, telling them she was at home, and of course I had to tell them she wasn’t. Without going into all the details of what happened, I ended up yelling at Giles about how he never let Buffy do anything other than patrol and train, and then at Angel because he wouldn’t ask Buffy out, even for coffee. A few days later, he finally did.”

“I’ve heard mention of Cordelia, but I didn’t get the impression she and Buffy were friends.”

“Oh, they weren’t, really. Cordelia invited Buffy because one of the frat guys liked her. Her being Buffy. So I guess you can say Cordelia was using her. Since Buffy was bummed because Angel had pretty much given her the brush off, she went.”

“Oh, okay. So after that, they started dating?”

“Yeah. Things moved pretty fast from there. I think that was October, because they went out on their first real date around Halloween. By January, and Buffy’s birthday, they had gotten to that next big step. You know about that, right? Angel and the whole ‘lost his soul’ thing?”

“I do, but I’d love to hear your version of the events.”

“Hmm… well, Buffy and Angel were chasing down a demon called The Judge. Spike and Drusilla were reassembling him. That’s a whole long story by itself. Anyway, Buffy and Angel almost got caught, and ended up hiding at Angel’s apartment.  One thing led to another, and they had sex that night. After that, Angel was bad. Really bad. He killed Jenny Calendar, who was one of the teachers at the school. She was Mr. Giles’ on again, off again girlfriend, so doing what horrible things Angel like to do then, he left her body in Giles’ bed. He arranged it like she had planned a romantic evening with music and flowers. It was really awful, and messed with Giles’ head for a long time.”

Willow paused and sighed. “Jenny was sort of a techopagan. She’s the the one that really got me interested in magic – back then. I don’t… really practice any more.” She smiled and shrugged. “Anyway, so Angel continued to torment Buffy with all these little tricks – like getting into her room and drawing pictures of her.” Leaning forward as if imparting a confidence, Willow added. “I think he probably raped her, or at the very least forced her to have sex with him. Not that Buffy ever said so but he was so evil, and seemed so obsessed with her…”

A small gasp escaped Elise’s lips.

“Besides the fact he was physically one of the strongest vampires she had ever fought… Angel could easily manipulate Buffy mentally and emotionally as well, and he knew it. He took total advantage of it too. He knew Buffy wouldn’t be able to kill him because she couldn’t separate him as a demon from him as the guy who had been her boyfriend.”

“I suppose that would be difficult for anyone.”

“I guess,” Willow acknowledged with a dismissive shrug. “So Angel, along with Spike and Drusilla, unearthed the tomb of Acathla. They wanted to know how to open it, because I guess they wanted to suck the world into hell – that’s what happens when it’s open – but fortunately they just weren’t having any luck. They knew Giles would know, so Angel distracted Buffy and they captured him.”

She picked up a pen from the desk and twirled it in her fingers thoughtfully.

“Me, Xander – Xander Harris – another friend of ours back then, and Kendra, the slayer called after Buffy died the first time – we were all in the high school library when they came.  They being Drusilla and her minions. I ended up in the hospital with a concussion, Xander with a broken arm, and Kendra dead. Skip ahead a few hours – Buffy goes to stop Angel and save Giles, while I tried the spell Jenny had found to give Angel his soul back. We didn’t know it worked at all until months later.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. I won’t forget when she told us. Giles and I, we were in the library when Buffy came in. She said something lie ‘When I killed him, Angel was cured.’  I guess then the spell worked at the last minute, just before she… killed him. Anyway, she said he didn’t remember what he’d done. She said she told him she loved him, she kissed him, and then she killed him. I felt so bad for her then.”

“I feel bad just hearing about it. I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been.”

“But he was bad. Really, really bad,” Willow asserted flatly. “Buffy just couldn’t see it. She could never be objective when it came to Angel.”

“When Angel came back from hell…” Elise prompted, masking her surprise at the lack of empathy. Buffy had been her best friend…

“Yeah, he comes back from hell, and what happens is that Buffy hides him. I guess she was taking care of him too, he wasn’t… well.  Anyway, so we’re all searching for Lagos and the glove of Myneghon, when Xander catches them kissing. We had to confront her about it.”

“You had to confront her?” Elise’s brows lifted slightly. Willow made it sound like some sort of intervention.

“We had no choice,” Willow replied defensively. “She had been hiding him from us. Angel killed some of our friends, tortured Giles, and we didn’t even know he was back from hell because she didn’t bother to tell us. She protected him instead of us. We didn’t know if he was good or bad, and we didn’t know what was going on with them either. For all we knew, they were having sex again, and he was still evil. I mean, they had already done the deed at least once before, and they were kissing,  so it seemed likely they had… continued.”

“But… did you really think Buffy would do that? I mean, see Angel when he was… evil?”

“You didn’t know her, and you didn’t know what he was like then either,” Willow stated coolly. She softened her tone somewhat as she continued, “Buffy was completely blind when it came to Angel. I think she would do just about anything for him. And I told you, I think they did have something sexual even when he was evil.”

“Oh. Uh… what happened after that?” Elise inquired, her tone scrupulously cordial to hide her astonishment that Buffy’s best friend seemed rather cold and insensitive to the whole situation.

“It would take hours to give you all of the details, so I’ll just fill in the highlights. Faith, another slayer, went after Angel and almost killed him. Buffy stopped her, and Angel ended up saving me from a flamey death. A bad Watcher by the name of Gwendolyn Post had gotten hold of the very powerful and dangerous glove we had been looking for. After that all blew over, Buffy and Angel tried to do the no touching, just friends thing.”

“That didn’t work?”

“Not really.  Eventually Spike – who was in Sunnydale then and was also bad, kidnapped me and Xander.  Spike wanted me to do a love spell for him so he could get Drusilla back.” Willow paused, rolling her eyes. “But before I could do the spell, Oz and Cordelia showed up to rescue us, only Cordelia fell through the floor and got hurt. I had a huge crush on Xander since practically forever, and it was only after I started seeing Oz and Xander was seeing Cordelia, that anything ever happened, but of course as it goes, they caught me and Xander kissing. I guess it was more of one of those forbidden love type things, because once it could happen – me and Xander – neither of us wanted it anymore.”

“Oz was a high school love?”

“Yeah, Oz,” Willow replied with a wistful smile. He had been her first and only real guy relationship, and she still thought of him fondly. “After all that happened, Buffy broke up with Angel, and they tried to stay away from each other, but they started sharing these dreams.”

“Prophetic dreams?” Elise asked, fascinated by the implication.

“I guess.”

“That’s amazing.”

Willow shrugged dismissively. “Buffy was seeing Angel kill people as a vampire. I’m not sure that qualifies as amazing.”

“Dream sharing is amazing. It’s usually a sign of a powerful connection between two people at a subconscious level. It’s very rare from what I understand.”

“I guess. Anyway, Buffy thought Angel was going to go bad again, so we all ended up spending our winter break in the Sunnydale High Library researching. Not like we didn’t spend most of our time there anyway.” Willow declared almost peevishly. “It turned out to be the First Evil’s first appearance in Sunnydale. I guess it was trying to tempt Angel into either losing his soul again or killing Buffy.  Buffy took care of it though, and the First Evil was vanquished for awhile.”

“What happened with Buffy and Angel after that?”

“They tried again to be sort of a normal couple, for a while. Some of the tension was gone, and they’d go out, like on dates and stuff. Hold hands, kiss, you know.” Pausing, Willow took a drink from the water bottle on her desk. “We were trying to stop the Mayor’s ascension, so we broke into his offices to steal this box. I got caught, and Buffy made a deal to exchange me for the box.  When we all showed up at the school for the trade, the Mayor made a big deal out of how Angel would keep Buffy out of the sunlight, and something about grand plans, and ‘was this what he returned from hell for’. I don’t remember all of his exact words, but I think it shook both Buffy and Angel up.  It wasn’t long after that when Angel broke up with Buffy. Right before prom.”

“You said she was devastated?”

“Totally devastated. I’ve never seen her cry like that before or since. But it was really for the best. And especially after he… well, did what he did to her. As if everything else that had happened hadn’t been enough.”

“What did he do?”

“He fed off of her. Faith had poisoned him, and he was sick, dying but… it was only a matter of time, being he’s a vampire and all. I mean, I think it would be hard to resist after a certain point, particularly when things are, you know, intimate. It’s really just a matter of the base impulses simply taking over, and for vampires… it’s part of the deal with sex I guess.”  Pausing, Willow added. “Sorry, but something to keep in mind.”

Elise pressed her lips together, searching for something to say.

“Anyway, I’m sure he knew her blood, slayer blood, was the cure for the poison… and since the instinct to survive is ingrained deeply in all of us, vampires would be no different. They’d do what they had to in order to survive.”

“Perhaps,” Elise replied thoughtfully. The obvious implication was that Angel or his demon chose survival at any cost, even the risk of Buffy’s life. Would he have done that? “You mentioned you thought their breaking up was for the best. Why’s that?”

“For one thing, they couldn’t have much of a physical relationship.” Willow shrugged. “I suppose in retrospect they could’ve, but nobody knew it at the time, or even thought it was possible. And Buffy hadn’t really been with anyone else. I guess there was Tyler and Pike when she was at Hemery, but they weren’t serious.”

“I suppose if you know something or someone is right… you don’t need to be with anyone else?”

“I don’t know. I guess, maybe,” Willow reluctantly agreed. “But Buffy didn’t think about the limitations life with a vampire would have.”

“Limitations?”

“I’m sure you’ve run into some of them yourself by now. You can only go out after dark, you can’t keep crosses around, there are no romantic dinners, only blood in the fridge.”

Elise shrugged. “I haven’t really noticed, but then I haven’t been seeing Angel all that long.”

“Oh, I thought you guys were… involved.” The insinuation in her tone was quite clear.

Elise smiled politely. “We are… seeing each other, but it’s still new.”

Willow’s smile did not quite match her eyes. “I see.”

“Given what you’ve said about their separation being for the best, what did you think when Buffy and Angel got back together a few years ago?”

“Honestly?”

“Yes, please.”

Willow looked away as if contemplating her reply. She sighed, turning back to Elise. “I wasn’t sure it would work out.”

“Because…”

“This is hard to say… and I’d prefer it not get back to Angel. I mean, I don’t want to hurt him after everything he’s already been through.”

“I don’t plan on sharing the tape with him, Willow. And anything you tell me – unless I use it in the book – won’t be shared with anyone else outside this room. In fact…” Reaching out, Elise picked up the tape recorder she had set on the desk earlier. She clicked it off. “How’s that?”

“Thank you,” Willow said with an appreciative nod. “Look, Buffy didn’t like living here at Wolfram & Hart. She didn’t like living in the middle of so much evil, and especially with Angel being the center of all of it. She loved him, I know, but it was hard for her. And it was really hard for her having to share him with so many people.”

“Share him?”

“Not share him, share him. I just meant, as head of an organization the size of Wolfram & Hart, there’s a constant stream of people, and demons, and cases demanding his attention. He has to take care of business here, which means he’s busy or gone a lot of the time. It wasn’t like how it was in Sunnydale where Buffy was the center of his world, and Angel was usually at the mansion, waiting for her. In fact, things here were pretty much reversed.”

“Ah.”

“There are so many restrictions here too – who she could talk to, where she could go, what she could do. I mean, it’s for good reasons mostly, but she was frustrated by it. She couldn’t just go out on patrol to burn off energy, which slayers have a lot of, or even work on a case without getting Angel’s stamp of approval. Then they couldn’t go out together until after sundown unless they took the sewers or one of the cars with the protective glass. She was the typical California girl – she loved the sun, the beach, tanning, the whole thing… and she couldn’t do any of that anymore.”

“Are you saying she was unhappy here?” Elise asked, perplexed.

“Yes, I think she was unhappy once the new wore off.”

“Do you think Angel knew that?”

“No, I don’t think she ever told him, and I doubt he even noticed. She was trying to make the best of things. It was sort of her nature to feel like she had to do that.”  Willow paused. “That, or run away. She did that a couple of times too.”

Elise considered Willow’s statement for a moment. “If you don’t mind me asking… I know it’s a very personal decision, but why would she bring a child into the situation if she was so unhappy here herself?”

“Angel. Angel wanted a baby. Really wanted one, and she wanted to make him happy. I told you she’d do just about anything for him.”

“And Buffy? What did she want?”

“She wanted a baby too, but I’m not sure she wanted it as much as he did. The in-vitro fertilization process is hard… the daily shots, the doctor’s appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds… and that’s all before the procedure itself. Angel wasn’t there for a lot of it. Buffy had to do most of it on her own. When she miscarried, Angel was gone, out working on some case or something. Of course he breezed back in, brought her flowers, and jewelry – as if that would make up for it – and stuck around for a few days to take care of her, but I don’t think he saw how distraught she really was. If he did, he wouldn’t have pushed her to try again. Not that soon, anyway.”

“I understand she was pregnant when she disappeared.”

“That’s what Angel said,” Willow returned somewhat sharply. “I know Buffy had a doctor’s appointment that day for a check up, but I hadn’t seen her for a couple of days so I didn’t know.”

“You seem angry…” Elise ventured softly.

“No,” Willow replied, before repeating with added emphasis, “I mean, yes, I am angry about what happened, I guess. I mean, I know they loved each other… it’s just… love isn’t always enough. Just because you love someone, that doesn’t mean you can have everything you want. It doesn’t mean life is all happy hearts and flowers, and you live happily ever after. Sometimes the best people, the most deserving people, don’t get the love they want or deserve. Love isn’t something that’s fair.”

Elise wondered at the loss Willow had suffered to make her so clearly bitter, but rather than ask the question, she the conversation to what she hoped would be a less personal topic. “You mentioned that Buffy ran away.”

“Yeah, she ran away for a few months after she thought she had killed Angel, back when we were in high school. And then later she ran away when things got tough just before Sunnydale exploded. Faith ended up having to do a lot of planning and strategy with the girls, the slayers in training as they were called, back then.”

“I see.” Elise chewed her lip thoughtfully. Buffy was young the first time she had run away, and from what Elise remembered reading, suspected of Kendra’s murder. That alone was enough incentive to flee, but in addition, Buffy had believed she had just killed the man she loved. She certainly couldn’t fault her for running then.  The second time wasn’t something she had heard anything about. The novelist made a note to check into it further. “Are you suggesting… that is, do you think Buffy may have run away?”

Willow dropped her gaze and absently toyed with a stray paperclip on her desk as she seemed to collect her thoughts. Finally she spoke, “I’ve thought about it a time or two. I mean, when I first heard Buffy was gone, it’s what I thought probably happened. But after all this time… and the fact that no one, not even Giles or Dawn, has heard from her… I suppose it means that something must have happened to her.” Her voice sounded distant. “I can’t imagine what though. I guess after Buffy survived so much, including her own death, I just never thought…”  Her voice broke and she trailed off.

“I’m sorry, truly I am.” Elise murmured sympathetically. “I’m also sorry to have brought all this up again. I’m sure it must be painful for you.” She dropped her tape recorder in her bag. “Why don’t I just go now… and if you’d like to talk more later, or anytime, please feel free to give me a call.”

Willow took a deep breath and tuned back, her expression unreadable. “Ok, thanks. Does that help you, or what you wanted for your book?”

“I think so… at least it’s a start. I’m a fiction writer, not a biographer, so I tend to take a story then embellish the outline with my own imagination. I do want to be as true to the subject as possible in this case, so I’m sure to be doing quite a bit more research.”

“Well, if you need anything more, stop by. I’ll try to help if I can.”

“I will. And Willow… thank you.”


Elise found it difficult to concentrate on the Sanskrit passage Wes had asked her to read, having found what appeared to be one of Buffy’s journals in the Wolfram & Hart library. She discovered it just a few hours earlier, not long after she left Willow’s office. It seemed to appear out of nowhere, because she knew it hadn’t been there in the morning, yesterday, or even a few weeks ago when she had gone on her first quest for slayer information. Where it had come from and why was quite the mystery.

“Earth to Elise, hello,” Wes said, gazing at her intently. “I realize some of these passages can be quite riveting, but I believe you’ve read me the last section three times now.”

Elise sighed. “I’m sorry. My mind was elsewhere.”

“Dinner with Angel tonight, perhaps?” Wes suggested with a smile, leaning back in his chair.

Elise took note of his interested expression. “No. Yes. I mean, no, that’s not what I was thinking of.” She smiled sheepishly, knowing he knew she wasn’t being exactly truthful. Earlier she had been thinking of the night ahead with Angel… it had been several weeks since they’d been intimate, and she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t looking forward to the experience again; he was an amazing lover.

“I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings, but actually he looked disappointed when I suggested we just meet here rather than go to the restaurant he had suggested.” Thinking over her statement, she gave a short laugh. “Maybe I shouldn’t analyze that too much.”

“Angel is… I’m sure he’s looking forward to the evening. Who wouldn’t be when they will have such delightful company?”

“You’re sweet,” she replied distractedly.

“Now, is there something on your mind you’d like to talk about?”

Elise studied the former Watcher and rogue demon hunter for a long moment, debating exactly what to tell him before finally deciding on the truth. “What would you say if I told you I think I have one of Buffy’s journals? That it just… appeared, mysteriously.”

He raised his brows, surprised. “What do you mean ‘appeared mysteriously’?”

“Well, I combed the library the other day in search of information on Buffy, and on slayers in general. I pulled every single book I found, including some that looked like Watcher’s Journals – which I meant to ask you about, so remind me to do that later. Anyway, when I stopped by there this afternoon, there was a new book in the stack I had set aside. I didn’t put it there, and it’s one I would swear to you wasn’t even in the library before.”

“Perhaps you didn’t realize you picked it up?”

“No,” Elise declared firmly. “Wesley, I’m telling you, this book was not in that library last week or the week before. Someone wanted me to find it. It was put in the stack I had set aside, just under the top book. Slightly hidden, but not enough I would miss it.”

“Angel would be the only one with access to Buffy’s personal things, I would think. Perhaps he…”

“I haven’t told him I’m researching her, or anything about the subject of my next book for that matter,” Elise interjected in a subdued tone, her expression chagrined.

Wes blinked. “Ah. I will presume you have your reasons for that.”

“I plan to show him the draft when it’s done,” Elise answered a bit defensively. “If he doesn’t want me to publish it then… well, I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. But until then… I didn’t want to just keep bringing it up, or have it be the thing he’s always thinking about when we’re together. The topic is obviously painful for him.”

He considered her words for a moment. “Very well. Then who does know what you’re working on and could have left you the journal?”

“You, Fred, and now Willow. The most obvious choice would be Willow since I talked to her about Buffy earlier today, but the book had to have been there this morning, before I talked to her so she couldn’t have known… and afterwards… it just seems impossible she could have gotten the book and placed it there without me seeing her. I went directly from her office to the library – we would have crossed paths. I’d been in the library only twenty minutes or so when I noticed the book.” She frowned in concentration. “And Fred… that just seems unlikely. If she had the book I think she would have said so and handed it over rather than sneaking it to me covertly.”

“Perhaps if you’re this concerned, you should ask Willow?”

“This is going to sound strange, but I don’t want to ask anyone directly about it. If Willow gave it to me, then perhaps she’ll mention it next time I see her. And if she doesn’t…” Elise shrugged, unable to offer a better explanation. Her instincts were prickling, telling her that something unusual was at play, which only served to reinforce her earlier feeling this story was one she had to follow through.

Wes stroked his chin contemplatively. “Are you certain it’s one of Buffy’s journals?”

“No… not absolutely, one hundred percent certain,” Elise returned thoughtfully. “But it does have her name in it, and it’s definitely feminine hand writing, so who else could it belong to? I haven’t read any of it beyond the first page – but plan to remedy that soon. In all honesty, Wes, I didn’t want to read it here. I slipped it in my bag to take home.” She shivered involuntarily and glanced around, as if expecting to find someone watching them. “I know you’ll probably believe it’s silly, but all of my instincts are telling me something isn’t right.”

“It’s not silly, it’s perfectly understandable. You have the case of a much-loved young woman who disappeared suddenly and mysteriously. I would say there’s much that isn’t right,”  Wesley murmured as his eyes met hers directly. There was an obvious sadness in the blue-grey depths, but there was something more as well, something she couldn’t quite discern.

“I think some additional discretion might be in order,” she suggested almost questioningly.

Wes simply inclined his head. “Indeed. Shall we finish the Sanskrit then?”

To be continued…

  1 comment for “In The Darkness: Part 4 – Illusions

  1. Harr
    June 2, 2015 at 7:02 am

    I am giddy that this is back. Love it!

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