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Out of Time

by Knightieknightie@prodigy.net )

Work In Progress

Rated pg-13 for now heading for R rapidly (might make it to NC-17 <G>)

 

~~~*~~~

 

~Part: 1~

"People still find the subject of Jack the Ripper an interesting topic and my lectures on him are always the best attended," the professor announced as she walked in the door of the History of England class. "I see this year is no exception," she added with a smile as she scanned the packed lecture hall.

The students chuckled softly as the instructor began opening her notes and checking role. When she was finished, she smiled again, "As usual when I give this lecture we seem to have several students that I've never seen in my life. Which I don't mind, provided they don't cause any disturbance and they learn something."

Willow glanced behind her; she had, as usual, claimed one of the front row seats. The desks behind her were completely filled, usually only about three quarters of them were occupied. She saw that her best friend, Buffy, actually seemed to be paying attention today and not wearing her 'I'm so bored I'd rather be researching with Giles' look she usually wore during this class. Wills smiled at her and received a quick grin in return before turning her attention back to Professor Evers, who was beginning the lecture.

"Everyone has heard the story of Jack the Ripper. He spent the fall of 1888 committing what many consider to be the first serial murders. You can watch numerous films or read hundreds of stories about him. Even though the murders were committed over 100 years ago... I'm betting half of you know the list of victims." She turned to the chalkboard and quickly wrote five names and dates. Mary Ann Nichols - August 31, 1888, Annie Chapman - September 8, 1888, Elizabeth Stride - September 30, 1888, Catherine Eddowes - September 30, 1888, Mary Jane Kelly - November 9, 1888. "These are the list of Ripper victims that are generally accepted by most people. Some people believe there are up to thirteen more."

Willow was taking notes about the victims she'd never heard of and the reasons many people believe and disbelieve that they were Ripper victims. She listened to the list of suspects and was surprised to hear that there were even a few people who believed that Jack the Ripper was actually Jill the Ripper, a midwife perhaps. Over the next hour, she learned some very interesting information and made note of some of the websites and books Professor Evers suggested. Once the class was dismissed, Willow gathered her notes and books and met Buffy at the door.

"I was wondering something," Buffy commented as they left the class and drew away from the crowds, "and it's probably just 'cause I'm the Slayer and all... but what if Jack was a vamp?"

"Actually I saw a show one time that mentioned that... well, it was a fictional series so I'm thinking they didn't really believe that," Willow replied, "But that's not saying that that isn't an actual possibility. I mean, you know, vampires are real and it would explain how he, or she, could have gotten away so easily." To be honest, she had been wondering about that herself and had even considered talking to someone who had been there at the time. Spike probably was too busy being a vampire to pay any attention, but maybe Angel would know something about it. Of course, that is if they were still in England at the time. She shook away her thoughts as she realized Buffy was staring at her, "Uhm... did you say something?"

"Yeah, detach-O-girl. I said maybe we should talk to Giles about it?"

"Oh, Giles! Yeah! That's a great idea!" Willow exclaimed cheerfully,

"Well... I've got to get to my next class."

"And I have to meet Riley... for study help."

"Sure ... study."

"Willow! It's true. I need some help with psychology. You know we have that test next week," the blonde reminded the redhead.

"Alright, alright. Go, 'study'. I'll see you at Giles' tonight."

"Bye Wills!" Buffy called as she trotted off toward the student union building.

~Part: 2~

After her last class, Willow headed for her room and fired up her laptop. She wanted to do a little research on Jack the Ripper. She went over the list of websites the professor mentioned as having good information on both Jack the Ripper and Victorian England. She cruised the net, jumping from site to site, soaking up all the information she could find. She found tons of stories based on the information and found herself absorbed in them. Several hours later, she glanced at her watch. "Darn it, I'm late!" She exclaimed as she grabbed her 'Hellmouth safety kit' and laptop before rushing out the door and toward Giles' apartment.

~~~~~

The sun dropped below the horizon just as she burst through the door, "Sorry... I got a little distracted studying," she murmured as she moved into the room and began to set her laptop on the table.

"Only person in the bloody town that could get distracted studying," the platinum blonde vampire muttered from the corner.

"Oh, hat reminds me!" Buffy exclaimed, earning a shocked and hurt look from Willow. "Not ... I mean... well... the study thing. In class today, we were talking about Jack the Ripper and I got to thinking... well. What are the odds that Jack the Ripper was a vampire?"

Spike got this odd look in his eyes before he turned back to the book in his hands as Giles stood. "It's not a popular theory, but some of the members of the Watchers Council believed it was possible. They, however, had no proof."

"But it's possible?" Buffy asked with a slight grin. It was the kind she always got when she actually knew the answer to a question.

"Yes, Buffy. It is technically possible," Giles told her patiently,

"But at this moment we have more important things to worry about."

Buffy sighed, and then glared at Spike, "Why is he here again? I mean... I thought he was only here when we paid him?"

Willow glanced at Spike and sighed. Buffy could be cruel and self-centered sometimes without even realizing it.

"I go where I want, when I want," Spike muttered as he grabbed a dusty, leather encased tomb and buried his nose in it.

Giles gave everyone the brief description they had of the demon, then set everyone to researching. She listened to the group discussing this demon in amongst the current goings on in their lives as she absentmindedly searched the web for information on the troublemaker.

She noticed Spike seemed distracted and not in the usual 'I want to kill them all' way. She checked to make sure no one was paying attention to her, and then went to the kitchen. She grinned to herself that she knew how to ring the 'chipped vamp dinner bell'. Almost as soon as she opened the refrigerator, Spike appeared.

"Hungry?" she asked as she began to prepare him a mug of blood.

"Sure," he murmured.

"Something's bothering you."

"What?"

"Wanna talk about it?"

"No, not really," Spike murmured. "It's like I can almost remember something... but not. I don't know." He shook his head and sat down as Willow brought him his mug and fixed herself a cup of tea and joined him.

"Is it about this demon?" Willow asked cautiously. He said he didn't want to talk about it, yet he was talking.

"No. It's about Jack the Ripper. We were in London at that time. Don't remember why we went back, but I remember being there. Bloody Hell," he growled. "I've never had any trouble remembering the past. I'm sure it's because of this stupid bloody chip," he muttered as rubbed his temples.

"Maybe, but it hasn't affected any other memories, has it?" She asked cautiously- the last thing she wanted to do was make him mad. Even though he was chipped, he still scared her.

Spike closed his eyes and seemed to be scanning his memory. "Not that I can tell."

"Then I don't think it's the chip."

"Then what is the damn problem?" Spike asked, a suppressed growl rumbling in his chest.

"Don't think about it so hard... maybe it'll come back to you." She glanced at her watch and smiled, "I better get back in there before they notice I'm gone." She rose to her feet and carried her cup back into the living room.

"Yeah," Spike murmured, "I'll try to figure out what I've forgotten."

~~~~~

It took half the night to find any information on this demon, and what they did find was rather sketchy. It was called a Gravlok. It was big, dumb and trouble causing but easy to kill. They did find one description that mentioned it was intelligent and weak, but that it held magical abilities. But that was only one mention and the name was spelled differently, Gravaloke, so it was probably a related demon, but not theirs. The group split up and went off in search of their big, dumb demon. Buffy, Riley, and Giles in one group and Spike, Willow, Xander and Anya in the other. They quietly stalked through the town, searching. It was Buffy's group that found the hulking green creature and quickly dispatched it.

"Well that's just ... gross," Xander exclaimed as they walked onto the scene as the creature turned into a puddle of yellowish-green goo.

"Looks like someone blew their nose."

"XANDER!" The group yelled.

"What? Well, it's true," he mumbled, then grinned. "So Bronze now?"

"Not me! I've got some homework to finish," Willow announced.

"I was going to research on the Ripper, but that can wait until I've had some time at the Bronze," Buffy said with a grin. "But first we walk Willow home."

The young ones of the group left Spike and Giles and headed for the dorms to drop Willow off and let Buffy change into some less 'gooey' clothing. No one seemed to notice the shadow following them.

~~~~~

A few hours later, the light from the laptop screen glowed in the darkness of the room. Willow's hair gleamed in the soft light as she slowly drifted off to sleep. Once she was sound asleep, a shadow drifted across her window and a soft chuckle was heard.

 

~Part: 3~

Something stank. That was the first thought Willow had as she began to wake up. The next one was more along the lines of 'what the hell'. She found herself in a room that wasn't hers, in clothing that wasn't hers. "What is going on here?" She whispered as she glanced around the spartan room. There was a large bowl with a pitcher resting in it on a stand across the room. The only other items in the room were a small fireplace with a straight-backed table, the bed and a small trunk.

She checked inside the trunk and found two dresses as well as underclothes. Willow lifted the corset and frowned, "This isn't funny... Spike? Did you kidnap me again!?" She called, almost hopefully. Nothing. No cocky laughter. Nothing. Of course, she hadn't expected him to answer. She headed for the small window and pushed it up. If she thought the inside had smelled bad, she was not prepared for the great outdoors. It almost made her sick to her stomach, and sort of reminded her of the Sunnydale sewers. She leaned out and glanced into the dark and dirty alley. At the end of it she could see a gaslight flickering and in the shadows at the back of the alley she could hear and faintly see two people moving.

There was no way this was Sunnydale. Suddenly, it struck her. This was like a scene from a movie set in Victorian England. "Oh no. I didn't cast a spell. It wasn't me. I didn't do it!" She exclaimed as she pulled back inside. She looked at the chest of clothes and numbly moved toward it. It took her forever to get herself dressed. Who knew a corset was so complicated when you were trying to put it on yourself? Once she was dressed, she slipped on the ill-fitting boots and headed out of the room cautiously.

"Finally decide to wake up?" A young woman's accented voice called as Willow's foot land on the bottom stair.

"I... Um... I wasn't feeling well, but I'm better now," Willow added hurriedly. This girl seemed to know who she was, but she had no idea what was going on. "Uhm, what is the date?"

"What an odd question," the woman replied as she made her way across the room. "Next thing I know you'll be telling me you don't remember my name," she chuckled, shaking her head "Why it's Friday August twenty-fourth, of course."

"Wh- what year?" Willow asked.

The young raven-haired woman stared at her then grabbed her arm and pulled her to the side. "What do you mean ... what year? It's the year of our lord, 1888."

Willow felt her world slant, then flip upside down. "1888?" She breathed as she stared at the woman and leaned against the nearby wall.

"Yes, did you hit your head?" She asked, concern filling her face and voice as she raised a hand toward her.

Willow started to shake her head no, then stilled. "Y-yes. I think so. I'm a little lost."

"Oh you poor thing!" The woman exclaimed, slipping her arm around her waist and leading her toward a nearby table. "Should I call a doctor?"

"No! I mean, no. I'm fine. Just a little confused. I'm fine... honest." The last thing Willow wanted was to be 'treated' by the doctors of this time. The very thought of it made her shudder.

"You arrived here last week from America... do you remember that?" The woman asked.

"Vaguely," she murmured.

"You do remember me," at Willow's blank look she continued, "I'm Gwen... I helped you to find a job. You work at the Ten Bells. Do you remember?" Then almost to herself she added, "We should be going or we'll be late."

"The Ten Bells?" The name struck a cord. The Ten Bells, it had something to do with the Ripper Murders. Didn't those women congregate there or something?

"Yes, it isn't the best place to work but it's certainly better than the alternative," Gwen murmured. "And we'd better go before Jonathan decides he doesn't need us to work for him any longer."

"Oh, sure. I'll just ... follow you," Willow replied as she rose and let Gwen led her to her new job. She tried to remember the faces of the victims of the Ripper. Okay, so she never really looked at those grainy, sometimes sickening images, but she had glanced and she remembered the names. If she saw them, she'd warn them. She had to. Of course she also needed to figure out how she got here and how to get home, but for now she'd see what she could find out about Jack the Ripper.

~~~~~

If another smelly, drunk 'gentleman' grabbed her butt, Willow was going to scream and maybe use a little magic to make him regret it. Of course, she had a feeling that would get her in more trouble than she wanted to deal with. She sighed as she delivered the drinks to the table of sailors, wincing when one pinched her butt. "Hands off," she snapped as she batted his hand away and hurried out of reach ignoring the lewd comments he was making as she did.

"Do you still feel alright?" Gwen asked as she stopped beside her at the bar.

"I'd be better if men kept their hands to themselves," Willow replied, "but physically. I'm fine."

"That's good. If--"

"I'll let you know if I start to feel worse or something. I promise." Willow assured her as she loaded her tray and turned back toward the customers. "Oh Polly, don't be like that!" A man's voice called as a woman rose and headed for the door.

Willow didn't get a clear look at the woman. Could it be the Polly Nichols? She wondered. She scanned the crowd and noticed a small group of women sitting in the opposite corner. After a moment, she realized it was very likely that there, at that table, were Jack the Ripper's victims. She made her way to the table and asked if they needed anything.

"No, we're fine, Miss," one of the women replied, winking at her.

"Oh, Liz, she don't have any more money than we do, and if she did wouldn't be wanting your attention."

Willow stilled, Liz. Elizabeth Stride, one of the two victims on September 30th. Now how do you tell someone you know they are going to die... without making them think you're crazy or making them think you're the killer. "I know you will think I'm crazy but... will you, all of you, be very careful over the next few weeks? I have... a bad feeling. A very bad one."

"I'm Mary," the girl with the blondish brown hair told her as she stared,

"What did you mean by ... bad?"

Willow was reluctant to tell them too much, after all if they thought she could 'see' things... who knew what they would be willing to do. Especially if they thought they could make money with it. "I don't know it's just ... an uneasy feeling," she explained.

"WILLOW!" Jonathan's voice called out across the noisy bar, "unless you want to be working with those women, get back to work!"

"Gotta go," Willow murmured turning and heading back to the bar. She hoped those women took her warning to heart. She felt her heart sink when she heard them murmuring about how odd she was.

~~~~~

Friday August 31, 1888

Willow had been here for a week and she hadn't had another chance to speak to the Ripper's future victims and tonight she was more jumpy than ever.

Tonight would be the first murder, at least the first one that everyone agreed on. She hadn't seen Polly Nichols, so she hadn't had the opportunity to warn her personally. She only hoped her 'friends' had.

The night seemed a bit busier than usual but it was probably just her imagination. That and there was once again a group of sailors that were drunk and pawing at her. As she finished with one particularly 'hands on' patron, she heard one of the last voices she ever expected to hear in this place and time.

"Bloody hell Angelus," the familiar voice complained, "what are we doing back here?"

Sure, Spike mentioned being in England at the time of the murders, but she hadn't expected to actually run into him and certainly not Angelus. She slowly turned toward the voice as an Irish brogue began to reply.

~Part: 4~

"William, my boy, Darla and Dru wanted new dresses and they had to be from a particular maker here in London. So we're here while they play in the better parts of town," Angelus explained.

Angelus leaned toward William and smiled that bone-chilling smile of his. "I think we both will be able to find something to entertain ourselves with here."

William glanced at Angelus then scanned the room. "Most likely," he agreed as his eyes slid over the raven-haired barmaid.

"Seeing something already, me boyo?" Angelus whispered.

"Perhaps," William murmured as he watched the girl.

"W-what can I get for you gentlemen?" a nervous, almost frightened American voice asked.

"Hello, little one," Angelus purred, causing the girl to flinch and stare wide-eyed at him.

William pulled his eyes from the woman he had been staring at and glanced at the girl at his side. Red headed girls didn't usually hold his attention but there was something different about this one. Something that almost called to him, the other girl was forgotten in an instant. He ordered their drinks and when she walked away, he turned to Angelus. "Do you get the feeling she knows something?"

"I'm sure it's nothing, William. Perhaps she'll be your playmate for the evening?"

William frowned, "Perhaps, try not to scare her too much when she returns." Angelus chuckled under his breath and William noticed that his grandsire was giving the young redhead the same smile he used to lure young girls off to their deaths.

~~~~~

"This isn't my Spike," she whispered to herself as she hefted her tray onto her shoulder and headed for the table, adding that he wasn't really 'her' Spike. She just meant the Spike she knew. Well, she didn't 'know' him but she - oh forget it. I even babble in my head, she thought with a sigh. She knew she had to keep on her toes or she just might end up being dinner for Angelus or Spike. Oh wait, she had heard Angelus calling Spike 'William'. So this was before he took up the nickname, she needed to remember that. She didn't want to be around them more than she needed to, but she didn't want to tick them off either.

"Here you go, Sirs," she murmured as she slid their drinks onto the table and turned to go as a cool hand closes around her wrist.

"Why don't you stay? Have a drink. Keep us company." Angelus suggested as he tugged her toward him.

For a moment she thought she heard a growl, but not from Angelus. "I- I can't. I have to work. Jonathan doesn't like us to... I mean. I have other customers as well, sir."

"Angelus, let the pretty little thing go. She has work to do," William murmured as he smiled in an almost reassuring way.

She realized that it probably wouldn't be nearly as hard to differentiate between 'Spike' and 'William'. She had to remember that William didn't have chip in his head and he wouldn't hesitate to drain her dry in most circumstances. She smiled back at William as Angelus released her wrist.

"Thank you. Maybe next time I can have a drink with you two," she told them, knowing there would be no way that would happen if she had any control over it.

The two vampires smiled at her with predatory grins but allowed her to walk away with no further attempts to keep her with them. Unfortunately, she was so busy thanking who ever was listening for not letting her become their dinner that she didn't notice her octopus of a customer from earlier. He grabbed her about the waist and hauled her into his lap.

"Hello, luvey. I knew you'd be back," the young yellow haired seaman murmured as he buried his face in her neck.

"Let go!" Willow exclaimed, squirming in the man's vice like arms.

"Don't be like that," he murmured as he nipped at her ear.

"The lady said to let go," William's voice growled and suddenly she was being pulled away and pushed against a hard cool body.

After a moment, she realized that William was holding her and Angelus had freed her. Now she was really confused. This didn't seem like something the pair would do... at least not according to the Watcher's Diaries that she wasn't supposed to have ever read.

"I think the lad and I will be having a talk outside," Angelus murmured as he shoved the sailor toward the door and tossed William a grin as the rest of the table rose to follow them.

Willow saw Angelus' brown eyes flicker gold as he turned away and laughed, causing a shudder to run through her. "It's alright," William murmured as he directed her away from the sailors' table and toward the bar. "I don't think those men will be bothering you again." He smiled as he pressed money into her hand. "Payment for our drinks and a tip for you as well," he whispered and in the blink of an eye had kissed her cheek and headed for the door.

"Looks like you found an admirer," Gwen giggled beside her. "He's a handsome one and a gentleman, too."

"Stay away from him and his friend. They're trouble," Willow told her quickly.

"I doubt you'll be seeing that pair again. Those sailors will be back soon but your boys won't," Jonathan told her with a shake of his gray head.

"Actually I'm almost positive the sailors won't stand a chance," Willow sighed as she got back to work.

~Part: 5~

Willow spent the rest of the evening watching the door. Neither the sailors nor the vampires returned. She wasn't sure if she should be happy or worried. Sure, they were vampires but Angelus would become Angel in a few years and would help them a lot and even Spike would come to be of help in the future. She found herself hoping that the pair didn't get into something they couldn't handle because of her.

"Your gentleman probably didn't want to you to see him after the fight," Gwen told her as she helped clear off one of the larger tables. "I'm sure he is fine."

Willow didn't think the woman sounded too sure. "I know and he's not 'my' anything," she told Gwen with a slight smile.

"Ah, but don't you wish he was," Gwen laughed as she carried her heavy tray away.

"Sometimes," Willow whispered as she hefted her tray and headed toward the kitchen in back.

~~~*~~~

A few hours later as Jonathan ushered the last of the customers out the door, Willow and Gwen began clean the remaining tables. As he began to close the door, a man ran up.

"Jonathan! You're not gonna believe it! A bangtail got butchered over on Buck's Row! It's bloody awful!" the man cried.

"Who is it?" Willow asked as moved to the older man's side.

"Don't know, just some whore, but cor... from what I've heard... it wasn't pretty," the young man said as he turned and headed off into the night. Willow felt sick. She hadn't been able to stop the first murder, but she didn't know who the victim was yet.

"Willow, sit down, child," Jonathan sighed at her.

"I'll finish up then we'll head back home," Gwen suggested as she cast a concerned glance toward Willow.

"I'm fine," Willow assured them as she went back to work. She wondered if she could actually stop any more women from being murdered. Of course, she had not idea what would happen if she did stop him.

Once they had finished cleaning the Ten Bells, Jonathan insisted that he walk them home as the other girls had left hours ago. He left them at their door and told them to be careful coming in the next night.

~~~*~~~

Willow's eyes scanned the Saturday night crowd for the future Ripper victims but didn't see them. She also noticed the sailors from the night before were nowhere to be seen either. However, it seemed like half of Whitechapel had decided to stop by for a pint and of course,  the talk was of the recent murder.

A few of her regulars mentioned that she was quiet.  She just apologized and continued to make her rounds through the bar. Other than the normal happenings of the bar, nothing seemed too out of the ordinary. Willow knew that couldn't last for long, next Saturday Annie Chapman would die, unless she did something to stop it.

As the night wore on she once again found herself avoiding grabbing hands and ignoring lewd comments. She was getting tired and a bit cranky and Jonathan noticed.

"Willow," he called, motioning her around behind the bar. "You should get some rest. You look like you didn't get any sleep and I thought you were going to take that bloke's head off." With a wave of his hand, he stopped her protest, "I think you'd better go before you ruin all chances of earning any tips from half of your customers."

Willow sighed, "Alright. I'll go. I'll see you tomorrow." She told Gwen that Jonathan gave her the night off.

"Be careful. Keep to the more traveled streets."

"Thanks, Gwen. I'll see you tomorrow," Willow said as she gathered her things and headed out the door.

~~~*~~~

"So William, headed back to visit the maid at the Bells?" Angelus asked as he dropped the body of his evening meal.

"What?" William asked, glancing toward his grandsire.

"The flame haired lass. She's captured your attention," Angelus laughed.

William groaned and rolled his eyes. "She is ... interesting and I'm not the one that took on six sailors because one of them grabbed her."

Angelus snorted, "I just beat you to it, boy. Your eyes were yellow before you were out of the chair."

William hoped that Angelus would leave this be. He didn't understand why he felt the need to protect this mortal young woman. Maybe it was the way she looked at him like she knew him and though he knew she was frightened, she hid it well. "I want a drink," he muttered storming toward the Ten Bells as his grandsire's laughter followed him.

They were only a few streets over from Buck's Row when they heard the scream. Angelus glanced at him, "Shall we see who is in trouble? Maybe cause a bit ourselves?"

William nodded as he took off toward the sound.

"LET GO!" An almost familiar voice screamed. "I'm warning you!"

The vampires turned the corner into a dirty alley to see a flash of red hair in the dim light.

"I'll be takin' what I want," the mugger growled as he shoved the red head against the wall.

William felt his demon push forward and snarl as the grubby human pawed at the girl. He started forward when he saw her close her eyes.

"Don't say I didn't warn you," Willow replied.

"Red," he breathed, then stilled when the man flew across the alley. Angelus grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

"Witchcraft," the elder vampire breathed.

William nodded, then moved toward the alley. Glancing at the would-be attacker, who was still lying mostly unconscious on the ground, he tried to sound calm, like he wasn't itching to tear the man apart. And he knew he now had to be careful about the girl.  She could cast any number of annoying or deadly spells on him if he upset her. "Good evening, my lady. I was going offer my assistance, but it seems you were able to handle ... it without our aid." Even from here he could smell her fear, the sweet smell of it drifting in the night air. There was a tinge of blood in the air as well, it was only a small amount, but it was there. He couldn't help wondering whose blood it was.

"Sp-William, Angelus," Willow breathed as she stared at the pair. "I-he-"

"It's alright, little one. We saw what he had planned," Angelus told her as he moved toward the mugger.

~Part: 6~

Willow knew her heart was pounding and that both vampires could hear it. Half of it was from how close she had come to being killed - the man had held a knife at her stomach.  The rest of it was being caught doing magic.

She didn’t think the vampires would have much to say about the magic, but what if anyone else had seen her?  She could have been in deep trouble.  She wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed. She flinched slightly and pulled her hand away from her right arm when she felt something warm and sticky. Suddenly, William was in front of her.

“You’re bleeding,” he murmured as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and pressed it against the cut.

“I’m okay,” she murmured as she glanced at the cut. It stung a little, but there was no real pain.  She cringed when she heard the sound of breaking bones echoing through the dingy alley.

William glanced over his shoulder and quickly urged Willow out of the alley and away from its entrance. “What were you doing out here, alone?”

“I-Jonathan told me to take the night off. I think he was afraid he’d have to fire me if I kept working tonight. I was snapping at everyone,” she explained as she glanced at down at her injured arm. It had stopped bleeding, but she knew she needed to clean it. She had no idea where that knife had been.

“It’s dangerous for a lady to be out alone after dark,” Angelus murmured as he joined them.

“I know. I was thinking about …” she hesitated, she couldn’t say ‘about you two being vampires’, “things,” she finished lamely. She noticed a few of the other pedestrians giving them a wide path. She felt safe for the first time since she got here. What was she thinking? Her brain screamed that these were two dangerous, soulless vampires. She glanced at some of the less than reputable characters walking past her.  Was she really in more danger from these two then any of them?  Somehow she doubted it.

“Where are you staying? We’ll escort you home and make sure you get that wound taken care of. It could become infected,” William told her, as he glanced at Angelus.

“That’s alright. I’m certain you have things you need to take care of,” Willow protested.

“My dear William wants to take care of you,” Angelus whispered in her ear, the cool air tickling her ear.

Willow felt the color drain from her face as she stared at the elder vampire.

“Angelus,” William growled, warningly. “Ignore him,” he murmured warmly to her.

“I can take care of myself,” she assured them.

Angelus laughed, “I know you can, little one. I saw just how well you were doing.”

“Please don’t tell any--” she was silenced by the dark vampire’s finger on her lips.

“We saw nothing,” he whispered. “Do not speak of it again,” he told her as he glanced toward the church they were passing.

With a nod, she told them where she was staying and quietly walked between the pair of vampires as they escorted the young witch to her lodgings. She wondered if the pair planned to kill her, or something worse. “Well, here we are. Thank you, both of you, for walking me home. Now, I’ll just run inside and get this scratch cleaned up--”

Angelus grinned broadly to William, and then bowed to Willow, “Have a good evening, Miss Willow.”

“Good evening, Mr. Angelus.” Willow replied, as the tall dark vampire strode away into the darkness.

“I should apologize for Angelus--” William began.

“It’s alright, really,” Willow assured him, then started for the door.

“Ms. Willow--”

“Just Willow.”

Willow,” he conceded, “I would feel better if you allow me to take care of that wound for you.”

“William,” she sighed, “It’s just a scratch. You can’t really call it a wound. I’ve had so much worse before. I mean there was this time that this demon chunked me into a tree and I had this hole in - ” She realized what she was saying and that it probably wasn’t the best thing, so she did her best to back track, “I mean I was riding my horse--”

“Demon,” William interrupted, his eyes boring into her. “You were attacked by a demon?” He asked, pulling her away from the people on the street.

“No, my horse…his name was Demon,” she lied quickly. He couldn’t know that she was terrified of horses; at least she hoped he couldn’t tell that she was lying, “and he got spooked and threw me and I hit a tree--”

“You are lying,” William interrupted her babble as he took a step closer. “When did this demon attack you? Where? How badly did it hurt you?” He had a strange look in his blue eyes as he spoke, one that Willow couldn’t quite place.

“It’s been a while, “ she began slowly, “It was when I was in America and I had a huge hole in my leg,” she explained, at least he hadn’t asked for the date of her injury. She sighed and for a moment pondered if her past injuries were now actually her future ones. She really hated when her mind grabbed hold of a puzzle like that. She shook it off and saw that William still stared at her, like he was looking for something.

“It healed well?”

“Yeah, a little scar … no big deal,” she said with a grin, then noticed the confused look on his face.

“That is … good,” he murmured, and then smiled. “Come, we need to get your … scratch taken care of. This environment is only good for causing infections and I don’t want to think about what he used that knife for last.”

Willow shivered, “Yeah, my thoughts exactly.” She sighed, “I really don’t think it’ll go well if you try to go up to my room. I mean, I’m single and alone and --”

“Tell me what room you are in and I can get there without being seen,” he assured her. Willow sighed, and reluctantly told him what he wanted to know. She smiled a half smile and headed up to her room. She couldn’t believe she was contemplating letting him inside her room. He could, and most likely would, kill her. She jumped when there was a knock at the door. She wouldn’t tell him she knew he was a vampire but she would see if she could make him tell her. She was glad she had found a spell that could keep vampires out of temporary lodgings.

She opened the door and smiled. “William,” she murmured, waving him inside. He took a step forward and bounced off the invisible wall, with a look of confusion on his face. It disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

“I was waiting for an invitation,” he explained.

Willow once again waved him in, but said nothing. She hid the tiny smile that slipped through when he shifted uncomfortably outside the door. Then she heard the sound of someone on the stairs and panicked, knowing what people would think if they saw him at her door. “Damn it,” she muttered, “Come in.”

He smiled, then stepped inside and closed the door. “I wouldn’t think a lady such as yourself would use such words.” He headed for the washbasin and poured some water in it. He glanced at her then sighed. “I have no intention of harming you,” he assured her. It was a bit unnerving watching him watch her and she just grew more nervous as he motioned her toward a nearby chair. With a sigh, she moved toward him. She stood staring a moment longer, before he told her to sit. She did so quietly as he cleaned the wound.

“Mind if I … kiss it better?” He asked, as he finished cleaning it and began to look for something to use as a bandage.

“What?” She asked, startled.

“It’s something my mum did,” he explained.

“Really?”

“You’re mother never did that?” He asked surprised.

Willow shook her head. No, her mother rarely did more than tell her she was fine and slap a bandage on it.

He smiled and leaned down planting gentle kiss on it. Suddenly, he licked the injury and stood up. “There,” he said as he quickly bandaged it. “Leave this alone for two days.”

“But don’t I need to change it and check it--”

“No, it will be fine,” he assured her.

“I’m mortal you know. I can get infections, even if you can-cannot imagine that happening,” she added quickly hoping he didn’t realize.

“Should have known a witch would realize I’m not mortal. I’m assuming the door was a test to confirm your suspicions,” he said as he rose and turned away from her. “I’m a demon, pet. A vampire.”

He seemed to be waiting for something, “And so is Angelus,” she replied as she rose and began pacing the room.

“I can’t answer that.”

“It wasn’t a question. It’s a fact. I knew that. I saw his golden eyes last night when he left with the sailors and yours were flecked with gold earlier. I just wasn’t sure who you were angry at then. I was afraid it was because I was a witch, but then I figured you were a vampire and so you really shouldn’t be all weird about me and now I’m babbling so I’ll stop and sit here. If you’re going to kill me just make it quick please,” she requested as she took a seat.

She was shocked by the laughter that followed her lengthy babble. It wasn’t sarcastic or condescending. It was a wholehearted laugh. “Pet, I don’t want to kill you. Don’t know why, that’s usually the first thing I think about when I see a beautiful woman.”

“Beautiful?” She breathed. Spike thought she was beautiful?! He always acted like she was just one of the Scoobies. Someone to be tolerated and that he could talk to if he needed to, but not in the ‘she’s anything special’ category.

“Yes, beautiful,” he murmured. “No one ever told you that before?” He asked, disbelief clearly written on his face when she shook her head no. “Bleeding idiots,” he muttered as he moved to her side and took the bandage off her arm. “Vampire saliva has healing properties.” He licked the wound again then smiled at her, “That should be all better in the morning.”

“Thank you,” she murmured distractedly, wondering why she had never heard of this before. They began to talk about a little bit of everything. Mostly about life here in London, and the places he’d traveled since his turning. When they realized how much time had passed, William rose.

“I should be going. Angelus could be up to eyeballs in trouble.”

“Yeah… uhm, will Angelus kill me?” she asked suddenly.

“No, luv, he won’t,” he assured her with a smile. “Good evening, my lady,” he said with a smile and a kiss to her hand. Then he quickly left a dazed Willow standing in the middle of her room.

“Well, color me confused,” she murmured as she sat down, then leapt up and began pacing her room. “These two are just… not like what they are supposed to be.” She shook her head and continued talking to her room, “William isn’t that old yet, and I thought it was the older ones that weren’t all blood thirsty. Of course, when Spike was first chipped, he said he liked to play the blood lust kinda cool, so maybe that had always been a part of him.”

She shook her head and climbed into bed, she’d try to sort all this out later when her head wasn’t all jumbled with thoughts.

~Part: 7~

William smiled to himself. He had actually enjoyed his time with the mortal. He knew for certain that had his mortal self met her, he’d be spouting poetry and maybe even would have given up on that bitch Cecily. He pushed the demon back, even after nearly ten years he would love to have killed her again.  He shook off those thoughts.  She was dead by his fangs and he was pleased with that. “Beneath me,” he snorted, “No, Cecily, you are beneath me by about six bloody feet,” he chuckled to himself as he walked into the home they had taken for their stay. It was near the Whitechapel district, but in some ways so far removed that it seemed a world away. He stilled when he scented the blood, lots of it. He followed his nose and entered one of the seldom-used rooms and saw Angelus and the man who had attacked Willow.

“It’s still alive?” he snorted.

“William,” Angelus murmured as he lifted the knife, painted crimson with blood, and glanced at the younger. “I was just about to finish this.”

“I wondered why you had broken the bloke’s back in the alley,” he murmured.

“I felt like having a bit of fun.”

“I see.”

Angelus looked at him again and smiled, “I take it your evening with the witch went well.”

“Yes,” William murmured, then turned his attention to the dark vampire, “She knows what we are. She knew before I went to her room.”

“Well, I can’t say that’s all that surprising. She is a witch after all.”

William just nodded and glared at the bloody mess that had been the witch’s attacker. He smiled when Angelus buried the knife to the hilt in what remained of the man’s chest. He could feel the sun rising over the horizon. “I’ll have one of the minions dispose of tomorrow night.”

Angelus smiled, “Yes, that would be good. I’ll go clean up a bit.”

“I think I’ll get some sleep,” William murmured as he turned and headed for his rooms.

~~~~~

“That witch must be something,” Angelus whispered as he watched him go. He glanced at the body and frowned. He hadn’t managed to get all the information he wanted from the man, but it was all the attacker had known. When Angelus was sure his boy was out of earshot, he continued aloud to the empty room.

“Maybe I’ll talk to the girl alone. Something just doesn’t seem … right. Perhaps she can help.” He shook his head and then headed for his own rooms.

~Part: 8~
Sunday September 2, 1888

Willow went about her business at the Ten Bells, and once again tonight she had managed to get the table of young men that miraculously seemed to sprout extra arms every time her back was turned. She wondered if by some chance there really were demons that could do that. Of course, she doubted she’d be able to find the books she needed to use to research that. At least not here and now.

She yelped when one of the squid boys, she wasn’t sure when she started thinking of them as those slimy little critters but she had and it fit, pinched her butt. “Keep your damn hands to yourself,” she snapped, slapping his hand away.

“Oh, come on lass. We’re just having a spot of fun,” one of the creeps purred. Another wrapped his arm around her waist and hugged her to his side, “We just want a little service.” A round of lurid laughter followed that comment.

Willow rolled her eyes and sighed, “Another round?” she asked hopefully. It would at least get her out of their reach. “On me?”

At their enthusiastic cheer, she pulled away and rushed to the bar to get their order. As she waited for the drinks, she rested hear head on counter and sighed. “I’m so tired of men grabbing me.”

“It takes a bit to learn the moves to avoid that,” Gwen chuckled. She then began giving her a few tips to try.

A few minutes later, she returned to the bar after delivering the drinks, “It worked. I managed to side step the squid boys,” she laughed.

“You are an odd one,” Jonathan muttered with a shake of his head.

“Ah, but they don’t get much prettier.” The voice caused her to spin and stare wide-eyed at the tall dark vampire.

“Angelus,” she breathed, heart began to pound when she realized she didn’t see William anywhere. “I--”

“Thank you, is what she was trying to say,” Gwen tossed in helpfully. With a sly smile, she leaned into Willow. “I’ll cover your tables,” she whispered before disappearing.

“You don’t need to be frightened, Sweet. I have no intention of harming you,” he purred.

Her eyes continued to dart around the room, searching in vain, for any sign of William.

A knowing smirk crossed his deceptively handsome face, “He’s not here. He’s … busy right now.”

“Oh,” she murmured. “Why are you here… if I’m not about to die?”

Angelus laughed as he offered her his arm and then led her to a table in the corner away from most of the other customers. “I told you I wasn’t going to harm you. But if it’s what you want, I’d be happy to oblige.”

“No. Thanks. Really. I’ll be fine with the talking,” she assured him, earning her another chuckle. She was still trying to figure out how this was the same vampire that had killed Ms. Calendar and attempted to kill her. This just wasn’t the same man ... demon. She shook her head, and blushed when she realized he had been talking to her.

Willow? Did you hear me?”

“I—ye—What?” she asked, feeling like a heel for getting lost in her own thoughts again.

“You have to be careful. I don’t think we were the only ones to see your attack in the alley,” he repeated patiently.

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve heard rumors,” he told her softly, smiling slightly when she unknowingly leaned toward him. “Vague ones. They flared up after last night, about someone that is looking for a special someone.”

“So you automatically assume it’s me?” she asked incredulously.

Angelus shook his head and sighed, “For several reasons, which I will not discuss here, yes. I do.”

Willow groaned and dropped her head to the table. What had she done to get herself into this?

“Either William or myself will be here to walk you home. Do not leave until one of us is with you. Do you understand, little one?” Angelus’ voice was hard, yet in some strange way compassionate at the same time.

Willow stared at him for a moment before nodding slowly. “Alright. I—I promise.”

Angelus watched her intently for a moment, and then nodded. “I’ll be going now, but one of us will be back soon. Stay inside and with the crowds. I will not settle for your disobedience.”

Willow’s head flew up off the table and she glared at him with flashing eyes. “How dare you!” She growled. “I’m not some little puppy that does what you say.”

He raised his hands and smiled a lopsided grin, “Of course not. Forgive me.”

She snorted; somehow he didn’t seem too sorry about what he’d said. “I’ll have you know I’ll do what you said… but not because you said or threatened or whatever. I’m doing it because I like being alive.”

Angelus rose and laughed again, she still wasn’t used to Angel laughing, “I’ ll be back soon, Spitfire.” And before she could react, he was gone leaving her staring at an empty chair.

~Part: 9~
Sunday, September 9, 1888

Willow looked up and couldn’t stop the smile from flashing as she caught sight of William coming in the door and nodding to Jonathan. It had been a week since Angelus had decreed she was not to walk home alone. She also wasn ’t allowed to walk to the Ten Bells alone. Most evenings the two vampires escorted her and Gwen, but on rare occasions, it was just William and even rarer times when Angelus would fill in. With Annie Chapman’s murder, both Angelus and William had been especially adamant that she stay around others unless one of them were with her.

She smiled as William settled himself at the end of the bar. She returned and gave Jonathan her customers’ order before she turned her full attention to the blue eyed vampire. “So it’s just you walking me home tonight?” She asked, glancing at Gwen who seemed to have found herself an admirer. The young man had been coming in for the last few nights and talking to her every chance he had.

“Yes, Angelus had something he had to take care of. I hope you’re not too disappointed.”

“I’m not. Honestly, he still give me the willies at times.” She smiled at the look he gave her for her choice of words. “You know the creeps? Scares me a little?”

He nodded, “I understand.” He smiled broadly, “You aren’t scared of me?” He asked, pulling her closer to him and allowing his eyes to shift to demon gold.

“Only an idiot wouldn’t be,” she whispered, “But I’m not afraid of you. For some insane reason … I trust you.”

“Good,” he told her as he released her. “Looks like you’re about finished here, pet.”

She chuckled,“More like another hour or so,” she told him as she gathered the drink order and turned to the remaining customers.

~~~~~

Angelus stalked through the streets.  Another girl had been murdered last night, the news had spread rapidly and it seemed everyone who even looked remotely like the descriptions given of the man last seen with Annie Chapman was a suspect. There had been two slightly different descriptions, and if you squinted, or were scared shitless, almost anyone could match one of them.

As he walked he’d had the oddest sense that he was being watched. It wasn’t the first time. It had been like this all night. Possibly, someone thought he was the killer. More likely it had to do with the fact that he had been seen escorting the witch home almost every night and that he had threatened all the younger vampires in the area with death if they laid a hand on her.

Tonight he intended to find some answers, which meant going to the part of town where all manner of demon could be found.  He entered a section of London that few humans ever ventured into, and those that did rarely made it out of alive. It consisted of various demon and vampire lairs. With any luck he could find out who had been watching him, his childe and the redheaded witch.

~Part: 10~

Willow called out her farewell to Jonathan. Gwen had left early and took William ’s offered arm. As they walked through the door, she began to tell him about the man that had walked Gwen home. “That guy Gwen’s been talking to, he’s a inspector.”

“So there is little chance we’ll find her like these other girls,” William replied with a nod, not noticing how Willow paled at his comment. He turned her in a different direction than usual and set off at a leisurely pace.

“Yeah, I guess.” Suddenly, Willow stilled. “Where are we going?”

“I thought we’d take a walk before getting you home.”

“Is that safe?” she asked softly as she allowed him to lead her forward.

“Yes, pet. After all, Angelus isn’t here to stir up trouble,” he told her with a wink. They walked silently for several more minutes before he sighed.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, glancing around. She still found it odd to be here, in London in 1888.

“Nothing,” he assured her with a pat on the hand. They walked a moment more. “It ’s simply … you never speak of your home and family, other than the mention of being attacked by a demon and your mother never kissed your wounds.”

“There is nothing to talk about,” she told him quickly, not certain she should mention that she was from the future and that was why she didn’t talk about that.

“I think there is much to talk about,” he countered, then stilled and sniffed the air.

“What’s wrong?” Willow asked, her voice dropping to a meer whisper.

“Blood. Angelus’ blood,” he told her quickly as he scanned the area. “Stay close and behind me,” he instructed as he began to follow the scent.

The last thing she wanted to do was find a wounded Angelus. She couldn’t think of anything worse. Oh, wait. Yes, she could. Finding the thing that could hurt Angelus, one half of the Scourge of Europe. Where they the Scourge yet? She didn ’t know and that thought quickly left her mind as William led her through the foggy, dark streets. She bit her lip and tried to think of a protection spell that she could do without supplies as they moved down the alley. Just as she remembered something that would work, she bumped into William’s back as he came to a stop.

“Don’t move,” he whispered as he scanned the area and walked toward a large dark lump in the street.

Willow nodded, then realizing that his back was to her added aloud, “I’m staying right here.”

William moved toward the lump as a groan came from it. “Angelus, it will be alright.”

The lump moved and Willow caught sight of Angelus’ blood covered face and she started to take a step toward him.

“No, Willow. Stay back,” William snapped. “He needs blood.”

“Could he take some without killing?”

“I don’t know. I doubt it.”

“Oh,” Willow was a bit surprised when she realized she had been about to offer Angelus some of her blood.

William lifted Angelus on his shoulder. “Stay close,” he told her as he started moving toward her. “Just don’t touch him, and try to stay downwind.”

“Downwind? Why? Oh, never mind,” she murmured, realizing that she’d be a temptation that Angelus didn’t need.

~Part: 11~

Willow looked around the imposing room that was inside the equally imposing house. William had drug her through the city and to an area where she was certain that the people would never lower themselves to even admit they knew where Whitechapel was.  She stared into the dark fireplace, still filled with remnants of an extinguished fire. She wrapped her arms around herself for warmth and decided she had to move or risk freezing to death. Okay, so it was a slight exaggeration, but still, she couldn’t sit there any longer.

She explored the darkened room, noting a few books lying about, but nothing of any major interest. She then moved to the hallway. Silence, punctuated by an occasional pain-filled groan. She headed toward the sound, her only intention to see if there was anything she could do to help.

As she neared the door to the room the sound came from, it opened and she was snatched into the room. Before she could even identify who had her, there were fangs buried in her throat. “No!” she screamed as she struggled against the arms that held her tightly. It was no use. She was no match for the vampire’s strength. The fangs tore at her throat and she could feel the room beginning to spin around her. “Please, help,” she called weakly. Now that she was too weak to do anything, she remembered a spell that would increase her strength, but it was too late to cast it.

“Let her go!” William’s voice bellowed just before the fangs were ripped from her throat.

~~~~~

William was certain his unbeating heart had begun to pound again when he walked in the house and smelled blood accompanied by the sound of Willow’s soft cry of pain. When he saw her in the arms of a minion, it was nearly his undoing. Snatching the young vampire away, he plunged a stake through its heart and grabbed Willow before she hit the ground.

He glanced toward the bed and saw that Angelus was still unconscious, even though the scent of fresh blood was making him restless. He turned his attention to the woman in his arms. “Why didn’t you stay in the sitting room?” he asked softly as he carried her to his rooms.

He settled her on the bed before hurrying out to find one of the minions. Once he’d given his orders, number one being the next one to lay a hand on the redhead would cost them all their lives, he returned to his rooms. He could count on the others to get Angelus the blood he needed. Right now, he had to take care of his little witch.

~~~~~

Willow’s eyes refused to open. Her body seemed to weigh ten times what it should. It did respond sluggishly and allowed her to try to sit up, but a pair of cool hands eased her back to a reclining position.

“Easy, pet. You need to rest,” a soft voice murmured as a blanket was tucked around her. “I shouldn’t have left the house,” he whispered.

“Spike?” she groaned, trying to open her eyes again.

“No, luv. It’s William.”

“William. Yeah, that’s what I meant,” she mumbled as her eyes cracked, then closed quickly. She was exhausted. Suddenly her hand rose to her throat and she began to tremble.

“You’re safe, pet,” William assured her. “Just rest.”

“I wanted to check on Angelus, but he--”

“No, Willow, it wasn’t Angelus. I left a minion with him. I forgot to mention that you were here and off limits,” he explained as he stroked her hair.

“Good,” she breathed. “Uhm, where is he? Angelus, I mean.”

“Angelus is resting across the hall.” The bed dipped as he stretched out beside her. “The one who did this,” his finger brushed the wounds on her throat, “is gone. He’ll never hurt you again.”

She couldn’t help the shiver his touch and his soft words caused in her. “Oh. Angelus… he’s alright?”

“Yes,” he hesitated a moment, then continued. “Will you be alright if I go across the hall to check on him? I promise not to be gone long.”

“Sure. I mean … it’s not the first time I’ve gotten bitten by a vampire. I can think of twice right off the top of my head,” she told him with a slight upward twitch of her lips. She kept the fact that the most recent bite was the closest she’d come to actually dying from a vampire to herself.

“Rest. If you need me, call for me. I will hear you.” With those words, his weight shifted off the bed and his steps crossed the floor. She assumed in the direction of the door. A quiet squeak from the door and the sound of the latch catching behind him let her know she was alone in the room. “And I thought I had to worry about the Ripper,” she groaned. This was William the Bloody. Half of the Scourge of Europe, and she was getting lightheaded from his touch?! Okay, so the lightheaded could actually be from the blood loss, but it got worse when he’ d touched her throat, so that meant something, right? Even if it really shouldn’ t.

~Part: 12~

“Red? Pet? Willow?” William’s voice called her out of the haze. “I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to wake up. You bloody well sleep like the dead.”

Willow opened her eyes and glanced around Giles’ living room. “William?”

“Yeah, well haven’t gone by that in a century or so,” he said with a shrug.

“But I wasn’t here. I was… Where is everyone?” she asked, noticing how empty the apartment seemed.

“We’ve been looking for you, pet. You’ve been missing for a couple of weeks. Even Soldier Boy’s been helping. If you call forcing his tongue down Slutty’s throat helping.”

“Be nice,” she muttered.

“Yeah, well it’s bleeding miserable around here without you. So I’ve been searching all over. Even thought about calling Peaches.”

“You missed me?” she asked, surprised.

Spike rose, grabbing his duster off the back of a nearby chair and rummaging through his pockets before pulling out a pack of cigarettes and lighting one.

“ ‘Course, I did, luv. I--”

~Part: 13~

“ I’m worried about you, Willow. Wake up. You need to eat.”

Willow groaned as she opened her eyes to see worried blue eyes looking into hers. “Spike?”

“No, luv. It’s still William. If you’ll tell me where this Spike is, I’ll go and get him for you,” William replied quietly as he turned away.

“No, I don’t—I mean you look like him. It just, I guess I’m more out of it than I realized. I didn’t mean to upset you,” she whispered, watching as he fussed with the tray that sat on the bedside table.

“Are you thirsty?” he asked as he turned back to her with a cup in his hand. She nodded, not sure she wanted to know what was in the cup. She took it and as she drew it near, realized it was tea. From the smell of it, it was tea with honey, just the way she liked it. She meant to take a dainty sip and ended up guzzling it down. She didn’t realize just how thirsty she was.

“You should eat as well,” he murmured handing her a steaming bowl of soup and taking the now empty teacup.

“Thank you.” She took the bowl and cuddled around its warmth. The delightful smell of chicken soup wafted up to greet her.

~~~~~

Angelus was stalking around the sitting room when William walked in. “How is she?” he asked as the younger vampire dropped into an armchair by the fire place.

“A bit dizzy and a little weak, but she’ll be alright. I’ve threatened to stake the lot of them if anything else happens to her,” William assured his Grandsire.

“Good. I was about to go out again. I need to feed to regain the rest of my strength,” Angelus muttered, then shook his head. “If you’re certain she doesn’t need anything,” he paused, waiting for William’s nod. Once he received it, he continued, “then I’ll be back soon. If you go out--”

“I’m not bloody well leaving her alone here again,” William muttered his interruption.

“That’s my boy,” Angelus chuckled. “Take care of what’s yours.” The younger vampire’s eyes widened for a moment before he slouched back in the chair.

As Angelus reached the door, William’s voice floated to him causing him to stop in his tracks. “What happened? I didn’t think much, if anything, could get the drop on you?”

“Couple of demons. Didn’t hear them coming,” he murmured. “I don’t think I’ve run into them before, and I’m not sure I could even tell you what they looked like. They were fast and strong. If it had just been one, I don’t think it would have been able to do much damage.”

“No idea what stirred them up?”

“I was checking some leads. I’d heard someone was asking about your spitfire,” he replied. “I came out of a bar and they attacked.”

William was at his side, “Could they be after Willow?”

Angelus grinned as he looked at him, “If they are … they’ll have to deal with both of us and it’s not likely they’ll catch me unaware again.”

~Part: 14~

William stood outside his room. He’d put Willow there, knowing it would be where she’d be safest. The idea that demons capable of surprising Angelus might be after his witch made him feel things he didn’t think he’d ever felt before. As quietly as possible, he opened the door and slipped inside. The fire was dying. Since it wouldn’t do for Willow to catch a chill, he stoked the fire and moved to sit at her bedside.

“No. No frogs. Toads… run,” she murmured, stirring in her sleep.

William chuckled to himself.  So the witch was scared of frogs and toads. A smirk stretched across his face as he wondered if the sight of them would send her into his arms. He might have to take her for a walk near the pond soon.

“No Xander. No frogs. Don’t,” she cried softly, twisting in the bedding.

Shh, luv. No frogs about. Not certain what a Xander is, but I assure you it’s not here either. It is just William. Sleep pet. You’re safe,” he murmured, stroking her hair back from her face.

“Safe,” she breathed, nuzzling her cheek into his hand.

William closed his eyes as her warmth soaked into his chilled hand. He sat there unwilling to move. She seemed content to snuggle against his hand. He watched her, losing himself in the rise and fall of her chest with each breath, the soft beating of her heart and the fluttering of her eyes beneath their lids.

He didn’t know how long he’d sat there before Willow’s voice caused him to realize that her green eyes were staring into his.

“William? Is something wrong?” she asked softly, her voice still heavy with sleep.

“No, pet. Just making sure you weren’t too cold,” he replied, pulling his hand back as he rose and tucked the covers around her. He could feel Angelus returning and entering his rooms across the hall.

“Oh. Okay. Thank you,” Willow murmured as she snuggled down beneath the sheets.

“I’m going to find a place to sleep. If you need me, call out. If I don’t hear you, Angelus should. He’s just across the hall.”

“What do you mean find a place?” Willow asked, sitting up in the bed.

“I gave you my bed, luvFigured you’d be safest there.” He smiled; it was obvious the girl wasn’t totally awake. Her eyes were still clouded with sleep and not really focused on him.

She seemed to look at the bed then began to climb out of it.

“What are you doing?” he asked, hurrying back to her.

“I can’t take your bed.”

“You aren’t taking it. I’m giving it. Now, back to bed with you. You aren’t ready to be up and about.”

Willow protested weakly as William began tucking her into bed again. “None of that. Now, you get some rest.”

“Don’t go,” she sighed as she laid back. “I—I mean—please?”

He stared at the chair he’d brought to her bedside earlier and sighed. He had slept in worst places. “Alright, pet. I’ll stay,” he agreed as he locked the door and settled into the chair.

He watched as Willow drifted off to sleep, again. And again, he lost himself in watching her. He glanced around the room and realized he hadn’t missed Drusilla since she’d gone dress shopping with Darla. He shook his head and corrected himself; he had missed her… until he met the redhead that was currently resting in his bed.

“William,” a sleepy voice called, “lots of room.”

He turned his eyes to the form on the bed. She was still sound asleep. He leaned forward and brushed his hand over her hair, “Hush, kitten. Sleep.”

He was surprised when her hand captured his and tugged him toward the bed and whispered, “Come to bed.”

He thought about it for less than a moment, before he slid into bed behind her. He couldn’t contain his smile when she snuggled back against him. He just hoped he woke up before she did or she might stake him for being in her bed.

~Part: 15~

Willow snuggled against the hard form at her back. Her sleep-addled brain barely registered the weight that rested around her waist. Part of her really needed to get up and find a bathroom, but the rest of her didn’t really want to move. She didn’t know why she was so very tired. It wasn’t like she had been doing very much, had she? Her mind was too fuzzy to remember. She began to stretch but quickly stilled when she was pulled closer whatever was behind her.

Suddenly, the events of last night came back with startling clarity. The vampire pulling her against him and sinking his fangs into her throat, hurting more than ever before.  Now she was being pulled back against him, again. She sat up screaming in terror as she struggled to get away.

~~~~~

William woke to Willow’s terrified scream and was on his feet snarling at the danger. He stilled as he scanned the room. It was empty. He caught sight of Willow, trembling as she forced herself between the chair and the wall, still crying. The scent of her fear was filling the room. If he didn’t get her calm soon, every vampire in the place would be waking and coming to investigate.

“Pet, it’s William. You’re safe, luv,” he called softly, afraid to move toward her.

With a resounding crack, the door to the bedroom was forced open and a very angry Angelus stood in the doorway, his eyes golden as they roamed the area. “Willow,” he called softly. His eyes landed on Spike and he growled, “What happened?”

“I’m not sure,” William replied. “Woke up to her screams. Was trying not to make it worse by grabbing her and scaring her more,” he added, glaring at the shattered door.

Angelus sighed and then moved into the room towards the panicking redhead. “Spitfire. Willow. It’s alright,” his rumbling Irish brogue filled the room. “If William did something to ya, all you need to do is tell me and I’ll be sure he’s punished.”

William glared at his grandsire for a moment before he turned his attention back to Willow. She seemed to be coming back to wakefulness at last. “Willow, please love, are you alright?”

“William?” her wavering voice called as she slid out from behind the chair.

“Yes, luv. It’s me,” he assured her as he stepped around Angelus and held his hand out to the girl, who bypassed his hand and flung herself into his arms. He glanced down at her and hugged her to him. “What frightened you so?” he asked softly as he held her.

“Nightmare,” her reply was muffled against his chest, “thought that other vamp was getting me again.”

Angelus growled quietly enough that even William barely heard him, before turning and leaving. “Call if you need anything,” he ground out over his shoulder.

William hugged her again as he led her to the chair by the fireplace and settled her into it as he began to build a fire. “I told you that you were safe,” he murmured before sighing as he tossed a log in and glanced at her. “You were frightened of me.”

“No!” Willow exclaimed, “It wasn’t you. I thought I felt something pulling me toward it and I just knew I was – It hurt so much more,” she finished in a whisper.

William moved to kneel at her feet. “What hurt?” he asked, concerned that perhaps in his sleep he had done something to harm her.

“The bite. It’s never hurt so much before,” she whispered, looking into his eyes. William began to question her about the previous times she’d been bitten. He wanted to rip that Harmony person to shreds. She mentioned another attack, leaving out a name, but she did say ‘she bit me.’ “So, luv, the vampires that bit you were all females?” he asked.

She thought for a minute, “Yes, at least as far as I can remember.”

“Females tend to have thinner fangs. That’s not saying it doesn’t hurt or that a male vampire will always hurt, but if this was worse… that could be the reason,” he explained, then smiled at her look of surprise.

“No one ever mentioned that before.”

“So you go talking about vampires a lot, luv? People sit around and discuss their physical attributes where you come from?” he teased.

~Part: 16~

Willow blushed as she remembered some of the nights she and Buffy had actually done just that about a few select vampires. Mainly one vampire… Angel. “No… not really. I—I just meant I’ve read a lot about vampires and the watch— stuff I read didn’t mention that.”

William went still as he stared at her. “Where have you found information about vampires to read?” he asked quietly as his blue eyes drilled into her own.

She stilled, wondering what had possessed her to open her mouth about that and to almost say watcher diaries… that was possibly the stupidest she had ever done.

Willow, where did you find the books?” he asked, his voice completely void of any emotion.

“I—please, William. It doesn’t matter. They aren’t where anyone else can get to them,” she assured him. The only ones that could get to them were the ones that needed to.

Luv, do you have any idea how dangerous it is to have those books?” he asked as he rose and began pacing. “I’d heard the watchers had books on most of the more well know vampires, Angelus for example, but I didn’t know there were oth--” He stopped mid-sentence and turned to face her. “You’ve seen the Watcher’s Diaries,” he breathed, glancing toward the door. He seemed to be listening for something.

“What is it?” she whispered.

Cor, luv, I don’t know what to do,” he admitted. “I should be torturing you until you tell me where the diaries are and how in the hell you got your hands on them,” he shook his head and began to pace again, unaware of Willow’s fear.

“I can’t,” he murmured as he passed her. “Don’t want to… won’t do it,” he growled, then turned to her again. “Do not mention this to anyone. I mean no one.”

“I-I won’t,” she stuttered. “I didn’t mean to tell you. I promise no one here can get them.”

“Don’t mention them again,” he warned, then sighed. “How did you get your hands on the watcher diaries?” he asked again then returned to tending the fire.

“I can’t tell you,” she whispered, watching as he stilled and slowly turned toward her.

“You realize any other vampire--”

“Would have killed me a few minutes after they met me.”

Willo--”

“Don’t Willow me… I’m willing to lay money on the fact that that’s just what you and Angelus planned to start with but something changed your minds… and I am thankful for that but… don’t even try to make me think I wasn’t dinner when you first saw me.”

“I wouldn’t lie to you, pet,” he whispered.

“I’m probably stupid for believing you … but I do,” she admitted as she leaned back in the chair and pulled her feet up underneath her.

“You’re not stupid,” he informed her. “And you’re probably right, luv, but I’ve given my word… and so has Angelus… you won’t be harmed again if we can do anything to stop it.”

Willow didn’t know what to think. Here she was in 1888, in London with Spike of all people and she actually felt safe. “No one here can reach those boo--” She was silenced by his hand over her mouth.

“Someone is in the hall,” he breathed and when she nodded, he removed his hand as started toward the door.

~Part: 17~

“Did you two not learn your lesson earlier?” Angelus asked as he flung one Kracken demon across the alley as its twin tackled him. He struggled against the weight of the bile green creature. He was fairly certain this was the same pair he’d knocked out less than an hour ago, of course with Kracken’s it was hard to tell. They all looked pretty much the same, the only difference was in the patterns of scales on their heads. That usually meant only another Kracken could tell them apart. Of course, there are rarely more than six in a town at a time. They don’t get along with their own very well, except their twins, of course.

As the second one joined the first in pinning Angelus down, he decided on something, same pair or not they were going to die. All he had been doing was talking in one of the few local demon bars. It wasn’t even like he had heard anything new. When he walked out, he was jumped. This time he was ready and he heard them before they even reached him.

Kicking the pair off, he grabbed a piece of a broken wooden crate as he pulled a small dagger out of his great coat. When the foolish Krackens attacked again, they fell, one after the other as Angelus stabbed his weapon into their oddly placed hearts. He pulled his dagger from the demon’s side and wiped it off on the cleanest part of its clothes before putting it back into his pocket and heading toward the next stop.

~~~*~~~

“Angelus! Where have you been?”

Angelus cringed as Demetri, a young Russian vampire that had been pestering him for the last few decades, bellowed over the rowdy crowd of demons. “I’ve been around,” he growled as he moved toward the bar.

“Have you heard?” the black haired vampire asked as he settled onto the barstool next to him.

“Heard?”

“Those murders… one of us did them and--” he leaned in with a conspiratorial tone, “I heard there is a witch about that he’s after.”

“Oh and where have you been hearing this?” Angelus asked, his Irish brogue thickening slightly. He smiled as the young vampire began to tell all he knew.

~Part: 18~

"William... I can't wear that," Willow protested as she stared at the emerald green gown that was carefully laid across the bed.

"Why the bloody hell not?" William asked, confusion written on his face. "It's your size. I made sure," he grumbled under his breath. Couldn't the woman accept a gift without all the protests?

"It's too nice."

"You're not serious?" William gasped. "Too-bloody hell woman! It's a sodden dress! Now put it on so I can take you to dinner!" He bellowed as he turned on his heel and stormed out the door.

Angelus chuckled. "Problems, boy?"

"Sod off!" He muttered as he stormed down the hall.

~~~*~~~

Willow stared at the door in shock. The dress had to have cost a fortune, she couldn't accept that expensive of a gift.  Of course, pissing off a vampire wasn't exactly smart. So she took a deep breath and went about trying to figure out how to get into it without help.

After a few minutes of attempting it by herself, she broke down and went to call for help. She cracked the door. "Anyone there?"

"Did you need something, little one?" Angelus called.

"Uhm, well... yeah. I mean yes," she murmured. "William wants me to go out with him and ... I kinda.. well.. Ineedhelpgettingintothedressandwilliamsmad atmecauseIsaiditwastoonice."

Angelus chuckled, "I'd be more than willing to lend a hand... although I am much better at taking dresses off than putting them on."

She was beet red... she knew it. She could feel it. "Well... uhm.. I-"

"It's alright, Willow," he laughed. "I'll get one of the girls to give you a hand," he assured her.  He bowed slightly, turned and headed down the hall bellowing for someone named Virginia. A young blonde vampire stepped out of a nearby room and Willow watched as Angelus spoke quietly to her. The woman's eyes widened and she nodded vigorously, before heading toward Willow and the room.

"Master Angelus sent me to attend you," the young woman murmured as she curtsied before her. "My name is Virginia."

"Hi, I'm Willow. Uhm.. I just kinda need some help getting into the dress William gave me."

"Yes, Ms. Willow," Virginia replied in a hushed voice.

She sighed, this was going to be interesting. "Just Willow."

"Ms?"

"Just call me Willow," she replied.

"But Master Angelus said to treat you like you were a Master."

Willow was stunned, and it was obvious the young vampire was a bit surprised too. From what she knew of vampire society, a mortal was never considered to be on the same level as a vampire. Even the lowliest minion would be higher than most mortals. They sometimes kept human pets, but it was rare for those to be classed higher than a minion. "Well.... just call me Willow."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Oh please don't call me that," she laughed as they closed the door and made their way to the bed where the dress lay. "I'm afraid I--"

"First the corset." Virginia announced as she began to strip Willow out of her dressing gown.

Willow blushed and babbled as the young woman deftly took off her clothes, and then began to dress her. She managed to stutter through a conversation with her. She discovered that Virginia had been a lady's maid until Angelus had taken a liking to her and had his way with her... then at the last minute turned her. Now she helped to run the house, being the only minion with the slightest idea of what had to be done.

Virginia was chattering away, talking about the things they'd done and what she'd seen since she became a vampire four years ago. As she knelt before Willow buttoning the redhead's boots, she continued to talk.  "You're much nicer than Mistress Darla." She stilled and looked up at Willow, fear shining brightly in her eyes. "I--"

"It's alright," Willow whispered quickly. "I won't say anything." Then she smiled, "I'm much saner than Dru too."

Virginia relaxed slightly and smiled, "Much."

There was a knock at the door and before Willow could move Virginia was up and at the door. "Master William, Mistress Willow is almost ready."

"Mistress Willow?" William murmured.

Virginia bowed her head, "Master Angelus told me--"

William nodded, "Good. Go."

"Thanks, Virginia," Willow called as the girl hurried out the door, then she turned her attention to William. "Well... is it okay?" She asked, smoothing her hands over the front of the blue dress.

William smiled warmly at her. "No, luv, it's not."  She lowered her head in shocked surprise, uncertain why it hurt when he said that. After all, it wasn't like she was a beauty like Buffy or Cordelia nor had ever given her the time of day before. "It's not just okay. You look bloody beautiful."

"Thank you," she murmured turning away as tears began to gather in her eyes.

"Bloody hell, you cry because I like how you look?"

"Yes. No. I-- I don't know," she sighed.

"We should be going," he murmured. "They will only hold the table for so long."

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see when we get there."

Willow frowned, "You don't give straight answers ... do you?"

"I'm a vampire, luv," he reminded her proudly.

~Part: 19~

Angelus found himself sitting there listening to Demitri for the second night in a row. The younger vampire had wanted to join the Scourge of Europe for several years now but Darla despised him and Drusilla muttered about him being sticky and rotten. He fought to keep from growling as the now drunken vampire tried to impress him with his tales.

"And last night... I found him. Said he'd been having a right good time," the Russian vamp laughed doing an awful imitation of a British accent. "Said he's smelled her a few weeks ago. Saw the flash of her power, or something, and was going to get her if he had to rip through every bangtail in Whitechapel."

Angelus froze, but quickly covered it. "Really? And who would this be?" Demitri's face scrunched up as he tried to pull the information out of his drunken brain. "A vampire."

It took all his control not to bash the young fool's head in. "Did you know him, Dimitri?"

The black haired vampire shook his head. "No, but he was older than me." He looked at Angelus hard for a moment. "Maybe older than you."

Angelus nodded and paid for another round for the drunken vampire before rising and heading for the door.

~~~*~~~

"If we follow it... we find her," a young man whispered to his companion.

"True... if we don't get killed by it! You saw what it did to those two demons we sent to follow it."

The first figure shook his head, "They didn't follow... they attacked. Now we have to have that witch for this to work. You know how hard it is to find a real one. This girl is the only one in London!"

"So you say... if she is a witch, why is she working in Whitechapel?" the younger of the two muttered.

"Well, there is no doubt you're a Giles," the first man muttered. "Just glad I've got more brains than you."

"Travers," the young Giles growled. "I'll show you just who has the brains, you wanker." With that, he set off to follow the vampire.

Travers chuckled, maybe tonight they would have the last ingredient, and they could do what he needed to get what he deserved.

~Part: 20~

Willow smiled nervously. What in the world was she doing? Going to dinner with a vampire... Spike, er ... William actually, but still. She shook her head as William helped her out of the coach. "William, I could have found something to eat in the kitchen."

"Actually, pet," he replied, pulling her to his side, "There isn't anything fit for you to eat in that place, trust me."

She was suddenly plagued by visions of men and women hanging from chains in the kitchen. "Remind me to not go to the kitchen," she whispered, shuddering.

"Luv, it's not that bad," he assured her as he led her up a series of steps. "I just meant, we've been in that house a while. If there is any food left... it is probably far past the stage you could eat it. Even if Charles does eat like a pig... I don't think anything edible is left in there."

Before Willow could catch a glimpse of a sign, a man dressed in a suit met them at the door and ushered them inside. "Everything is as you requested, my lord."

William nodded, "The lady is hungry, so ... don't dawdle."

The man paled, and then scurried away.

"I'm not that hungry," Willow whispered.

"I hear your stomach growling," he whispered back as he escorted her to a table in the middle of the room and helped her into her seat.

She flushed with embarrassment, "I didn't- I mean -- "

"It's fine, luv."

Willow glanced around, noticing that they were indeed in a restaurant, a very nice one at that, but that they were the only occupants other than a rather small staff.

"I guess you're wondering why we're the only ones here?" He smiled when she only nodded. "Well, the owner ... owes his life to Angelus and I. He's a demon... had a bit of trouble with a demon hunter. We ... took care of it for him."

"But this is the not demony part of town."

"Actually, pet, there are several demons in this part of town, they just look human."

"Oh... interesting," she murmured.

~Part: 21~

Angelus knew there weren't that many vampires in London that were his age or older... so if he did a bit of checking he could come up with a list. Then he could pay each vampire listed a visit and discover who had plans for the redhead that could very well become his next childe or grandchilde.

He smiled at the thought of the blushing young redhead covered in blood from her kill. Of course, if what Demetri said was true and this other vampire, this Ripper, wanted her dead, he might never get to see that vision in flesh and blood.

As he made his way through the darkened streets, he thought he heard something. A few minutes later, he was certain that the sounds were still following him. Two mortals. Two mortals playing detective from the sounds of it. "Stupid fools," he muttered to himself as he turned down an alley that led to a place that meant death to an unclaimed mortal... if they were lucky.

~~~*~~~

"I say, governor, my friend and I seem to be a bit lost."

Winston Giles stared at Peter Travers like he'd just grown a second head. First off, they were not friends and secondly... calling out to the demon was suicide.

The dark demon stopped and turned to stare in surprise at the two. "Is that so, gentlemen?" It asked with a smirk.

"Yes, we were looking for the Ten Bells... it seems I've gotten a bit turned around... right, Win?" Peter replied nudging Winston.

"Er, yes... quite right. We thought we'd come -"

"See where the murders happened," Peter finished.

Winston's heart stopped. He was certain it had when the beast's eyes flashed yellow.

"And why would two fine young men be doin' a thing like that?" The dark vampire asked, his Irish brogue thickening as he eyed the pair warily.

"Well... you see we want to be detectives, and thought that perhaps if we could solve this ... We'd be famous," Peter lied with a pleased smile on his face.

Winston stared at the man that stood beside him. Didn't he realize the vampire would know he was lying? What shocked him was when the dark haired demon nodded, seemingly accepting the lie. "Y-yes... I do believe that my friend," he nearly choked on the word, unable to believe there would be a day when a Giles would willingly call a Travers a friend, "is a bit more anxious for this than I. I'd like to see the monster that did the crimes brought to justice but ... I find I don't have the--"

"Gall?" the vampire interrupted with a smile.

"I was going to say the nerves, actually," Winston corrected. "Perhaps, we should go home to our families and try this again in the light of day." Peter glared at the other man, "Perhaps, though I don't believe we'll find it in the daylight," he muttered as he tipped his hat to the vampire then turned and stormed away.

"Forgive him ... he's disappointed," Winston apologized, then turned to follow.

"You should be more careful who you follow... and where," the vampire warned, before turning and disappearing into the shadows.

"Believe me ... I know," Winston muttered as he hurried after Peter. The man was keeping something from him... and it was time he knew what.

~Part: 22~

"I don't think I've eaten that much really good food in ... ever," Willow laughed as William guided her into the sitting room.

"I'll have to turn a cook for you then." He couldn't be more pleased with how the evening had gone. He couldn't have been... until then. As soon as he'd said the words, he realized he'd said the wrong thing. She was mortal, they tended to frown all sorts of things like that.

"No! Don't!" She exclaimed. "I don't need to eat. Not like that anyway," she assured him.

"I-Of course," William agreed. "Maybe we can have the chef from the restaurant send over meals for you a few times a week."

"That would be-Wait. I can't stay here. I have to go home."

"This is your home, Willow," William told her patiently, "as long as you're in London you will be here with us. I'll insist if I must."

Willow stiffened. "Fine, insist but I can't stay. I have to get back ... to America. That's home."

"Do what you wish," William snarled, before turning and storming out. He didn't want her to leave. His demon was pushing at him to make the mortal see that she was his. He growled at the idea that she probably had a husband or at least a number of suitors waiting for her in America; that certain didn't help calm the demon.

He needed to kill something ... soon. "Virginia!" he roared.

Within moments, the vampiress was before him, "Yes, Master William?"

"Help Willow change, then make sure nothing happens to her. If it does ... you haven't seen anything as horrible as what I'll do to you."

"Yes, sir," she murmured before turning and rushing down the hall, snarling orders to the other minions. He'd known she was a smart one and he knew Willow would be safe. He'd go find Angelus, and maybe something to kill.

~Part: 23~

Winston Giles walked into the library and saw Peter bent over a battered old book, scribbling notes in a small journal. When he looked up and saw Giles heading towards him, he hastily closed the journal and put it away. "Do you mind telling me just what you want with that witch?"

Peter glared and glanced around. "Would you be quiet! We don't want anyone else to know about this."

Winston frowned as he glanced around the library. It was run by the Council and used to train the Watchers. The Giles family had joined the Council only a few generations ago. His grandfather had been the first to join, but Peter's family had been part of the Council forever, it seemed, and it was almost certain that one day they would be leading it. So why wouldn't he want the Council to know? "I'd like to know just what it is that we're doing."

Peter smiled, and it wasn't a friendly one. "You don't want them to know about your little secret ... do you?" When Winston shook his head, Peter continued, "Then I would not ask questions." With that, he shut the book he'd been reading and rose to his feet. "I think we should head back to the Ten Bells, Maybe someone there has heard something that would prove useful to us."

Winston groaned, he wished he hadn't been so stupid as to let Travers find out his secret. No one could ever know; if they found out he was through. Even his family wouldn't stand by him.

~~~*~~~

For the second night in a row, William slammed into yet another demon bar. His clothes were ripped and covered with a variety of blood types from numerous demons, in nearly every shade, from a lovely deep purple color to a rather sickening shade of green. His eyes settled on Angelus playing poker with a group of demons and confidently strode toward him.

"Childe, what's wrong?" Angelus asked, his eyes never leaving his cards.

"There's nothing wrong."

"Then why is this the second night I've seen you like this?" he asked, glancing up at him.

"None of your bloody business," William snapped, turning on his heel and heading for the door.

"BOY!"

William froze. He didn't like it but the tone his sire used meant if he didn't, he'd be beaten and bloody. And this time it wouldn't be fun.

"Sire," he muttered. He heard Angelus telling the others he was done for the evening and then walked up behind him.

"Let's go, boy," he growled walking past the younger vampire and out into the night.

The younger vampire ground his teeth as he followed his sire. " Sire," he murmured, "I was looking for information." It was not a lie. Not really. He had hoped to find something out about the murders that were occurring, and the rumors that something was searching for a witch. Angelus had convinced Willow that until they knew more, it was best that she stay with them. He'd even gotten her time off from the bar. Right now, she was safely ensconced in the house with Virginia and two other of their most trusted minions guarding her.

"All right, my boy. Tell me what is wrong."

William growled as he began to tell his sire the events of his dinner with Willow.

~Part: 24~

"Virginia, what did I do wrong?" Willow asked, looking up from the book she'd been attempting to read.

"I'm sorry, Mistress," Virginia murmured. "Did wrong?" Confusion was clear on her face.

"William-- Haven't you noticed he hasn't said more than three words at a time to me?" It had been running through her head ever since he'd stormed out last night. What exactly had she done to upset him?

Virginia glanced around, and then smiled, "I believe he's upset that you want to leave him."

Willow listened as Virginia patiently explained what she'd seen between them. The redhead was certain she'd turned as bright as her hair when she realized the vampiress was telling her that William liked her. "You can't be right. I mean ... This can't be." She rose and began to pace the room. This couldn't happen. If William liked her, then what would happen when she got home? She ignored the little voice in her head that screamed she might never get home.

"Mistress," Virginia murmured, her tone reminding Willow of the way her aunt spoke to her when she was three, "Master William - he - he is quite fond of you. I'm certain."

"You don't understand! This isn't good." She couldn't come out and explain that she wasn't going to be able to stay.

Virginia stilled. "You have someone waiting for you in America?" She quietly asked.

Willow turned away quickly, not wanting to lie to her, to any of them, but what else could she do? She couldn't stay. She had to go home... no matter how appealing staying here sounded at the moment.

"Master William will ... I'm not certain what he will do. Most vampires would simply remove any other potential suitors.  Of course, most vampires would have turned you by now," the young vampiress murmured.

"Thank you Virginia. I - I think I'm going to ... go to bed," the witch murmured as she passed the two minions that seemed to be following her every move. "Do you two have to tuck me in too?" She muttered.

The taller of the two grinned, his fangs showing as he did, "I could-" his words were cut off as the smaller vampire grabbed his throat and Virginia stepped between the minions and Willow.

"You'd be dead before you laid a hand on her," Virginia snarled, causing the pair to back away.

"I should have known you were too young for this," the smaller minion growled, then turned to Willow. "Forgive me, Mistress," he murmured, bowing his head a bit as he spoke, "I'll replace him immediately." Then dragged the taller, and obviously younger, vampire away.

"I told him to keep anyone less than a year away from you," Virginia turned back to Willow, her vampiric features slipping away revealing the young beautiful girl Willow had begun to think of as her friend. "The fool will be dust when I tell the Masters of this," she muttered as she tucked Willow under her arm and escorted her to her room.

Willow frowned. She couldn't stay here. She'd already been gone for several weeks, and to top it off it was only three days until Jack's double murders. She had to get out of here, without any of the vampires, so she could begin to find a way back home, and maybe a way to stop him too. Besides, who knew what kind of trouble was brewing in Sunnydale. She suddenly wondered if the others had been giving Spike a hard time while she was gone. It had been weeks. She shuddered at the thought of the trouble that could happen in that time.

~Part: 25~

**Present**

"But Giles!" Buffy whined, "Wills has been missing for two days." The blonde slayer threw herself onto the couch as Rupert Giles glared at her over the book he was reading.

"I'm quite aware of that, Buffy, but I have yet to find any clues to where she has gone.

"G-man, this is Willow. What if she was trying some spell and it went all wacky on her. She could have-"

"Don't say it, Xander," Buffy snapped. "She isn't dead."

"No, I just mean... well... maybe she's invisible, you know like that girl in high school."

"Maybe she found a nice handsome man and is off having lots and lots of orgasms," Anya added with a smile. "I'd certainly like to be having a few right now myself."

"Anya, not in front of other people," Xander groaned, then began to try to explain the kind of topics that were for private conversations.

Giles cleared his throat and when he had everyone's attention began to speak. "Xander, Anya, on your way home, stop by and have Spike come here as soon as possible. Perhaps he can search and talk to some of the demons who might know what is going on. Buffy, you will patrol as usual. Xander, Anya ... you can talk to her friends. See if-"

"I've already talked to her friends and teachers," Buffy reminded the watcher. "No one has seen her. And Spike? That's a waste of time. He only helps when we pay him and he hates it. I -"

"Spike will be more likely to have demons talk to him," Giles reminded the slayer, "Now as I was saying... Anya and Xander, talk to Willow's friends and classmates, find out exactly when she was seen last and if anything unusual has happened."

~~~~~

A figure outside the window chuckled to itself and scurried off into the coming night. Its plan was slowly coming together. The little witch was ... well somewhere. It didn't know where it had actually sent her, but it didn't matter. She was gone, and probably much happier there than here on the Hellmouth. Humans didn't like Hellmouths, but its kind thrived on them and soon its brothers and sister would begin to gather.

The figure paused and wondered if the blonde vampire would be any trouble, then it shook its scaly head and continued toward the burned out remains of the old high school library.

~Part: 26~

"Stupid wankers," Spike muttered as he headed for Willie's. "Bloody Slayer and her soddin' scoobies don't bother to let me know the witch is missing." He growled when he realized he'd been talking to himself, and that he actually cared that one of the slayer's little friends was missing.

He settled into a seat at the bar and waited for Willie to notice him. He frowned as he got another of those annoying almost-memories. He still couldn't place it. There was a flash of green and the urge to ripe something's throat out. He clenched his jaw as the chip shot him a warning pulse.

"S-spike?" Willie stuttered as he turned to face the blonde vampire.

"Want information," he muttered as he lit a cigarette and glared at the weasel-y looking little man.

"'Bout what?" Willie asked as he glanced around.

"Someone touched the redhead. She's missing and I want to know who has her," he growled.

A pale lavender demon nearby started laughing. "Ooo! What are you gonna do if he doesn't tell? Yell at him? Kiss him?"

Spike growled and nodded to a nearby table of silvery demons, they rose and headed toward the bar. He turned back to his purple pest. "Actually-," he rose and stalked toward it. "I don't feature telling you," he growled before he used his speed and strength to snap its neck.

He turned back to Willie. "Now these nice Larkin's have agreed to begin to devour you... starting with your toes and other ... dangling bits," he laughed when Willie paled, "if you don't tell me what I want to know."

"Don't know... heard the witch was missing but no one has claimed anything! I swear! Come on, Spike! Would I be stupid enough to lie to you?!"

"Possibly," Spike muttered as he took a drag off his almost-forgotten cigarette. "But not with four hungry Larkins eyeing you as dinner," he laughed, as he headed for the door.  "I don't have to tell you I want to know the instant someone mentions the witch... do I?"

"NO! Of course not." Willie called.

As Spike neared the door, he hear a frantic Willie. "Spike! The Larkins!"

"I know you have a jar of human eyeballs around for those damn Marsicans! Give 'em to the Larkins," he called as just before the door slammed shut. "That was a bloody waste of time," he snarled as he headed off to see what other demons he could beat some information out of.

He frowned, wishing he could put his finger on what seemed off in his memory. He knew it started the other day when Red and Slutty had mentioned Jack the Ripper. He shrugged and headed off to find ... something to kill.

Chapter 27

~~~~~

1888

~~~~~

Winston Giles had finally found the time to sneak into the library without Peter Travers hanging over his shoulder. After twenty minutes of searching, he found the book he'd seen Travers with on several occasions. He stared at a particularly disturbing phrase in shock. Did Travers think he'd actually help him with something as disgusting as this? He stared at the last ingredient for the power and immortality spell, the heart of a witch who is touched by darkness but fights for the light. He had done a horrible thing when he was younger... but he wouldn't be part of this. With that he rose and hurried out of the library. He had to figure out what to do.

~~~~~

Angelus stood outside a rundown warehouse near the docks, with William at his side. "Boy, are you going to fidget all night or are you going in there with me?"

William growled. Angelus had told him he'd found the vampire that wanted to hurt Willow. "You expect me to go in there and act *NICE* to ... that?"

The dark vampire gripped the younger by the throat, "If you want to keep her... yes. That is exactly what I expect."

The blonde stilled and lifted his eyes to his elder's. "Do I have to talk to it?"

Angelus laughed and clasped his shoulder. "Only if it asks you something."

William grumbled as he fell into step behind his grandsire and entered the seemingly abandoned warehouse that they had discovered to be the lair of Jack the Ripper.

~~~~~

Chapter 28

~~~~~

Willow paced the length of her, no... not hers. This was William's room. She frowned, this was so not good. She was beginning to like the idea of staying here, except for one thing... William had been acting very strange lately. Angelus too, for that matter. The pair had gone out tonight and she knew it would be her best chance to get out of here and try to find a way home.

"Mistress? Are you alright?" Virginia asked, opening the door and poking her head inside.

Willow went still, then forcing a bright smile turned. "Oh yeah. I mean, of course. I'm just anxious for William and Angelus to return. Do you know if they'll be out long?"

Virginia watched her a moment before answering. "They didn't know how long they would be gone. They said there was clan business to take care of." Willow nodded. It sounded like they could be gone for a while then. Now if she could just get Virginia to leave her alone for more than ten minutes.

"Do you think you could run out and get me ..." she wracked her mind trying to think of something, "Dinner! I mean, I'm a bit hungry and there's nothing left in the house."

"I'll send someone-"

"NO! No, please? I want you to do it. I think I'd just feel better if you went."

Virginia stared at her for a moment. "Master William insisted that I watch over you."

"I'll just stay right here... not moving... in this room. Promise." She gave her best 'Trust-me-I'm-the-sweet-innocent-one-that-would-never-lie' look as she raised her hand and gave her the scouts honor sign. Were the girls scouts even around yet? She had a feeling they weren't, especially when she noticed the confused look in Virginia's eyes, so she quickly dropped her hand and clutched them together, embarrassed at her silly mistake.

Virginia stared at her incredulously. "Not moving? Mistress... you are never still, even when reading."

"Okay... I might move, but only in here. Please?"

Virginia shook her head and turned for the door. Opening it, she paused and looked back at Willow. "If you get hurt, Angelus and William will be terribly upset and I... I will as well, until I'm dust." With that she left the redhead, standing alone in the bedroom.

"That was incredibly not fair," Willow muttered as she dropped into the nearest chair and glared at the fireplace. With a groan, she grabbed a paper and pen and began to scribble a hasty note. She then folded it, wrote William across it and left it sitting on the bed. She could only hope that she didn't give in to the guilt of being the cause of her death. She didn't really have a choice, she had to get home. With one last look at the room, she turned and as silently as humanly possible, slipped out the window. At least she was on the ground floor.

~~~~~

 

Chapter 29

~~~~~

William stood behind Angelus, fidgeting, as they waited for * it* to arrive.

“Be still, William,” Angelus growled softly. The blonde vampire rolled his eyes and he stilled himself. Maybe, after tonight, he’d be able to take Willow to the theater without having minions following them for her safety. He found himself smiling as he remembered the look on her face when he’d taken her to dinner. Suddenly, he was pulled out of his delightful thoughts by Angelus’ elbow in his gut.

A tall thin man walked into the room and dropped a long dark cloak on a nearby chair. “I believe my valet said you were Angelus,” the vampire began as his gaze swept over the duo. William bristled when this other demon seemed to write him off as insignificant. He was kept in place by a glare from Angelus.

“Yes. I, however, don’t know what I should call you,” Angelus replied with a slight nod of his head.

The other vampire chuckled to himself, “You may call me what the press does… Jack.”

“So it was you that sent that letter to the press?” Angelus asked.

“Yes, well… I had it done. May I ask how you heard of the letter? It has yet to be printed,” Jack replied with a sly grin that showed his fangs.

William was surprised that this vampire was showing fangs without the wrinkles that normally came with them. He wondered if the ability to show only fangs came with age. He’d ask Angelus about that later.

“I have my ways. “ Angelus chuckled, “It’s very clever. It’s obvious that you’re a more educated man than that letter has led them to believe. I suspect they’ll never be able to catch you. After all, they’re simply stupid mortals.”

Jack laughed, “Yes, these bobbies and detectives seem to be among the most idiotic.” He fingered the cloak he’d laid on the chair and smiled slightly. “Now if I can just find …” He shook himself and turned his attention to Angelus. “Why, exactly, are you here?”

The Irish vampire shrugged, “I’d heard there was another master vampire in town. I only wanted to assure you that my family and I are not looking to settle here. We are only visiting.”

Jack nodded, “Yes. I had heard that as well. The Order of Aurelius is well known. You may leave now.”

William growled and Angelus gripped his arm, “Of course. Perhaps we shall see each other again?”

“Perhaps,” Jack replied as he headed toward a door that lead deeper into the building. “Oh,” he paused and glanced back at the pair, “and … say hello to your little witch for me.” With that, he slipped out the door and left them alone.

William nearly launched across the room but was halted by Angelus’ grip on his arm. “We are leaving,” he snarled, dragging the younger vampire from the room and out of the building.

“He threatened her,” William growled as he was drug away from the warehouse.

“I’m not sure if he is certain she’s the one he’s looking for,” Angelus told him as they headed out in search of a meal.

“But he—“

“I know. I simply have a strange feeling that he doesn’t quite know what he’s looking for.”

“At least she’s safe at home,” William replied, knowing Virginia had taken Willow under her protection and while she was young, she was incredibly strong and intelligent for a simple minion. “Virginia will take care of her.”

“That she will, my boy. Now, let’s find a quick bite and go have a talk with our little witch.” He chuckled as William bristled. “What’s yours is mine you know.”

~~~~~

Part 30

~~~~~

Hoping to ward off the chill that soaked into her bones, Willow wrapped her arms around her thin frame and hurried through the streets of Whitechapel wishing she’d grabbed a cloak or coat or something. She was heading toward the Ten Bells. She hadn’t been there since Angelus had informed Jonathan that she wouldn’t be working any longer.

She relaxed a little when the Bells came into view. She had almost reached the relative safety of the bar when she heard a woman cry out in fear and pain. Before realizing what she was doing, she was rushing toward the sound, gathering her magical energies.

She concentrated on a spell of protection for herself and the woman, as she scanned her mind for a defense spell. Unfortunately, she couldn’t think of one single thing that could help her aid whoever was hurt.

“Think, Willow,” she muttered to herself as she rounded the corner, coming to an abrupt halt as she stared in shock. A vampire stood wrapped around a woman, whispering in her ear, as he wrenched her arm behind her. Willow gasped as she recognized the woman as Gwen.

At her tiny sound, the vampire raised glittering eyes. “My witch,” he growled as he flung Gwen against the wall. Her head made a sickening sound as it slammed into the stone wall.

Willow watched in shock as her friend slid down the wall, leaving a trail of blood and something else that she didn’t want to identify.

“It’s dead,” the vampire snarled as he approached. “That weak little mortal was a pawn, which I no longer need.”

Willow’s Sunnydale instincts finally kicked in and she levitated a small section of broken stone and slammed it into his head as she turned and fled for the safety of the Ten Bells. In her haste to get away, she never saw the man step in front of her until she slammed into him.

“Are you in trouble?” a voice filled with false concern asked.

“No, I’m not,” she murmured, then added a quick apology and tried to skirt around the man.

~~~~~

 

Part 31

~~~~~

Virginia stared at the empty room. Willow had gone; She noted, glancing at the open window. The curtains flipping in the light breeze acted almost like a sign saying ‘She went this way’. The vampire closed her eyes. She knowing that had to gather some trusted minions and find her. She scanned the room, hoping the young mortal had taken something as protection.

Her eyes landed on the bed and saw the note. She picked it up and turned toward the door. That’s when she felt it. The masters had returned. “Be safe,” she murmured and headed out of the room to face her masters for what would, in all likelihood, be the last time.

~~~~~

“I don’t trust him. We can’t let Willow out of the house without protection,” William insisted as he and Angelus walked into the house. “There is something wrong with him.”

“I know,” Angelus agreed, as he tossed his coat over a table and sank down into a large leather chair near the fireplace. “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something not right with him.”

“You bloody well don’t have to tell me,” the blonde muttered.

Angelus opened his mouth to say something, then paused. “Virginia?”

William turned and frowned at the look on the woman’s face. “What’s wrong?” he asked, his demon coming to the fore. He reached out with his senses and heard, minions chattering throughout the house, the floor boards creaking, the wood in the fire snapping, but no heartbeat. “Where is she?” he snarled as he stormed toward the blonde female.

“Master, I—I don’t know,” she murmured, lowering her head as she held out the envelope. “She left this.”

Angelus was there, a low growl rumbling through him. “What happened?”

“She asked me to fetch her dinner and I did,” she explained, nervously. “I went back to bring her down and she—the window was open and that note was left lying on the bed.”

William quickly opened the letter and read it to himself.

William,

I’m sorry. I know you won’t understand, but I have to go home. I can’t stay here. I have to find a way home. If I could, I would stay. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with you more than I can say. Except for the whole people dying. And while you’re a vampire so that’s part of the big fun for you, I’m mortal so… not so much.

God, I even babble in letters. I don’t have time to rewrite this, so … forgive me.

I will miss you

Willow

PS. Don’t hurt Virginia. I made her leave me alone. Please don’t blame her. It’s not her fault. I’d feel terrible if you killed her because of me. It’s the one thing I ask, please.

He finished reading the letter and growled. “You get to live.”

Angelus sighed and shook his head. “Willow does have a way of getting what she wants.”

“She’s not getting away. She can’t leave,” William snarled, he whirled toward his grandsire and added softly, “She could be killed.”

Angelus explained to Virginia what had happened and he was proud to see the protective gleam in her eyes.

“I was about to gather some of the others and go out in search of her,” Virginia explained.

“Then do it,” Angelus told her. “We’re heading out now.”

William was already gathering weapons. “Are you about bloody ready?”

Angelus stifled a proud smile at the young vampire’s impatience. “Careful boy,” he warned, “We’ll leave when Virginia is ready.”

The female vampire headed for the door, “I’ll be ready in a moment.”

~~~~~

Winston Giles stared at Peter Travers in shock. He stood there, with a redheaded woman unconscious in his arms. “Don’t bloody well stand there all night, move so I can come in!”

Winston moved out of the way then checked to make sure no one had seen Travers enter with the woman. How he’d managed to capture the witch was beyond him. “What have you done?”

“What we’ve been planning the whole time. She’s a witch. She’s evil. It’s our job to make sure evil doesn’t take over,” Travers reminded the young Giles.

“Now that you have her, what are you going to do?” he asked. He knew the answer. He’d seen the book. He just wasn’t sure how to stop him.

“Kill her, of course.”

~~~~~

Part 32

*Present*

Spike walked into the Watcher’s apartment. “Rupert?”

Giles stepped out of the kitchen, a surprised look on his face. “Anything?”

Spike sighed and shook his head. “Nothing. Not a bleeding word. They’re either scared, or they truly don’t know anything.” He tossed his duster over a chair and dropped to the couch. He’d been growing more concerned as he’d searched for information. It was almost unheard of for something to affect the Slayer and her friends and no one know anything.

“The others haven’t learned anything. The last time she was seen was when we dropped her off at the dorms.”

Spike drew himself up. “I’ll go look around. Slayer might have missed something.”

Giles nodded and picked up an old watchers diary. “I hope we find her soon.”

“Same here,” Spike muttered and started toward the door, pausing as he passed Giles and glanced at the book. Something caught his eye, the words, ‘Jack the Ripper, London, 1888’ were blazoned across the front of it. “Red got you to thinking about the Ripper murders?”

Giles nodded. “I thought she might enjoy this. I’d forgotten about it,” he admitted. “I hope she will be able to enjoy it,” he added softly as he flipped open the book and leafed through a few pages.

Spike stared at the book. From where he stood it was upside down, but he did see his name and Angelus. He frowned and took the book. There was the mention of a witch that had been with them. He frowned, Dru wasn’t a witch, she was a seer. “Who wrote this?” he asked, thumbing through the pages, as a half memory of a mortal woman floated into his brain.

“An ancestor of mine, Winston Giles,” he replied, holding his hand out for the book. He closed it and placed it on the table.

Spike growled as another memory lurked just out of his reach. His fingers gouged at his temple and he snarled softly. “Bleeding chip, stirring up –“

“Is the chip firing?” Giles asked, frowning.

“No,” he snapped, not wanting Giles or any of the Scooby gang knowing something was up. Well, that wasn’t true. Red knew, but he could trust her not to throw it in his face. “I’m going to search for bit longer, then crash.” With that, he turned and left the Watcher standing in his living room.

~~~~~

1888

~~~~~

Willow groaned softly as she woke. She tried to lift her arm, but found it tied. She began to panic as the memory of what had happened just before she passed out returned. Okay, calm down. Panicking wasn’t going to get her anywhere. She could get out of any situation, if she kept her wits and used her brain. She smiled slightly remembering how everyone told her that she thought too much. “But it just might keep me alive,” she murmured aloud.

“I wouldn’t count on it,” the man from the street informed her. He smiled at her. “You’re wondering who I am. My name is Peter Travers.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me,” she muttered.

“What’s that?” Travers asked, without moving from his place by the door.

Willow took a moment to look around. The room had nothing in it except the bed she was tied to. “Nothing,” she replied, hoping she was keeping the contempt from her voice. She’d never cared for the Mr. Travers from her time and she was beginning to think that ran in the family.

“Yes, well. I want you to relax. You’re an essential part in my plan.”

“What plan?” Willow asked. Something felt… wrong. Very wrong. She glanced around, looking for anything she could use to get out alive.

Travers smirked, sending shivers down her spine. “Now that would be telling. Don’t worry, little witch. It’ll all be over soon.” With those ominous words, he turned and slipped out of the room.

She heard locks clinking into place and shuddered. “I should have stayed with William and Angelus.”

Part 33

~~~~~
October 5, 1888
~~~~~
"You're wearing a hole in the floor, lad," Angelus' voice boomed
from his seat at the desk. The papers were still filled with the news of the
Ripper's double murder. "I'm certain there was at least one more that the
papers don't know about. The night Willow disappeared, her friend Gwen was
found murdered; not like the others but still," he informed the younger
vampire who was currently pacing in front of the door waiting for the sun to
go down.

"I don't bloody care about any other mortals," William snapped.

Angelus smiled softly as he rose. "I know, me boy. The sun is
setting and we have a witch to find. Virginia brought us a lead this
morning. I think we should follow it."

The blonde vampire simply glared at him in a way that seemed to be typical
of those his age. "The wanker hasn't made any kills since the day after
Willow was taken."

"Yes, but others where killed." He paused and eyed the blonde. "Thevery next night. I don't believe that the Ripper has her."

William nodded his agreement as he began pulling on his coat. "He's
been seen since then as well. He's still searching."

"I believe his double event the other week was a result of his
frustration at not finding the witch he sought." At least that's what
Angelus hoped. The thought that he'd gotten the redheaded witch, killed her
and found she wasn't what he needed didn't sit well with the Irishman. He
rose and snatched on his great coat. They had to find her; he couldn't keep
William from tearing the town apart much longer. And if he went up against
Jack in his current state of mind... he would lose.

"I've got a couple of leads I need to follow up," William mumbled
without looking back at his sire.

~~~~~
Willow woke slowly. She couldn't remember how long she had been
there, and she hated to admit that she was beginning to lose hope that
William and Angelus would find her. Travers came every day, sometimes
several times; on each visit he would chant a few words and shove some god
awful tasting liquid with even worse tasting herbs down her throat.
Sometimes he would mumble about it taking so long to get the ingredients he
needed.

Today, or tonight or whatever time of day it was, it was different. This
time he was mad.
"Stupid fools!" he snapped as he walked over to the bed. He glared down at
her and something in his eyes scared her more than Angelus had back in the
future. She couldn't help but giggle at the thought of the silly movie. It
had been the wrong thing to do. "Oh you think it's funny?" He roared as he
drew back and punched her in the gut.

She couldn't help but scream, which only served to enrage him  more. He was a
flurry of fists; she bit back the urge to scream more. It would only make
him angrier.

"What are you doing?!" a shocked male voice yelled from the doorway, just
before Willow lost consciousness.
~~~~~


Part 34
~~~~~
Winston Giles couldn't believe what he was seeing. For the first time since
Peter Travers had brought the young witch here, he'd forgotten to lock the
door. When the sounds of her pain-filled scream were heard, Winston found he
couldn't stand by any longer. He'd rushed to the door and tried to open it,
and was surprised when it did. Now he was staring at Peter maliciously
beating the young woman. "What are you doing?!"

"What are you doing in here?" Travers snarled as he turned toward the door.

"I heard ... her."

"Get out. She'll be dead soon enough. I have to wait... just a littlelonger. The last of the rare ingredients are on their way. Another week at
the most and it'll be ready."

"This isn't right!" Winston exclaimed, looking at the now unconscious woman.
Blood was spilling from her swollen and busted lips. A nasty cut on her
temple was bleeding profusely. She would barely be recognizable by morning.

"Right?!" The tone of his voice bordered on hysterical, "What isn't right
... is that something like her is alive with all that power."

Winston quickly realized that Peter was far past the point of reasoning. He
clenched his fists. "Of course. It's just... she looks so harmless. I know
it's an act," he added quickly, seeing the look of anger that was now being
directed at him. "I'm going to pick up the Calamus Root and Witches Grass.
It should have arrived today."

Peter seemed to calm slightly, then turned back to the girl. "Yes. Yes. We
do need those. Nearly out," he murmured nodding to himself.

Winston closed his eyes as he pulled the door shut behind him.
He had to find help. Travers had lost his mind. You killed evil creatures,
not beat them and hold them prisoner.

 

~~~~~

Part 35

 

~~~~~

 

William was nearly blind with rage and three unfortunate Camputa demons now lay in a orange bloody mess at his feet when Angelus walked up and shook his head, “Feeling better, Boy?”

 

“Not even six more of the buggers would have made me feel better,” William snapped, as he wiped his hands off as best he could. They’d had a meeting with some little purple git and he’d given them nothing, then these demons had smarted off and he had lost it. “Wanna find my witch.”

 

“I want to find her as well,” Angelus assured him. “Now, why don’t we go back to where we know she was last seen.

 

“Where that friend of hers was killed? We’ve been there already and the bobbies have trampled all over the area. Won’t be able to find a thing.”

 

“Maybe we’ll get lucky,” Angelus told him as he clasped his shoulder and drug the younger vampire out of the alley and in the direction of Gwen’s murder.

 

~~~~~

 

Winston Giles hurried through the darkened streets, he couldn’t help but see that young woman’s face, bruised and bleeding. Who knew what Travers was doing to her as he hurried through the streets trying to think of who could help him.  He wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings, not something one could usually accuse a watcher of. He stumbled into the large solid form of a man. “Excuse me,” he mumbled and started to step around the man.

 

“Angelus,” a voice to his left snarled as a hand closed on his throat.

 

Giles’ eyes widened as he looked up into the face of Angelus, he knew then the voice had been none other than William the Bloody. “Bloody hell,” he sighed.

 

“I smell it too,” Angelus growled, prying Williams hand from the watchers throat. “You have our witch.”

 

“Your witch– The girl? She’s... Travers you idiot,” Winston growled, then pleaded with Angelus. “You have to help me–“

 

“Help you?! Help you?!” William snarled, “You take her away from me and then you want my help?”

 

“I didn’t take her! It was Travers, he’s planning to kill her! I want her safe.”

 

Angelus pushed William back and held him in place with a look. “What do you mean you want her safe?”

 

“No one deserves to be beaten,” he heard William’s growls growing louder as he spoke, “He’s kept her locked in a room. I didn’t know what he was doing until... just a short while ago.” He went on to explain what he’d just recently witnessed. He’d nearly wet himself when Angelus and William reacted to the news of the witch’s condition. “I don’t think witches are inherently evil. I don’t like Travers and I don’t want her at his mercy any longer than I have to.”

 

~~~~~

 

William’s first thought was to torture the git until he told them where Willow was then kill him. It really would be best to keep him alive until he had his witch back, the more rational part of his brain reminded him. He took a deep breath and shuddered. Slowly, what the young man in front of him got through the anger and fear. Willow was hurt. She needed help, and this man would help her get it faster.

 

“Where is she?” Angelus asked, quietly. To anyone that didn’t know him, they’d just think his tone was polite, but to someone who *DID* know him, knew that the wrong answer would get you killed.

 

Giles swallowed then motioned for them to follow as he began to give a detailed description of the layout of the house.

 

William and Angelus began to discuss rescue plans and Giles offered his opinion and it was actually quite good, for a mortal, and very useful.

 

~~~~~

 

 

Part 36

 

 

Pain was the first thing that Willow became aware of, it was quickly followed by cold. It hurt to think about moving. She tried to open her eyes, but found her stomach tried to crawl out her mouth as the dark world swam. Did you know even with your eyes closed you can practically see the blackness spinning? Even with her eyes tightly closed, Willow nearly puked. The crazy man keeping me hostage might get a little ticked about that.

 

She flinched when she heard the bolts on the door slide and the hinges creaking. She couldn’t handle this again. She didn’t do anything, no matter what she said Travers was never happy. He’d curse her and beat her; the throbbing of her entire face told her he’d done a good job. She waited for him to begin, she tried to relax, it hurt a tiny bit less if she just went with the hit. She almost began to laugh as she wondered if she had a concussion.

 

A new voice whispered almost directly in her ear. “Do not scream. He will hear you. I will get you out of this place.”

 

The voice almost sounded familiar, but her head hurt too much to try and place it. “Please,” she chocked, through swollen, cracked lips. Pain lanced through her jaw and she whimpered softly.

 

“Quiet now, Miss,” the polite if slightly gravely voice whispered as hands released her bonds and her slight body was lifted from the bed.

 

“Oh god,” she gasped swallowing the screams of agony that threatened to spill from her mouth.

 

There was a soft chuckling as the smell of blood filled her nose making it harder not to wretch. She wondered if the blood was hers.

 

“Remain quiet as you will be away from here soon,” the voice of her savior whispered. “All will be as it should very soon,” he chuckled as she slipped back into the peaceful darkness.

 

~~~~~

 

Part 37

 

~~~~~

 

Winston opened the door and walked in on a scene that sent him stumbling back out the door, heaving what little he’d eaten that day into the flower bed by the door.

 

“What is the—“ William’s words died as he took in the scene before him. There were bodies strewn around the room. Actually, there were parts of bodies. He didn’t see more than one intact body. “WILLOW!” he roared, panic filling him as his senses searched for the sound of a heart beat, but found none.

 

Angelus was on his heels as he flew through the carnage, following the faint trace of Willow he caught. “William,” the dark vampire growled grabbing his arm as he stopped, nearly snatching William off his feet.

 

They stood at the door of a dark room. The windows had been boarded up and there was only one unlit lamp in the room. It reeked of blood, pain and misery. Willow’s blood. Willow’s pain. Angelus growled, then closed his eyes. “William, search the rest of the house. See if you find any … sign of the witch.”

 

William started to protest, until he saw the look on the elder vampire’s face. “She’s not dead,” he muttered as he backed away.

 

Angelus watched as the young vampire strode down the hall kicking open doors. He turned back to see the young human that brought them here standing in the doorway staring at a head. “Someone you know?”

 

“T-t-travers,” he mumbled. “He’s dead.”

 

“That’s man you were with in the alley a few weeks ago.” Angelus watched as he nodded. “He’s the one that had our witch?” Again the man nodded. “He was torturing her. Did you know that?” The vampire asked calmly, smiling at the fear and shock that filled the mortal’s eyes. He grabbed the human and dragged him into the room showing him the tools of torture that were still covered in blood. Angelus laughed and released him as the man began to gag and wretch.

 

The room was thick with her scent. She’d been here the entire time. All this time they’d searched the city, and she’d been here, being carved upon by an amateur. His demon roared and began to trash the room. He knew if William had truly seen how bad the room was the younger vampire would have been insane with anger. Pulling the door closed and stepping into the hall, Angelus followed the rapidly evaporating scent of Willow. He found William standing at the doorway that led to small alley. 

 

“I can’t smell her,” the young vampire murmured, an angry growl rumbling in his chest. “It’s too … I can’t tell which way.”

 

Angelus growled, “Neither can I.” He stilled, sniffing the air.   A second almost familiar scent drifted just out of memory. “Let’s get the gent that brought us here, maybe he’ll remember something… after he pulls himself together.”

 

William turned and followed Angelus, as the elder began barking orders at the human and herding the group back toward the house.

 

Part 38

~~~~~

 

 

“I want to know what the bloody hell happened there!” Winston Giles bellowed from behind the locked door.

 

“Shut up!” Spike snarled as he slammed his fist into the wall beside the door. “If you don’t I’ll come in there and make sure you never say another word!” His face was rippling back and forth between its human and demon visages. The anger and fear he was feeling was unlike anything he’d felt before, even waking up in a coffin. When he was convinced the man, who Angelus was sure was a watcher, was going to be quiet for a bit, he turned and walked down the long hallway snarling at every minion that dared look his way.

 

“Master William?” Virginia’s quiet voice called.

 

“What!?”

 

“I—I was wondering what happened? I heard the man, Giles, saying something about Mistress Willow. Was she hurt badly?” Concern was visible in her face and stance, and fear as well.

 

The fear and a request from Willow were all that kept him from ripping her head off. “Yes,” he whispered his response, “and I couldn’t follow her scent. There was too much blood.”

 

Virginia’s face shifted to that of her demon and she shook and growled as she glared at the door at the end of the hall.

 

“He didn’t do it. He came looking for us because he wanted her out of there,” William reluctantly admitted.

 

“I will go out again once the sun sets,” she vowed, turning on her heel and heading toward her room.

 

He watched her go and then started down the hallway. Who had his witch? Who could he make pay for any harm that came to her? He only wished he had been able to take a little revenge out on the bastard that he KNEW had hurt her. The smell the blood and filth and fear that filled that room still filled his senses. It all belonged to his Willow, and his demon wanted to dismember the monster that had hurt her. At least when he hurt someone there was generally a reason, they’d pissed him off, taunted or humiliated him at some point or he was hungry.

 

“William, we need to talk,” Angelus called, interrupting the younger vampire’s thoughts. He motioned in to the study he’d taken as his own when the acquired the house.

 

William growled and stomped into the room like a petulant child.

 

“I might know who has her.”

 

Those six words caused William to still for a moment. He slowly turned and looked at his sire expectantly.

 

“There was a scent. It was familiar to me.”

 

“All I smelled was Willow.”

 

“I know, me boy, you’re a bit young yet,” he said, earning himself a growl from the younger vampire. “Enough. It’s true. You were concentrating on her. It made it hard to catch the lighter scents.”

 

William sighed, “So leave off with the lessons. Who has my witch?!”

 

Angelus smiled for a moment, but it faded quickly. “I think it was the Ripper.”

 

William’s pale skin grew paler and he fought the fury that was welling within him at the thoughts of what could be happening to his witch. “We’ll round up the minions, gather a few demons and go---“

 

“No. We won’t. I’m not certain it is him, but the scent was similar.”

 

“I’m going to get her.”

 

“We need to find a way to make sure she’s there without tipping him off or angering him in case he doesn’t have her.

~~~~~

~~~~~

 

Part 39

 

~~~~~

 

Willow felt like crying, she’d been rescued, only to be locked in a lightless room with nothing more than her clothes. Her only saving grace was that she was only staying conscious a few minutes at a time.

 

She had no idea who had taken her, but at least he hadn’t beaten her … yet.

 

She groaned softly as she heard the locks on the door and before the door opened, she slipped into unconsciousness once more.

 

~~~~~

 

William sat in the carriage opposite Virginia, the minion dressed in her ‘Sunday’ best. She was to be a ‘gift’ to the Ripper, and while she was there she would act as a spy, and if possible, get Willow to safety.

 

“I will find her Master William,” she assured him, “I will or I will die, again, trying.”

 

William knew Willow would be upset if something happened to the vampiress, but he was still angry that she had let a mortal trick her when he had ordered that she was not to be left alone. “I know.”

 

Angelus cleared his throat, “Virginia, remember you are being presented to the Master of this City. You’re his gift. You will do anything he wishes you to do.”

 

“Except hurt Willow,” William growled.

 

“Including hurting her, if there is no way to avoid it, or if it would cause her more harm for you not to.”

 

Virginia sighed.  She had been thrilled to hear that the Masters had a plan and that she was a part of it, but she hated the idea that she might have to hurt her Mistress. “I understand,” she murmured.

 

The carriage crunched to a stop on the crushed stone drive and the driver prepared the steps and held the door as Angelus stepped down, followed by William and lastly Virginia, with her head down. She shivered as she looked up at the lair of her new Master. The fog swirled around the house, causing the shadows to move as if alive.  Even her enhanced eyesight couldn’t cut through them. She shivered and wrapped her arms tightly about herself. “This place is … frightening.”

 

“This from a vampire,” William muttered, shaking his head.

 

“If I knew what I was walking into, I would not mind,” she countered, then realized her tone and swallowed, waiting for the stake.

 

“A smart minion. I didn’t know those existed,” Angelus chuckled.

 

William growled and shook his head. “Do not fail me or Willow.”

 

Virginia knew she’d never be able live with herself if she failed her Mistress. She was a bit surprised that she had these feelings toward a mortal. She was, after all, a demon.

 

“Into the lion’s den,” William murmured as he fell into step behind Angelus, glancing over his shoulder at her.

 

~~~~~

 

 

 

TBC….