Chapter Five


Buffy climbed out of the jeep that Giles had rented three days ago and pulled her coat closer to her body. England is beautiful and all, but one thing bothers her. The weather. I gets very cold and foggy at times. Even now, at four in the afternoon, it was cold. She, Xander, and Cordelia had complained about it, but to no avail. Giles would not be brought don't by their foul moods. He was back in his motherland. He was really in his element here.

"Giles, you sure this is Consworth?" Buffy asked as she shivered. Even in long jeans and a turtleneck, she was still uncomfortable.

Giles, who was wearing his usual slacks, vest, and jacket, turned to her and nodded.

"I was raised 75 miles from here. I know my way around England. It's in America, I have a hard time." He said. "I don't know how Americans do it."

"We have maps." Cordelia responded as she rubbed her arms.

"Funny." Giles commented dryly.

"I thought so." Xander offered lightheartedly.

Buffy sighed and asked, "Where should we start first. Since this is the town that Xander traced Willow's call to, I figure that we should try and narrow down the list."

Giles nodded and replied, "Willow and Angel know that they should keep a low profile..."

At the mention of Angel's name, Buffy shivered. Not from the cold, but from memories. She hadn't seen him in two years, but she still felt something for him. I was hard to deny one's feelings, so she had buried them down. She still remembers the countless hours of crying over the loss of two of the people she cared about.

"Buffy?"

Buffy looked up and noticed that her friends were looking at her with concern.

"Um, I'm all right. Just thinkin'." She responded coolly.

Buffy knew that her friends didn't believe her. She couldn't blame them. She sounded lame trying to dismiss her lapse in attention.

Xander was still looking at her with concern. <God bless him> She realized a long time ago that she never tried to really get to know Xander. Not until Willow left. With him being her only friend left, she clung to him as he clung to her. They spent countless hours together. Crying. Laughing. They cried at their loss and laughed at the cherished memories. They made a promise to each other to never forget.

~ * ~ * ~

Buffy watched as Xander flung the glass at the wall. She watched it shatter into pieces as it connected to the wall.

"Xander." She pleaded softly.

But the boy ignored her. She watched helplessly as he tore up his room. It had been two months since Willow left. Two months since her attack. It that time, all of them crashed. Giles had become more closed off. Only associating with them when they had a demon to fight. She herself had taken her anger out on the demons and the darkness. She was becoming reckless and she knew it. Xander was ready to self-destruct as well.

The boy had lost a lot of weight since his friend's departure. Hell, they all had. But, he had become moody and bitter. Bursting out in sudden fits of rage. It seemed that only Buffy could calm him down.

Buffy had come earlier at the request of Xander's mom. With Xander's parents working all the time, they had grown worried of their son. They had come to rely on Buffy to help them. And she would gladly help them. Talking to Xander helped her as much as it helped him.

Finally, Xander collapsed onto the floor. He had spent up what little energy he had in his tantrum. Buffy walked up to him and placed a supportive hand on her friend's shoulder. Xander shrugged it off violently. But the slayer would not give up. She knelt down and wrapped her arms around her friend. Xander tried to shrug her off again, but she held on firmly. After a couple moments, he gave up and sank into her arms.

"Oh god. I miss her Buffy." He said, weeping.

"I miss her too. But she wouldn't want us to do this." She said softly.

Xander sighed in her arms and replied, "She'd want us to live on. She'd want us to try and be happy."

Buffy smiled. Xander knew Willow so well. She slowly turned her friend around in her arms and looked into his eyes. Xander tried to avoid looking into her eyes, but finally he was staring back at her with those large brown, puppy-dog eyes.

"It'll be hard." She said solemnly.

"But we have to do it." He responded softly.

Buffy smiled and replied, "And we will."

She took Xander into her arms and hugged him. She held him for, what felt like hours. They cried a little. When they thought about their lost friend, they laughed a little. It was a step, in trying to live a little.

~ * ~ * ~

Buffy shook her head, shaking herself from her reverie. Luckily, her friends didn't notice her lapse of attention.

"Maybe we should ask the local grocer." Cordelia suggested hopefully.

Giles shook his head and responded, "Vampires don't eat. Well, except for blood."

Buffy watched as Xander tensed at Giles' comment.

"Willow's not a vampire." He said. "Besides, I think the grocer is a good idea."

"Yeah." Buffy chimed in. "Seeing that Willow is still part human."

Xander was nodding enthusiastically. "Whenever Willow is angry, she always drinks a cup of cocoa and snacks on peppermints."
Giles threw his hands up in defeat and replied, "Okay. Lets go to the grocer."

Buffy followed Giles as they made their way to a small store. As they entered, Buffy saw that the place looked like it was from the 1800's.

"Ewwwww. Moldy." Xander said as he stared at the loaves of bread in front of him.

"Really moldy." Cordelia commented as she looked at the fruit in the basket in front of her.

"Yuck." Buffy said as she ran her finger over a couple of ancient looking boxed cereals. She had picked up a ton of dust and grease from the top.

"Can I help you?"

Buffy turned at the sound of the new voice. Standing behind the counter was an elderly man in his 60's or 70's. He was extremely skinny. He had a small fringe of graying red hair on his scalp. He was wearing an apron and a plaid shirt underneath.

"Hello." Giles said. "We were wondering if you can help us."

The man looked back at them and replied, "You're not one of those fancy city folk. Trying to close down my business. I tell you the food is good here. Everyone shops here. I don't need a couple Wanks coming in and bothering Simon Bell."

Giles nodded, trying to calm the man down. "You mistake our intentions sir. We are looking for someone."

"Sure. Sure. That's all you city Wanks say. Then watch. Day after tomorrow a group of city folk come in and shut down Simon's little ol' grocery shop." Simon grumbled.

Giles sighed and pulled a photo out of his jacket pocket. It was the most recent picture of Willow that any of them had. Giles put in front of the ancient grocer and asked, "Have you seen this girl? She might have come into this town two years ago or just recently."

The elderly grocer looked at the picture intently. He cleared his throat and said, "Yeah. Yeah. I do know her. She's the one that orders the cocoa mix and peppermint."

"Told ya so." Xander mock coughed. "Do you know where she is?"

The old man paused then said, "Yeah. She lives at the old Cole place outside of town. She's there with her brother or something."

"Where is the 'Cole place'?" Cordelia asked.

"Um, it's eleven miles outside of town. On Miller's road. You can't miss it. It's huge." The old man replied.

Buffy saw that her friends were feeling the same thing she was. Pure joy. They were so close. The group quickly thanked the elderly grocer and ran out of the small shop. They ran to their jeep. Giles got into the driver's seat and practically ripped off. The jeep was pushing 60 as they rushed down the road.

After ten minutes they saw the top of a house over a group of trees. Giles slowed the jeep down and parked it by a small path. The path looked like it lead to the house. The group got out of the jeep and saw that the sun was almost gone. It was getting so dark that Giles pulled out a flashlight and turned it on. The group started walking down the path, shining the flashlight in front of them. They watched in amazement as the house slowly emerged.

It was beautiful. It looked nothing like a house. It looked more like an old small castle. It looked like it had been recently renovated. It was three stories high. Surrounding the whole area, were hundreds of flowers.

"Holy god." Xander muttered.

"Whoever owns this must be loaded." Cordelia commented.

Then suddenly the flashlight winked out and they heard an audible crack.

"What happened?" Buffy asked, confused.

"I, um, I dropped the flashlight." Giles said sheepishly.

"Okay, no problem." Xander said. "Just follow the path."

The group slowly went down the path. They finally came upon a large garden. In this garden, there were hundreds of flowers. There was also a large trestle covered in flowers and ivy. The moonlight illuminated the whole garden in a blue light. As they walked through the garden, they paused at a small pond. The pond was surrounded by flowers and was next to a huge maze. But this was not what caught their attention. The moonlight shined on the pond also. But the effect was incredible. It was like the moonlight was reflecting off the pond, and shining all around them. It was gorgeous.

Suddenly, they heard the snap of a twig from behind them. The group turned and saw a small figure emerge from around the maze. The first thing Buffy noticed was the small bouquet of daisies in the girl's hands. Buffy then noticed the girl's auburn hair.

"Oh, my God." Xander muttered next to her.

Standing in front of them, not noticing them at all, was Willow Rosenberg.