Illyria's words stayed with me several hours I had finally freed myself of her grasp and made my way up to the room I had been given. No, not several hours - all the hours. From the moment I made that offer, to the next moment as I was walking back down the stairs, she was with me.
Funny how many people lived in that one word. She. And maybe not as funny, how between the moment that I left and the moment I returned? That was just another single moment. Hours, stretching and living together as I came to fully understand just what I was about to do. No, that wasn't funny at all.
I was going to do this, help Illyria. But that didn't sound right. Now that I am away from that conversation, and all the things that were said, who am I to know what would help her? And that isn't because she was some kind of God, after all...I had weilded that kind of power once. I knew what Illyria saw when she looked at me. I knew, and a part of me hated...
It wasn't because I couldn't relate to her that I had second, and third, and thirtieth thoughts about what I was about to do. It was because I could relate. I read the grief in her features, and that is where my heart wavered. Who am I to presume that I can teach her how to deal with grief?
It isn't something I had done very well on my own.
So was that why I was walking down these stairs? That I didn't want anyone - even Illyria - to walk the road I had? Only I hadn't been walking. No, that had been about reeling and screaming and avenging and bleeding...
I would never forget the blood. Just as I would never foget Tara. But I was going to have to forgive. Forgive myself for what I had done, and....the smallest part of me would have to forgive her for dying. For leaving me alone. I had never really stopped being alone since.
Not really. Not ever.
But I had to forgive all that, and walk away as well. Because if did this - and I was going to do this - I would be going back on another promise. It had ben a stupid dream, to think that if I stopped using all magics the First would somehow return her to me. It had been trying to take my weakness and turn it against my friends. Turn me against them. What if someone else died while my back was to them?
Tara would never have asked that of me.
Tara was dead.
Tara wasn't coming back.
I knew all this. And even....if somehow.....
That foolish dreamed played within me for just a moment, only to be pushed away.
Even when they come back to you, it is never the same.
Yes, I had ghosts to exorcise, bigger and darker ones than I think any of us realized. Still. Oh, Buffy and Xander saw...but they didn't know.
Illyria just might.
There were things inside her, voices and memories that made even simplest acts sometimes impossible...a walk, a touch...a friend. Things that needed to be left behind, before she - we - could move forward. Yes, I think she knew.
I stepped up to the desk Wes was sitting at, hoping he would forgive me for the part he needed to play in my plan. But he was tied to her, just as I was tied to Tara. Wheather that was something either of us wished. I looked at the computer, not quite able to meet his eyes. I had to get him with Illyria, alone.
"Wes," I started softly at first. "I don't mean to tear you away, I never was a tearer...especially from a good research run..but I was wondering if you could help me?"
Why did that have to sound so right? I didn't want to be the person that could make that sound right.
"When I was upstairs, I felt something. Dark magic has been used in the hotel. A lot of it, and recently. I wanted to look into it further, but...I thought it would be best if I wasn't alone." That much was true.
"Since we had worked together before, and magic isn't exactly Buffy or Xander's....I thought maybe you would come with me?"
((open to Wes and Illyria))