You Never Know
written by GylzGirl
Spoilers: Spoilers for Graduation Day Part Two.
Summary: A mysterious girl gives Giles a glimpse of the future.
Feedback Author: GylzGirl
Author's Website: Anthony Head @ Midnight Lore
Willow sat in the empty computer lab, prepping her lesson for her next class. Since Jenny Calendar's death, she'd taken over teaching computer studies, and found this was the only chance she had to get everything ready for the students, what with her extra-curricular activities and all. Suddenly, the sound of a large gust of wind, followed by a human scream in the hall outside broke her concentration. Bolting from her chair, she ran to investigate Almost as soon as she opened the door, there was a blinding flash of light and she had to shield her eyes with her arm. When she brought her arm down, the wind and screaming had stopped and in their place had left a human form curled in a ball on the floor. "Um, h-hello?"
The human unfurled itself slowly and looked up at Willow with rather surprised-looking, dazzling green eyes. It was a girl, approximately Willow's own age, with long straight hair roughly a couple of shades of red closer to brown than hers. "Hi," she sounded confused and a little shaky as she said it.
"Are you okay?"
"Y-yeah," she said as she stood. "Wow, that so did not go right."
"What happened? Where did you come from?"
"What happened was much weirdness. And...I c-can't really say where I came from."
"You don't remember?" Willow's brow furrowed in concern that the girl might have injured her head.
"S-something like that. Maybe you can help me? I think I need to find Rupert Giles? He's the librarian right?"
"Can you tell me where the library is?"
The bell rang and kids began to file out of their classrooms, and into their next ones. As a stream of students entering the computer lab became a barrier between the two girls, Willow raised her voice a little. "Sure! You go down that hall a little ways and then turn right! It's marked in big letters over the door, can't miss it!" The bell for class to begin sounded and the two girls found themselves alone again. "I'd walk you but I have a class to teach."
The girl got a strange smile, one that seemed almost familiar to Willow somehow. "I know you do." She threw her arms around Willow in a quick, tight embrace. "Thank you!" The girl released her and jogged down the hallway, leaving a semi-stunned Willow in her wake.
"You're welcome." She shrugged and opened the door to the lab.
The girl ran through the doors of the library, stopping just before she ran straight into Giles' chest. "Whoa, sorry."
"That's all right. Can I help you?"
"Yes. I think you're the only one who can."
"All right. Are you a new student? I don't believe I've seen you here before." Giles studied her face again. No, he felt quite sure he had never laid eyes on this girl previously, though, he decided, were he to deny there was something disturbingly familiar in this girl, he would be lying. It was something he couldn't quite put his finger on.
"Not exactly. Okay...um," she began to pace a bit," you might want to sit down. This will take a little explaining." Giles leaned against the table behind him. "Great." She flashed him a nervous smile. "Okay, this is what happened. My name is Heather. I'm 16 and...oh boy...okay, I just got dropped here from twenty years in the future." She stopped speaking and watched him for a moment, trying to detect any signs of disbelief. When she saw none apparent, she continued. "My Mom is a witch and I am learning to be one. Anyway, I had one of her old yearbooks out and was looking at it...she used to go here, this year actually...and I saw the school. I thought it looked really cool and wished that I could see it for real since it isn't there anymore."
"Well, no. It blew up."
"It did...um does?"
"Well yeah, you blew it up!"
"I did...uh do?"
"Yeah." Sensing his discomfort with that, she added, "But you had a really good reason."
"Well thank heavens for that," he noted, somewhat sarcastically.
"To make a long story short, I know too late," Heather laughed at herself, causing Giles to smile. "I need your help to get home. I mean the spell I was trying was just to see the school, you know, like a vision of it. Relatively simple, until I blew it! I hadn't planned on anything like this and I-I have no idea how to get home." She finally let the seriousness of her situation cloud her face. "I'm sorta...scared. This time in the past is very directly related to a future that creates me. I mean, if I screw up the wrong thing, I might never be born. I've seen enough Star Trek to know that much. Well that and don't wear red and then go investigate strange noises." She lowered her eyes for a minute, and then met Giles' again. "I-I just want to go home."
Giles considered her for a minute. If she were someone from this time looking for a way into the future, he could be causing considerable harm to help her on her way. He wanted to believe her. That nagging familiarity was telling him to believe her. Giles made his decision to help. Besides, one could always phrase the incantation not to work if she was lying.
He stood and placed a hand on her shoulder. Her eyes shined up at him. "Well, let's uh...let's have a look through my books and see if we can get you home."
"Lush!" She bounced up from her chair. "Where do we start?"
* * * * *
After two hours and several volumes, Heather had begun to look a bit forlorn. Giles however found himself even more intrigued with the girl. She was able to read the volumes in French, Latin, and German, with just a bit of a struggle with Spanish. It was not an unimpressive showing for a girl her age. "Wait! This! Will this work?" She called up to him from her seat at the table.
"What does it say?" Giles emerged from the stacks, two more volumes in hand.
"Reditus Unde Vos Revinire?"
"Return from whence ye came. Hmm, interesting. Let me see?" Heather pushed the book in front of the empty seat that Giles sat down to. He perused the page's instructions. "Well, this seems like it might do the trick after all. I have all the ingredients for the required potion. Which means we modify the incantation to suit your particular situation, you drink the potion and you're on your way home."
"Click my heels together and that's it? You really think so?"
Giles grinned. "Well, it certainly looks promising to be sure. Come on into my office and help me collect the ingredients."
He moved from shelf to drawer, collecting bottles filled with dried herbs and brightly colored liquids. Heather crinkled her nose at the bitter smell some of the bottles had, knowing she was going to have to drink this stuff. "On second thought, perhaps you'd rather wait in the library and not know?"
She backed toward his office door. "Okay, just promise me, no ex-critter ingredients?" Giles simply smiled secretly. Heather rolled her eyes. "Great. I'm gonna get home and be ralphing for a week."
Once she had exited, he proceeded to mix the bottles' contents in a large bowl. As he blended it, he recited the incantation, instructing the spell to deposit the drinker back into their place of current residence, three hours from when they had left. He transferred the bowl's contents into a glass and brought it into the library.
Heather stood up and eyed the brownish-blue liquid warily. "What does that smell like?"
"Truth? Probably best if you don't smell it and drink it right down, quick as you can."
Giles handed her the glass. "And this will get me home?"
"That should do it."
"Right. Bottom's up. See you in a few minutes then. Try not to be too mad at me?"
Giles was confused. "Excuse me?"
Heather downed the glass in one gulp, frowning when she finished it. "Yuck, that was rank." She began to feel a warm tingle in the pit of her stomach. "It's working. I can feel it." She moved forward a bit and smiled up at Giles. The next thing he knew she had wrapped her arms around him and was hugging him for all she was worth. "Love you Daddy."
"W-What?" At that point, she vanished. Giles ran his hand back through his hair. 'Daddy? Could that be? Was that what I was feeling? And if I'm Daddy, who's Mommy? She said her Mom was a witch.'
"Hey Giles," his thoughts were interrupted as Willow entered the library. Her expression became worried as she studied Giles' face. "What's wrong? You look like you just saw a ghost."
"N-no, not a ghost, persay. Just a... just a strange young woman."
"Long dark hair? Really pretty?"
"Yes. She said her name was Heather."
"Heather? Hmm, I've always loved that name. I ran into her earlier. She was looking for you and I told her where to find you. She was strange though, you're right. All I did was give her some directions and she hugged me like I saved her life."
Giles fixed Willow with a strange glance. 'She hugged me and called me Daddy. But she hugged Willow too. And her mother is a witch.' Giles shook his head, dismissing that thought. No. It was impossible. Willow and he were just friends. And even if one of them were to start to see the other in another light, there would always be Xander or Oz or someone in the way. Wouldn't there?
Willow made her way to the computer and sat down. She brushed her hair behind her ear and Giles couldn't help but notice, not for the first time either, that it looked like a shining curtain of fire when it caught the light. She smiled up at him and then became engrossed in her work.
Giles picked up the spellbook to return it to his office. He stole one last look at Willow. 'Impossible? Well...it is the Hellmouth. I suppose if I can blow up the school, then anything is possible. I mean...you never know.'