Willow walked along, her backpack on her back, books hugged to her chest as she enjoyed some of the first of the day's sunshine and the cool early morning breeze. A small smile formed on her lips at the sweet smell of the morning air.
She was in her own little world, completely lost in her own thoughts and the worlds of the people she read about in her story books when suddenly, she become aware of the real world around her. There was the blurred sound of multiple conversations all happening at once. The general buzz of the school gossip she'd come to begrudgingly accept as a part of normal school life. The soothing whistle of the wind, silent to those who weren't listening for it. Gulping down the huge lump stuck in her throat, Willow looked up at the large, somewhat daunting building she'd come to know as school.
"Well, here goes nothing." She sighed, gulping again as she climbed the three steps into the school building.
Willow walked as quickly as she could, hugging her books closer and looking down at the floor. Trying her best to stay invisible. But, it was no use, as it never was, Willow realised as she looked up to see none other then Cordelia, the girl who'd been making her school life hell ever since they'd started.
"Well, well well." She said, her arms crossed as she stared at the suddenly nervous redhead, fighting with all she had not to tremour uncontrollably.
"What do you want Cordelia?" She asked instead.
"What do we have here? Girls?" Cordelia asked, looking at her cheerleading companions.
"I don't know." Harmony Kendall said, shrugging her shoulders as Cordelia raised her eyebrow slightly, causing a short involuntary shudder from Willow.
"Oh that's right." Harmony said with a laugh. "The nerdy friendless loser."
"Is that it Cordelia?" Willow asked, trying her best to stand up for herself. Against her better judgement, she started to walk away, her speed closely increasing until she was just about sprinting away from the nasty group of girls.
"Oh that's right. Run off to the library. Just like you always do." Cordelia called after her, her tone mocking.
"Bye now!" As she turned back for a brief instant, Willow saw the girls waving scornfully behind her.
"Ah!" Willow breathed a sigh of relief as she reached the small slice of heaven in the otherwise hell-filled place. Her solace. The library.
"Willow. There you are." Rupert Giles emerged from his hiding place behind a bookcase, smiling warmly at the redhead. "I was wondering where you'd got to."
"Morning Mr Giles." Willow smiled brightly at the school librarian as she approached him.
"What happened to you? You're normally here before I am."
"I know." Willow said. "I'm sorry. I lost track of time. And then the cheerleaders found me in the hall…"
"Oh." Giles said understandingly, visibly shuddering. "I see. Awful things teenagers." He said, gesturing for Willow to sit down, which she did.
"That's why I stay in here.." He admitted, looking around in wonder at the vast array of books the library held.
"Me too." Willow smiled. "It's much safer in here. Thanks for letting me hide with you Mr Giles."
"It's my pleasure, Miss Rosenberg." Giles smiled graciously at the young redhead. "That's why I like it in here. You can hide. None of them ever dare to come in here. It's like they'll get sick or something if they do. Good thing though. I'm not complaining." Willow nodded, smiling contentedly. "Yep." She said. "Good for us. A little slice of heaven…"
"Hello? I'm looking for a Rupert Giles…" Came the voice as Giles answered the phone.
"Speaking." He said, unwilling to loose his cool and show the nerves slowly building inside him. "May I ask who's speaking?"
"Rupert, I don't suppose you remember me. It was many years ago and I don't expect you to. But Giles, you've got a daughter, and she's headed your way."