Completely spur of the moment fic, I'm not even sure how cannon it is. It's supposed to be taking place really early Season 7. Giles and Willow are on their way to England, but they've been laid over somewhere…because I fly a lot and non-stops can be rarer than the Klopman Diamond. And they're eating lunch in a café. And…

Well, that's my story. Please enjoy.

He's decided that he hates this song.

He doesn't know why. It's a pleasant enough song, if a little loud. And repetitive. But it's…pretty. The singers are good, and as he mentally translates the lyrics from the native Italian he finds that he likes them.

But he still hates the song. It's nagging at his mind, and ruining his mood. Willow is staring at him worriedly, across the table.

She notices that his teeth are clenching and his jaw is locked. His eyes are hardening. She wonders if he remembers. They're sitting here, in a pleasant little café having lunch and taking a break from their traveling. It was his decision, because she's learned that he hates planes. And, hundreds and hundreds of miles so far away from Sunnydale, but still hundreds of miles from their destination, they had to play this song.

It's grating on his mind and bringing a feeling of complete despair. And he doesn't know why because it's not really a bad song. He thinks he used to like it. Once. A long time ago.

Out of the corner of his eye he notices her take a bite out of her sandwich, but her eyes are still staring hard at him. Worried. Anxious.

"Willow? Are you all right?"

"I…I'm fine. What about you?"

He sighs, irritated, scratching his head. "It's…just this bloody song. Something about it is driving me absolutely up the wall."

She smiles nervously. "Well…we could go somewhere else?"

He hurriedly dissuades her. "No, we just got our food. I'll survive."


He smiles. "Relax, Willow. It is just a song, after all. No matter how much I seem to hate it."

He stares up at the speakers playing the song for the entire street to hear. He stares, and thinks of roses. Roses and charcoal sketches and blind, cold rage. Flames and despair.

But the memories are hazy, and refuse to clear. He supposes that, whenever and whatever they are, they must have happened long ago. So much had happened even in the last few years. Old memories faded as new ones replaced them.

Blessedly, the song only lasts a few more moments. He sighs in relief as the last few bars wind down, and smiles. He suddenly finds that he's back in the mood for food, and finishes just as Willow sets aside the second half of her sandwich.

"We should probably get going again. Our next flight leaves in a few hours."

She smiles, stands up, and hefts her bag. "Yeah. Sure."

He stands, hefts is. "Are you sure you're all right?"

She bobs her head. "Yeah. I'm of the good." She offers her arm, he takes it. "We've got a plane to catch."

He makes a face. "I suppose."

They walk off together through the milling crowds of people. As they walk, Willow remembers, too. The song brought the memories back, and she's not surprised that they're so much clearer for her. She remembers a phone call and a few sentences that shatter her world. She remembers despair coming in a huge, choking wave until Buffy's mother soothes it down to a manageable level. She remembers Buffy panicking and racing off into the night, to recover an errant Watcher who'd never planned to return.

She remembers a woman, with short black hair and impeccable fashion sense and a beautiful, mischievous smile. A computer teacher who could fight demons with the best Watchers around. A friend, and a good woman. A woman she admired with a passion.

She's not surprised he doesn't remember. And she doesn't plan on reminding him.

The song is supposed to be the song Giles heard when he found Jenny's body, in case no one picked up on it. Tell me if you didn't, and I'll un-vague it a bit. God, somebody stop me from writing the Watcher! This is getting out of hand!