It was decades before Angel trusted Willow enough to take her to the Americas and even then it was South, and not North, America. Not that it mattered to Willow where they went. She wasn't about to leave Angel who constantly reinforced her Childe's attachment to him. She wasn't about to abandon her vengeance. She was still infamous, among Angel's human contacts, for killing Beowulf but that had been long enough ago that the short-minded humans were no longer afraid of her. It worked to her advantage as she made up games for them to play out of distracting Angel to allow her more time with magical tomes she perused in the wizard's homes. She still hadn't found what she'd wanted but Willow wasn't worried. She had forever.
"So," a young man asked, startling Willow while she was perusing a magic book. Nobody had been clever enough to catch her before now. " You distract the others so you can have a chance to read? Doesn't your Sire allow you books?"
Willow recognized him as Juan Calderon, scion of an extremely wealthy wizarding family, and said to be very powerful himself. She caught his eyes and replied, "Angel doesn't like me to read books on magic but I find I can't keep my hands off of them. They're so," she lowered and then raised her eyes again as she added, "fascinating." Juan stood a little taller in response.
"And you would like to learn magic?"
"I would," she made a moue of disappointment as she looked away and added, "but it's so difficult to teach myself."
"I would be delighted to teach you," he replied.
Willow looked up with an expression of wonder in her eyes, as if Juan were her hearts desire as she asked, "Would you?" But then she turned her head away, coyly, and put a thoughtful expression on her face. "We'd have to be very careful. Angel is..."
"Jealous of such a rare beauty as yourself and rightly so." He took Willow's hand in his and kissed it. "I know how to be discrete."
"How can you be sure we won't be disturbed?" Willow asked. She had her own ways but, as Juan as shown her, they weren't completely effective and she couldn't afford to have Angel discover her in a compromising position. "You said you'd teach me magic." He looked uncertain at that so she lowered her eyes and looked up at him through her lashes. Oh yes, he liked that, she thought. He taught her the spell.
They met at the parties once or twice a week, always stealing moments. Willow wasn't certain what he wanted from her but was learning magic as she fed his more obvious wants and probed into his deeper desires. It had to be something unusual, very few humans would court a vampire.
"And your mother?" she asked.
"She died when I was very young. She'd been young, beautiful, and always smelled of jasmine. It was a wasting disease: she died young but looking like a hag, with her skin stretched over her, taut and ugly. The stench was terrible," he said, holding his hand to his face as if to block out the memory.
You're afraid of death, Willow thought. "I wish," she started, letting her words drift off as she toyed with her necklace.
"You wish what?" he asked in an affectionate tone.
"No, what is it? You know your wish is my command," he added. You really believe that, don't you? Willow thought. While the young man wasn't nearly as controlling as Angel, that was due more to youth than to a lack of will.
Willow allowed herself to look upset. "I'll always look this fresh and young while you..." She didn't finish the sentence but allowed him to finish it for himself. He tensed. I was right, Willow thought. Eternity. You want me to turn you so you'll never die.
"If it weren't for Angel," she added, almost certain that this young pup couldn't kill her Sire, which wasn't her true purpose.
"I... I am no match for him." It hurt Juan to admit that.
"Not alone but together, we might be. We would need something magical, and powerful, to use against him but don't worry," she added snuggling into his arms. "We have time. You're young yet," she added, knowing he was as old as his mother had been when she'd died.
It wasn't difficult, after that, to direct him to the artifact she wanted him to use. The Ashash stone – she recognized it, from research she'd done back in Sunnydale, so she wouldn't even have to lie about that.
"What does it do?" she asked, knowing fully well what it did, when he brought it to her.
"It drains the energy from a demon. Unfortunately it's a long incantation; we'll have to hope he doesn't recognize it," he said, looking uncertain
"So, it will weaken him?"
"Yes, from my research he will weaken within a few seconds, once the incantation is finished. It won't be enough to allow me to kill him but enough that you should be able to," he replied.
"And then we can be together forever," Willow said, knowing that he didn't care about eternity – with her – as long as he had eternity. "Tonight?" she asked, leaning in and letting him get a whiff as the jasmine she was wearing, to remind him of his mother and her death.
It had all gone as Willow had planned. Juan presented it as an interesting magical object he wanted to display for Angel. She remembered the incantation, funny what stuck in your head from all those years ago, and was able to let him get far enough into it that he was certain Angel didn't recognize it, and that he was safe, before she killed him.
Angel had punished her for it, for months after they'd left Mexico, fleeing Calderon vengeance but Willow's knowledge of magic, the loyalty she had shown by saving Angel, and the threat of magical attack from Juan's family worked her will on her Sire. He bought her magical tomes, knowing from centuries of experience which were useful and which contained junk, and directed her to start learning magic. He didn't buy books specific to apocalypses, which is what Willow was interested in, but that didn't bother her. There was enough overlap in the books he did buy her that she was able to glean out the information she was looking for.
Willow became an expert in apocalypses. Any knowledge there was to know, she knew. Two decades after she'd killed Juan Calderon, she thought she might have a chance. They were in Cleveland. She could feel the Hellmouth energies here, like she'd never been able to while she'd been in Sunnydale, where she'd been human. Still, even though this was a lesser Hellmouth, it might offer opportunities. Angel had some business there he hadn't shared with her but that gave her time to see what she could find. The Natural History Museum had an artifact that sounded like it could be the bones of a demon. Dead demons could be brought back. Unfortunately, her vampire sense told her it wasn't a demon, not even a dinosaur really, just some hoax perpetrated on the museum. It seemed like her chance would never come.
In the end, it was simple.
It was at one of the parties Angel still took her to, slumming, not that Angel knew she saw it that way, with humans. The host had a surprise, some magical item that he'd been playing up all evening. Willow assumed the humans were feeling suspenseful but she was bored. Until she saw the box.
"It brings tremendous power to the person who can open it," the host said.
"Well, go ahead" suggested a svelte brunette in a silver gown, bluntly playing up the host.
"It can't be opened," the host replied.
"Then how do you know it will give you power?" asked the young man who'd brought the silver gowned woman to the party.
Willow mentally rolled her eyes. Almost any object of tremendous but dangerous magical power came with some sort of open me label, much like the bottle that said Drink me in Alice in Wonderland. Didn't these idiots have any common sense, she wondered before turning her attention back to the conversation Angel was having, with a Renaissance expert, some ancient relative of the host, who was inexplicably at the party.
"Uncle," the host barged in. "You give it a try. We've all had a go and nobody can open it."
Willow couldn't believe her eyes. The An-fang, the beginning box, was within her grasp. While the uncle glared at the young man, Willow gave a laugh and said, "That small thing is supposed to be a powerful magical object?"
"Size doesn't matter," some young idiot, predictably, said.
"Willow can open it, if anyone can," Angel smiled at her. He was proud of her knowledge and the prestige it brought him.
"I believe I can," Willow replied, trying not to appear greedy for the box.
"Nathaniel," the uncle hissed, "You don't know what that is or what it does. You don't play with magic like a toy."
But it was too late, their host had already handed the box to Willow. With some showy waves of her hands, she made the appropriate gestures. The box opened and she tossed it to the ground. A disturbance appeared in the air above it. Angel stepped back, moving Willow with him, away from the box.
Willow didn't know what was about to happen. She might die. She might be tortured for eternity with the humans. She only cared that Angel would suffer.
A hellhound leaped out and ravaged a guest. Humans started screaming and running, trying to escape the inevitable and instead, just tripped over each other. Something huge, with leathery bat wings flew out of the gap.
Willow never took her eyes off Angel.
He turned to her. She saw realization break across his face. "Willow, what have you done?" he shouted as he grabbed her by the arms. Triumph took over her face as she broke away from him but then she started to cry, knowing she'd doomed her Sire. She leaned in, caressed Angel's face, and kissed him gently before replying. "The earth died screaming, while I lay dreaming of you."