by Jessica Brumley
Second in the St. Patrick's Series

Peeking her head into Giles' office Willow saw the Watcher buried deep in thought. Unwilling to break the reverie but incredibly tired, she reluctantly spoke, "All right Giles. I'm heading home. I get on the net and see if I can find anymore information."

Leaving the school, Willow started her trek home. Lost in thought, Willow looked up to realize in shock that she had walked to Patrick's apartment. Ever since Patrick had come into his own, Angel had let Patrick stay in his pre-Angelus days apartment.

< Oh, well, since I'm here, I might as well make myself useful >

Bringing her hand up, she knocked on the door swiftly. After a few minutes with no answer she knocked again. It too brought no response. Becoming concerned, Willow tried the doorknob. It was open. Letting herself in she scanned the room.

Patrick looked up from his book, startled. Seeing her there all of a sudden..had she appeared out of nowhere? What did she want? Why wouldn't she leave him alone? What was she going to do this time? What pain would she inflict? Why was she doing this to him? Puppy…no…Patrick. Repeating his mantra over and over again, he was finally able to gain control over his fear and answer the concerned gaze Willow was directing his way. "Oh Willow, sorry! Did you knock? I didn't even hear you."

Willow smiled, relieved he was having one of his 'good days'. On rare occasions he would spend the day haunted by nightmares of his previous existence as a prisoner. "Sorry, I did knock and when no one answered I got scared. What book are you reading?"

"Pandora, it one of the last Anne Rice novels you gave me so I can return them to you soon."

"No, no, take your time. I haven't read them in forever. I think the last time I read it was before I found out vampires were real."

Patrick grinned. "Who'd of thought? What's wrong Willow? I somehow doubt you came here to ask what book I was reading."

"No, I really did come here to talk to you. Nothing's wrong. I just wanted to know if you needed anything."

"No, thank you though. Why are you always so thoughtful when it comes to me?"

Willow dropped her gaze to the ground. "I just don't want you to hate me for what happened to you before," she whispered.

Patrick looked at her in surprise. "I don't hate you Willow. I used to hate what you reminded me of. You reminded me of a time when all I wanted to do was die. But the more I see of you now, the less you remind me of my other life. You are a complete opposite. You're a little sprite. You are the closest thing I've had to a friend in a long time. In fact, you remind me of my sister, Alissa."

Willow perked up at the mention of his pre-vampire days. "Really? What was she like?"

Patrick sighed and sat down. He began his tale in a voice that was exactly like Angel's rarely heard 'story voice'. Willow snuggled on the couch.

"Alissa was my little sister. She was two years younger than I and she was always in trouble. She was a spitfire and swore she could do anything a man could which, as you know, was not acceptable in my time. I was the only one in my family who accepted her and she loved me. I was her confidant and I told her everything as well. I always called her 'my little one'. She hated that name with a passion. She had hair the color of burnished copper and the trademark Irish green eyes that were always sparkling with laughter or anger. When she was younger, I used to lead her on grand adventures. We would explore the caves on the coast, ride across the countryside on horses, pretend we were pirates, and climb the highest trees. We'd tease each other constantly but I was never closer to anyone than Alissa." Patrick smiled with the memory.

His thoughts were broken by the sound of a soft snore. Looking over, he saw that Willow was fast asleep. Smiling fondly, he arranged Willow more comfortably on the couch and covered her with a light blanket.

"Sleep well my little one."