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

Part 1/3

Buffy rushed into the hospital, Angel fast on her heels. They both came to an abrupt halt at the emergency room desk. "Excuse me! We're looking for Willow Rosenburg. She was just brought in. Is she okay? What happened? Please! Tell us!"

"Whoa, miss, you'll have to calm down. Willow Rosenburg? Are you immediate family?"

"I'm her sister" Buffy lied without a qualm.

"All right. Let's see. Rosenburg." The attendant clicked on the computer, "Ah, yes. She was brought in with three broken ribs, a fractured jaw, and a broken nose. It's sounds bad but she should be fine. She's probably asleep due to the medication we gave her but I can show you where she is if you'd like."

"Yes ma'am. We would really like to see her. Do you know if a young man was with her? We're brothers"

The attendant looked at Angel. "No, I can't say that I remember that but I wasn't on the Rosenburg case. Young lady, have you called your parents?"

"They're out of town. They usually are." Buffy replied truthfully, if a little bitterly at the lack of parental support for her best friend.

The attendant stopped them in front of a door. "She's right in there. Don't worry when you see her. All the tubes are just for tests. She really is fine."

Buffy and Angel thanked the woman and walked inside. Despite the attendants warning, Buffy couldn't stifle a gasp at the sight of Willow. Her face was a mask of bandages and bruises. Numerous tubes were running in and out of the bed. She looked dead.

"Oh Willow" Buffy said softly. "I'll find who did this. And when I do, I'll make them pay."

"You won't have to look far. He's already here." said a weary voice from behind them.

Part 2/3

"Patrick! There you are. What happened? All you said was that Willow had been attacked. When did this happen? Who did it? Why? What do you mean we won't have to look?" Buffy fired the questions in rapid succession

Patrick looked at Willow, a haunted look coming into his eyes. When he finally replied, his answer was so soft that only the enhanced hearing of the Slayer and a vampire could have discerned his words. "I'm the one who did this to her."

Angel took a step forward. "What the hell does that mean?"

Patrick looked up. "I hit her. I just hit her and hit her and hit her. It wasn't until she was unconscious that I realized what I was doing."

"You son of a bitch! Look what you did to her! What is the matter with you? Why would you do that to her!?" Buffy started towards Patrick but Angel quickly restrained her.

"Buffy! I'm sure Patrick has a reasonable explanation." Looking up at Patrick, Angel growled low in his throat, "And it had better be a damn good one."

"Just let her at me Angel. There is no excuse. I almost killed her. Just like I killed Alissa. My little one."

Angel gasped at the painful reminder. "Alissa?"

"Don't you see it Angel? They're exactly the same. They look the same, act the same, and almost died the same way. By MY hand."

This speech was delivered with such agonizing guilt that Buffy felt her anger seep out of her. "Someone! An explanation would be appreciated by this very pissed off Slayer."

Angel turned towards Buffy. "When I told you I killed my family, I never mentioned details. Alissa was the worst. She was my little sister. We were very close. She was the one that invited me into our house. She was the one I made watch while I killed everyone else. When I killed her, she was 6 months pregnant. Her last words were 'I still love you Angelus'"

Tears freely fell down Angel and Patrick's cheeks now. "I'm so sorry Willow" Patrick whispered into the silent room.

Buffy turned from comforting Angel to squeeze Patrick's arm reassuringly. "Tell us what happened tonight."


"And it wasn't until then that I realized she was human. That I had come so close to killing the woman who had accepted me from the start and made me feel a part of something wonderful."

Buffy reached out and hugged Patrick. "It wasn't your fault. Willow knows that. She won't blame you and neither do we."

Angel nodded. "But I wouldn't tell Oz or Xander the truth. It wouldn't go over well with them."

"I agree, we won't tell them Patrick. I've called them both. Giles too. Wesley seems to be in parts unknown. Not that I'm surprised."

Patrick just sat at the edge of the bed holding Willow's hand and staring at her unresponsive face.

Part 3/3

"Willow? Oh my God! What did they do to you?!" Xander rushed across the room and knelt by the bed, Oz quickly following him. Oz stood on the other side, lightly stroking Willow's hair.

"What kind of monster would do this to you? Who would hurt someone like Willow?"

"We'll find them Xander. And then we'll kill them." Oz vowed over the sleeping Willow's head.

Neither of the two boys noticed Patrick quietly slipping out of the room.


Blackness. Pain. Fog. Voices. < I want to wake up > Willow struggled, fighting against the sedatives to wake up. Something was wrong, but she couldn't remember what.

Patrick. He had hit her. Why? < He was having a nightmare when I came in. > That explained it. He couldn't hate her enough to hit her. That wasn't Patrick.

Her eyes fluttered open. Oz and Xander stood up quickly.

"Willow?" They inquired in unison.



It had been a week since Willow had been released from the hospital. She had to have reconstructive surgery on her nose but other than that, she was healing on her own.

It had been over two weeks since she last saw Patrick. No one could find him. He had just vanished. Buffy and Angel had told her the whole story. Poor Patrick. Why did he run? He should have known I'd understand. It wasn't his fault. I know that. Why doesn't he?

Maneuvering slowly, Willow opened the door to Patrick's apartment. It was deserted. All the clothing gone, the refrigerator cleaned out, the bed a stripped. Willow wandered through the room. Stopping to lightly run her fingers over the Scrabble board as she made her way to the bed. Carefully lying down on the bed, she pulled the covers up around her, and began to cry At first soft, small tears rolled slowly down her cheeks becoming great heaving gulps that caused her to wince in pain at the movement of her ribs.

He had left her. She had never felt so empty. Alone, in this place, she could finally admit what she never could before, not even to herself.

"I love you Patrick"