Alchemy once blended base metals into goldenIt seems too quiet, now Willow's gone again.
Now what once was gold is transmuted into stone
Into lead and stone...
I suppose this is what they mean by "empty nest syndrome." There were times in the past six years when I coveted my privacy and my secrets like a miser, hoarding them away in places I fervently hoped would remain undiscovered. Now I do have privacy, and what's left of my secrets, and it all seems like fool's gold, to me. I'm bored. I want something to happen. But, as it has been said: "be careful what you wish for."
It was weeks before I could convince Willow to walk with me to the village; I wish she could have seen it the way I remember it. Now it's choked with commuters, and most of the old shops are gone, replaced by the same generic ones you'll find anywhere. Some of them, even, in the Sunnydale shopping mall. Whether she realised it or not, that was as much a part of the "cure" as any lesson in magic I or the members of the coven could teach her: how to live in the world.
No matter how much any of us stray into the supernatural, all of us still have to do that -- whether we want to do, or not. How to live in the world alone was another matter. It had been too many years since I filled that gnawing emptiness at the centre of myself with someone else's presence. That was something Willow would have to discover on her own.
How to live with guilt is another matter. When Angel killed Jenny Calender, I could have killed him with a smile on my face, and a song in my heart. But Buffy's pain was more immediate than my own. After that first, unthinking attempt, I left her to deal with it. I might have saved lives if I hadn't done, but I couldn't see that, then. Only her. The Slayer. The one who gave my existence some scrap of meaning, after all. I never regretted that. Much.
Yes, the coven in Devon was a not so clever subterfuge on my part, but I don't believe (I hope) Willow never realised that. She already paid heavily enough after shutting Amy Madison out of her life to listen to my problems.