SUMMARY: Spike gets a new toy he wasn't expecting, and Willow finds out that life--and Gods--can sometimes throw humans for a loop.
TITLE: Order Now
AUTHOR: sinecure
PAIRING: W/S (Prologue/?)
RATED: R
DISCLAIMER: Joss and ME own BtVS, I don't, and the way these past seasons are going, I'm glad I don't.
DEDICATED: To Claudia, because, not only is she the best beta ever, but she's also quite the friend. She kicks ass on grammar--just call her the Hyphen Queen, I do--spelling, characterization, plot. She makes my job a whole hell of a lot easier... even when she's killing my poor little defenseless plot-babies. ;)

PROLOGUE

Spike tore down all the pictures of Buffy from the altar he'd practically worshiped at and threw them into a cardboard box. Everything went. Photos, the soft, pale blue sweater he'd spent too many hours sniffing, the drawings, everything. Shoving the crumpled pieces of paper into the box with a snarl, he ended up tipping it over and the entire contents fell to the floor.

He rolled his eyes in irritation. "Bloody... hell!" Stooping down to pick it all up, he growled at the turn his life had taken in recent years. "Bloody slayer and her bloody friends mucking up the works at every bloody turn. Needs to be taught a lesson is what she needs." Once again the sweater went into the box, the smell of it, faded almost to nothing, wafting to his nose, tickling his senses.

He dropped into a sitting position, setting the box beside him on the dusty floor. Leaning back against the wall with a sigh, he eyed the box. Pictures of Buffy peered back at him around the sleeve of the blue sweater. He reached for the top picture and unfolded it, smoothing out the wrinkled creases. It was taken sometime during a bright sunny afternoon. In it, Buffy and Willow, both with an arm wrapped around Xander, grinned at the camera, while Xander gazed surreptitiously at Buffy.

He ran his fingertip along Buffy's face, hating Xander for having ever been that close to her, when he himself couldn't get to within a hundred feet without her beating him soundly.

__________________________________________________________________________

Tara's hand tightened on Willow's, her eyes widening as the magick came up around them, wrapping them in bright red light. Warmth flowed through her, and she could see that Willow felt the same thing. Her skin was glistening with sweat, her eyes wide as they stared straight ahead. The red silk of her blouse shimmered darker and lighter as her chest rose up and down in rapid pants.

A frisson of worry went through Tara as Willow's breathing became even more ragged, her eyes darkening to black. "Willow--" she began, but Willow's eyes shot to her, silencing her. The fingers wrapped around her hands tightened painfully, but she didn't let go. She trusted Willow.

"Goddess," Willow whispered on a breath of a sigh, "hear my plea and grant my--" her hands went slack for a split second before tightening even more, her head went back, staring straight up at the ceiling.

Tara tried to drop Willow's hands to stop the magick, but she was trapped. "Willow!" She stared in panic at the red magick flowing around her, faster and faster, encompassing her body and outstretched hands. "Willow, stop--" the magick flowed into her body, choking the breath out of her, shoving her thoughts to the side as it went deeper, shoving into her mind. Picking through her thoughts like a child going through a toy box. It was hard to breathe, hard to stay focused on what was happening to her. Her eyes slid shut as consciousness left her.

__________________________________________________________________________

Spike rolled his eyes as he listened to the geek try to talk his girl into forgiving him. It didn't appear to be working real well. He heard the click signaling the other end had been hung up and waited.

After a second, Warren sighed and turned to hang up the phone. He saw Spike standing there with his box of Buffy stuff and gasped. "How-- how'd you get in here?"

"Your mum let me in." He walked a little closer to the geek, his anger carefully controlled. Didn't want to scare him too much. "I'm placing an order."

"Oh, no, no," Warren said, shaking his head. "I'm not making any more girls." He looked very determined.

But Spike was even more so. "Sure you are." He shoved the box into Warren's hands, hardly sparing a glance at the contents. He knew every picture, every object, and every smell by heart. Now he wanted the real thing. "Here's your specs."

Warren looked down at the box. A few strands of blonde hair from the wig Spike had nabbed from the dump were hooked over the edge. His eyes lifted again to stare at Spike.

"You're gonna make her real good for me," Spike told him, the threat there in his tone, if not his smile.

__________________________________________________________________________

Willow tapped Tara's face gently, tamping down on the panic threatening to overwhelm her. "Come on, baby, wake up. Please."

Tara exhaled heavily, her whole body shaking with the force of it before going limp. Her eyes fluttered open slowly, and she glanced around in confusion. "What--" she paused to lick her dry lips, "what happened?"

Willow laughed, blinking back tears, the overwhelming panic turning into overwhelming relief. "I don't know," she told her girlfriend, hugging her tight. "God, I thought... you weren't breathing for a second, and then there was light and it went-- whoosh! Right out of you, out the window... are you okay?" she asked softly, kissing Tara's forehead.

Tara nodded, pushing herself up. Willow helped her into a sitting position, but wouldn't let her get to her feet. "I'm fine," Tara told her, smiling a little tiredly. She kissed Willow and climbed to her feet. Her steps were a little unsteady as she walked to the foot of the bed and collapsed down on it. "Well, maybe not running-a-marathon-soon fine, but stumbling-across-a-room fine."

Willow sat beside her, smoothing her hand down Tara's hair. Her eyes moved over her girlfriend slowly, taking in every small gasp, every shaking movement. She wasn't as fine as she wanted Willow to believe. "That shouldn't have happened," Willow said quietly, her guilt showing quite plainly on her face. "It was just a stupid happiness spell. To make us feel--"

"--the full extent of our happiness," Tara finished with a sigh, patting Willow's hand absently. "I know. That... that wasn't right. Something happened, something that, as usual, we didn't expect." She turned heavy eyes Willow's way, her forehead wrinkling in a frown. "We should slow down with the magick, I think. Nothing ever goes right when we do spells." She rubbed a shaking hand across her forehead. "Maybe it's me," she whispered, so low that Willow almost didn't hear her.

"What? No, it's... it's not you," Willow insisted, grabbing Tara's hands with more force than she'd intended. "Sorry, but, it's me. I've always been unstable when it comes to magick, and Giles always tells me to be careful, and I am, but things always happen... it's me. Not you. Or us. Just me."

Tara nodded, though she looked far from convinced.

__________________________________________________________________________

Warren watched Spike leave, not daring to move or breathe until the door shut quietly behind him. With the click of the knob snapping back into position, he dropped the box to the floor as if burned. What the hell was he supposed to do now? He couldn't make another girl, especially not the girl who'd fought April and won. There was some serious strength behind that girl. And he had no intention of messing with her, or her strength.

He looked down at the box, shoving the strands of blonde wig back inside. It gave him the creeps. What was that guy doing with this stuff? And, yuck, what had he done to it?

Stepping back in disgust, he rubbed his hands over his face, sighing heavily. Things were getting too complicated, too involved. He should just leave.

But he wouldn't. He'd do as the guy asked and then leave. He didn't want to end up dead after all. And there was still Katrina to-- dropping his hands from his face, he kicked at the box. It skidded a foot, then tipped.

The red wig spilled to the floor along with all the pictures. Warren stared at it for a second, frowning in confusion. Hadn't the wig been blonde?