The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters and materials belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox Television. Witchblade and all characters related are properties of Top Cow Comics and TNT Productions.

Amy sat in her dimly lit private office. Her hand to her mouth in a contemplative manner, she pondered everything that was occurring. The rest of the bosses in New York and New Jersey were getting bolder as time went by. Word had gotten to her that Illyria had made her way to New York and had joined up with the Slayers, adding a new soldier to their ranks. And her copy of the Witchblade was becoming increasingly unstable, requiring more and more of herself to keep it in check. The one bright spot was that a second stone discovered by Devlin Post was on the way back. Still, she knew she needed help. She needed something that would give her a better chance of winning, an edge, and tonight was the night she would have it.

Sean, her attendant, knocked on the door. "Come in," she replied.

"Here you are, ma'am," he said, presenting her with a glass vial filled with a red powder. Amy stood from her chair and walked toward Sean, her black one-piece outfit blending with her dark tresses, and took the vial.

"Will you need anything else?" he asked dutifully.

"Just no disturbances," she replied.

"Of course." Sean bowed and exited the office. Amy walked over to a polished oak cabinet and opened it up. One article in it was covered by a piece of cloth. She grabbed the item and set it down in the middle of the room. Kneeling before it she lifted the piece of cloth and revealed what was underneath: it was her mother's trophy, Catherine Madison or Catherine the Great as they called her. Pouring out the red powder into her hands three times she blew the contents onto the trophy, one after another. She set down the vial and began to chant. The red powder began to form a mist that slowly swirled around the trophy. She chanted more and more and the powder began to swirl with increasing speed. When a mini-cyclone had formed around the trophy Amy finally yelled out in a loud voice, "Release! Release! Release!" A flash of light came that made Amy shield her eyes. When the brightness faded, there in front of her was her own mother on all fours, breathing heavily.

"Mom?" Amy said.

Catherine looked up and saw her daughter, disoriented from the spell. "Amy? What... what's going on?"

"I released you from your trophy," she replied.

"Where am I?"

"New York City."

"What?" Catherine replied in a shocked tone. "Why aren't we in Sunnydale?"

"Sunnydale's gone, mom," Amy replied. "Kind of fell into the ground. I got your trophy when the school was abandoned beforehand. Luckily it was one of the few things that survived when the school blew up. They put it into storage and when the school got rebuilt, they put it back on display."

"But why New York City?" Catherine asked.

"Because it's my base of operations," Amy said. "You're in my house right now." Catherine looked around the lavish office and was surprised. "How did you manage...?" she began to ask.

"I started getting into the dark arts, like you did. I made one of the most powerful crime bosses in the city fall in love with me and took over. You should see how much money I bring in. But that's not the important thing right now."

"Wait a minute..." Catherine said, "you were able to seduce a crime boss, kill him, and take over his organization?"

"Pretty impressive, huh?" Amy replied.

"All without incident?" her mother asked.

"No," Amy said, "not entirely. That's the reason why you're here: an old friend of ours has been making some trouble for me and I need your help."

"There's something weird in this room," Catherine remarked, distracted from hearing her daughter. She stretched out her powers to feel out the surroundings. "Something powerful..."

"Oh... I forgot to mention I had this." Amy held up her wrist and let her mother see the bracelet. "It's the Witchblade."

"You found the Witchblade?" her mother said in awe of the bracelet.

"Well... I was able to copy it," Amy corrected. "The real one belongs to a cop, one of the people who's been making trouble for me. Her and Buffy."

"Buffy? That blonde that put me in that trophy?"

"One and the same," Amy answered. "She's making it hard for me to do what I need to do and that's why I need your help."

"And what do you want me to do?" Catherine asked suspiciously.

"Simple: just help me defeat her."

Catherine looked at her daughter. When she last saw her, without the screen of a trophy case, she was busy threatening her. Now her daughter was making overtures to solicit her aid. It was the last thing she her, it made no sense. "You ask me for my help after the way I treated you, after all that happened between us? Why?"

"Mom," Amy began to say and she walked around, "I thought about what happened back then and, to be honest, I didn't really want you here at first. But then I realized I was faced with bigger issues and I had to use what I could to win. I know a lot of bad things happened between us, but I also know that there's a world out there for us to have. It's a world just ready and ripe to be ruled, to be taken by storm. You were right when you said I was wasting my youth, but I'm not anymore and I don't plan to. Together, we can take this city and bring it to its knees. You and me, the Madison women. That's worth burying the hatchet, isn't it?"

Catherine stood and looked at her daughter, who had come so far in the last few years. She had indeed grown powerful and her mind was more devious than hers. Her own desires back then were reclaiming her glory days, but now she began to think of the prospect of running the city and owning its underworld alongside her daughter. What her daughter had accomplished was only the tip of the iceberg and she wanted in.

"I had you all wrong, Amy," her mother said. "I had you pegged for someone who wasted her youth in stupid pursuits. But now I've come to realize you're much brighter and talented than I gave you credit for. I was wrong about you... and I want to say that I've never been more proud of you."

Amy looked at her mother with somber eyes. Her mouth formed a slight smile that curled ever so slowly to fullness. She walked over to her mother and the two held each other in a warm and tender embrace. She had waited for this moment for so long, to show her mother what she had become and what she could be. It had happened, finally it had happened. Her eyes closed Amy began to speak.

"I wanted so long and so much to hear those words come out of your mouth, mom. I always hoped there would come a day when you would tell me that you were proud of me."

"I know, Amy," Catherine replied.

"But now that I've heard them, they just seem so hollow. So empty." The two released their embrace of each other.

"I know that I'll have to earn your trust, Amy," Catherine said. "It'll just have to be little by little, one day at a time."

Amy smiled at Catherine, ever so slightly again. "There is one thing that you could do to help me, mom..."

"Whatever you need, honey," her mother replied. "What is it?"

In a flash Amy quickly thrust out her right hand and Catherine gasped.

"You can die," Amy answered.

Catherine felt a sharp pain course through her abdomen that made her gasp. Sound had barely come out, blood trickling from her mouth and trailing down the left side of her chin. Hunched over, she looked at her daughter, the shock of the action emblazoned on her face.

"That's the only reason you were brought here, mom," Amy continued, her hand trembling at her murderous deed. "My Witchblade is dying out, and I need an influx of power to keep it going long enough to get what I need. You'll never be a part of this... ever. I just wanted you to see what you'll never be able to have. I just wanted to see the look on your face when the 'worthless' daughter you cared nothing for discarded you like you tried to do to her. How does it feel? How does it feel to know that your only use is to help me celebrate my glory days, huh? Tell me!"

Catherine could only let out gasps of pain as Amy twisted the faux-Witchblade deeper into her, her daughter's face covered with hate and rage and pain.

"Goodbye... mother," Amy said before giving her mother a kiss on the cheek. Purplish-red streams of light began to surround about Catherine's flesh and flow into the gauntlet, gaining in speed and intensity. Amy trembled more and more as the power came and the image of her mother's pained expression started to sear into her mind. A lonely tear traveled down the right side of her cheek as Catherine let a loud, painful cry and then disappeared. All that was left from where she stood was a discolored spot on the floor of the office.

As soon as the process was complete Amy began to walk around. Her steps were slow and awkward, as if her body were a marionette, tugged and pulled unceremoniously. After a few steps, her legs gave out and she fell to the floor on all fours. A retching sound came from her mouth and she began to vomit on the expensive wooden floor of her tailored office. Grabbing a tissue from her desk while still on the floor she began to wipe her mouth. Sparing a look over at the spot where her mother once stood, now replaced by the large discolored mark, an evil smile began to form from her contemptuous visage. Taking a deep breath in she stood up and walked toward the doors.

"Sean..." she beckoned. The young man who had served her loyally ever since she arrived in New York City walked in quickly.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied.

"That stain," Amy said as she pointed to the spot on the floor, "does not exist by the time I get home tomorrow night, understood?"

"Of course."

"Good," Amy remarked.

"And the trophy?" he asked.

Amy look at the trophy a few feet away from the spot where Catherine was obliterated. She had forgotten it was still in the room. Given what had just happened she thought of a fitting end for the thing. Looking at it for a few moments, she replied to her acolyte.

"Destroy it."

"As you wish," Sean replied as he bowed. Amy walked down the main hallway of her house, the lights illuminating and bouncing off some of the expensive pieces it displayed. A few were exquisite, but she had no time to look at them or reflect on them. A confrontation was coming, one that required her full attention... and then scores would be settled, some older than others. She would settle them all when the time came.

One down, Amy thought, plenty more to go.

She knocked on the door ever so gently, as if the mere action itself would threaten to cause suspicion. Her breathing slightly hastened, not quite nervously, but not at all at ease. She heard the turning of the lock and the creaking of the aging door as it was opened. The figure standing before her took a second to look at her before acknowledging her.


"Illyria... I need to talk to you. May I come in?" She was well aware of how territorial Illyria was and tried to be as respectful as possible, particularly if it got her the info she wanted.

"Yes," Illyria replied. As Willow stepped in she quickly closed the door, much to Illyria's curiosity. "What did you want to talk about?" she asked, her tone slightly demanding.

"I need to talk to you about the Wolfram & Hart thing," Willow replied. "There's some details about it that are just... well, they just pose some questions."

"Such as?"

"Such as the young guy leaving the scene of the collapse. Sara did a few inquiries and found out that a witness saw a young guy leaving the scene. The witness said he was pretty bruised up too. But the really weird part is that I may have seen someone like that once, but the whole thing gets all fuzzy when I try to remember. It's like... someone scrubbed over a memory or something." Willow felt that if it was a memory thing whoever did it was extraordinarily good at it and she wouldn't have noticed it had she not been so powerful, gaining strength as the year went on through more focus and practice.

"A memory was altered? " Illyria asked. "Fred had the same experience, as did Wesley, Lorne, and Gunn."

"What?" Willow said in surprise.

"It occurred the day Angel accepted the Wolf, Ram, & Hart's offer, through Cyvus Vail."

"Vail?" She'd heard of him and good wasn't the word to describe his talents. Anyone in the know knew whoever worked for him had serious juice.

"Yes," Illyria replied. "He was the one who killed Wesley. I smashed his head in return."

"Okaaay... but why would...?" Willow began to ask when she noticed something Illyria didn't say: Angel's name in the list of people whose memories were altered. "Wait... you didn't say Angel's memory was altered."

"Because it wasn't," Illyria replied.

"Why? Why theirs and not his?" Willow asked. To be honest she wasn't completely sure she wanted to know.

"Because he demanded it."

Willow paused for a moment. "This has something to do with that kid that ran away from the collapse site, doesn't it?"

"Perhaps," Illyria replied, "if the person you are referring to is Angel's son."

"His what?" Willow exclaimed.

"Angel's son, Connor."

"How could... what... why... how?" Willow began to stammer. The vague notion was hidden in the back of her mind, but to hear it out loud was something else.

"Angel accepted the offer on the condition that his son's life would be changed and none of his friends would remember him," Illyria continued, not bothering to answer Willow's questions.

"Why would his son's life need to be changed?" asked Willow .

"Connor was taken to another dimension by one of Angel's enemies and was raised by him. When he returned he became more unstable and violent as time went by. Angel sought to remedy this and gave him a new life."

"Oh, no..."

"What is it?" Illyria asked.

"Angel took Wolfram & Hart's offer to protect his son... and we abandoned him." She immediately began to feel guilty for how their entire group had treated him, like he was the enemy. Sure, they had to be cautious since Wolfram & Hart couldn't be trusted and sure she had still talked to them from time to time, but it made her feel sick inside that they treated Angel and the rest like pariahs. She was lost in her regret for a few moments before she realized she hadn't asked one important question.

"Wait a minute: if Angel's the father, then who's the mother?"

Illyria cocked her head a little bit, trying to recall the information from Fred's memories. She then looked at Willow with her cold, icy blue eyes and replied, "A vampire named Darla."

"Darla?" Wilow said first in confusion, then shock. That was something she wasn't prepared for. "Darla? Darla!"

"You knew her?" Illyria asked.

"Yeah. She tried to kill me the first day I met Buffy." Her mood had been in guilt-mode when she heard about Angel's son. But it had shifted from guilt to anger, not from hearing about Darla, rage-inducing though it was. No, it was the fact that Angel felt the need to trust the evil law firm that had been trying so much to corrupt him over the friends he had fought by over the years. Why didn't he trust us? Why didn't he trust me? We could've helped him; we could've helped his son. We could've tried to do something, anything. It didn't matter now; the past was the past and they couldn't change what happened. But Willow knew there was something she could do.

"Illyria, this is very important: Buffy absolutely cannot know about this, at least for now."

"You mean to keep this from your own leader?" Illyria asked incredulously. "In my time..."

"Illyria!" Willow interrupted, her patience wearing thin. "Buffy already feels bad about not helping Angel out with that Wolfram & Hart battle. We need her head in the game, and that won't happen if she starts to guilt herself even more after finding out Angel was trying to give his son a better life. It's not her fault, but she'll feel bad anyway and we can't have her distracted like that while we're taking on Amy. So for now, just keep quiet about it."

Illyria stared at Willow for a few seconds, her expression unreadable."Very well," she replied. "Will you ever tell her?"

"Of course," Willow said. "When all of this over. But not now. I don't like to doing this, but if it helps our chances of winning even a little, then I'll do it."

"If you believe it will increase the likelihood of our success against this Amy, then I will agree to it. For my own reasons, though."

"I expected nothing less, Illyria," Willow remarked. "Thanks, anyway."

"Save your thanks for when this enemy of yours is no more."

"I plan on it."

Willow exited the room. The night had yielded some surprises, none of them the kind to open champagne to. There was a feeling in her gut, though, deep down inside, that there were more of them ahead. Like most of the Sunnydale crew, she had grown to dislike surprises for the obvious reason: they rarely turned out to be pleasant. And she had a feeling that whatever new surprises were in store for them were all going to be just as unpleasant.

This was more of a quickie, slightly-filler piece to lead up to my third story. There were just some pieces I wanted to tie up before moving on. Hope you enjoyed.