Thank you for the continued interest in the story. I am so very sorry for the VERY VERY VERY long wait. For the last couple dozen months I've been out for the count when it came to writing but I saw that I still have some chapters for this story I've yet to post. I may even be able to work on more of it during the summer. I hope that those of you who enjoyed the story before will continue to enjoy it now.

Part 29
'Another Family Reunion'

"Oh…cause that's normal." Xander sarcastically bit back even as his head pounded and he felt as if he were about to pass out.

"You are injured." The Oracle stated as she turned to look at the man that had spoken to her. She stepped forward, but was stopped by the small frame of a blonde woman. She tilted her head to the side as she inspected this woman. She was his lover, the hormones emitting from her left little doubt of her feelings for the injured man. "I mean him no harm." She stated slowly her voice different from Melinda's, it was deeper and she spoke slowly as if she had trouble speaking English.

Anya looked the Oracle up and down and only stepped aside two inches, to allow her to pass to reach Xander. The Oracle stepped forward and placed her hand on Xander's head.

"Remain calm." She stated.

Xander couldn't help compare her to one of the terminators from Terminator trilogy. Stiff, firm, strong, and weird. All qualities they shared in common. Xander, though his comparison creped him out, staid still and watched as closely as he could to how the Oracle's hand glowed a deep purple hue and then there was no pain. Anywhere…not just from his head…but anywhere. He stood up abruptly and jumped around for a second before smiling.

"Um…he needs help too." Joyce said from where she was sitting holding her hand against Giles' wound. "He's hurt very badly."

Max looked at Joyce as if she'd grown a second head. From what he had learned from Melinda, this side of her, the split personality was not a nice or caring person. Yet, here it was helping them.

Max realized with a sinking feeling that if what Melinda said was true, the only reason this side would help them was because it needed their help. 'Nothing comes for free for her', were Melinda's exact words. Max shivered as the woman walked passed him, and eyed him wearily.

Great…she could hear his thoughts. With a shake of his head he stepped up and stood next to Joyce and Giles.

"What is it you want in return?" He asked being forward might work. Though with the glare he received from the others in the room, it'd only work with the Oracle.

Spike moved forward, keeping Faith against him as he walked to the chair Xander had been sitting in. He helped Faith sit down in it. "Yo bloke leave her 'lone. She's helping us out." Spike stated as he met Max's eyes. "When you're done helping the watcher this slayer needs some of your time." Spike said as he nodded his head in Faith's direction. He pulled out a smoke and lit it as he moved to lean against the wall.

The Oracle looked behind her at Spike and the wiltering slayer, and gave no other indication she'd heard his words, before turning back to Giles. When she healed Giles' wound she turned to the woman sitting next to him. Giles' eyes slowly opened to find a white haired Melinda in front of him.

Joyce found her own eyes locked with the white haired witch in front of her. The Oracle brought her hand up to the woman's head, which still held a wayward bandage and the dark purple hue encased Joyce's head. The woman shook violently startling everyone!

"Mom!" Buffy shouted as she rushed forward ready to pull the Oracle off of her mother.

"Let her go!" Max firmly commanded as he tried to grab at the Oracle's arm. All he met was a barrier and he felt himself fly through the air until he met the wall.

"Fuck." Spike spat as he threw his bud to the ground and rushed at the Oracle.

He stopped his charge forward when he saw Max fly through the air and slam into the wall. He stood there for a moment. Then met Joyce's eyes. They were glazed over and her body continued to shake.

"Fuck it..." Spike growled as he grabbed the bat that Anya had been wielding before and tried to slam it onto the Oracle's back. The bat broke on contact and he too went flying through the air into the opposite wall.

Right as Buffy was about to take her own swing to the Oracle the witch turned towards her, her eyes as white as her hair. Buffy watched as she stepped away from her mother and continued to eye her with her white eyes. Turning when she heard her mother groan Buffy kneeled down next to her mother and brought her hands over her mother's face and through her hair.

"Mom! Are you alright...?" That's when Buffy realized it. Her mother's hair! Buffy shot around to look at the white witch standing behind her. Who was once again looking on back at her with her black eyes.

"She will no longer need to take her medication, nor see a doctor." The witch stated, as if this news meant nothing. That they no longer had to worry about Joyce's prophesied death wasn't a step below the greatest news they could hear today. Giles smiled widely and wrapped his arms around Joyce. Joyce just smiled dreamily and rested her head against Giles shoulder comfortably.

"You'll explain this to me later." Joyce said as she closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Giles smiled and placed a gentle kiss atop Joyce's forehead. "Of course my dear." Giles answered the already sleeping woman.

After a moment of just staring at the woman in his arms he looked up to meet the Oracle's eyes and tilted his head. "What's happened to her?"

"She's not Melinda." Max explained as he stood up and made his way back over to the group. "She's the Oracle."

"You mean it's true? The split personality?" Giles asked, having read a book that theorized that the Oracle, any oracle, would have a split personality. The split personality would be only thing that would keep them sane through all their ordeals.

"Yes." Max stated as he moved to another wall and slid down it, exhausted. He had enough to worry about right now. He'd deal with the Oracle's awakening after he took a short nap.

The Oracle stepped over to where Faith was sitting and placed her hand atop Faith's head. The purple hue began to encase Faith's entire body as it healed all of her external and internal wounds.

"I apologize. But I can not heal your heart." The Oracle stated as she moved across the shop towards the exit.

Buffy and Faith's eyes met and they both looked away from their apologetic gazes when they heard Willow yell. They both turned towards the front of the shop and saw the Oracle trying to get to Tara, but Willow was standing in front of her girlfriend, in a defiant pose a large block of wood wielded as her weapon.

Willow was no fool. Far from it! She knew the moment that the Oracle looked her way and stopped her exit to come towards her that she was after Tara. There was no way that she would let this personality take her girlfriend from her. No way! The memory of that mind-eating monster that attacked people at the psych-ward of the hospital present in her mind as the Oracle approached her. Willow grabbed a split piece of wood and hefted it into the air, ready to strike if the Oracle came anywhere near her lover.

"Willow let her help…" Faith spoke as she and Buffy moved to the front of the shop.

"I will not let her touch Tara! She won't ease her pain by killing her! There's got to be another way! There has to be!" Willow cried out as Buffy and Faith each stood a step behind the Oracle.

"You will attempt to save your lover by using dark magic." The Oracle stated in the same monotone she had spoken with since her emergence from the backroom. "You will become addicted."

"I won't! I won't. Please…" Willow begged. "I won't, I promise…please don't hurt her." Willow pleaded as she took a step back for every step the Oracle took forward.

"She will leave you." The super witch stated as if this news wouldn't crush another's heart.

"No! She wouldn't leave me!" Willow protested and went to swing but found she couldn't move her arm. The white haired witch appeared directly in front of Willow and tilted her head to the side. Her arm shot out and grabbed a hold of Willow's wrist and kept her arm from moving as the red haired witch attempted to swing her weapon at her again.

"When she comes back to you she will be murdered. Her death will destroy you. You will in turn attempt to destroy the world."

Willow's eyes widened and she shook her head. She wouldn't do anything like this. She wouldn't allow magic to control her. She wouldn't become obsessed! Not now! Not that she knows what could happen. She wouldn't let Tara leave her. She wouldn't give her reason to. She won't die! Now or then! With all her might she shoved and let go of the broken wood.

In an attempt to keep from being hit by the wood the Oracle instead of just keeping it hovering, took a step back, allowing Willow the distance she wanted from her. Why though was what confused the Oracle.

The Oracle was confused about her compassion for all of these humans and undead. That was until she felt Melinda and Dawn's feelings for the witch and all present in the shop. Perhaps The Oracle hadn't isolated those feelings far enough. If she were to do what needed to be done Dawn's feelings and even Melinda's needed to be locked away. It was her destiny that needed to be fulfilled. Tonight.

Buffy and Faith stood where they were unsure what they could do to help Willow. Or if they should help keep the Oracle away from the redhead or help the Oracle reach Tara. As they listened to what the Oracle was prophesying they both had to keep from making any kind of sound.

Willow would turn evil.

She'd try to end the world?

It seemed so far out there, too far out there even when living on a hell mouth. When the Oracle stepped away from Willow, and Willow took a defensive position a step back closer to Tara their minds were made up. They both stepped forward and put themselves between the Oracle and the two witches behind them.

Stepping between the Oracle and what she wanted wasn't the smartest move either of them had ever made, but it was a move they needed to make. They'd have the Oracle assure Willow, and them, that she was only going to heal Tara. Not kill her to ease her pain. If it turned out Willow was right then Faith had an idea while Buffy was slowly trying to find the Oracle's weakness. Just in case she needed to go toe to toe with the super witch. Unfortunately Buffy couldn't come up with any.

The Oracle took a step back when Faith and Buffy pushed themselves between her and Willow. This was not what she needed. She had stalled her own plans in an effort to save their witch friend from the confines of her own mind, and this is how she is rewarded?

Insolent little mortals! Did they not know who she was, and what she was trying to offer their friend!

"Do you wish for your friend to suffer?" The Oracle asked nonchalantly. Why she should care about their friend if they did not was beyond even her comprehension.

"We don't want her to suffer." Faith said harshly.

How the Oracle and Melinda were one in the same was not an easy thing to fathom. The Oracle's voice was Melinda's voice. But it held nothing, while Melinda's voice held anything and every emotion one could think of. The Oracle's voice was dead and hollow. Hearing it made Faith shiver uncontrollably.

"We don't want her to die either." Buffy spoke up as she dug the top of her foot into the ground, ready to shift as quickly as the Oracle herself is she needed to.

"Have I given you the impression I intend to harm your friends? Have I not just spent time, my very valuable time, healing each of those who have been injured? Do you need me to continue speaking or will you move aside and allow me to heal the crippled witch?" The Oracle was becoming impatient. Her impatience was an emotion that she only becoming accustomed to.

It had been a long time since The Oracle had been allowed out from the confines of Melinda's mind. Becoming accustomed to the strength of the young woman's emotions—now her emotions—was going to take some time. Time she did not have nor wish to have.

"What in the name of God happened here?" Buffy and Faith both turned towards the remainder of the stores wall and saw three figures standing there.

Buffy immediately recognized who they were and her eyes widened before she glared at the three stupid humans! What the hell did they think they were doing here? After they were informed, none to politely, that they were not welcome.

Spike eyed the three ignorant fools and smiled. He'd love to keep his promise. Now that they were here he'd actually be able to feast on the fools. Without being looked down upon by the goody-two-shoes that crowded the remainder of the shop.

"Who is that?" Anya asked as she eyed the man standing in the doorway, reaching for her somewhat broken baseball bat. "He looks evil. Can I hit him?"

Xander smiled at the thought but grabbed a hold of Anya's arms. "No. He is evil, but he's the human kind of evil."

"Oh…" Anya stated and decided glaring at the man that even Xander seemed to dislike was more prudent then hitting him with a bat.

Max watched as Giles eyed the man bewildered unsure if he should recognize him if the rest of the group recognized him. Max turned back to the man that had just entered into what had been a war zone only moments ago and wondered if he could convince the eccentric blonde to give him the bat.

Then again, by the look of the aura beginning to surround the Oracle, he wouldn't need to do anything. It seemed the Oracle was more inclined to do that for him.