A BtVS fanfic by Alex Stockwell

This story begins at the end of "Seeing Red", following Spike's departure. For all intents and purposes, his part of the story is exactly the same.


The morning after the fight, the Scoobies are deeply engaged in finding out where Warren escaped to. Willow rubs her temples.

"This is ridiculous. We've been at this all night. He's probably halfway to Los Angeles by now."

"Wow," Xander muses. "Imagine what would happen if Angel's crew got a hold of him." Everyone laughs at this.

"Cordy'd probably talk him to death." Buffy jokes, then pushes herself away from the table, gets up, and stretches. "Well, maybe we should take a break. Let's get some breakfast, than when we come back we'll feel refreshed."

"Sounds good." Xander gets up, and Willow follows. She turns to Tara.

"You coming?"

"No, thanks, I just drank like half a pot of coffee, I'm good."

"Okay, baby." Willow leans over and gives Tara a peck.

Several minutes later, Tara is still looking at her screen, drinking yet another cup of coffee.

"Jeez, this guy's harder to find than Bin Laden." Suddenly, there's a knock on the door. "Coming." Tara gets up and saunters toward the door. "Someone forget something?" She opens the door. Warren stands on the front step, tapping his foot restlessly.

"Warren!"

"Who're you? And where the fuck is Buffy?"

"Uhm, uh, she left."

"Yeah? Well, maybe this doesn't have to be a wasted trip." He pulls out a gun. "You think you can deliver a message for me?" He shoves his way in, and pushes her down. "Call it a calling card." He shuts the door behind him, and moves towards her.

Buffy, Willow, and Xander sit at the sidewalk café, discussing the past year.

"Man," Xander says, "How'd we get here?"

"Scenic route. Long drive." Buffy replies.

"As long as it's not me driving." Willow laughs nervously, then stops. "I can't believe I went overboard like that."

"Could've been worse. Remember last year, when Glory did that thing to Tara?"

"Yeah."

"Well," Xander says, "we've all been assholes this year. Shit happened, and we took it out on each other."

They sit in silence for a minute, than Willow speaks. "I never wanna do this again."

More silence, then Xander breaks it. "And if any of us start sleeping with someone who's, I don't know, a little dodgy, we will tell each other, right?" Buffy nods weakly.

Meanwhile, Warren walks confidently into Willie's bar, to the sound of Sublime's 'Date Rape'. "Give me something stiff, barkeep! The stuff where you get your vision back in three days, guaranteed!"

"Tell you what," Willie says, "I'll give you what I give them." He nods towards a couple of demons. As Warren waits for his drink, three big demons come up behind him.

"Hey, Junior," the biggest one speaks, "Does your daddy know you're here?"

"I haven't seen that horny fucker in five years. Hey, maybe when I rule the world, I'll hire you to find him."

"Like we'd work for a pipsqueak like you." the one on the right says. Warren turns on his barstool, a shit-eating grin on his face.

"Pipsqueak, am I? Would a pipsqueak do what I just did?"

"And what's that?" the big one says.

"Well, last night, I got humiliated once again by the Slayer, so I bought a gun, and showed up at her place." His drink arrives, and he takes it gratefully. "Thank you." He takes a hit, grimaces, and continues, his voice slightly raspy now. "But she wasn't there, just one of her friends. Well, I couldn't just, you know, walk off and come back later, I'd look like an idiot. So, I decided to just leave her a little message. Boy, to see the look on her face when she walks in her front door."

The one on the right speaks again. "You mean you…?"

Warren nods. "I didn't kill her, no. I did something that's been welling up inside me for nineteen years. Call it a parting shot."

"Man, you are cold-blooded! You know she's gonna come after you."

"I know, that's why I'm leaving. I'm on the next bus to… well, I can't tell you, I've heard she likes to fuck you guys up."

"Which one was it?" the big one asks.

"Uh, Idunno, she was short, blonde, nice tits."

"Oh, man, you are so dead!" he laughs.

"Yeah, I know!" Warren laughs maniacally with him.

"No, I mean, the Slayer is the least of your worries! That chick's girlfriend is gonna tear you a new asshole, and shove a hot poker up it!"

"Girlfriend?"

"Yeah, witch, and I understand she's a little on the crazy side."

"Crazy?"

"Like once attacked a god crazy."

"Ah, shit." Warren hangs his head, not looking forward to what's coming.

"Ah, man," the one on the left says. "I liked you, too."

"Tell you what," the big one speaks, handing Warren a card, "This guy's name is Rack, he might be able to help you."

At that time, Buffy, Xander, and Willow are returning home. Xander is the first in the door, and the first to see.

"Oh, my god!" Tara is lying on the floor, brutally beaten, clothes ripped, barely breathing. Willow rushes to her side.

"Baby?"

"It was Warren," Tara says, weakly.

Xander looks like he wants punch something. "God, I knew we shouldn't have left you here alone!"

"What did he do to you?" Willow's voice quavers.

"Xander, call 911!" Buffy says, taking charge. Xander bolts for the phone. Willow starts sobbing.

Some time later, Tara is being rushed to the emergency room on a gurney, with an oxygen mask over her face. Sometime later, she's in bed, comatose, with a bunch of tubes connected to her, as Buffy and Xander stand nearby, and Willow kneels by her side, holding her hand, and sobbing into it. A doctor comes in, and Willow stands up.

"Is she gonna be okay?"

"Her chances are good, yes. There's something else I need to talk about, though."

Buffy, looking a little confused, says, "Wh-what is it?"

The doctor takes a deep breath, and lets it out tensely "Well, this is the kind of news nobody likes to deliver. Her assailant didn't simply batter her. There was some abrasion to, um, a certain part of her, as well as some 'material'."

"Material?" Xander asked.

"Genetic material."

Buffy turns around, doing her best to hold it together. "Oh, my god, Willow. I-I'm so sorry." Willow just turns to Tara, silently, not showing any reaction to the news. "Willow?" As she stands there, her eyes begin to glow a fiery red.

Warren sits in Rack's waiting room, restlessly. Rack comes out.

"War–"

"HERE!" Warren gets up.

"Come into my office."

A minute later, Warren sits in Rack's office, across from him.

"So, you…violated one of the Slayer's friends."

"Hey, how'd you…Oh, right wizard."

"Stupid, but ballsy."

"Um, thanks?"

"And I can tell from reading your mind that you have a lot of imagination, not to mention a staggering intellect. This is good. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be able to train someone with this little notice, but you seem to me like someone who could get the full benefit from fluid magic."

"What's fluid magic?"

"Very basic spells with virtually limitless applications. Also, because you have good potential, I'm gonna teach you one I've been working on. Call it a blue light special."

Back at the Summers residence, Dawn is coming home from school.

"Buffy?" She looks around, apprehensively. "Anyone?" She comes upon the answering machine, and notices there's a message. A shrill beep sounds when she presses the button.

"Dawn? Listen, uh, we're at the hospital. Tara's been attacked, and she's in intensive care. Lock the door, and don't answer it unless it's one of us."

BEEP! Just then, the doorbell rings, and Dawn jumps straight up.

Minutes later, Buffy and Xander are arming themselves. Dawn is badgering her big sister.

"What do you mean, 'attacked'?"

"Look, I-I can't tell you right now, it's…, you're not old enough, okay?"

"What, grown up shit? Fuck you! I'm older than you were when you started slaying!"

"Yeah, and I wasn't old enough, either."

Willow enters the room.

"Uh, Wil," Xander says, "Uhm…"

Buffy steps in. "Can you look after–"

"I'm going with you." Willow speaks up.

Xander speaks. "I don't think that's a good–"

"Don't worry, I can arm myself. I can control it."

"Um, okay. You go do that, then." Willow goes to get a weapon.

Buffy speaks up. "Xander, what the hell?"

"Look, if she comes with us, we can keep an eye on her, and she can do something with her anger. Give her a sword, let her channel it through that. If she stays here, she'll just stew." He then calls to Willow. "Just try not to think of magic, okay? Think sword."

Buffy looks anxious. "I don't know, Xander."

"This is a delicate situation, no matter what we do. You want her with us, where we can monitor her, or alone with Dawn?"

Buffy hesitates. "Okay." She sighs. "I hope we're making the right decision."

"I hope he's easy to subdue. And I hope we can keep her from killing him."

"Dawn, I'm gonna call Spike's friend Clem. He can look after you."

"What's wrong with Spike?" Dawn asks.

"Never mind."

Meanwhile, Jonathan and Andrew sit in their prison cell.

"God," Andrew says, "How'd I end up here? My mom is gonna be so pissed."

"I, uh, think your mom is the least of our problems."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Well, you know, we're in prison, you know, with prisoners."

"So?"

"Well, you know what prisoners do to each other?"

"No, what?"

"You don't know?"

"No!"

"Well…" Jonathan looks around, then scoots over and whispers into Andrew's ear. Andrew glances back, with an incredulous look on his face.

"I never heard that!"

"You never heard that?"

"No!"

"How could you have never heard that? It's what prison is famous for!"

"What are you worried about? You'll probably get off, Ephialtes."

"Don't be so sure. I aided and abetted in concealing a murder."

"It was under duress. Warren threatened you."

"Well, with my size, maybe I can convince them I could actually be threatened by someone like Warren. I mean, he's a psycho, but he's no Marv."

"C'mon, he's not that bad."

"Not that bad? Towards the end I was afraid he was gonna snap and stab me in the throat with a shiv he made out of an old Darth Vader cereal spoon."

"I'm sure he's working on a way to spring us as we speak."

"Dude, you sound like a Bush voter."

Some time later, the Scoobies are driving to Willie's. Buffy and Xander, who's driving, are arguing heatedly. Willow sits quietly in the back.

"No!" Xander snaps, "There's no fucking way I'm going to her!"

"Look, if anyone can help us with this," Buffy suddenly starts whispering, "and with Willow," then goes back to talking normally, "it's Anya."

"What makes you think she'll even help us?"

"Well, it's slim, but it's a chance."

Later, they arrive at Willie's Bar. As soon as she walks in, everything goes silent.

One demon gets up. "Ah, no. Look, let's just save some time. Who are you looking for?"

"Where's Warren?"

"Oh, thank god. I don't know who that is."

"Willie, does anyone here know–"

"Right there," he points out the big demon and his two friends, standing at the end of the bar. Buffy walks over to them.

"Where–"

"I sent him to Rack's. Thought it'd be more fun if he had at least a slim chance of not dying." He laughs. Suddenly Willow steps forward quickly, grabs him by(presumably) his nutsack, and squeezes. The demon lets out a high pitched shriek.

"You think this is funny, you fuck? Do you know what he did?"

"Dude!" one of his friends exclaims.

"Willow, stop!" Buffy pries Willows hand from the demon's ballbag, and restrains her. "Sit down, dammit!"

The demon backs away, in pain, his voice squeaking. "I'm sorry, man. Not cool of me." Willow sits down.

"Well," Buffy says, "at least she's not using magic."

"Yeah," Xander replies, "So, Anya, huh?"

Buffy is in The Magic Box, pleading to Anya, while Xander and Willow wait outside.

"No. Fuck him."

"Look, it's not for him. You know, under the circumstances, you're the last person I wanted to go to. But you're the only person we think can help us."

Anya sighs. "You have one minute."

"Tara's been raped."

A look of shock creeps into Anya's face. "Oh. Uh, how's Willow taking it?"

"Not well. She squeezed a demon's, uh…you know. Anyway, she hasn't shown any signs of relapsing, but somehow that scares me more than if she had."

"Alright, I'll go with you. But only because I still kinda like Willow."

Warren is stepping out of Rack's place.

"So, what should I do?"

"What do you think?"

"Well, my sphincter is telling me run, but my brain tells me it might be better to find her before she finds me."

"Whatever. Good luck." Rack slinks back into his place. Warren looks around, then heads off.

A few minutes later, he returns to the bar.

"Hey, guys, just came from Rack's place. I don't suppose the Slayer's come looking for me, has she?" Willie nods to the three demons, now in a booth. The big one has an ice pack on his groin. Warren walks over to them.

"Ooh, did the Slayer do that? Geez, let's all go to the mountains, huh?"

"The Slayer didn't do this to me. Her friend, the witch did it."

"Wha? You mean she has a ball crushing spell?"

"No, she did it with her own hand."

"Wait a minute. She didn't use any magic?"

"No, she didn't."

"Huh, interesting. Could it be that Witchy-Poo has lost her mojo, so now she resorts to brute force?"

"She was pretty pissed."

"Who wouldn't be? Well, all of a sudden, I'm feeling a lot better about this fight."

Buffy is driving from the Magic Box to Rack's, with Anya on shotgun, and Willow and Xander in back.

"So, do you know who did this?"

"Warren."

"Isn't he the creep who was spying on us?"

"Yeah. I thwarted one of his plans last night, and he came looking for me this morning. Tara was the only one there, and, well…"

Anya hesitates before she speaks. "If I may, after eleven hundred years, I've learned how to read people, even if I don't understand you, and, from here, it sounds a little like you blame yourself."

Buffy sighs. "When I beat Warren last night, I had a lot of anger inside me. I could've just subdued him, instead I humiliated him. My rage made me careless, and I let him get away."

"What made you so angry?"

"Never mind."

The Scoobies arrive at Rack's. Willow strides in quickly, with Anya trying to keep up, followed by the others.

"Where is he?" Willow asks on entering.

"Relax, Willow," Anya says, "I'm sure whoever saw him will tell you if you ask nicely." Rack comes out.

"Who–Oh, it's you. Some gu–" Rack is cut off by Willow's hand around his throat.

"Where is he?"

Rack struggles to speak, "He went looking for you."

"What? Why?"

"He thought it would be better if he found you first."

"Willow, stop it!"

Rack looks down, and sees Willow's eyes starting to burn red. Anya tries to pull her off him, but Willow throws her against the wall. "You read my mind once, so I know you can read his. Where is he?"

"H-he's at the mall!"

"Good boy." She drops him, and he collapses on the floor. She then strolls out. Anya gets up.

"Guys, something's wrong."

"Yeah," says Xander, "No shit."

"No, I mean when she tossed me aside. She is way stronger than usual."

"Well," Buffy says, "she's not using magic. I have no idea what's going on."

Rack points at them spitefully. "It doesn't matter. None of you stand a chance. With what I've taught him, you're just walking into your own slaughter."

"Thanks for the heads up." Buffy kicks him in the head.

Warren walks up to the mall entrance. He turns his hand, and the door unlocks. As he walks through the mall, every security camera blows up as he points at it. He makes his way to the toy store, once again turns his hand, and then lifts the grating. Inside, he finds a toy light saber. He poses dramatically with it.

"Escape is not my plan. I will face you, alone."

Dawn and Clem are watching TV.

"So, what's wrong with Spike?" Dawn asks.

"Huh?"

"I asked Buffy why Spike couldn't look after me, and she just said never mind and changed the subject."

"Well, uh, that's kind of, uh, hmm…"

"What?"

"Look, your sister and Spike …it's complicated."

"Go on."

The gang is approaching the mall's entrance, three of them with swords, and Anya with a crossbow. They silently creep through the dark mall, keeping an eye out for Warren.

"Keep all your senses peeled," Buffy says, "he could be anywhere."

They pass the mall fountain, and Anya notices what appear to be a pair of invisible feet standing in the water. "Guys!" As the others turn their heads, she aims her crossbow, and fires at the invisible figure. Instead of the expected sound of punctured flesh, the arrow hits what sounds like plaster, which falls over with a loud splash. Xander goes over to investigate.

"A mannequin. He made an invisible decoy."

"Ooohkaaay," Buffy says, "This is gonna be harder than I thought."

"He's just delaying the inevitable," Willow says. She then yells, "Warren! Come out here and face us!"

"Oh, fine," Warren says, becoming visible, "this is like nickel-and-diming a cyberdemon when you're in god mode."

"Warren," Buffy says, "you're coming with us, one way or another."

"Oh, here we go. The 'I'm turning you in' speech. Now, which one of you is the lesbian witch?" He points to Anya. "Can't be you, I watched you fuck a semi-dead guy. I guess that leaves you, Red. Tell me, does the carpet match the drapes?" he laughs, "You know, I don't think your girlfriend is all the way gay. At least that was the impression I got when I was–" He's cut off by a fireball hitting him in the chest, knocking him down. Everybody looks at Willow, whose arm is raised toward him.

"Willow?" Xander says. Willow is so angry, she's shaking. Her eyes are burning red.

"Willow," Buffy says, rendered insensate, "Did you just–"

Before she can finish her sentence, Warren gets up, apparently unharmed. "I knew the 'she loved it' shtick would work." He starts to form a fireball in his hand. "Any of you ever played dodgeball?"

To be continued…