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Summary; Sequel to "Together Again For The First Time". Willow faces the ghosts of her past. Can even the Power of Three save her and Buffy from a vengeful spirit?

Tonight's episode features music by DePeche Mode and Lauryn Hill. All rights reserved.


By Kirayoshi


Your own Personal Jesus,
Someone to hear your prayer,
Someone who's there.

Your own Personal Jesus,
Someone to hear your prayer,
Someone who cares.

Feeling unknown, when you're all alone,
Flesh and bone, by the telephone.
Pick up the receiver,
I'll make you a believer.

Don't play second best, put me to the test,
Things on your chest you need to confess,
I will deliver,
You know I'm a forgiver.

Reach out, touch faith!

--DePeche Mode
"Personal Jesus"


San Francisco, August, 2009;

"Who are you?" the fearful countenance shouted at his first slave. The slave stood his ground, defiantly, saying "I'm Eric!" The demon slammed his fist onto the slave's head, hard enough to kill.

The demon approached the next slave in line. "Who are you?" he demanded of the cowering girl.

"No-nobody," she whimpered. The demon nodded. Good answer.

The demon approached the third slave in line, a tall girl with long brown hair. "Who are you?" he demanded.

The girl looked at him; her eyes, her expression, everything about her shouting defiance. She smiled at the demon and introduced herself; "I'm Steffi. The Demon Killer. And you are?"

The brown haired girl then proceeded to fight her way through a horde of demon warriors, shouting to the assembled humans whom the demons had enslaved, "Anyone who's not having a good time, follow me!"

Buffy, Willow, and Cordy sat on the sofa of the Halliwells' living room, watching the videotape that Cordy had brought with her, as Prue, Piper, Phoebe and Leo looked on from their seats. Cordy watched with rapt attention, while Buffy and Willow covered their eyes in embarrassment, and the others just sat bemused.

"Geez, Buffy," Willow teased her fiancée, "Did you really say that?"

"Hey, it sounded good at the time," Buffy defended herself. "I mean, the company that's producing Cordy's show hired me on as a technical consultant, at least let them get the dialogue right. Right, Cordy?"

"Shh, shh," Cordy hushed her friends. "Here's my favorite part." The final scenes of the third season premiere of "Steffi the Demon Killer" showed Steffi Winters returning home after running away from Shoredrive, away from the grief of having to send her beloved Dominic to Hell. As her mother opened the door, Steffi stood there, sorrow and penitence in her deep brown eyes. A troubled mother-daughter relationship was given a second chance. The two women hugged. Cut to black, and the executive producer's name.

Everyone else applauded, while Cordy took a bow. "Thank yew, thank yew," she said, hamming it up for all it was worth.

"Hey, Cordy," Willow announced, "Congratulations on another sterling performance as Steffi Winters, the Chosen One."

"Go Steffi, Go Steffi, Go Steffi!" Phoebe chanted along, moving her arms in a boogie rotation. Prue and Piper looked quizzically at their sister, who just shrugged. "What? I think it's a cool show. Good job, Cordy." The other Halliwell sisters chuckled at Phoebe.

"Thanks," the actress replied. "But I couldn't have done it without my technical adviser, Buffy." She nodded toward the retired Slayer, who just acknowledged her with an amused glare.

"You better believe it!" Buffy announced. When Cordy had approached her over two years ago with the idea of basing a television series on Buffy's experiences as the Slayer, she was dubious at first, but ultimately warmed to the idea. She had agreed to help develop the show on one condition; certain stories, certain events from her life, were never to see the screen. The world would never see either the more intimate encounters with Faith(named 'Hope' on the show), or the way Tara had betrayed Willow. Of course, Cordy had shown the original prints of the episodes to Buffy, shortly before they aired. She brought the season premiere with her to the party the Halliwells were holding for Buffy and Willow.

"Actually, I've been butting heads with the network execs over the next season," Cordy admitted. "The fans and the suits want to get Steffi back together with Dominic, the good-guy vampire, now that he's got his soul back and isn't the evil Dominus any more. But my producer and I want to develop the relationship between Steffi and Laurel Silverberg, maybe even making it a romance. Hey," she defended herself against Phoebe's laughter at the notion, patting Buffy on the knee. "I've got the real Steffi and Laurel right here, not to mention the addresses of several Steffi/Laurel fanfiction web sites, to back me up on this one."

"Yeah, but who'd ever believe it?" Piper asked. "Especially after the way Steffi pined away for Dominic." Buffy rolled her eyes, wishing not to be reminded of her past with Angel. "Anyway, congratulations again. You've got a winner here."

"And, while we're on the subject of congratulations," Leo interjected, raising his wine glass, "congratulations, Buffy and Willow, on your impending nuptials."

"Thanks, guys," Buffy said, as the Cordy and the Halliwell sisters applauded.

"So, which one of you is the designated ball-and-chain?" Phoebe asked. Prue gave her a withering stare, but smiled slightly. Phoebe would never change, thank the Gods.

"Hey, seriously, guys," Leo, always the peacemaker between his sisters-in-law, changed the subject. "Who's going to come to the wedding?"

"Well," Buffy commented, "Mom and Giles, Willow's folks, Cordy, you guys, Angel, Oz and Amy-- Wills, didn't you say that Oz would play guitar at the service?" "You mean Daniel? Yeah, and I heard him just yesterday. He's been practicing an acoustic guitar arrangement of 'Here Comes the Bride'. Sounds lovely."

"Great. Only, in this case, both of us are the brides."

"Hey, I'm just glad that Dad had agreed to give me away. It took him a while to accept that I'm gay, but now he and Mom are cool with it. How about your dad, Buff?"

Buffy fell silent, and Willow realized her mistake too late. "Oh, Buffy, I'm sorry, I didn't remember--"

"Hey, it's okay, Wills," Buffy hugged her wife-to-be for assurance. To the others, Buffy explained, "Six years ago, I confronted my dad about some of the decisions I made over my life. I didn't tell him about being the Slayer, or anything like that, but I did tell him that I loved women, not men, that I was gay, and he didn't take it well. I simply told him that this is who and what I am, and he could either accept it, or never cross my path again." She sighed deeply. "I think you can guess what he chose."

"Sorry, Buffy," Piper consoled her new-found friend. "I can't imagine any parent being so cruel to a child."

"It's all right," Buffy said, but the faraway look in her eyes told Willow that it wasn't. "He stopped being Dad long before that, he just didn't want the responsibility. His loss. Besides, Mom's found Giles, so she's happy now, and Giles has always been more of a dad to me than my father was." She smiled and added, "besides, I've got all of you, Mom, Daniel, Amy, and above all else, Willow," she gave the redhead beside her a squeeze, making Willow grin broadly, "hey, I'm blest to have this family."

"Then, to family," Phoebe announced, lifting her glass. The glasses clinked once more, then Buffy announced, "Well, Willow and I gotta go. Thanks for the preview, Cordy."

"You got it," Cordy said, as they saw Buffy and Willow off.

As Buffy and Willow strolled down the walkway, Phoebe shouted at them, "Hey, don't forget to swing by the P3 Thursday night. Lauryn Hill's playing there. Oh," she added, running back to grab something from the coffee table. "Willow, you forgot your purse --UNGGHH!" She suddenly doubled over, her head throbbing with an all-too familiar pain. Before her mind's eye, a movie played; Buffy and Willow being mowed down by a speeding car.

"Buffy, Willow! Stop!" she shrieked. The two girls turned their heads toward the young witch, as suddenly the screech of a tire skidding over asphalt filled the air around them. Acting on instinct, Piper stretched out her hand, and the car froze in its tracks, along with most of the rest of the neighborhood, stuck in time. Willow was immune to the effect of Piper's time-freeze powers, but Buffy was not; she was as stuck fast as the car.

Willow glanced around her, at the stopped car which would have surely killed both of them had not Piper intervened. "Oh Goddess," she muttered under her breath. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Leo admitted, as he approached the street where Willow and Buffy were standing. Taking Buffy by the arms, he said, "Let's just get Buffy out of the way, before Piper unfreezes the neighborhood."

Willow helped Leo lift her beloved onto the sidewalk, and nodded to Piper, who gestured again, and unfroze time. The car drove off, unheeding of its speed, tires screaming all the way. Buffy blinked and looked around her, asking, "Shouldn't I be closer to our car by now? I mean, I do understand the fundamental principals of walking--" "It's okay, Buffy," Prue answered as she and her sisters gathered around the confused ex- slayer. "That crazy driver nearly turned you into Flatgirl and Ribbon. Good thing Phoebe had that vision about the car when she grabbed your purse."

"Whoa," Buffy breathed. Willow just nodded her head in agreement. "But we're okay, right? Just a near-accident."

"I don't know," Leo said ominously. "I thought I saw someone inside the car."

"Yeah, Leo," Cordy interjected. "That would be the driver. Probably a drunk driver, or road rage or something."

"No, it wasn't that," Leo replied. Piper stood beside her husband, her protector, her Whitelighter. She saw the look in his eyes, recognized the tone in his voice. "Is it something supernatural, honey?"

"It must be," Leo turned to his wife. "The driver looked human, but I couldn't make out a clear picture. Only a sense of what it was. And it was moving when you froze the car."

"Then it must be a demon or warlock, or some such," Piper reasoned. "Which means that someone may be out to get Buffy and Willow."

"Yeah," Buffy admitted. "It's happened before. Demons trying to peg the retired Slayer. Kinda like a dare, see who can get closest to me."

"Hey, Leo," Prue suggested, "could you recognize that vibe you got off of the car if you browsed through the Book of Shadows?"

"Could be worth a try," Leo agreed. He and the women headed back into the Halliwell mansion, and up to the attic, where Prue, Piper and Phoebe located their family grimoire, the Book of Shadows. It was this book that first brought the disparate sisters together all those years ago, revealing their heritage as the Charmed Ones, three mighty witches, one of the most powerful forces of good the world has ever seen. Buffy, Willow and Cordy watched on as the three witches and Leo looked through the book.

"Find anything, Leo?" Piper asked anxiously.

"Not yet," he said as he thumbed through a few more pages. "It didn't seem too powerful, just malevolent. Wait," he said suddenly as his eyes rested on a particular page and he read the words. "Here we are."

The Halliwell sisters read over his shoulder as Willow looked on. "A vengeance demon," Leo read. "Customarily these entities are former human beings, particularly mages, who have been wronged by someone. So great is their thirst for vengeance that they give up their mortality, and become demons who live to wreak vengeance against those who have wronged others the way they were wronged."

"Okay," Phoebe looked down, "So much for the sales pitch, how do we vanquish it?" Buffy had to smile as she heard that. It reminded her of herself as the slayer. Never mind the family history, Giles, just tell me how to slay it. Indeed, seeing Leo hunched over the Book of Shadows, Buffy and Willow were reminded of a young Giles.

"Looks easy enough," Leo answered. "Iambic quadrameter verse, recited by the three of you in unison."

"A power of three spell," Prue stated. "Nothing too messy though. What I want to know is why is a vengeance demon gunning for Buffy?"

"It's not Buffy," Willow suddenly blurted out. All eyes looked at her, and Willow started to feel a little self conscious. "It's me," she admitted timidly.

Cordy looked at her old friend, concern clouding her brown eyes. "You think it's Anya, don't you?"

"Anya?" the sisters asked in unison.

"Anyanka," Willow stated, "was a former vengeance demon. Buffy stripped her of her powers after she tortured Cordy with a twisted 'It's a Wonderful Life' scenario. She later tried to draw a vampire version of me from an alternate universe. After that, she changed her attitude, and became devoted to our friend Xander. In her own twisted, oversexed way, she fell in love with him. When he died, I think she blamed me," and she's not the only one, she thought ruefully, "'cause I was dating the girl who killed him, and she disappeared from the face of the earth. I guess she must have gotten her powers back and now wants me out of the way for Xander's death." Her eyes were hooded and her head was bent low, so none could read her expression.

None, except for her lover and fiancée. Buffy had seen her in this state before, when she blamed herself for Xander's death by the magic of Willow's ex-girlfriend Tara. Buffy held Willow in her arms, and said, "Don't worry. You didn't do anything to hurt Xander. And if Anya tries anything against you, I'll show her what vengeance is really about."

Willow reveled in the feeling of Buffy's strong arms around her shoulders, but she still couldn't shake her own guilt. Did she kill Xander, by loving Tara?

And if Anya was targeting her, would she survive?


Willow woke up the next morning after a fitful sleep. Once, the night before, she had bolted awake after a nightmare of Anya gutting Buffy like a salmon. Buffy had finally managed to soothe her lover and convince her to go back to sleep.

Willow reached for Buffy as she awakened, but felt a cold space in the bed next to her. That woke her up with a start, and she leaped out of bed, grabbing her robe. She rushed to the living room, fearing the worst.

The familiar sound of Buffy's "Hiaa!" assured her that her fears were groundless. Willow entered the living room to see Buffy in the middle of her morning exercises. She practiced several simple karate katas, in repetition, and then cooled down with a series of tai chi positions. The fluid grace of her body, clad only in a blue sports bra and panties, were enough to set Willow's blood racing, and help her put aside her night terrors. She sat down in her favorite easy chair, paying rapt attention to her lover's graceful movements. Her cat, Piawacket, lazily climbed the chair, and curled up in Willow's lap.

In the middle of a crane movement, Buffy glanced at the chair, and saw Willow sitting there, absently stroking Piawacket. She stopped, and smiled at her beloved.

"Hey, don't stop on my account," Willow said, "I was just getting warmed up."

"Hey, hacker," Buffy commented. "I'm the one doing the exercise, how can you be getting warmed up?"

"You're standing there wearing next to nothing, moving like that?" Willow answered, attempting her best sultry voice. "You've got to be kidding me."

"I aim to please," Buffy grinned as she moved toward the easy chair. "Scram, Pie," she growled humorously, shooing the cat, as she took the feline's place next to Willow. They cuddled for a few minutes, Buffy grazing Willow's left earlobe, Willow kissing Buffy's shoulder. Buffy stopped her nibbling to ask, "You sleep any better, Wills?"

Willow nodded, and passed a rueful glance at Buffy. "Not bad for a jinx," she muttered.

Buffy turned Willow's head to face her directly. "Oh, no, Willow. None of that. You are not a jinx."

"Yeah, right," Willow huffed. "Xander loved me, now he's dead. You love me, now you've got a vengeance demon on your tail."

"Oz loved you, now he's married to Amy," Buffy joked. "Merciful God in heaven above, what have you done?" She started to chuckle at Willow, who just glared at her.

"I'm serious, Buffy," she snapped at her fiancee. "If I hadn't gotten involved with Tara, Xander would be alive. I'm bad mojo. You get involved with me, you might as well wear a red uniform and join a landing party on Star Trek. I mean, who wears red military uniforms anyway, they'd stick out like a sore thumb! I mean, the Brits wore red, and the Colonies kicked their butts! Real lousy camouflage there--"

"Wills, you're babbling," Buffy observed.

"I'm babbling! And I'm a jinx! Buffy, if you had a brain in your head you'd run for the hills instead of marrying me!"

"Well, then, Miss Rosenberg," Buffy raised her voice, causing Willow to be silenced from her babble attack. "It's a good thing for both of us that I'm a complete idiot. Yep, I'm the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz!"

"Buffy, I didn't mean--" Willow started to apologize, but Buffy placed a finger on her lips, effectively silencing her.

"Forget it, Wills," Buffy said gently. "This Anya situation has us both on edge. But I want you to understand something right off. In three weeks from now, I am going to marry you, even if I have to hog-tie you and drag you to the chapel myself. You and I are going to be Willow and Buffy Rosenberg-Summers. I've loved you too long to settle for anything less. And nothing short of another apocalypse will stop us. You got it?"

Willow gasped in awe of Buffy's expression. And she thought she had a good resolve face. "Who am I to oppose the will of the Chosen One?" With a heartfelt smile on her lips, she vowed, "I'd better not miss the ceremony, then."

"That's my wiccan," Buffy murmured into Willow's neck. After a few more minutes, she reluctantly sat up, and said, "C'mon, Willow, let's get dressed. Piper said we should swing by their place and check on their progress in tracking Anya. And I could use a shower." Walking away, she turned her head toward Willow, and smiled knowingly. "Room for one more, honey," she whispered throatily. The redhead grinned lopsidedly as she followed the retired Slayer to the shower.


"You failed me, little slave," the dark voice told her.

"I'm sorry, Mistress. Forgive me," the slave begged as she groveled before the one who had the power to forever banish her from the mortal realm. "I had no idea that their new friends were such powerful witches."

"Yes, the Charmed Ones," the Mistress mused. "I have heard of them. Many of my brothers and sisters were vanquished by their Power of Three. That's why I chose not to strike at her directly. No matter. The one who hurt us both will not see another sunset," she mused, almost to herself. "I've made arrangements."

The slave stood mournfully as her mistress was lost in thought. She had wanted revenge against the one who cursed her forever. But not like this, not if it meant the death of innocents. Her mistress didn't care who got caught in the crossfire. And if she were to raise a hand against the Mistress, her time on this earth would be over.

But would that be such a bad thing, compared to an eternity of servitude to a madwoman?

As the slave contemplated her fate, and her mistress planned her revenge, neither were aware of a third presence in their midst. This presence raged at their plans against Willow Rosenberg. She had been hurt enough for several lifetimes.

He knew that all too well. After all, hadn't he caused a great deal of that pain?