For Want Of A Nail…

I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Willow awoke with a start. She lay in bed; soft and warm in Tara's arms. It was still dark. It was still early.

"Are you awake?" Tara asked quietly, disturbed by her girlfriend's movements.

"Yeah." confirmed Willow, muffled by the covers.

"What time is it?" asked Tara, still half asleep.

Willow looked at the clock it read 4:13.

"It's too early." muttered Willow, snuggling closer to Tara. She felt safe and warm, not wanting to move a muscle. They slept for a few more hours.

Willow and Tara walked hand in hand into the Magic Box. Passing a customer huddled over his purchases.

"Are we early?" asked Willow.

"Hardly." replied Giles, from behind the cash register. All the Scoobies were there, Giles, Xander, Anya and Dawn, and they all looked very serious. The two witches moved to join them at the counter. They all gathered around a large ancient tome.

"What's wrong?" asked Willow, seeing her friend's concerned looks.

"It seems Giles missed a portent." Anya said pointedly, "A fire demon is set to destroy the world tonight and we have eighteen hours to stop him before we're all toast!"

Willow scoured the bookshelves in the Magic shop. She had found a mention of a volume called The Book of Kaoma. Giles had been vague about its location. Perched on a small stepladder, she noticed the slim blue volume at the edge of her reach. As she stretched out to grab it the ladder tipped and she fell. She has a soft landing however as Tara was searching the shelves below.

"I'm sorry." cried Willow, untangling from arms and legs. "Are you alright? Did I hurt you?"

"I'll live." said Tara with a smile. She wrapped her arms around the woman lying on top of her. "There are worse things that can fall on you."

Willow returned the smile and kissed Tara. Eventually they got back to their feet and continued with their search.

In the warehouse the huge red demon reared up and roared. Not for the first time Willow wished Buffy was still here. Tara was clasping her hand tight. Eyes closed, they recited the spell to destroy the demon. Willow felt Tara's power surge into her, strengthening her. As her eyes turned black, Willow raised her right hand, and shouted the last words of the spell,

"Be gone. Disperse to the four winds!"

A yellow bolt of energy streamed from her fingers and the demon roared again when it struck. It roared in pleasure. It stretched its mighty arms and a fireball engulfed the world…

KABOOM! ...

Willow awoke with a start. Tara lay beside her, struggling in her restraints. Awake but gone. Willow wished she knew how to bring her girlfriend back. She found the best chance to reverse Glory's spell too late! With the god dead, Willow didn't know if there was any way to bring Tara back.

"Willow!" Tara called, pleadingly fighting her restraints.

"Yeah." replied Willow sitting up and yawning. She was exhausted. It was still dark outside.

"You have to go find the blue one." said Tara looking at Willow with earnest eyes.

Willow glanced at the clock. It read 4:13.

"It's too early." sighed Willow, stifling another yawn. She lay back down beside Tara, stroking her hair and soothing her back to sleep. They slept a few hours more.

Willow gently led Tara into the Magic Box. Holding back briefly to let a customer through.

"Are we early?" asked Willow as she helped Tara down the steps into the body of the shop.

"Hardly." replied Giles, from behind the cash register. Willow noted the frowns on her friend's faces, as they stood, gathered around a heavy tome resting on the counter.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"It seems Giles missed a portent." said Anya smugly. "A fire demon is set to destroy the world tonight and we have eighteen hours to stop him before we're all toast."

Willow stood Tara beside the ladder as she climbed to find The Book of Kaoma. She spotted the title further down the shelf; a thin blue volume. As she reached for it, the stepladder wobbled alarmingly. Willow came crashing down on top of Tara.

"I'm sorry!" cried Willow as Tara screamed unsure and scared. "Are you alright? Did I hurt you? I'm sorry!" Willow climbed off of Tara and held her close, brushing back her hair and rocking her back and forth until she settled down. Willow kissed her forehead and helped her to her feet.

The fire demon towered over them. Willow, steady in the knowledge that Tara was safe with Anya, incanted the spell. The demon roared at Giles and Xander's attempt to distract it. Willow felt the magic swell within her. She finished the spell.

"Be gone! Disperse to the four winds!"

A yellow surge of energy left her outstretched hand. The demon roared in pleasure and released a fireball that engulfed the world…

KABOOM! ...

Willow awoke with a start in her empty bed. She looked around. It was still dark.

"Yeah." She muttered to herself. Wriggling around, buried under her covers, she glanced at the clock. It read 4:13.

"It's too early." She moaned, curling up again in her lonely bed. She slept a few hours more.

"Am I early?" asked Willow as she strolled into the Magic Box, passing a customer hurrying out.

"Hardly!" replied Giles. Willow noticed he looked troubled; all her friend's do, Xander, Anya Tara and Dawn.

"What's wrong?" asked Willow, as she moved to stand beside Tara, her fellow witch.

"It seems Giles missed a portent." explained Anya. "A fire demon is set to destroy the world tonight and we have eighteen hours to stop him before we're all toast."

Willow saw the title she wanted just out of reach. She stretched for it and the ladder toppled. Tara took the brunt of the fall, being under the stepladder at the time.

"I'm sorry!" cried Willow, untangling limbs. Supressing the sudden urges that well up inside her by the closeness.

"Are you alright?" asked Willow as she clambered off of Tara. "I didn't hurt you? I'm sorry!"

"I'll l-live." stuttered Tara, turning red. "There are w-w-worse things that can fall on you."

She gave her friend a small, shy smile as Willow helped her to her feet.

The demon roared as Willow and Tara finished the spell. Tara's hand clasped in her own, Willow cried out.

"Be gone! Disperse to the four winds."

The energy released struck the demon. It roared and released a fireball that engulfs the world…

KABOOM! ...

Willow awoke with a start. She felt Oz snuggling against her.

"Are you awake he asked reaching for her.

"Yeah." Willow replied.

"What time is it?" he asked, his fingers playing with her hair.

Willow looked at the clock, it read 4:13.

"It's too early." She moaned. She rolled onto her side, turning away from Oz, not really sure why. They slept a few hours more.

Willow followed Oz into the Magic Box, holding the door for a customer to pass.

"Are we early?" Willow asked.

"Hardly." replied Giles. He was surrounded at the till, by Dawn, Xander, Anya and Tara. All looking worried.

"What's wrong?" asked Willow.

The ladder tipped violently as Willow reached for The Book of Kaoma. She landed on top of Tara who had been scanning the titles below.

"I'm sorry." Willow cried. "Are you alright? Did I hurt you? I'm sorry!"

Willow struggled off her friend. Feelings were stirring within her from the contact. Oz was suddenly by her side, helping both girls to their feet. Tara gave a shy smile and said in quiet voice,

"I'll l-l-live." She muttered something else, but it was too soft for Willow to catch.

"Be gone! Disperse to the four winds." called Willow as Tara's energies merged with her own. The demon roared as the spell stuck and released a fireball that engulfed the world…

KABOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start. She felt Oz snuggling beside her but she felt empty; felt like something was missing.

When Willow followed Oz into the Magic Box, her friends seemed concerned. Giles, Xander and Anya and Dawn, all gathered around a large ancient book.

"Are we early?" Willow asked.

Willow spotted the title, The Book of Kaoma and reached for the thin volume. The ladder she was perched on overbalanced and Willow found herself falling. A customer under the ladder broke her fall; a blonde girl about Willow's age. Willow struggled from the embarrassing tangle of limbs.

"I'm sorry!" cried Willow, "Are you alright? Did I hurt you? I'm sorry!"

As their eyes lock Willow felt a connection. Then Oz is by her side, helping her up and the spell was broken. The blonde hurried out of the shop, not saying a word. Willow watched her go; feeling as if she had just missed something important.

"Be gone! Disperse to the four winds!" shouted Willow. The demon roared and a fireball engulfed the world.

KABOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start. It's dark. It's early. Oz was beside her and she still felt alone.

Willow followed Oz into the Magic Box.

"Are we early?"

The ladder tipped and Willow crashed to the floor, with nothing to break her fall.

The demon roared and a fireball engulfed the world…

KABOOOO …

Two figures stood at the foot of Willow's bed.

"I don't understand. It was foreseen she would save to world." said number one.

"Yet she just keeps on destroying It." said number two.

"I have not found the trigger yet." said number one.

"If you ever will." said number two.

OOOOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start. Xander was asleep beside her.

"Are you awake?" he asked his voice heavy with exhaustion.

"Yeah." sighed Willow, muffled under the covers.

Anya poked a head up from the other side of Xander and leaned over.

"Well as we are all up." Anya said cheerfully. "We can have some fun!"

Willow, not sure why having two such attentive lovers left her so empty, looked at the clock. It read 4:13.

"It's too early." She moaned, snuggling back into her pillow. She heard Anya and Xander whispering something. The two left Willow alone in bed. She slept a few hours more.

"Am I early?" Willow asked as she entered the Magic Box.

The ladder tipped and Willow fell.

A fireball engulfed the world.

KABOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start.

"Are you awake?" Cordelia asked from the bed beside her.

"Am I early?" asked Willow

The ladder tipped…

A fireball engulfed the world…

KABOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start, Giles warm body beside her.

A fireball engulfed the world…

KABOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start, the cool form of Spike resting beside her.

A fireball engulfed the world…

KABOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start.

"Are you awake?" asked Buffy.

Something inside Willow screamed,

"This is wrong! THIS IS SO WRONG !"

KABOOOO …

Two figures stood at the foot of Willow's bed.

"Why can she not break the cycle? I have changed the order of the world and still it ends. Still she fails." said number one.

"Your trouble is you think too big." said number two.

"What?" said number one.

"I think your missing something small." said number two.

OOOOOM! …

Willow awoke with a start in an empty bed. It was still dark. It was still early. Suddenly the room was bathed in light. Willowed rolled over to see Tara emerging from the bathroom, the light silhouetting her body through her nightshirt. Shining like a halo; beautiful.

"I didn't want to wake you." said Tara softly, as she got back into bed. "I just shouldn't have had that extra coffee."

"Yeah." muttered Willow, still buried under the duvet.

"What time is it?" asked Tara pulling Willow close.

"It doesn't matter." said Willow smiling in the darkness. She ran her fingers over Tara's body and leant in to taste her lips.

"Willow!" Tara giggled, between kisses. Sleep the last thing on their minds.

"Are we late?" cried Willow, as she raced into the Magic Box. Tara was on her tail. Willow collided with a customer, sending him and his purchases flying.

"I'm sorry!" cried Willow, "Are you alright? Did I hurt you? I'm sorry!"

She hurried to help him collect his stuff now scatter all over the floor. Anya rushed over and picked up an amulet.

"Hey you didn't pay for this! Or that!" she exclaimed pointing to a book on the floor. "He's a thief!"

The man scrambled to his feet and tore out of the shop before anyone could stop him.

Later research revealed that the items the man attempted to steal were for invoking a particularly nasty fire demon, capable of destroying the world.

"See! It doesn't always pay to think big." said the new number one.

THE END