Alright, back to the our normally scheduled program after I took a small break to work on a short novella XD
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the other characters. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Opening her eyes, Willow felt every muscle in her body begging her not to move. She knew that her wrists were still tied to the chair, the ropes digging fiercely into her skin. She felt tired and she still hurt in every inch of her skin, but her body wasn't as pain drenched as it had been earlier, when Buffy had still been hurting her. She still didn't believe that it had really been her friend that had been hurting her, cutting her, mocking her, and it hadn't been. The demon inside her had worn her face the entire time, as if merely looking at her with those same eyes had been an insult to her.
"It's not Buffy." She said underneath her breath, the tone of her voice sounding completely unlike herself. The sentence floated back to her, making her realize that she was apparently completely alone in the room. Willing her body to move despite the untold amounts of pain it caused to circulate through her system, she titled the chair back and forth, trying to find some point that the ropes weren't as tight as they were everywhere else. As the chair's left side left the floor for a split second, it came back down and sent a small impact sound that echoed throughout the entire room and out into the connecting hall.
"I think the little strawberry is finally awake." She heard a voice purr behind her, the sound of it sending shivers down her spine as she recognized its owner, her mind coming up with only one possible name. Drusilla?
"Finally. I thought she'd be asleep forever." Someone else added, the voice again being recognized instantly by Willow from where she sat still tied to the chair. "Typical teenaged girl, wasting the day away while the rest of the bloody lot work."
"She's been a bad dolly though, Spikey. She made the Angel beast come back and sent daddy away." Their voices continued to come closer to her, and she avoided looking anywhere but down at the ground in front of her. She had seen the demons that Angelus had spawned before, and they still frightened her, even despite the magick she had inside of her.
"Good riddance." Spike muttered, dropping his cigarette from his hand and stamping it out with his boot.
"What do you say, little dolly? Why have you been such a naughty, naughty girl?" Dru asked her, running her fingers through Willow's red hair.
"This isn't happening, this isn't happening, this isn't happening…"
"Afraid it is, love. Don't know why the Slayer wants you so bad, but as long as we're having fun with it, I couldn't give a bullock less."
"Now, now, Spikey. Mummy said we mustn't touch the little Witch. She's her little play-thing. And mummy wouldn't like it if we played with her things without permission."
"Whatever you say, love." Closing her eyes, Willow tried to block out the voices that had quickly surrounded her.
"Hiding in the dark?" She heard Dru ask her, her voice only inches away from her face now. "The shadows like to play games inside your head, don't they dearie?"
"Why is it they always say that? Does it give them so much comfort to know that some fictional poof up in the sky is watching them? Bloody bollocks if you ask me."
"Hush, the angels are saying that the Witch doesn't want us to be near her." Smiling with emotion that only someone with no sanity could muster, Drusilla continued to run her fingers through Willow's hair, tracing the strands from the roots down to her shoulders. "Isn't that right, little Witch?"
"Um…yes?" Willow managed to push past her lips, her voice coming out as nothing more than a whisper, much like what she had said only moments before.
"So the girl can talk to us then."
"Of course she can talk, silly Spike. Mummy wouldn't have liked to hurt someone and not have them scream. Daddy was the same way." Letting the girl's hair fall out of her grip, Dru carefully traced her finger along the small cuts that Buffy had left on Willow's face. The cuts themselves burning slightly, the Witch hissed but bit back the urge to say 'Ow' or even move her face away from the vampire's touch.
"Does that burn, little one? Of course it does. Mummy wanted you to make sure you knew that you were naughty." As she spoke, Dru let her finger linger over a particular cut, making the wound begin to 'burn' more and more with each passing second. Shaking her head slightly, Willow couldn't make the vampire remove her finger, the wound on her cheek almost completely on fire.
"STOP!" She screamed out, almost breathing a sigh of relief as the fire within the wound began to die down. Smiling at her, Drusilla clapped her hands.
"The dolly speaks, say something else. The halo around your head is smiling at us." As she heard the insane vampire speak, Willow felt her already low spirits drop even further. If Tara and the others didn't do something soon, she wouldn't be walking out of here.
Alive, at least.
"Are you sure you don't want our help doing this?" Xander asked, watching as Tara continued to scribble away at the paper in front of her, the pencil in her hand seemingly moving on its own. Looking up from what she had been writing, the blonde offered him a small smile.
"No, I'm fine. Keep doing what you were doing."
"Alright." He answered, leaning back into his chair and closing his eyes. Despite the easy-going nature he was putting out, he couldn't deny the tension in the room. There were only three of them left now, and that number could easily shrink at any moment. As long as Buffy's soul remained a prisoner inside her own body, the danger of being killed was present.
The first few rays of dawn began to make their way through the nearby window, signaling that the night was finally coming to an end. All in all, it had been the longest two nights of their lives so far, with two of their most powerful members having been taken out of the game by the two vampires that had been the most dangerous things in their lives for the past weeks. And then, one of them had come back into the fold, slightly, considering that they still didn't know if they could trust him. He had gone evil once, and they had no true way of knowing his intentions.
He had said he wanted to help Buffy regain her soul, but did he already know that her soul was still inside of her, trapped like some animal in a cage? None of the Scoobies had any idea what had transpired during those few days between the battle at the Mansion and the night Willow had allowed Buffy to enter her house. Had she shown signs that her soul had lost her control of her body, and that a fight had begun inside of her for which force would control her indefinitely? So many questions, and the answers to any of them were still nowhere in sight.
"Don't y-you guys have s-s-school today?"
"I figure that since our principal is dead, what's the point in going? After all, the threat of the world ending seems to put a damper on whatever studies I could have possibly been forced to learn." He answered, his body still leaned back into the chair.
"Same. Besides, who knows what kind of monsters Buffy could throw against us, considering that she's…well evil at the moment." Cordelia added, her head resting agaisnt her hand as she tried to stay awake.
"Yes, can I speak to Rupert Giles, please?" Upon hearing the staff's response, Cordelia rolled her eyes, even though the person on the other end wouldn't be able to see her response. "Well, can you go and get him, please?"
"Trouble getting past the front desk?" Xander asked, looking up from the book he had been browsing through, mostly in an attempt to relieve boredom.
"No, of course not." She answered, the sarcasm in her voice drenching her words. "I'm having trouble ordering a pizza. Of course I'm having trouble getting through to Giles!"
"Maybe try being nice to the people on the other end of the phone?"
"That never works. Being nice is over-rated." As the voice on the other end of the phone snapped to life, Cordelia's attention was once again fully focused on it. "He's asleep right now? Alright, maybe you can do something else for me. There's another patient there that I'm friends with, Faith…" Cupping her hand over the phone again, she looked at Xander and Tara. "Do we even know Faith's last name?"
"Isn't it Lehane?"
"I t-think so."
"Faith Lehane." Cordy said into the phone again, turning her back momentarily to the rest of the group. "What do you mean she's gone?"
"She means I decided to check myself out early for good behavior." Faith's voice sounded out, stopping herself from smiling as she entered the library and all eyes in the room turned towards her. She walked with a noticeable amount of pain in her stride, and for a single moment, she almost stumbled, but quickly regained her balance and continued forward.
"Faith?" Cordelia said, not even bothering to cup her hand over the phone.
"H-how are y-y-you?" Tara asked, her hand no longer moving over the paper.
"I'm barely five by five right now. I'll be fine though." The Slayer said, hissing for a moment as a wave of pain shot up through her stomach. The shape of wrapped bandages were visible through the rip in her shirt, the fabric still sliced open from Buffy's knife. The color of the shirt was dyed with a dark color that had turned to a blackened color, but at one time had been red. As she approached the table, Xander shot up out of his chair and offered it to her. As she slowly sat her body down into the offered chair, Faith prevented herself from showing any more of the pain cycling through her.
"Alright, thanks anyway." Cordelia said into the phone, almost slamming in back down in order to address the recently arrived Slayer. "How the hell did you get out so early?"
"What do you think May Queen? I snuck out. Grabbed my clothes and left."
"W-why? The d-d-doctors said you were in p-pretty bad shape."
"Slayer Healing remember? I heal faster than they could have expected." As the words left her lips, another massive amount of pain shot up from her stomach, making her close her eyes, as if to let everyone else know that she was lying.
"Yeah, right. Maybe the doctors weren't so wrong in wanting you to stay a few extra days."
"No offense, X, but maybe you shouldn't talk until you've been stabbed by a super vamp." She snapped, the pain influencing her words. "Because otherwise, I don't think you have much room to talk."
"Whoa, take it easy there, was only thinking that maybe you're not completely ready to go back, Slayer strength a blazing into the fight."
"Thanks for the concern, but I'm fine." Turning her head towards the blonde Wicca, the Slayer's face refused to change. "How goes the Spell?"
"Good, because I'm gonna tell you the same thing I told your little red-headed friend. If you don't restore B's soul, I'm going to kill her. Because me and her, we got some things to settle."
"You can't break those that way." He said, fighting back a small smile as he watched her continue to bash the cuffs off the floor beneath her. She had been at it for the past two or three hours, her face changing back and forth between its vampire and human forms as her anger only made her bash the metal restraints harder.
"You're going to make yourself hungry doing that. And I don't have anything here." Finally seeing the truth in her sire's words, the childe stopped, but not before giving the cuff one last bash. Leaning back against the wall, she gave an exaggerated sigh of anger and closed her eyes.
"Are you going to just sit there and watch me sleep?"
"I could. I recall that you used to like that."
"Don't act like I'm the same person you slept with. She's dead, Angel. Sorry, I'm pretty sure that dead people stay in their graves."
"But you didn't, did you?" He asked, pushing himself off of the chair he had been sitting in and making his way over to her. "You came back, minus a little wear."
"Come closer to me, and I swear I'll bite you."
"Just try it." He said, the darkness in his eyes still remaining from earlier. Looking into them, Buffy knew that something was off about them, but she otherwise remained silent, letting the anger inside of her build up its strength. Looking down, she noticed how close his leg was to the shackled heel of her own, and without further thought, she kicked out with it, grinning widely as he fell to the floor on top of her.
"You know, if you wanted to sleep with me, all you had to do was ask." She said, sarcasm drenching her voice as he quickly recovered from the surprise attack. His face morphing into its true form, his hand shot out and grabbed her neck, making her continue to smile at him as his own face changed into its vampire form.
"You know, since I don't breathe, that's not going to work." She said, making no move to make her sire remove his grip on her.
"Never thought that it would. Works at getting someone's attention though." He said, looking her straight in the eyes, the yellow color of their eyes matching perfectly. "I wouldn't recommend doing that again."
"Or what, you'll snap my neck? You know it won't kill me."
"It'd hurt you. And make you immobile until someone snaps it back into place."
"Oh, you're so sexy when you're trying to be evil." She taunted, rolling her eyes in the process. "Drop the act, Angel, we all know you're not capable of doing that to me."
"You really want to bet? Since it wouldn't kill you, I could probably suffer through it later on." As his grip on her neck finally loosened, Buffy bit down on his hand, the action letting some of her sire's blood flow into her mouth and down her throat. As he pulled away, Angel looked at the girl, and almost felt like thrusting a stake through her chest, catching himself as he remembered that he was the sole reason she was like this.
No-one else had changed her.
She smiled at him, licking her lips to make sure there weren't any stray drops of blood on her. Looking down at the chain connected to her cuff, she again looked at her sire, the smile never once fading from her face as her features changed into its human guise.
"You know, I just got an idea." Pouring all of her strength into a single kick, she kicked him away from her. Not waiting for the sight of him hitting the opposing wall, Buffy quickly turned her attention towards the chain connected to her. Making the metal restraint as stiff as she could possibly muster, she kicked down on it with her free leg, almost smiling again as the metal broke underneath her strength. As the broken chain spread out across the floor, the sound of it echoed throughout the room. As she pulled against the chain connected to the wall, it again broke, and she was back on her feet within seconds. Raising her fists, she managed to avoid Angel at he launched himself at her, his own fists raised and ready. Ducking, the childe still caught part of her sire's attack, causing both of them to tumble to the ground beneath them. Her hands curling into fists, Buffy's face morphed into its vampire form and as she slammed her fist into Angel's face, she pushed herself away from him.
"Didn't expect me to get free?" She asked, already on her feet again as her sire raised himself back to his full height.
"Can't say I planned on it." He answered, wiping a small bit of blood off of his chin. For a moment, the two simply stood looking at each other, their yellow eyes locked in a death-gaze.
"I can't let you leave, Buffy."
"Oh, and why's that?" She asked, watching him as they began to slowly circle around each other. "Too afraid that maybe I'll take up a bed with Spike?"
"You've killed too many people. I won't let you cause yourself any more grief further on down the line."
"Awww, you're so sweet." Stopping, she momentarily switched back to her human face. "Oh, Angel, when I look into the future, all I see is you. All I want is you."
"When I look at you, I want to die." Smiling, she stopped and morphed her face back into its true form. "Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Don't. You're not her, not completely. You have no right to talk to me like that."
"But I wear her face so well, don't I? I say her voice so perfectly. I am her, and you can't accept that I'm exactly like you now."
As she sat cross-legged atop the table, Tara closed her eyes for a moment as she took a deep breathe. As she regained her focus on the paper sitting in her lap, her handwriting stared back at her. The spell itself seemed simple enough to suit their immediate needs, and given the rushed feel that her handwriting held on the paper, she hoped more than anything that the spell would work. She had tried her own spells on a few occasions before now, but this was a more desperate situation than she had ever experienced.
If the spell didn't work, there was a good chance that Willow could die.
"I'm ready." She said, watching as Xander simply nodded and began to light a series of candles that sat around her in the shape of a circle. There was no other light in the entire room, save for the small ray of moon-light penetrating the window from outside.
The candles completely lit around her, Tara slowly began to read through the spell, saying each word with purpose and emphasis.
"Hecate, my goddess, hear my call
Help us free the one girl of them all" As her words spread out through the room, the atmosphere around the Scoobies began to turn cold, the air actually starting to move around them as if a breeze had started up. Her hair beginning to be blown back as she spoke, Tara continued to focus on nothing but the words in front of her. The flames on the candles were beginning to flicker, the wind threatening to extinguish them completely, but still they burned on. Closing her eyes, she let the magick flow through her, the sensations filling every inch of her skin.
"See the soul that lies inside
And free it from the bonds of which its tied
Weaken the demon that maintains control
And lessen the body's greatest toll
Bring her back, and give her control
And bring to light, the Slayer's soul!"
Dodging another punch, Buffy could see the caged aggression in her sire's attacks, the emotion barely under his control. He was holding back, partially in an attempt to avoid hurting her. As she swung her fist around, she grinned as her fist landed squarely on the other vampire's cheek. His body momentarily thrown off balance, he was too late to avoid his childe's kick and quickly felt his back meeting the solid combination of loose dirt and a small tombstone. Before he could regain his senses, Buffy had her foot on top of him, pushing him back down onto the ground.
"Tired already? You're getting old." She mocked, removing her foot in order to kick him in the ribs. Not deeming his attacker worthy of a response, Angel pushed himself off of the ground, and let his body drop back into an attack stance. Frowning, Buffy again resumed her preferred stance, and stared at the other vampire in front of her. Her body poised to strike, at the last possible second, something in the childe's eyes changed. The hardness and blood-lust that they had held for the past few weeks faded for a single moment, and the caring look that had been their normal feature a few months ago returned.
"Angel?" She asked, the tone of her voice having changed as well. Looking into her eyes, the sire could see the familiarity in them.
"Buffy?" As she took a step towards her, she backed away, her entire body shaking in the process.
"No, no, no, get back down there!" Her voice had changed again, the harshness returning to it as her face changed back to its vampire form. Her body backing into a nearby tombstone, her face and voice again changed, the soul and demon continuing to fight inside the same body. As she looked up at him, Buffy had a single tear falling down her cheek.
"Angel, please, kill me." And then, the bloodlust of the demon completely overtook her body, tone, and eyes, As she shook her head for a moment, the demon morphed the body's face into its vampire form once again.
"Sorry about that, seems someone wanted to come and say hello." It said, speaking in Buffy's voice, but using a darker tone. "Did you enjoy her visit?"