When Willow woke up again two hours later, she felt surprisingly refreshed and relaxed; next to her, Pat was still slumbering soundly, lying flat on her back, snoring softly, the noise making the redhead smile slightly.

As always when she had that chance, Willow took the time to study her lover's face; even though they'd been together for several years by now, she nearly felt overwhelmed by the feelings she still had for the demon, once more finding it hard to believe how lucky she had ended up being and how well everything had worked in the end, after the rather unexpected and unpleasant discovery of her partner's true nature.

Momentarily, her expression darkened as she thought of all the hard times they had been forced to go through together already, the countless battles and the horrible moments when she had been sure that the demon had been killed and had let the darkness inside her take her over; then, she pushed those thoughts aside, telling herself that all those bad times were behind them now and that, as soon as they'd dealt with the killer, they'd hopefully have peace again, even though she was well aware of the fact that in a town like Sunnydale, such peace wouldn't last for long.

As if she had noticed that next to her, Willow wasn't slumbering anymore, Pat now stirred slightly, her snores stopping seconds before she opened her good eye and looked at the redhead, the adorable sleepy expression on her face prompting Willow to let out a cooing "Awww", a giggle following at the way Pat raised an eyebrow at her in response.

"You're just so cute when you just woke up", she then explained, making sure that no snarky reply would come a moment later by bending over the taller woman and kissing her; the kiss started out innocent enough, but soon deepened as both of them simultaneously remembered how worried they had been about each other just hours ago.

"I love you", Willow mumbled after pulling back from the kiss, her words making the demon smile before she reached up to tenderly caress her lover's cheek, her voice not much louder when she replied. "I love you, too… very much."

Smiling as well, the witch bent down for another kiss, then got up and checked her watch, sounding slightly relieved when she spoke up again. "I think you can heal those burns now, it should work again by now…"

"Worth a try, I guess", Pat agreed, getting up as well; since she was quite aware of the fact that the taller woman couldn't really control her fire until she was finished with demoning out, Willow took a few steps back, then watched how her lover's body changed, by now so used to the process that it didn't even fascinate her anymore, even though she had to smile when she heard the seams of her partner's clothing groan as the fabric stretched to fit her much more bulkier demonic form.

Even in that form, the burns looked gruesome, Willow thought to herself as she watched how the transformation finished; the fur which usually covered all of her girlfriend's body in that form was gone where she had been burnt by the holy water, the hair quickly growing back though as the healing abilities kicked in and the burns vanished.

"Much better", the redhead commented, making the demon nod; she took another moment to remain in that form, making sure that everything really was healed, before she returned to her human looks, smirking as she immediately felt that the healing had worked out just fine once more.

"Much better indeed", she then let the witch know, "and I'm glad my clothes didn't end up torn, for a moment, I thought they would."

"Me too", Willow giggled, throwing a sceptical look at the pants, "especially the pants. Remember how they got torn up in the supermarket?"

"Of course", Pat grimaced, giving her girlfriend a mock annoyed look when the redhead giggled at the memory, "that was so embarrassing. I'm glad it didn't happen again."

"At least this time, no one but me would have been around to see", Willow smirked, only to giggle again moments later at her partner's reply. "Yeah, but if you want to get me out of my pants, you know all you have to do is give me one of those sexy looks. No need to ruin my pants for that."

"Good point", the witch brought out between giggles, moving closer to her girlfriend now that the danger of getting burned was gone and hugging her, "and I'm glad that still works, after all those years."

"I think that'll work until the day I die", Pat chuckled, the redhead giggling harder again as well; then, the couple shared another kiss, this one short and innocent, before they finally left the bedroom and made their way downstairs to join the rest of the group again, eager to find out if by now, anyone had been able to come up with a plan to defeat their foe.


It didn't really surprise the couple that Giles was there in kitchen with Buffy when they joined the Slayer there; the girls all had retreated to the living room again, sitting there chattering so loud and amiably that they could hear it even though the door leading from the kitchen to the living room had been closed.

"There are several options we came up with while you were getting some rest", Giles let them know as soon as they had helped themselves to drinks from the fridge and had sat down at the table with the Slayer and the Watcher, "but since we don't know how powerful exactly this man is, unfortunately, we won't know if any of them will work until we confront him again."

"What are your ideas?" Willow wanted to know curiously; taking off his glasses, the Watcher looked at her with a slight smile, obviously glad to see her alive and well, taking a moment to tell her this before he went on with his explanation. "Well, the first thing which came to mind was the spell you used when we fought Amy, the one which blocked all her magic. I remember well how dangerous this was for you though, and how much it drained you, so we are not sure if it's a good idea to use it."

"That was quite the draining spell, yes", Willow had to admit, grimacing as she thought of how tired she had been after that spell and of how much her nose had bled right after she had cast it, "don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind getting drained if it'd help, but, as you said, we have no idea how powerful he is… So what if I do the spell, it doesn't work and then I can't do anything else?"

"We thought about that as well", Giles let her know, putting his glasses back on after cleaning them thoroughly, "so we came up with the second option, which involves a more… physical approach."

"Which means that you and me will approach him", Buffy told Pat, smirking slightly, "and beat the crap out of him. Willow can distract him at first with that electricity spell that seems to work well on him, and maybe keep him in place with that vine spell, then it should be possible."

"I guess so", Pat nodded after thinking about this for a moment, "and I like that option more than the one where my girlfriend risks massive nosebleeds and ending up in some sort of coma for a day or two again. Did you come up with anything else?"

"One last idea", Buffy let her know, "but we're both not sure it's really good… We thought about taking along the girls who have potential and make them help Willow with the spells, but…"

"No good idea indeed", Willow shook her head, "they might have done a good job here in the kitchen, casting that spell which showed the magical trail he left, but I doubt they'll be able to remain calm enough and concentrate as much as they have to when they are standing face to face with that guy."

"That option is out of question, then", Giles agreed, "now we have two more left to decide from."

"I like the one with physical violence", Pat let the others know, not really surprising anyone, "and not only because I'll get to dish out violence, but also because it'll be less dangerous for my lovely girlfriend here."

"Why don't we combine them", Willow suggested after giving her partner a brief, but happy smile, "we can try it the violent way first and if he does some nasty spells, I can still use the one to block his magic."

For a few moments, Giles just stared at her; then, he shook his head and muttered the question why he hadn't thought of this to himself before he nodded, making the witch smile slightly at his dismay about not thinking of this simple solution.

"That way it is, then", Buffy decided, making the others nod, a determined look on her face when she went on. "Let's go and kick his ass then…"

"Can't wait", Pat muttered, already coming to her feet; the rest did the same, and while Buffy and the demon went to arm themselves for the upcoming battle, Willow and Giles made their way to the living room to inform the girls about their plan, all of them looking happy and relieved when they heard that hopefully soon, the man who had been threatening their lives would be taken down.


Since Willow was the only one who knew where exactly the killer's hideout was, she took the lead the moment the three of them had stepped out of the house, marching along briskly as she was just as eager as the Slayer and the demon to get rid of the man; she still was a bit worried about the powerful magic he was able to use, but kept telling herself that, with the spell she could use to block his abilities, it would be fine and that once he'd have lost his magic, he wouldn't be much of a match for her best friend and her girlfriend.

"Stop worrying", Pat's voice now came from her left, making the witch look over at her partner, "with the three of us there, he won't stand a chance."

"Again, I wish I had your confidence", Willow sighed out in reply, touched by how well her girlfriend could read her by now and by the fact that she thus had noticed her worries and was trying to take them away, "but alas, I don't have it, so I can't help but worry, especially after getting a taste of his magic…"

"What you call confidence is an overgrown ego", Buffy teased from her right, smirking at the way Pat raised an eyebrow at her, "but Pat's right, with your magic and our strength and fighting skills, he won't have much of a chance."

"I hope you're right", the witch gave back, smiling at her best friend and a moment later at her girlfriend when the taller woman grasped her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze, "but I was there for a front seat demonstration of what he can do, and let me tell you, it wasn't pleasant. I just wish I knew more about his abilities and powers…"

"Maybe you can examine his brain after we killed him", Pat said, sounding so serious that for a moment, Willow wasn't sure if she was joking or not; then, she saw the twinkle in her lover's good eye and shook her head, making the taller woman smirk slightly.

"I'd rather not, thanks", the redhead let her know, rolling her eyes when the demon's smirk widened slightly; next to her, Buffy smiled as well, then grew serious again as an unpleasant question popped up in her mind, sounding slightly concerned when she voiced it. "That spell he used to make you immobile… do you think he could do that to all three of us? At once, I mean?"

"I hope not", Willow grimaced, Pat frowning next to her as well at the thought, "I don't know much about such spells, but what I do know is that they take a great deal of concentration to be kept up, so… I guess it's unlikely he can do it to all three of us at the same time."

"Well, that's something", Buffy stated, making the other two nod; then, they fell silent as they kept walking to the house where Willow had been held captive, all of them growing more and more anxious with every step they took closer to the place of the upcoming confrontation.