A body slammed into a cript door and fell on the ground when the door collapsed. Confused, Eric, a man of about 25 years old with curly black hair, stood up on shaky legs and took a good look around him.
The last thing he remembered was saving Sarah, then falling to unconsciousness before an angel in the form of Shelly. Now, he was standing against a cript in a strange cemetary. He still wore the same leather pants and shirt as he had when he had died for a second time… or not. He was still there after all. He couldn’t see himself, but he had a pretty good guess that he still wore the makeup that had plagued four man with nightmares… or would have if they had lived long enough to actually sleep.
Why did he came back? Why was he still alive?
He turned around when he heard the cry of a bird. There, sitting still on a low branch, was a big black bird : a crow. He groaned. [Why me?]
Eric followed the crow as it led him to another part of the cemetary. It stopped its fly on top of a fresh grave. He crouched down in front of it and looked at the inscription.
Willow Ann Rosenberg
(1981 – 2000)
She gave life a little touch of magic.
Eric heard a cracking noise, like something was breaking. And the noise was coming from the grave right in front of him. He saw the earth move, being pushed up. A hand shot through the earth and something crawled from beneath the ground.
Eric’s eyes widened when he saw a slight creature with shoulder length red hair, magnificent green eyes and pale skin. She had gracious hands… even if they were dirty.
Willow had trouble seeing. Everything was spinning. She finally put her two feet on the ground and not underneath it. She looked down. [What was I doing in a tomb anyway?] Then, something caught her eyes. There was something engrave on the stone. It was her name.
Willow froze. “No! I’m not dead! It can’t be! I don’t remember dying!” A voice from behing her startled her.
“You are. Just like I am. You’ll remember soon enough.”
Willow tried to clear her eyes. There was a man in front of her. He was wearing black clothes and had dark hair. She gasped when she saw his face. It was white. He had painted his lips black as well as his eyes. The redhead was surprised by his appearance but she wasn’t that blind. He was gorgeous.
She startled when something flew by her head. There, standing on the tombstone was a crow.
Suddenly, her brain was assaulted by images. She cried out in pain, holding her head between her hands, desparatly trying to push out the memories from coming back. It was like a never ending spliting headache. She fell down on her knees, tears falling down her face.
She was walking through the park, heading to the dorm, walking quickly, not having a stake or cross with her. She hoped that she wouldn’t have a run in with a vampire... except Spike that is. He couldn’t hurt her.
In front of her, she saw three frat boys laughing like there was no tomorrow. They each had a bottle of liquor in their hands. [Great. Drunk frat boys ahead.] She recognize one. He looked straight at her. [Riley? What the hell is he doing here?] She saw him point her, talking to his friends.
Willow didn’t like the look in their eyes. They started walking toward her. One grabbed her arms as she tried to walk past them. “Let me go!” She struggled to get free of him. The guy was completly drunk and that worried Willow.
Riley took a step next to her. “But Willow, we want to have fun.” She whimpered as he grabbed her breast. “Do you want to have fun? Not that it matters.”
The redhead struggled, kicking and screaming as they pulled her on the ground. One after the other, they took her, sometimes brutally, sometimes not. After a couple of times of being slapped or punched for moving, Willow stopped resisting. She just waited for the pain to end, not even screaming anymore, too lost in her own world of pain and humiliation.
When they were finished, she just lay still, not bothering to move... not that she could anyway. It hurt just to *think* about moving her legs. Her teary eyes widened when a friend of Riley, an Iniatiative member, crouched before her and put his hands around her neck. He squeezed and laughed at her panicked expression. She tried to move away, but he was too strong. Her lungs were burning. She desperatly opened her mouth hoping to get the much needed oxygen. With a supreme effort, she dug her nails hard in the hands of the man. He screamed and let go of her.
She coughed a couple of time before jumping on her feet. Willow broke into a run. She ran as far as the campus before she was tackled in a tree. Her head spinning, she tried to regain her balance. When she was finally steady, she saw Riley come toward her, a knife in his hand. “That was not nice Willow. You’ll have to be punished.” With that, he plunged the knife into her stomach.
It took a couple of seconds for Willow’s brain to analyse the pain. She looked down and saw the knife stuck in her. She pulled it out, hissing. She let it fall to the ground and looked at her bloody hands, fascinated by her own blood, the symbol of her imminent death.
Slowly losing strenght, she fell on her knees. Through her haze of pain, she saw the laughing forms of the three men. Black framed her vision. She fell on her back and closed her eyes as she slipped into unconsciousness, to not be awaken again.
Willow let an anguish scream fall from her lips. Heavy sobs wracked her tiny body. She felt comforting arms surround her. She gripped the waist of the only creature like her, a walking dead and not in the meaning of vampire. She cried for all she had lost, for all she now remembered. She had been repeatidly raped and beaten, then almost strangled to end being stabbed with a knife. She had been murdered by the boyfriend of her once best friend. She was dead.
Eric held the sobbing, trembling young woman in his arms. He gently held her as he stood up, pulling her in his arms. She clung to him as if he was her life preserver. As he walked toward the cript where he had woken, he felt her sobs stop. She was just holding him, her head comfortably laying on his shoulder.
Eric entered in the cript and put her on a tomb. He tried to close the door. When he came back to the redhead, she was sitting on the edge of the tomb, her legs swung in the air. She finally looked at him. “Why am I back?”
“Two days ago, I was woken like you by a crow after one year of being dead. My fiance had been raped and killed as I had been shooted then thrown out by a window. I had the mission to destroy the four men that did it. I took all my pain and shoved it in a corner of my brain, forgetting about it as I extracted my vengence with a cold rage. I finally did it and I was supposed to go back to eternal sleep when I was called again. I awoke in this cript and I walked until a crow flew by me and stopped on a tombstone. Your grave.”
She sat still in silence for a moment, thinking about what he had told her, pain still laying in his voice when he talked about his fiance. “So, my job would be to take revenge on the three guys that did it.”
Eric walked to the redhead and sat down next to her. “Tell me.”
Willow moved closer to him and put her head on his shoulder as she told him her death. When she was finished, she watched in wonder as she saw his hand crisping into a fist.
Brown eyes met green ones. “We will get them, Willow. I promess.” He smiled gently at her.
“I’m not sure. I couldn’t *escape* from them the last time. How am I suppose to *kill* them now?”
“Willow, look at me. You’re dead. You can’t die again.” He let the words sink in her. Realization dawned on her face at the knowledge that she couldn’t die again. “Now sleep. Let the day nurse your wounds.” He lay down, bringing her to his chest. When he felt her steady breathing rythm, he closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Willow woke up with a sudden need for vengence. Her blood was boiling. Everything in her, every cells of her being was screaming at her to get payback. Revenge was her absolution. Her mind was in pain, her heart needed retribution. There was only one solution : kill the three men that had murdered her a year ago. Poetic justice.
The redhead jumped off the tomb and grimaced as her cold feet hit the floor. “First stop, shopping.”
“Do you actually have money?”
She jumped. She turned around and saw Eric looking at her, his eyes opened. “I thought you were still sleeping. And to answer your question, yes. I have money stashed in a secret bank account, not under my real name. Never thought I would use it one day. It was money to be use in case of emergency.” She looked down at herself and frowned at her clothes. They were more like tatters.
Eric smiled. “You’ll look smashing in black. And I must say that black looks pretty good on dead people.”
Willow laughed, then her face became serious. “I’ll also need makeup. Black and white makeup,” she added.
He looked at her, suddenly understanding why : his own face. “Sure Willow. Lets go.”
* * *
“Goodbye fuzzy sweaters, hello to the leather. You know, I actually look a lot like my vampire self from that other universe,” she said admiring herself in a miror.
Eric frowned. “Vampire?”
“Yeah. All the monsters your mother told you about actually really crawls at night. Sunnydale is a mystical point called the Hellmouth. Basically, it’s the favorite vacation spot for demons.”
Willow paid for the clothes then went back in the mall. People gave them weird looks when they saw Eric’s face, but men drooled when they saw the redhead. She was wearing black leather pants with a burgundy medieval blouse. A strange light entered her eyes when they came in front of a magic store. A range of athame were displayed in the window. She quickly went in and paid for a beautiful one, all silver with snakes around the handle. When she exited the store, she smile at her protector. “It could be useful.”
They walked on main street in silence, neither one knowing what to say. It was Eric that finally broke the silence. “Willow, we have to talk about something.”
“I have a weird feeling. I was alone when I woke up from the dead. You have me and you don’t have a crow to guide you, except for your memories yesterday. I don’t think it is a coincidence. I’m starting to think we’re are both here to stay.”
Willow looked up, startled. “Oh!” The redhead cocked her head when a illuminated sign caught her attention. “You know, I’ve always wanted a tatoo. Come on!”
One hour later, a dead witch got out, one black inked wicca symbol for death permanently drawn on each of her wrists. “It hurted like hell,” she hissed.
Eric laughed. “You’re the one who wanted them.”
She growled and pulled him faster to the cript where they stayed. “You know, if we’re here to stay, we’re going to have to found a new place to stay.” They went in the cript and Willow closed the door behind them. “Now, do my face please.” She sat crosslegged on the tomb and he sat close to her, getting out the makeup.
Starting with the white makeup, he talked to her. “For now on, you’re a crow, a dead one coming to right wrongs done in life. You’ll wear this forever, a mask of death, symbol of you revenge. Live again Willow.”
She closed her eyes as she let his soothing fingers play on her face and his promises of vengence calm her soul. When he was finished, a new face met her in the miror. “Wow!” She examined herself. “New body for a new life. You know, I think I could find a spell for us to switch for this face to one without makeup.”
“Let me guess,” Eric said. “Witches exists.”
Willow laughed and nodded. Her smile fadded as the feelings from when she woke up came back. “I want... no. I *need* to kill one of them. Now!” She jumped on her feeth and grabbed the athame, puting it in its sheat and attaching it to her waist like a belt, hanging low on her hips. She cast a look at Eric. “Take a look around. I want to find the first one alone.”
He nodded, understanding. “Go have your fun, Willow. Come to me when you are ready.”
* * *
She walked to the beat, music pouring from the club in front of her. She had been there often before... when she was still alive. It was the hot spot for all teenagers in Sunnydale.
And the frat boy had just gone in.
Willow grinned and followed him inside. [Too easy!] She saw him sitting at the bar, getting a beer. He was alone and there was no sign of the other rapists with him. [Good.] She scratched her face. [This makeup is itching!] Sighing, she walked to the bathroom, hoping to find an empty space for her to do her spell without witnesses. She liked the makeup, but right now, it was more trouble than anything else. She stopped in front of the miror and passed her hand in front of her face. She smiled as her natural face appeared. “Lets do our work, Will,” she told herself. She stepped out of the bathroom.
Willow was making her way to the bar when suddenly, she saw a flash of blond hair on the dancefloor. She narrowed her eyes, trying to dintinguish the form from the others. She gasped when she realized it was Buffy. Her best female friend was there, dancing in the middle of the room. No Riley.
Looking at the table, she noticed the Scooby Gang laughing. Her friends were talking, drinking, having fun together. Xander was still with Anya, Dawn and Tara talked together.
But she couldn’t be with them anymore. She was dead. Or rather, a living dead.
Her eyes were watery. She remembered Anya’s comments on sex and Xander’s way to reprimand her. His silly jokes he always made. What she remembered the most about him was is attempt at magic, when he had set fire in one of Giles’ books.
Buffy was still as beautiful as she remembered. Her hair were longer and she seemed a bit more stronger than before. Her little sister was still as cute, looking innocent. Her aura was pure.
And then there was Tara. The beautiful blond witch. Her sister in many ways. She was a witch, she liked life, she loved inconditionally. She once had thought Tara and her would end up together one day. Now, she would never know.
Three men was all it took to change her destiny.
Tears spilled down her face. Willow didn’t bother to dry them off. Taking off, she ran out of the Bronze, not caring how she looked for people on the street. She didn’t know where she was running. She was only burying her emotional pain in physical one.
Suddenly, she smacked into someone. She looked up to see Eric’s worried face. “Willow, what’s wrong?” he asked.
“I saw them,” she sobbed in his shirt. “I saw them all. They were there, at the Bronze. They were having fun. How could life be so cruel as to take me away from them?” Her knees gave out under her and Eric picked her up.
He walked to the nearest park and sat her on a bench. He crouched before her, looking into her eyes. “Look at me, Willow. You aren’t with them anymore. But think about it. Maybe it was your destiny to come back as a living dead, maybe you were destined to live forever and protect those you love.”
The redhead sniffed and calmed down. In a way, he was right. She couldn’t look pass this gift. And it was a gift! To come back from the dead, get payback, then help friends. She could definitly get used to this.
Eric smiled when he saw her aknowledged what he had said. “So, what do you say we go back to the Bronze and get ourselves a frat boy?”
She grinned evilly. “Lets go kill someone.”
Mark made his way out of the Bronze by the door leading to the alley. He was alone, laughing at himself, drunk out of his mind. [It’s a wonder he hasn’t been drained yet,] Willow thought. A lone drunk young man in an alley was the perfect prey... but of course, minions weren’t very bright.
Eric stepped into the light, making his presence known to the frat boy. He looked up and frowned. “Who are you?” he sneered. “What do you want?”
The living dead smiled. “That is an interesting question. What do I want? Only for you to suffer as much as her of course.”
“What’s up with your face man? And I don’t know any *her*.”
“Oh, I’m sure you do... and if you don’t, you’ll remember soon enough.”
Willow walked slowly in the shadows, her heels clicking on the boardwalk. She saw the boy’s eyes narrowing, trying to see her in the dark. She held her head down and shook it. When she looked up again, her face was painted in black and white.
The mask of the crow.
The redhead made sure to be visible to the boy, but still let her face in the shadows, letting her identity be unknown. “You’ve been a naughty boy, Mark. I’ve had a year to think about your face, your eyes, your identity. I’ve seen you before in my psychology class.” She smiled as suspicion started to cloud his eyes. “My voice is the key, Mark. Do you know who I am?” she asked sweetly.
Mark shook his head. “I don’t know who you are bitch! Now leave me alone!” he yelled.
“Wrong answer!” Willow replied. She stepped into the light, chin held up. Her hair was like a wave of blood surrounding her face and her green eyes promised death. “Sure you’re not the one who killed me last year. But you still held me down as you violated my body over and over again. You laughed as the knife was plunged in me. You said nothing when answers were requested.”
Fear filled the boy’s mind. A girl he had seen died not four meters in front of him a year before was standing right in front of him, threatening him. “What do you want?” he asked in a trembling voice.
“You keep repeating yourself, Mark.” Willow sighed. “Why, I want your death of course.” The boy froze, looking at the slight redhead fearfully. But he made no move. “Bored now!” she said, taking her vampire self’s favorite line.
Before the frat boy could do anything, she had picked up the athame and thrown it at him. It caught him in the stomach and he fell to his knees. Willow walked to him, savouring the sight of his pain etched on his face.
When she was beside him, he tried to grab her leg, but Eric caught his hand in mid air and held it firmly. The redhead pulled the athame out. “Hurts, doesn’t it? The feeling of a knife being pulled out of your gut... Tell me Mark, how do you feel when you are dying? Just wanted to see if you feel the same as I felt.” She smiled when he fell backward and expired his last breath. “Goodnight!”
Eric put his arms around her waist and put his chin on her shoulder. “How do you feel?” he asked her.
“Better. Thanks!” Willow looked at the mess in font of her and frowned. “Why don’t we go back to the cript? I no longer hold an interest on this alley.” She laughed coldly and pulled him behind her as he chuckled.
* * *
“How do you do that?”
“Magic,” Willow whispered. She passed her hand in front of his face and his makeup dissapeared too. She touched his face and her fingers slided along his cheek. “You’re handsome, you know that?”
Eric smiled. “You’re beautiful too, Willow.” He took her hand as they walked in the cemetary, heading to the cript. “And you know what? I like you even better when you’re wearing those clothes.” She laughed.
Willow froze. [That voice! Oh, shit!] She slowly turned around to face someone she had hoped not to meet. “Spike,” she said.
His eyes were wide open. He took a couple of steps toward her. When he was near enough, he touched her hand. “It is you!” he exclaimed. “You’re real!” He squeezed her hand. “How... what happened? I mean, you’re dead. I saw your body. I was the one who found you on the campus.”
Willow sighed. “I am dead, Spike. I was brought back to make things right.” She turned toward Eric and smiled at him. A black bird flew over their heads and landed on the dead man’s shoulder like it had done so many times before.
The vampire’s eyes narrowed. “You’re a Crow. Both of you. Fuck pet! What have they done to you that was so horrible you were able to step in the world of the living to get payback?”
Eric stepped in and put a hand on Spike’s shoulder. “Believe me, you don’t want to know.”
“Spike, you can’t tell them I’m back,” she pleaded. “They can’t know, at least not now. I can’t take revenge at the same time of dealing with my friends. You better than anyone else know they won’t let me kill the men who did this to me once they know I’m a Crow.”
“Ok, luv. I’ll keep your presences a secret. But if they start asking questions, I won’t be able to do anything.”
Willow gasped. “Spike, don’t tell me you still have the chip.”
The vampire’s face turned cold. “Fucking piece of metal is still stuck in my brain. I can’t hurt anything except demons.” When he saw her horrified expression, he continued. “I know the watcher promised to you to look into a way to remove it, but with your death, he forgot all about it. I’ve been reduced into another way to get informations, other than Willy.” He grimaced.
The redhead looked behind her and saw Eric holding out his hand. She looked back at the blond vampire. “Thanks for keeping my secret. And tell you what, if I don’t go back in my grave once my job his done, I’ll look into a way to remove the *sodding* chip.” She gave him a smile, then grabbed Eric’s hand and let him lead her through the cemetary.
“Good luck, Red! And have fun!” he yelled. Spike waved at them, then let his arm fall at his side. “There’s still hope,” he whispered.
“There. He’s one of them.”
“Are you sure?”
“I saw him up close and personal. I would recognize him anywhere.”
Willow and Eric were hidding in the shadows of an alley. The main street was right before them. The redhead’s gaze hardened when a bulky guy passed right in front of the alley without even thinking that if a vampire had been there, he would already been dead. [That son of a bitch is too cocky for his own good,] Willow thought.
The dead man stood up and pulled the small redhead behind him. They followed the guy on a small distance before they saw him enter one of Sunnydale’s many cemetaries. He grinned. “Want to go cry on... somebody’s tomb?”
Willow laughed. She took his arm and held it close to her, as if she needed help to walk. “Lets go, *husband*. I have to grieve for my mother’s soul.” They walked silently, making their presence unknown until it was the right time. They had no need for the unsuspecting initiative member to be alerted by them.
When they were deep enough in the cemetary, they stopped. A crow flew by and Eric smiled wildly. “I think it’s time to do our show.” He stepped back a little and the redhead knelt in front of a tomb she’s picked out like that. The man was still in sight.
The redhead started sobbing widly. “Why?! Why did you have to leave so soon? Why did it have to be you?” She screamed. “Damn it! You always told me to have faith in God... it didn’t worked for you. He let you die!” She laughed wildly, as if she was possessed.
“Are you alright miss?”
Willow smiled and stayed back to the young man. [And here he stepped right into it.] She coughed as if she had been caught in the middle of a quite embarassing situation. She stood up, but kept her face hidden. “I’m sorry I was so loud. Did I disturbed you?” she asked shyly.
The man was smiling to himself. She seemed innocent enough and an easy prey. [I will have her before the end of the night.] “No you didn’t disturb me. Do you want me to get you back home?”
“Sure.” She gave him her hand. When he took it, she squeezed his hard and he cried out in pain. “Didn’t your mother warned you about talking to strangers?” she asked in amusement.
The man started trembling like a leave when Eric stepped right in front of him, his face once more painted in black and white. “What are you?”
Willow startled. It was a very familiar voice and it meant bad news. [Uh oh.] She was kicked hard and she fell face first on the soft grass. Before turning around, she made sure her makeup was in place. She faced the small form. “Slayer,” she hissed.
Eric frowned. The redhead had changed her voice deliberatly. Somehow, she had known the blond woman when she was alive and didn’t want to be recognize so soon. It meant only one thing : Buffy, the girl she had spoken about with that Spike guy.
The Slayer frowned. “Wait, let me ask it too. What are you?”
“Nothing you can understand,” Eric replied. Apparently, the blond girl hadn’t seen him because she startled when she heard his voice beside her. He looked around and noticed that the young man had disappeared, probably ran like a coward. [Great.]
The angry look didn’t go unnoticed by the redhead. “Fuck! You let him an opportunity to escape you fool!” she told Buffy. She grabbed Eric’s arm. “Disperce!” she said, waving her hand at the Slayer. While she couldn’t move, the two undead beings fled in the direction of the University’s campus, the crow following them.
“Great. We lost him.” The redhead sighed. She did a gesture in front of her face and the makeup disappeared. “The night was starting so well.”
Eric grinned. “It might still be one of the best.”
A few meters away, the initiative member walked quickly, staying well under the spotlights. Willow shot a look at her fellow undead. “Lets have some fun!”
* * *
THE NEXT MORNING
“Giles, I swear I’ve never seen any demons like them before.”
At seven o’clock in the morning, the entire Scooby Gang had been called for an emergency meeting at the magic shop. “Well, what do they look like?” the Watcher asked.
“There was one female and one male. They both had creepy black and white faces. Clearly disturbing if you ask me. The female one has some kind of magical power. Oh, and when they left, a big black bird flew behind as if it was following them.”
Anya’s eyes widened. “Shit! Everyone looked at her and she sighed. “They aren’t demons. We now have two living dead humans taking residence in good old SunnyHell.”
“What are they *exactly*?” Xander asked his girlfriend.
“They are Crows, restless spirits roaming earth in a quest for vengence.”
Willow stepped back further into the shadows of the darker place of the magic shop. She had been ready to see her friends once more... but not face to face. So she hide. She had been curious about what Buffy would told them about her encounter in the cemetary the night before. She wasn’t deceived. In fact, she was quite pleased that Anya knew about Crows. If she revealed herself to her old friends one day, she wouldn’t have to explain all.
“Could they be from Sunnydale?” the Slayer asked.
“Probably,” Anya answered. “They always wake up in the same city they were buried a year after their death. Why do you ask?”
Buffy frowned. “I don’t know. The woman was looking familiar.” Then she shrugged. “I probably saw her in one of my classes or at the Bronze.” She sat next to Giles. “Last night, they attacked a guy from school in the cemetary... what he was doing there, I wonder.”
They startled when the door slammed shut. “Simon. Fellow initiative member,” Riley said, stepping down the stair. “He was found this morning, get this, *pinned* to the door of his frat house, his guts spilled out and some kind of bird carved into his chest.” He threw the military report on the table. “Would someone please tell me what is going on?!”
Xander grimaced at Riley’s description of the body. “New demon-y residents of the Hellmouth.”
Anya snorted and every heads turned toward her. “Yeah right. And Simon was a saint.” The Scooby Gang gave her weird looks. “If the Crows killed him, believe me, he deserved it. They are not called *restless* spirits for nothing you know. They are only brought back in the world of the living if something horrible happened to them. They probably got us rid of a great deal of problems.”
“And got us a bunch of others,” Riley cut in. “Pr. Walsh was furious this morning. Everyone’s going crazy at the base. It’s the first time an initiative member is killed when not on mission.”
[There’s a first for everything, sucker!] Willow thought, grinning evilly. [And you’re next.]
Buffy stood up. “Well, I’m going to information central.”
“Willy?” Xander asked.
The redhead eyes widened. [This is *not* for the better!]
Spike jumped up from his chair when he heard the door of his cript being slammed open. He groaned when he saw a blond head bouncing in like it was her house. “What do you want, slayer? Want me to show you how to knock on doors before coming in?”
“I much more want to know how to shut your mouth, Spike.” Buffy pushed the vampire in the wall and he grunted. “Now, you’re going to tell me all you know about Crows.”
He cocked his eyebrows. “They’re birds. You know, those big black things with wings that can fly? Well, that’s it.” He hissed when the slayer punched him and he knocked his head on the rock. “Back off!” he growled.
“Spike, I’m not in the mood for games tonight. Tell me what I want to know and I’ll leave you alone. Beside you can always go kill a demon after I’m done with you. Since you’re neutered, it’s the only way left for you to get rid of that tension.”
Buffy never saw it coming. She fell back hard when a fist connected with her jaw. She quickly jumped on her feet and her eyes narrowed when she saw the female crow looking at her furiously. A figure slipped from the darkness of Spike’s cript and pulled the redhead to his chest. “I can’t believe it! Spike! You were hidding them here?!”
The vampire sneered. “They simply are humans who were killed brutally and want revenge, slayer. Leave them be.”
“Like hell I am! You can’t help them! It’s not right to help demons!”
“And what about old friends?” a gentle voice asked.
Startled, Buffy turned back to the two Crows and froze when she saw their black and white face disappeared to reveal a much more human appearance. But the biggest surprise was when she saw who the woman was. “Willow,” she whispered. Then, she fainted.
The redhead frowned. “Never would I have thought Buffy would faint upon seing me.”
“You’re not the only one, Red,” Spike replied. He picked up the slayer and dumped over his shoulder. “Come on. Lets go to the Magic Box. The Scoobies always hang out there.” He lead the way to the door, the two Crows following closely.
“I know, Spike,” Willow said. “I was one of them, remember?” They walked silently until they reached main street. “What am I going to tell them? We can’t just go in, dump Buffy at their feet, then go out to kill the last one.”
“Who’s the last one, pet?” He shrugged when she didn’t answered him. “It’s ok. Keep your secret until you feel the need to tell me.” They approached the Magic Box. “You two should probably go inside in disguize. I don’t think I can watch another slayerette faint.”
Eric laughed and passed his hand in front of his face. His makeup made him look insane while he laughed. “Lets give them a show!”
Spike kicked opened the front door of the Magic Box and stepped in, the unconcious slayer slumped on his shoulder. “Honey! I’m home!” The two Crows followed him, smiling at the vampire’s antics.
Xander jumped up and failed to notice the two undead staying in the back. “Spike! What did you do to Buffy?”
“Nothing, Chubs. She fainted.” He threw the blond slayer at him, then slumped into a chair. “I’ve come bearing gifts,” he said, gesturing toward the entrance. He grinned when he heard several gasps around the room.
Willow’s eyes narrowed when she saw Giles pick up the crossbow and fire at them. She looked down when the arrow hit her chest. She pulled it out and threw it at the watcher’s feet. “It’s not nice to shoot arrows at dead people,” she said in her distorted voice.
“What did you think bringing them here?!” Xander cried. “Now, they’re all going to kill us!”
Anya rolled her eyes and put her hand on her boyfriend’s arm, stopping him from doing anything stupid, like punching the grinning vampire. [He’s up to something.] She frowned at Spike, then shrugged when he just stared at her. “Xander, they won’t kill anyone here. I told you before. They are here to make things right. We did nothing to them so there’s no point in attacking us.”
The angry watcher walked to the Crows and poked Eric with his finger. “What right did you have to hurt my slayer? Demon or not, I can’t let this pass.” Giles was punched hard and he fell on the floor, holding his jaw.
“Sorry, Giles,” Buffy said, stepping between him and the undead. “There will be no revenge in this place.” She turned around and stared deep into green eyes. Tears welled up and rolled down her cheeks. “God, Will!” She sobbed. “I missed you so much!” She jumped in the redhead’s arms, holding on to her, afraid she would disappeared if she let go.
Everyone watched in awe as the makeup disappeared from Willow’s face. “I missed you too, Buffy.” She whrapped her arms around the shaking slayer. “But I’m here now.”
Xander sat down, his legs unable to hold him anymore. He couldn’t believe it. Willow was one of the Crows. “Willow,” he whispered. Then he fainted.
Eric frowned. “It’s getting kind of repetitive tonight.” He sat down next to Spike around the table.
Suddenly, Willow froze. Buffy shook her. “Will? You alright?”
The other Crow stood up and took the redhead’s hand. He sighed. “It had to be now, didn’t it?” He asked to noone. Then he turned to her friends. “Her link to this world, the crow, is communicating with her. She’s having a vision of where the third guy is.”
“Oh. My. God. It was you who eviscerated the initiative member, wasn’t it?” The slayer asked. She gulped when the man nodded. She hesitated asking. “What happened to Willow?” She asked gently.
“I want to know too,” a tired voice said. Xander sat up, rubbing his eyes.
Spike was suddenly interested in the conversation. When he had asked, Eric hadn’t want to tell him, but he had doubts about what they did to her. “Tell us, Eric. They need to know... I need to know.”
The dark haired man nodded. “She was cornered by three drunk men. They threw her down and raped her a couple of times each. She was severly beaten. One of them tried to strangle her, but she managed to escape him. She ran a few meters before they caught up with her. She was stabbed. The rest you know.” He hugged Willow close to him and kissed the top of her head.
The bleached vampire closed his eyes. [That’s what I feared.] He controlled his anger and turned back to Eric. “Tell me, mate. Who’s the third one?”
“Tell me, mate. Who’s the third one?”
“A Jackass, that’s what he is!” Willow said, suddenly very aware of what was going on around her. “And when I see him, I’m going to stick a hot poker up his ass then skin him alive.” The Scoobies looked at her as if she had grown a second head. “Sorry. It’s just a delicate subject and I got angry.”
Eric chuckled. “I understand perfectly, Willow. You saw something?”
“Oh yes! Saw a bunch of things!”
Xander looked at her expectingly. “And? Who is it? Where is he? How can I help?”
“Hey!” Anya yelled, hitting her boyfriend. Then she looked at the red haired Crow. “I want to help too. I’m qualified. I have a thousand years old experience of torturing men. I’m sure I could find some neat tricks.”
Buffy took a step toward Willow. “We want to help, Will. You’ll get your revenge.”
They all froze when the redhead laughed evilly. “You want to help me yet you don’t even know who he is?” She stopped laughing and looked at them seriously, a dark look on her face. “Are you sure you can handle the truth?”
Puzzled by her dead friend’s behavior, she looked at Eric for a clue, but he was leaning toward Spike, whispering something in his ear. She frowned when she saw the vampire grip the chair tightly and she heard him growl. “Fucking son of a bitch,” he muttered angrily. “Whatever you’ve got planned for the bastard, count me in!”
“You can’t, Spike, remember?” Willow said. “You still have that cute little government chip in your head.”
“Then Get. It. Out. I don’t care how, I just want to see his blood on my hands.”
Giles gasped. “Willow! You can’t possibly be thinking of removing Spike’s chip?!”
“As a matter of facts, yes I am. He’s changed, Giles. He won’t hurt us.”
Buffy put a hand on her Watcher’s chest before he could put another word in. “I don’t care as long as he doesn’t feed in Sunnydale. You have a car, use it,” she told Spike. “I want part in this as much as you and I won’t stop you from hurting the bastard. I’m ready, Will. Shoot the truth.”
“Remember. You asked for it.”
They waited and waited. Xander sighed. “Will, what are you waiting for?”
The redhead grinned. “I’m waiting for him. Don’t worry. You’re all going to know his identity soon. He’s coming here.” She passed her hand in front of her face and it turned black and white. Eric did the same thing.
“Uh, pet. Don’t want to burst your bubble, but I still can’t hurt humans.”
“Don’t worry, Spike. We’re just going to knock him uncounscious. Then, I’ll remove your chip. After that...well, it’ll be time for fun.” She walked to the door and picked up the bottle of newt eyes. “Lets just hope he doesn’t have a hard head,” she muttered. She hid behind it and wait.
“How long are we going to wait?” Anya whinned.
Suddenly, the front door opened and they all stopped breathing, waiting for the person to step in. Riley came in, a stupid smile on his face. “Hey guys! Hi, Buffy! I was wondering if you needed help patrolling tonight.” He then noticed Eric standing beside Spike. “What the?”
“Sweet dreams, Riley,” he heard someone say behind him.
Willow slammed down the bottle at the back of his skull and the soldier slumped down heavily. “Never expected this, did you? Eric, give me a hand. Lets get him tied up like a turkey in the backstore.” The two Crows picked Riley up and brought him to the Magic Box backstore.
Buffy was still stunned, watching straight in front of her. Spike frowned and passed his hand in front of her face. “You ok, slayer?” She didn’t answer. “Buffy?”
“What? Oh, sorry. Still a little lost. Wait. Did I just really saw Riley, as in ex-boyfriend-but-still-friend-working-for-the-Initiative-and-helping-me-save-the-world, get knocked down by my dead best friend because he raped her a year ago then murdered her?”
“Yep!” Spike answered happily. “Isn’t this fun?”
“Spike, you’re hopeless.”
Buffy looked up when she heard Riley groan. “He’s waking up!” she yelled. The others came walking in the backstore where the Slayer had watch over the soldier.
When his head finally stopped swinging, Riley opened his eyes. He had to focus for a minute and then everything got clearer around him. He struggled when he realized he was tied to a chair. “Buffy? Untie me!” He frowned when the blond didn’t do anything, just kept staring at him. He froze when he saw Eric step in front of the Scoobies. “What the hell is he doing here?! He’s the demon! Kill him!”
“I don’t think so,” replied the Slayer. “See, we talked a bit and came to some arrangment. It seems that there were two Crows in Sunnydale. Eric here was *not* the one that killed Simon. Apparently, his... lets say girlfriend, had a run in with this Simon-guy before she died... more precisely, a couple of minutes before she died. She just wanted her revenge.”
“I don’t understand. Why tie me up?”
“Because you’re next, Riley,” a soft voice said from behind him.
He froze. He knew that voice well. He had heard it for a good hour a year ago, while she was squirming under him. He started struggling when he saw the black and white figure with red hair step in front of him. She sat on his lap and he had no choice then to look at her. “You never expected this, did you? When you raped me, beat me, stabbed me, you *never* once thought that you could get punished. I’ve learned something while studdying witchcraft, Riley : what you do will come back at you three times. I suffered for an hour Riley. But you! You’re going to beg for death before I’m finished with you. Bucker up! You still have three days to go. Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you last that long. Spike is an expert in torture. I’m sure he’ll give me some pointers.”
“You can bet on that, pet.”
Riley sneered. “Too bad he can’t hurt me.” He frowned when he saw Buffy grin evilly, something he had never seen before. He eyed her suspisciously as she walked right in front of him and stopped. Her palm opened and something dropped from it on the floor. The soldier only had time to see a electronic chip fall before the slayer’s foot stomped on it, destroying what was the only thing holding Spike, her mortal enemy, from killing humans... and him. “Buffy!”
“I had a revelation tonight. I learned that sometimes, humans are worst than demons.” She turned toward Willow. “I won’t watch, but I won’t stop you either. Do what you want. Who am I to stand in the way of a Crow anyway?” she asked playfully.
The Scoobies left the room in a hurry when the bleached vampire pulled a spike from his coat. Willow grinned when she saw Riley’s horrified expression. “Spike, could you please show me how you got your nickname?”
“With pleasure, luv.” He walked slowly to the tied up soldier, his eyes gleaming with hunger for blood. He wanted violence. He wanted blood. He wanted revenge for the misery the Initiative had put him through. He closed his eyes in pleasure when he plunged the spike in Riley’s shoulder, making him scream in pain. “Now *that* was fun!”
Eric laughed out loud. “I don’t think he agrees with you, Spike.”
“Who cares?” the redhead replied. “It’s for our fun, not his. Spike, could you get him off the chair and tie him up so he can stand?”
“Why’s that, pet?”
“If I remember correctly, I did say I’d put a hot poker up his ass if I got my hands on him.” She smirked at the soldier. Eric gave her the poker he had brought with him. “Bucker up, Riley! Soon, you’ll be dead and the pain will stop.”
Riley struggled when the vampire pulled his pants down and the redhead walked behind him. He screamed when he felt the hot metal enter him, the smell of burning flesh making his stomach turn over itself. He fell uncounscious.
Willow pouted. “He’s no fun. He’s out cold.”
“I’m going to use that break to take a ride out of town for a small snack,” Spike said. “Don’t start the fun without me, you two.”
“What shall we do until soldier-boy wakes up?” the redhead said, watching Eric with a small smile. “Think we can entertain ourselves?”
He took her in his arms. “You’re devious when you want.”
“It’s my dark side that’s coming out to play. Believe me, I’m still in total control and I’ve stopped myself. If I didn’t, it could turn ugly. I’ve met my vampire self from another universe once. You don’t want to meet her. But enough with the small talk.” She pushed him back on the wall and kissed him senseless.
“What if he wakes up?” Eric asked while fondling her breast.
“Let him watch,” she answered huskily.
They slid to the floor, forgetting where they were. They didn’t hear the door open. Xander came in. “Hey guys! How’s it going with...” He saw the two naked Crows on the mat and quickly retreated back to the shop. The Scoobies shot him curious glances when the dark haired boy closed the door leading to the backstore, his face as red as his shirt. “Um, I don’t think we should go back in for at least an hour.”
“Why’s that?” Buffy asked.
“Are they having sex?” Anya asked suddenly. When the boy didn’t answer, she knew she was right. “Ah, ah!” She held her hand out to Giles. “Pay up! I was right!” She beamed when the grumbling Watcher slid twenty dollars in her hand.
Buffy laughed. “Don’t tell me you were making bets on how long it was going to take before those two were jumping each other?” They nodded. “I don’t think I’ll *ever* be able to work on that mat again.”
Five weeks ago, two men had been found dead and it was believed they had been tortured before. Then, a third body had been found, a mutilated corpse that had needed dental identification to be identify. At that point, Sunnydale’s police had believe in a serial killer attacking males of around 20 years old. That suggestion had been rejected when the murders suddenly stopped. Not a single tortured or mutilated body had been found, except for the occasionnal corpse with severe neck wounds. But even those were rare.
The mysterious disapearance of a corpse in one of the cemetary was still a complete mystery to the police department. Noone could understand why someone would dig a grave to collect a body buried a year before. What they could not know was that corpse was walking and talking and had buried itself out of the grave.
Willow Ann Rosenberg
She gave life a little touch of magic
Indeed, a magical being she was. She was a Crow, one of the very few to stay in the land of mortals after getting revenge. Eric Draven was the only other one. They lived together in an appartement near a magic shop called The Magic Box. Every night or so, a redhead and a black haired man with both deadly faces painted in black and white could be seen wandering in the local cemetaries, hunting down demons and vampires. More often than not, two blonds would join them, one female and little but kicking ass like a wildcat, the other male and strong needing a spot of violence to satisfy his thrist.
One more thing needed to be done : the complete destruction of a government agency called the Initiative. The two Crows wanted it, the Slayer wanted it out of her way, and one of the Scourge of Europe wanted revenge for the hell it had put him through. It might be dangerous, but in the end, I’m sure they would have come out of it alive, or undead, content with their lives, or unlives, and ready to continue their battle against what goes bump in the night, even for the bleached vampire that was now part of the team.
Who knows what might come across their way, what may cross the Scooby Gang protecting the Hellmouth so fiercely, what might endanger their lives once again, what might die violently when meeting the ferocious protectors of bleeding SunnyHell.