“Giles you have to help her.” Buffy and Xander said, pulling the bedroom door closed behind them as they left Willow’s room, and facing the Watcher.
“I’m trying,” Giles said nervously, “I told you all that this wasn’t a good idea. We needed to find another way. The magic would be too strong.”
“There wasn’t another way. You know that.” Buffy responded angrily.
“Yeah. And you didn’t tell us it could kill her.” Xander began pacing nervously.
“Can you help her?” Dawn asked quietly from the top of the stairs.
Taking a deep breath Giles turned toward the teen-ager, “I don’t know. I’ve contacted the coven. They’re trying to find… something.”
“What about a hospital?” Kennedy asked moving to stand behind Dawn.
“And tell them what?” Buffy asked facing the younger girl. “That the world was going to be destroyed by an evil so big you couldn’t begin to comprehend it, and she used magic to stop it, but now she’s in a coma? Do you think they’d believe us? And if they did, do you think they could fix it?”
“She’s right,” Giles said interrupting. “Magic caused it, magic has to fix it.”
“Can we go see her?” Dawn asked gesturing to Kennedy.
“Yes, of course.” Giles answered, “We’ll be downstairs if you need us.”
Willow could hear her friends talking, even after they left the room. She knew they were worried about her but she couldn’t seem to respond to them. She couldn’t get herself to move at all. Did they defeat the First? Was everything okay?
“What happened back there, Dawn?” Kennedy asked. “I mean I’ve never seen anything like that? Willow was so… different.”
“Yeah. That was nothing. You should have seen her last year, when she was the one that wanted to… I knew something bad was going to happen when she agreed to use magic to fight.”
“Why did they let her do it if they knew…”
“They didn’t know about this. I mean last time she was… She was dangerous but she was okay. I don’t think Buffy or Giles knew it could do this to her.” Dawn looked down at Willow “They wouldn’t have let her do something they know could kill her.”
“Not even if it was the only way to…”
“Buffy would have found a different way,” Dawn insisted.
So they did win. They had defeated the First, Willow thought, but it killed me? No not dead, couldn’t hear them if I was dead. But then why can’t I talk to them, or move? I need Giles.
“Girls I think it’s time to let Willow rest.” Giles said quietly opening the door. “I should hear from the coven soon.”
Dawn and Kennedy quietly followed Giles out of the room.
Giles had called the coven, Willow thought, so this had something to do with magic. Too much magic, maybe. So why do I feel magic now: not my magic, someone else? Maybe it’s the coven, maybe their trying to help. Shouldn’t fight it, she thought as she felt the magic pulling her away.
Willow blinked her eyes open slowly, not entirely sure what had happened. She didn’t hear her friends talking anymore. When she was finally able to focus on her surrounding, she realized she wasn’t home, or any place else she recognized. The room was bare except for the bed she was on and a small dresser in the far corner. Then she noticed the woman sitting in a chair near the door.
“Um, Hello?” Willow said her voice hoarse.
“Oh my, I’m sorry I’ll…” The woman stuttered before leaving the room pulling the door closed behind her.
“Okay. So guess she’s not going to tell me where I am.” Willow attempted to sit up and immediately became dizzy and laid back down. “Hopefully she’s not evil and will be back.”
“Excuse me.” The woman said entering the small sitting room then waiting patiently for the two men to turn their attention to her.
“She’s awake.” She said then quickly retreated from the room.
“We’d better go see her. She must be frightened.”
“Come in.” Willow said hesitantly when she heard the knock on the door.
“Spike!” Willow smiled trying to pull herself to a sitting position as the door opened, “Angel!” Her smile widened, “You’re both here, uh where is here?”
“Let me help you.” Angel said moving to the bed and helping Willow adjust her pillow so she could sit better. “How are you feeling?”
“My question first?” Willow insisted.
“We’ll answer you, Luv, but are you okay?” Spike asked pulling the chair from the corner and sitting next to the bed.
“I’m fine. I guess. A little dizzy if I try to get up and very confused. Now where am I?”
“The doctor’s on the way.” Spike assured her. “You’re still in Sunnydale.”
“What doctor? Doctors can’t cure magic,” Willow argued, “and this isn’t any place in Sunnydale that I know.”
“Well that’s the thing. Sunnydale’s uh, changed.” Angel said quietly.
“Changed how? How long have I been uh, sleeping?”
“Well, see, pet, it’s been a hundred or so years.” Spike said looking down at the floor.
“I’ve been in a coma for a hundred years?”
“Not exactly, you, well, you died not long after the battle with the First. They sort of brought you back.” Angel explained.
“The magic? It killed me?”
“Yeah. They tried to save you. Giles, Buffy, the coven, Giles even let that Amy person try but no one knew what to do.” Spike said, “The magic was too strong.”
“So you brought me back from the dead. After what it did to Buffy, how much it hurt her you…” Willow said becoming angry.
“I told you she’d be angry.” Spike said facing Angel.
“The Council brought you here, but not from the dead Willow.” Angel explained, “We wouldn’t have allowed that. They took you from the time while you were still in a coma. Do you remember being dead?”
“No. I remember being in my bed, and everyone worrying. Then I could feel magic. The next thing I knew I was here.”
“They needed you here. They believe you’re the only one that can fight it.” Spike said, “So they brought you here to help them, then they’ll send you home.”
“But how, and you said Council, I thought they blew up? And why would they bring me to Sunnydale instead of England?” Willow’s mind was racing with so many questions she couldn’t stop from asking all of them at once.
“How is complicated so lets start with the Council.” Angel suggested, “They did blow up. The old Council. This a new one, very different. You are in Sunnydale because that’s where they’re now based. After you… well, Slayer’s still existed and there needed to be someone governing them in some way, so Giles started to rebuild the Council, contacting the remaining Watcher’s and bringing everyone to Sunnydale. With the help of Buffy, Dawn, Xander and Anya they built a new stronger Watcher’s council. With a lot of new ideas.”
“Yeah. Your Scoobies had a lot of influence on the new organization.” Spike said, “You lot proved that separating the Slayer from family isn’t always the smartest way to go. Slayer gets a paycheck now too.”
“Really?” Willow said smiling, knowing how much that would have helped Buffy.
“Yeah. Increases every year. Big increase when they reach eighteen, or if they ever have to support themselves.” Spike assured her.
“Being a Slayer isn’t such a secret anymore either.” Angel added.
“Never was to the evil anyway.” Spike added, “We always knew where to find them.”
“It was decided that keeping people in the dark about demons, and vampires wasn’t helping anyone. If people were more aware, they could do something to protect themselves.”
“Makes sense.” Willow said, “Now how did they bring me here?”
“Magic. A lot more has been found of the old magics and the information to bring you here as well as heal you has been found.” Angel explained.
“So I still don’t understand why I’m here. What am I supposed to fight?”
“The First.” Spike began pacing the room. He had never believed this was a good idea, and he was sure the witch was going to agree.
”I can’t fight the First. They need Buffy or Giles or… what about the current Slayer?”
“She’s new. Not strong enough. And it was magic not slayer strength that beat it the first time.” Angel assured her.
“Still I can’t, I mean, obviously I can’t kill it or else it wouldn’t be…”
“They know you can’t kill it. They simply want you to stop it again.” Spike said facing the bed once more.
“Do they know how dangerous… If I can’t control the magic then… I can’t do this alone.” Willow said leaning back against the pillow.
“You rest we’ll talk to them. See if they’ll send you back or if they can do something.” Angel said, “We’ll see you later.”
“Right cause I can rest now.” Willow muttered when the door closed behind the two vampires.
“What’s happening Giles?” Kennedy asked nervously.
“She’s not in there.” The woman at Willow’s side said quietly.
“How can she not be…” Kennedy began then turned her attention to Giles again. “This is ridiculous. She’s can’t not be there.”
“Where is she?” Giles moved to the side of the bed, “Can you bring her back?” He chose to ignore Kennedy because he didn’t have the answers to give her.
“I don’t know.” The woman said looking up at Giles. “I can still feel the magic around her but… Without knowing where she is I can’t bring her back.”
“So we just have to wait.” Giles sat on the edge of the bed. He shouldn’t have let Willow do this. She was still learning to control her power and now they might lose her.
“I’m afraid so. I’ll stay here in Sunnydale incase I’m needed. I’ll also contact the coven and let the seer know what I found. Maybe they can find something.” The woman stood up and moved toward the door. “I’ll come back tomorrow. If there’s any change call me and I’ll come sooner.”
Kennedy and Giles followed the woman down stairs and watched her drive away before returning to the kitchen to let the others know what they had learned.
Giles walked over to Xander and nudged him gently. No one wanted to leave Willow alone so they had been taking turns sitting with her. “Xander, go to bed. I’ll stay with her.”
“Thanks.” Xander said, opening his eyes. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”
“We’re all in need of some sleep right now.” Giles shrugged.
Giles pulled the chair closer to the bed as Xander closed the door behind him. “We are going to find you Willow.” He said quietly.
Watching her carefully hoping to see any sign of movement, or that she was back, he sighed when he saw nothing. “You have to come back to us. You can fight this Willow. Fight whatever took you away. I know you can control your power, you just have to believe it too.”
He was at a loss as to what to do. If she wasn’t in there talking to her was kind of pointless. But what if Althenea was wrong? What if Willow was in there? He shouldn’t have let this happen. He knew she wasn’t ready, now he may lose her because of his own carelessness.
Willow was sitting on the bed brushing her hair. After the doctor had been in to see her Angel and Spike had returned and taken her to a different room. This room was larger and beautifully decorated, as well as having it’s own bathroom. After all the months of sharing one bathroom with Buffy, Dawn, Xander, Giles, and all the potentials, her own bathroom seemed like such a luxury. They had also given her some fresh clothes and promised that tomorrow someone would take her to buy anything else she might need.
Now, after showering and changing, she was waiting for someone Angel had called, Price, he was the current head of the Council and he was supposed be coming to explain to her why she was there. She knew some of it; she was supposed to stop the First. Angel said that he and Spike had tried to talk to Price about sending her back but he said they needed her. Why couldn’t he understand that she couldn’t do it alone? Sure she had done the magic herself, but Giles had found the spells, and of course Giles and the others had kept her from losing herself again. What were these people going to do if she lost control, what if she stopped the First only to end the world herself? Spike and Angel were here, but they couldn’t stop her, not if… She needed Giles. He was the one that had really known how to stop her before. It had been Xander that had been there, but if Giles hadn’t used the coven’s magics to make her feel then Xander would’ve been dead.
“Miss Rosenberg?” A voice from outside the door interrupted her thoughts.
“Hello, I’m Edmond Price…” The tall thin man said entering the room and extending a hand to Willow.
“You’re going to explain to me why I can’t go back home.” Willow said taking his hand. “And how you got me here to begin with.”
“Yes.” He said sitting in a chair near the door.
Willow took a chair from the other side of the room and moved it closer to him. “I’m afraid you don’t understand how much can go wrong with what Angel tells me you want me to do.”
“I’ve read Mr. Giles diaries. I’m well aware how dangerous this plan is.” Price said leaning forward. “His diaries also indicate that you can stop the First.”
“Why is it here anyway?” Willow said curious, thousands of years it was silent now two big appearances in a hundred years. “What does it want now?”
“We don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Willow repeated, “You bring me here and you don’t even know why it is back?”
“Well no. We do know that it’s killed our last three slayers.”
“So it wants to end the slayer line again?”
“No, it hasn’t touched potentials. We believe its goal is to open the Hellmouth.” Price said nervously.
“Great! Another apocalypse.” Willow leaned back in her chair, “Even if I do try to stop it. It’s only a temporary fix. It’ll come back again.”
“A local coven believes there could be a way to seal the Hellmouth permanently and with luck trap the First inside it.”
“If I knew how to do that, I would have done it a hundred years ago.” Willow sighed.
“We know more about magic now than we did before.”
“Fine. Then why doesn’t this coven do it?” Willow suggested. She was tired and missed her friends.
“They say they don’t have the power.”
“And I do?” Willow asked.
“We believe so, yes.”
“After I do this I can go back home to my friends?” Willow asked still not sure she should agree to this.
“If you wish.” Price replied then hesitated, “But you should know, your friends don’t have the means to save you. If you go back you’ll be in a coma until you die.”
“Look, I’m not even sure I can do this. And if I can, I can’t do it alone. I need help, someone to keep me grounded, keep me from losing control.” Willow said, “And I’m not eager to help you so I can go home and die anyway.”
“Angel and Spike told us you said you can’t do it without your friends.” Price said, “We can’t bring all your friends here. But I have discussed it with the coven and they are willing to bring one person to help you.”
“Only one?” Willow said, “And still the dying thing. Can’t you tell me how to fix myself when I return.”
“You couldn’t do it from a coma anyway.” Price said, “We did discuss that before bringing you here, if there was a way to send you back to live a full life.”
“Well if I’m bringing someone here, what if you tell them? They’ll return to the way they were right? They could save me.”
“That’s a possibility I suppose. I could discuss it with the coven.” Price replied after a moments thought, “Do you want to bring someone here then?”
“Well yeah. If I’m gonna do this, I’ll need to have someone.”
“Um well, can I think about it for a minute?” Willow asked nervously.
“Yes. Can you have a decision by dinner?”
“Yeah.” Willow replied.
“I’ll send someone for you in two hours. After dinner and your decision Spike has offered to show you around.”
“Thank you.” Willow said as Price left the room pulling the door closed behind him.
Willow turned on the stereo in the corner. She didn’t recognize the music but at least it was noise. She had to decide whom she wanted to bring here to help her. Whoever it was would have to know enough magic to help her when they returned to their time. That ruled out Xander, Dawn, and Kennedy. The only reason it didn’t rule out Buffy was because the Slayer strength thing could be an asset even if she didn’t know magic. She could find out if they could go back a little further and bring Tara, but that would hurt too much, she couldn’t do that. That left Anya and Giles. Anya knew magic but could Willow really depend on Anya to keep her grounded, to keep her sane? That left Giles, who was honestly her first choice anyway, he was always the one she could depend on the most. He knew magic, he could handle her if she lost control again and she missed him already.
“Why the Watcher, pet?” Spike asked after Willow had announced her decision at dinner. The question was more just to keep conversation going than anything else. He knew how she felt about the Watcher; he also knew how the Watcher felt about her. Giles had taken her death hard, he had blamed himself, and he had barely spoken for weeks.
“He’s really the only choice.” Willow explained setting her fork down. “I need someone that knows magic. That only leaves him and Anya.”
“Anya’s probably not a good choice.” Angel replied. He had met the former demon and knew she wasn’t likely to be that helpful in controlling Willow should the need arise.
“I know.” Willow smiled, “How soon can we do this?” She turned to face Price.
“If you’re sure of your choice the coven will do it tonight.”
“I’m sure.” Willow said, “What will happen to him in my time?”
“He’ll appear to be in a coma. Until he returns, that is.” Price said, “That isn’t a problem is it?”
“I, uh, I guess not.” Willow said. “So he’ll be here tomorrow?” Willow asked deciding not to think about how worried the others would be when Giles also fell into a coma.
“Yes.” Price said rising from the table, “I’ll inform the coven right now.”
“Buffy!” Kennedy yelled from the doorway of Willow’s room. She had come in a few minutes before to take over sitting with Willow for Giles but found she couldn’t wake the watcher. “Buffy! Xander! Anya!”
“Loud enough?” Dawn emerged from the bathroom still holding her toothbrush “Is something wrong with Willow?”
“Willow? No.” The panic was rising in Kennedy’s voice, “It’s Giles.”
“What’s going on?” Buffy said reaching the two teenagers.
“Giles?” Dawn ignored her sister and headed to Willow’s room. “He’s just sleeping.” She looked at the other girl in confusion.
“That’s what I thought but he won’t wake up.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Buffy pushed past both girls. “Giles, wake up.” She nudged the watcher.
“I told you something’s wrong with him.” Kennedy insisted.
“Dawn go call Althenea, then call Xander and Anya get everyone over here.” Buffy said, “Kennedy help me move him on to the bed.”
“What’s happened to him?” Anya asked as soon as Althenea emerged from the bedroom.
“Is he sick?” Dawn asked.
“He’s not sick.” Althenea chose to answer the easier question first. “He’s gone, like Willow, I don’t find any trace of him in his body.”
“How can that be?” Xander asked impatiently, “He didn’t use any magic just Willow.”
“I can’t be sure. I’ll contact the seer again, have her search for both of them, but I don’t know how it happened.”
“So what do we do now?” Dawn asked as she closed the door behind Althenea. “If this was magical the only one’s that might know how to fix it are the one’s that need help.”
“I don’t know.” Buffy was pacing the living room. She didn’t like dealing with these things. Vampires and demons she could handle. Hell she could even handle the occasional Hell God. Those things she could fight. You can’t fight a coma, so she was out of her league here.
“Red any better?” Spike asked emerging from the basement.
“Same.” Xander replied, “Only now it seems Giles has joined her.”
“Coma too.” Kennedy said quietly.
“Problem is the coven is only looking for magical answers.” Buffy said thinking out loud. “What if the problem can’t be fixed with magic, what if it’s something different?”
“Great theory Buff.” Xander began pacing with the Slayer. “But our best researchers are gone.”
“He’s right.” Spike took a seat next to Dawn on the couch. “To research something this magical we’re going to need some magic knowledge.”
“So we’re screwed?” Kennedy asked.
“Looks like…” Anya began.
“Wesley!” Buffy began searching for the cordless phone.
“What?” The others all responded.
“Wesley, in L.A., “Angel.” She explained, “Wesley is hardly at Willow’s level; hell I doubt he’s at Giles level but he knows some anyway. Maybe he can help.
“Of course, we’ll do whatever we can Buffy.” Wesley said into the phone. He should have realized there would be no down time between problems. “I’ve recently obtained some books not, uh, exactly available here and maybe I can find something there.”
“Have you ever heard of anything like this?” Buffy asked hopefully.
“Sorry. But I’ll let you know as soon as I find anything.”
“Thanks, Wes.” Buffy said before hanging up the phone. “He’s never heard of anything like this but they’ll see what the can find.” She said, turning to her friends.
“So now what?” Kennedy asked.
“We wait.” Buffy sighed, she didn’t like that idea any more than Kennedy but they really were out of options, “We can try doing some research ourselves too. Dawn why don’t you and Anya start on the Internet and Xander and Kennedy hit the books and Spike you come with me. Maybe we can find some one with some information.”
Willow sat next to the bed. She had awakened early and immediately went to find the room Giles was in. Angel had been sitting with him, having decided that someone familiar should be there when he did wake up. Angel had gladly taken her up on the offer to sit with Giles.
Giles slowly blinked open his eyes. This wasn’t Willow’s room, hell this wasn’t Buffy’s house, Giles thought as his eyes began to focus on the room around him. Turning his head slowly he saw Willow in the chair next to the bed her eyes closed.
“Willow?” Giles said in quiet surprise.
“Giles!” Willow opened her eyes and smiled excitedly, “You’re awake.”
“Yes. And so it seems, are you.” Giles said trying to sit and becoming dizzy.
“Don’t get up yet.” Willow said pushing his shoulders, “Trust me you’ll be less dizzy in a few minutes.”
“Okay. And, Willow, where are we?”
“Oh, sorry.” She blushed, “Sunnydale but, uh, in the future.”
“Future?” Giles stared at Willow, “Willow what have you done?”
“I-I didn’t.” Willow began, “I mean bringing you here was my idea but I didn’t do this, a coven did. For the Council. They needed help and your diaries gave them the idea that I could do it, but I can’t, at least not alone, so they said I could pick someone and well, I picked you.”
Giles stared at Willow for a moment unsure of whether the dizziness was causing his confusion or if the girl had made no sense at all. “My diaries said you could do what exactly?” Giles asked slowly deciding to try to make sense of what she had said one thing at a time.
“Stop the First.” Willow began pacing, “I told them I can’t do it. I can’t kill the First, no one can. But Giles, they won’t listen. They say they have a way to do it but they don’t have the power, I do.”
“All right, so a coven brought you here to the future to stop First.” Giles repeated still trying to make it all make sense to him, “How did they get my diaries.”
“The coven doesn’t have them the Watcher’s Council does.”
“Willow there is no Council, remember?”
“You started a new Council.” Willow explained, “You, Buffy, Dawn, and Xander you built a new Council in Sunnydale.”
“When did we do this?” Giles asked.
“After I died.”
“Okay so I’m sure I understand this. You died, the rest of us rebuilt the Council, then that council had a coven bring you to…” Giles hesitated, “Where are we exactly?”
“A hundred years from when we stopped the First the last time.” Willow explained.
“So they bring you a hundred years into the future, then you decide to bring me here because…”
“I can’t do this alone. This council doesn’t understand how dangerous the magics are for me. Angel and Spike tried to tell them before I got here, I tried telling them, but they insist I’m the only one. You’re here to keep me from losing control, and hopefully to learn the magics necessary to save me back in our time. That’s another reason it had to be you. I mean, it had to be someone who knew magic so it was you or Anya.” Willow explained quickly.
A knock on the door stopped any reply Giles might have had. “Willow can we come in?” Angel asked softly.
“Sure, he’s awake.” Willow walked over and pulled open the door.
“How are you feeling Giles?” Angel asked.
“Red, explain the situation to you?” Spike asked.
“Price sent us to find out if you were awake and if you would be able to join everyone for dinner tonight.” Angel explained. “If you don’t want to it’s fine, everyone will understand.”
“You’re somewhat of a hero here Watcher. They all can’t wait to meet you.” Spike said lighting a cigarette.
“Who?” Giles asked suspiciously.
“Watcher’s.” Spike replied, “They’ve been waiting all day for you to wake up.”
“I’ll come to dinner.” Giles said.
“Ms. Rosenberg?” A young woman said from the doorway.
“Yes.” Willow turned her attention to the woman.
“The coven would like to know if you and Mr. Giles can meet them in the morning, they would like to start going over the information they have.”
“Yeah that’s fine, I guess.” Willow responded, “We’ll meet them after breakfast.”
“I’ll tell them.” The woman turned and left the room.
After dinner Spike, Angel, Willow, and Giles sat alone in the sitting room attached to Willow’s bedroom. They had all escaped the dinner party full of awe-struck Watchers as quickly as possible, Willow and Giles had so many questions and the vampires wanted to do their best to answer them all.
“Okay so we know I died and the others started a new Council but what else happened? Any one get married? Have children?”
“Where should we start?” Spike asked, so much had happened to Willow’s friends, he wasn’t sure what she wanted to hear first.
“He married Anya.” Angel stated.
“But they…” Giles began finding it hard to believe the couple reconciled.
“Fighting the First made everyone rethink some of their actions.” Spike explained, “Harris decided he loved Anya more than he feared being like his parents.”
“Anya reopened the Magic Shop. Turned it into a franchise actually. Still in their family too.” Angel said proudly.
“What about Buffy?” Giles asked not sure he wanted to hear this answer knowing it probably didn’t end as happily as Xander and Anya’s story.
“She gave up slaying.” Angel said.
“Not completely though, still patrolled occasionally but let Faith take over most of the slayer duties.” Spike finished.
“So she went back to school then?” Willow asked, hoping her friend was able to achieve a semi-normal life.
“Not exactly. She began working with potential slayers. Training them.” Spike said, “It was good for her.”
“What about Dawn? Oh and Cordelia?” Willow asked.
“Dawn went to college, then came home and became a Watcher. She married and had two children.” Spike said, “Her Great-Granddaughter is currently a Watcher here.”
“Can we meet her?” Willow asked excitedly.
“I’m sure you can.” Angel replied, “She was out of town tonight but should be back tomorrow.”
“So what about Cordelia?” Willow asked.
“Cordelia worked for the council.” Angel answered quietly.
“Did she marry?” Giles asked.
“Poof couldn’t get married.” Spike replied.
“You and Cordelia…” Willow said surprised, she had known how they felt about each other but never thought Angel would admit it or even try to have a relationship.
“Yes.” Angel said, clearly not wanting to discuss it any further.
“We should let you two get some rest. The coven will keep you busy tomorrow.” Spike said standing up and heading toward the door.
“Can you find your room okay?” Angel asked Giles as he followed Spike out.
“Yes thank you.” Giles answered and the vampires left them alone. “I better be going.” Giles said standing up. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“’kay.” Willow said following him to the door and closing it behind him.
“Hello.” Dawn said picking up the receiver. “Cordelia? Hi, how’s everything in L.A.?”
“I need to talk to Buffy or Xander.” Cordelia said quickly, barely acknowledging the younger girl.
“Sure. They’re both here. Which do you want?” Dawn said, slightly irritated by the older girl’s disregard.
“Doesn’t matter, Xander I guess.” Cordelia said. She usually preferred not to talk to either, but if she must choose she’d rather talk to Xander.
“Xander, phone.” Dawn yelled in the direction of the kitchen.
“Who is it?” Xander asked coming up behind Dawn, cookie in hand.
“Cordelia.” Dawn said handing him the phone and walking out of the room.
“Hi Cordy, what’s up?” Xander said into the phone.
“Xander, Willow and Giles are in trouble.”
“Uh, duh, coma, remember?” Xander replied. That was a dumb comment even for the former cheerleader.
“Not the coma, the First. I had a vision.”
“The First is gone. That trouble is in the past.” Xander said slowly, “Having delayed visions?”
“No.” Cordelia said angrily, “The First is back, well it’s wherever they are, and it wants Willow dead.”
“Listen to me.” Cordelia said slowly, “I don’t know where they are, but the First is really, really pissed off that Willow is interfering again. I’m not sure what its original plan was this time, but it didn’t involve Willow. Now it does. You guys need to find them and bring them back before it’s too late.”
“Love to, any idea where they are?” Xander said sarcastically, “Not like we can pick up a phone and call them.”
“Lorne’s looking into alternate dimensions, Wes and Fred are looking into magic, and Angel and Connor are, well, beating the hell out of the demon world trying to find something.”
“’Kay. So I’ll let Buff know the new situation and you let us know if you find anything.”
“Bye.” Cordelia said before hanging up.
“Buffy, Dawn, Kennedy!” Xander yelled replacing the receiver.
Willow stretched, she didn’t feel like getting out of bed yet but the coven was expecting her. Getting out of the bed she walked over to the closet and took in all the clothes that Spike and Angel had gotten for her yesterday. Since hadn’t wanted to leave Giles they had offered to take care of it, she had to admit that she was concerned. Spike could come back with who knew how much leather, and with Angel she risked an entire black wardrobe. Fortunately they had chosen well, not her taste exactly, but close enough. Quickly picking a long black skirt and a white top she headed to the bathroom to shower and dress.
Stepping into the shower she began to review the last couple days in her mind. She fought the First Evil, kicked its non-corporeal ass, and didn’t go all evil. Then next she knew she was a hundred years in the future, having to fight evil again. Thank God she was able to bring Giles here. She needed him, always had. He was the one person she knew she could count on if things went bad here. The one that would always be there for her, not that Xander and Buffy weren’t, but it was different with Giles. She knew that the others looked at Giles like a father or just another adult but she just couldn’t see him that way. Back in high school she had a serious crush on him, and somehow that had never changed, not even after she met Tara. As much as she had insisted to everyone that she was ‘gay now’ she knew that wasn’t completely true, if it was she would have been over the Giles thing a long time ago. Not that any of that mattered really, after all, Giles would never see her as more than a child, another of his ‘children’ to protect and take care of.
Giles stepped out of the shower wrapping a towel around his waist and heading back to the bedroom. He hadn’t slept well at all, too much had happened. Willow was alive, and awake. He still wasn’t clear how, but he figured the coven would explain that today. He had been so worried both before the battle, about whether Willow could handle the magic needed to stop the First, and after, about whether going with Buffy and Willow’s plan had killed the girl. He didn’t know if he could’ve dealt with it if she had died. Buffy’s death had nearly destroyed him, but Willow was different. His relationship with her was different, Buffy and Xander were like his children, he didn’t understand them, probably never would, but he loved them and would do anything to protect them. Willow, though, he had never been able to see as a child, she was… This was pointless, he told himself, Willow wouldn’t ever see him as more than a father figure.
“Come in.” Giles said. Startled out of his thoughts by the knock on the door and had given the invitation without thinking.
“Giles are you ready… Oh!” Willow said entering the room. “Giles I’m uh, you did say come in.” She babbled turning back toward the door, her face reddening.
“I’ll wait out… Just wanted to see if you were ready for breakfast.”
“I’ll be down in a moment.”
“’Kay. See you downstairs. “ Willow said quickly retreating closing the door as she finished speaking.
“What would you like to discuss first?” Melanie asked Willow and Giles after introductions had been made. “Our theory about the First and the Hellmouth, or what Mr. Giles needs to know to help you when you return to your time?”
“Actually I would like to know more about how we got here to begin with.” Giles replied. “If you don’t mind.”
“Of course.” Melanie looked at Willow, who smiled and nodded at the other girl.
The coven was making Willow slightly uneasy. They kept staring at her, like she was a freak or something. They didn’t seem afraid of her exactly but they weren’t treating her as normally as they treated Giles either. “Um, first can I ask something?”
“Oh, of course.” The entire coven turned their attention to Willow.
“Why are you all treating me so… Funny?”
“Funny?” One of the girls in the back, Willow couldn’t remember her name, asked.
“Different. Not like you treat each other or Giles.” Willow clarified.
“We are very sorry.” Melanie said immediately, “We don’t mean to make you uncomfortable but you must understand you are very powerful and very well known. We’ve never met a witch with so much power, it radiates off of you.”
“Oh, uh, okay then.” Willow said blushing. “Um how did we get here?” Now she simply wanted the attention back off of her.
“Okay.” Melanie said turning her attention back to her explanation. “In the last several years many of the oldest magics have been found, one’s that had been lost for centuries. Spells to move people or objects through time.”
“Can I see them?” Willow asked excitedly. This was something she definitely wanted to see before she went back home. “Spells to heal, uh, magical comas too?”
“Your coma was a result of you releasing too much energy into your magic. Well, specifically because you had to fight yourself as well as the First. After we got you here we simply did a spell to replace some of your energy then you regained the rest on your own.”
“Replace my energy?” Willow asked, “But Angel said I died in my time, wouldn’t the energy have come back on it’s own eventually?”
“No. The magics so fully drained you that your body couldn’t fight it. Couldn’t rebuild its energy. Magic was the only way.” Melanie explained.
“But it’s okay now?” Giles asked, “She won’t have any side effects?”
“No. The magic was white magic. We know her history we would never have agreed to this plan if it required dark magic to heal her.”
“Okay so now, I guess, how do we stop the First?” Willow asked, “Mr. Price said you had a plan?”
“Yes we do.” Melanie answered, “It seems to want to reopen the Hellmouth. I believe we found a way to close the Hellmouth permanently, if we can get the First close enough maybe we can close it inside.” She handed Willow a piece of paper, “This is the spell we found.”
Willow quickly read the spell and passed it to Giles. “It looks like it could work to me. But how do we get the First into it?”
“That’s what we aren’t sure of. It does seem to be targeting the slayer lately. So we were thinking maybe we could get her to lure it there but lately the slayers haven’t been living long enough to accomplish something like that.”
“Maybe Angel or Spike…” Giles thought out loud, “They’ve been targets before…”
“But isn’t that risky. I mean the First totally played them Giles. Had Angel ready to fry himself and Spike killing, I don’t know if it’s safe.” Willow had begun pacing the length of the small room.
“What do you suggest?” Giles asked, hoping she had a better plan, he agreed completely with every one of her suggestions.
“Can I have a couple days to think about it?” Willow asked.
“Sure, but the longer you take…” Melanie said reluctantly.
“I know.” Willow said sadly. She knew she needed a decision fast.
“Giles I’ve been thinking.” Willow said as soon as she saw the Watcher sitting in the library.
“About?” Giles looked up from the book he had been reading, glad to have some company.
“Buffy, Xander, everyone.” Willow pulled a chair over to sit closer to Giles. “They must be terrified. I mean first I am in a coma then all of sudden so are you. It’s not like they know where we are.”
“You’re right. They must be concerned but I don’t know what we can do.”
“That’s what I’ve been thinking about. What if we can contact them let them know that we’re okay?” Willow said quickly.
“Willow, we’re a hundred years in the future, how do you propose we…”
“Magic.” Willow leaned forward. “I’ve been looking through the coven’s books. I think I found a spell that could allow us to contact one of them. Just to let them know.”
“Have you spoken to Melanie?” Giles asked, not sure he wanted Willow experimenting with any more magics than she had too.
“I wanted to see what you thought first.” Willow replied shaking her head. “Do you think it’ll work?”
“I don’t know.” Giles removed his glasses and began searching for something to clean them.
“Will you help me though? If Melanie approves?”
“Of course.” Giles replied.
“Oh, and Spike and Angel are going to show us around the new Sunnydale tonight. You don’t mind do you?” Willow asked as she stood and replaced the chair she had moved.
“That sounds fine. We should at least know the area before we try fighting anything.”
“Angel said we might be able to meet the Slayer tonight too.” Willow said as she exited the room. “I’m going to go see what I can find on that spell and then call Melanie.”
“Nice to see patrolling hasn’t changed at all.” Willow said wiping dust off her jeans as Spike pulled a stake out of a vampire.
“Yeah, a lot of things may change but not slaying.” Spike commented before turning back to help Angel with the other vampires.
“Ooh is that the Bronze?” Willow asked excitedly pointing to a building across the street.
“What? Yeah I guess it is.” Angel said looking in the direction Willow was pointing. “Hasn’t been called that in a long time though.”
“Oh, but it’s not a vampire club like in that horrible world Anya created right?”
“No. Still a club but different name and eighteen and older now, kids are kind of discouraged from going out after dark.” Spike replied.
Before Willow could ask any questions, a scream came from one of the cemeteries. Spike and Angel glanced at each other reluctantly.
“Go. We can find our way back.” Willow assured them. “Really?” She insisted.
“It’s not like we’ve never faced a demon before. And we are armed.” Giles pointed out.
“You can find your way back?” Angel asked still unsure.
“Yes. Go.” Willow said, “Save the world.”
Giles and Willow watched as the two vampires took off in the direction of the scream. “Who would’ve thought Angel and Spike would not only get along but actually be friends?” Giles said as they disappeared from sight.
“Guess when you outlive everyone you know you have to make adjustments.” Willow said, “Wanna go back home or go to that club.”
“Oh come on. Everyone we know died years ago. Who’s gonna know that that you did it?” Willow insisted pulling him toward the club across the street.
Giles returned to the table carrying two drinks. Setting one in front of Willow, he took a sip of the other as he sat down. “Having fun?” He asked.
“Sort of.” Willow said. “Going to a club is a lot more fun with all your friends than alone.”
“You’re not alone.” Giles replied, having to shout over the music, some things never change.
“That’s not what I meant.” Willow corrected, “I mean you’re here but you don’t…”
“It’s not as much fun being here with an old man?”
“No, I mean you are not old Giles.” Willow quickly took a sip of her drink.
“Older than you.”
“Well yeah but that makes you more…Interesting.” Willow said smiling.
“You think I’m interesting?”
“Of course. You know, well, you’re smart and cute and strong and…”
“Cute?” Giles inquired.
“Oh God, did I say that?” Willow said her face quickly turning the color of her hair. “Okay too much time around Anya. Thoughts aren’t supposed to pop out like that. I know let’s just forget I said it.”
“But you thought it?” Giles asked.
“Giles I…” Willow quickly finished her drink. “I don’t expect you to… I shouldn’t have said that. It’s not like you…”
“Why do you think I don’t?” Giles asked raising an eyebrow.
“Because you’re…Well you’re Giles.” Willow stammered.
“Is there a reason you all think I’m asexual?” Giles asked slightly angry.
“Asexual? I don’t, It’s just that I’m, well, I’m just me.” Willow tried to explain, he obviously didn’t understand that the problem was her. How could he ever be interested in her?
“Well, yeah. How could you ever take me seriously, I mean first I’m that shy little nerd hanging out in the library…” Willow said nervously trying not to look at him.
“You haven’t been her in a very long time.”
“No then last year I tried to kill you, and end the world. So much better there.”
“So that means no one would possibly find you attractive?” Giles asked. “What about Kennedy?”
“Oh see that’s another problem. Gay now.”
“Yes that is a problem. But are you gay?”
“Tara, Kennedy?” Willow said looking up at the Watcher.
“Oz, Xander?” Giles countered.
“Many people find both sexes attractive Willow.” Giles said calmly.
“I, uh, I guess I… Can we talk about something else please?” Willow finally stammered.
“Dance?” Giles asked.
“Come on, everyone we know died years ago. Who’s gonna find out?” Giles repeated her earlier words.
“Fine.” Willow said taking his hand as he headed toward the dance floor.
“We were just getting ready to go out and look for you two.” Angel said as Willow and Giles came through the front door laughing.
“We’re sorry we just stopped at that club and…” Willow began.
“And lost track of time.” Giles said. “Sorry to have worried you.”
“Still want to meet the Slayer?” Spike asked. Glad to have Angel stop pacing.
“Sure. It’s not too late?” Willow asked.
“No she just returned from patrol.” Spike explained. “Come on. She’s in the kitchen.”
The pair followed Spike as he pushed the kitchen door open. “Abigail, they’re back now.”
“Oh, sorry.” The young dark haired girl said turning to face the people standing just inside the door. “Starving after patrol.”
“Willow, Giles this is Abigail. The newest Slayer.” Spike said, “Now if you all don’t mind I have some things to do.” He finished and quickly exited the room, leaving them alone.
“Hello.” Giles and Willow said in unison.
“Hi.” Abigail said finishing off the sandwich she had been eating. “Wow. You’re Rupert Giles. And you,” She said turning her attention to Willow, “you really don’t look like someone who could destroy the world.”
“That’s because I’m not cranky right now.” Willow said smiling. “Can we ask you some questions about the First?”
“Can. But don’t know how much I can help you. You probably know more than me.” Abigail said pulling out a chair and sitting down, gesturing to Willow and Giles to do the same.
“Do you know what it wants?” Giles asked as he and Willow took seats across from her. “Has it approached you?”
“Approached me? I thought it wasn’t corporeal.” Abigail said confused.
“It takes the form of dead people.” Willow explained.
“Um, I don’t think it has. But Mr. Price and my watcher seem to think it’s trying to open the Hellmouth. That’s killing slayers because they’re getting in the way.”
“That’s what he told me too.” Willow said, “We want to ask you to do something. If you don’t want to that’s fine we’ll understand.”
“Would you be willing to lure it to the Hellmouth?” Willow asked. “Spike and Angel would be watching. You’d be protected.”
“Wouldn’t it be dangerous to lead it right to the Hellmouth?”
“The coven believes if we can get it to the Hellmouth that Willow will be able to trap it inside.” Giles explained.
“Then I guess, I mean what can it hurt right. Angel and Spike will be there.”
“Great.” Willow said relieved that some part of their plan might go right. “We’ll let you know exactly what you have to do as soon as we figure it out.”
“’Kay. Then I’ll see you later.” Abigail said standing up. “I’m going to bed, got school tomorrow.”
“Bitch. What the hell is she doing here?” Angel said quietly at the door. “This wasn’t supposed to…’Night Abigail.”
“Good night Angel.” Abigail said as she passed him.
He watched her leave before quickly disappearing before Willow and Giles left the kitchen.
“Has anyone found anything yet?” Buffy asked slamming a book shut, “’Cause I got nothing.”
“Nothing” Kennedy replied,
“Zero” Dawn slammed her book closed.
“Nada.” Xander agreed.
“This is useless.” From Anya, “How are we supposed to find anything without the two research geniuses?”
“Not really seeing much of a choice just now.” Xander said closing his own book.
“He’s right. We aren’t just going to sit around and wait for the First to take them out, wherever they are.” Dawn said quietly.
“Xander are you okay?” Buffy asked noticing her friend no longer seemed to be listening to them, but was concentrating on something.
“Willow?” Xander said cautiously. “Where are you?”
“Xander?” Anya asked, as everyone else continued to stare at him.
“Willow? Can you hear me?” He asked again. “Right just listen,” He stopped for a moment and listened quietly. “’Kay got it.”
“Xander?” Buffy asked not sure what had just happened.
“Willow… She, um…” Xander began not sure how to explain what had happened. “Willow’s okay. So is Giles.”
“How do you know that?” Kennedy asked still confused about the whole concept of magic.
“She uh, told me.” Xander hesitated. “She said she couldn’t hear me but that her and Giles were a hundred years in the future and they were okay. They have to stop the First from opening the Hellmouth…”
“Again?” Dawn and Anya both interrupted.
“Yeah. Anyway, they’re okay and have a plan. Angel and Spike are there too. They’ll come back as soon as it’s done.”
“Do they know it wants to kill them?” Spike asked.
“Doubt it. Couldn’t ask any questions,” Xander said sparing the vampire a glance, “But she says not to worry.”
“We’ve got to get her back here.” Buffy said, “Don’t care what she says. I’m worried.”
“But hey, if we know where they are maybe we can bring them back.” Dawn said excitedly.
“I’ll call Althenea and Amy and get them both over here.” Xander said reaching for the phone as he spoke.
Willow was putting away the last of the magic supplies when Giles knocked on her bedroom door. “Come in.” Willow said closing the drawer after setting several items inside.
“How’d it go?” Giles asked.
“Great, I couldn’t get to Buffy. But I found Xander.” Willow said smiling. “Told him where we are and that we’re okay. Though I could sense he wanted to tell me something.”
“We need to figure out what we’re going to do quickly Willow.” Giles said as he began to pace the length of the room. “We not only need to return to Buffy and the others but we are also in a lot of danger here.”
“This is because of our, uh, talk last night isn’t it?” Willow asked stepping in front of him. “You want to go back so we can ignore what we, what I said.”
“Willow, no.” He said reaching for her, “That’s not it at all. I may not have thought we’d ever have that discussion but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to have it.”
“Are you saying that you… That we could…” Willow stammered.
“Yes.” Giles said before pulling her against him and lowering his head to kiss her.
Spike stood outside Willow’s door watching the scene inside. “This could make things much easier. If the witch cares for the watcher I may be able to use that weakness.” He mumbled before disappearing, couldn’t risk one of the vampires spotting him and realizing he wasn’t who he appeared to be.
“Did you hear someone outside the room?” Willow asked pulling away from Giles.
“No.” Giles replied, “Are we going to discuss this or pretend like it isn’t happening?”
“Avoiding was my thought.” Willow said, “Giles I lo… I can’t do this right now. We have to figure out our plan first.”
“Let’s go to dinner tonight.” Giles suggested, “We can’t work all the time.”
“Dinner? I…” Willow stammered.
“Just Dinner, maybe dance some more.”
“All right I guess.” Willow agreed. “Where are we going?”
“Mr. Price suggested a few places we might enjoy.”
“You told Price that we…” Willow said staring at the watcher.
“Wanted to go out to eat.” Giles finished, “Don’t worry so much. Now we are supposed to meet Melanie. Shall we?” He finished extending his arm to Willow.
“Let’s go learn some spells.” Willow said smiling as she took his hand following him out of the room.
“So that’s all we know.” Buffy said watching Amy closely. She still wasn’t happy about needing the witches help, but if Althenea couldn’t do anything Amy could be their only hope.
“I’ll speak to the coven, but honestly I don’t know of any spell to bring someone from the future.” Althenea admitted.
“Not even if they belong here?” Xander asked obviously grasping at straws now. His friend was in danger and they needed to get her back, or at least warn her.
“No. But as I said I’ll contact the coven right away.” Althenea said standing up and heading to the door. Dawn following behind her.
“I don’t know how to bring her back, but I may know how you can contact her.” Amy said after hearing the door closed.
“Amy if this is a prank or…” Xander said not trusting her any more than Buffy did.
“It’s not. I’m not even sure it’ll work.” Amy looked briefly at Xander before returning her attention to Buffy. “One of you will have to do it. It has to be someone she’ll let into her mind.”
“I’ll do it.” Kennedy volunteered.
“You sure?” Buffy asked Kennedy, then to Amy, “Is it dangerous?”
“Not really. Just keep in mind you’ll be in Willow’s mind. I don’t know what you’ll see. She obviously has some dark stuff in there. And she won’t be able to communicate with you.”
“Like when she talked to me.” Xander said.
“Yeah.” Amy agreed. “Possibly the same spell, I’m not sure. But this will only work if she’s still in Sunnydale.”
“We’ll take that chance.” Buffy said. “Can we do it tonight?”
“I’ll come back in a few hours.” Amy agreed.
“Let’s discuss what you need to tell her then.” Buffy said to Kennedy. “Let’s talk in the kitchen.
“So Giles, do you think Melanie’s spell will work? Can we really trap the First inside the Hellmouth, which I thought was closed anyway?” Willow said sitting across from the former watcher as they waited for their food to arrive.
Giles took a sip of his wine before answering. “I think it could work, yes. But it’s dangerous; it uses a great deal of magic, some of it dark. Are you sure you can do this?”
“No.” Willow said quietly. “If I… Giles I don’t want to endanger these people. If I… If… Giles if you think I might hurt these people will you…”
“Yes.” Giles answered. “I’ll make sure they’re safe. Though there doesn’t seem to have been any activity from the First since we arrived.”
“I know, but it’s happened before.” Willow said taking a sip of her drink. “Doesn’t mean it’s not still here. I am worried about Abigail. She’s new, and it’s been picking off slayers pretty quickly.”
“It’s her job, you know that Willow. We’ll protect her the best we can but…”
“I know but, I wish there was a way to lure the First without involving her.” Willow sighed and smiled at the waiter who had just arrived at the table.
“Thank you.” Giles said as the waiter set the last plate on the table, and waited for him to walk away before responding to Willow.
“We can look into it tomorrow.” Giles picked up his fork and began eating.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Buffy asked Kennedy, as she lit the last of the candles. “Xander or Dawn could do it. Faith is still here, so I could do it if you want.”
“No, I’ll do it.” Kennedy insisted. “I’m prepared for what I could find.”
“Are you guys ready?” Amy asked coming in the room. “You know what you’re supposed to tell her?” She glanced at Kennedy.
“Yeah, She’s in danger, the First is after her now, not the slayers or the Hellmouth.” Kennedy said, “And we all miss her. Oh, Giles is in danger too.”
“’Kay, let’s get started.” Amy said entering the circle of candles with Kennedy. “Don’t forget you can talk to her, but you probably won’t be able to hear her.”
“Let’s just do it already.” Kennedy replied sitting across from Amy on the floor and taking her hand.
Kennedy took Amy’s hands and closed her eyes as Amy instructed. Amy then closed her own eyes and began a quiet chant. Kennedy felt her body start to sway, as she felt slightly dizzy. Within moments, Amy’s voice began to fade and she could hear Willow and Giles but only faintly. She slowly opened her eyes; she was in a restaurant, not one she was familiar with though, looking at Giles. Okay, she thought, where the hell am I.
“Willow?” Kennedy said quietly, a little disoriented from unfamiliar surroundings and the spell.
Kennedy started to pull away from Willow, now she was looking at Willow and Giles both; they were dancing, and talking quietly. She couldn’t make out what they were saying, but they seemed close. “Willow?”
Willow’s head jerked off Giles shoulder, at the sound of her name, only it wasn’t Giles saying it. It was Kennedy. “Kennedy?” She said softly.
“Willow?” Giles asked, “Is something wrong?”
“I hear Kennedy. She’s calling me.”
“Are you sure?” Giles asked, “The First impersonates the dead, Kennedy would be dead now.”
“I know but… It sounds so real.” Willow said sadly.
“Willow, you need to get back here. Some girl from L.A. called and said the First wants you dead. You need to come back to us now, before it kills you.” Kennedy warned.
“Giles, what the hell is going on?” Willow said nervously pulling him from the dance floor. “She… It is telling me to go back to our time, that the First wants to kill me, not the slayers now.”
“Willow, it could be a trick. It’s trying to get rid of you; you may be the only one that can stop it.”
“But…” Willow said not sure what to think.
“Willow don’t listen to it.” Giles said pulling Willow against him. “You know what it’s capable of.” He said lowering his head to kiss her.
“Willow!” Kennedy said jerking slightly at the sight of Willow kissing Giles. “No.” She said before everything became blurry.
“Kennedy?” She could hear Buffy’s voice over her. “Are you alright?”
“Buffy?” Kennedy said opening her eyes slowly, to find herself on her bed.
“Yeah, you started crying then fell over. What happened? Willow’s not…” Xander asked concerned.
“I told her, well, most of it, but she…” Kennedy began sitting up. “She’s not evil.” Kennedy walked away from her new friends not ready to discuss with them what else Willow wasn’t.
“Giles I need to talk to them again.” Willow said as they walked down the street heading back to the council. “I need to be sure that Kennedy wasn’t, uh, real.”
“I don’t know what good the spell will do, they won’t be able to talk to you.”
“I’ll find a different spell then. There has to be a way.”
“We’ll look into it tomorrow.” Giles said taking her hand as they walked.
“Kennedy?” Dawn asked knocking softly on the bedroom door. “Are you alright?”
“Fine.” Came the obviously not ‘fine’ voice.
“Do you want to talk?” Dawn asked, “Something you saw is obviously bothering you.”
The door opened and Kennedy stared at Dawn for a moment. “You won’t tell anyone?”
“I can’t promise… I mean if my telling won’t endanger Willow or anyone else than I won’t say anything.”
“It’s not about danger.” Kennedy reached out grabbing Dawn’s arm and pulling her in the bedroom.
“I saw… Willow… her…”
“She’s okay right? You weren’t too late?” Dawn asked becoming anxious.
“She’s not hurt. Giles either. They seemed very…” Kennedy paced at the foot of the bed while Dawn stared confused at the other girl. “Happy.”
“Well that’s good, right?” Dawn asked slowly, knowing nothing upsetting Kennedy that much could be that easy. “Happy’s better than miserable.”
“Dawn they were happy together.” Kennedy stopped walking and turned to stare at the other girl.
“You mean they were…”
“They were kissing.” Kennedy finished.
“Willow and… Are you sure?” Dawn stuttered sure Kennedy must be wrong, “I thought she was…”
“Yeah, so did I. Guess we were both wrong.”
“But Giles?” Dawn asked, “He’s He…”
“I saw what I saw.”
“But… Okay I know this is important but did she get the message.” Dawn asked deciding to change the subject since she had no idea how to deal with this new development.
“I told her but… I’m not sure she, understood. Then I left.”
“Then maybe we should do it again.” Dawn suggested, “We need to be sure she understands.”
“I can’t do it again, I won’t.”
“I’ll go this time.” Dawn said standing up and heading for the door, “But Buffy’s gonna want to know why we want to do it again.”
“Tell her.” Kennedy said after a moment. “I don’t want Willow hurt.”
Willow rolled toward the sound of her name not quite ready to open her eyes.
“Go away Xander.” Willow groaned rolling again, this time away from the voice and pulling a pillow over her head.
“Wake up. We need to talk.”
“Will you leave if I listen to you?”
“Yep.” Xander said from the chair next to the bed.
Willow rolled back toward her friend opening her eyes to take in her surroundings. “What do you…” she stopped mid-sentence as she realized she wasn’t in her room at Buffy’s, she was still in the future, and Xander couldn’t be there with her.
“What are you doing here Willow?” Xander asked, “Why aren’t you home with us celebrating our victory.”
Sitting up fully awake now, Willow faced the Xander-shaped thing in front of her. “’Kay so if you’re going to impersonate Xander you might want to pay more attention to him. I mean ‘celebrate our victory’ is so not Xander.”
“Will you don’t recognize your best friend?” Xander asked a hurt expression on his face.
“Sure so you’re my friend, come give me a hug, Xander.” Willow said reaching for him.
Giles was startled awake by the sound of Anya’s voice calling to him.
“Giles.” Anya said annoyed, she’d been calling to him for several minutes now. “Damn it Giles wake up.”
It must be the First was Giles first thought. His second thought was if the First wanted to get him to do something, it certainly wouldn’t contact him as Anya.
“What do you want?” Giles asked quietly.
“Oh, I can hear you.” Anya said excitedly. “We weren’t sure if it would work, Althenea and Amy have been working on it for hours.”
“Anya.” Giles warned, he had enough to worry about without dealing with the ex-vengeance demon. “Do you want something?”
“No, just thought I’d tour your brain.” Anya replied, “Of course I want something. Did Willow get… Were you really kissing Willow?”
“Anya, did Willow get what?” Giles asked, now sure this wasn’t a dream, nightmare maybe or possibly the
First is using Anya to make him insane.
“Sorry, you have no patience anymore. Did Willow get Kennedy’s message?”
“Kennedy’s…” Giles said as realization hit him. “Anya did Kennedy use this spell to speak to Willow?”
“Yes.” Anya replied, “Well not exactly, She could talk to Willow but Willow couldn’t respond. And she said you and Willow were kissing.”
“What was the message?” Giles asked.
“The First knows Willow’s there and is now after her, not whatever it’s original target was, you two are in a lot of danger. So, I can’t really see anything around you is Willow there with you?”
“Anya it’s the middle of the night.” Giles replied rubbing his temples, why would Buffy decide to put Anya in his brain, must be getting even for the wanting to kill Spike thing.
“So, if Kennedy saw what she…”
“Good night Anya.” Giles said getting out of his head and grabbing a robe. He needed to talk to Willow now, Kennedy may have been real but it’s only a matter of time before the First did contact her.
Willow pulled open the door just as Giles raised his hand to knock. “Giles!” Willow gasped backing up a step.
“Willow are you all right?” Giles asked nervously. “I uh had a visit and…”
“Who was it Willow?” Giles asked surprised.
“Xander, well the First really. I mean, like I wouldn’t recognize my own best friend. Who was it for you?”
“It wasn’t the First. It was Anya.”
“You sure the First didn’t just want to annoy you.” Willow said smiling.
“No, it was her.” Giles said. Willow turned and walked into the bedroom motioning for Giles to follow. “She says they know what the First is after.”
“How?” Willow asked.
“Not sure., how they know but Anya was very sure.” Giles explained pushing the door closed as he walked in. “The First wants you dead Willow. That wasn’t it’s original intent but…”
“But plans can change?” Willow sat on the edge of her bed. “Why?”
“You stopped it last time. I imagine it can hold a grudge.” Giles sat next to her. “What did uh, Xander, have to say?”
“That I should go home to my friends.”
“What do you want to do?” Giles asked, if Willow was in danger maybe they should just tell Price they would do the spell, that they wanted to go home.
“I can’t leave without helping them Giles. We didn’t let the First stop us before, I’m not going to now.”
“If you’re sure.” Giles asked. “I do think we need to speed this up though. No sense waiting around until it comes after us again.”
“So we talk to Abigail and the coven tomorrow.” Willow tried to smile. “And see if we can get this plan going.”
“Yes. Well then I’ll let you go back to sleep.” Giles said standing up.
“Giles.” Willow said quietly as he walked toward the door.
“Yes.” Giles stopped and turned to face her.
“Stay here.” She said not looking up. “Not sure I want to be alone. Finding out a big evil is after you personally is kind of… scary.”
“Willow are you…” Giles began.
“Just please hold me.” Willow said reaching out for the watcher.
Willow moved over to the center of the bed leaving room for Giles next to her. Giles sat down pulling her close to him.
Willow opened her eyes slowly, not wanting to move away from the warmth of Giles body next to hers. Just having him there had allowed her to go back to sleep, but judging from the sunlight coming through the windows, they needed to get up and go find Melanie and Abigail.
Rolling over to face the man sleeping next to her, Willow smiled slightly, she had thought about this since high school. Well, except for the evil force trying to kill her part. She raised her hand slowly and ran it across Giles cheek, he mumbled and turned his head toward the touch. Smiling again, she lowered her lips to his face placing a gentle kiss on his lips. “Giles.”
“Uh,” Giles said moving toward her retreating kiss.
“Wake up.” She said softly, “We need to find Melanie.”
Opening his eyes, he watched her as she stared at his face. “Yes, Melanie. We do need to get out of here.”
“Yeah. Sucks though.”
“Why?” Giles asked sitting up. “Don’t you want to go home?”
“Of course I do. It’s just that Giles, Buffy and Xander aren’t going to be happy about this.” She sat up and turned to face him. “I don’t want to have to deal with that, I just want to be happy for a while.”
“We can’t stay here so we don’t have to face the others.” Giles pointed out.
“I know. And I’ll deal with them when I have to but right now lets go save the world.” Willow said getting up and moving toward the closet.
“Right, I’ll meet you downstairs in a half and hour then?” He said heading to the door.
“Yeah.” She was already heading toward the shower.
“You want to do the spell, now?” Melanie asked wanting to be sure she understood Willow’s request.
“Not right this minute. But soon.” Willow clarified, “Is it ready?”
“Yes I have everything here but how are we going to lure it?” Melanie asked, “It hasn’t made an appearance in days.”
“Actually it did last night.” Willow said, “Told me to leave.”
“And I had a visit by someone from our time.” Giles interrupted. “They say that the First has changed it’s agenda so it’s after Willow now. We need to get this done before it…”
“Then we’ll talk to Abigail about finding it on patrol.” Another member of the coven suggested.
“Actually I was thinking about that.” Willow said, “I was never happy with the idea of using Abigail as bait. She’s a kid. But if the First is after me, I should be able to make it attack me.”
“How?” Giles asked, “I’m not going to let you…”
“Nothing dangerous.” Willow said quickly, “I mean it is dangerous, I’m using myself as bait but the magic is safe. I’ll set up the same spell I did before, with Buffy. The First will think I’m going to…”
“I’m not going to let you do the same spell that’s already killing you Willow.”
“You can’t really stop me Giles.” Willow said, “Now listen to the rest of my plan please.”
Anya opened her eyes, and looked at the circle of people staring at her. “Did you talk to them?” Xander asked, “Are they okay?”
“I talked to Giles. Willow was blocking me.” Anya said standing up and stepping out of the circle.
“Imagine that.” Dawn mumbled. “What did he say?”
“They’re okay. I told him about the First. But I don’t think he was happy to see me.”
“Really ‘cause the two of you get along so well.” Spike said from the corner.
“So you don’t really know what’s going on?” Buffy asked, “But you talked to him and he talked to you?”
“Yeah. But at least we know they know now.” Anya answered, maybe we’ll find out something soon.
Willow sat on the floor of her bedroom preparing the ingredients for the fake spell. She had to do this alone, Giles was gone with the coven getting the rest of the plan started. She couldn’t tell Angel or Spike because what if… well technically they were dead so she couldn’t be sure they were really themselves. This had to work.
Checking her watch Willow sat in the circle and began to chant, the spell from memory.
“Willow what are you doing?” Angel asked walking through the door. “Should you be doing magic without Giles or the coven?”
“It’s fine Angel they know what I’m doing.” Willow said watching the vampire. Something wasn’t right. All of her newfound powers last year had left her with some kind of extra sense, she could sense things about people and what she was sensing right now wasn’t what she usually felt when Angel was around. “I’ve decided to speed up the plans to get rid of the First, and try the spell that worked before.”
“The same spell? I thought, I mean didn’t that kill you last time?” Angel asked walking around the outside of her circle. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I’ll be fine Angel?” Willow asked, “Wanna help?” She asked reaching her hand out to the vampire.
“Help?” Angel asked, “I don’t think so. I don’t think you should do it either.” He quickly backed away from her outstretched hand.
“Why not?” Willow asked, now sure this wasn’t Angel. Now all she needed to do was get him to attack.
“It’s dangerous, are you sure you’re ready for this?”
“Positive. I’m stronger than this thing Angel, It can’t do a damn thing to stop me.” Willow insisted, all it had to do was step into the circle.
“How dare you…” Angel said angrily stepping toward the witch.
“They’re coming.” The coven’s seer said. “I can feel them.”
“Everyone ready?” Melanie asked, then waiting for everyone’s acknowledgement she continued, “Now.”
Everyone gathered around the Hellmouth and began chanting the spell that they believed would open it. As the ground began to open in front of them Willow appeared followed quickly by the First now looking like Spike. “Red you need to think about…”
“Save it.” Willow said quietly the quickly read a spell she had pulled from her pockets. Willow and the First found themselves standing in the large hole created by the Hellmouth opening, as everyone else backed away quietly.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Spike asked.
“You’ll see.” Willow said smiling as she began to float slightly above the ground, as it began to sink further in. She began to read from the paper again, stopping and laughing as Spike lunged for her. “Can’t move. New magic has found a way to bind even non-corporeal forms to a single spot. And honestly did you think I’d be dumb enough to do the same spell again?”
“You were dumb enough to come here.”
“Not really, I wasn’t given a choice. But now to continue.” Willow said as the whole continued to get bigger and deeper. She quickly read the remainder of the spell that the coven had written for her.
With a loud roaring sound and a bright light shooting up from the hole in the ground she watched as the First was pulled into the hole and it closed around her, sealing itself so completely that there wasn’t so much as a crack in the ground.
Willow hit the ground falling flat on her back. Giles quickly approached her, kneeling next to her. “Willow are you okay? Can you hear me?”
“Is it gone?” Willow said quietly.
“Lets go home.” Willow said before passing out.
Are you sure you understand everything?” Melanie asked nervously. I’d hate to have something go wrong when you get back.”
“It should be fine. From what I understood from Anya, we have a member of a coven and an old friend of Willow’s there to help with the spell.” Giles explained.
“I’m sure Amy and Althenea can perform the spell.” Willow assured Melanie hugging her, “I’m gonna miss you guys.”
“We’ll miss you too.” Melanie assured her returning the hug.
“Lets do this then.” Willow said, “Ready?” she said looking to Giles.
“Yes.” Giles said taking her hand.
Melanie quickly gave them instructions and read the spell to send them back home. Lights flashed around the pair and they disappeared.
Xander opened his eyes at the small sound in the quiet room. “Giles?” He asked staring at the man lying on the bed.
“Xander?” Giles asked trying to sit up. “Am I back?”
“Yeah. God are you okay?”
“Yes. I am. Help me sit, we need to help Willow.” Giles assured him.
Xander quickly helped Giles to a sitting position. “Is Willow back too?”
“Yes. She’s still in the magical coma though.” Giles said turning to look at her.
“So she’s going to…”
“No. I know how to help her. Get the others. Amy and Althenea too.” Giles said, “I don’t think I can do this spell alone.”
“Okay.” Xander said heading out of the bedroom, calling to the others.
Xander re-entered the room a few minutes later followed by Buffy, Anya, Dawn, Kennedy, and Amy. “We called Althenea, she’ll be here soon.” Buffy said immediately moving to hug the Watcher. “What the hell happened?”
“Willow was called to the future, to stop the First. She needed help, they brought me to join her.” Giles explained.
“But you said you know how to help her?” Dawn asked.
“Yes. We’ll need Amy and Althenea to do it though.”
“Did you really kiss Willow?” Anya asked.
“Can this wait?” Giles asked, not wanting to discuss this without Willow.
“No.” Anya and Kennedy both said.
“Fine. Yes. I kissed Willow.” Giles answered rubbing his temples.
“Do you love her? Does she love you?” Kennedy asked quietly.
“Yes, no, I don’t know.” Giles answered, “We were kind of caught up in other things.”
“So does that mean that the two of you are…” Dawn began.
“Going to see where this leads us.” Giles said, “At least if you all are okay with it.”
“What’s it got to do with us?” Anya asked.
“Willow doesn’t want to hurt anyone.” Giles said looking at Kennedy. “If all of you can’t accept it, then there’s no point.”
“I’ll be going back home anyway.” Kennedy said quietly, “I mean I still have to finish school, and if Willow would be happier then…”
“Kennedy I’m sorry. This wasn’t supposed to…” Giles said, “It’s okay. I’ve had a few days to think about it. I’m not sure this thing with Willow would’ve even happened if we weren’t so sure we were going to die. But I do want her to be happy.”
“Do we have time to deal with this?” Dawn asked, “I don’t have to be ready to deal right this minute do I?”
“No. Just so that you’re all willing to try.” Giles insisted.
“We will.” Buffy said, answering for everyone. “Just save her.”
“Okay we’re ready.” Amy said setting down the last of the ingredients. “Everyone move back.”
Amy and Althenea quickly read the spell Giles had brought back as everyone stood watching the sleeping girl on the bed. After a few minutes Willow’s eyes opened slowly.
“Hey, Guys.” She said smiling slightly. “I’m alive.”
“Will.” Xander said moving forward and quickly hugging his friend then backing up to make room for Buffy and Dawn.
“Where’s Kennedy?” Willow asked scanning the room.
“She’s gone. Andrew’s driving her to the airport.” Dawn offered. “She uh, wants you to be happy.”
“They know?” Willow said looking at Giles.
“Yes. They knew when I got back, they just needed confirmation.”
“So you’re all okay with it?” Willow asked, “Nobody’s freaking?”
“We will be. Just give us time okay?” Xander said sitting on the bed.
“So what happened? How was the future?” Amy asked stepping forward.
“God, you guys wouldn’t believe how different it all was.”
“We want to know all about it. Right now.” Buffy said helping Willow pull herself up in the bed. “And we’ve got all night.”