April 8th, 2008

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Chapter 3

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

POV: Shifts Perspective

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially the Spanderverse series.

Notes: Story number Nineteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Songs of Pain and Comfort”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

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Battling with a God

Ch 3 – The Quiet After

 

Giles awoke on the floor of his bedroom and coughed up bile. Outside the sun shone gaily down as it usually did in California, but its light didn’t seem to make it within the room. He struggled to sit up and noted the dark grimoire’s position; still on the now faded and grimy looking bedspread.

 

Taking a moment, he flexed the numbness from his fingers and then grabbed the text and shoved it back into its guarded chest. As soon as the lid on the chest was closed and the magical protections re-activated, the room around Giles seemed to brighten. Suddenly the morning sun was too bright and he stumbled out of his room feeling as if he’d spent the night drinking heavily. He made his way to the coffee pot and tried to forget what he’d almost resorted to. The Council would have his hide if they knew what he kept hidden and what he’d been considering using to battle Glory. That is, if Buffy left anything after she got done with him. He self-consciously looked back in the direction of the bedroom and shivered.

 

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“Rise and shine, unholy undead,” Xander came banging into his bedroom. Spike opened his eyes and glared. Not bad, Xan thought, I can actually see his facial expressions, again.

 

“Should I bother asking why the Scoobies can’t get it through their heads that its bedtime for us vamps? Or is it some sort of white-hat brain deficiency?”

 

“Now, now, Grumpy; I come bearing gifts. We have a little human blood, my own so you know it’s good,” he smirked. “Plus, a bowl of Frosted Flakes. I brought you a glass of milk. You can either drink it, or pour it over the cereal. I didn’t know if you were going to ‘add texture’ to your blood this morning.”

 

He approached the bed and set down the tray of food items. He then lifted the lower part of the blanket covering Spike and looked over the abused leg.

 

“Looks a lot better… still a lot of bruising, but it’s almost back to its normal size.”

 

“Thank you, Nurse,” Spike said facetiously.

 

“What’s up, Fangs? You seem bad-moody toward someone that has, after all, let you use their bed and taken care to see that you get the red stuff. And what the hell were doing in here last night? Nice way to destroy my bed linen, you ass.”

 

“Sorry. I don’t think I slept well last night. I remember….” Spike frowned and shook his head. He didn’t remember anything, actually. But he had the impression of blood and darkness and, especially, violence. He must have been down memory lane while he dreamed.

 

“You seemed to sleep fine to me,” Xander commented. “In fact, you were sleeping the sleep of the dead.”

 

“Hah and hah. Why’re you up so early? Problems at the site?”

 

“No, there’s been trouble. Last night, uh, while you were out, Glory stopped by the shop,” Xander said, swallowing over the lump in his throat. “Anya was there.”

 

“Demon girl okay?”

 

“No,” Xander nearly whispered, before clearing his throat. The lump that had been there all morning suddenly felt like a boulder. “No, I’m afraid not. Glory must have…. Anya’s… confused, Spike. Like the other people that she’s brain sucked. The hospital held her overnight and is going to give her a psych consult this morning.”

 

“Xan… I’m sorry. I mean that. It’s a cruel thing to do to a body, taking their sanity from them.”

 

“Anyway, I need to do some things at the site so I can run over to the hospital later and pick her up.”

 

“Will they release her,” Spike asked as he poured his milk over the cereal Xander had brought in. “I figured they’d want to keep her in the nut—uh, in the ward, there.”

 

“Oh, they’ll release her, one way or another. Look, I gotta run but see if you can get up and move around later. Let’s see how much healing you’ve done. How’s the wrist, by the way?”

 

“Still broke, but it shouldn’t be but a few days and I’ll be right as rain.”

 

“Okay… so, uh, there’s still blood left in the fridge if you get hungry later. I’ll try to get by here sometime around lunch. I’m not sure where I’m going to take Anya while I’m working.”

 

“Don’t sweat it,” Spike said, looking over Xander curiously. “I can make do. Will probably be sleeping mostly, anyway…, still a night creature, after all.”

 

Xander smiled and told him he’d bring Chinese home for dinner then turned and left the apartment. Spike mulled over the day before while eating.

 

So - no mention then about the kiss. No mention either of just how long he thinks I’m staying here. He scoffed to himself, No mention of anything, really. Except Anya….

 

Glory must be getting pissy; first me and now the demon-bint. And now Xan’s going to have to focus on taking care of her… bad timing. Probably not the best time to talk about what he did or what he was thinking, then. Damn it.

 

He wondered briefly if maybe Anya had faked her attack, maybe to keep Xander from focusing on him, instead. It was only for a moment before he scowled at himself in disgust. That’s demon thinking. She’s a Scoob, like I’ve apparently become when I wasn’t lookin’. I gotta make sure I help Xan with seeing to her… make sure he realizes I’m on his side.

 

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Tara was busy brushing out her long hair following returning to the room from brushing her teeth. They’d returned to the dorm from Buffy’s late and despite feeling like she could kill for a cup of coffee, there wasn’t time to brew any. In bed, Willow lay undressed still and perusing a large manuscript. She looked over at the red head with curiosity.

 

“Will? You better get moving if you’re going to make Drama class.”

 

“Not going. There’s too much to do,” she replied distractedly.

 

“I know you feel badly over what’s happened, Willow. So do I, but Buffy and Giles said we should stick to routine as much as possible,” she sighed. She didn’t really see the point in classes right now either, not after what had happened to Anya. Who knew where Glory would strike next? Although, Giles seemed to think they were safer in a public place than they’d be in the privacy of their homes.

 

“Don’t care. I’m gonna find a way to hurt that bitch,” Willow said with vehemence.

 

“What are you looking at?”

 

“The Dark Tome of Shaarad Doom,” she replied, not looking up.

 

Willow?!”

 

The red head snapped up with Willow wide eyed and guilty looking. She’d answered automatically and without thinking. She’d forgotten that Tara didn’t know she’d snuck that volume away from Giles when he was distracted several months ago. She couldn’t believe she’d forgotten to keep it hidden until the other witch had gone to class or that she’d gotten so caught up that she’d blown what she’d done without thinking.

 

“How did you get that?” Tara was frowning worriedly, “You know Giles doesn’t want us to risk pouring over the Black Chronicles without his supervision!”

 

“W-well…, I mean, I’m powerful enough to handle it. Besides, I’m not casting anything, I’m just reading. There has to be something here we can use. Giles is just a worry-wart.”

 

“For good reason! Willow, some of those texts can cause damage to a person’s psyche just reading them. You could hurt yourself.”

 

“They can hurt regular people! I know what I’m doing,” Willow insisted. She was getting more than a little tired of Tara’s attitude toward dark magic. Sure it was riskier than all that healing-mother-earth-Wiccan-goodness crap, but Glory wasn’t going to be defeated with a few colorful rainbows thrown at her.

 

“Really,” Tara continued doubtfully. “Because it looks to me like you’re stealing, lying and playing with forces you have no respect for.”

 

“God, Tara, why are you being so bitchy about this? Glory is hurting our friends… or at least mine. I thought they were yours, too.”

 

“Don’t try to lay that on me; you know I love the gang. I’d do anything to help them. But delving into black magic with so little experience isn’t going to bring Anya back. And you could make things a lot worse for all of us! I’m calling Giles,” Tara said, walking over to the phone in their room.

 

“Interventus,” Willow intoned under her breath as Tara picked up the handset.

 

Tara frowned when she didn’t receive a dial tone. She hung up the phone and tried again then slammed it down in frustration.

 

“The stupid phone is out again. For as much as we pay to room here, we should really have better phone service than this.”

 

“Tara, please don’t run to Giles,” Willow said quickly. Tara still had her cell phone after all and Willow didn’t have time to follow the blonde around all day. “I’m sorry. I just want to help Buffy. I want to get Anya back…, I can’t stand thinking of her being locked away in the hospital.”

 

Tara sighed and looked at Willow full of sympathy. “I know, Will. I want to help Anya, too, and we will. But we’ll do it with White Magic.” She looked at the slim watch she wore on one wrist. “Darn, I’m going to be late if I don’t go. Please promise me you’ll stop reading that book until we talk to Giles, together? I’ve got two hours between my first and second classes; I can come back here and look over my own spell books for a way to reverse what Glory did, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Willow said with a firm nod as she closed the book and set it down on the floor at the side of the bed. “I’m sorry I acted all snippy-gal, especially that bitca comment.”

 

Tara went over to the red head and kissed her deeply. When she drew away she gave her a small smile. “It’s okay. We’re all tired and stressed and scared. I’m sorry if I yelled. It’s only ‘cause I couldn’t stand it if anything happened to you. You’ve so much power, Willow. I just want you to be careful about how you use it, that’s all.”

 

“I know. And I know sometimes I kind of act before I think. I better hurry to the shower before I’m late, too,” she said, getting up from the bed and rushing to gather a towel and soap along with her robe. She added another kiss to Tara’s lips and wished her a good day.

 

Once Tara had rushed out, Willow put down her items and threw on an old pair of sweats. She returned to the bed. Glancing nervously at the door, as if she expected Tara to double check on her, she picked up the book again. Opening to the page she’d left off on, Willow climbed back onto the mattress and went back to what she was doing.

 

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“I just need your signature here, here and then right down here with today’s date,” the nurse said as she handed the gentleman her pen.

 

Orlando Montessi signed the form in triplicate where the woman asked as his eyes kept roaming from the papers to Dante Papillion. His brother in arms looked around complacently with a disturbingly vapid smile playing on his lips. He seemed to be especially enamored of the nurse’s dark brown hair and kept pawing the air toward it. Antonio Mercado kept grabbing his wrist and pushing the offending hand down. The nurse only smiled benignly at their stricken comrade, projecting the air of the professionally patient.

 

“We’re grateful for the care you’ve shown our friend,” Orlando said. “I’m sure if his parents were here, they’d also express their gratitude.”

 

“Oh, not at all,” she blushed. “Mr. Papillion has been a model patient. I’m just sorry that his vacation here was cut short by this unfortunate event.”

 

Once they’d spent a few more minutes on pleasantries, the Knights of Byzantium walked their stricken outdoors and to their waiting rental car. Dante squinted into the morning sun and giggled to himself as he watched the bees go about their business in the flower bed near where they’d parked.

 

“Come along Dante,” Antonio urged, getting him settled into the vehicle. “The General will be glad to have you back.”

 

“I’d like to have him back, too,” Orlando replied angrily. “The Beast should have just killed him, then leave him in this state.”

 

“Maybe the clerics can help him.”

 

“Maybe. General Kossimo doesn’t seem to put much stock in them, however. And with good reason from what I’ve seen,” he got into the driver’s seat.

 

Continuing his thought once the vehicle was moving, he said, “The only thing we can do to honor Dante’s sacrifice now is to destroy the Key.”

 

“Hee-hee-hee,” Dante giggled. “Pretty little Key, maiden in a row.”

 

“W-what was that,” Antonio said from the back seat. “Dante, what do you know of the Key?”

 

“It’s pretty. Pretty, pretty, green light with brown hair. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty…,” he continued chanting to himself as he began to rock back and forth.

 

“Dante?! Are you saying you’ve seen the Key? That it’s a person,” Orlando excitedly asked. But Dante had slipped away, rocking back and forth in the back seat and chanting a non-stop litany of ‘pretty, pretty, pretty’.

 

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A knocking at the door awoke Spike from another round of sleeping. A quick glance at Xander’s alarm clock revealed it was nearly eleven. He lay back against the pillows and closed his eyes when the banging at the door intensified.

 

“Oi! Alright, alright,” he moaned as he struggled into a standing position. The knee he’d been worried about held, but it sent shooting pains up and down his frame.

 

A third round of knocking came as he was limping toward the apartment’s door. “Yes, yes, alright! Sick man recuperating in here,” he yelled at the door. In voce sotto he added, “If this is a paperboy I’m biting him, chip or no chip.”

 

Opening the door revealed Buffy and Dawn. On seeing him, the Bit suddenly looked stricken and he gave her a smile to show it wasn’t as bad as it might have looked. Not having the benefits of a mirror, he didn’t realize that fully half of his face was as dark as a ripe plum. Around the edges of the contiguous bruise, greenish-yellow haloed it. He looked awful even though he was feeling ninety percent better than the day before.

 

“Hey, Spike,” Buffy said in greeting. “Sorry about waking you, again. But I want to be with Xander at the hospital. I was gonna take Dawn to the shop, but Giles said he’s feeling a little under the weather. I guess he’s trying to put off dealing with all the damage there. Do you think she could stay here for a while?”

 

“I want to go to the hospital,” Dawn said. From the tone in her voice and by Buffy’s expression, Spike could guess they’d been having this argument all morning.

 

“We talked about this, Dawn. You’ll help Anya… lots, but right now I need you to cooperate.”

 

“Isn’t there school,” Spike asked.

 

“I can’t risk leaving her alone there. Not with Glory suddenly getting so aggressive,” Buffy looked worried. “Look, Spike, if this is a problem….”

 

“No, no problem,” Spike assured her. “Just curious. Thought we were concerned with ‘following the routine’ is all. If things change, it’d be nice if I got included in the memo.”

 

“Well, Giles thinks we should be routining. I think he’s wrong. As Dawn’s guardian, I have veto power and I want her where I think she’s safer. Right now, that’s with you.”

 

“I’ll try to stay out of your way,” Dawn said morosely.

 

“Not a problem,” Spike again assured them. “You’re always welcome to hang out with me, Half-Pint, you know that.”

 

Dawn sighed as she walked to the guest bathroom. This left Spike looking at Buffy with one of his eyebrows in the air. It was nice he could manage it, he thought, since it proved that the swelling had gone down significantly. And again, it wasn’t exactly something he could see for himself.

 

“She feels responsible for…,” Buffy said quietly, using her hand to indicate his face. “I tried to tell her it’s not her fault, but if you were protecting me, I’d guess I’d feel the same guilt.”

 

“The Slayer feeling guilt for a few bruises to a vampire,” Spike questioned with a smirk. He needed to lighten the mood with one Summers sister before he could deal with the other.

 

“For like, a fraction of a fraction of a second,” she smiled at him. “Maybe.”

 

“I’ll talk to her. You’d better get moving,” Spike said. “I’ll take a look through Xander’s fridge and see if there’s anything for her that isn’t growing mold.”

 

“Thanks, Spike.”

 

“I’ve been told I’m a Scooby now. If I understand things, it’s like my duty now, yeah? Doesn’t need thanking for. Especially since I feel like I owe you one for not staking me when I blurted out this infatuation with Xan I suddenly have.”

 

“Which you still need to talk to him about, am I right?”

 

“Later. He’s going to have his hands full with Anya. If you see the witches, tell ‘em to stop by with their spell books. I’ll help them sift through the possibilities.”

 

“You know,” Buffy said, “If you’re not careful, your rep as a bad-ass killer-demon is going to be shot.”

 

Spike grunted, “There are worse fates.”

 

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End Chapter 3

 

space2

Ch 4

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

POV: Shifts Perspective

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and especially the Spanderverse series.

Notes: Story number Nineteen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Songs of Pain and Comfort”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

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Battling with a God

Ch 4 – Dark Magicks

 

Tara crossed the open expanse of park toward one of the outer buildings on campus. She had Pottery 201 next and her mind was wrapped up in her term project. She’d decided to do a full facial bust of the goddess, Hera, and was mulling over options in her mind. She wasn’t aware of how isolated she was, or that she was being followed until a strong hand on her shoulder whipped her around unexpectedly.

 

“Hello! Tara, isn’t it? Now, would you be a Key, sweetie,” Glory asked with a hard smile. It grew when she heard the witch gasp and saw her pale with fear.

 

“W-what do you want?”

 

“You know that, sweetie. ‘B-but t-tell you w-what’,” Glory mocked her stutter. “You tell me which little Superfriend it is, and I won’t drain your brain.”

 

Tara took a step back, but before her legs could completely get the message to run from her brain, Glory had grabbed hold of her hand. With a squeeze, Tara both felt and heard bone crack. She cried out, but her mind was too distracted by the sudden impulse to throw up to grab a spell from memory.

 

“P-please… stop! I don’t know about any Key!”

 

Glory sighed in mock sadness. “That’s too bad, cupcake. Well, let’s see what you taste like, alright? Even if you’re not my precious, I’m sure you’ll be a good buzz.”

 

“Mico,” Tara yelled, while raising her other hand. A flash of bright white light erupted from her palm, dazzling Glory directly to the eyes.

 

“Ow! You rude, little witch,” she complained, pushing Tara hard to the ground.

 

She landed awkwardly and felt a pain up her arm from her elbow joint. Beginning to cry now, she focused her mind on Willow.

 

Willow! Help me! Glory….

 

Her thought-cast was cut short when she was unceremoniously hauled off of her back and held above Glory’s head.

 

“Not nice, Girlie. Not nice at all,” the god scowled.

 

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In their room, Willow heard Tara’s thoughts as if she had stepped next to her ear and spoke. They were full of pain and panic and when she’d heard the name Glory, she’d jumped to her feet and ran.

 

Please, God, please… let me make it!

 

She had just entered the clearing nearly out of breath in time to see Tara being thrown a good ten feet or more. The other witch lay unmoving. Glory was wiping away some dark residue from her face and Willow recognized that Tara had tried a spell. Now her girl was lying on the lawn, face in the grass and as still as if she were dead.

 

Willow screamed.

 

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“I don’t understand this,” Xander began raising his voice. “If you’ve given her the consult then what’s the problem?”

 

“Sir, we just feel that Anya would get better care here under our watch. She seems to be having problems with recognizing reality,” the doctor stated with feigned patience.

 

“She isn’t going to be helped by being surrounded by more nuts.”

 

The psychiatrist on staff sighed. “Sir, we prefer to say their emotionally unstable.”

 

“I don’t give a damn. She’s not staying here,” he huffed at the sanctimonious bastard. Next to him, Buffy glared daggers toward the doctor.

 

“And being stared at by strangers can’t be helpful either,” she threw out. “At least with Xander, she’ll be surrounded by people who care for her. And the familiar surroundings may help her.”

 

“I’m not sure you understand the magnitude of the care she’ll require. She cannot be left alone for any amount of time. You’ll need to even go with her when she uses the facilities to ensure she doesn’t hurt herself. And there have been times overnight when she’s become manic and had to be sedated. Honestly, we can care for her much easier here,” the doctor insisted.

 

“When my mom was suffering from a brain tumor, she went through the same thing,” Buffy said. “I coped. We can do this.”

 

“Look, Doctor,” Xander said in a tone that brooked no more argument. “I’m signing her out. As the one who has power of attorney for her, I’m insisting you release her into my custody. So help me, if I have to go through the expense of a lawyer….”

 

He and Anya had never gotten around to talking about this sort of thing. Fortunately, Giles had somehow been able to falsify the necessary documents to lead the hospital staff into believing that Xander had the right to make decisions for her in this sort of event.

 

“Very well,” he scowled while a hand nervously patted down the front of his expensive suit. “However, I will place on her chart that this is being done against medical advice.”

 

“You do that,” Xan sneered.

 

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“I am so, so sorry, Spike,” Dawn was saying, teary eyed. “You guys should just turn me over to her!”

 

“Hey, hey… don’t talk like that. This isn’t your doing, Bit.”

 

“Yes it is! And so is Buffy being beat up and Anya being driven insane. This is all me! Spike, I-I must be something so awful for things to keep happening to the people I love.” Her tears spilled over and flowed down her cheeks. “What if… what if I caused mom’s tumor? What if this Key energy is dangerous for people?”

 

“That’s rot.”

 

“How do you know!? Look around, all I do is bring pain and suffering to everyone around me!”

 

“Now, you listen to me, Dawn. I’m a vampire… soulless and damned. I’ve been shedding the blood of the innocent for over a century, now. I think I know evil when it comes up and hugs me. You are not evil, kiddo. You’re not even ‘little bit bad,’” he said kindly.

 

“M-maybe I’m not evil, but… but I don’t think I can be good?”

 

“Well, good is overrated, anyway. Look at me, you don’t think I’m too bad off and I sure ain’t pure, right?”

 

“I’m so afraid, Spike,” she said sounding as young as she really was. “I don’t think I can stand it if Glory kills anyone trying to find me. I just… I don’t think I can take it,” she collapsed against his chest and sobbed.

 

“She ain’t killing anyone. And before you know it, Buffy will have kicked her ass and she’ll be just another story you can’t tell anyone. Actually, we should write a damned book… be a bestseller and we’d be rich for life,” Spike said while patting her back. “This will blow over, Dawn. It looks a little grim, now, but I’ll heal and Anya will get better. And you can help. When the witches get here, you can help me find the spell that’s gonna turn Anya back into her money-loving , ultra-capitalist, Willow-annoying self, okay? She’ll be back to insulting me in no time. We’re going to get through this. Your sis? She tends to win in these sorts of things.”

 

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Glorificus turned toward the sound that erupted across the empty field as she continued to wipe some sort of magical soot from her face. It burned just a little and she hoped it wasn’t going to ruin her dress. She’d just bought the silk, jade green garment recently and she was going to be one pissed godling if that stupid cow messed it up.

 

“Well, if it isn’t the lover.”

 

“Get away from her,” Willow warned, already calling on a spell from the dark manuscript she’d just been studying. Her eyes rolled black and she felt a current of darkness flow up from the ground through her feet.

 

Glory only laughed gaily at her. “That’s so cute! Oh, wait… actually it’s kind of rude. I was a little busy here, but since your slut has taken a dirt nap, I guess I can waste a few minutes with you.”

 

As Glory began marching toward Willow, now fifteen feet from her, she saw the witch levitate off the ground. She rolled her eyes. Oh, pule-e-ase. As if that’s going to impress anyone… amateurs.

 

“It’s about time somebody taught you a lesson,” Willow said, her voice oddly distorted. She barely noticed the veins begin to bulge on her arms.

 

“Uh-huh. I’m so going to enjoy this.”

 

“I doubt it. ‘By Nxy and Moros, by Oizys and Nemisis; By Cassiel’s dark star, hold mine victim as in tar; hold her bound, her movements- retard,” Willow intoned.

 

Glory found herself suddenly unable to walk, a dense field in the air surrounding her. She grimaced, more pissed than disturbed. It felt kind of like being surrounded inside a marshmallow.

 

“I owe you pain!” Willow’s arms stretched forth and black lightning flowed from the Earth below her feet. It wrapped around her legs and danced up her body before streaming through her arms to her hands. Her palms itched and she smiled icily. The lightning shot out across the expanse between the two women and Glory screamed and clutched at herself as the electricity arced around her body, shredding her clothing and smudging her skin.

 

Willow poured on as much power as she could stand, but in far too brief a time, she felt herself weaken and drift back to the ground. Still, the witch was sure she’d just defeated the Hellgod as she’d heard her cry out in pain. She was just clearing her head when Glory clapped her hands together, giving her applause. Willow felt the blood drain from her face; she just couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She’d expected Glory to fall over after that blast; it sure had nearly felled her while trying to channel it.

 

“Not bad. That actually kinda hurt a bit. Now it’s my turn,” she said. Balling up a fist, Glory lashed out and the field that Willow had held her in collapsed in a flash of light.

 

“Grass to snakes, they now appear; Hissing, coiling, striking near,” Willow whispered.

 

From the lawn of the field, blades of grass shifted and merged. Blending and morphing, several writhing serpents formed from the greenery. Glory heard the commotion from the ground around her and glanced at her feet. As she took notice of the magic around her some of the serpents coiled around her calves. Others struck out, biting at her ankles or spitting venom on her skin.

 

“Snakes never work, Sweetie. Believe me, I learned that lesson myself,” she said as she yanked her feet forward. The magical beasts snapped and vanished in a haze of color, leaving the original blades of grass to fall to the ground.

 

“So, anything else, Red?”

 

Glory continued her march toward Willow while the red head circled around to keep some distance between them. At the same time she was placing herself between Tara and the Beast. Tara continued to lie unmoving under the sun.

 

Willow focused her willpower, not needing spells anymore for some telekinesis. She let loose with a stream of force, but when it reached Glory it felt like it simply slipped around her. Her tattered clothing and hair ruffled, but she appeared entirely unaffected.

 

“Now that was just pathetic,” the Hellgod spat at her. “Honestly, this fight is going to take about 1 minute once I reach you.”

 

“Then you won’t reach me,” Willow said. Drawing a breath and concentrating, she muttered, “Traho of orbis terrarum est rescinded.”

 

Glory let out an amusing yelp of surprise as she found local gravity distorted. She floated nearly a foot above the ground, waving her hands and feet. She was not amused.

 

“Oh, I’m going to so get you for this!”

 

Willow just ignored her, rushing to Tara’s side. She felt for a pulse, just as the blonde opened her eyes.

 

“Owie,” she said.

 

“It’s okay, baby, I’m here now,” Willow said, stroking her forehead.

 

“Glory!”

 

“She’s not a problem.”

 

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Glory said from over Willow’s shoulder. “Getting a little weak, Hun? ‘Cause you’re looking a little tapped out.”

 

Willow yelled in surprise as Glory hauled her up by the neck. “Let’s see what sort of incantation you can do after I’ve ripped out your tongue.”

 

In the meantime, Tara had been able to regain her feet. Grabbing Willow’s dangling hand tightly, she muttered, “Let Hoder’s veil now descend!”

 

Instantly, Glory dropped Willow as her eyesight failed her. The world, for her, went to darkness. Tara dragged Willow away from the Beast, for she already knew the spell wouldn’t last long.

 

“Okay, that was cute,” Glory said, obviously not seeing them yet. “But I’m gonna see how you like it when I poke your frickin’ eyes out!”

 

“Just die you bitch,” Willow yelled in frustration. Summoning the last of her magical energy she tried a last spell that she hoped would do the trick. According to the Dark Tome of Shaarad Doom, it was really meant for steel… swords, axes and even the armor of an enemy. Will figured they had little to lose. Winging the incantation just slightly, she muttered, “Let flesh be no more!”

 

From Tara she drew energy to supplement her own as the blonde gasped in shock.

 

The effect was dramatic. Glory screamed again, this time even louder than she had before. She batted at her skin as if she were covered in stinging bees and ran. Taking off for the dense line of trees surrounding the college campus, her flight seemed random as she continued batting at her self.

 

Willow didn’t have the chance to celebrate the minor victory, or to see the effect she’d had. She immediately fell hard to the ground, blood flying from her nose and ears as tiny blood vessels throughout her body burst.

 

Next to her, Tara was conscious but feeling like she’d been hit atop the head with a steel beam. It was even worse than when her and Will tried to teleport Glory from the hospital when she was threatening Dawn. By the time she was finally able to clear her head enough to realize her nose was bleeding, she was more concerned about Willow, who wasn’t moving.

 

Shaking the red head and calling her name, she found Will unresponsive. Blood was pooling on the cleft of her upper lip before sliding in thick drops down the side of her face.

 

“Oh, goddess, oh goddess, please Will…. C’mon baby, please wake up,” Tara cried over the still form. “Don’t do this!”

 

Grabbing her cell phone from her skirt’s pocket, she dialed 9-1-1. It wouldn’t be until the arriving paramedics pointed it out that she’d remember and notice the pain in her hand from Glory’s crushing grip.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End Chapter 4