Disclaimer: A few lines from Villains here.
X X X XX
She couldn’t hide in the embrace forever. As the sirens got closer, she pulled free and said, “You, you stay for the ambulance. Tell, tell them about Willow. I’ll go tell Anya and Dawn.”
They walked downstairs. Xander reached into his pocket and handed her his car keys. Shaking her head, Tara said, “No. I, I don’t trust myself to drive right now. And the walk might do me some good.” * I’m likely to wrap myself around a telephone pole either way. At least if I’m walking I’ll probably survive the experience.*
“Okay,” he said. “I’ll see you when you get there.”
Tara took off down the street. * Now all I need to do is figure out what to say. Anya, I can be blunt with. But Dawnie. How am I going to tell Dawnie that Willow’s dead and Buffy could be dying?*
By the time she got to The Magic Box, she hadn’t come up with any easy answers. * That’s because there aren’t any.*
She opened the front door and walked in.
Anya walked out from behind the counter. “Tara,” she said. “Something horrible has happened, I know. What?”
“How did you know?”
“It was a vengeance. I’m in tune with that sort of thing. What happened?”
“In tune? Are you a --” Anya nodded. “Never mind. That’s not important right now. It was Warren. He shot Willow. And, and Buffy.”
“What?!” Anya fairly yelled.
“And -- and --” she closed her eyes. “Willow’s dead.”
“I assume you’re going to get Warren for this,” Anya said.
“If I tell you I plan to, will you do me a favor?”
She pulled out a necklace. “Name it. Better yet, wish it.”
* Oops. I’d better say this carefully.* “Can I wish for Willow not to have been shot?”
Anya shook her head. “That’s not vengeance. I can only grant vengeance-related wishes. But if you want Warren skinned alive --”
No. “No.” Before Anya could sputter out a response, Tara said, “I want him for myself.” * Which isn’t a lie. Part of me wants that, that bastard dead for what he’s done to the woman I love. But I have to keep that part of me in check. God knows what would happen if I let it loose.*
“I understand,” Anya said. “So, what do you want me to do?”
“Buffy’s at the hospital. Just go there -- Xander’s there by himself right now.”
Anya nodded. “And of course, we’ll call Giles.”
* I, I should have thought of that myself.* “Of course. He’s going to want to be here for -- for --” And she began to cry again.
Anya was still a millennium out of practice at being compassionate, but this much she’d learned. She came over to Tara and hugged her, albeit a bit awkwardly.
When Anya let her go, Tara said, “Okay. I have to go tell Dawn.”
“Go. I’ll call Giles and head over.”
X X X X X
In the demon bar, Warren laughed. “In her own back yard. Don’t underestimate science, my friends. Good old fashioned metal meets propulsion.” Everyone else in the bar began to laugh with him.
The bartender said, “Oh, man, this is going to be good.”
Triumphantly, Warren said, “The best! The town is ours!”
“Ours? Maybe,” a nearby vampire said. “You’re screwed.” Then he and all the other patrons laughed harder.
“This isn’t the evil laugh of victory, is it?” Warren asks.
The vampire snorted. “More like the evil laugh of you’re-a-dead-man.”
“Okay . . . What’s the joke?”
“It was just on the news,” the bartender said,. “Two girls were shot. One in her backyard, one in an upstairs bedroom. The one in the backyard survived. She’s in the hospital. And Slayers heal fast. Real fast.”
“And,” the vampire said, “Once she finds out you killed her friend, I estimate your life expectancy at about five minutes. I was going to eat you myself during the commercial, but I think it’d be more fun to let her gut you, instead. You might want to get a head start, because she’s going to be coming after you bigtime.”
Warren thought fast. He hadn’t factored in somebody else dying. “Unless,” he said, “We take this golden opportunity to hit them first.”
The vampire kept laughing. “What are you talking about?”
“Think about it,” Warren said. “The Slayer’s down and one of her friends is dead. She and they’ll never be as vulnerable as they are right now.” He paused. “So who’s with me?”
He didn’t get the rousing cheer he’d hoped for, but he didn’t get summarily executed either. “I ain’t that dumb,” the vampire said. “Neither are most of the demons in here.”
The bartender was thinking. “Might not be a bad idea, though.” The vampire looked at him as though he was crazy. “Think about it.” Then he bent forward and whispered to the vampire.
After a second, the vampire barked out a laugh and said, “Good point.” Then, as the bartender went around the bar talking to some of the demons and vampires, the vampire looked at Warren. “Okay, you’ve got your force.”
Warren thought of something. “Keep ‘em on ice for a few. There’s someone else I need to look up.”
The vampire nodded, and Warren left.
Then the bartender and vampire exchanged a glance, and laughed again. “You think he knows we’re sticking him with the dummies?”
“Not a clue,” the bartender said. “So either they manage to kill the Slayer, or the Slayer rises out of her bed and kills them. Win-win, I say.”