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Summary: Willow gets it on with the dark mojo and goes off the deep end... And what the heck is a "Stargate"?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Willow-Centered > Pairing: OtherSharkbaitFR1821189,821711741,2598 Nov 0826 Aug 14No

Chapter One

Pairings: Willow/other – crossover with Stargate SG-1; Buffy/Spike and others….

Disclaimer: I own nothing – characters and situations are all fictional, do not belong to me and are not to be taken in any way as infringing on the great works of real authors and writers who should get paid better than they are. I receive zero compensation for this work and just wish to share the random thoughts of my insane mind. Enjoy this work and thank the real magic workers that make great stories and novels come to life by buying their works…

Feedback: Of course…. But be warned, I need lots of help….

Author’s Notes: BtVS - Takes place after S6 “Wrecked” and starts to go AU from there… For Stargate SG-1 S7 consider it episode “Heroes”.

Plot reasoning: A possible answer to a question I’ve often thought of - What might happen if the Willow we knew suddenly ‘didn’t live here’ anymore? What if something ‘snapped’ within the young witch at a serious point of stress in her life and the darkness inside her was allowed some free reign taking Willow down another path… This will start dark and yes there will be some emotional beating up of “all” the BtVS characters along the way here. But isn’t that part of growing up as youth is left behind? Be not afraid gentle reader, this will also entail a lot of Willow having to face her own “demons” and find out where she stands with herself.

Inspired by the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil” and by several Ozzy Osbourne songs.

Chapter Summary: Willow hurts…. And then gets a new perspective on life and some new “toys”. Buffy is reminded that trouble comes not just in the “demon-y” variety.

Darkness – Chapter 1

“Could it be that I have found my
mind or have I gone insane?
Roller coaster of the madness and
There’s only me to blame
The ever faithful hand of doom will
take the pain away
I’ll never know the answer to it all
‘til my dying day”

Thunder Underground by Ozzy Osbourne

‘Life sucks pretty hard sometimes,’ Willow told her reflection in the bathroom mirror.

‘Sucks worse when you manage to piss everyone off that you ever cared about,’ the reflection replied back.

Before she could come up with a pointed reply to that brilliant observation from her mirror self Willow noticed the blood coming down her nose again. She quickly grabbed another hand towel and put it to her nose to keep the blood from messing up the bathroom sink or another of her shirts again.

“Not that anyone would notice any more blood on me,” Willow sighed heavily.

It had been three days since the night of the car wreck after Willow’s magic bender and Dawn getting hurt. Except for the brief visit from Xander to check on her this morning, Willow had not seen or spoken to any of her friends since that night. Not that anyone was making a major effort to visit Willow while the young witch tried to recover from the events of that night. Some sort of residue from the magic trip the witch experienced with Rack had left Willow’s senses on a razor’s edge – she could sense when someone approached her room now and could feel the emotions roiling off of them. Sadly most of what Willow felt among her friends was hostility and disappointment aimed at her from anyone that was in the house. So the young witch had done her best to hide from the world in the room she had once shared with her girlfriend Tara. Not that Willow had much reason to depart the confines of her room since Tara was now her ex-girlfriend and everyone in Summer’s residence was on edge even at the thought of being under the same roof as Willow. Willow had slipped out a few times to clean the bloody towels, sheets and clothes from her constant nose bleeds and withdrawal and to also fetch a small pack of crackers. The black magic withdrawal symptoms had kept her appetite to a bare minimum and had kept the “puke” factor on high so Willow was in full avoidance mode for other people. Those times Willow had left her room she had done it while everyone else was out of the house to avoid any more emotional drama. Buffy had only come to check on Willow twice the night of the accident with Dawn – once right after they all got home to lecture Willow on how good she had it with her ‘friends’ and how Willow’s magic use threatened everyone including Willow. Willow had just lain there on the bed and taken the abuse the first time – the second time Buffy had come by in the early morning darkness Willow had pretended to be asleep. Not that she could get any sleep – between coming down from the magic high, the burn of unused magic inside her and her breaking heart at the lack of compassion from her friends – there was no peace for Willow. The only reason Willow had not hidden from Xander this morning was to get a sense for how her best male friend felt towards her now.

“Oh and that went over so well,” Willow mumbled under the towel and closed her eyes. “Xander barely even talked to me…” The only coherent sentence that Xander had managed was greeting her. After that, it had broken down as Xander had got a good look at Willow. Her magic withdrawal, lack of sleep and no real food had left Willow looking less than at the top of her game. The lack of real sleep had left the woman with large dark circles under her sunken eyes; her skin was ashen and paler than ever and Willow had easily lost several pounds of body weight from lack of food and dehydration. There were scratches and bruises on her arms, legs and torso from where she had hurt herself during the withdrawal seizures. To say she looked like shit was an insult to bodily wastes. Sadly, her encounter with Xander had confirmed her worst fears; there was no forgiveness or understanding with these people. Xander started up where Buffy had left off the first night; lecturing her on abusing magic and all the bad things that could have happened.

‘He wasn’t bitching about me using magic when I took care of everyone while Buffy was dead,’ Willow growled, her mood growing blacker by every thought. ‘Xander didn’t complain about my magic when I brought Buffy back.’

‘I tried so hard to take care of everybody and now look at it,’ a feeling of nausea suddenly threatened to overwhelm Willow as another wave of pain filled her brain and little stars formed at the edge of her blurry vision. The tears were flowing freely now from Willow’s eyes and she could feel another round of ‘sadness festival time’ preparing to kick off again in her heart as she thought back over all that had happened.

“Xander; Buffy; Dawnie; they all hate me,” Willow began to moan out loud as the pain in her heart joined the pain in the rest of her body. “Even Tara hates me! Goddess I can’t take this anymore!”

Willow slowly slid down to the floor and sadness overtook her again. Tears of pain soon became sobbing and were followed by more sobbing and convulsions with the occasional retching that had her sprawled out on the bathroom floor. If Willow had any sanity left she might have worried about drowning in her own vomit on the bathroom floor but there was nothing to throw up.

‘More likely the seizures or a stroke will do me in,” Willow briefly managed to rationalize. The pain returned again and the seizures followed and then the blissful darkness came and she was out of it again….

Across Sunnydale, in a familiar store called the Magic Box –

She had felt the draw again – the convulsions of black magic were nowhere near what they had been that first night she had sensed the girl but they were still present. This time she was prepared; the ‘push’ that the little witch needed was prepped and ready to go.

‘Just the right touch to send the witch over the edge; for her to have the need for the gifts that I alone could provide,’ she thought.

It had been years upon years since she had felt the right kind of presence, so close before…. She was not about to give up this chance at rebirth now. No matter what the cost to her future host.

Later on at the Summer’s residence –

When Willow came to she was sitting on the edge of her bed naked except for a towel wrapped around her. Confusion was the first coherent emotional process Willow could manage. Looking over to the window in her room Willow noticed it was dark outside now.

‘But it was daylight when I...’ Willow lost that train of thought as she didn’t know when or what had happened. ‘How did I get here? Where have I been?’ Willow questioned herself. Willow looked down at her hands and noted she had another towel in her hands. The towel was wet but with water and not blood. That thought about blood tripped Willow up - ‘But why should the towel have blood on it? What happened that I remember blood? Did I do something wrong again?’

“There you go – laying the blame on yourself again Willow.”

Willow opened her eyes wide at the sudden intrusion of the voice – a voice coming from the bathroom. Slowly Willow rose from the bed and peeked into the bathroom holding the towels tightly against her naked body.

“W-what? Who?” Willow stuttered looking around the bathroom and seeing no one there but her reflection in the mirror.

“Tsk, tsk Willow. You never did anything wrong and you still don’t realize it. But that’s okay, I’m here now…. I won’t let them hurt you anymore.”

It was hard to believe but Willow’s eyes grew even wider and she dropped the towel in her hand as she realized where the voice came from.

“I know everything dear Willow; I know what you did to make them hate you. You gave them every part of you but it still wasn’t enough. But that’s okay; I know how to fix it. I know to fix you and I know how to fix them.”

“Y-you can’t be real… I must be dreaming or… It’s a nightmare…” Willow stammered as she looked at the reflection in the mirror. The mirror reflection of Willow that had just started a conversation with Willow – but the reflection wasn’t Willow somehow as the witch began to notice the visual differences. Goddess, it was all so confusing but she was talking to herself, wasn’t she?

“Oh, this is as real as it gets Willow but you’re right; it’s a nightmare. Well, actually this whole existence you call a life is the nightmare,” her reflection interrupted Willow’s thoughts. “Little nice Willow always trying to do the right thing; always trying to make everyone else feel better. Good ol’ dependable Willow to help everyone else out….Meanwhile we are torn apart inside; a hollow shell of hurt and pain!”

“No-no, that’s not true… What did I do wrong? I’m trying so hard to help everyone! I just want them all to like me; to be happy with me…” Willow cried out and she felt tears coming to her eyes. She couldn’t understand why she was justifying herself to… herself but that was a point lost on the moment.

“Stop that; no more crying! No more trying to make them happy!” the reflection Willow began to rage. “That’s what started all this. You keep trying to make them all happy; but we’re not happy at all! You’ve done everything for them, everything for their damn good fight; now there is nothing left when we need it. Where are they when we need them!” The anger had changed the mirror Willow – her face scowled and her eyes had turned black as the dark magic had turned them when Willow had visited Rack.

The sudden fit of rage from her reflection made Willow drift away from the mirror in fear and the harsh words felt like they burned her soul. But the reflection wasn’t done with her rage yet.

“No! You can’t run from this now – it’s time to face the facts Willow. No one loves the real us; no one cares that we hurt so bad that it’s driving you insane. Buffy doesn’t even care that we risked eternal damnation for her life! Where is Tara now when everything we do has been to try to make her happy? You can sit here and sob over Tara and Buffy and all the rest of your pitiful life,” reflection Willow’s voice suddenly dipped lower but now Willow’s reflection had hair changed black to match her eyes. “But I’m done with it all! You had your chance trying to be everything to everyone – no more! I’m taking over our life and the power that should be mine!” The reflection in the mirror somehow moved closer to Willow though she was all the way against the far wall of the bathroom now and in a voice barely above a whisper spoke to her, “Slide on over and buckle up baby, I’m driving for us now.”

Suddenly Willow’s head jerked back and then down as if she had been hit in the head by something. Willow then fell to the floor, gasping, out of breath and then just out of it again.

The next thing Willow realized she found herself back on the bed again. As she slowly began to move, Willow tried to recall what all had happened. Pausing for moment to look at the window, she realized it was daylight again, or still.

“How long have I been out? Did I just dream all that…” Willow mumbled as she tried to gather her thoughts.

Finally getting to her feet, Willow stood up, walked into the bathroom and peered into the mirror in front of her. If Willow was surprised at what she saw it barely registered with just a slight smirk on her face.

The sunken and black circled weary green eyes from her last memory were gone; eyes of deep brown looked out upon a face that was no longer pale and sickly but was now a healthy cream color with a little hint of pink to her cheeks. She reached over to touch the once chapped and cracked lips on her mouth – now a healthy pink, supple and full. Willow brushed back strands of shiny red-brown hair from her face and smiled broadly at the reflection. The smile however was not the mirthful one that Willow would have had before the events of the last year – it was cold and calculating, almost devious.

“Well now… that’s much better,” Willow purred as she viewed the reflection. The pain, the soul crushing depression was gone; replaced by…’What?’ she asked her reflection. A sense of purpose was there now – things to do, places to go, people to see. ‘Hmm, people to see? Well not the people here in Sunnydale; no more of them. The people I do need to see will appreciate my new…. Outlook on life!’ Willow smirked at her new and, in her new point of view, improved look and then turned from her reflection heading back into her room.

‘But the people here are my friends?!?’ came a small timid complaint from somewhere deep in Willow’s mind. The powerful darkness in Willow quickly forced the timid voice and its source back into the depths of her mind.

‘None of that now…They had their chance; you had your chance…’ the brunette smirked to herself.

“So, where to start…where to start…” Willow contemplated as she sat on the bed corner again. “Ah, a to do for the immediate concerns.” A pen and pad of paper from the table were summoned to Willow’s hands with a quick off glance towards the table. Willow started writing the items that came to mind – a new place to live, transportation, food, clothing, and money to pay for them all.

“Hmm; money will be the top immediate item as everything will fall into place with that…” Willow’s voice trailed off on that thought and she stopped writing for a moment. Several ideas formed in her mind – school and trust funds, investments set aside by absent parents – Willow wrote ‘Bank’ at the top of her list and underlined it. Dropping the pen and paper to the bed, Willow moved to the closet and began to look at her options for today.

“Eww, Willow you need to give up the Earth Goddess gig and get with 21st century business casual!” The woman narrowed her eyes at the closet and the pen and paper rose up off the bed and scribbled on their own ‘New Clothes!’ on the list before dropping back to the bed. Willow paused momentarily in mid disgust at her clothing choices to remember some of her previous fashion disasters – the majority of her high school existence being a major sore point for her. ‘Then that encounter with vampire me… A little overkill on the Gothic slutty side for Vamp Willow…. Well at least it was better than what I had on at the time – ye gods and goddesses save me from fuzzy sweaters!’ Willow shook her head at the thought. ‘As much as I admire leather I think that would be a little too dramatic and distracting for my immediate plans. Now for future play-ware, hmmm…’ Willow giggled to herself at the naughty thoughts that crossed her mind. Such thoughts about expressing her ‘naughty’ needs would have driven the old Willow into fits of denial and self-chastising; not anymore. Focusing again on the current need to get dressed, Willow finally came up with something she felt would be acceptable for her to wear. Willow then crossed to the dresser to pick out her underwear. A grunt of additional disapproval met her rummages through the dresser followed by a deep sigh as Willow just grabbed something. The pen and paper flew to work again – ‘Victoria’s Secret’ appearing under the ‘New Clothes’ statement. ‘Oh yeah; there is going to be some major shopping time scheduled here shortly….’

Below the underwear she had grabbed, in the back corner of the drawer, Willow discovered a small cardboard box.

“I don’t recall this being here….” Willow mused as she picked the box up.

Something compelled her to open it – something inside Willow could almost hear the call of something magical in the box to her – she had to see something in that box. Opening the box, Willow found a simple smoky quartz crystal inside a small velvet pouch. Willow turned the bag over in her hand and once the crystal hit her palm she saw them. Visions came pouring into her mind’s eye – ‘I remember now! The crystal I found when we searched through Jonathan’s magic stuff Buffy had dug up in one of their lairs…’ Willow smiled to herself, she hadn’t even known she still possessed any crystals after all her magic items had been cleared out by Buffy. Willow worked to center her magic, calmed her breathing and turned all her attention to the events playing over her mind.

Visions – flashes of possible futures, linked together by strands of existence or tied to crucial moments – floated across the witch’s mind. A choice here, a decision there, a lack of action by someone and the strands moved on to other possible future pathways. Willow saw so many of these and it was very difficult to sort through them all.

‘Where did Jonathan get such a powerful item,’ Willow wondered as she fought to bring focus to the visions. Her new found willingness to tap into the darker power around her brought Willow the strength and she regained focus. Suddenly a couple visions drew the attention of the witch…

“Ah, all three of the Nerds of Doom again…Oh! Isn’t that interesting…An invisibility ray-gun, how, how retro of the boys,” Willow giggled out loud at the comic book evil antics of the ‘Trio’ as she attempted to follow the strands of future possibilities.

‘It’s so much easier to focus now, the quantum theories and possible events just roll along,’ the witch hummed to herself as she paged through the crucial moments of time present and future that ensnared her.

“Buffy had a visitor this morning…Department of social services, hmmm? Dawnie’s been a bad little girl… Yes, I think I can use this… Now something else there… Something darker – drawing me to… Secrets in the Magic Box! I remember now…” Willow’s thoughts began to sort deeper through the visions she had gained to trap where she could drive events to her benefit. It was heady stuff indeed; the visions and the threads of alternative futures that Willow tried to sort through though much was still hidden to her untrained mind. Willow had to keep it slow and maintain her focus; though the dark magics she maintained were strong in her now, she was not yet all powerful and Willow could not delve too deep yet or the process could drive her insane.

‘Perhaps insane is not the best term to use at the moment,’ Willow laughed out loud at the little joke she made over her recent mental “breakthrough”. Then the visions were done… Willow opened her eyes – the crystal now laid dark, cracked and smoking slightly in her hand. She sat down not too gently on the bed as there was a moment of disorientation from the visions. Willow tried to gather her thoughts and silently contemplated what she had seen. It had not been the first time she had experimented with precognition but it was certainly the clearest Willow had ever been able to pull the visions into her mind and sort through them. Willow now waited for the expected serious headache and nosebleed that had followed her other previous experience with visions.

‘No. That’s the old me – I can at least try to fight off the after effects,’ Willow moved into a comfortable sitting spot on the floor in front of the bed and tried to relax. Calming her breathing and pulling focus into her body and spirit Willow worked to head off the painful side effects of delving that deep into the possible future. The witch was rather pleased with herself as she noticed it was working after only a few minutes – no nosebleed and only a slight knot of pressure behind her eyes.

‘Remarkable how much focus one can create when…,’ Willow paused and grasped at the passing thought for a moment. ‘Hmm, when you just don’t give a flying fuck about the consequences anymore! I’ll have to make sure to tell the gang thanks for the motivation!’ Willow snorted to herself again half expecting her former self to protest again. But the voice that had belonged to that past was now buried, the darkness feeding off the anger and hurt of this world to crush that gentler half of Willow’s personality.

After dressing, and adding several other items to the list, Willow tidied up her room. Just to make it look clean and not abandoned – ‘At least not abandoned yet.’ Willow casually walked downstairs showing none of the after effects from the past several days. The witch knew she was alone in the house and would be for several hours with Dawn at school and Buffy figuring out how to handle the social worker issue and Dawn’s recent problems. Plus doing the Double Meat Palace shift, patrolling and likely ‘doing’ Spike later one would keep the Slayer occupied.

‘Just like Buffy was too occupied to worry about me until she felt Dawn was threatened…Well, soon enough she’ll not have to do that because I’ll disappear, at least for now. Later on I’ll give her something else to worry about,’ Willow smugly thought.

Willow picked up the phone, the phone list from her purse in her hand. Willow made the first of several phone calls to set up appointments for what would be a busy day. As she worked through the list of calls Willow gathered key items she would need for the activities planned – laptop, bank papers, school papers, her purse and keys for her parent’s house. The last call Willow made was to the nearest taxi company as she was not in the mood to walk all over town and waste precious time or magical energy doing it.

And Willow fully expected she would need most of her knowledge and magical energy for her planned activities at the Magic Box. Most likely tonight or tomorrow night Willow intended to slip around Buffy’s patrol schedule and any Scooby activity to make a visit to Gile’s storage room at the store. The locks and security system that Anya had installed would not be too difficult to work with but Willow fully expected that Giles had left some kind of ward or magical sign to protect the items that Willow sought to aid her long term plans – tomes, documents and books of lore left behind by Glory and her minions. Giles had meant to catalog the items after Glory was defeated but the fallout of Buffy’s death kept the Watcher far too busy to accomplish the task. So Giles had secured the items in a locked chest in the storeroom of the Magic Box, likely to tend to them on another day. Willow had helped Giles move some of the items and she had caught a hint of the dark power in several of the tomes. Additionally Willow had found folders of financial statements from investments that the witch believed Glory controlled – both in the States and overseas. Investments Willow intended to take control over since Glory no longer had a need for them. Her vision this morning had drawn the witch back to the past and reminded Willow of the potential power and wealth just simply sitting in the Magic Box store room. With a comfortable sum of money set aside for her living concerns, Willow would be able to get on with properly researching and practicing her magic potential. Willow felt that her actions would not be immediately detected if she was careful breaking into the Magic Box but once the Slayer and the Scooby’s caught wind that something was amiss…

‘Not ready for a direct confrontation with the Slayer yet,’ Willow admitted to herself as she wiped her hand across the phone, silently uttered a phrase in Latin and erased the memory of all calls that she had made from the device. ‘Any future moments I have with the Scooby’s will be at a time and place of my choosing so best to keep my tracks covered for now.’

Willow stepped out of the living room, across the hallway and into the dining room as she gathered up the items she had picked out earlier in her book bag. Meanwhile, she laid out her further plans for the afternoon. It would be easy to fix the bank issue, just a matter of some easy glamour spells and documents from her parent’s house. The trust fund left to her parents for Willow’s college expenses had barely been touched due to Willow’s numerous scholarships – it would have the funds for her initial needs. The other items would simply be time consuming and her expected success at the bank would lay out a foundation for Willow to operate from. ‘After Adam, Glory and bringing Buffy back from the dead, disappearing from Sunnydale will be a piece of cake. Covering my long term plans and keeping everything low key until I’m far enough along will be the challenging part.’

The sound of a vehicle pulling up outside the house followed by the honking of a car horn announced the arrival of Willow’s taxi. The witch smiled; double checked she had everything and headed to the front door.

Exiting the front door, Willow could almost imagine that she was walking out onto the stage on opening night of her big debut. The old Willow would have been terrified; public speaking or being in front of an audience of strangers were tops on the list of things Willow was not found of. But, as with so much that she had done today, that was the old Willow…

“Showtime!” the ‘new’ Willow breathed out as she walked out to the taxi with a sense of purpose and excitement.

Later that day…. In another part of Sunnydale…

“No! I get to use it first,” whined Andrew as he struggled with Jonathan over the invisibility raygun.

“Give me that before you nut bags break it!” Warren was pissed – first the Slayer was right next door at that hairdressers and then his two minions were about to destroy one of his best projects. As he reached over to get control of the situation, Jonathan’s hand slid over the activation trigger with weapon pointed down the alley. But instead of going off… several slight pops occurred followed by some smoke and the distinctive smell of burnt electronics.

“SONOFABITCH! You broke it! You fucking broke it! I’m gonna kill you two!” Warren was irate, no beyond irate as he knocked the two shorter members of the trio back deeper into the van. The self appointed leader of the Nerds of Doom never noticed the blonde Slayer walking down the street not even noticing the commotion in the van….

Nor did any of the Trio notice a certain brown haired witch glancing at the van from behind a corner further down the alley.

“Simple enough,” Willow smiled and turned back to meet her taxi again around the corner. Frying the electronics in the raygun was a piece of cake considering how poorly assembled it was. Willow was rather disappointed in the boys over that; perhaps her expectations for them after her visions this morning were overly optimistic.

‘No matter; with Buffy not going to be invisible due to the blunders of the Trio,’ Willow mused as she reviewed her plans to respond to the visions, ’the social worker should have time to turn her report in about home conditions for Dawn. That should create enough pressure to drive Buffy to even new levels of self-involvement!’ Willow could sense that the Slayer had moved on beyond her perception range so she casually moved down the street to where she had left the taxi. Willow made a mental note to research locating more on that crystal to allow herself more opportunities for seeing visions. The witch had already managed to retrieve the Tarot cards that Buffy had grabbed from Willow’s room during the Slayers magic cleaning – Willow had replaced them with a deck of ordinary playing cards while locating her old magic supplies. The witch seriously doubted Buffy would even notice; just as she had failed to notice Dawn’s shoplifting and failing grades. However sporadic her abilities had been with the Tarot cards in the past, Willow had feeling her new skills would help her draw more from the readings now.

‘Perhaps Buffy will even lose temporary custody of Dawn as a result of the social workers report. In any case, the issue will keep Buffy off her game – likely Xander and Tara will also become involved as they were oh so protective of the teen. Whatever; the girl is much too needy if you ask me. Oh, I’m Dawnie, no one pays attention to me! Waa!’ Willow laughed to herself as she slid back into the taxi and waved for the driver to move on to her next destination. ‘Dear Dawnie, some day you will learn that if you want people to pay attention to you… You have to grab them by the balls and squeeze until something gives!’

Still later that same day, near the Summer’s residence -

Willow had the taxi driver drop her off a few doors down the street from Buffy’s house. The witch handed the man his fee and a $50 tip since he had been so cooperative with the numerous trips and stops around Sunnydale. Willow was a bit annoyed but not at the driver; all her immediate errands were done but she was much later than she had planned. Dawn was likely home from school by now. Having seen the time earlier, Willow had made a quick decision and dropped off everything she didn’t immediately need back at her old room at her parents’ house. Securing her valuables and placing a quick warding spell on the room had made her still later in getting back to Buffy’s house. However Willow was willing to deal with the injured teenager alone as long as Buffy was not around. Willow paused for a moment before heading into the back yard of the house; she took several slow, deep cleansing breathes and reached out with her magical senses.

‘No Slayer, no vamps, no witches – just one annoyed teenager who likely will not say anything to me and just glare,’ Willow thought as she regained her focus and moved towards the back door. Willow quickly opened the door and moved into the kitchen; as she had felt before entering the back yard Dawn was in the kitchen making herself a snack. Shutting the door behind her, Willow tossed her best ‘Happy Willow Face’ on.

“Hey Dawnie! I hope you’re feeling better now,” Willow happily asked as she walked up to the kitchen counter. Dawn paused what she was doing, turned and stared at Willow, a look of complete unbelief evident on the teen’s face.

“Well that’s great Dawn! I hope you have a wonderful afternoon,” Willow cheerily commented as she turned and walked off into the hallway and on into the house. Without a pause for Dawn’s reaction Willow moved up the stairs and into her room, shutting and locking the door behind her.

‘What the hell was that all about?’ was the best thought Dawn managed to come up as she ended her imitation of a gaping fish. Dawn shook her head, turned back to the snack she was making and then finally turned her gaze back down the hall that Willow had disappeared into.

“Hmph, sure looks like that magic addiction thing isn’t fazing her a bit,” Dawn grumbled.

Willow exhaled a deep sigh as she leaned her back against the door to her room; she calmed herself again and listened for any sign that Dawn may have followed her. ‘Ok! That was a bit more excitement then I was ready for yet… I need to get focused here or I’m going to be just begging for a fight when Buffy comes home this evening!’ Willow took several moments to calm her beating heart – sudden thoughts of fighting her former best friend to the death thrilled her even more! The old Willow had a deep seated desire to avoid social conflict but the new Willow had almost begged Dawn to say something to her so Willow could lash out at the teen. Willow would not even be surprised if her eyes hadn’t started turning black again as she leaned forward away from the door.

Willow’s reasoning began to take hold again – ‘I’m not strong enough for a direct fight with Buffy so no toying with the rest of the Scoobies yet. Well, nothing obvious anyways.’

Willow grinned at that thought as she moved to organize her things for the evenings ‘homework’ – the bank paperwork and statements, the temp storage area paperwork and the condo lease. All items now conveniently in her assumed ID as Danielle Brown, ‘Another item on the ‘to do’ list for the evening – build an expanded credit history and background for Danielle.’ The persona that Willow had built for Danielle would cover the initial background and credit checks but the witch knew that more extensive inquiries would be coming soon so beefing things up would assist her long term plans. Danielle aka Willow smiled and started up her laptop as she gathered the last of the papers and items for her tasks, glanced down at her watch and started in on the work. Mentally she checked off the items to be reviewed and completed before Buffy got home in the next couple hours – Willow couldn’t exactly remember what time Buffy worked today at the D.M. Palace. Remembering that Buffy was supposed to have been ‘invisible’ for at least part of the day due to the Nerds of Doom, Willow figured it was the after lunch or evening shift otherwise Buffy wouldn’t have been downtown to be ‘zapped’. That left Buffy either stopping by quickly to check on Dawn before going to work or coming in soon for the evening before patrolling. In either case, Willow would be ready – her ‘practice’ with glamour spells at all of her appointments had gone perfectly. The bank tellers had thought she was her mother, the taxi driver, leasing agents and others she met would all give different accounts of who they spoke to today. They would also quickly forget any ‘distinguishing’ aspects of the person they had met – ‘Danielle’ would be of average height, average age, average weight – with different colored hair in each case. So when Willow did encounter Buffy today – it would be as the old Willow, still sick from heartbreak, sadness and desperately wanting her friends’ approval again.

“Bleah!” The mere thought of that sniveling she had done for her ungrateful former friends left a bad taste in Willow’s mouth. ‘No matter now; it’s not going to happen again,’ Willow resolved and got down to work.

Buffy walked up the street to her house lost in thought. The encounter with the social worker this morning had sent her entire life into another tail spin. Dawn’s problems with school devastated Buffy more than any demon or vampire attack – she realized she was failing her little sister as a parent and a mentor. The possibility that Dawn could be taken away from her because of that failure had blindsided Buffy worse than any apocalypse and kept the Slayer distracted all day.

‘This is the Hellmouth for Pete’s sake! People are murdered by demons or turned into undead,’ Buffy tried to rationalize; ‘they don’t get taken out of their happy homes by the cops or state social workers! Did Mom have this much trouble with me, I never remembered anything like this happening?’ Buffy paused at that thought and then quickly tried to dismiss the memories of her stay in the mental institution and blowing up her previous school’s gym when she first was called. With Dawn’s problems now added to her issues with Spike and just the daily grind of living, Buffy just didn’t have much spirit left for patrolling and fighting evil.

Buffy arrived at her house and walked up to the front door. Buffy sighed and realized she didn’t have a plan for talking to Dawn about what happened today. The dread of this confrontation was creating an icy ball in the Slayer’s gut but Buffy had no clue how to resolve it. ‘Can’t exactly fix teenagers as easily as a bad haircut,’ Buffy snorted on that thought after her adventures with bad hair this morning. ‘At least that hairdresser worked miracles with my hair emergency; I wonder if she knows anything about troublesome kid sisters?’ The crash of something breaking from the kitchen brought Buffy back to the moment and she rushed into the house. Inside the kitchen Buffy found Dawn kneeling and mumbling over the remains of a plate scattered across the floor.

“I hope that plate wasn’t supposed to be aimed at me,” Buffy sighed looking over the pieces on the floor.

“Very funny Buffy,” Dawn grumbled as she waved a large piece of broken plate in her older sister’s direction. “I’m still all thumbs with this cast on and I knocked the plate off the counter trying to clean up the kitchen. You know, being responsible and stuff like you wanted.” Dawn snorted as she bent back down to pick up more pieces of the plate.

“Nice try Dawn; but cleaning up in the kitchen is not going to get you out of this,” Buffy started in – ‘Great start Buffy…Shit, here goes nothing!’ Buffy resolved to herself. “I think we need to have a little talk,” Buffy began. “Did you think I wouldn’t find out Dawn? How can you just skip school and let your grades fall so low and still think I wouldn’t find out?”

“Oh, please Buffy; don’t get all critical with me. Didn’t you skip school all the time when you were there? I mean being the big, bad Slayer and all. Besides it’s not like you would have noticed anyways – you don’t notice anything I do to help around here!”

“So you lash out for my attention by purposely trying to ruin your future? By just letting yourself become a failure; are you insane Dawn? Because what you’re doing is about the dumbest way to get my attention!”

“Oh really,” Dawn replied feeling her own temper rise to her sister’s attack, “I would have thought getting addicted to black magic and hurting my friends was a lot higher on the stupid attention getting list!”

“Dawn, you leave Willow out of this! This has fucking absolutely nothing to do with Willow and everything to do with you!” Buffy swearing with the ‘f-bomb’ got Dawn’s attention a bit more focused that the Slayer was totally pissed off. “Those people in social services, they can take you away from me Dawn. Your attempts a-at getting my attention worked but now you have everyone’s attention! They will take you away from me and put you in a foster home – they don’t even have to keep you in Sunnydale. You’ve got to fix this Dawn. And I mean right now Dawn: no more skipping classes or missing homework assignments or being out late at night. I can only do so much; you, Willow, Xander, hell even Spike; you’ve got to be responsible for your own actions. And honestly it appears that what I’ve been trying to do around here lately is not good enough for anyone!” Buffy finished ranting.

That last part looked like it caught Dawn totally off guard; even caught Buffy off guard. Buffy started to figure some of it out today – she had spent so much time not knowing how to feel or even live again that she had fallen prey to not feeling at all. Even her moments with Spike seemed like suicidal tendencies of the heart to Buffy because she knew that she could never truly love him. Since Buffy had not reconnected with Dawn and her friends after being brought back, everyone had suffered. But Buffy didn’t know how to fix it all – Dawn, her friendships, her love life – but she did know she was running out of time with Dawn. So Dawn was going to have all that Buffy had left to give – everything and everyone else was just going to have to take a back seat.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Buffy continued. “I’m sorry Dawn, I just can’t live without you in my life. I know I’ve not been the best sister to you but you’ve got to believe that I need you,” Buffy was practically pleading now as tears started to form in the corner of her eyes. “Please just work with me on this. Help me to keep you here in my life.”

Dawn was shocked to silence by Buffy’s sudden emotional change and sadly nodded at her older sister as they came together and hugged.

Upstairs in her room, Willow had caught the whole conversation between the Slayer and the former Key.

“How touching Buffy, really pulled on my heart strings… But sadly it’s a case of too little, too late for little Dawnie,” Willow whispered to herself. Willow glanced back over to the pages displayed on her laptop that she had pulled up just moments before – the state’s social services network was a wealth of information for a skilled hacker. Willow was far beyond the skills of even the best hackers now. The draft report from the social worker had already been reviewed and approved by her supervisor to go final according to the email Willow had intercepted. The final report was due to be sent via email to their district bosses within a week.

‘Looks like Buffy will have her hands full with social services here in about a week. The threat of Dawn being removed from Buffy’s care should be just the distraction I need to keep the Scoobies off of my case while I slip out of here nice and easy with everything I need. And the best thing is I barely lifted a finger to make sure it happened!’ Willow smiled to herself but the pleasure of the moment drifted away as the witch contemplated other possible issues. ‘I’ll have to meditate again tonight and see if I can get events to play out as I want them to. Don’t want some hiccup in the social system holding up Dawn’s walking papers out of the Summer’s residence.’ Willow nodded to herself and returned to her other laptop projects – a lot more financial issues to review this evening before she can get some rest for her late night excursion to the Magic Box. ‘If Glory’s financial holdings are anything like the lifestyle she enjoyed, I’m going to need to have everything set right to hide what I can bleed out of her ill-gotten wealth.’

The Summer’s residence, the following morning -

“Wills? Willow? Are you awake?” Buffy knocked gently on the door of her housemate, not really sure if she should be doing this. ‘What if Willow’s still sick or won’t help me? I’ve not given her any reason to help me. But I need this and Willow’s the only one.’

Buffy knocked again, louder this time. With no response, Buffy decided to force the issue and slowly opened the door. The blonde Slayer looked in the room but found no one inside. Stepping further into the room, Buffy looked around confused – the bed was made and the room was straightened and clean as if no one had been there since yesterday. “Willow?”

“Looking for me Buffy?” came the reply from behind her.

“GAA! Holy crap Willow, you scared the hell out of me!” Buffy had almost jumped into a fighting stance as she whirled to face the woman that had seemly come out of nowhere behind her.

“Gee, sorry Buffy… Maybe you need to switch to decaf or something,” Willow commented with a smile as she walked by the Slayer – ‘Oh, that was priceless! Snuck up on the Slayer with my magic and she’s none the wiser!’ Willow had to work hard to cover the smirk on her face as she moved into the room. “What can I do for you Buffy? Did you need something?”

“Um, yeah. I was, well, I wanted to check up on you. To see how you were feeling and stuff… I know I’ve not been around lately, with patrol and work and stuff….” Buffy’s voice trailed off and she had begun to fidget with her hands – ‘Yeah, going ten rounds in Spike’s bed last night qualifies as stuff.’ Buffy thought to herself.

Willow caught that Buffy was nervous talking to her; the Slayer fidgeting her hands was the obvious sign but the witch could sense the apprehension coming from the blonde even without watching Buffy’s body language or using her magic sense. Willow worked her best emotional mojo and kept a straight face to the Slayer; wanting to make Buffy feel even more uncomfortable. ‘Why should I make this any easier for Buffy; it’s not like she really gives a damn about me.’ Willow knew why the Slayer was here – Buffy needed something from her – Willow had seen the possibility yesterday in the vision.

“I’m doing a little better Buffy. I still feel very weak at times; especially at night. But I’m getting stronger and the nosebleeds are slowly going away,” Willow replied as she played up acting, sliding slowing back onto the bed as if she was still weak from the withdrawal. She looked back up to Buffy and smiled weakly, “Did you get your hair cut Buffy?”

“Hmm, oh yeah. Yesterday, I-I just felt like I needed a change. You know me, all ready for a little change right now!” Buffy was a bit nervous and Willow caught her off guard with noticing her hair. “I’m really happy that you’re feeling a little better Wills. Look, I hate to do this but I really need to ask for your help. It’s Dawn – she’s been skipping school and her grades have just ended up in the basement,” Buffy was letting it out fast now, reminding Willow of when she used to babble so fast that it seemed she didn’t breathe. “And yesterday a state social worker showed up saying she’s checking up on me and Dawn! I think they want to take Dawn away from me Wills; I don’t know what to do with her. She won’t accept responsibility for her actions; she blames everyone else for not paying attention to her. I need time to try to fix this thing with Dawn but I don’t know if I’ll have the time with what happened yesterday.”

“That’s terrible Buffy; but what do you want me to do?” Willow asked acting all concerned – knowing full well what Buffy wanted. “You know I’m not exactly the most popular person in Dawn’s life right now. Maybe you should ask someone like Xander or Tara if you’re looking for someone to talk to her…”

“Oh, no. No I understand that completely… That problem with talking to Dawn and stuff since we had a talk yesterday... This wouldn’t really require you to have any interaction with Dawn actually…” Buffy paused now as she took a deep breath before going further. “This is more computer-research girl time. I was kinda hoping that you could help me by hacking into the social worker’s computer or network or whatever they use,” Buffy lowered her voice as if to hide the conversation from some hidden listening device. “I’ve got to know what that social worker plans to do about Dawn.”

“Whoa! Um gee Buffy….” Willow played up to the moment. “I guess I could try… I don’t really know a lot about that system the state social system uses but I could research it and see what I can do. You know, with the computer and not with magic of course.”

“Thanks Will! You don’t know how much that means to me, you know, to have you try at least,” Buffy was totally relieved that Willow agreed to help – ‘Maybe things are still okay between me and Willow! I know I was hard on her the other night but she needed it.’

“No problem Buffy. I’ll get right on it,” Willow smiled through the whole lie she feed her former best friend – ‘So Slayer – it’s terribly evil and selfish of me to play around with black magic but the minute you need someone to hack into a government computer system I’m supposed to be there to help you. Spare me the fucking details you goddamn hypocrite!’ Suddenly there was a whisper from deep inside Willow – ‘Buffy needs us; she still loves us! We have to help her!’ But then the darkness railed back against those thoughts; it screamed out in anger ‘Why should we help her? We almost lost our soul to raise her! Where was she when we needed her?’ And as soon as the glimmer of love and concern was there, it was gone again. Once again the darkness fed the anger and the hurt inside the witch at the Slayer’s betrayal of their friendship and killed any immediate thought of pity for Buffy’s situation. The darkness spoke through Willow as it put on her best comforting smile, “I’ll get on it right now Buffy and don’t you worry about it all.”

Later that afternoon –

“That’s the last of it ma’am,” the mover with the clipboard came over and handed it to Willow. “Can I get you to sign here Ms Brown?”

“Of course, thank you for the quick work,” Willow signed the document and then slipped the man a couple of fifty dollar bills as she handed back the clipboard. “For your guys since we missed lunch.”

“Thank you Ms Brown. That’s awfully nice of you,” the man smiled as he pocketed the tip. “We’ll get the two drop offs done this afternoon like you requested and we’ll call the cell number you gave us if there are any problems. I don’t expect that there will be any though.”

The mover headed out to the truck where the majority of “Danielle Brown’s” aka Willow’s earthly possessions now sat awaiting relocation. Some items that she might need down the road to long term storage in a nice climate controlled warehouse while the rest were on the way to Willow’s new residence. One block over from the condominium that Glory had once occupied, Willow had found a very nice place of her own to camp out in for the remainder of her time in Sunnydale. After today’s encounter with Buffy, Willow realized that she had to get away from daily interaction with the Slayer and the rest of the Scoobies. The emotional turmoil created by being around them threatened Willow’s focus and lack of focus was a serious threat to her future plans. The hint of caring and pity Willow had felt after talking to Buffy followed by the terrible rage and desire to lash out at the Slayer made it clear that the witch still did not have full control of herself. Without control of her emotions, Willow would not have control of her new dark powers and wouldn’t be in a position to reach her goals.

Willow watched with passing interest as the moving truck rolled up the street from her old house. The pickup at Buffy’s house had been quick, only a few boxes of items there that Willow had needed the movers to grab. Willow’s big move had been items that she had stored in her parent’s house – papers, documents and some clothing were included but the main items had been several boxes of magic and demon research notes that Willow had kept plus the larger items she had snagged from the Magic Box last night. Willow smiled thinking of last night’s success; she had felt so afraid and yet so liberated at the same time when she had broke in to the store. Breaking and entering and felony theft was heady stuff for a woman that once would panic at the thought of having an overdue library book. The fact that it had gone so well just boosted Willow’s ego all the more – the alarm was a breeze to bypass, the ward that Giles had left was so easy to remove that Xander could have dispelled it, and she believed she had hit major pay dirt with all the items she had found. From Willow’s brief review of the documents early this morning she had come to the conclusion that Glory and her minions had been flush with cash – which meant that Willow would soon be too! Additionally there were tomes and relics that Willow had never seen when she helped Giles move the staff to the Magic Box – Willow collected what she could carry in her backpack but it still took two trips. ‘Definitely worth all the effort to plan it and get in there,’ Willow thought pleasantly.

“But then almost screwing everything up this morning with Buffy…” Willow sighed and her previous happy mood drifted away as she frowned at the thought of this morning’s encounter. ‘The Slayer still has a grip on me… or what we had I guess. I’ve got to keep my distance from her until…’ Willow wasn’t sure how long it would take to get Buffy and Xander out of her system. Tara and the others – those people were non-entities in her life now. Willow’s anger returned as she thought of Tara’s no-show after the car accident with Dawn. It had been a raw wound with Willow ever since the witch could gather her thoughts again during the magic withdrawal. It hurt in ways that Willow couldn’t understand – sadness that pulled at her soul…

‘No! Not anymore Willow…’ Willow lashed out at her weakness and the anger returned. Sometime during her illness Willow’s feelings had turned and now there was nothing but anger and fury left for her former girlfriend. That anger brought Willow’s focus back to the present; she had work to do. Now that Willow could disappear and exist as Danielle, she could concentrate on researching the tomes, documents and objects she had obtained from the Magic Box. ‘And then I can concentrate on what I should have been doing all along – perfecting my craft.’ Willow’s smile returned as she gathered her bag and headed out to her rental car. ‘Yes, it’s definitely time to start working on the big mojo…’

The next day –

“Hey Buffy!” Xander announced his arrival as he opened the back door. “So what’s with the big emergency phone call? Did something happen on patrol last night? Oh, and you got any leftovers? I skipped breakfast this morning.”

Buffy stopped her pacing in the kitchen long enough to hand over a piece of paper to Xander – “Look at this,” the Slayer simply stated and then started pacing again. Xander looked at the note, then back at the obviously stressed Slayer, then back at the note.

Sorry I missed you but I needed some help with the “special project” you asked me to do for you this morning. I’ll be on campus working on it if you need me. If it gets too late, I’ll stay on campus in the dorms so don’t worry about me. I’ll get this fixed up for you in no time!


“Um, okay. So it’s a note from Willow, what’s the deal? And what’s this special project thing? We have a new bad guy in town?”

“The deal Xander is I don’t think Willow made it to campus; at least not yesterday,” Buffy replied as she came over and took the note back from Xander. “I was out all last night patrolling and when I got home I just crashed out,” Buffy left out the part about having a fight with Spike and then the two of them sleeping together again in his crypt. “This morning I went to Willow’s room and I found this note. But I also noticed that all her stuff is gone – her closet and the dressers are just empty.”

“Well, wait… Willow probably moved back on campus or something, you know, after the thing with Dawn… Did you try the dorms or Tara’s?” Xander was not overly concerned for Willow. It’s not like Willow had never been out all night before even if this was Sunnydale.

“No, that’s part of the problem. I went on campus this morning to look for her and I ran into one of her teachers,” Buffy left out the part here that she was feeling extremely guilty for having asked Willow to get into the whole hacker thing with Dawn’s issues. “He told me that Willow had withdrawn from college two days ago – something about a family matter – and that he hadn’t seen her since. Everyone that I could find that knew Willow either said they hadn’t seen her or that she was gone from college.”

“Okay, okay. Let’s back up here Buffy before we panic,” Xander tried to calm Buffy down by getting some rational thought going here. “You couldn’t have talked to everyone that knew Willow and the college campus is a big place. Willow could have easily got on campus without anyone noticing… And did you talk to Tara, or Willow’s parents? Willow and Tara might have made up and be busy getting reattached in Tara’s dorm room… Or maybe she moved back to her parent’s house. Things have not exactly been welcoming here for her since the thing with Dawn.” Xander had to admit to himself that he’d not be very supportive to Willow the past couple days also – work, all the wedding planning, keeping Anya pleased, it all added to keep him away when he should have been here for Willow. ‘But hey, I’m only human too,’ he thought.

“I know, I know… Look Xander, I thought of both of those already – I stopped by Tara’s room but no one answered and the same at her parent’s house. That’s why I called you; I need you to get help looking for Willow. I’ve got a meeting with Dawn’s guidance counselor this afternoon and then I work this evening so I need you to cover this for me. Get Anya out of those wedding plans, find Tara and start looking for Willow,” Buffy directed.

“Alright… I’ll have to bribe Anya with something to get her away from the Magic Box but we’ll get on it,” Xander gave in easily, Willow being his best friend and all. “I’m sure Willow is fine Buffy. We’d have known if something was wrong,” Xander was not all that convincing to himself but he tried to stay positive.

“Thanks Xander! Even if it’s nothing it will take a load off my mind to know Willow is okay. Once I can get away from Dawn’s issues and work I’ll catch up with you. If you find anything call my cell phone; I’ve got to run to change for that meeting,” Buffy started to head down the hall.

“Um Buffy? It might help to know what Willow was working on for you… You know, so we might know where to look,” Xander asked.

Buffy sighed and turned back to answer Xander, “I asked Willow to…to try to hack into the social worker’s computer network. I need to see what the social worker was saying about Dawn’s case; I couldn’t afford to be blindsided by them again. Wills was my only way to do that…” Buffy was not proud of what she had asked Willow to do considering everything that had happened recently. ‘But I’ve got to know what they are planning!’ Buffy tried to argue to herself.

“Whoa Buffy! I’m so not being judgmental here so don’t panic,” Xander assured his friend. “I’m sure Willow would have volunteered to do it for you even if you didn’t ask.”

“Yeah, I think so too,” – ‘I certainly would like to think that but… with everything being the way it has for the last week…’ Buffy thought. “Find her for me Xander, okay? I may just be paranoid but…”

“I’m on it Buffy! You go take care of Dawn, I got this,” Xander replied.

Meanwhile, later that day on the other side of Sunnydale –

Willow looked up from the books and papers she had strewn in several stacks across the bed and stretched her arms up over her head. The young witch had been researching the treasure trove of the former hell-goddess for several hours already today. After finishing with the movers and unpacking yesterday afternoon, Willow had split her time between sorting items from Glory’s stash and enjoying her new furnished condo. The oversized Jacuzzi tub was an instant favorite to Willow but the huge bed was a close second as she could work in bed but still had plenty of room to snooze and stretch out as the desire came to her. The wireless Internet setup and the wall unit entertainment center in the bedroom made it easy to not leave the immediate area except for food.

“Glory may have been a psycho hell bitch but I can see why she loved living the glamorous life!” Willow smiled as she fell back into the bed and slid her body along the silk sheets. “Goddess! I could get used to living large like this!”

‘Well, I certainly can afford to now,’ Willow’s smile grew as she enjoyed the luxury around her. Glory’s minions had been organized paperwork-wise but not on par with the 21st century when it came to security – Willow already had control of a few million dollars worth of Glory’s ill-gotten gains from her years of existence in Willow’s earthly realm. Those funds were now on their discrete way to accounts that Willow controlled as Danielle or other accounts that fronted for Willow.

There was certainly much more wealth to obtain as Willow’s research on Glory’s money trail had just grabbed the quickest items available to transfer but Willow had become distracted. There were many other items that she had pulled from the trunk at the Magic Box and like a bee to a field of fresh blooms Willow had finally given in to rummaging through the items after sensing the mystical energy in them. There were several tomes of magic written in ancient languages, a couple gem incrusted magic talismans but one set of objects had totally captivated the young witch – a set of small gold pyramids and a strange golden bracelet/glove item with a large gem imbedded in it. Willow had found the items in an ancient looking wooden box accompanied by a worn book with pages of symbols hand written with care on paper of a type she couldn’t identify. In fact all the objects bore symbols similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics on them but the hieroglyphics didn’t match to ones Willow was familiar with. And all the more intriguing for Willow was the sense of power and just pure age she felt handling the items, especially the pyramids themselves.

All of this had led to a morning of research mode for Willow – ‘Nothing like a good mystery to excite the soul!’ Willow had thought – and the mystery of the objects had kept her occupied for the remainder of the morning. Willow had actually lost track of the time with her reading and attempts at translations, missing breakfast entirely so she had ordered a lunch delivery to tide her over. It was while Willow was waiting for the food to arrive that she had a moment of inspiration and observation – a book that she had used successfully a couple times in the past for translations of ancient symbols was on top of a pile of items she had brought with her from Buffy’s house. Willow picked up the book, and started skimming through it. As lunch arrived and was devoured by the hungry witch, Willow’s mind devoured the knowledge from the book and she had come close on a few of the symbols but nothing came up as an exact match. However, Willow had come to the conclusion that this author was probably her best bet for finding a translation for the inscriptions on the ancient objects. Grabbing her laptop, Willow pulled up a web search engine and typed in the author’s name – ‘Doctor Daniel Jackson’ – and began to research further. Fast forward to the present with the late afternoon sun playing across the room and Willow was certain she was very close. A couple of the local bookstores had delivered her the needed research material, money not being an issue now to pay for the books and the delivery, and Doctor Jackson’s books were providing a road map into what the symbols might mean.

‘There! Those two make sense,’ Willow thought she had something going now. Gradually Willow was able to gather the meaning of several symbols with the help of the books. Soon the hieroglyphics from the book started to line up and she could at least make out the first page –

“Ra’s gift to his most devoted priest

A key to open doors across the sky

When the door to heaven is closed to you

Never fear, use my gift to set your path

Wander the stars freely sorcerer!”

“Hmm, that’s pretty cool! Whatever it means…” Willow whispered out loud. “Some sort of dedication maybe, like an author or… Or someone dedicating a gift!”

Willow looked over at the box, the pyramids and the glove/bracelet thing – ‘Someone gave these items as a gift… That page was a dedication for the gift…. Who? Not Ra?!?! I mean the Ra from Egyptian mythology?’

The witch looked back down at her translation and then back at the books she had used to research her translation. Willow began to double check her results to make sure she wasn’t missing something.

As the afternoon sun began to set to evening, Willow found that she had made a couple mistakes and tried again.

“Okay, then it should read like –

Ra’s gift to his most devoted priestess

A key to open doors across the sky

When the Stargate is closed to you

Never fear, use my gift to set your path

Wander the stars freely sorceress!”

“Much better! I really think this stuff was a gift to someone,” Willow sat back rather satisfied with her working out the complex translation. “Now what the heck is a Stargate?” the witch wondered as she looked over the items at the foot of her bed.
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