NOTE: Amy doesn't get changed back. Willow finds Rack by herself and goes to England to recover. AU from there on
NOTE: This is definitely an AU. I might have muddled up events in the canon timeline so please forgive any inconsistencies. This is after the Glory mess but before the First. There is no First. The Geeks were run of the mill demon worshippers (for power, etc). The Scoobies still hasn't forgiven Willow's actions - nearly destroying the World and hurting Dawn.
NOTE: AtS until Connor. AU from there on. Cordelia accepts demonhood. No Jasmine. AI doesn't own Wolfram and Hart.
AN: This is it, couples coming together. If there are any Wiccan practioners out there the ritual descriptions are purely fictional, a whole I've developed from reading different philosphies, stories, and religious texts.
~*~ Celebrating Solstice ~*~
Under the cover of the night four female silhouettes made their way to a secluded grove using the full moon to light their path. Once they reached the grove all four removed their shoes and took a moment to meditate on the peace and silence. Cordelia broke it first feeling slightly uneasy at the familiarity of the scene before relaxing. This was the perfect night; nothing could go wrong.
"What do we do sisters?" To her surprise the words came out easily, in formal tones.
Amy looked up at the sky and sighed in contentment. "It is time."
"Then take your place." Willow murmured.
They moved subconsciously by pre arrangement to the different quarters etched within the circle. Willow to the north carrying a bag of dirt. Cordelia to the West carrying a glass of water. Hermione to the South carrying a squat red candle. Amy to the East carrying a zip-lock bag of feathers. Each knelt in their specific quarter and lit the candles around them with a book of matches which was then tossed onto the pile of debris in the center of the circle.
Willow rose to her feet clad in her saffron gold silk robes.
"We cast this circle for protection. Let no harm come to those within. Hermione?" Willow asked gently.
Hermione stared at the brush and smiled dreamily.
The bonfire lit obediently and was fanned into a stable state by Amy using deft gusts of wind. Both girls did not need to use their wands or concentrate. The magic in the air empowered them beyond that.
Amy took the next step rising slowly, smoothening her pale blue silk robes.
"For the air that is Her breath, Guardians of the East, element of Air, I call to thee." Amy spoke as she held a handful of feathers on her upturned cupped palm and blew them off so they drifted to the ground.
"For the fire that is Her spirit, Guardians of the South, element of Fire, I call to thee." Hermione lit the red candle and placed it down carefully before rising and smoothening the burgundy red silk of her robes.
"For the water that is Her blood, Guardians of the West, element of Water, I call to thee." Cordelia placed her glass of water down and rose shaking the dirt from her aqua silk robes.
"For the earth that is Her body, Guardians of the North, element of Earth, I call to thee." Willow spoke as she sprinkled dirt from the bag she carried to the ground.
"Goddess, hear us. We ask that you be with us this Solstice night." As the ritual continued the chant was taken up by each of the participants. The power began to build within the circle, swirling, possessing, enlivening each of the four.
Without hesitation each of the four took the athames, resting in the white cord belt against one hip, and as one plunged it into the earth allowing the power to taken full control. Slowly then quicker the energy began to flow into each girl. First a tingle then a desire then a need; a fire that sparked and ignited until it was a need seeking fulfillment._
Hermione gasped feeling the rush of moisture between her legs and staggered to her feet torn between the desire to run and stand her ground. She had never felt the need to experiment as many of her peers. She had always scoffed Lavender and Parvati's tales of their sexual escapades. 'It is like a fire that has to be put out. Gryffindors are fire you know.' Now Hermione understood the reality of those words. She was on fire, a fire that was yearning to consume and be consumed; yearning for something, someone....
Willow tensed as she felt the dampness between her legs and the hardness of her nipples against the soft silk. Something was wrong. It was not supposed to be like this; it had never been like this before. She yearned for something, for someone, a desire as old and enduring as the Earth Herself. The power rushing around and within was more than the simple blessing and request for protection they had planned on; it was escalating into the Great Rite and there was nothing Willow could do to stop it.
Amy did not struggle; she gave in without question. She knew better than to fight a stronger entity and the power seeking her heart and soul was far more powerful than any mortal mage. She gave herself completely over to it knowing it was the source of all. It was like she was apart from herself, a spectator in the celebration of Solstice. Amy Madison was no longer a witch, she had become an Avatar for the Goddess. Not the whole, an aspect of the Goddess; no single mortal could tolerate the strain of all that power that was boundless as the sky itself.
Cordelia suddenly realized what was happening. Her vision was coming true. She then knew the Powers gave her the vision to make sure she would return to Sunnydale; no other reason would have compelled her to return to her hometown. Suddenly she was very grateful to the Powers. If it wasn't for them she wouldn't have formed such a strong friendship with Willow, Amy and Hermione. The one fly in her soup was that sexy teacher. Something about him simply pissed her off. She wanted to goad him, sneer and snarl, fight with him, draw blood, make him acknowledge her. This frightened her. Last time she allowed such feelings leeway she ended up with a rebar through her stomach. Suddenly that fear drained away. A clinical part of Cordelia told her she should be screaming in fear, that this was a mind rape, a repeat of the demon cult pregnancy incident, but she wasn't. The energies within her body and mind caressed her heart and soul with patient love, giving, desire and protection. This was not like before; this power was fluid, coaxing, life-giving as water itself. The Goddess within Cordelia Chase laughed deep and loud as she raised her hands to the sky.
When they rose to their feet they were no longer just mortal: Amy was the Goddess of the Hunt, Willow was the Green Lady, Hermione was Goddess of the Day, Cordelia was the Dark Mother of Mortals.
The four smiled at each other and began to dance.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
~*~ The Call ~*~
Several miles away Remus Lupin woke up with a start. He had chosen to sleep in the basement of the safe house. But something woke him.
He turned in the direction of the small basement window. Unable to stop himself he moved until he stood bathed in the light of the full moon. Silvery beams of light danced over slightly tanned skin. In a distant manner he studied the play of light and shadow on his skin. Something told him something had to happen, but what Remus couldn't quite remember.
And then he felt it. Longing. Desire. Love. Passion.
Slightly afraid but wanting to get closer Remus Lupin moved in the direction his senses guided him. He did not know he was up the basement stairs, into the kitchen, out the backdoor. He did not know he was moving in a fast lope through the quiet streets of Sunnydale and towards the wooded conservation zones.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Bill Weasley frowned as he tossed and turned in his bed. He couldn't sleep. He didn't want to sleep. The time difference was really getting to him. Bill sat up in his lonely bed frowned. It was too early to sleep. Deciding to go for a walk Bill slipped into his typical green-brown dragon hide boots, pants and jacket matched with a black shirt. A few quick charms arranged his hair into a neat pleat secured by a carved moonwood clasp.
Bill grinned. Remus had told him plenty about Hellmouth denizens but Bill wasn't too afraid. He had plenty of experience against the seamier side of magical societies and several rough characters during his travels for Gringotts.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Severus closed the volume on Delotin demons he borrowed from Rupert Giles. The Potion Master found an understanding intellectual individual in the form of the British watcher: both were about the same age, intellectually minded, well-versed in the Darker Aspects of magic, had messed with darkness in their rebellious youths, and currently worked to redeem themselves fighting evil. Rupert had been concerned and protective of his children. It had taken a few conversations before he had realized Severus could and wanted to help Willow and so gave his blessings despite the misgivings of the Slayer Buffy Summers and Willow's childhood friend Alexander Harris.
He frowned as he put away his notes and capped his fountain pen. A wonderful Muggle device. It didn't have the elegance of a quill and ink pot of course but it was several steps up from a throwaway ball-point pen. He had been doing a great deal of research using the resources of the Watchers' library. So many books that Hogwarts did not have, that his personal collection on Dark Arts lacked. Perhaps it was time to treat himself to a little R and R, a moonlight stroll perhaps.
Severus smirked as he fingered his wand. He had created several useful spells Rupert and Willow had used in the past. He was looking forward to testing them against any being intent on causing chaos.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Connor O'Roarke frowned. He had already dusted five vampires. Light picking but expected for a town patrolled by the Slayer. Perhaps it was time to get back. Severus would have prepared supper. He never scolded Connor or fussed when the teen came in late but his caustic words were enough to guilt-trip Connor into promising to do better next time. Connor grinned. It was much better than his father's brooding, Cordy's screeching and Willow's panic attacks. Strangely Mya was the only one who didn't fuss even though she worried in silence.
Mya. Connor frowned. There was something about her, her light brown cinnamon eyes, her honey tipped hair...
Connor shook himself. Now was not the time to get distracted. He went over his mental map of Sunnydale. He hadn't really patrolled the parks before. It wouldn't hurt to cut his patrol short and go exploring. Things looked very different in the night.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
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