Pairing/Characters: implied Ethan/Joyce/Giles, Past Tara/Willow
Warnings: Willow bashing, magic abuse, etc...
Fandoms: BtVS, SPN, Leverage, AtS Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy, Supernatural, Leverage, Angel or any other show out there. They belong to their respective owners. Now the plot, on the other hand, is now mine as the bunny didn't want to leave. *pets bunny like Dr. Evil pets his kitty* Do enjoy the unfolding Chaos... Summary: Prequel to Can I Keep 'em?. Willow cast a spell that was read wrong and Xander pays the price.
AN: This is a prequel to my story Can I Keep 'em?
and soon to be series of "Collecting People for the One Who Sees". Note that Anya will not make an appearance; I can't do the girl justice... So, I hope you all enjoy the chaos that will follow....
AN2: Thanks to DennSedai AKA Dennis for beta-ing this for me. All mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Xander rolled his eyes as Willow went off on a tangent about a spell she found. She was raving that it could help them find a few bits of happiness in their lives, and that after the whole issue with ADAM and the Initiative; they needed a bit of a pick me up. He had argued that Giles should look it over, since it was in a language that she was still having problems with, and that, if she translated it right, then he wouldn't mind her doing the spell, otherwise, he refused. She was trying to bribe him with cookies and treats when Joyce slammed into the shop raving about good for nothing brother-in-laws that should have told her that he had lost his wife twenty years past and how she missed out on the lives of her nephews because he was bent on revenge with the thing that took her sister.
Asking Willow to wait a moment, he missed the flash of irritation and anger in her eyes as he went over to Joyce to see if she needed any help to cool off, or wanted a cup of Giles' special tea blends. After getting Joyce settled with her tea and a book to calm her down, Xander made his way back over to Willow. She was mixing a few herbs together, and muttering over the bowl, and Xander wondered what she was up too. Sitting back down with her, he missed the flash of irritation in her eyes, as he looked at the book that depicted the spell that she wanted to use. Frowning at one of the verbs, Xander was about to speak when he had a hand full of herbs blown into his face. The last thing he heard before sneezing himself into unconsciousness was Willow chanting and Joyce yelling at her.
Joyce watched in horror as Xander began to shrink in front of her eyes, and Willow backing up babbling how that wasn't supposed to happen. Before the witch could take any more steps, Joyce had grabbed the girl and bent her over her knee and was spanking away when Giles and Buffy entered the shop. They heard Joyce yelling in the back about insufferable fools that couldn't wait for Rupert to check over her spells before casting them on people, then she deserved the blistered ass that she was about to become acquainted with.
"Mom? What is.... Mom?" Buffy's voice when from confused to worry upon seeing a child of four or five watching Joyce beat Willow in awe.
"Your red headed friend decided to cast a spell on Xander when he told her that she could only cast it once Rupert had looked over the spell and approved of the translation as it was in a language that she was having the most issues with. Now Rupert, the book is open on the table to the spell. She said it was a happiness spell, and looking at Xander, I think she got it wrong." Joyce never stopped spanking Willow as she spoke in clipped tones and the cries coming from the witch were getting even hoarser as the witch continued to wail that it wasn't her fault.
"You foolish child!" Giles turned to the bawling witch that Joyce was still spanking. "Do you realize that you just cast a curse to bring the person you spelled to the last year that they felt true happiness? The Spell states that if the person would revert to the last age unless it was too young for the people around them, and if that was the case, they would be changed to a five year old. Congratulations, you just de-aged Xander to the age of five when he didn't even want you to cast this spell in the first place."
With one last glare to the Witch, Giles went to the phone and began calling in the witches from Devon to take the girl away. If she were to remain, he would kill the stupid bint himself for this action. Buffy kept staring at the little boy trying to see Xander in his younger body, but couldn't see anything until he smiled at her and began to babble.
"Hi! Hi! You are very pretty. Are you a Princess? Princesses are supposed to be very pretty, and you are really, really pretty. Do you live in a castle? Or are you a special princess that fights dragons and monsters?" Little Xander bounced in his seat and looked up at Buffy with wide, adoring brown eyes.
She tried to stay aloof, but the innocence in that gaze was what melted her. This Xander wasn't tainted by the darkness that surrounded them, and just maybe they would have something else that reminded them that there was something out there to fight for.
"I'm a special princess, Xander. I fight the monsters that live under the bed and that like to hide in closets. Now, I need you to remember a few very special rules ok." She waited until Xander stopped squealing in joy at seeing a "princess" and looked at her attentively. "Now, you must remember to never tell anyone to 'come in' when you're at home. If someone wants to enter the house, just step back and see if they can cross the doorway themselves. If they can't, then they are very bad people that shouldn't be allowed in. Scream for me or Mom, and we'll make the bad people leave, ok?"
Xander scrunched up his nose in thought and looked up at Buffy with serious eyes. "I understand Princess."
Before Xander could say anything else, Tara entered the shop with Dawn and Giles re-entered the back room with a grim look on his face.
"Ah, I’m glad that you both made it here. Willow has made a grave error in judgment and cast a curse upon Xander. He is now five years old, give or take a few months." He raised his hands to stop Dawn and Tara from asking questions and let out a weary sigh. "I’ve already called the Devon Coven and they will be here tonight to collect Willow to teach her the proper ways to use magic. I realize that this could have been dealt with a while ago, but with everything that had been going on, it slipped my mind in the chaos that the Hellmouth causes."
Dawn was about to speak when Xander squealed in happiness and ran towards the entry way to the shop. "Chaos man!"
Giles blanched as he saw Xander run towards Ethan and squeeze his legs as he babbled about the pretty colors that were dancing and that he really should stick by Mr. Giles since he would make the colors hurt less. The group looked at Xander in shock as Ethan picked up the small boy, and shifted his bag, to stop the bouncing. He listened to the babbling about the different magicks that he could see, and brought him to where the others were seated. He understood that they were wary, but he would never curse a man to be a child again, even though it seemed that the boy did need it.
"Rupert, why is the boy under an age curse?" Ethan frowned at the spells he could see on the boy and wondered if he could unravel them without hurting the child that was happily sitting on his lap.
"Our witch, Willow, cast the spell on him thinking that it was a happiness spell. On that would bring a few joyful things into his life, and by extension, the rest of us as well." Giles sighed as he sat by his old friend. "She read the text wrong, and cast the spell on him without his permission. The Devon Coven is on their way to deal with the girl, as I can no longer do anything to help her."
Ethan nodded absently as he looked over the web of spells on the boy. "Rupert, can you still see spells and traces of spells on people? The boy is covered in a web of them."
Giles looked over Xander without his glasses and let a small amount of magic reach his eyes. Gasping at the tangled web over the now young boy, Giles paled before turning a very angry red.
"WILLOW ROSENBURG; HOW DARE YOU CAST ALL THESE SPELLS ON ALEXANDER! ESPECIALLY SINCE THE MAJORITY OF THOSE CAST UPON HIM TOOK AWAY FREE WILL!!!" The tone of his voice left little to no doubt that he was pissed, and the "eep" of fear from Joyce's lap would have been comical, if it wasn't so serious.
"Give me that foolish girl so that I can finish what you stared Joyce. Your hand must be getting tired, and I know I have a paddle here that needs to be initiated before it can be sold."
Seeing the anger on the older man's face, Joyce handed over the sobbing girl without complaint and went over to Ethan as he seemed to be unravelling imaginary cords from Xander's body.
"Bloody stupid girl, how could she cast those spells on her supposed best friend?" Without looking up Ethan spoke in a normal tone of voice. "I need someone to copy down the names of spells that I will be listing off. This list will be given to the Devon coven when they arrive, explaining that your red haired Witch cast this on someone without their consent. We’ll wait until they ask who the recipient was before showing them Xander."
Looking at the boy on his lap, Ethan smiled. "Would you like a lolly before I remove the bad ropes of color on you? This way you have something in your mouth when you start getting thirsty."
Chuckling at the vigorous nodding, Ethan dug in his bag for the lollies that he had bought for himself later that night. Handing over a large blue lollipop, Ethan went back to his task, and began listing spell after spell that had Willow's magical signature on it. As each spell was listed, and written, the anger in the room began to rise at the number of spells appearing on the sheet of paper. After undoing every spell that was on Xander, the boy was unconscious due to the drain that it had on his psyche. What had upset the girls the most was the number of loyalty spells and curses on him to keep him bound and near Willow unless she chose to let him leave. The fact that there were also spells on him forcing him to deny a part of his sexuality and several spells that made him lust after said Witch, two of them recent, had caused Tara to burst into tears.
Dawn looked over at Willow in anger and moved to sit over by her mother. She needed something to ground her, since she didn't know if Willow had cast spells on her too. Eyes widening in fear, she looked over at Ethan. "Can you check the rest of us for spells too, just in case Willow did the same to us?"
Ethan nodded and looked around the group and frowned at the spells revolving around memory removal, loyalty and blinding them to the Witch's spell casting on everyone in the store. "A memory spell, loyalty and blinding spells seem to have been cast on all of you."
Looking around the room for a crystal that would hold the memories, Ethan growled when his eyes were forced to look past a specific display case. Getting up and making his way over, Ethan saw a rose crystal with what looked like rolling fog inside of it. Pulling it out, he ignored Willow's shouts of "No! Not that!" and dropped the crystal to the ground where he could step on it. The flash of light in the room blinded him for a moment, and the witch on Rupert's lap had fallen unconscious while the rest of the people in the room looked dazed before anger took over their expressions. The words Memory Spells was added to the list and Rupert went to the cupboard in the back room to get the shackles that prevented someone from accessing their magic. He refused to give Willow a chance to escape her punishment this time.
With the shackles on the aspiring dark witch, Ethan sat back at the table and replaced Xander back in his lap. He did adore children, as they were harbingers of Chaos, but the amount of spells that were on the lad would have had an adverse affect on his fighting. Looking over at Rupert, Ethan smiled softly at his old friend as he calmed down the white witch that was still reeling from the magical rape that had been performed on her.
Ethan waved Joyce over and gave a small smile. The Chaos that he needed to perform was happily absent, and he knew that the longer he spent around Rupert, the less he would need to go off and cast spells of an Ordered Chaos on the unsuspecting populace.
"I was wondering if you would be able to help take care of the boy. I know that you have one young adult and a teenager at the moment, but I know that if I take care of the child, then you might have another Chaos Mage in a few years time. I can tell that he has the power needed to cast magick and that he will be a strong force when he is older. However, I also know my short comings when it comes to raising a child, and, sadly, knowing that is one of them. I can tell you that you will not be alone in raising him, but he would need a strong positive female influence, and your two daughters are much too young to care for him at this time."
Joyce watched Ethan with the eyes of a mother and smiled softly at the man's hidden desire to raise Xander, but also the fear that he would cause harm to him as well.
"Well, I would be happy to raise Xander if you and Rupert help me. I am getting close to having no children at home, and it would be lovely for Xander to have caring parents this time around."
Before Ethan could speak, Dawn piped up, "Yeah, I really wish that Xander would have parents like Mom, Ethan and Giles growing up."
Before anyone could think on what Dawn said, a cloud of smoke shimmered into view and a deep, haunting voice called out "Wish Granted!" in the silence. Three folders appeared on the table and Joyce shakily opened them to show that Joyce and Rupert were the adopted parents of Alexander Giles, and that Ethan was his birth father. The files had marked out that Ethan asked his best friend and the mother of his best friend's charge to watch over Alexander, as he was still grieving for the child's mother, who had passed away from a severe illness in Britain. All of the paperwork was legitimate, and Joyce blinked in shock at how quickly things had fallen into place. Before she could say anything though, the doors to the shop opened, and three regal women entered.
"Rupert Giles, we are here for Willow Rosenburg."
"Ah yes. Please follow me and I will show you the list of spells that she had cast on one person, as well as the other spells that she had done to the whole group." Handing over the list to the rapidly angering Witches, Giles stood back as he left a clear path to the bound witch that was slowly waking up.
As Willow opens her eyes, she sees three regal women standing before her and is confused until she notices the chains holding her down. Panicking, she reaches for her magic, simply to find that it is inaccessible. Looking around frantically she sees Buffy and begins to babble in hopes that her friend will free her, not knowing that all her spells have been removed from the group around her.
"Buffy you gotta help me! They did something to my magic, I can't access it anymore!" Willow watched in shocked horror as Buffy sadly shook her head as she walked over to her.
"Sorry Willow, but you went too far with your magic. These are the High Priestesses from the Devon Coven where they will teach you how to control the magic and its power, not let it control you."
"But-but-but everything I did was to help you!" Willow cried out in worry and fear.
"Even the spells that shouldn't have been on Xander? Like the lust spells? The spells that forced him to be a heterosexual male instead of a bisexual one? What about the spells that forced loyalty onto him?" Sad eyes watch Willow as she tried to deny the accusations.
"You're lying! I'd never do that to-" She was cut of at seeing the list pulled from behind Buffy's back and read everything in denial. "No! I didn't do this! It can't be true!"
"But it is Miss Rosenburg. Normally for these crimes we give the names of the Witch to Hunters and let them deal with you, but Rupert believes that you are simply misguided." The Woman in the front of the trio spoke in an off-color German accent and Willow blanched.
"You can't make me! I wish tha-mmphff!" Willow's mouth was silenced before she could continue and Buffy glared at the now wilting Red-head.
"You still refuse to see what you did as wrong, don't you. Fine." Letting a dark smile appear on her face Buffy spoke loudly and clearly, "I Buffy Summers, Wish that Willow Rosenburg would see and suffer what her spells did to the people she cast them on. May the Three-fold rule punish her for three weeks per year that she has been abusing this gift, and then send her to Devon so that she may learn what she did was wrong and how to fix it."
Black smoke curled around Willow and the same deep booming voice from before called out "WISH GRANTED!"
As Willow vanished with a scream of denial and rage, the three witches from the Devon Coven turned to Giles and bowed.
"We shall take our leave now, and let you know when Miss Rosenburg can return from her lessons in magic control and casting." With that, a blue-ish green portal opened and they stepped through to the other side, letting the portal close with a small popping noise.
The room was silent until the door to the shop opened once more and Spike walked in. "Oi! There's a few demons coming into town since the Winchester boys and their 'Da are in LA at the mo'. Most are peaceful and would rather hide that get picked off for being different."
Buffy nodded absently as she tried to keep Xander still. "Thanks Spike, Xander will you sit still!"
"Big Bad! I want's Big Bad!" The five year old wailed and Spike came closer. His jaw dropped open in shock upon seeing a five year old boy that smelt just like his nummy.
"Big Bad!" Xander squealed in joy and launched himself at Spike, who caught him reflexively. "Mine!"
Spike blinked in shock and looked over at the Watcher.
"Wot happen to the boy?"
"Willow de-aged him with a curse that she believed was a happiness spell. Once she's done with her punishment, she will be with the Devon Coven until she has relearned everything she needs to know."
"Punishment? Red?" Spike raised an eyebrow, wondering what was punishing Willow.
"She tried to make a wish, so I wished that she would learn what she did using the three fold rule. Three weeks for each year that since she began to abuse the gift, so about nine to twelve weeks before she will be sent to Devon and 'detox' the power addiction out of her." Buffy spoke in a solemn voice and Spike nodded.
"You gonna be ok Glinda? I know that Red was your Witch and all." Spike asked Tara with hidden concern, getting a sad smile in return.
"I will be, and if I know Willow, she'll get better once she sees where she went wrong." Tara spoke softly and Joyce took Xander from Spike's arms.
"Well then, I'll be off to LA. Buffy, I'm going to knock some sense into your Uncle John and hopefully your cousins Dean and Sam will come down to visit and help you."
"Why would they mom?"
"They're Hunters. John has them hunting a Yellow eyed demon that killed your Aunt Mary just before you were born. Sam was about six months at the time, and Dean was four. John is doing everything he can to find the demon that killed your Aunt Mary, and has been hunting other supernatural creatures in the meantime. They normally go after the ones that cause the most damage and hauntings." Buffy nodded at her mother's words.
"I'd go with you, but someone has to stay here until we can find a way to close the Hellmouth permanently, or get more help."
"I'll go with ya Joyce. Someone has to watch over the tyke and keep him safe now that he can't do it himself." Spike tried to bring it up as if he didn't care, but everyone knew better than to mention that to the 'Big Bad'.
"Thank you Spike, it'll be nice to have someone help me watch over Xander. But first, we should all go home to rest. Rupert, Ethan, I have room at the house for both of you. For the first night, I would rather that both of you were around encase I need the help." Joyce's tone broke no argument, and soon everyone was helping Giles lock up before heading out to the Summers' home.