Willow set out the ingredients for the ritual and laid out the map of California. They had gathered at Lisbon’s apartment, away from the prying eyes of the other agents, where Willow could have the peace she would need for her spell. Only Buffy, Willow, Van Pelt and Lisbon were in the room – Willow had said that the goddess she intended to call upon liked the company of men a little too much and might get distracted. To Cho and Rigsby’s obvious relief, Xander had led the retreat willingly.
The four women sat evenly spaced around a roughly sketched circle and joined hands. Willow took a deep breath. “Grace, Teresa, do not say a word during this, OK? The goddess might call on Buffy, as she’s the Slayer, but you two are to keep quiet, OK?”
“Don’t need telling twice,” Lisbon said uneasily.
“Good.” She took another deep breath and began. “Circle be sealed.” As she spoke, light flickered around the edge of the circle, a pale blue flame that flickered and died. Willow opened her eyes. “Morrigan, I call on you. We seek answers. We seek vengeance. We seek retribution on the one who took our sister Kendra.” Lisbon and Van Pelt looked at each other, lost. Who was Kendra? Willow was staring into the distance, her eyes unfocused. “Come Macha, come Danu, come Badb. Come Morrigan and give answer to your disciples.” Nothing happened for a long moment and Willow frowned. Tendrils of black appeared in her hair as she shouted, “I will have my answers! Come Macha, come Danu, come Badb! Come now!”
The blue flame returned to the edge of the circle, and this time it stayed in place, growing brighter and stronger. A shadow appeared in the circle’s centre, gradually becoming clearer. An old woman stood there, haggard and old, leaning heavily on a wooden staff. Her face was heavily lined and her mouth twisted into an ugly grimace.
“You call on the Morrigan?” Her voice was harsh and cold. “You dare summon us?”
“I seek answers,” Willow replied calmly, the black leaching from her hair as she did so. “I seek vengeance.”
“First, you will promise your answers will be true.”
“I am bound to this circle, child. Is that not enough? Ask your questions, before I tire of this.”
“We are hunting the vampire Drusilla. Show us where she is.” Willow gestured to the map of California.
“Why? Tell me that and I shall show you.”
“She killed our sister Kendra.”
“You lie,” the old woman said angrily. “She has been dead years! Tell me why!”
“She has kidnapped a friend of ours,” Willow told her. “He is in a great deal of danger.”
“And the Slayer has come to get him back.” The old woman turned to face Buffy. “But you are not the warrior who most searches for him.” She turned to face Lisbon instead. “You are. Tell me your name and that of the man you seek, and I shall tell you what you want to know.”
“I’m Teresa Lisbon,” she replied, hoping her voice wouldn’t betray her by shaking. “And we’re looking for Patrick Jane. Now will you help us?”
“True names. You gave me your true name,” the old woman laughed, a high, demonic laugh that sent shivers up Lisbon’s spine. “The bargain is kept.” She gestured and the map shone suddenly, a red light settling on a street in Elk Grove, to the south of Sacramento. “And now, you will come back with me.” She took a step towards Lisbon and the flames shuddered, weakening as she approached the edge of the circle.
“No!” Willow’s eyes narrowed. “You are bound. I will not see you loosed.” The Morrigan turned to face Willow and their eyes met. “You are bound,” Willow ground out. “You are bound.”
“You are strong, child, but the Morrigan is stronger.”
“No.” Willow sat bolt upright, her hands resting lightly on her legs. “I am stronger. You are bound. My will binds you. Your business here is done, return to your own world.”
“I will not!”
Again, the Morrigan and Willow locked gazes as the blue flames roared. And then, as gradually as she had appeared, the old woman began to fade. Willow’s eyes never left hers, until she had faded entirely from view. Only then did Willow fall backwards, pale and shaky. Buffy caught her as she fell and Willow gave a shaky laugh.
“I guess I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy.”
“Just take it easy, Will.” Buffy looked over at the two shaken CBI agents. “Next time she tells you to keep quiet, you keep quiet, OK?”
“Yeah.” Lisbon stood up, trying not to show how shaken she was. Magic. Proper magic. In her living room. If anything, the familiar surroundings made it all the weirder. Instead of thinking too much, she turned her attention to the map. “I know that neighbourhood. It’s mainly industrial. We can be there in two hours.”
“You don’t just walk into somewhere Drusilla is waiting,” Buffy told her. “We’re gonna need a plan first.”
“And one that doesn’t involve magic,” Willow admitted. “I don’t think I can work anything else for a while.”
“Hey, you did good,” Buffy told her firmly. “Now we know where they are.”
Patrick didn’t have any strength left to fight with the next time that Drusilla came to feed on him. The pain was as sharp as before, but it barely touched him, so lost in despair and guilt as he was. His only consolation was that Drusilla limited her conversation to singing odd snatches of nursery rhymes as she drank from him.
She sighed as she finished. “You’re not playing by the rules, shining one. You’re meant to be singing.”
“Why?” He laughed bitterly. “Why are you keeping me alive?”
She ran a finger down his cheek, mockingly tender. “Didn’t my new Daddy tell you? We’re waiting for your friends to come. And once we kill them in front of you and you hear them singing such sweet songs, I’m going to make myself a new Daddy. And then he’s going to need some nice, tasty food for his first meal. And that will be you.” She kissed his forehead again. “You have the sweetest blood.”
A/N: The Morrigan is a Celtic Goddess of war, emphasis on blood and vengeance, sometimes portrayed as one being, or as three different aspects. She seemed the right goddess to call on, given the way the Scoobies feel about Drusilla....