“Buffy! Buffy! Willow’s gone dark-side crazy and Theo’s locked in the infirmary and he’s screaming!”
That was exactly the thing Buffy didn’t want to hear when she walked back into the Council. Could she seriously not leave the building at all without everything going to hell? The slayer who had yelled at her when she arrived had since run off and the hallways were clear, so she didn’t know where Willow was. Both her office and rooms were past the infirmary so she decided to head there first and hopefully find someone who knew what was going on.
She took off at a run, skidding around corners and dodging any objects in her way. When she rounded the corner near the infirmary, she stopped short in shock. Pevensie was leaning on Draco and Buffy could see her shaking from a distance. Draco’s hair was mussed and his clothes were in a disarray, but what shocked her most was the impressive nosebleed he currently had going.
Buffy rushed forward. “What the hell happened? What is going on?”
“Half a mo,” Draco said before he reopened the wound on his palm and released the wards over the infirmary. “We need to see about Theo. She did something to him.”
“Dana’s gone,” Pevensie said in a shaky tone, tears were still rolling down her cheeks. “Ethan Rayne took her, and Willow freaked out. She... she said I was hers. She said she could kill me if she wanted. She took over my body.”
Theo was lying on the floor breathing heavily. His hands were sporting what looked to be second degree burns. There were scorch marks all over the tile.
“What can I do?” Draco asked.
Buffy had to stand still to gather her thoughts so she could take in everything. Dana was gone because Ethan took her, so he was gone as well. How did they escape? She shook her head. They would figure out the how later.
Just as Theo had to change his mindset to heal her, she would have to change her mindset to help him. Buffy remembered a paste or rub or something that Theo had put on a slayer’s burn marks when she had burned herself cooking in the kitchen once. He had pulled it from a cabinet close by so she began looking through the drawers and cabinets. Hopefully the jar was labeled.
If Draco was here with Pevensie, then Willow was taken care of, but hopefully not in the truly bad sense. “Where’s Willow?” she asked, still rifling through the storage area.
Irulan Purecraft walked into the infirmary with someone Buffy had not seen in a very long time - Amy Madison.
“She’s with Severus Snape,” Irulan said. “Hello, Buffy. It’s nice to see you again, though I wish it was under different circumstances.”
Daisy was speaking quietly to Pevensie and patting her on the back. Amy was already crouched next to Theo and looking at his hands.
“Here,” she said, taking one hand in between both of hers.
Theo winced in pain.
“Sorry. You should feel... there it is... does that feel better?”
Theo pulled his hand away and looked at it. It was only slightly pink now, as if he had a mild sunburn.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Well, let’s have the other one.”
Theo gave her his other hand and she did the same.
you?” Draco asked.
“Amy Madison,” Buffy said in a low voice as she turned around. She had recognized the voice but hoped to God she was wrong. Her hands clenched tightly when she saw the witch standing over Theo. “What the hell do you think you’re doing here? Are you the one who’s been doing this? Cursing Willow and pushing her to a dark magic dealer wasn’t enough? Did you come to curse Willow and turn her into her lover’s killer again? Or were you hoping that the bullet that got put in me would stick this time?”
She started to take slow, calculated steps towards the group, but she only had eyes on Amy.
“Buffy, she just healed my hands,” Theo said, holding up his hands.
“Easy, Buffy,” Irulan said. “Amy’s not here to hurt anyone.”
“You’re Buffy,” a woman with long dark hair and very blue eyes said as she walked into the room. “And it appears I am just in time. Willow spoke of you so often when I worked with her. She was so lost when she first came to the coven. I’m Emily Hartness. I’m working with Amy now. She’s learning about healing rather than sowing discord and punishing.
Theo was already up and seeing about Draco’s nose.
“Have a look at Pevensie,” Draco said. “Make certain she’s all right. Willow pulled her strings like she was a puppet.”
Amy was looking at the floor. She was still crouched down. “Miss Hartness, I can go wait outdoors if Buffy does not want me here.”
Theo stopped what he was doing and looked at Buffy. “Honestly, I’m fine now. Well, not precisely fine. I mean, Willow’s dark magic was trying to puppet my arse out to a cemetery and I fought her so now I’m a bit tired, but other than that, quite fine. I could perhaps use a hug for the emotional damage, but we can get to that later.”
Buffy was rooted to the spot and her gaze flicked between Amy, Theo, and the new witch she didn’t recognize before keeping her glare aimed at Amy. “Why are you here? Because we’ve heard that you stopped going dark side before and wasn’t that a hell of a lie.”
“I have to make peace with what I did to Willow. We need to talk. She was my friend... you... you all were. I... I’m messed up.”
“Who among us can’t say that,” Draco muttered.
Theo snickered slightly. This was a serious situation, and he fully realized he should not be laughing, but he felt good right now. His magic had tried to turn on him, and he’d controlled it. Well, not really, but he hadn’t gone out and raised up any zombies under Willow’s spell, and if Malfoy had not helped him by warding him it, he’d likely be pulling bodies up out of the dirt right now.
“She was one of the ones helping WIllow just now, Buffy,” Draco added.
“I don’t expect you to trust me, Buffy,” Amy said. “I won’t be staying, but I’d like to be given a chance to help while I’m here.”
“I don’t trust you,” Buffy said shortly. “And it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than you saying that you want to help for me to believe you. Now you tell me right now if you had anything to do with Dana or Ethan or Willow going darkside or I will toss you through a wall.”
“No,” Amy said. “Who’s Dana or Ethan?”
“Buffy’s she’s been with Miss Hartness for well over the last year,” Irulan said.
“When Willow talked through me,” Pevensie said in a quiet voice. “She said it was demons. I could hear her thinking inside my head. The magic was dark, not even human. She was thinking it could be the same thing making the marks burn before because the magic felt the same to her.”
After that, Pevensie looked away and turned her back to the room. She was feeling very violated right now.
Tension was high in the room but Buffy wasn’t going to let go of hers just yet. The hum of magic was strong in the air and it was choking. She was still unsure who to trust because others had vouched for Amy before but they were just as fooled. Right now, she was going to focus on who needed the help the most.
“Are you okay?” she asked Theo softly. When he nodded, Buffy walked slowly to Pevensie, coming to the side far enough that the other slayer could see her. Since she was still looking down at the floor, Buffy crouched down.
“Pevensie? Look at me, sweetie. I just want to make sure you aren’t physically hurt.”
“I’m okay,” Pevensie said in a tone that sounded less than convincing. “I’m not hurt. She didn’t... it just scared me. I feel...”
“Violated,” Theo said.
As soon as Nott was finished with him, Draco was up and moving to Pevensie.
“I should have gone outdoors with everyone else. Rona was right.”
Draco nudged her shoulder with his. “I know you were scared, but you did well. I was quite proud of you for fighting her.” He looked at Buffy. “You should have seen her. Sweat all beaded up on her forehead and she made her head turn. She was fighting Willow’s control over her.”
“And what exactly were you planning on doing when you started towards her?” Pevensie asked. “Besides, you know, getting the swagger smacked right out of you magically?”
Draco grinned at her. “Something would have come to me. She was saying you were hers. Like I was going to let that stand.”
He was smiling slightly because she was now.
Buffy nodded, content that Pevensie was okay physically. “If you need to talk about anything, you come to me, okay? About anything
,” she stressed as she stood.
Pevensie nodded. She was still feeling out of sorts, but Draco was proud of her. That was making up for it.
Theo stepped very close to Buffy then, so close Draco scowled at him.
all right?” Theo asked.
She really wasn’t. There was a pit of dread settling deep in her stomach. Ethan and Dana had disappeared and both were extremely dangerous. Willow was losing control and was taking things a few steps too far and she had no idea how to help.
They solved problems and more appeared. She would need to alert Angel and Spike that Dana was gone. Many times during her time in the council, she would talk about the distillery where she had been tortured as a young girl. Buffy didn’t know if she would try to return there. That was going to be a wonderful phone call.
But these weren’t problems that would disappear with research, some tough love and times on the mats, or a transfer. The part of her that she kept locked up until it was do or die time started to wake up. Lecture gal was officially gone.
Theo touched her shoulder and she realized she had been staring at the wall in silence.
“I’m fine,” she said steadily. “But I’ll be better once I get the two escaped lunatics back here. If I can beat on Ethan Rayne while I do it, that’ll be the cherry on top.”
Buffy clenched her fists as she started making a list of what she needed to do. She glanced at Amy. “I don’t want you in the building right now. In fact, if you ever come here again, I better know about it. I’ve got too much to do right now and too many people to look after that I don’t have time to keep any eye on you. I take it you can find your way out.”
Emily opened her mouth to argue, but Amy cut her off.
“It’s okay, Miss Hartness,” Amy said. “I’m sort of tired now. We could go.”
Theo walked over to the woman who’s healed his hands. He knew Buffy probably had very good reasons for disliking her, but this Amy had given him no reason to.
“Thank you,” Theo said, holding up his hands. “Sort of need these.”
Amy just nodded as Emily joined her and they walked out. Irulan stepped next to Buffy.
“Severus Snape has Willow, and I am not as trusting as Emily. You better believe I’m watching Amy quite closely. When Willow told us what Amy had done to her with that punishment spell, Emily sought her out. Amy doesn’t have the power Willow does, but she’s got the potential to be just as dark. We would very much like to nip that in the bud. Because if both of them went at the same time, there would be no saving this world. Willow’s always going to have ties to her humanity that can reign her back in. The people that truly love WIllow will always be able to save her. Amy’s becoming her mother. No feelings, no ties, no humanity. We want to put a stop to that before it’s too late.”
Draco had just been sitting with Pevensie, listening. He had not been the greatest friend to Willow since Hannah’s accident. Now he was feeling what he was sure was guilt. Perhaps if she hadn’t been so sad and upset in the first place, this would not have happened.
“She’ll want to see Willow,” Irulan said to Buffy. “But that is going to be entirely up to Willow and Severus whether or not that happens.”
She felt better knowing that someone else was watching Amy away from the Council. “I don’t know how Willow will feel about Amy coming around. She’s cut her out of her life numerous times and everytime Amy’s made a return, bad things happened. And not in the ‘ow, I stubbed my toe’ way. More in the ‘you’re going to turn into the man you killed after he murdered your lover’ way. As delicate as she is right now, I don’t know how Willow will take to that. Let me see how Willow reacts finding that Amy is back before she comes trolling around here again.”
Buffy really wanted to see Willow at the moment, but didn’t know how to get to her or if it would even be a good idea. First thing first, she would make sure all her slayers were okay and then get with Giles to form a plan of attack.
She sighed heavily. And the day started out so well.
Draco put a hand on Buffy’s shoulder and leaned to her ear so no one but her would hear him. “Snape won’t let anything happen to Willow. He speaks to her like he speaks to me most of the time. He might hex her himself, but he’d never let anyone else do it. Once I get the all clear from him, we’ll go see her. Someone should probably try to locate Xander and make his arse come back for a little while too. That might help. He needs to quit sulking about Anya and man up.”
Buffy nodded. “Thank you,” she replied softly. That put her mostly at ease regarding Willow. She stepped away from him. “I need to make some phone calls. Is everyone okay?”
She got a round of affirmative nodding.