Characters depicted in this fan-fiction story were created by Joss Whedon and Constance M. Burge and appeared in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed.
The various spells that the Charmed Ones use were written by the staff of the series, with the exception of the binding spell they speak in the magic shop, which I wrote myself. I also edited some of the other spells to fit this story.
Portions of the storyline and dialogue were written by David Fury who was the writer of the Episode “Grave” from BtVS Season Six.
This story takes place during season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which would have been season four of Charmed. Based on this timeline, and how the shows aired at the same time, Prue would have been killed before the events in this story take place. You can either believe that the timeline is different, or that Prue survived Shax’s attack. I choose to believe the latter. It is fan-fiction after all. Enjoy.
After absorbing all of the dark magicks she can, Willow is seeking payback for the loss of her mate Tara to Warren’s bullet. She has already killed him, and is now after his accomplices Jonathan and Andrew. Being unsuccessful in her quest to end them, and they having escaped the Magic Shop, she is now battling her friend Buffy in a hand-to hand fight so that she can continue with her vengeance. Neither has been able to defeat the other, and Willow has now sent several mystical energy blasts into Buffy trying to win the battle.
"Buffy, I gotta tell you, I get it now.” Willow said as she threw Buffy across the room. "The Slayer thing really isn't about the violence," she raised her hands, throwing mystical energy at the blonde. Buffy screamed in agony as the mystical energies coursed through her. "It's about power.” Willow said, her voice cold and arrogant. She let loose with another blast, earning another scream from the wounded Slayer. With another blast she sent Buffy flying across the room and colliding into the wooden desk in the corner. Smugly, she walked over, readying another powerful blow, “And now there’s no one in the world that can stop me now”
Before she could motion the waiting blast, Willow found herself thrown across the length of the store, crashing into the barely standing bookcase at the back. Shelves and books cascaded down on top of her. Confused and angry, the dark-haired witch pushed the shards and pages aside to see who her attacker was.
“I’d like to test that theory” said a very calm voice, knowing, and British. Standing in the doorway was Giles, and before him, three brunettes, all beautiful, and seemingly very powerful. The one in the middle, looking to be the oldest of the three, held her right hand aloft, obviously the one who had delivered the telekinetic blast that had sent Willow flying. She was tallest of the women, with jet-black hair that hung around her shoulders and down her back. To her right was a younger looking girl, with lighter brown hair pulled back behind her, and rounder doe-like eyes. To her left stood a dark-haired, plainer-looking girl, with long, thick hair and more of an apprehensive expression on her face. They looked like sisters.
Willow was to her feet in seconds. “Uh-oh, Daddy’s home, guess I’m in wicked trouble now”
“You have no idea. You need to stop what you’re doing Willow” Giles was calm; “We’re here to help you.”
“Help me?” Willow laughed, “Sorry can’t do that...I have work to do, and I think I can kill two geeks all by myself. But I am curious Daddy. What’s with the three babes? Is this one of the council’s new additions?”
“The council?” asked the doe-eyed one, looking at Giles. She was standing in the way a martial artist would; prepped and ready to defend herself.
“Remember that little spat we had before you left? When you were under the delusion that you were still relevant here?” Willow taunted, “You called me a rank arrogant amateur. Well, buckle up, Rupert... cuz I've turned pro.”
Her eyes turned black and her hands began to crackle and glow as the energy began to build up inside her.
Energy shot from Willow’s hand as she took aim at all four of her adversaries. Giles avoided the blast and fell to the floor while the other three split in different directions. Again, the oldest waved her arm and Willow’s blast reversed on itself and hit her square in the chest…sending her reeling backwards once again.
“Damn…” said the dark witch, “That’s one… powerful punch you pack there…,” she said struggled back to her feet. Being hit by her own energies had weakened her a bit. “Can you bitches fly too?” With that she took aim at the lighter haired, younger one and unleashed another crackle of lightning like furry. Before it could connect, the girl rose into the air and the energy passed beneath her.
“Does levitating count?” she asked as she touched down to the ground again.
“Ohhh….,” laughed Willow, “Talk about amateur.”
Before she could levitate again, Willow’s next blast connected with full force…burning through her. She crumpled to the floor blackened and bleeding.
“Piper freeze her!” yelled the oldest. This time making a concentrated swing with her right arm in Willow’s direction, the force of her telekinetic energy sent Willow flying up into the ceiling and then crashing back down to the ground.
Willow pushed herself up again, but before she could gather her energy, her motion was stopped. The third, plainer looking girl pushed her hands out in front of her as if she was throwing water from her fingers. Every part of Willow was ‘frozen’ in one place. She stood as if she was a marble statue, stuck in her readying position, arms curved in front of her, legs apart.
Giles got to his feet as well as the two darker haired witches. The third lay on the floor near the front entrance, barely conscious, burned and bleeding. Willow began struggling against the state she was in, trying to move her limbs and continue with the attack.
“Prudence, you must say the spell now…the freeze isn’t holding” coached Giles, he himself crumpled on the floor trying to pull himself to his feet. Buffy, conscious again, came running to his aid.
“Damn, are we sure she isn’t some kind of demon?” asked Piper as she and Prue, rushed to the youngest witch at the doorway.
“I know,” said Prue, “I’m throwing everything I have at her and she won’t stay down.” They were now at their sister’s side.
“Phoebe….come on…get up” Piper said as she tried to help her to her feet. Her voice was shaky, obviously scared and worried about her sister. “I’ll help you, lean on me, but you’ve gotta stand Phoebe…please.”
Phoebe screamed out in pain and grabbed her stomach, bleeding through her clothes, dark burns across her face. Tears welled up in her eyes as she used her sisters’ arms to help her up to her feet. She could barely stand.
“Come on Phoebe, just read the spell and we’ll call for Leo” said Prue, unfolding the parchment in front of them so they all could see the written words on the page.“Evil that kills and bringer of pain, we bind you now, your body restrained. Like ropes of steel around your will, the Power of Three commands you be still!”
The witches chanted the spell in unison. As they finished Willow again became frozen in place as balls of light appeared all around her, levitated her into the air, and imprisoned her motionless, unable to move or speak. The lights remained around her, like chains binding her to herself.
Phoebe cried out and once again fell to the floor, still bleeding and crying in pain. Buffy and Giles came running to the girls. Crouching down, Buffy ripped her sleeve off and held it to the wound to try and slow the bleeding.
“Your sister is hurt very badly” Giles spoke.
“Hurry, let’s get her out of here” Buffy pleaded.
Prue and Piper both looked up and not in unison, but at the same time called out.
Small orbs of silvery white light began to materialize. Seeming to come from above, thousands, maybe millions of these little lights descended down upon them, and then, began to come together into the form of a human. As the shape took more of a solid form the lights faded and there stood a blonde, broad-shouldered man. He was dressed in a blue and white flannel shirt and blue jeans, and his blonde hair parted to one side. He was clean-shaven and handsome, and you could see on his face attention and concern.
“Hurry Leo,” pleaded Piper, “She’s hurt really bad.” Tears were streaming down her cheeks.
“Yeah” affirmed Prue, “She could’ve killed all of us.”
“Oh it looks bad” said Leo as he knelt down next to Phoebe and extended his hands over her wound. Instantaneously, a golden glow emanated from his palms. The wound was a long gash across her stomach. The blast had burned away her clothing, and there were black burns all around the laceration. Leo’s hands remained over the wound, but it seemed as though nothing was happening.
“Why isn’t it working Leo?” asked Prue.
“I don’t know…” said Leo, fear and concern in his voice, “It’s a bad wound, what caused it?”
“That did” said Prue, motioning her head towards the caged Willow. Leo quickly glanced, then turned his attention back to Phoebe.
“The dark magick inside her is extremely lethal” conceded Giles, “She has already killed another human being.”
As they spoke, the wound began to heal…ever so slowly. Leo remained steadfast, putting all of his concentration into the healing.
“It’s working,” said Piper wiping the tears from her face. “Thank god….I thought we were going to lose her.”
Buffy got up and took Giles’ arm helping him to his feet. They walked a few steps away while Leo continued healing Phoebe.
Giles turned to Buffy, and put his index finger up to her bangs. “You cut your hair.” He said with a slight grin.
“Yeah well…gotta keep things fresh,” Buffy rolled her eyes and smiled. “Not that I’m not grateful”, she said to him, “But who are they and how did you know?”
“Well…there’s a coven in England….” Giles started.
Before he could continue he was overtaken by a very excited Anya, throwing her arms around him like a steel vise.
“How did you get here? Why are you here? Did you stop her? Is everyone going to be okay? Where is….”
“Anya!” Buffy shouted. “This really isn’t the time for 20 questions.”
“Of course not…of course not” Anya agreed, regaining her composure. She pulled away and began straightening her clothes and fixing her hair. “I was just, trying to make him feel welcome.” She then looked around at the store and dread flooded over her. “Oh I’m never going to be able to have this cleaned up and ready for business tomorrow….this is unacceptable…” She began picking up books, wiping the counter tops, and fruitlessly trying to clean up.
Buffy looked back at Giles, raised eyebrows, as if to say “Well?”
Just then they were joined by the three sisters. Where Leo stood lights again encircled him, broke off into smaller orbs and rose upward. Within seconds he was no longer there. Buffy looked at Phoebe, and at her shirt where the gash had been. Her shirt looked as if it had never been torn. All the blood was gone as well as the dark burns.
“Okay, not that the whole healing thing wasn’t cool,” she stated. “But how did he do that? And how does he…how does he…” Buffy moved her arms in an upward motion, while wiggling her fingers.
The girls smiled.
“It’s called orbing” Piper said. “Leo got another call so he had to leave for now.”
“A…call?” Buffy looked confused.
“Leo has other charges,” Piper explained, “One of them called for him and he had to go.”
Buffy looked the same as she spoke. “Charges?”
“Let’s all go to the back and I’ll explain everything, shall we?” Giles said as he took Buffy’s shoulder. The five walked towards the back of the store, past Willow still bound and frozen.
“Wow, check out this spread,” Phoebe said as she pointed out the collection of weapons mounted to the wall just within the entrance of the large room they had just walked into. The walls were brick, and the floor was covered in gymnastic-style mats. There was a small weight rack in the corner, as well as a large punching bag hanging from a beam. In another corner there was a large bookcase full of books and other weapons. Just in front of it stood what looked like a self-defense dummy. It looked like it was made from gunny sacks and two by fours. There were also large pillows placed here and there around the floor. Buffy and Giles were seated on a large couch on the opposite wall.
“That’s quite an arsenal you’ve got there,” agreed Prue. “Do you use all of these?” she motioned her head towards Buffy.
“Some of them,” Buffy confessed. “Mostly just the cross-bow and the wooden stakes, and a sword now and then. The others I just use for practice.”
“Practice?” Phoebe asked. “Wow, Nathalie would’ve loved her” she nodded to Prue.
Buffy paused and looked up at her “Well, yeah,” she said. “You never know when a new demon is going to show up.”
Piper was standing just behind her sisters and turned to the sitting Buffy “You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie there sister.”
The sister’s joined Giles and Buffy near the couch where they sat on some of the large pillows.
“Hey!” Buffy seemed suddenly alarmed. “Willow….is she going to…?”
“Oh, she won’t be getting out of that cage anytime soon” Prue stated. “Not with a power-of-three spell binding her”
“Power-of-three spell…?” Buffy asked.
“Yes,” Phoebe confirmed. “It’s the most powerful kind of spell we can use on someone evil like that, a spell that all three of us speak together. Man, that chick is worse than Tuatha.”
“Tuatha?” Giles asked, looking at all three sisters. “I’m not familiar with….”
“Yeah,” Piper answered. “You know, good witch gone bad, killing good witches, whole other ‘Chosen One’…long story…she’s history now though.”
“Well, who wouldn’t go bad with a name like that?” Giles inquired.
“That’s exactly what I said!” Phoebe said excitedly looking at her sisters….obviously grateful for Giles’ confirmation.
“Okay,” Prue put her hand up, “As much as I’m enjoying this trip down not-so-fond memory lane, we need to focus.”
“You’re right Prudence,” said Giles.
“Umm…”Prue looked pained, “Prue works fine for me…”
“But that’s not your name” Giles corrected.
“Yeah,” Buffy interjected. “Okay Rupert,” as she patted his shoulder. “When have we ever called you by your name?”
“I see your point,” Giles said slowly as his gaze looked downward. “Very well Prue.”
“So”, Buffy asked looking at the sisters, “who exactly are you girls?”
“They’re the Charmed Ones” Giles said. “I got word from a coven in England who I’m acquainted with that there was extremely evil, dark magick building in California, and I knew instantly it had to be Willow.”
“So you’re the coven” Buffy stated.
“Uh…no” Prue said, shaking her head “We’re from San Francisco.”
“I was wondering where your stuffy accents were,” Buffy smiled looking at Giles again.
“Yes…well…” Giles continued. “The women in the coven are very old, and steadfast in their roots in England. They were able to imbue me with some of their power, but knew it wouldn’t be nearly enough to defeat Willow. So…they scryed for the most powerful witches they could find, and led me to the sisters here.”
“We are the almighty Charmed Ones” Phoebe said with a smile.
“I still don’t quite understand” Buffy confessed. “Scryed? Charmed Ones…what does that mean.”
“Basically in a nutsell,” Prue explained, “It means that after a long lineage of witches dating back to the witch trials, three girls were born within the same family and inherited the powerful magicks and charms practiced by all of our female ancestors.”
“And scrying is a way of finding supernatural beings using some basic ritual tools” Piper threw in.
“Works for me,” Buffy did a quick nod. “But I’ll leave that ‘ritual’ stuff to you guys. And who’s the cutie with the golden touch?”
“He’s our Whitelighter,” Piper said lovingly, “and my husband.”
“Really?” asked Buffy. “So…you’re allowed to marry him?”
“Well now,” said Piper calmly, with a look of amusement on her face, “Allowed wouldn’t really be the word for it, let’s just say where there’s a ‘witch’ there’s a way.”
“Riiiight…..anyway….continued Phoebe, “Whitelighters are like guides for witches” she explained. “They offer advice and knowledge, and can heal us when we’re hurt. He has others around the world he helps too.”
“So he just puts his hands there and heals you? He just heals you?” Buffy seemed intrigued and annoyed at the same time.
“Yep he just heals us,” confirmed Prue holding her hands up in front of her, grinning.
“Giles! I want one of those!” She again hit Giles in the arm. “And what’s with this ‘guide for witches’ thing? Obviously someone dropped the magic 8 ball with Willow” she looked squarely at Giles waiting for an explanation.
“Buffy…” Giles started, “As the Slayer you have accelerated healing…witches have no such abilities…and with Willow…well, I can’t be sure….” He reached inside his jacket for his glasses and handkerchief.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah” Buffy got to her feet, “More official Watcher-words…I should be used to it by now.”
“She probably doesn’t have a Whitelighter because witchcraft isn’t in her heritage,” Phoebe explained. “From what Mr. Giles has said Willow started out learning what she knows from books and old texts right?”
“Well yeah,” Buffy confirmed. “I remember when she was thrilled just being able to levitate a pencil or rescind a vampire’s invitation into the home."
“And…it seems,” Piper interjected, “that she already had guidance from you and your friends right…and Mr. Giles too?”
“Well, we tried” Buffy confessed, “but the magick became an addiction for her. She was able to resist for a long time….until Tara and I got shot.” Buffy looked down, obviously remorseful of what had happened.
“Buffy,” Prue stood up, “Willow isn’t that naïve high school girl anymore. She’s a grown woman and knows the difference between right and wrong. You’ve been a good friend to her, and I’m sure it killed you inside having to go up against her like that tonight,” Prue took her hands and looked into her eyes. “All three of us have visited the dark side at one time or another, but we always found our way back. Willow will too.”
“Thank you,” Buffy’s mood seemed to lighten. “I’m so glad you guys are here. So what do we do next?”
“Well,” said Prue, “That spell will keep her bound for now. But I don’t really know how to help her. Usually we just vanquish demons, not cure them” She shrugged.
“Vanquish…” Buffy tried to say it like she knew what it was, nodding her head.
Phoebe said laughingly, “It’s a nice way of saying kill them I guess. We say a spell, or throw a potion and they blow up and disappear.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Buffy, “Just like dusting a vamp….no fuss no muss…”
“Well yes,” agreed Giles, “Essentially it’s the same I suppose.”
“Wait,” Phoebe said, “How did we vanquish Tuatha?”
didn’t. Kyle did….remember?” Piper stated.
“Ohhhh…yeah,” Phoebe looked defeated.
Prue was concentrating, and then said, “There’s got to be a way of expelling the darkness from her, or at least binding her powers permanently.”
Giles jumped in. “She has absorbed the dark magick…willingly. It is a part of her now. There is no way of expelling it from her.”
“Wow,” exclaimed Phoebe, looking at her sisters, “This seems like a whole different kind of magick we’re dealing with here.”
“Yes,” confirmed Giles, “It’s much more ancient and primal than what has been passed to you. Willow’s spells and rituals we’re practiced and created by much darker, shall we say….unsavory….practitioners.”
“That’s probably why she was able to keep coming at us and how she was able to hurt Phoebe so bad.” deduced Piper.
“Yes,” confirmed Giles, “But that’s not to say that we aren’t capable of defeating her. You are just as powerful, if not more so, otherwise the coven wouldn’t have been able to find you.”
“Now, now, now,” came a voice from behind them, “You all aren’t speaking ill of me are you?”
They all turned to find Willow standing in the doorway, with all of the weapons, previously mounted to the wall, now floating, as if preparing to attack, next to her.
“Cuz you know what they say” she grinned evilly, “If you can’t say something nice…” She shook her index finger at them in a mocking, scolding manner. Instantly the weapons were flying towards the sisters. Piper raised her hands, attempting to freeze them, but before she could, the defense dummy came flying in front of them, stopping the knives, axes, and throwing stars in their path.
Piper and Phoebe looked to Prue. She looked confused and shook her head at them. “It wasn’t me,” she said shaking her head.
“It was me,” stated Giles, “I did say the coven imbued me with their powers remember?” He was walking calmly towards them.
Willow clapped her hands mockingly.
“Bravo Rupert,” she mocked, “Now let’s see what you do with this…” She began to motion her hands and chant in Latin, but before she could finish her incantation there was a noise behind her.
“Willow!” yelled Prue. As Willow turned around, Prue stood behind her. She quickly glanced back at the three and saw her there too, although she seemed to be motionless, looking downward.
“Hey!” yelled Prue again, “You’re really starting to piss me off…” With that Prue ran forward and jump kicked Willow, hitting her squarely in the face with her boot.
“What the…?” Willow asked as she picked herself back up, readying for another blow. But Prue was gone. When she turned back to the sisters, Prue was looking back at her. “It’s called astral-projection…yeah…we’re full of surprises…Piper now!”
Piper pushed her hands forward again…but this time instead of freezing Willow, the bricks above the doorway exploded with a huge force, as if there was dynamite loaded into the wall. Half of the wall came crashing down on Willow. Again, Piper made the same motion, and froze the bricks and Willow motionless.
Buffy and Giles came running to the sisters again.
“How did she get loose? I..I..I thought you said that spell would hold her..??” Buffy pleaded.
“Yeah,” Phoebe looked at Prue and Piper, “How did she do that?”
“I don’t know,” said Prue, “But we don’t have a lot of time here, she fought through the freeze last time, she’ll do it again.”
“Giles?” Buffy looked to him.
“Un-freeze her,” Giles said calmly. “I can stop her for now….for a bit until we can figure out what to do next.”
Just then, Phoebe stiffened up, as if grabbed from behind. Her eyes closed and she gave a high-pitch sigh as if she was in pain. She touched the sides of her eyes with her fingers and stood very still for several seconds.
“What’s wrong?” Buffy pleaded.
“Phoebe?” Prue touched her shoulders. “What is it? What did you see?”
Willow then broke free and sent the bricks and mortar flying. Before she could do anything though, Buffy was behind her knocking her to the floor with the highest spin kick she could muster.
“Damn it Willow” she yelled, “Give it up….will you just deal with your issues!”
“But, why?” Willow asked, “When we’re all having so much fun…”
Out of the corner of her eye, Buffy could see Giles readying his attack. She ducked to avoid Willow’s fist connecting with her jaw and in doing so, swept the dark witch’s feet from beneath her with her right leg.
“Giles now!” she yelled, almost out of breath.
Giles seemed to reach behind himself, as if pitching a baseball, and made a throwing motion towards her.
“Coercitio –onis!” he yelled and a bright green-colored ball of light came flying from his hand and hurdling towards Willow. She was getting to her feet when it engulfed her, spreading quickly to cover her, again, binding her in her standing position.
Willow continued to struggle against it. But the more she did, the tighter it became.
“We will stop you Willow.” Giles said very matter-of-fact.
“Yeah,” said Phoebe, catching her breath, “We have to…I just had an intense premonition and let me tell you, what’s coming ain’t pretty.”
Before she could explain, Anya came running into the room. “Oh my god,” she said frantically, “I’m so sorry! Willow was in my head! I tried to resist, I really did, but she made me think I had to help her! Well, don’t you worry…I won’t let her do it again…nope…she won’t get to me again. She’s toast. Isn’t she?” She was brushing dust off of her clothes as she finished her plea, trying to regain her composure.
“You know Anya,” Buffy explained, “For a vengeance demon; I’m not seeing a whole lot of ‘vengeance’ or ‘demon…’”
“Yes indeed,” Giles stated, “I would think you would have the constitution to resist the simple suggestions of a common witch.”
“Well, exactly,” agreed Anya, looking up as if to assert herself. “And that’s why I said she’s toast.” With that she turned to walk back into the magic shop
“Ummm….. Anya,” Buffy called after her, “Instead of worrying about the shop why don’t you actually do something to help?
“What do you mean Buffy?” questioned Anya incredulously, turning back around to face them, “I’ll have you know, I was the one chanting that counter spell so that Willow couldn’t hurt Andrew and Jonathan. I was the one that translated it. I was the one that warned them when they were in jail….I was the one…”
“Yes!” said Buffy firmly. “Yes, you did all of those things, but now I need you to find them and help get them to safety. You think you can manage to do one more thing?”
Anya gasped and rolled her eyes. “Well, I guess I can, but you’d better remember all the things I’ve done, a-a-and keep in mind I could get in big trouble for this.”
Buffy started to speak, but before she could, Anya crossed her arms and in a swirl of colors disappeared.
“Ummm….” Piper looked to where Anya had stood and then looked back to Buffy. “Is she really a demon? I mean really?” She was obviously in disbelief.
“You have your long stories, we have ours.” Buffy looked to Giles, who nodded in agreement.
“Later,” Prue waved her hand and looked Phoebe in her eyes, “What did you see Phoebe, you got a premonition right?”
“Ohhhh yeah,” Phoebe confirmed, “And it was a doozie. If we don’t find a way to strip her of her powers, she’ll unleash hell on earth.”
“Oh great…” Buffy crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. “Another Apocalypse, I should have known.”
“Yeah,” Phoebe agreed…reluctantly, “Well, we need to figure something out now or it’s only gonna get worse guys”
“Well, this spell should bind her for the time being,” stated Giles. “I would say to hit the books, but it seems as though they’ve all been absorbed or destroyed.”
“I don’t think any of the books we had would help Giles,” confessed Buffy. “It’s not as if this sort of thing had any kind of prophecy attached to it…I mean…it’s Willow after all. Who would’ve predicted that?”
“Well, speaking of books,” Prue stepped in. “I think we have a book that may have some answers, or at least put us on the right path”
“Great!” Buffy exclaimed. “Where is it?”
“We need to get back to the manor,” Prue said. “The Book of Shadows can help…hopefully.”
Buffy looked confused.
“It’s where they live Buffy,” Giles explained. “And if the answer is there, then we need to go now.”
“Wait,” said Buffy, “One, how do we get to San Francisco before she breaks free again, and two,” she continued, “Even if we can, someone is going to have to stay behind and make sure she doesn’t hurt anyone else.”
The sister’s looked at each other, then again, looked up and yelled, “Leo!”
Silvery orbs descended once again, and then there stood the healing angel.
“Sorry I had to go before,” he apologized. “Is everything okay? Anyone hurt?”
Piper walked up, put her hands on his shoulders and gave her husband a loving kiss. “Hi honey,” she greeted. “And we’re okay…for now. We need your help though.”
“You’ve got it,” he said, “Just tell me what you need me to do.”
Gathered together in a huddle with the Charmed Ones, Buffy and Giles held their hands while they recited their spell.“Take us there, take us away, in this place we cannot stay. Mr. Giles, Buffy and Sisters Three, the Manor is where we need to be.”
Piper waved to Leo as swirling white lights engulfed the five travelers, and they disappeared.
Seconds later, the five reappeared in the attic of the manor. It was a typical attic, though rather large, with various nick-nacks, old lamps, suitcases, a record player, old camera, and several pieces or large furniture in different places. Standing in front of a beautiful stained-glass window, was a simple wooden music stand, on top, a large green book with a raised Wiccan symbol on the cover.
“Okay,” said Buffy, holding her stomach, “I’ll never complain about air-travel again.”
Phoebe patted her on the back. “It takes some getting used to, but believe it or not, we don’t travel that way very often.”
“If you think that’s rough, don’t ever try orbing.” Piper said as she made her way over to the book accompanied by her sisters. All three were now standing behind it.
“Hey,” Buffy asked, “Speaking of that, do you think your White-Washer….or…” she stuttered trying to remember, “your Lamp Lighter….”
The sisters looked up and at the same time said, “Whitelighter.”
“Yeah him,” Buffy pointed, finally remembering, “Anyway, is he gonna be okay watching over Willow and helping the others?”
“Well,” Prue stated as she turned the pages of the book, “He can’t be killed, and he does have his own set of powers…so….” She continued looking,
“He’ll be okay,” Piper confirmed. “Leo’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeves.” She smiled confidently.
“And she’s still bound.” Phoebe nodded.
“Yeah,” Buffy agreed. “For now…but …..”
“That’s why we’re here Buffy” Giles consoled, patting her shoulders.
“There it is,” Phoebe stopped Prue, “That spell right there, that should bring her here.”
“Who here?” Buffy asked. Her and Giles both looking to the sisters.
“Grams,” Piper said as she looked up. “Or…our Grandmother…she raised us after our mom died, and this was her house.”
“Yeah, she was a pretty kick-ass witch herself. She’ll know what to do.” Phoebe nodded.
“Oh…” Buffy said quietly “But…if she’s dead…how?”
“Watch and be amazed.” Prue smiled.
“Buffy, can you help us with the candles?” Piper asked as she made her way to a trunk against the wall.
“Oh yeah,” Buffy agreed, eager to do whatever she could to assist them. While the girls set up the candles on the floor several feet in front of the book stand, Giles walked behind the stand and gazed upon the Book of Shadows…almost in awe.
“Exquisite,” he stated. “And this has been in your family since…?” He looked up at Prue.
“Since the matriarch of our Wiccan line started it back in the 1600’s. Her name was Melinda Warren.” Prue confirmed.
“Remarkable. It’s amazing that it has lasted all this time,” Giles said softly as he lightly touched the pages with his right hand, his love of old books dancing in his eyes.
“Okay!” stated Phoebe, “I think we’re ready….shall we?”
Prue, Piper, and Phoebe gathered once again behind the book, while Giles and Buffy stood to the side, as they chanted the incantation in unison.“Hear these words, hear my cry, Spirit from the other side, come to me, I summon thee, cross now the great divide”
Within the circle of candles, twinkling sparkles of light began to gather, growing brighter and larger and swirling together, and within them the form of a woman took shape, but not like when Leo appeared. She seemed to appear from within the lights, as if summoned from beyond. The lights faded away to the floor where she stood. She was transparent, like a ghost, but fully visible and glowed with a golden aura around her. Her brown hair was cut short and close to her head. She had similar eyes to Phoebe, but it was evident she was related to all three women. She wore large beaded necklaces around her neck, and dangling earrings, and her dress was vintage style, like something from the 70’s. It had several pieces and hung low to the floor.
With her arms outstretched, a smile on her lips, and a twinkle in her eyes, she spoke.
“Hello, my darlings.”
Back in Sunnydale, at the nearly demolished magic shop, Leo stood in front of Willow. She was still levitated in mid-air, and the mystical energies were flowing over her form, keeping her bound. Her head was tilted backwards and her eyes were closed. Leo wondered if there was anything he could do for her. He closed his eyes to clear his thoughts and try to think of a way. After all, he was a Whitelighter. His purpose was to help guide witches and future Whitelighters on the correct path to their destiny. How did this woman stray so far from hers? She had friends, and love in her life. Since Willow was a solitary practitioner, with no magical heritage before her, she wasn’t on the Elders’ radar…so to speak. Therefore, the existence of Whitelighters wasn’t known to her, just as she was not known to them. But she did have guidance. The Watcher’s council had been around for hundreds of years. And, with Rupert Giles as one of its most successful Watchers and given his background in the craft himself, she was well watched-over. So again, he asked himself, how did she stray so far to this evil place?
“Don’t try to figure me out blondie,” said the mocking voice of the trapped witch. “I’m on the path because I choose to be here…and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”
Leo looked back up at her, afraid she had broken free, but she was still in the same state. Slowly she lifted her head and looked down at him. Green eyes had taken the place of the blackness that had occupied their place for so long.
“You can read my thoughts?” Leo asked.
Willow’s lips did not move.
“Wow, looks and brains. Too bad I got off the train to boys town so long ago.” She said sarcastically. “So, where did you come from? And where did all of my playmates run off too? Are we playing hide and seek?”
Leo was amazed. In all of his years he had never encountered this level of power…aside from the Charmed Ones.
“They’re finding help for you. They will be back.”
“Ha!” Willow laughed, “Why is it everyone wants to help me?”
“Because this isn’t you,” Leo answered. “I can tell that you’re hurt, and that that rage has sent you down a very dangerous path and into a dark place. You’ll regret it if you continue doing what you’re doing.”
“What I’ll regret,” Willow corrected, “Is if I don’t find a way out of here to finish what I started.”
“Not gonna happen.” Leo stated.
“So,” Willow asked, “Let me get this straight, the babes, Buffy and Daddy, left you here to watch over me…all by yourself…while they went to ….where?”
Naturally Leo’s thoughts went to the manor, and the five of them in the attic.
“Ahhh…” Willow said. “…seems to me like they’re pretty far away. Perfect.”
“You won’t break free of that binding,” Leo stated. He said this confidently, but knew she had broken a Power-of- Three spell earlier. If she found a way again, he wasn’t sure how he would be able to battle her. Still, Anya was gone and there was no one here to help her this time.
“You’re not too sure of that are you?” she smiled.
“You need to understand something Willow,” Leo looked her square in the eyes. “The more magick you use, the more spells you invoke, and the more curses you throw weaken you. You’re depleting all of your mystical energies and eventually it will kill you.”
“Well, I’m seeing one being here, that can help replenish my tank.” Willow answered. Her eyes turned black again and she began struggling against the enchantment binding her. It held fast, though Leo could tell it would only be a matter of time before she had the power to free herself. Before she could be in his thoughts again, Leo concentrated and orbed himself behind her. Once there, he levitated up to her, placed his hands on each side of her head, closed his eyes, and projected every peaceful, tranquil, calming thought and feeling he could muster into her. His hands glowed silvery blue and small orbs floated around his fingertips where they connected with Willow’s temples. This wasn’t a power Leo used often. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he had needed it. But, at the same time was grateful he had some way of quieting her inner rage.
Willow stopped here struggle and succumbed to Leo’s process. Her head fell backwards again, and her eyes closed. The binding spell again tightened around her and the aura became bright again. She was at peace….for now.
The soft warm glow flowing into every corner of the attic was calming. Buffy and Giles both looked in awe as the three sisters spoke with their Grandmother’s spirit.
“Okay girls,” said Grams, holding her chin with her index finger and thumb, “So, what you’re telling me is that this…this…witch…she hasn’t always been a witch.”
“Right,” Prue confirmed. “She started learning magick to help her friends and Buffy fight off demons.”
Grams looked to Buffy. “Pardon me dear, I forgot, and you are…what? Again?” Grams’ expression was pleasant, eyes wide, small knowing grin on her lips.
“I’m the Slayer,” Buffy explained. “Or…Vampire Slayer to be perfectly correct.”
“Vampire Slayer,” Grams said it as if she hadn’t ever said it before. “I’m sorry my dear, but I’ve never heard of a Vampire Slayer. Vampires weren’t ever a demon I came up against. I don’t think any of the witches in our line have.”
“No, they did Grams,” Phoebe corrected. “Someone did, because there is a page in the book for them.”
“There is?” Grams seemed surprised. “How do you vanquish a vampire?”
“You can’t,” said Phoebe. “There isn’t a vanquishing spell or potion, just instructions on how to kill them. You know…Holy Water, wooden stakes….garlic.”
“Decapitation works best,” added Buffy. “But they’re just so fast, most of the time I take the wooden stake route.”
Grams looked pained. “Oh dear, give me a spell or potion over stakes, garlic, …and….and…” Grams waved her hands trying to remember the word.
“Decapitation.” Buffy smirked.
“Right,” Grams said, “too many tools and way too messy. I’ll just stick to rhyming and mixing.”
“You’re dead Grams,” Prue corrected.
“Well,” Grams looked back at them, hands on her hips. “I know that …I’m just saying….”
“Pardon me,” Giles interjected. “But that’s why there is the Slayer. Buffy is trained in all levels of fighting and has the tools needed to ‘vanquish’ as you would say, the vampires.” Giles spoke quietly, but confidently, being very respectful of who he was speaking with.
“Well of course,” said Grams. “I’m sorry for getting distracted. Let’s get back to the problem at hand.”
“Good idea Grams.” Piper stated.
“We don’t know how to help her,” Prue confessed.
“And you say she was able to break the binding spell? And Piper’s freeze?”
“Yeah,” Prue agreed. “We just couldn’t keep her down. Mr. Giles’ binding enchantment is working right now, but we need to somehow pull the darkness and bad magick out of her. It’s consuming her.”
“Binding other witches has always been difficult,” Grams confessed. “Well, difficult but not impossible. But it too can be messy and the things you would need involve, let’s say, horrific, bloody acts.” She made a disgusted face. “Definitely not something I would recommend. And someone who has gone that far down such a dark path…well…I don’t think you’ll be able to stop her with magick. It’s like throwing two equally powerful forces against each other.”
“C’mon Grams,” Phoebe said loudly, throwing her arms to the side. “There’s got to be something we can do. We’ve gotta be able to stop her somehow.”
"You bound our
powers Grams", Piper offered. "Remember? Maybe we could...."
Grams shook her head as she spoke. "With you girls it was different," she explained. "You were children, and it was as easy as putting a potion in your orange juice, or Kool-Aid, or...."
"We get it," nodded Prue.
"So..." asked Buffy, "There's nothing? Nothing we can do?" She seemed desparate for reassurance.
“I didn’t say you couldn’t stop her, my dear,” Grams waved her finger in front of her face. “I just said it would be difficult.” Grams was concentrating.
After several seconds, Piper spoke up.
“Well…whatcha got for us Grams,” she asked.
“Give me a few minutes girls,” Grams asked. “I’ll be right back.”
The aura remained intact, but Grams’ form swirled away in orb-like lights.
“Where’d she go?” Buffy seemed alarmed.
Prue shook her head slowly. “Have no idea. She’s never done that before.”
“Well, we can’t stay here forever,” Phoebe looked to her sisters. “That premonition is still fresh in my head. We need to get moving or black witchy-poo is gonna cause some serious damage.”
“Phoebe calm down,” Piper consoled, “I’m sure she won’t be long. It’s okay.”
Within the candles, lights appeared again, but this time, two forms became visible. Grams reappeared, and with her was a smaller, petite woman. She was dressed in 1600’s period clothes. She wore a white blouse-type shirt, dark-colored corset, and a dark colored skirt. Her hair was blonde and it framed her delicate features. She looked like she was straight from the Salem witch period.
“Hello my Grand-daughters” she held out her arms and smiled, “Blessed Be.”
The sisters all looked stunned, and happy. Their eyes all welled up a bit and they seemed unable to speak. Buffy and Giles looked back and forth quickly, trying to figure out who this ancestor was.
Prue spoke up. “Hello Melinda. It’s been a long time.” She smiled.
“Too long I’m afraid,” said the blonde-haired maiden.
“I thought she could help us with this dilemma,” Grams confessed.
“Oh!” Phoebe exclaimed as she saw Giles and Buffy’s confusion. “This is Melinda Warren, the first witch in our magical line.”
“We haven’t seen her for a long time,” Piper said quietly.
Melinda smiled and bowed her head slightly towards Buffy and Giles. “I’m happy to give you any knowledge that I have.”
“So,” Buffy asked. “What can we do?”
“Penny is right,” Melinda explained. Piper mouthed the word ‘Grams’ and pointed as Buffy looked to her for confirmation.
“It sounds as if your friend Willow has traveled too far down her dark path. Magically the only thing you could do is vanquish her. Or, curse her into some kind of holding object.”
“Like we did with Matthew,” Prue nodded quietly.
“No!” Buffy yelled. “No one is going to kill my friend..or, or,or..curse her..or whatever. I won’t do it!”
Prue looked concerned. “Are you sure?” she asked Melinda. “I don’t think we can to that either…there has to be another way.”
“I said,” Melinda quietly stated, looking around at all of them, “That was the only magical way of ending the darkness.”
“So there is something else.” Phoebe stated confidently.
“Yes,” Melinda confirmed, nodding her head gently. “You have to get to her heart. Not magically. Not mystically. Not forcibly.”
Giles looked on…trying to understand. The sisters seemed speechless. Buffy looked to Melinda for more information.
“But what does that mean?” she finally asked.
“That’s my advice,” Melinda simply said. “You have to get to her heart.” She looked around to all of them and said once again, “Blessed be.”
With that she stepped into a swirl of lights and vanished. Only Grams remained.
“Cryptic much?” Buffy threw up her arms and turned to Giles.
“Grams?” Prue put her hands out in front of her. “What …is that all you can say?”
Grams looked to Buffy and Giles and spoke.
“You know Willow better than any of us,” she spoke seriously, looking to her grand-daughters and then back to the two of them. “Only the two of you can know how to appeal to her heart. The answer lies with you.”
She turned back to Prue, Piper and Phoebe, held out her hands and spoke.
“I must go now my darlings. You will find the answer and the solution.” She tilted her head to one side, “Be good to each other.” She smiled softly, with love in her eyes, and then she too vanished. With that the warm glow faded and all that remained was the lit circle of candles.
Phoebe spoke first. “Well, I’m with Buffy on this one. That clue is way too cryptic for me. She may have well said ‘you’ve had the answer all along’. Thanks Glinda.”
“Calm down Phoebes,” Piper looked to her and then to Buffy. “Melinda and Grams told us what we need to know. I’m sure they were right when they said the answer lies with you. Someone has to hold the key to Willow’s heart. That’s what we need to get to.”
Buffy seemed defeated. “It was Tara. But that’s what caused all of this. How can that help, when the person who holds Willow’s heart is dead.”
“No wait, Buffy,” Giles looked down at her. “Tara has only been a part of Willow’s life for the last couple of years.”
“Yeah..” Buffy looked confused.
“Willow loved her, but she hasn’t been the only person in Willow’s life.”
Just then, before any of them could utter another word, a man in a black suit suddenly materialized right next to Buffy. He was bearded with dark hair, cut short to his head and he held a black cross-bow in his hand.
“Dark-lighter!” Prue yelled, but before any of them could move Buffy was already in action.
With her right foot, she quickly kicked the cross-bow out of his hands high into the air, turned her back to him and before he knew what was happening, the dark-lighter was being flipped over her shoulder, crashing hard to the ground. Buffy then caught the cross-bow and pointed it down at him.
“Mister,” she said teeth clenched, “I don’t know who you are, but you really picked the wrong time and the wrong weapon to pick a fight tonight.”
The arrow found it’s mark in the center of his chest, and he cried out in agony as he tried in vain to pull it out.
“Here let me help,” Buffy said sarcastically as she walked up and kicked it through with her foot.
“Ditto that,” Piper was beside Buffy now as she pushed her hands in front of her. In an instant the man in black literally exploded in front of them.
“What did you say before?” Piper looked to Buffy. “No fuss, no muss?”
The two shared a quick laugh, and then were joined by the others.
“I like your moves,” Phoebe gave Buffy a little punch to the shoulder. “We should work-out together some time.”
“Anytime,” Buffy agreed. “But what was that…or…who was that I should ask.”
“Dark-lighter”, Prue said. “Opposite of a Whitelighter, but there main goal is to kill Whitelighters and breed their race with mortal women.”
“Of course,” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Well, if these are the type of uglies you come up against, I’d gladly switch places with you. Was he really wearing a suit?”
“It’s been awhile since one of them showed up,” Phoebe looked to her sisters. “I wonder what he wanted.”
“Probably to get some brownie points with his bosses,” Prue deduced. “He sensed Leo wasn’t here and thought he’d try to take us out.”
“We’ve never used their cross-bows against them before…cool move.” Piper complimented.
“I do what I can,” Buffy shrugged. She looked to Giles. “Xander.”
“Xander?” Giles repeated back, not following.
“You know,” Buffy pleaded, “The blonde one said get to her heart. If it’s not Tara, it’s Xander.”
Prue looked to Giles. “Is that it? Is he the one then?”
“I don’t know,” Giles looked away, distressed. “ Xander is her oldest, dearest friend, but he has no magical or supernatural abilities to speak of….I don’t see how we could put him up against Willow and have the right outcome.”
“Giles!” Buffy raised her voice, arms crossed. “He has to be the answer. It’s not me. It’s not Anya or Dawn, and it sure as heck isn’t you…so who else?”
The sisters stood still looking at both of them.
“I don’t know how he can stop her Buffy.” Giles confessed, looking beaten.
“Wait,” Prue stepped in. “Melinda said there was no magical way, so Xander being non-magical has to be it.”
“Yeah!” Buffy agreed, happy to have someone on her side. “We’ve thrown everything we have at her, so what she needs is the human connection again, with someone who knows her better than anyone else.”
“Well, I guess there isn’t another option, but I don’t know how to form the connection with her.” Giles looked up.
“Maybe the best plan is no plan. We just need to get them in the same place.” Phoebe surmised. As soon as she finished speaking, she again froze up again like before, touching the sides of her head. She was having another premonition.
Before anyone could speak, Leo orbed in, coming from above them and crumpling to the floor as he took form.
“Oh my god Leo!” Piper cried out as she rushed to get to him. He was breathing heavy and grabbing his head, obviously he had been hurt. All three sisters went to his side.
“Leo what happened?” Prue asked.
“Where’s Willow? Did she hurt you? Phoebe continued.
“I’m okay,” Leo said quietly, his breathing becoming more normal. He uncurled himself and tried to get to his feet.
“No, stay down honey,” Piper pleaded, “You’re hurt.”
“Piper I’m okay,” he said again, “Really, I appreciate it, but I’m gonna be fine. She just took me by surprise.”
“What did she do?” Buffy stepped in and asked.
“I saw it,” Phoebe looked up. “In my premonition, I saw the whole thing, and what’s bound to happen next.”
“Well?” Buffy asked, “What happened?”
“Wait Phoebe,” Leo said as he stood up, “I can help you show them. Everyone form a circle and take hands. Phoebe, you face me and put hands to my head.”
“Uh-okay” Phoebe agreed, though it was evident she was apprehensive. Everyone else did as Leo said and took hands in a circle.
“Close your eyes and try to project your premonition.” Leo coached, “You can do it…just concentrate.”
As Phoebe put her fingers to Leo’s temples and closed her eyes, his hands projected silvery blue orbs that soon traveled to each person in the circle and connected them. Phoebe’s vision played like a short film in their heads as they saw what had just happened minutes before.
Leo was standing watch over Willow, in the workout room of the magic shop. She was just as they left her, floating in the air, bound by the green enchantment, head back, and eyes closed. She actually seemed more at peace than when they had left her there. In the very next instant, like an electrical storm Willow broke through the binding, arms and legs spread out, eyes black and moving with extreme force. Before Leo could move she was on top of him.
“I told you I would need a pick-me-up,” she smiled. As she spoke she clutched her hand to his heart. Energy crackled around her hand as she grabbed at him, looking like she was electrifying him from inside. Leo was in pain, but managed to grab her head with his hands and looked straight into her eyes.
“Don’t do this,” he gasped. “It won’t work!” He then fell unconscious.
Willow continued for another second until she was thrown off of him, through the broken room, through the crippled shop and finally landing on the street outside. Leo woke up, and slowly orbed away.
Then the vision changed. Willow was in a wide open field, arms outstretched, feet apart, winds and energies coursing through her and all around her. The ground began to crack under her feet, and as her power grew, the ground began to crumble beneath her. She remained level as the ground caved in beneath her, floating above it all and looking all around to see the damage she was incurring. Creatures of all kinds began coming up from above, demons, vampires, countless beings all of demonic nature climbing, clawing and flying out of the giant crater in the ground. It looked like all of hell was coming to the surface.
The vision faded.
They were all in the attic looking around at each other.
“Oh my god,” Buffy’s eyes were wide. “She’s opening the hell- mouth.”
“No,” Leo corrected. “She’s not… not yet. That’s what will happen if we don’t stop her.”
“Right,” Phoebe agreed. “That was my premonition. Where is she now Leo, and what happened to you.”
“She tried to absorb my magical essence.” He explained. “But since it comes from such a pure, good place, it back-fired on her…that’s what sent her flying.”
“Serves her right,” Piper said. “And you know what? That cursing-her-into-the-locket is sounding pretty damn good right now.”
“No,” Prue shook her head. “We know what needs to be done and who needs to do it.” She looked to Giles and Buffy.
“We just need to find Xander,” Buffy said.
“I can help with that,” Leo said as he extended his hand. “Take my hand, think about him, and I should be able to sense him and where we can find him.”
As Buffy and Leo began the process, Giles motioned the Charmed Ones over to him.
“I’m not 100% sure of this plan girls,” he explained. “I want to give it a go, but you need to be there to end this if it doesn’t work.”
“We can’t kill her,” Phoebe shook her head. “She’s a human being.”
“Phoebe.” Piper was firm. “She is an evil being right now who could destroy the West Coast, we don’t have a choice. Too many innocents are at stake…we need to protect them.”
Phoebe looked to the floor, closed her eyes and shrugged her shoulders. “You’re right Piper. I’m sorry.”
“We’ll be ready,” Prue touched his arm reassuringly.
“Giles!” Buffy called out, “Come on, Leo’s taking us back.”
Giles kept his gaze with the sisters as he walked back to Buffy and Leo, took Buffy’s hand, and the three of them orbed away.
“Okay,” Prue touched their shoulders, “We need one heck of a vanquish in case things go way south.”
“The ancestors spell should do it.” Phoebe agreed. “It’s the most powerful one we have.”
The air was quiet as the three looked to each other.
Prue brought them in close and they all hugged before they knew it was time to follow the others.
“Let’s do this.” Prue said as they walked back to the book, spoke the traveling spell in unison, and vanished.
“I don’t get it,” Buffy confessed. “When did Willow go from killing Jonathan and Andrew to destroying the whole world?"
The four of them had arrived at the site of the old high school. Not much remained from the days when Buffy, Giles and her friends attended this place, and, battled demons here. It looked as though they were ancient ruins. Whole walls stood here and there around the area, and overgrown bushes, shrubs, and weeds encompassed much of the picnic tables, stone steps and the stone fountain. It looked like, for lack of a better word, a ghost town.
“It was the small bit of essence she was able to get from me, before it rejected her,” Leo explained. “It stirred her remaining emotions and altered her into believing she needs to end everyone’s suffering, including her own.”
“You know,” Xander said, “It’s times like these when I’m glad I’ve left the mo-jo up to you guys. That being said…uh….you’re sure I’m the one that can stop her?” He seemed light-hearted and joking as always, but there was definitely an air of apprehension with him. He was a bit shaky, and his skin was damp.
“Xander,” Buffy took his hand. “You are the one. None of us have had any luck defeating her, and someone needs to bring her back to reality. If it ends today, it ends with all of us.”
“Yeah okay,” Xander spoke softly. “Never thought it would be Willow who took us all down.”
“The sisters will be here too.” Giles stepped in. “If something goes wrong, we have them to back us up.”
“But they’ve already done all they can Giles.” Buffy stated. “Wh-what else is there?”
Giles looked seriously at Buffy, communicating with his eyes what he was thinking. Sensing that things were getting tense, Leo spoke up.
“You’ll do it Xander. I know a thing or two about people’s destinies, and this is yours. You just have to believe you have what you need and believe in you relationship with Willow.”
“I’m sorry,” Buffy wouldn’t be distracted. “What exactly is it that you and the Charmed Ones have planned Giles?”
Before anything else was said, swirls of lights appeared behind them and Prue, Piper and Phoebe came into being.
“Are we on time…what’s happening?” Phoebe looked to the others.
Before anything could be said, everything exploded. It was as if they were in a mine field. Stone and earth were flying everywhere, and Giles was right in the path of a flying stone. It hit him square on the side of the head and he collapsed to the ground.
“Giles!” Buffy cried out. His head was bleeding and he was unconscious.
“Leo…” Piper started to plead.
“I’m on it,” he said. As he crouched down he held his finger-tips to the wound. The golden glow appeared as before and the head-wound began to heal.
“Come on,” Prue grabbed her sisters and took their hands. “We’ve got to protect them.”
They grasped each-others hands tightly and began chanting.“The Power of Three will set us free, The Power of Three will set us free, The Power of Three will set us free,…”
As they spoke the spell, it was as if an invisible force-field appeared all around them, encompassing them and shielding them all from the flying elements. The ground began to shake beneath them, and as Leo continued his work, Buffy and the girls looked out to see Willow in the distance. She was some distance from them, wind whipping at her hair and clothes, mystic energies crackling all around her, flying from her hands and feet as she floated feet off the ground and started collapsing the earth beneath them. Buffy looked back to Leo and Giles, expecting to see Xander there as well, but he was gone.
Willow had reached her breaking point. She was pure fury as she floated there over the Hellmouth. It would be better this way, she thought to herself. There was too much suffering in this world…too much suffering, too much pain, too much evil. It was time for an end, and she had the power to do it. She looked down, expressionless, stone-faced as she let her magicks loose. The stone, earth, trees, and every living thing around her would sink into the crater, and with that, all of the evil beneath would be unleashed. It would literally be hell on earth, but it would be the end of humanity, and in Willow’s eyes, better for everyone. “Proserpexa...Let the cleansing fires from the depths burn away the suffering souls, and bring sweet death.”
The dark witch spoke the incantation to the skies.
She began sending energy blasts into the ground as a familiar form came running towards her, and, once close enough, took in one of the blasts. He was knocked to the ground, but quickly got to his feet.
“Hey, black-eyed girl...Whatcha doin'? He stood in front of her as she slowly floated down to the ground…or what was slowly becoming quicksand under her mystical assault.
“Get out of here.” Willow said as she walked towards him.
“Oh no...You're not the only one with powers, you know. You may be a hopped up uber-witch, but this carpenter can dry-wall you into the next century.” He spoke with a calmness and slight grin as if they were in the hallway at school.
“I'm not joking, Xander. Get out of my way. Now.” She pushed her hand forward and threw him to the ground. Again, energy erupted from her hands and the earth began to tremble. Xander got to his feet again and stepped in front of the blast again….absorbing it as it send him back down.
“You can't stop this.” Willow said certainly, looking down on him.
“Yeah, I get that. It's just - where else am I gonna go? You've been my best friend my whole life. World gonna end - where else would I want to be?” He looked up to her, trying to see his friend in her eyes.
“Is this the master plan? You're going to stop me by telling me ya love me?” she swooned sarcastically.
“Well, I was gonna walk you off a cliff and hand you an anvil, but it seemed kinda cartoony.” He held his midsection as he struggled to his feet…again.
“Still making jokes.” Willow rolled her eyes and prepared to fire again.
“I'm not joking.” Xander put his hand up, trying to get her to stop. “I know you're in pain. I can't imagine the pain you're in.” He pleaded. “And I know you're about to do something apocalyptically evil and stupid and hey, still want to hang. You're Willow.”
“Don't call me that!” she yelled loudly.
“The first day of kindergarten you cried 'cause you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone. ” He spoke knowingly. “You've come pretty far, ending the world, not a terrific notion... but the thing is, yeah. I love you. I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary veiny Willow. So if I'm going out, it's here. If you wanna kill the world, well then start with me. I've earned that.” He stood with his arms out to his sides, ready for whatever came next.
“You think I won't?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.
Where Buffy, Giles, Leo, and the Charmed Ones stood, things began to calm down…a bit. The wind roared, and the earth and stones were still flying, but the ground had stopped crumbling. The witches continued to chant to protect them all. They watched as Xander tried to get through to their friend.
“I think it’s working,” Buffy said to Giles, who was now standing again, his head wound no longer visible.
“We shall see,” Giles was still skeptical.
Xander continued to plead with Willow. “It doesn't matter. I'll still love you.”
“Shut up!” Willow was enraged. With a single motion of her hand, a cut appeared across Xander’s face.
“I love you.” He said again, touching his cheek and staggering backwards.
With both arms, she sent a huge gash across his chest, slicing through his shirt and opening a diagonal wound that began to bleed.
“I... love ..” he stammered, crossing his arms and staggering towards her.
“Shut up…” she yelled, throwing out her hand and trying to shoot a mystical blast at him again. The energy connected, but was weak, and Xander was able to maintain his footing.
“I love you, Willow. I love you.” He repeated it over and over as he walked to her.
“Stop...just stop!”she cried. Xander was now throwing his arms around her and both of them fell to the ground. He continued to whisper the words into her ears as everything around them came to a calming stand-still. The winds stopped, the earth became firm again, and the flying elements found their place. As Willow began to sob into her friends embrace, an aura of darkness began to rise from her, coming from within, and traveling out through her shoulders and head. It rose into the air, electrical, crackling, and swirling above them, as if looking for a place to settle.“Patricia, Penelope, Melinda, Brianna, Astrid, Helena, Laura, and Grace, Warren witches stand strong beside us, vanquish this darkness from time and space!” Prue, Piper and Phoebe were just feet away from the two of them as they chanted the spell.
As they ended, the darkness swirled for a bit more, then exploded and dissipated into nothing. As they looked to Willow and Xander, they could see that the darkness was gone, and she cried in his arms. Her eyes were green again, all of the dark blemishes and veins had disappeared, and her red hair had returned. The sun was above and everything was bright. All that could be heard was the sobs of Willow and the gentle winds that were blowing softly. Buffy ran to both of them and joined Xander and Willow in their moment. Prue, Piper and Phoebe looked to them all and smiled, with tears starting to fall from their eyes as they witnessed the bonds of these three friends.
“I have to thank you girls for your help,” Giles said quietly as he joined them. “I’m glad that this has all worked out, but we could not have done it without you.”
“Oh…well...”Prue said, “I think you all would’ve figured something out, but I’m glad we could lend a hand.”
“I’m happy we didn’t have to….well…you know,” Phoebe said as she made a slicing motion across her throat.
“Yes indeed,” Giles agreed. “You were smart to use the spell the way that you did. I wouldn’t have thought to do that.”
“Well,” Piper stated, “The bad thing about a vanquish is that it doesn’t last forever. Somehow evil always finds its way back.”
“Right,” Prue said. “There is that bit of darkness in all of us. Willow needs to be careful. If she is touched by something truly evil again, it could bring back that darkness.” She looked to Giles.
“I know,” Giles nodded. “I’m going to help Willow learn from this. I’m taking her back to England with me to the coven of witches and seek their guidance and assistance.”
“Sounds like a good plan,” agreed Piper, arms crossed and a slight grin crossing her lips.
Leo now joined them and they all turned back to Buffy, Xander, and Willow. Giles was making his way over to them, and they were now standing. Giles took Willow and Xander into a big hug and just stood there with them.
“I healed Xander’s wounds,” Leo confessed as the four of them prepared to leave.
“That’s our guy,” Phoebe said with a smile.
Buffy, Xander and Giles waved to their new friends as Leo put his arms around his wife and her sisters and the glittering, silvery-white lights enveloped them and carried them away.