The many faces of Buffy: Elements (water)
Disclaimer: none of the characters are mine, but belong to their respective owners.
“So, why is Veruca following us?” Willow asked Tara, visibly unhappy about it.
Conversely, of course, Willow had plenty of reasons to be upset about besides the presence of the female werewolf; the fact that her resurrection spell had misfired and instead of doing its job it had opened dimensional rifts all over Sunnydale was just the start of it.
But Veruca was the finish (for now). The werewolf singer had come through one of those rifts together with the evil version of Willow’s first boyfriend, Oz. Now this new, evil version had been successfully dealt with the new version of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, yet this version of Veruca, who seemed to be not as evil as the original, remained behind.
(Oh, and somewhere in the desert outskirts of Sunnydale lurked yet another version of Oz – this one a gun-slinging horse-riding lassoing bank robber... but Willow was trying not to think hard about this, really.)
To add insult to injury (or not), this version of Buffy also appeared to like Tara more so than Willow...though not in a sexual way. Rather, it was-
“Whoa!” a sudden exclamation from Veruca interrupted Willow’s train of thought. “Looks like the school is out for the day.”
“What do you mean...oh,” Willow and Tara joined the werewolf at the edge of what once was U of S’s campus, but now looked like an African watering hole, complete with several storks and a crocodile alongside its banks, (upon which grew plenty of waterside vegetation as well) and a large expense of water that occasionally bubbled.
“Whoa!” Willow involuntarily echoed Veruca. “How- when- did this happen?”
“When you cast the spell?” Tara looked at Willow askance. “It was Friday night, so the campus was probably largely deserted, but now, since today is a Monday morning...,” she indicated around the lake – a large crowd – more than just the three women had arrived for their Monday classes and found them to be cancelled, possibly even permanently.
In any case, what Tara said was true, but Willow’s mood was already on a short fuse, and Tara’s remark just partially set it off. “Okay, Tara, confrontation time,” she said firmly, taking advantage of the fact that Veruca appeared to be occupied by the lake instead of them. “What is your problem, precisely? Not Buffy’s, nor the rest of the gang, but yours? You are clearly unhappy with me doing the magic lately, yet now that Buffy is back and put you in charge of the magics instead, you are even less happy. What’s wrong with you?”
Tara gulped, paled, and looked away. “No, missy,” Willow was not being deflected by her girlfriend’s silence and in fact put her own resolve face on. “I want a straight answer from you, right now!”
“You know, I think this is almost like natural mineral water – well, mineralized, if you want to get down to it.”
There was a pause, as the other two turned to face Veruca, who had been busy sniffing the water stood up. “Yup,” she told the two witches who just stared at her. “Definitely not the regular American tap water...what? I’m a werewolf still, I got the nose!”
“...Right,” Willow finally said, unwilling to get involved in the matters of Veruca’s nose. “Mineral. Well...”
“And you know what else? The soil is different too. It’s like this rift of yours have sucked up the entire lake with its lakebed and installed it here instead of the campus,” Veruca added. “Even the soil is different. Your town was built on sand – well, sandy soil at any rate – and this here feels more like clay or sun-baked mud or something.”
“Aha,” was all that Willow said; she was going to say a lot more, but a herd of hippos chose this moment to surface from the lake to breathe, so instead she fell silent and just watched them alongside the other two until the big animals submerged once more.
“So, Africa,” Willow said instead. “We’ve got a piece of Africa in here. Wow.”
“Y-Yeah,” Tara nodded, weakly. “Africa.”
“Nobody here has the slightest idea of what to do with this, do they?” Veruca summarized the situation very concisely.
“Nope,” the two witches shook their heads.
“Then lead me to whoever’s in charge of this town, politically and-or business-wise,” Veruca said brightly. “I got us a plan!”* * *
Far below the surface, beneath the feet of Willow, Tara and Veruca – or rather, beneath the wheels of their car, as they drove to the office of Sunnydale’s newest mayor (who was less than a shadow of the late Richard Wilkins) laid the actual Hellmouth. For several years it had been abandoned, ever since the original Buffy Summers slayed the vampire Master in his attempt to open it, but now something has changed: water was pouring onto it, a mixture of Sunnydale’s ordinary tap water and the more pure, more natural water from Africa’s Mzima springs, and as the two liquids were mixing and falling onto the infernal seal, it began to react...TBC