Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Plants vs Zombies, and The Craft. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++ON LILY THE WITCH, AND HER FIGHT AGAINST THE ZOMBIES
by Listener+++++Continuity notes: The following story takes place in June 2010. Lily the Research Witch first appeared in “On Ramona Flowers”. Sarah the Witch is Sarah Bailey from “The Craft”, who first appeared in “On Allison/Sarah”, the second “On” story (where I also introduced the slayer Dawn Devereaux).
This story has not been beta'd. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone. It is complete, and is approximately 9200 words. It has a total of three parts.
Warning: This story contains violence against both plants and zombies, as well as sexual content between a human man and a human woman.+++++PART ONE
Lily took off her wide-brimmed straw hat and mopped sweat off her brow with a small rag. It was a brutally-hot Saturday morning in Cleveland, and Lily didn’t know enough weather magic to generate even the smallest breeze. My own damn fault for planting this deep into summer.
But then, it had been a difficult spring, what with the Nancy Downs situation and the discovery of several powerful artifacts that needed her attention.
She sighed, replaced her hat, and bent over her flowerbed again. Only one more row of sunflowers to go.
“Hey, Lils?” Jeff was in the bed on the other side of the front door; the sound of his hedge trimmers making satisfying little snipping sounds as he shaped their decorative bushes into something a little less wild.
Except he hadn’t snipped anything in several seconds. Odd, because his movements were usually so decisive.
“What is it, hon?”
“Has...” He paused; she looked over to him, blinking sweat out of her eyes, and saw him facing out toward the street. “Has your phone gone off lately?”
Lily touched her pocket.
It was empty.
“Damn,” she said, sitting back on her haunches before getting slowly to her feet. “I forgot it. Why?”
Instead of saying anything, Jeff pointed outward with his trimmers.
Lily turned around, saw what Jeff was pointing at, and froze.
Luckily, Lily’s paralysis only lasted a couple of seconds. “Get in the house,” she said. “Quickly!”
Jeff slammed the door behind them and threw both deadbolts before going to the windows and drawing the heavy shades across them. “Lily,” he said as she ran for the kitchen, for her phone, “were those... zombies?”
Lily returned to the living room, scrolling through her messages.
She nodded. “Some idiot using necromancy. It got out of hand, and now they’re being reported all over the neighborhood.”
“What about your slayer friends?” he asked, pulling off his sweat-soaked shirt and balling it up. “Here,” he said, holding out a hand, “give.”
Lily dropped her hat on the table and stripped off her shirt and bra. The air conditioning made her feel clammy and slick, but there was no time for a shower. Still, better than the alternative. “Teams are on the way,” she said. “But it’s vacation week, and we’re low on resources. Xander wants to know if we can handle our house.”
“Can we?” He went toward the kitchen; Lily followed. Jeff dumped the wet shirts in the laundry-room sink while Lily drew the blinds behind the kitchen table. “Handle it, I mean?”
“I don’t know.” She heard him digging through the dryer; when he returned, he tossed her a t-shirt, which she quickly pulled on and tugged into place. Jeff had shrugged on a 70s-era button-down he used when they were painting. Lily slipped past Jeff, into the laundry room, and checked to make sure the door was locked. It didn’t have a deadbolt, only a knob with a little button-lock and one of those security bar things. Honestly, can anything short of a steel plate stop those creatures?
In the kitchen again, Jeff handed her a tall glass of ice water. “Drink,” he said.
He shook his head. “Drink first. Fight next.”
“Jeff, I can’t fight zombies!”
“So tell Xander that,” he said.
“But... but I should be able to. I’m a witch!”
“Yes, you are.” He took her hand, then pulled her into his arms; despite how hot they both were, she took a long moment to rest her cheek against his chest and listen to his heartbeat. “Lils, we need to make a decision: fight, or call for help. You’re the witch; I defer to you.”
“Don’t do that,” she said, refusing to let go. “Don’t make me out to be some sort of hero.”
He found her chin, tilted her head up. She saw the absolute trust in his dark eyes. “Whatever you decide, that’s what we’ll do. But trust me: you’re stronger than you know. You’re stronger than I know. You just have to let yourself be strong.”
And that, she supposed, was the ultimate question: am I ready to be strong?
After a long moment, Lily nodded. Then she pulled away and pressed her phone into Jeff’s hand. “Call the command center,” she said. “Tell them we’ll defend ourselves.”
“Where are you going?”
“Basement,” she said. “I need supplies.”
While Lily had been downstairs, Jeff had moved the living-room furniture out of the way and pulled back the rugs to reveal Lily’s old, well-used magic circle. Now he was armed with their Saturday Night Special -- not really enough stopping power to headshot a zombie, but it seemed to make him feel better -- and a very large machete that Lily didn’t even know they’d had in the house.
Lily, for her part, peeked around the edge of the curtains. “The zombies...” she said, her heart in her throat. “They’re coming.”
Jeff nodded, just once. “Whatever you’re going to do,” he said, “I think it’s time to do it.”
Lily took a deep breath, set her shoulders, and moved across the living room to step into the circle. She arranged herself in a lotus position; Jeff lit the candles at the points of the pentagram before going to the window himself. “What are you going to do?”
“Well,” she said, “the first thing we need is some power.”
Lily closed her eyes and rested her hands on her knees. Then she opened herself to the power of the earth, the power Willow had helped her learn to use when she’d joined the ICW. For years, Lily had been a middling witch at best, able to influence the forces of nature in small, subtle ways, but nothing truly groundbreaking. The affinity she’d always felt toward plants had led to her training in botany, and before coming to the slayer school she’d run a moderately-successful plant nursery as well as a local CSA. It was Willow and the others who’d redirected her botanical research skills into ancient runes and artifacts.
But to save herself and her husband, she was going to have to go back to her roots.
Lily extended herself through her connection to the earth and touched the roots of her new sunflowers. Instead of seedlings, she’d bought fully-grown plants: tall stalks, large heads, bright yellow and orange petals. It was easy to make them larger; it was a bright, sunny day and all she had to do was nudge the photosynthetic process along a little faster.
“Holy cow,” Jeff said. “They’re enormous.”
Lily smiled, but didn’t respond. She already knew they were growing; once she’d started the magic, it had been only natural to extend it to the climbing vines along their trellises. Plants didn’t see, per se, but she managed to translate the signals well enough that she knew what she was facing.
The jolt of fear turned into energy that surged through the sunflowers. They began to shine.
Lily watched from her trellises as the first zombies broke through the decorative wrought-iron fence her neighbors had put up only last fall. The one in the lead shambled his way into her front yard and stepped right on the hoe Jeff had been using in the beds by the sidewalk. The handle shot vertically, cartoon-like, and the zombie’s head flew off.Neck must have been weak to begin with.
Unfortunately, there was only one hoe, and far too many zombies.
“Jeff,” she said, just loud enough for him to hear, “go into the backyard. Get me any plant that looks like a weapon.”
“A weapon. Things we can throw. Hurry!”
Jeff went. Lily redirected her attention to the yard, sending the sunlight down into the decorative fly-traps she’d planted in the front row of the flowerbeds. They grew... and grew... and grew...
and when the next zombie came close enough, one of them lurched forward on its stem and snapped off the creature’s head.
Four fly-traps. Four zombies. QED.
But even with Lily’s energy flowing through the garden, the fly-traps could only digest zombie heads so quickly. Another wave of them was stumbling across the street.
Lily heard the back door slam, and then Jeff was there with an armful of vegetables. “Open the door,” she whispered. “Throw them in the flowerbeds.”
“But the zombies--”
Jeff did as she said; the door was only open for a few seconds, but it was enough that the zombies redoubled their efforts. Luckily, twice as fast was still pretty slow, and Lily had time to process what Jeff had brought her. Mostly it had been peas -- they had a good crop of them already, thanks to Lily’s magically-enhanced green thumb, along with some squash and a handful of cherry tomatoes.All right,
Lily thought, focusing on the peas first. Let’s see what you’ve got.
Lily felt herself swoon. In a moment Jeff was kneeling outside the circle -- he knew enough not to break in, not to break her magic -- and waiting to catch her if she fell. But she didn’t fall. “I’m... all right,” she said, her voice hoarse and dry. “Just... tired.”
“The zombies,” he said. “Can you see them?”
She managed a nod. From the trellises, she watched her pea-plants sucking up the light from the sunflowers, mutating into toddler-sized vegetable cannons that shot peas the size of fists into the approaching zombies. It took several shots, but eventually the advancing creatures started to collapse. Their brothers and sisters climbed over them, only to be crushed by enormously-heavy squash that practically leapt off their stems in their haste to attack. Any who passed that and dared to touch one of her cherry tomatoes found themselves coated in acidic pulp -- both the ones who caused the tomatoes to explode and the zombies on either side.
And, of course, there were her fly-traps, still eating whatever zombie heads they could get their petals on.
Lily wanted to tell Jeff to look outside, to show him that they were winning, but she didn’t have the energy. A final wave of zombies was coming from across the street and Lily put every last bit of herself into repelling them, until finally the shambling horde was nothing but a pile of decapitated bodies on her carefully-maintained front lawn.
Only then did she break the circle with one hand and fall into Jeff’s arms.
Lily woke on the couch, feeling surprisingly refreshed. “Did...” She cleared her dry throat, and when Jeff held up a glass of Gatorade with a straw in it, she drank greedily before trying again. “Did we win?”
“For now,” he said. He was kneeling in front of her, one hand on her thigh. He squeezed gently, and when she took the glass with both hands, he put his other one -- cold enough to make her skin prickle -- on her other leg. “You were amazing.”
She blushed and drank; the blush lasted much longer than the Gatorade. She pressed the empty ice-filled glass to her cheeks, and then to her forehead. “Any word from the others?”
Jeff nodded. “According to Xander, the necromancer is on the run, but he’s being protected by some powerful ghouls. He has teams after them, and everyone else he could spare is defending the neighborhood.”
“Did we get any help? Any slayers?”
“You say it like I’m not good enough.”
Lily turned, craning her neck to look behind the couch. Sarah grinned at her. “You recharged me, didn’t you.”
“Guilty.” Sarah came around the couch and sat beside Lily. She took a syringe out of her pocket and held it up. “I have two more of these,” she said. “Pure mana plus inert liquids. Willow’s back at the Magic Box, making as many as she can manage.”
“Willow magic,” Lily said. “No wonder I feel twitchy.” She put the glass on a side table and laid her hand over Jeff’s. “What’s the situation?”
“We don’t know who the necromancer is after, or why he keeps sending the zombies into this neighborhood. We have watcher and slayer teams going door-to-door, and trying to find anyone who might not be home. More teams are set up to stop any more zombies, but there’s just too many of them to form a perimeter. Willow’s doing everything she can to refuel the witches -- she can’t be here to help, or to shield any graves they might be coming from.”
“Lovely,” Lily said. “What about Jeff -- can we get him out of here?”
“Jeff, it’s not safe.”
“And it’s safe for you?”
“He’s got a point,” Sarah said.
Jeff got to his feet and went to the front window, looking out past the blinds. “There’s nothing out there.”
“That’s good, right?” Lily asked.
“Well... kind of.” He opened the shades and Lily raised and waved a hand; the plants parted to reveal nothing but a torn-up yard and leavings from the pea-shooters she’d created. “No bodies.”
Sarah made a face. “I wonder where they are.”
As if on cue, Lily’s and Sarah’s phones both buzzed. They checked the screens. “More zombies,” Lily said.
“Do you need me to stay?” Sarah laid her hand on Lily’s arm. “I’m your backup, if you need me.”
Lily shook her head and stood up, stretching, cracking her back. “Just leave the mana. I can handle it.”
“You sure, Lils?”
She went to Jeff and rested her hand on his lower back. “I’m sure. We can handle them.”
Sarah nodded. “I’m with a team at the cul-de-sac.” Lily’s house was one of about twelve between the main road and the roundabout at the end of the street. “Call us if you need us.” She offered up a small smile before opening the front door. “Um... they’re not going to shoot me, are they?”
“They’re simple creatures. As long as you’re not a clear threat to them, they’ll leave you alone.”
“Still, all the same, I’m going to run for it.” Another flash of a grin and then Sarah was on the move.
True to Lily’s word, the pea-shooters didn’t fire.
Lily closed the door. She saw Jeff’s worried expression as he looked down at her and reached up to cup his cheek before going up on her toes to kiss him. His hands went to her arms, holding on tightly. Lily had never experienced this much power at once -- first the anti-zombie forces, and now Willow’s magic -- and she felt a distinct urge to throw her husband on the couch and climb on top of him.
But they didn’t have time. “Keep an eye on the front,” she said, her mouth still against his. “There’s enough stuff in our vegetable patches for me to mine the backyard.”
“Mine? What do you mean?”
Lily patted his cheek. “Let’s just say that, if this works, we’re going to be spending next weekend filling in a lot of holes in the ground.” She kissed him once more, quickly, and stepped away. “By the way, do we have any walnuts in the pantry?”
“I think so. Why?”
“Just trust me. And, Jeff?”
“I love you.”
“Love you too.”+++++Your feedback -- reviews, e-mails, smoke signals, whatever -- is, as always, greatly appreciated.
For anyone who doesn't know, a CSA is a group that delivers local produce to people's houses every week in exchange for a fee. You don't get a choice -- whatever's growing is what you get. It's something they do at my office, though I don't participate because there are too many peppers and no one in my house eats them.
Next time: the zombies continue their attack on Lily and Jeff's corner of suburbia. Also, a pizza is eaten, and the other Dawn -- the slayer, not the Summers sister -- drops in for a few paragraphs.