Confrontations, Part II
Disclaimer: Potter is Rowlings; Buffy is Whedons. I am making no profit off of this.
Anya watched with narrow eyes as the Xander doppelganger she had created bounced nervously from foot to foot as they considered what to do to protect the two remaining über geeks from Willow’s wrath. A momentary pain of regret flashed through her – after all, if it wasn’t for her own quest for vengeance, Xander himself would be here to help instead of that foolish little boy – but it was easily cast aside as she remembered how she felt standing alone in that white dress, having had all her dreams shattered with little explanation.
Perhaps it was guilt that made her feel a need to assist Buffy at the moment; certainly, she bore no love for the girl – in fact, Anya quite often blamed Buffy for any number of Xander’s insecurities – but would Willow have jumped so far off the bandwagon with Xander around? She didn’t know.
And boy had Willow jumped off the bandwagon. As a reinstated vengeance demon, Anya was able to feel her hurt and pain. It was like a calling – one of the strongest ones she ever felt. But she was also aware that Willow had no desire for her help or involvement.
Willow wanted to handle things personally, and at the moment did not care who got hurt as long as she got her vengeance. Indeed, Anya herself was powerless to stop her when she entered the Magic Box earlier in the day, full of rage and grief, and drained some of her most priceless texts dry of their magic. She was also powerless to stop the witch from torturing and killing Warren – an act of vengeance more gruesome than most of the ones that Anya had participated in during her heyday.
As much as she’d like to blame all of them – any of them – for Xander, and everything else that had recently gone to hell, Anya knew that Willow had to be stopped; that things had gone way too far, and that she had to help in any way that she could. It was almost as if she felt obligated to do so, having spent so much time as a cursory member of the ‘Scoobies’. Therefore, she assisted Buffy with breaking Andrew and Jonathon out of prison, and in doing so, revealed her change of status. With her secret out of the bag as far as Buffy was concerned, she had only to hope that the slayer was too distracted to put two and two together, and question her about Xander’s whereabouts.
Anya was so not ready to open that can of worms right now.
However, based on the almost manic way Buffy was trying to find something to help them, there was no danger of her coming to any conclusions of that sort any time soon. A quick glance over at Buffy found her pulling out volume after volume of magical text from the shelves, verifying that they were indeed empty, and then tossing them into what was beginning to become a rather large pile to her left.
“I told you, she drained everything,” Anya said, a note of exasperation in her voice.
“There must be something she hasn’t touched. Something that would help –“
A lightbulb flashed in Anya’s head, as she remembered a book that Giles had shown her when he relinquished the shop to her. One that they’d never been able to translate fully, yet –
”I have one thing,” Anya said, reaching under the counter for the book that she knew would be there. “It’s in Ancient Babylonian.” At this, the darker haired geek looked up in interest, but quickly averted his eyes as Buffy shot a glare in his direction.
Anya opened the old text to the only spell whose words she could comprehend.
It was a barrier spell.
She relayed the information to Buffy, who quickly formulated a plan; a plan that Anya was highly skeptical of.
Nevertheless, she took the book and hid behind one of the bookshelves, waiting for the inevitable arrival of Willow, as she sought out the two boys who they were currently trying to protect.
She didn’t have long to wait, and wasn’t surprised to see Willow materialize right in the middle of the store. She was, however, surprised to see her accompanied by Dawn and her British friend, and so was Buffy –
--That is, if the mixed look of fear and apprehension that immediately appeared on her face was anything to go by.
Still, the slayer retained enough of her determination to cast a quick glance in Anya’s direction, and Anya began softly reciting the spell in front of her, hoping that for once all hell will just stay put.
After what could have been a moment or an eternity, Xander rematerialized on the front lawn of the Summers home, where he promptly dropped the broom and cloak he was carrying, and threw up all over Buffy’s flowerbed. He heard a loud ‘thump’, and turned his head to see Giles inelegantly sprawled across the lawn on his back, his face as white as a ghost. Only Snape seemed to be unaffected by the trip, as he was standing on both feet and casually straightening out his robes, smirking at the two of them.
“Problems, Harris?” Snape asked, in a tone thick with amusement.
Xander glared at the wizard as he wiped his mouth off on the back of his hand, and brought himself back to his feet. At the exact same time, Giles sat up, holding both hands over his mouth in a desperate attempt to avoid a performance similar to Xander’s.
After the watcher regained his equilibrium and also threw a glare in Snape’s direction for good measure, he addressed them both in a slightly trembling voice.
“Well, we should go in and assess the situation, I think, but I have the distinct feeling that no one is currently at home.”
“Right. Need a hand up, G-man?”
“Yes, thank you, Xander – er, I’ll take your other hand if you don’t mind.,” answered Giles, as Xander thrust forward the hand he had just used to wipe his mouth with.
“Oh. Sorry,” Xander replied, a bit sheepishly.
It didn’t take long for them to discover that Giles’ hunch was correct, and the house was not only empty, but in a state of utter disarray. There were pieces of glass all over Willow’s bedroom floor, and the blood –
Xander couldn’t even think about it without feeling a rock in the pit of his stomach.
He had to get to Willow.
Snape, for the most part, kept his general disdain of the place to himself, which was good because Wizard or not, had he commented on it, Xander wouldn’t have been able to restrain himself. He was quick to exit the house when it was apparent no one was home, however, and as such was the one who found the bloodstains in the grass in the backyard.
Bloodstains that belonged to someone other than Tara.
A thousand frantic thoughts went through Xander's mind, and he suddenly remembered that Dawn was also missing from the scene in the woods.
Dear God, if something happened to Dawn as well, he’d kill the other two geeks himself.
“We need to ascertain exactly what’s going on. I am going to check the Magic Box; perhaps Anya will have some idea where they are and what is going on,” Giles said.
Xander looked over at the Watcher, who was kneeling on the ground examining the blood stain; his eyes narrowed and brow creased with worry.
“Let me go with you,” Xander said.
“No. I want you two to follow behind, in case Willow is there and I’m unable to reason with her. “
Xander was opening his mouth to protest, when Snape broke in to the conversation.
“I believe that is a good idea, given the circumstances. Mr. Harris and I will follow, hidden, and intervene if necessary.”
“No, Xander," Giles said, cutting him off, "Remember, you have the body of a wizard now. If I am unable to rationalize with her, she will most certainly attack me, or attempt to drain me of my magic. If she would do such a thing to me, do not for one moment think that she would hesitate to do the same to you and Professor Snape.”
Frowning, Xander shook his head, unable to see how Willow could be a danger to them at all. “Look , Giles, I hear you, but this is Willow we are talking about! I know she killed Warren, but that was—“
“NO,” Giles responded, in a tone that allowed no room for argument, and then let out a long sigh.
“Look, Willow is not herself at the moment. The type of magic she’s been using changes and controls the user. As such, she must be considered a possible and formidable threat. Not to mention that while you may be perfectly within your rights to endanger your own body, I do think that Mr. Harry Potter might be more than a bit upset to find out that you put his own in harms way.”
At that, Snape snorted, causing both Xander and Giles to look at him quizzically.
“Mr. Potter manages to accomplish that quite well enough on his own,” was his snide reply, reminding Xander once again why he couldn’t stand the greasy bastard.
“Sounds like he’d make a great Scooby,” Xander muttered under his breath.
After a few more failed attempts to get Giles to change his mind, Xander grudgingly agreed to follow behind with Snape, and the two of them stood by and watched as Giles used the magic he borrowed from Dumbledore to teleport himself to the Magic Box.
Xander looked warily at Snape.
“I hope you don’t plan on us traveling the way we did before, 'cause, gotta say, I don’t have anymore breakfast to lose.”
Snape pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned; an action which Xander found more than slightly condescending.
“How is it, that your best friend is a witch, and yet you seem completely ignorant of the ways of witches and wizards? I do not wish to be apprehended by the American Ministry for creating an unauthorized portkey, and it is not possible for me to apparate us to a location unknown to me.”
”Nice of you to mention that NOW. Buffy’s car is gone, and –“ Xander started to reply, but was interrupted when Snape picked up the broom and the cloak off of the ground, and shoved them both roughly into Xander’s arms.
“Put the cloak on, Harris. And get on the broom. You’re in Potter’s body now, and since you have seemed to have inherited his tendency to annoy, one could only assume that you may have also inherited his only redeeming factor – his proficiency on a broom,” Snape replied, with an air of superiority in his tone.
Xander looked at Snape for a moment, puzzled, as he considered both his comment and the oddly shaped broom he was holding. Slowly, very slowly, a look of comprehension dawned in his eyes, and a half smile that was more Xander than Harry played it’s way across his lips.
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed the chapter, and please, take a moment to review. I need some feedback; is everyone still enjoying the story? I'm concerned because the current situation is heavy on the angst, and I have had little feedback on the past couple of chapters.
I'd like to know if I've retained your interest or lost you all - please be honest.