“Mark Longstal, I call you from your grave. With blood, steel and salt I call you from your grave,” Anita said strongly, dripping her blood along the grass. A tall, strong-looking man stood up from the ground. “Go ahead,” she told the lawyers, and they began to ask him their questions.
She sat back with Larry, who was eating a burrito that he had gotten at Taco Bell earlier. White light flashed in front of her eyes, a dull ache forming in her temples. A frown spread across her face, and she rubbed her temples.
“What’sa matter?” Larry asked through a mouthful of beans, cheese, peppers, and onions.
“Headache,” she answered.
“Need s’me Tylenol?” he swallowed.
“Nah,” she shook her head and the pain dulled slightly. “It’s getting a little better.”
“So, where’s our next appointment?” he wiped his hands off with a handful of the baby wipes she’d had in her car.
“It’s…AH!” she put her hands over her face as a burning pain shot through her head. She opened her eyes, and saw Cherry sitting across the table from her. She gasped and looked down at her cream colored long-sleeved shirt and calf-length cream-and-black striped skirt.
“Willow, what’s wrong?” Cherry asked.
“Holy shit…” Anita jumped to her feet.
“Willow?” Cherry backed up slowly, her eyes wide.
“This isn’t Willow,” Anita snapped, then instantly regretted it. “This is Anita.”
“Anita?” Cherry whispered.
“Yes, Anita, can you not hear me speaking?” she snarled, and Anita ran small hands through Willow’s red hair. “Damn it, Cherry, I’m sorry,” she muttered. “I’m having a really bad night, and this headache is killing me.”
The blonde wereleopard bowed her head submissively. Her eyes were wide and frightened when she looked back up.
Anita walked through the halls of the grounds beneath the Circus of the Damned. She felt awkward in the skirt, expecting the tight resistance of her normal suit. Instead it flowed with her legs as she walked. As well, her legs were not as short, so her long steps took her farther.
“Willow, could you come here for a minute?” Giles called out to her as she walked by, and she ignored him, forgetting for a second whose body she was in. “Willow? Willow, where are you going?”
Anita stopped as she heard her voice shouting.
“HELLO?” Willow yelled at the top of Anita’s lungs.
“Willow?” she walked up to her body, and saw her eyes widen in surprise.
“Anita.” She smiled. “Thank the Goddess.” Her eyebrows furrowed. “I don’t stand like that, you know. It gives you back problems, plus it looks bad to be all hunched over.”
“I don’t have time for this,” Anita rolled Willow’s eyes. “We
don’t have time for this. I have an appointment in…twenty minutes. And it takes a half hour to get to the graveyard from here!”
“Anita?” Larry said quietly, his eyes searching Willow’s. “It is
you! What the hell are you doing in Ms. Rosenberg’s body?”
“It’s…just Willow,” Willow interrupted.
“And, I don’t know why I’m in Willow’s body,” Anita said angrily. “I was hoping Willow could answer that.”
,” Jean-Claude smiled sensually as he waltzed into the room, followed by Asher, in the shadows, and Jason. “You are home early. And you brought Monsieur Kirkland,” he nodded to the young man as he walked forward to kiss Anita.
“Hey!” Anita cried just as Willow jerked backwards.
She watched her body wipe her mouth while she slapped Jean-Claude on the arm.
“Mademoiselle Willow?” Asher began.
“Yeah?” Willow answered. She tugged at the skirt. “Goddess, this suit is uncomfortable! Anita, why the frilly heck d’ya wear these things? You can barely move!”
Jason burst out laughing. “Frilly heck?” he laughed. “Anita, you’ve never said anything quite so –”
“Hey,” Anita said irritably, crossing her arms under Willow’s breasts. “I’m
, what is going on?” Jean-Claude looked between them, from Anita, who was standing next to Larry, managing to look unnaturally embarrassed as she tugged at her short suit skirt, to Willow, who was standing with her arms crossed over her stomach, her face pinched angrily.
“Willow,” Nathaniel hurried in. “Cordelia asked me to give you this, and to apologize, but what for?”
He handed Anita a leather-bound book titled with peeling gold lettering “Necromancy”. Suddenly Willow’s eyes opened wide and she grabbed the book from her body.
“Oh, my Goddess!” she gasped. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this!” she looked up from the book and her eyes narrowed. “CORDELIA!”
“What’s going on?” Jason spoke up.
“That little bitch did a soul-transference spell!” Willow cried, and Anita huffed.
is necromancy?” she said sarcastically.
“No, it’s low-level witchcraft,” Willow snapped. “But it’s filed under necromancy because it has to do with souls and the dead. Usually.” She began walking, and everyone quickly followed.
“So, you guys switched bodies?” Larry asked.
“Put stupidly, yes,” Willow said, turning a corner.
“What’s the “smart” explanation, then?” he looked offended.
“Our souls were thrown from our bodies into the only other bodies with the same tolerance that were soulless at the time. If, perchance, Angelus had been nearby, I would have been forced into his body, and Anita’s body would have died. CORDELIA!”
“Died?” Anita cried. “What do you mean, died?”
“Your body can only continue living for a half hour without a soul before it gives up, and lets go. That’s why most comatose vics stay alive for awhile, but those awake with fatal wounds die quickly.”
“Oh,” Anita nodded as if she understood.
“Damn it, CORDELIA
!” she stopped and dropped to the ground, Anita’s black-brown eyes rolling back into her head. “Ah!”
“Willow, what is it?” Anita dropped beside her, holding onto her own arm. “What’s wrong?”
Five minutes later, Willow looked up. She blinked a few times, and stood.
“Mademoiselle Willow, are you alright?” Asher moved to put his hand on her arm, but as soon as his skin touched hers, she turned lightning fast, grabbed him by the throat and slammed him against the wall, his feet dangling.
She looked at her hand and gasped, dropping him immediately.
“Oh, Goddess, Asher, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to!” she said. “I just…reacted!”
She turned around to see everyone staring at her in astonishment. She blushed as Wesley and Giles half-dragged Cordelia into the hallway from her room.
“I’m soo sorry, Willow, Anita, I’m sorry!” she said. “I’m sorry! I just was reading out loud – I didn’t expect anything to happen, I swear! I’m so sorry, Anita! I’m – Willow? What’re you doing?”
“Which spell was it, Cordelia?” Wesley shook her arm, and she bit her lip.
“It was just a temporary one – it’ll wear off in an hour, I promise!” she said, pulling herself loose from the two Watchers’ grips. “What’s going on?”
“Yes, what happened, Ani-Willow?” Giles spoke.
“Um, Giles?” Anita’s body began to look paler than normal. “Faith –”
“What?” he said sharply.
“She was activated.”
?!” Wesley, Giles, and Cordelia shouted.
“What do you mean, she was activated?” Wesley asked. “How could she have been? You made sure the Council couldn’t sense her!”
“How did you know?” Giles interrupted.
“What the fuck are you guys yelling about?!” Anita hollered. “I just saw Willow throw Asher across the room, and hold him up against the wall….with my
body!” she turned on Giles. “Now, I may lift weights every Saturday, but I am not
that strong. What the fuck is going on here? Will someone please tell me, before I blow a fucking gasket?!”
“Colorful,” Jason said after a few moments of stunned silence. Nathaniel nodded in agreement.
“I believe this has been too much excitement for me,” Asher said, sliding back into the shadows. “And I must oversee the Circus today, so I will bow out of this explanation.”
“Okay, we’ll explain everything,” Cordelia took control. “Nathaniel, go get us all cups of coffee, wine, tea, and Coke. Jason, go to Guilty Pleasures, I know you’re needed. Everyone else, follow me to Jean-Claude’s office.”
When they were all situated in Jean-Claude’s chairs and sofas with their drinks, Willow stood, still in Anita’s body.
“Now,” she started. “Remember how I told you guys that Angelus killed my best friend, Buffy? And our other friends, Faith, Xander, Dawn, Anya…”
“Yes,” Jean-Claude spoke for the others from St. Louis.
“Well, Faith and Buffy were Slayers,” Cordelia picked up, and Jean-Claude’s eyebrows rose.
“You were friends with two Slayers?” he said. “Is that not impossible?”
“To make a long story short, Buffy died, another girl was called, but she was brought back to life, then the other girl died, and Faith was called. Thus, two Slayers.” Cordelia explained.
“Alright, please continue,” Jean-Claude nodded, and Anita and Nathaniel and Larry still looked lost.
“So, Angelus killed both of them,” Willow said. “But, I absorbed their essences so that the Council wouldn’t know they were dead. I still had hopes that I could raise them like I raised Buffy before. But I was told, as with Tara’s death, that I couldn’t raise them because they had died a normal, albeit very gruesome, death.”
“So, you took their souls into you?” Anita interrupted.
“No, I took their…powers, their “Slayer” senses and all the strength that comes with it, and put it in myself,” Willow answered. “But, they were closed packages that I couldn’t access. Only to be given to the souls that had been designated Slayers from the very beginning.”
She sat down on the arm of the sofa.
“Back there,” she shoved a thumb in the vague direction of the hallway they had just been in, “I felt Faith’s package awaken. When Asher’s hand touched my arm…” she paused, her eyes clouding slightly. “I felt something old, very old, take over. Not quite like ÌçôÝñá, more animal instinct.”
“The Slayer will react impulsively to her first vampire,” Giles said, explaining to them all. “She will be, essentially, helped by the dead Slayers of the past.”
“So, Asher, as a vampire, was considered the enemy.” Larry clarified.
“Well…yes,” Giles said.
“So, Willow’s a Slayer now?” Anita asked, and sipped her coffee.
“No,” Willow shook her head before anyone could speak. “I can’t access it.”
“I thought you said –” Cordelia was interrupted as Willow put up her hand.
“I said the body reacted. I didn’t have anything to do with that. Only Anita can access the powers of the Slayer now. It’s her body.”
“I’m…I’m a Slayer?” Anita dropped her mug, and it shattered on the floor.