(See Chapter One for disclaimer and spoiler information. Author note at end of chapter, Thanks again for the reviews and feedback! ~Kay)
Joyce crossed her arms across her chest and glared mockingly at her date. “I already told you, beautiful, I’m not up to anything,” Jack tried to assure her. “Why would you even think ‘I’ would be up to anything?”
He kept a straight face for a moment before the smirk he’d worn all evening returned, accompanied by a growing twinkle in his eyes.
“Call it woman’s intuition. Why else would keep staring at me a smiling like you have been all night?” Joyce accused as she got up to refill her coffee. Bringing the pot over to the table, she poured Jack another cup. Joyce sighed melodramatically, “You do know I have raised two daughters, I will find out sooner or later.”
Jack held out his hands as if to show he had nothing to hide, “Is it now a crime to stare in admiration at the woman I love?”
Laughing, Joyce put the coffee decanter back in its place, “Now, I DO know you’re planning something! Between you and that daughter of mine, I’m going to have a heart attack with all this.”
“Fine then, believe what you want. I just won’t look at you anymore,” he pouted and pointedly looked around the room avoiding Joyce.
* * *
“Does everybody have their candles?”
“I'm trying, my lighter won't stay lit.”
“Well, hurry, it has to-“
”What time is it?”
“A minute till midnight.”
”C'mon, Anya, do you have it?”
”I got it, I got it. I got it.”
“Okay. Start the circle. Now.”
* * *
After a moment, when Joyce didn’t respond to his baiting, Jack relented and looked up. “Hey, you all right?” He asked concerned when he noticed her leaning forward slightly on the counter rubbing her left temple.
“Yeah, just a bit of headache setting in,” she explained as Jack came up behind her and began to massage her shoulders. Joyce glanced at her watch, “Oh my, it’s already one am.”
Strong arms wrapped around her and a light kiss landed on her cheek, “You should probably get to bed.” Joyce nodded, the headache slightly lessened by the feeling of comfort. Turning around in his arms she returned Jack’s embrace.
* * *
Willow opened a jar and poured its dark contents into the clay urn she was holding. “Osiris, keeper of the gate, master of all fate, hear us.”
* * *
“With the tumor thing-y you had, you should probably go see your doctor,” Jack encouraged.
“Honey, it’s just a simple headache,” Joyce rebutted. “Fine,” she relented after seeing the concerned look on her companions face, “I’ll call Monday and make an appointment. Happy?”
Jack smiled and nodded standing at the front door of the Summers’ residence. “Oh, any plans for this next weekend?” He asked, masking his concern behind a shady smile. When Joyce shook her head he continued, “Good, ‘cause we are going fishing at my cabin in Minnesota.”
Joyce’s eyebrows rose, “What about the girls?”
He thought for a moment, “I’ll set up a full surveillance team here to keep an eye on them.”
Chuckling Joyce gave him a kiss then teasingly pushed the General out the door.
“Night, beautiful, get some rest,” Jack cast her his usual wink as he walked away from the house.
* * *
“Osiris! Here lies the warrior of the people. Let her cross over!” Willow cried before cringing with pain as some invisible force slashed her arms. Suddenly, she began to choke, as mounds appeared underneath the skin on her arms and followed her veins up to her throat. Willow yelled at the top of her lungs, “Osiris, let her cross over!”
Tara began to feel a panic set in when a snake like creature shot half-way out of Willow’s mouth before disappearing, “Oh my god, oh my god. It's a test. It's a test. Willow…” At this point Tara wasn’t sure if she was trying to reassure herself or her lover.
A strange orange colored light filtered out of the urn and began to swirl around Willow, as complete chaos broke loose around the gravesite.
* * *
“Hey, mom, Cassie’s here, so I’m taking off!” Dawn called grabbing her purse and heading for the door.
“All right, sweetie. You two have fun at the mall today,” Joyce said walking into the living room. “Call me if you decide to go anywhere else, okay?”
“Yes mom,” the teenager assured before giving her mother a hug. Seeing a bit of strain in Joyce’s face she asked, “You feeling okay?”
“Just a little headache, I think I’ve been pushing myself too hard at work. Here,” Joyce gave her daughter a twenty, “Lunch is on me today.”
* * *
(A/N: Once again, the lines from the Buffy universe are from Episode 101 Season 6, Bargaining Part 1, transcribed courtesy of http://www.buffyworld.com/buffy/season6/transcripts/101_tran.shtml, and owned by Whedon/Mutant Enemy, Episode written by Marti Noxon and David Fury. I am using them for non-profit entertainment. No harm is intended. For the ‘Gaters’ like me, no, it’s not what you may think, I’m sticking with SG cannon about Osiris, to find out what it is, you’ll just have to keep reading *insert evil laughter here*)