“Are you sure this will work?” Jason asked watching Willow as she drew a large circle around the client chair next to Anita’s desk.
“Honestly?” Willow asked. “No, my magic works here but it’s a little wonky.”
“What about Anita?” Asher asked, “Perhaps she could…”
Anita shook her head, “I don’t have that kind of power. My power is too…restricted.”
“If this doesn’t work she won’t put herself in a position to be trapped again,” Anya said quietly, pacing the floor. “There isn’t room for failure.”
“So, no pressure then?” Willow said finishing the circle and standing up. She was aware that they wouldn’t have a second chance at this. “I still don’t understand though, I thought parents were her thing.”
“They are…were,” Anya sighed, “Bad parents. She’d curse the occasional man if they crossed her path, but she didn’t usually target them.”
“She doesn’t seem to be trying to hide at all,” Asher pointed out, “Her magic was very easy for both of you to trace. She’s made no attempt to shield her power from anyone.”
“I agree,” Willow admitted, “The signs of magic are more recognizable here. More people are aware of what they’re feeling when magic has been used. You have to work harder to hide your power if you don’t want to be found, and she isn’t doing that.”
“Are you saying she wishes to be found?” Asher asked. “Why?”
“Yeah, I think she does,” Willow agreed. “I don’t know why, though. I think when we know why she wants to be found, we’ll also know why she’s changed targets.”
“She should be here soon,” Anita said, “Are we almost ready?”
“Yeah, I’m just about finished. Does everyone know what to do?”
“Hide,” Jason offered, “Anya and are in that closet, right?”
“Yep,” Willow smiled, “If she sees Anya too soon it’ll be over.”
“How do we get her in the circle?” Anita asked.
“Yes, won’t she suspect something if she walks in and there is a magical circle on the floor?” Asher asked.
“She won’t see it, and if this works, she won’t feel it until she’s in it,” Willow said before whispering a few words. They all watched as the circle faded into the carpet. “The circle is there, but it should be undetectable. You just need to get her into the chair or at least close to it.”
“As soon as she enters it she’ll know she’s trapped,” Anya said nervously, “Is everyone prepared?”
“Where will you be again?” Jason asked Willow, “If something goes wrong with the pissed off demon I want to know where the person with the power to kill her is going to be.”
“Asher and I will be in the next office. He can hear everything from there and we’ll come in as soon as she’s in the circle.”
“She is late,” Asher said quietly. “Do you think she suspects that she has been found?”
“I don’t know,” Willow sighed, pacing the empty office nervously. “I’m not even sure she cares. If she was concerned about being caught she’d be shielding, right?”
“Perhaps she doesn’t believe she can be caught,” he offered.
“Could be,” she agreed. Willow had hoped that it would be easier because Anya knew the demon. It should have been easier; instead it had become more complicated. Anya couldn’t come up with any explanation for the murders. Vengeance obviously was a factor but the deaths were too…easy, according to Anya, not creative enough.
“Do you believe this will all be over tonight?” Asher asked as she paced in front of him.
“If she shows up and the spell works, yes,” Willow replied, “The options are simple at that point. I can strip her of her power and she can live as a human, here or in my world, or we kill her. Either way, she has to make a choice tonight.”
Will Anya object to you killing her friend?”
“I don’t think so,” Willow sighed. There was no way to predict Anya’s reaction to anything. “She knows it is was a possibility.”
“She’ll just accept what has to be done?”
“Yeah, living in Sunnydale has taught all of us to accept hard choices.”
“So you will be leaving tomorrow then?”
“Maybe not tomorrow, but soon,” Willow responded.
“Why not tomorrow?” Asher asked. Willow frowned at the anger in his voice.
“Are you angry because you want me to leave tomorrow, or because you want me to stay longer?” Willow asked facing him.
“Why should I be angry that you’re leaving?” Asher asked, “I didn’t expect someone like you to stay with a…monster.”
“You are not a monster, and it isn’t that I wouldn’t be with someone…” Willow said, “Asher, I have friends and responsibilities at home. I can’t just decide to never return, anymore than you can just come back with me. It isn’t that easy.”
“I would be hunted in your world.”
“Yes, and that’s why I would never ask you to leave here and return with me. At least not forever.”
“What do you mean,” Asher asked, “Not forever?”
“I want you to come to home with me,” Willow admitted. “Not tomorrow, but in a few days or weeks. You don’t have to stay, but I’d like you to meet my friends. I talked to Giles when I went home and there is a spell that may be able to fix the scarring.”
“I’ve tried magic before,” Asher said angrily. “And you said the scarring doesn’t matter.”
“It doesn’t. Not to me,” Willow agreed. “But I think it does to you, and I’ve never tried this kind of magic before.”
“You can’t do it here?”
“I can try, but my magic works differently here. It’s safer at home, where I know what my power does.”
“If I do this you will return here with me?”
“I can’t do that,” Willow sighed, “Not yet. I’m not saying never. I like it here, and I’ll visit. Oh, and you can visit me.”
“How can I do that?” Asher asked. “You are the only person that I’ve met that can travel dimensions.
“I can bring you to my dimension. I could even try to teach Anita the spell as well.”
“So you are saying you want to be with me?” Asher asked. “Even if the spell to rid me of the scars doesn’t work?”
“We can skip the spell altogether if you’d like. I just want you…”
“She is here,” Asher said, standing up. “She’s in the office.”
“Show time,” Willow sighed and followed Asher into the reception area.
“What’s going on in…” she began, stopping when she heard Anya’s voice through the door.
“Hello, Halfrek.” Willow pushed open the door hoping that Anya had waited until the demon was safely inside the circle, and that the circle had worked.