“What’s happened?” Halfrek yelled. Her eyes narrowing as she turned to face Anya. “You didn’t do this, you couldn’t.”
“Why are you doing this?” Anya asked, ignoring the accusation.
“Why?” Halfrek asked angrily, not answering Anya’s question. She tried to grab Anya who was standing just outside the circle the spell had created. Jason took a step closer to Anya, as Anita reached for her gun. “What have you done? You don’t have this kind of power?”
“No,” Willow replied, as she and Asher walked in the room. “But I do.”
“Why are you doing this, Hallie?” Anya asked again.
“It’s what we do,” she responded. “What I do.”
“No, this isn’t vengeance. It’s murder.”
“Same thing,” Halfrek shrugged.
“No it isn’t,” Anya argued. “And you used to know the difference.”
“All of those women wished for vengeance.”
“Maybe,” Jason interrupted. “But did they all wish for cold-blooded murder?”
“Why men?” Willow asked. Jason was right, but Halfrek wasn’t going to admit she did anything but answer calls for vengeance. “What happened to bad parents? That was why you trapped us all in Buffy’s house, right? You don’t like bad parents.”
“I don’t,” she agreed. “But I want to go home; back to D’Hoffryn. So I decided to try to get his attention again; to make him want me back.”
“By killing men?” Asher asked. “I understand how that would attract his attention, Willow has told me of him; but why would the deaths of so many men make him take you back when other deaths wouldn’t?”
“Anyanka was always a favorite.”
“I was not!” Anya argued.
“You were,” Halfrek sighed. “You weren’t punished when you lost your pendant.”
“I was punished. I was banished.”
“Yes, he made you return to your human form. Do you honestly believe that is all he would’ve done if it had been anyone else?”
“Well,” Anya hesitated. “Perhaps he did react differently than I expected.”
“Then he took you back,” Halfrek said angrily. “When the humans turned on you, he took you back. Gave you everything. Did you appreciate the gift? No, you cried that you couldn’t do it. You didn’t want to hurt the humans anymore. So he gave you what you wanted, again.”
“There was a price,” Willow whispered. She knew how much Anya had been affected by D’Hoffryn’s anger and Halfrek’s death. “It didn’t come free.”
“A price for me
,” Halfrek argued. “Anya returned to the humans she loved, while I was banished to this place.”
“So, this was all childish revenge then?” Willow asked. “Not even vengeance really, I’ve seen both of you work and this is beneath a vengeance demon. Hundreds of years of granting wishes, and this is the best you could come up with?”
Halfrek growled low in her throat as her demon face slid forward and she lunged at Willow. Asher moved forward to block her path as she hit the invisible barrier of Willow’s spell. “She can’t get through the shield,” Willow said. She pushed Asher aside so she could see Halfrek.
“Willow, I don’t think…”
“I’ve faced bigger and badder,” Willow pointed out. “But if it will make you feel better. Stay.”
Asher frowned but turned to face Halfrek and saw the demon suspended slightly above the ground, arms pinned to her side. “What did you do?”
“She’s not hurt. She just can’t move,” Willow responded, “But it won’t hold her for long.”
“You did all of this to hurt me, then?” Anya asked.
“Not at first,” Halfrek answered. “It had nothing to do with you. I wanted to go home. I thought it would accomplish that.”
“Then you realized she was following you,” Anita said from behind the desk, gun still in her hand. “Your plan changed, right? You could still try to go home but you could make her pay for sending you here.”
“Yes, I knew Anyanka was here,” Halfrek admitted. “That’s why I came to St. Louis.”
“You knew Willow was following you, too?” Jason asked. “You must have thought it was too perfect. They would both show up here, Willow believing Anya had killed all those men.”
“She would seek help from the Master of the City,” Halfrek agreed. “The Executioner would find out and kill Anyanka.”
“I thought we were friends,” Anya said quietly. “I hadn’t intended to hurt you, ever.”
“I died because you were weak,” she replied. Turning her attention to Willow, “How long do you think this can hold me?”
Willow released the spell holding her immobile but kept her trapped inside the circle. “As long as I need it to.”
“”You can’t strip my power, and you will eventually have to let me go,” Halfrek said. “This is more than pretty party decorations.”
“I’m not the same witch you remember,” Willow smiled. Turning back to the others, “We do have to make a decision though. I can’t stand here and keep her like this forever, and I can’t release her to go back to what she was doing.”
“What are our options?” Anya asked.
“We can kill her,” Willow said. She knew this wasn’t going to be Anya’s favorite option but she wanted to give them all to her.
“Again?” Jason asked, grinning. The grin vanished quickly when all the women in the room frowned at him. “Sorry.”
“We can return her to D’Hoffryn, and let him deal with her.” Willow continued. “She can stay here or return home if she wishes, but as a human.”
“No,” Halfrek yelled at them. She lunged at Willow again, this time pushing enough of her own power against the spell to break the circle. Asher once again stepped between her and Willow.
“Thicken,” Willow said quietly, and watched with satisfaction as the demon hit an invisible wall. “I can do this for a very long time.”
“I won’t return to D’Hoffryn, not to be punished,” Halfrek said struggling against the new barrier. “Or to humanity.”
Willow sighed, she had been afraid of this. For Halfrek to give up the power she had now was a lot to ask; still, Willow couldn’t just let her go. But she wasn’t sure Anya would allow her to simply kill her friend, regardless of what had been said today. “It’s your choice Anya.”