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“And,” Langoustino said stepping back from them, “it has begun.” He snapped his fingers, and his minions rushed forward to take the two items of his salvation, his rise to power into their hands. He would not wait any longer. It was time.

 


 

After a two-minute wait, Giles opened the door. He was surprised to see Buffy sitting on the kitchen counter, looking over at Faith, who was still in the chair, taping a small cut on her forearm. The scene looked completely different that what he had expected. Part of him was dreading opening that door again, for fear of interrupting an embarrassingly intimate moment. But here, with them so far apart. He wondered what had gone wrong?

“We thought you fell in,” Faith snapped sarcastically, but her normally smoky voice was thick with something else. He looked at her closely as he set the stakes on the tabletop. Her lips were swollen, her eyes twinkling. He turned his head to gaze at Buffy, who had similarly full lips, and a slight cut that was not there before. Also, Buffy was mildly flushed. Giles straightened back up, smiling. He hoped that they had worked through some of the past. He knew that the girls would be good for one another, if they could see past the hurt that had been done.

“As you can see, Faith, I am quite dry.”

“Was that a joke?” She asked quirking her eyebrow.

“I am trying.” He smiled.

Holburn dropped more stakes, and the axe on the table with a huff. He looked between the girls and stood up looking confused. He clearly could not see what had transpired here.

“I am thinking you were down with the big plan-age in the basement?” Buffy asked, swinging her legs.

“Well, no, actually.” Giles pushed at his glasses. “You and Faith had ample time to come up with a plan.”

“I, erm, well, we” Buffy stumbled.

“He was teasing, B. They saw us, before, and they know we didn’t do any planning.” She grinned mischievously, but it was a pure smile. One that Rupert Giles had only glimpsed once or twice, but felt honored each time.

“Oh.” Came from Buffy softly, but she was smiling.

Slowly Faith stood and stretched her arms over her head. “I say we hope in Tweed’s car, and zip over to the Hellmouth and wait for them. Then we kill them, bring home ours girls and eat ice cream.”

“Sounds like a great plan to me!” Buffy jumped down, lifting up the heavy axe and spinning it on her palm like it weighted nothing.

“How can she?” Holburn stammered. Giles set his hand on his shoulder and shook his head, asking him to forget it. In time the young man would learn. In time.

 


 

This was wrong. It wasn’t like she had dreamed it would have been. And naïve as she had been to fantasize about Buffy Summers, she had. After the first encounter, after feeling the power and pain that mythical woman held in her small body Jane was hooked. She needed more. The Slayer made her feel worthy, like she was more than a common whore.

When Buffy took her, she felt needed, like she was filling a purpose. But now, if Buffy was turning her away, what good was she? What could she do?

As she walked, she fought back the tears, knowing she needed to look the part, needed to shine and stand out from all the other girls on the street. Besides, Jane thought, it was better to be patient. Faith couldn’t give Buffy what she needed; she couldn’t surrender completely to her.

She could hear multiple people coming up the street, the shuffling of leather-soled shoes, which rang like a cash register ding in her head. Leather shoes equaled money. Money equaled some class.

She used her upper arms to push up her breasts just that little bit more, as the group came into view. And Jane was disappointed. Mostly men, and granted they were well dressed, but they were moving with a purpose, not out for a stroll, and therefore not out looking for a good time. She spotted two women in their midst. The red head she knew immediately from the photo she had seen in Tara’s apartment.

“Willow?” She called out. The red head did not even turn to look at her, but one of the men did, and as he did so his game face appeared. He growled and stepped forward.

Oh shit!

He took her by the throat and pressed her against the wall.

“Excuse me, but we are on a bit of a mission here.” A dark hared man said over the vampire’s shoulder. Jane was shaking like a leaf, cursing Buffy Summers for not being here to save her, cursing Faith for making her leave the protected street corner.

“Sorry, Sir. But she called out to the Witch.” The vampire slurred around his fangs. Recoiling Jane was stunned at how bad his breath stunk.

“Oh, really?” The dark one asked. A beautiful young woman put her hand on the dark ones arm, and he turned.

“She is the one.” The woman said, locking eyes with Jane.

“Which?” He asked softly.

“That I saw, with the Slayer.” She repeated, then slowly drug her tongue over her elongating teeth.

“Very good work.” He said, pulling the vampire off of Jane, and then turning back to the woman. “Turn her, she may be of use to us.” He smiled, and then walked to meet up with the group as they continued down the street.

The female vampire stepped closer, her eyes shifting to yellow, but she retained her human face. The cold hand played on Jane’s cheek, turning her head to the side.

“I just know you are going to taste so sweet.” She whispered, and then brought her lips down to Jane’s throat. As she felt the piercing bite Jane cursed the Slayers.

 


 

“I can’t believe I am going to blow up another school, especially when I had a nice interview here just today. Damn the Hellmouth!” Buffy said as the four of them entered the basement of the new High School. She just could not believe her luck, or lack there of when it came to jobs. Faith chuckled from behind her, and she looked back, to catch the wink that Faith sent to her. It made her stomach tighten.

That kiss had been amazing. She had kissed Faith before, but it had never felt like that, so raw so pure so-

“B?” Faith called, and Buffy stopped, and turned again to face her. Faith grinned wickedly, and bounced her eyebrows up and down.

“Faith, was there something?” Giles asked. Faith didn’t look at him just winked again at Buffy.

Does she know what I was thinking?

Buffy shook her head, that was ridiculous. There was no way that Faith could tell she was – DAMN SLAYER SENSES. She glared at Faith, and jokingly damned her and her sense of smell.

“Let’s split up. We know they have to head down to the basement, so I think we should go there.” Faith added.

“Right, Faith and I will go to the north, Giles you and Buffy to the south.” Holburn offered, clutching the stake to his chest like he was going to die without it.

Actually…

“Don’t think so tweed.” Faith shook her head. “The Slayers go north, you two head south.”

“But, Faith, ahem, I have never been in-“ Holburn stumbled, clearly nervous.

“You have never fought, we all know that. And that is why you are going with Giles.” Buffy said, pushing him away. “You two are back up. We take the vamps, you two get Dawn and Willow to safety.”

“Right.” Giles nodded. “Good luck girls.”

 


 

“Luck? We don’t need luck G-man, we’re the Slayers.” I grinned proudly at the two of them, and they walked away. B and I turned and headed for the stairs. I looked at my watch. It had been three hours since B and I left the Magic Box. Three hours since our first kiss in three years, and now, hmm, about twenty minutes since the kiss that set my entire body on fire. Wow.

“I like the watch, but erm, didn’t you used to be in the ‘watches steal time and therefore are evil’ club?” B asked from behind me as I trotted down the stairs to the basement. Why this school was not locked up tighter was beyond me. It was too easy to get in here.

“What?” I asked, because she was making zero sense.

“Nothing.” She mumbled. I pushed open the doors to the room where the boilers were. This was the place, I could feel it. And from the way B’s back straightened and her hands clenched, she could feel it too. Must be wicked freaky coming back to the place where you once died, and having it look totally different. I looked over at her, and all that was on her face was determination. That was my girl.

What? My girl? Did I want her to be my girl?

“Faith?”

“Hmm?”

“You worried?”

“Naw.”

“But we could lose.”

“I never lose B”

“Just in case, “ B leaned closer and pressed her lips gently against mine. It was like she was testing, making sure it was okay for her to be there, and it was SO okay. Her lips were soft, and just gently pressing. A totally different kiss than earlier. I cupped her cheek in my hand and opened my lips, loving the feel of her lip under the coarseness of my tongue. B opened to me, and we kissed deeply. Slowly I pulled away, licking her off of my lips, savoring it.

“Just in case?” I asked.

“These apocalyptic end of the world things seem to end with me dead, and I had to do that again.” She sighed.

“I won’t let you die, B.” I squeezed her hand.

“Faith? What is happening? I mean I know what is happening, we are waiting for Willow to get mind fucked, get all witchy, kill my baby sister and end the world. What I meant was, what is happening between us?” She babbled, and I couldn’t stop the words coming from my mouth.

“You are adorable when you babble, B.”

“Me, Slayer. Not adorable.”

“Oh, yeah, fucking adorable.” I smiled so wide I felt it in muscles I didn’t even know my cheeks had!

“Faith I am serious. What-“

“Buffy, right now I want to say fuck everything and take you down right here and show you how much I want you.” She gulped. “But I can control myself. We have a job to do. Honestly, I don’t know what is happening, and I can’t think about it right now. Okay? We need to focus.”

“Right, just like you said before. Focus. Save the world.” She nodded. “Are you sure that we can do this? I mean, what if we have to do something to Willow?”

“B. Take a deep breath.” I smiled again, leaning forward and giving her lips a peck. “We are the Chosen, B. How can we fail? We can’t! This is what we do. And I don’t know about you, but I am in the mood to burn off some serious energy.” I winked.

“Oh, yeah.” She grinned right back.

The doors above us slammed open, and we both got lower on the ground.

 


 

She stumbled as they pushed her into the middle of the room. But she didn’t fall. Willow glanced over at Dawn, who was nervously looking around, her eyes wide.

What a way to see your new school.

Willow mentally shook her head, clearing her mind. Poor Dawn must be terrified. She was obviously looking everywhere for Buffy to come and save them. But Willow wasn’t sure that they had figured it out by now. And if the Slayers weren’t here, then it was up to Willow to find a way to make sure Dawn was kept safe.

Not for the first time since they had taken her from the Magic Box, Willow wished Tara was there. She closed her eyes.

<“Dawn will always be special, no matter what.” Tara said, sipping her mocha and grinning.

“Don’t I know it. There will never be another Dawn.”

“And we will protect her. I-I-I mean with B-Buffy back it is different,”

“She will always be our little girl,” Willow grinned conspiratorially at her

girlfriend. “She wants to learn magic, you know.”

“Oh I don’t know Willow. We don’t know what kind of energy the Key really is.”

“It is Dawn energy, wild and unpredictable.”

“Exactly. It will take a lot of focus, and I am not sure she is ready.” Tara frowned.”>

Langoustino was standing before her when she opened her eyes, coming back to now. He smiled softly at her.

“You will thank me when this is over. I hope to have you at my side when this all comes to pass. A Witch of your skill and power will be a great asset to me.” He was trying to be so reassuring, but Willow was fairly certain that he had no idea what he was doing in opening the Hellmouth. He had no real power, and when the evil seeped out, he would be killed first. The power struggle would begin.

“Nope, don’t think so. I already told you, me and the black magic, we don’t get along any more.” Willow offered.

“Doesn’t matter what you think. Your body will know it, and will want the power. Just wait until you feel it inside of you.” He licked her cheek.

Eeww!

“Bring it!” He snapped, and was handed a small vile. He grinned at Willow and then walked over to Dawn. “Drink half of this.”

“No way! That looks gross, and besides, my sister told me to never drink something from a stranger, and you Mister, you are a stranger.” She babbled.

“DRINK!” He yelled.

“Um, no.” She said meekly.

“Cut the Witch’s face.” He said to someone. I froze, and Dawn jumped.

“No, no. Not her face. I will drink it. It is cool. Every one with knives, just calm down.” Dawn said. Willow was so proud of her. Tara was so proud of her. Willow had vowed to protect her, and do that she would. She wasn’t sure if the Slayers were around or not, but she tried something that she hadn’t for a very long time.

 


 

Buffy, Faith?

If you can hear me, or see us, do not stop them from doing the transference spell. I have an idea, and well I think it might work. But don’t do anything until you see the sign. I promise, Dawn will be okay.

Buffy winced hearing Willow shouting in her mind. She and Faith were watching the scene and had been ready to pounce when Langoustino started to get Dawn to drink whatever that was.

“Did you?” Buffy asked, her lips pressed to Faith’s ear.

“Yeah. So?” Faith asked back in the same manner.

“We trust her and wait.” Buffy whispered back.

They were both coiled tightly ready for the sign. Hoping they knew it when they saw it.

 


 

Dawn drank, and then Langoustino walked it over to Willow.

“I am sure you have done one of these before. To gain power?” He held the vial to her lips.

“Actually, I never had to do this spell. I wanted power, I took power.” Her eyes flickered black and his smile wavered slightly.

“I see. You are a strong one.” He tipped the vial back, and she drank it down. The herbs and blood burned, but she got it down.

“Strongest you’ll ever know.”

“I doubt that.” He turned and looked between the girls, and began chanting. He was speaking so quickly that Willow was unable to understand. It sounded like a mashing of vowels and some consonants. But no discernible words in any language she knew.

She took a deep breath, feeling her own dormant power rising up inside of her. She chanted to herself over and over again.

It’s about the control, what you do with the energy. It’s about the control, what you do with the energy. It’s about the control, what you do with the energy.

A shimmering green light flew from Dawn’s chest, slamming against Willow so hard she screamed. The power of it knocked her and the two vampires holding her to the ground. The power was immense, so much so that the two vampires touching her burst into ash. Her body rose up from the ground, the power rush making her mind spin. This was completely different than the power from the books, from the power she pulled from Rack; even from the power she pulled form Giles. It was all things, and nothing. It was pleasure and pain, madness and brilliance. Willow felt it all inside of her, all of this power, slamming against her body, pushing at her soul. The magic that she possessed on her own was fighting back.

Willow dropped to the ground and her eyes opened, she titled her head to the side, taking in the sight of Dawn, passed out, and Langoustino grinning at her from ear to ear.

 


 

Langoustino was so pleased. It worked. He looked at the Witch, and she opened her eyes to him, they were swirling, like oil and vinegar, the black and the magical green.

“You made a boo-boo.” She said to him, and his smile faltered.

“What?” He asked disbelieving.

“Giving me all of this power?” She shook her head. “Bye now.” She flicked her wrist towards him, and he felt the cold, then the slight pain. He looked down at his chest and watched as it fell away to ash, and the rest of him followed.

 


 

Can’t control it. Too strong. Hurts so much.

Willow was fighting inside, trying to hold the power of the Key in, but it desperately wanted out, and if it got out it would shatter the seal over the Hellmouth. And that could not happen. She needed to be calm. She needed to focus.

< Sweat coated her skin, making the white sheet stick to her back, and she didn’t care. She was in a completely wonderful place, half between complete consciousness, and that lovely high from the orgasm that the blonde raising her head up from between her legs had given her. No one had ever made Willow feel as good as Tara did. The blonde Wicca set her chin on Willow’s stomach, running her fingers over the skin below her belly button.

“How are you?”

“So good, too good.” Willow sighed, smiling down. She wanted to move, but couldn’t. “I love you Tara Maclay.”

“I love you Willow.” She said softly, kissing the skin beside her. “I missed you.”

“No, baby, no. Don’t say it like that. Everything was my fault. If only I had control over myself, none of this would have happened.” Willow sat up, and used her tired arms to guide Tara up to her. She cupped her face in her hands, running her thumbs over the full lips. “You are my everything, I was a fool to not see that, to not come to you for help.”

“Really? You still want me?”

“Always Tara. Do you want to be with me? I mean, of course more than BE with me, because I think we just covered that.” She babbled blushing.

“Yes we did, d-d-didn’t we? At least four times.” Tara grinned her lopsided grin.

“I need you, Tara. I need your love, and your strength, your guidance and your knowledge.”

“Long list.” Tara blushed.

“I can make it shorter. I need you Tara.”

“I give it all to you, Willow.”>

And that was all Willow needed to get enough control over the power inside of her. She willed the spell.

 


 

Buffy watched in awe as Langoustino was turned to dust before her eyes.

“Could she always do that?” Faith asked softly.

“Um, no. Cause if she could, she would be Willow the Vampire Slayer.” Buffy responded. She wanted to rush over and save Dawn, but the girl was lying on the floor unconscious. Buffy could not get emotional, not now. Now was the time to focus, just like Faith had told her.

She looked back at Willow, and watched her eyes go white, and then she was gone.

 


 

“Okay, and that was new.” I said when Red suddenly disappeared.

“That’s our sign.” B said, and sprung over the water tank we were hiding behind, into the thick of fifteen vampires.

“Hey, save me some!” I called as I followed her into the fray.

 


 

The meadow. The early morning sounds were just beginning to awaken around her, but as she teleported herself there, everything fell silent. It was as if nature could sense what was happening inside of her. Willow feel to her knees, feeling the blood rushing from her nose.

She was far enough away from the Hellmouth, but she was not sure she could do this, or what she could do.

“Tara, I need you!” She cried to the heavens. “I don’t know what to do. I, Ugh, it hurts.” Willow closed her eyes and this time she did not remember a moment with Tara, she was forced there, she was there. Completely reliving the moment.

<“Willow, magic isn’t a tool to make your life easier. You don’t use it to do things you can do yourself. Magic is what you use when you can’t do something.” Tara said angrily, but was gently running her thumb over the back of Willow’s hand.

“I know, baby. It’s just sometimes it is easier.”

“It’s not about easy, Will. It is about control, and focus, and acceptance. You need to be in perfect balance with the world around you, and then the magic will come freely.” Tara sighed, running her hands through Willow’s hair. “ I know you tasted the Black Magic, when you took revenge on Glory for me. But Willow, Black Magic is bad.”

“Not if you-“

“Wait. It is bad for you Willow. It will hurt you inside. I worry about that. I know you are strong, that you can do more than anyone I have ever known. And that makes you special Willow. My Willow. And I am not saying stay away from the dark magic. I am saying it is all about balance. Magic is like life. There are two sides. Dark and Light, good and evil. Frick and frack. They balance. Too much of either is not a good thing.”>

Her eyes opened and Willow knew what she had to do. The two magics were fighting within her. She willed her self to calm, and pushed them apart. The black magic that was still within her, and this new neutral magic that was in essence the Key. Concentrating she pulled them apart, and then just let go.

 


 

Buffy shoved the stake home, and the fifth vampire turned to dust. She swung around, catching sight of Holburn swinging the battle-axe and beheading another vampire. He was getting the hang of it. Giles was guarding Dawn, who thankfully was breathing. Buffy attacked the nearest vamp, punching him in the face as she looked for Faith.

She was in all of her glory, hair moving like a dark mane as she jumped in the air to scissor kick one vamp in the face. Faith landed on the fallen demon, and staked him. She wiped her head around and caught Buffy’s eye and smiled. Then they went back to finishing the kill.

The ground lurched up, and then a deafening roar and rumble was felt through the entire basement. Both Slayers stopped. Buffy could feel the wave of power hit and move through her, and was sure from the look on Faith’s face she felt it too.

“Earthquake?” Holburn asked, waving his hand through the dust cloud that the shock wave had kicked up.

Faith staked the last vampire, and turned at the same time Buffy did.

“Willow.” They said in unison.

“Oh my.” He rubbed his forehead.

“Does this mean I’m still alive?” Dawn asked sneezing. Buffy rushed over and pulled her sister into a tight hug.

“It sure does you!” She kissed her cheeks and her nose.

“Eew, Stop with the kissing already. That is like so wrong.” Dawn leaned away.

“She is just happy you aren’t a dead little key.” Faith said from behind Buffy.

“Where is Willow?” Dawn asked, looking around.

“She had to take care of something.” Giles offered but looked up at Buffy.

“I’ll go.” Faith offered and kneeled beside Dawn. “You get your sister straight home, okay?” She asked, and Dawn looked at her strangely and then nodded in acceptance. Buffy turned to look at Faith. She wanted to kiss her, but knew this probably wasn’t the best time. Faith grinned, and stood up. “Don’t worry, I am in total control.” She said walking away.

“Yeah us. We won.”

“We most certainly did.” Giles added.

 


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