Characters: Scarlet Witch
Summary: Wanda Maximoff faces many problems. She doesn't know how to function being the hero with tremendous power that has done horrible things. She looks to the past for a solution. She looks to the woman who did it before: Jean Grey.
It's ironic really: we never knew each other that well and now we have so much in common. The majority of the time we did know each other, it was as enemies. Years ago I blindly followed my father as a member of his Brotherhood and we fought each other numerous times. We were the only women in our respective teams. Hard as I try I can't remember how many hex bolts I threw at you or how many times your telekinesis threw me around.
We knew each other as heroes as well. We were both fighting in the thick of it against Thanos and Onslaught in those apocalyptic battles. We didn't really say much to each other though. Honestly, I was always embarrassed in those moments in front of you and the X-Men. The Avengers made Pietro and I feel welcomed and accepted after we worked for our father, but they weren't the ones we had wronged. You and your friends were. I never knew if I had your forgiveness. Now I know exactly where I stand with the X-Men. We had better relations when I was in the Brotherhood.
When I heard what happened to you, the Phoenix taking over your body and killing all of those people, I couldn't believe it. I always looked up to you from afar. While I had been confused as what to do as a mutant, you always seemed to be morally admirable. I followed Magneto, you followed Charles Xavier. I thought someone must've been confused or misheard because for some time it wasn't conceivable to me that Jean Grey could have done those things. Then when I… When I lost control of my powers, killed my friends, decimated the mutant race, I could understand.
Now I stand here as an Avenger who has done these horrible things. When your returned from the dead the X-Men welcomed you back, much like the Avengers did for me. You continued to fight for mutants; you continued to be a super hero. I don't know how. I don't know how you went on with all of this blood on your hands. I need to know. I need to know because there are a lot of people out there who hate and fear me and I can't give them a reason why they shouldn't. Super heroes are supposed to be the pinnacle of human—or mutant—morality… and I'm a murderer. How did you come back from that?
I can't even trust myself, not fully. I could lose control again. There's so much I don't understand about my power. I don't think any person should have this much power inside of them. Could you trust yourself after everything you had done? Did you still fear what you could do? Did you fear you could lose control at any minute?
My poor son Billy… He was gifted with powers similar to mine. The Avengers do worry about what he is capable of. And so I have isolated myself from him. I did it to protect him, but I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing. I assumed the less connection he had with me, the less they would fear or hate him. I can't claim to understand the lineage of the Grey-Summer family but from what I've learned while I've studied your life, you weren't particularly close with any of your descendants. Did you fear for them like I fear for Billy?
Far as anyone around here knows you weren't gifted with precognition. Maybe you were just intuitive. We did have one significant encounter once. It was soon after the destruction of Genosha, and we believed my father was dead. Pietro insisted that I come. You were there with Xavier. We were standing among the wreckage and everyone else had wondered off, leaving us alone together. I was nervous. I had no clue what to say to you or if I should say anything at all. Then you said to me, "It feels like every day you and I have more in common." I assumed you were talking as mutants: as mutants we had more in common because as a people we had to go through the same things and as our race dwindled by default you have more in common with the minority left standing. I assumed you meant you were forced to have more in common with me. But now our race is as decimated as it's ever been and the longer I've lived the more I've grown into common ground with you.
I've studied you as much as I can. The people that knew you best unfortunately are the ones that hate me the most. The X-Men: Scott Summers, Ororo Munroe, Logan, Hank McCoy, Kitty Pryde, Warren Worthington, Piotr Rasputin, Bobby Drake. I think I've found any publication that ever printed your name, or any of your aliases. There just guess work, speculation and reporting though. I don't know much about you as a person. If you go by what Xavier had to say you were the second coming; if you listen to what Emma Frost had to say you had a horrible temper.
Different people say different things about your fate. Most people say you died. That the Phoenix brought you back for the umpteenth time and to stop it from causing its usual reign of destruction you killed yourself yet again. If that's true… If you did kill yourself as your final solution to the problem of having too much power, of fearing what you're possible of... Then I have my answer on how you dealt with it… And what you think I should do. Others believe that you moved on to a higher plane or realm to control the Phoenix or do whatever work the Phoenix does when it's not destroying everything. If that's true, then you are still out there somewhere. That's what I'm hoping. I need answers from you.
I also have fear if that belief is true. If it is true, then I don't know what Hope and I did to you when we said, "No More Phoenix." I fear I may have killed you. That would be another dreadful irony: the one woman who could have helped me with my enormous amount of power, I might have killed with my enormous amount of power. I wasn't entirely sure where to stand when the Phoenix came. I think I sided with the Avengers more so out of default, because the X-Men didn't want me. But I hoped Scott was right. It didn't matter though in the end. When the Phoenix took over Hope… I was too scared for her to do anything other than get rid of the Phoenix. She's so young. I didn't want to see her travel down the same road the both of us did. And then banishing the Phoenix rebirthed the mutants… And it might have killed you… It was all kind of beautifully orchestrated in a way though.
I don't know if you're out there or not, or if you can even hear me, but I need you Jean Grey.
Faith was getting out of the shower when the three of them portaled into her apartment. After she dressed, they caught her up on everything.
“Okay, let’s go.” Faith said quickly. “I want to save Angel.”
“Seeing as how this is pretty dire and all, should we split up? One groups finds Angel, the other finds Spike? It’d be faster.” Willow asked her.
“Um, yeah, yeah. You’re right,” Buffy said. They all paused for her to continue, but she didn’t.
“So, Buff, who do you want to go after?” Willow pressed her.
“Um…” she paused, thinking. “Um…”
“Look, no offense or anything,” Faith interjected, “But I could really care less what happens to Spike. Sure he’s a champion and all now, but I owe Angel my life. I’m not gonna risk it not saving him.” Buffy slowly nodded.
“Um…” Willow started to say slowly, “Not that I still have any problems with Spike, because I don’t, but if it comes to who I care for more between him and Angel, it’s not really a contest.”
“O—Okay,” Buffy choked out.
“While you all are sharing you disgusting human emotions, it might be worthwhile for me to mention I do have a fondness towards the blonde one.” Illyria said. “And we do not have much more time to waste. We were able to restore me to full glory because of the hellish enchantments put onto LA. Outside of those enchantments this body can’t contain my essence. My powers grow uncontrollable and my status turns fatal. We must return to LA with haste.”
“Okay, well we should probably stay even teams right? So Faith and I will save Angel, and Spike will saved by Illyria and you, Buffy.” Willow said slowly.
“Um… Alright.” Buffy said finally.
nbsp; Illyria waved her hand and a portal appeared. The four of them all stepped into it. When they stepped out they were in an alley between two large buildings with the sun beaming down on them.
“This is the last place Angel was seen by some of our allies. Progress with caution in order to succeed. It can be assumed he’s being heavily guarded so travel in the direction in which the demon concentration increases. Travel to the Hyperion when you’re finished,” Illyria instructed. Faith and Willow both nodded and Illyria and Buffy disappeared into another portal.
nbsp; They both peaked outside of the alley. Nearly every building’s windows were smashed in, doors broken, many were on fire. The entire sky had a hint of red to it. There was a group of red skinned demons huddled together in front of one building.
“Go check the other end, I’ll watch here,” Faith said, nodding towards the other end of the alley. Willow did, and when she peaked around the corner of the building she saw ten green scaley demons standing in a horizontal line in front of one building. Faith was alternating between looking out on to the street and back over at Willow. The next time she looked towards Willow, she motioned her over. Faith began walking towards the witch.
“There’s ten of them over here,” she said once Faith was in ear shot.
“Looks like they’re standing guard too,” Faith said after she peaked around the corner. “Think Angel’s in that building?”
Willow closed her eyes and thought. She pictured the scene in which she had seen Angel chained up. “No. He is being kept in a building, but it’s bigger than that one.”
“Alright, according to Blue Mama we need to still head that way,” Faith said nodding towards the group of demons. “How hostile do you think these guys are? Like are they gonna attack us on sight?”
“I don’t know. Won’t know till we try I guess.”
Faith looked around. “Okay, we’ll just make a run to that alley,” she said pointing across the street to an alley slightly to the right of them. “If they come after us, run. We’re too outnumbered to take them on.” Willow nodded. “Okay, go!”
nbsp; They both bolted. They were nearly half way there when Faith saw a couple of the demons turn to them out of the corner of her eye. They continued until they made it to the alley. They continued to run down the dimly lit, long passageway. When they were near it’s end, Willow grabbed Faith’s wrist.
“Stop,” she turned around to face the demon’s catching up to them. “Vis agro!” she yelled pointing her hand towards them. A blue wave of energy flew from it, and grew until it expanded to the walls surrounding them. A demon ran straight into the new blue wall of energy. A couple behind it followed its lead, and they began to bang on it with their fists.
“We’ll kill you witch!” one of them yelled.
“Nice Will. Didn’t think to ask if you could do anything.” Faith said.
“I don’t want to rely on it. We still need to get out of here soon, that won’t hold forever.”
Faith turned to peak around the corner onto the new street as the demons continued to yell at them. “Okay, there are only a couple demons, there to our right.” Willow looked out and saw an alley in that direction. “Go!”
nbsp; Illyria and Buffy walked out of a portal and on to the beach. Buffy looked around to see the destroyed pier. There were large holes and gaps in the bridge that balconied over the beach, buildings were destroyed and some were on fire. She was horrified.
“This is the last location Spike was seen. We too will travel in the direction the demon population increases.” She then turned her head in the other direction and sniffed. “This way.” She began to walk without waiting for Buffy to follow. Buffy sped up to be next to her.
“So, you said they talk about me?”
“Yes. They mostly argue. They both claim they obtain the majority of your affection. It is bothersome and nauseating.”
Buffy wasn’t sure how to respond. “They saw you in Rome. They’re rivals with the one you have coitus with. The Immortal.”
“What?” Buffy’s jaw dropped. “I have not had… coitus… with anyone in Rome! I’ve never even been to Rome!”
“That’s not what the vampires perceive.”
“Well it’s not true… Oh my gosh, I bet it was one of my decoys!”
“We have fake Buffys planted all over the world. I’ve sorta become demon’s number one most wanted so we thought it would help keep me safe and confuse them all.”
“This topic has begun to bore me.”
“Oh… Um… Well was it like being an Old One? Did you ever meet—”
nbsp; Buffy was interrupted by a group of seven demons jumping right in front of them from a rocky cliff that hung over their heads. They were tan with long, dragging skin. They reminded Buffy of Clem slightly, except for the claws and the evil expressions they were wearing. They lunged towards the two of them. Buffy blocked a hand swung towards her then threw that demon into another one coming at her. With him bent at the knee she swiftly kicked him in the back of the head. The second demon had gotten back to his feet and swung his claws towards Buffy. She moved backwards avoiding each of his swipes until her back hit the rock wall. The next time he swung she darted under his arm, and while he was still facing the rock wall she slammed his face into it. He fell to the ground still. The other demon then grabbed her around the neck from behind her. She grabbed his arm and used the rest of her body to lunge him up into the air so he collapsed on his back in front of her. She squatted down and repeatedly punched him in the face until he was out. She stood up panting and turned to Illyria. The other six demons were lifeless on the ground all around her.
“We need to travel upward.” Illyria said looking up the rock wall before them.
“How are we supposed to do that? I’ve never been rock climbing.”
“I can jump that distance.”
Buffy stared at her plainly. “I can’t.”
“I will hold on to you if I must.”
“So yeah, there are about two thousand slayers globally.” Willow said to Faith just after darting into another alley. “We’ve found and talked to around fifteen hundred of them.”
“That’s crazy. It went from two to two thousand.”
“And how’s your team in Cleveland?”
“We’re five by five. Hellmouths suck but with eight slayers there it’s bearable. I even get off nights,” Faith said enthusiastically.
“Oh, wait,” Willow said when they reached the end of the alley. They both stared out at a wide building with at least twenty demons standing in front of it. “That has to be it. It looks like it could be the one I saw, and with it being that heavily guarded…”
“Alright, so how do we get past that demon guard party?”
They both paused and waited.
“I could create a distraction from the other direction. I know this spell that causes one small isolated explosion, maybe it will draw them away.
“Go for it.”
Willow closed her eyes. “Segregatorum combustion.”
Faith peaked out of the alley to see a random eruption of fire and smoke accompanied by a loud boom occur far from their position and the building. The demons all turned to look in that direction. In moments a large group of the demons started to walk in that direction.
“Okay, I’ve got another idea. Run when I do,” Willow instructed. “Duo vis agro!” This time a wall of blue energy came from both of Willow’s hands and created a path directly from them to the door of the building. Willow bolted and Faith followed. The remaining demons started to yell and bang on the force field walls. “Hurry!” As soon as they entered the building Faith closed the door behind them and threw herself against it while Willow looked around to find they were alone in the room. “There’s too many of them, I can’t hold it for long,” she said when she turned back to Faith.
“Is there anything else you can do?”
Just then she felt the force field break, and the demons started to push at the door.
Faith held it shut for the moment. “Willow, think! I can’t hold this door forever!
“Instanti foramen!” she yelled pointing at the ground. Right where she was pointing a huge hole grew where there was previously floor, around fifteen feet deep and directly in front of the door.
Faith couldn’t hold up anymore: she leaped sideways away from the door. The demons instantly came pouring through, running, and instantly falling down into the hole. Willow and Faith watched as their plan succeeded. When there were only a couple demons left they stopped themselves right in front of the hole and looked towards the two and smiled menacingly.
Illyria punched one last demon and it fell to the ground with the several others. She and Buffy now stood at the mouth of a cave after taking out another horde of demons. Illyria led the way. As they traveled further the sunlight began to fade but lit torches fastened to the rock walls replaced the light. Buffy walked on her toes with caution. They made a turn and were met by a group of vampires.
“Go on ahead, he can’t be much further!” Illyria ordered as she shoved a fist through the chest of a vampire.
Buffy dashed past the vampires and continued on. In moments she entered part of the cave that was wider than the narrower walkway prior. She braced herself as she entered this new territory. Once she got further into it she saw from across the way a man chained up to the wall behind him. His shirt was missing, his head was down, he had cuts across his torso, and blood all over himself but his muffled blonde hair was unmistakable.
He slowly raised his head and looked at her plainly. He rolled his eyes and dropped his head back down.
“Spike? It’s me. I’m here to get you out of here.” She said as she walked closer to him.
“What is wrong with you?”
“Drop the act. You’re not real, and I bloody stopped falling for it the third time you tried.”
“Spike,” she said as she reached him and lifted his chin, “what are you talking about?”
He looked into her eyes with wide eyes and a slightly dropped jaw that morphed into a half smirk. “I—”
He choked on his words as he continued to stare through watery eyes.
nbsp; Buffy reached for the chain on one of his hands. She began to undo the lock when a hand grabbed her from behind and threw her in the other direction. She got back to her feet and saw Drusilla standing between her and Spike.
“He’s my pet now. Again. You tried to let him go. That’s a bad slayer, very, very bad slayer.” Buffy rolled her eyes as she closed the distance between them and punched her in the face. Dru retaliated with a punch to Buffy’s face. Buffy swung again but Drusilla caught the fist in her hand and began to squeeze it, pressing her long nails in to the flesh. Buffy’s other hand grabbed Dru’s arm at the elbow as she spun them both around quickly, throwing the vampire’s grip off of her. Spike began to wriggle against the already loosened chain on his arm, and banging it on the hard rock wall behind him. Drusilla pounced towards Buffy and successfully pinned the slayer to the ground. Both of Dru’s wrists held both of Buffy’s hands to the ground as she switched to her game face and leaned towards the slayer’s neck. Buffy unsuccessfully writhed against the hands holding her down, then quickly head-butted the vampire in the face, knocking her back enough for Buffy to free her hands, get to her feet and then kick Drusilla in the face.
“No, no, no, this is all wrong! All wrong!” Drusilla yelled from her hands and knees on the ground.
“My god, and I’m the one with the reputation for talking too much during pivotal fight scenes?” Buffy said as she picked Drusilla up by the shoulders of the dress she wore. The vampire quickly shoved her palm upward and into her face, knocking her back a little. Before Buffy could retaliate Drusilla waved her hands in front of her face as she stared deep into her eyes. Buffy was stilled.
“You, you troublesome girl.” Dru said as she continued to wave her hands and motion the slayer’s eyes into her own. “You ruined dad, you ruined my pet. Tainted them beyond repair. I poke and I prod and try to make them see but their eyes have gone light. Too much light. And you, slayer, their sun. No! No! You ruined our family.” She pulled her hand back and stretched her fingers out as she aimed towards Buffy’s neck. Her hand swung but before it connected her body turned to dust and collapsed. Buffy’s trance ended as Spike appeared through the dust in front of her. He dropped a torch as he fell onto Buffy. She caught him, and helped him back on to his feet as she wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
“I guess saving my life can mean you’re off the hook for not telling me you were alive,” she said. Spike half smiled.
nbsp; After killing the three demons left and discovering the building was empty Willow and Faith found a staircase and walked to the basement. As soon as they entered, Faith looked to Willow and she nodded. They looked around the empty, dark basement.
“Angel!” Angel raised his head up to see Buffy. She ran towards him. “I’m here to take you home!” Angel stared at her as a slight smile appeared on his face.
“Angel!” Angel looked in the other direction to see Faith and Willow running towards him. He looked back and Buffy was now staring him with a devilish grin. They quickly freed him of his chains and held him up.
“Where’s Cordelia?” Willow asked.
Angel looked up at her confused. “No… It’s not… It’s the First.&rdquo
“Hi! You’ve reached Buffy Summers—well I guess you haven’t really. But this is her phone—I mean my phone. I must be busy or something but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.”
Willow hung up her phone and placed it on her bedside table. She laid back down on her bed, getting ready to go to sleep for the night. It had been yet another busy day. Such was the life of the most powerful witch on earth, Scoobie and godmother of the Slayer line. As she rested she racked her brain to assure she had accomplished all she had set out to do that day. I just need to tell Buff that the new slayer Monica is all set up, but she didn’t answer her phone. Nothing unusual there. She still doesn’t know how to work it. She continued her mental checklist and in moments remembered one last thing to do. It’s been ages since I’ve talked to him. I think it’s been since I reensouled him. She effortlessly remembered the spell she needed to make mental contact. Mentemeloqui ad Angel. She waited, expecting to hear his voice in her head. Angel? She tried again. She laid there for a couple of minutes waiting for any sort of response, but she got none. Oh well, she thought as she rolled over to go to sleep.
Angel was alone in his room at the Hyperion. He had just returned, and was taking off his bloodied up clothes. His shirt had just hit the floor when his head was struck with a searing pain that he had only ever experienced once. He screamed lightly as images flew through his head. He bit his tongue to quiet himself as he tried to wait out the skull splitting sensation. In moments it was over and he could now see through his own eyes. He knew what to do. He grabbed another shirt from his dresser and put it on over his bruised torso, picked up his sword and headed for his window. It’s too dangerous for the others.
When Willow woke up the following morning her first thought was of Angel. She bit her bottom lip slightly. Mentemeloqui ad Angel. She still heard nothing but her mind was now filled with a horrid feeling. She was trained enough in spiritual introspection to notice the difference between her own and foreign feelings. What is that? She thought of different spells she knew. Possession identification, aura location, trance vision, umm… oh! Astral sight! Ummm…. Uh… Videre… Videre Angel de longinquo. It worked. In her mind’s eye she could see Angel. She could see LA. She was immediately horrified. Her mouth dropped open as she sprung out of her bed and grabbed her phone. She dialed Buffy’s number, put it on speakerphone, threw it on the bed and began to change.
“Hi! You’ve reached Buffy Summers—well I guess you haven’t really. But this—” Willow hung up the phone, now fully changed. She grabbed the last of her belongings she needed. “Proficiscor ad Buffy.” She said, as her body disappeared in a swirl of blue and white lights.
“Come on girls! Move! Move!” Buffy stood before the warehouse doors she had just kicked in as she ushered in several girls. “Do not try and get in to a full on fight with them! This is daytime, our time! Just throw them into the sunlight, save your energy!” When the last girl had entered the vampire nest, she followed in after. A vampire at once lunged at her. She quickly grabbed him by the wrists and squatted under his leaping body, using his own momentum to throw him into the sunlight let in by the open doors, and turning him to dust instantly. The rest of the girls followed her lead, throwing vampires into the doorway left and right. Buffy could hear a fight from across the room and ran to it.
“Don’t worry, I’m here!” Buffy said, as she pulled out a stake.
“I’m not!” the girl replied from the darkness, as a vampire fell before Buffy’s feet and turned to dust. “I got it!” She said as she stepped close enough for Buffy to see her and smiled.
“Well… Okay then… That’s good. Good for you.” She turned to face the rest of the warehouse. “Good for everyone really. Did we get them all?” There was a rumbling of “yeahs” and “yesses” from all the girls. “Good. Good job girls.” They all started to walk out the warehouse. “Alright girls, you’re all really coming all along. Really. Everyone buddy up and go patrolling tonight. Keep your phones on you and I’ll see you all soon.”
All the girls said their goodbyes to Buffy and each other as they walked away, down the London streets. In the month or so she had lived there, Buffy had gotten to know the city, or at least her own little part of they city, well. She walked from the warehouse to her apartment without any trouble, which was a big difference from when she had first arrived here. She unlocked the door to her apartment, locked it behind her, through her keys on a side table and as she walked to her kitchen a swirl of bright lights swirled in front of here. She backed up and braced herself. The lights began to vanish and then Willow stood before her.
“Will! Wanna give someone a little heads up before just teleporting into their flat?” Buffy huffed as she walked past Willow and to her fridge.
“Airbourne not teleport.” Willow said quickly.
“And super villians generally don’t use pretty white and blue lights as their means of travel.”
“Yeah, yeah. So how’d it go with that new girl in Seattle?” Buffy asked as she grabbed an apple out of the fridge.
“Fine. Buffy that’s not why I’m here.”
“You’re talking fast.”
“What? What’s wrong?”
“It’s Angel.” Willow paused. Buffy looked at her with a furrowed brow. “He’s in a lot of trouble. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening. I tried to contact him last night for just a little mental chat, but no dice. Then I tried again this morning and I could sense evil. I did a spell to see him in my mind and he’s being held against his will. He’s being tortured by vampires and… um… and—“
“Spit it out Will.”
“Cordelia.” Willow said reluctantly.
“What?! What?! I thought she was dead!”
“So did I.”
“And after all that fuss they made about her being different. Now she’s actually evil! And not just highschool evil, real evil. Oh my God!”
“That’s not all Buff. LA has been altered some how. It’s full of demons. Not in the Sunnydale way either. Like there’s more demon’s than humans. A lot of death. There’s some really powerful magics at play too.”
“How do you mean?”
“I’m not sure really. I could feel it vaguely. But there’s no way I wouldn’t have been able to sense all of this had been going on. That much magic makes ripples. I can feel ripples. I didn’t feel them do this.”
“Wait, so you think LA’s been like this for a while?”
“It has to have been. All the destruction and death I saw takes time.”
“So what? LA’s over run by demons and the news just forgot to mention it? People aren’t running away from the city for their lives? I don’t buy it.”
“Like I said, powerful magics Buff. I don’t know who could pull something like this off. I couldn’t.”
They stood in silence for moments, just looking at each other.
“Well, let’s go.” Buffy spoke finally.
“Are you sure?” Buffy nodded. “Even after everything that happened with him and Wolfam and Hart?”
“That doesn’t matter now.”
“Alright. Should we tell Giles or Xander or anyone?”
“No. If it’s as bad as you say it’s not safe for them. And we can’t take the slayers in blind, that’s irresponsible.”
“Right. Okay. Um… so like now? Do you need to get anything first? What about the Scythe?”
“We’ve still got it locked up in Giles’ safe.”
“Right. Okay. We’re off then.”
“Can you do that airbourne thingey with me tagging along?” Buffy said as she walked through her kitchen to stand right next to Willow.
“Yeah. I’ll just need to change the spell a little bit to account for two people. Grab my hand,” Willow answered and held her hand out for Buffy to grab, which she did. “Okay, just take deep slow breaths. It kinda feels like flying. If flying felt like being smothered by a large monster made of wind.” Buffy slowly nodded. “Okay, Proficiscor cumeduobus ad Angel.” They both closed their eyes as they waited for something to happen.
“Um… Not feeling the wind monster Will.”
“Let me try again. Proficiscor cumeduobus ad Angel.”
Again, nothing happened.
“What’s up Willow?” Buffy asked.
“I don’t know. I know the spell works, I did it with Xander the other day… Something must be cancelling it out.”
“You mean like someone else’s mojo is making your mojo a no go?”
“Precisely. Probably the same magic doing everything else to LA. I’m not liking this Buffy.”
“Me neither. It makes saving Angel that much more important though. We have no idea what these people could be doing to him.” Willow nodded. “Okay, well maybe you could airbourne us just outside of LA and then we could—”
Buffy was cut off by a swirl of wind erupting from the center of her living room. A portal burst open and the wind emanating from it was so powerful it sent Willow flying into a nearby wall. She hit her head and collapsed to the floor instantly. A small framed woman with dark and blue hair wearing dark skin tight battle armor stepped out from the portal, and it closed behind her. Buffy ran towards her immediately and uppercut her right on the chin.
“You dare!” She spoke, in a shrill and relatively deep voice. Buffy swung her fist again connecting right on the woman’s jaw. She immediately turned her head to stare at Buffy intensely. “You are challenging me slayer. Illyria does not
recoil from a physical confrontation under any circumstantial events.” Buffy ignored her and jabbed her in the gut several times quickly. She went for another punch to the face but Illyria blocked it with one arm, ad her other arm instantly punched Buffy right in the chest, sending her flying backwards and crashing into a wall, denting the dry wall. As Buffy fell off the wall and on to her knees, huge fragments of the wall fell with her. She slowly got back to her feet and stared at Illyria from across the room with wide eyes. After catching her breath she ran towards her again and as soon as she was in reaching distance she aimed a roundhouse kick towards Illyria’s face. The Old One quickly darted backwards out of her leg’s range. Buffy quickly swung her fist towards her face and Illyria leaned to her left, dodging it. Buffy swung again and again and Illyria continued to dodge each blow. Buffy then tried to sweep her leg but Illyria jumped over her leg and kneed Buffy in the face, causing her to fall backward. She kipped up quickly and again swung a fist directly for Illyria’s face. She caught the fist in her palm. Buffy urged her arm forward, in a test of strength. Illyria though curbed her efforts and pushed her fist backward towards Buffy’s body. Buffy tried with all of her strength to overpower her but in time Illyria pushed her arm back until it was next to Buffy’s body and as she held it in place her other hand grabbed Buffy by the throat. Buffy’s other hand clung to the hand strangling her, attempting to pull it off of herself. She continued to pull to no avail as the hand got tighter and tighter, cutting off her breathing supply. Illyria’s grip continued as she began to lift Buffy up off the ground. Buffy continued to fight the hold’s on her but was still unsuccessful. As her feet were now completely up off the ground, she quickly slammed a knee to Illyria’s gut. Illyria gasped in anger as she lifted Buffy up higher and then slammed her body hard onto the ground. Buffy lay on her stomach in pain as she reached her forehead to find a bloody cut. She looked up at Illyria who was staring down at her with a contorted face. Buffy screamed as she leapt to her feet and towards Illyria. She quickly swung her hand and waves flew from it and around Buffy as her movement’s speed was decreased drastically. Illyria began to walk around Buffy’s slowed body in her own usual speed. As she was now facing the other side of the room, the awakened Willow now stood before her.
“Fred?” Willow asked with her eyes squinted and head tilted as her hand rubbed her forehead.
Illyria paused for a moment. “You knew Winifred Burkle?” Illyria’s face tightened as she thought. “Yes. I can see it now. You helped her once. You aided her and the others against the fallen Power, the one they named Jasmine.”
Willow just stared at her. “Yeah,” she said slowly. “I—I… Um… Fred, what happened to you?”
“Winifred Burkle’s body was used to hold my essence when it was freed from the Deeper Well.”
Willow paused again. “The Deeper Well? Where the Old Ones are kept?”
“Yes. I’m the God-King of the Primordium, the Merciless, Illyria.”
“You—you killed Fred.” Willow half stated-half asked.
“Taking over body ended her life. An undoable consequence.”
“But you remember me? You have her memories?”
“I possess everything that was Winifred Burkle.”
“What do you want with us? What did you do to Buffy?” Willow asked as her eyes fell to the slow moving slayer.
“I decreased the flow of time surrounding her body.”
“Well undo it.”
Illyria stared at her pointedly before waving her hand and freeing Buffy. Her body lunged forward quickly, then she looked around everywhere confused.
“Umm…” she said.
“Buffy!” Willow called from behind her.
She turned around. “Will, are you okay?” Willow nodded. Buffy ran to her side and turned to face Illyria. “Willow, this girl’s strong. I haven’t been able to do anything to her.”
“Wait,” Willow rushed, “I know her. Kind of. I don’t think she’s here to hurt us.” Buffy looked to Willow, then back to Illyria, confused. “Are you?” Willow asked.
“If the slayer stops her attempts, I will stop mine. A physical encounter was not my intention.”
“Okay,” Buffy said slowly, still confused. “How do you two know each other?”
“She used to work with Angel, when I helped reensoul him,” Willow said.
“So you came from LA?” Buffy asked Illyria quickly.
“What’s going on there? We know Angel is in trouble.”
“Angel, myself, and his followers killed a demon group that worked directly for the Wolf, Ram, and Hart to achieve their apocalypse. In their subsequent anger they unleashed hordes of demons to LA to punish Angel. They warped the land magically, surrounded it with enchantments. No creature can enter or leave the city limits utilizing any method,” Buffy and Willow looked at each other, and then back to Illyria. “The demon population grew at an enormous rate. After learning the reality warp changed dimensional rules we restored me to my true power to give Angel and the others a semblance of a chance at survival. I have killed scores of demons in this new hellish Los Angeles, but Angel and Spike have now been taken captive.”
Willow and Buffy stared at each other, eyes wide and jaws dropped. “What do you mean Spike is captive?” Buffy asked Illyria quickly.
“He went out patrolling by himself one night and never returned.”
“What? How do you—Spike was with you in LA?”
“He was at Wolfram and Hart long before my return to this world.”
“How? He died in the Hellmouth!”
“He was resurrected. The amulet he used contained his essence. It arrived to Angel somehow, and Spike has resided there since.” Buffy just stared at a random point on a wall. “I’ve continued to annihilate demons without pause in there absence. However success cannot be achieved through these means. I… I’m a fighter, a warrior. I do not strategize, I do not compromise. They talk about you slayer. They call you a champion and a hero. They talk of your wit and leadership. I felt your assistance was needed.”
Buffy paused for a moment to process everything. “Alright. Well we were actually on our way. But we didn’t know how to. Willow’s spell didn’t work.”
“The surrounding enchantments overpowered her magic.”
“How did you get out?” Willow asked her.
“The Wolf, Ram and Hart have no power over me!” Illyria yelled. “There enchantments have no effect on my interdimensional travels.”
“Okay, okay… Well good, so you can take us back in?” Buffy asked. Illyria nodded. “Alright, if it’s as bad as you say it is though, we need to stop and get someone else first.”