“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.”