Jasmines Fear by Persephone
Willow’s eyes snapped open. Her heart was racing, her breath coming in short pants as she looked wildly around the room. Willow tried to control the fear racing through every pore, demanding that she met her attacker and destroy it. The air shimmered around her as her black eyes searched for the danger. There was nothing there and slowly Willow extended her sense into Sunnydale and down into the hellmouth. She searched for any hint of the danger that had awakened her so suddenly. When she found nothing, Willow loosened her grip on her magic and allowed it to dissipate.
Willow collapsed back against her pillows. Her bright red hair was soaked with sweat and she could still feel the fear pounding through her system. She ignored the sun streaming around her curtains as she pulled the sheet back over her. Willow was determined to sleep more before getting up. Her eyelids fluttered against her pale skin as she lost the fight against sleep.
As soon as Willow fell asleep, images assaulted her. She could see a young girl with blondish brown hair was running from a group of people, all chanting the same thing. “I see you Fred.” The fear was pounding its way through her. Willow’s eyes snapped open and this time she made no attempt to contain her magic as it reacted to the threat. Willow opened herself to the hellmouth and her eyes swirled darkly as the hellmouth awakened at her call. For a moment thunder and lightening raged in the quiet bedroom and with a rush of sound Willow was gone.
Jasmine, concentrating harder, was pulling more energy from the AI gang as she focused on trying to find Fred. Her mind connected with everyone under her spell. Fred had somehow managed to escape the pull of Jasmine’s mass hypnosis and Jasmine was determined to find out how. As the power from the group flowed into her, she could see Fred climbing the stairs at an out of the way motel and smiled. “I see you Fred,” Jasmine whispered and everyone around Fred spoke the same.
Jasmine watched as Fred began to run again. She could not allow Fred to get away and sent more people after Fred. As Fred was slowly backed into a corner, a new image rose up before Fred. A young lady, with pure black hair and swirling black eyes suddenly stood before Fred. With a stroke of her hand, the crowd pressing in on Fred was thrown away and the black eyes met Jasmines’. A smirk curled the woman’s lips as their eyes met and Jasmine tried to bring the woman under her control.
“Mine, demon,” the woman stated before fire leapt up between them and Jasmine pulled away from the vision and the pain that suddenly flared.
Jasmine stared blankly down at her hands, which were blistered and burnt. Jasmine bit back tears and the curses that rose in her throat as she struggled to control the pain. * Who was that girl? And what does she know about me? *
“Jasmine what happened?” Conner asked anxiously. His dark eyes meeting hers before looking down at her hands, wincing as the severity of the burns became apparent. “Are you alright? Should we get a Doctor?”
“I saw her,” Jasmine told them as a soft smile lit up her face. “But something interfered before I could convince her to come home.” Jasmine looked into Wesley, Gunn, Conner and Angel’s face and shared a hopeful smile. “I don’t think she has rejected my love by choice, but is trying to protect us. There’s another being, very powerful and dark, claiming to own her.” Jasmine paused and searched their faces, hoping to find a spark of recognition, only to bite back a curse when she only saw confusion.
“Why wouldn’t Fred tell us that another demon was after her,” Angel asked as he stepped forward. “She knows that we would do anything to help her.” His brow crinkled in confusion, even as he delighted in the love that was pouring through his being.
“Who knows?” Jasmine replied as she turned away, cradling her hands against her stomach. “I need a few moments to recover from the attack and then we can begin looking for her again.” She paused and looked back over her shoulder, her dark brown eyes serious, “we must find Fred and bring her back to the one’s that love her.”
“Of course Jasmine,” the group replied as one and left the room.
Willow looked down at the girl currently sleeping in her arms and bit back a curse. Fred had been hysterical for the first couple of minutes. Her explanation had made no sense as her nails had bit into Willow’s arms where she had been gripping Willow. By the time that Willow had got her to this crypt and calmed down, sunset was almost upon them. Willow knew that she really didn’t have time for a demon bent on world domination. She had enough problems with the First bent on world destruction.
A frown creased her brow as she wondered if she should just put the First and Jasmine on a collusion course and let them fight it out. A smile touched her lips at the thought, even as she knew that she couldn’t. Fred burrowed closer and murmured restless in Willow’s embrace and Willow tightened her arms around Fred and dropped her head onto Fred’s. A shadow made Willow’s eyes snap towards the door and magic swirled in the air. For long moments nothing stirred and Willow relaxed again.
She winced as she settled back against the cold stone floor and wall of the crypt. Her tank top and boxers was no match for the cold and a shiver racked her frame. While the crypt wasn’t in the best shape, it was out of the way and easily defendable. Between the traps that had been laid and the leaves surrounding them, it would not be easy to take them by surprise. Her head relaxed against the wall as plans began to take shape in her mind. After Fred managed to get some sleep, they would find somewhere more comfortable to hide. Then with Fred hidden away, Willow would find a telephone and let everyone in Sunnydale where she was. Then she would deal with this Jasmine.
Willow’s thoughts turned to rescuing Fred. Of all the things that she had been expecting, she had been surprised to find that the threat felt familiar. Add in the fact that it had been an image of a very beautiful woman over a rotting corpse and Willow was beyond confused. When Fred had finally calmed down enough to explain, Willow had been left speechless. After all her years on the hellmouth, she had been convinced she had seen almost everything. But this definitely came out of a soap opera.
Her mind whirled with all the information that Fred had given her. A law firm named Wolfram and Hart had brought Darla back to life. Angel had sex with her and then Druscilla had changed Darla into a vampire. Angel and Darla had somehow managed to have a child named Conner. A man named Holtz had taken Conner to a different dimension that had aged him faster. Holtz had then faked his death to blame Angel. Conner had locked Angel into a locker and dumped him into the ocean.
Cordelia had disappeared at the same time and everyone had thought that her and Angel had run off together. Instead they had found Angel in a locker and Cordelia had been transformed into a higher being by the Powers That Be. Then Cordelia had come back with amnesia and somehow Conner and Cordelia had sex. Then the two of them had a baby named Jasmine, who had been born an adult and a goddess. Cordelia was in a coma and Jasmine had everyone hypnotized into believing that she was good.
Willow wanted to shake her head. She had thought that her life had been a soap opera in the making, but Angel’s life was definitely a soap opera. Willow’s mind spun with plans and options. After listening to Fred, Willow had come to understand why everyone got a glazed look on his or her face, when she got going. Willow wasn’t sure if she had caught everything that Fred had told her but she understood a lot. Jasmine was doing a mass hypnosis on an entire city, was in fact gearing up to do one on the entire world, and Fred had somehow managed to break it. The question now, was how did Fred break free and what Willow should do about it?
Angel and Conner stood outside Jasmine’s room. Their backs resting against the wall and staring intently at the door, their expression identical with worry and love. Fred running from the love that Jasmine offered worried both of them. After all Fred had always wanted unconditional love. And who was this demon that had harmed Jasmine and was claiming Fred?
“What do you think is going on?” Conner finally asked.
“I can’t see Fred willingly running away from Jasmine or us,” Angel mused. “We are family after all.”
“That’s true,” Conner conceded. “But Jasmine was talking about a demon.”
“And that has got me confused,” Angel admitted. He turned his dark eyes on his son and smiled at him. “Fred would have said something if she was just having a problem with a demon. No this has to be something deeper.”
“Which leaves us where?” Conner asked heavily, his dark eyes not looking away from Jasmine’s door.
“Doing the best we can,” Angel told his son and cupped his shoulder. “I’m going to check something out. Stay here and guard Jasmine.”
“With my life,” Conner agreed.
Angel walked away after a last look. While he and Conner weren’t getting along exactly, neither were they fighting. Jasmine’s love had created a bond between the two of them that Angel was determined to keep. He walked downstairs, nodding to the faithful that looked up at him hopefully. Their faces fell slightly when they saw that it was just him, but they still smile and nodded.
A few even held out hands to touch him. Angel returned the touches with a smile, enjoying the welcoming sensations. It wasn’t often that Angel felt accepted by humans. Gunn, Wesley and Lorne stood in the corner and talking. When Angel approached they looked up and smiled, though worry was still evident in their gazes.
“How’s she doing?” Wesley asked worriedly.
“Healing herself now. I left Conner guarding her door,” Angel told them.
“That’s a good idea,” Lorne commented as his gaze swept the crowd. “We don’t know what caused Fred to reject Jasmine and we don’t know what type of reach the demon has.”
“Actually I am not sure about the Demon,” Angel commented slowly. His dark eyes were pensive as they met each of the three men’s eyes.
“What do you mean?” Wesley asked.
“Have you heard of the demon?” Angel asked. “Whispers, rumors? Anything with that much power had to have been noticed,” Angel continued, his eyes meeting each of theirs.
“You’re right,” Lorne agreed. “And I haven’t heard anything. Even if the demons were afraid of this woman, there would be talk among the Masters about her.”
“Yes,” Angel nodded and crossed his arms over his chest. “And I haven’t even heard a whisper.”
“So what does that mean?” Gunn asked anxiously. “Are we dealing with something that is from another dimension?”
“I don’t know,” Angel shrugged and looked around again. “But I’d like to have some research on this woman before I took her on.”
“So would I,” Wesley agreed. “I think I’ll call a few of my contacts and see what they have to say.”
“Good idea Wesley,” Angel agreed. “I think I’ll hit the streets and see what they say.”
“You want company?” Gunn asked.
“No. You’d better stay here in case the demon decides a frontal assault is a good idea.”
Angel nodded once last time and then made his way out of the crowded library. A niggling uneasiness was beginning to work its way through his system. Angel wasn’t sure what the problem was but he knew that something was wrong. He hoped that bringing Fred back would make it go away.
Willow hung up the telephone and glanced around. The street she had found the payphone was strangely deserted for a Monday afternoon. Of course she had made sure to find something out of the way and off of the main drag, but Willow didn’t think that was the main reason. No, Willow was pretty sure that the reason lay directly at Jasmine’s feet.
In fact, as Willow walked by another church with the saying that “Jasmine is the only hope”, she was certain of it. The apartment buildings were empty, windows open and curtains flapping in the slight breeze. And yet, Willow had the sensation that she was being followed.
As she continued on she remembered the conversation that she had just had.
“Hello?” Xander’s voice was short as he answered the telephone.
“Xan it’s me,” Willow whispered even as she kept a constant look out for anything suspicious.
“Willow! Where are you?” Xander shouted anxiously. “We’ve been tearing the town apart looking for you.”
“I’m in LA,” Willow replied.
“What are you doing there?” Xander asked incredulously.
“There’s a problem here,” Willow continued.
“Well there’s a problem here too!”
“I know but there’s a demon here bent on world domination.”
“And we’ve got one bent on world destruction.” Xander sighed. “It can never be just one thing can it?”
“Of course not,” Willow replied with a roll of his eyes. “Obviously the Powers that Be want to make sure that we never know what a normal day is.”
“Obviously.” Xander paused, “so you are going to stay down there.”
“For a day or two. I might send Fred back to Sunnydale. So don’t be surprised if she appears out of nowhere,” Willow told him anxiously. “This demon might just have to wait until after we’re done with the first.”
“Do you need help?”
“It’s nice of you to ask,” Willow smiled and relaxed, “but it would be better if you guys stayed there.”
“Well if you’re sure…” Xander’s voice trailed off uncertainly.
“I am,” Willow told him firmly. “If I need you you’ll know it.”
“I’m sure,” Xander told her with a chuckle.
“Listen I’ve got to go,” Willow told him. “I really don’t want to get caught out in the open.”
“Should we contact you at Angel’s?” Xander asked.
“No!” Willow told him shortly. “Right now Angel and the gang seem to be under this demon’s control. I really don’t want to give myself away.”
“Maybe someone should come up there,” Xander replied slowly. “If you don’t have Angel…”
“I’ll be fine Xander,” Willow told him with a roll of her eyes. “I just want to figure out what is going on. I don’t plan on charging in.”
“Well, be safe then,” Xander finally told her.
“I will,” Willow assured him and quietly hung up the telephone.
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