Deathwishes...Part XLI...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...

Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLI...

In the Magic Box, Willow and Giles waited for word from Xander and Clem, staked out outside William's latest crypt...While they also continued to review various spell material, including Wesley's Wolfram-Hart data...

Willow pondering the results of her little hypnosis session following her mental link to Anne/Buffy/Cicely...

Buffy and her past self, Cicely...Allowing their demon to run the show without a serious attempt at interference...A kind of truce apparently, deliberately arranged amongst them...

A dangerous bargain...And I oughta know...she ruefully noted to Giles...

"Yes..." he nodded.... "And as our previous effort failed there's no way to be sure Anne can be restrained and safely driven back once the humans behind this little scheme are dealt with...But, for the moment, we'll have to assume that Buffy/Cicely will help us to contain her once she feels the situation allows for it..."

"Buffy doesn't care...Right now..." Willow sighed... "Like me after Tara...And in Buf's case, there still is a chance to help William..."

"I believe...I hope...That she still feels she can fight Anne back when the time comes...But you're right Willow, she's decided not to let anything stand in her way in proving her love to Will..." he looked wearily at her...

"Anne is, after all, her wilder, instinctual nature as much as her darkness...The real danger is that, like you...She may overestimate her ability to control that nature..."



"I didn't care...Controlling my darker side was the last thing on my mind, Rupert..." Willow shook her head sadly...

But....My dear Willow...he eyed her firmly...It was on your mind...Somewhere...Or Xander would never have reached you...

"Thank you..." she smiled wanly... "I'd like to believe that..."

Well...At least now I can feel a little better...she grinned...When even the Slayer wants to be a fool for love...

***

In William's new crypt, Anne sat by the chained William, Xander and Clem likewise secured on their side, watching...

"Penny for your thoughts...?" she smiled at him a moment...

"You're handing our child over to Warren Mears..." he replied coldly... "That's what I'm thinking...Buffy..."

Anne stared at him as he stared hard back...Nodding...

"Thank you, Will...That really is the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me...But, in all fairness, she couldn't stop me..." Anne paused...

If she wanted to?...he finished...

"Don't underestimate the maternal instincts of a demon counterpart, sweetie..." she looked away a moment... "But, I would say she feels...We've saved Dawny/Amelia often enough...Maybe now it's time to help Amelia's father...After all the years of waiting, failing..." she sighed... "Now it's time at last..."

What can I say, honey?...she smiled...After a century long marriage ya either love em that much or ya can't stand them...

"Don't do this, Buffy...Cicely, find another way to deal with Mears...I'll help you..." he shook his wrist chains...

"Stop it...You'll hurt yourself..." she patted him...

"And don't overestimate Buffy's control here...Or my altruism, William...I still need Dawn to keep Willow off my back...I'm not prepared to just do my bit for the team and go quietly...I've told you that... "

Thank you...he eyed her...

"You're a kind sis, Anne..."

"Just being honest, love...The one...good...thing a demonic counterpart always is...Right, Spike?..." she grinned...And got up...

"Gotta concentrate now for a minute...'Cuse me, guys, goin' below...Xander?" she turned to him... "Don't try anything...I'd be sorry to lose you and Buf would suffer, but I won't hesitate to snap your neck if I have to..."

Just wanna be straight with ya, big brother...Like you were with me...she eyed him...

He nodded...

"And don't fret about my partners...I don't give a damn about Warren Mears...I'll deal with him and his bitch-witch when the time comes..."

It's just me you should worry about...she smiled...And headed to the ladder leading to the lower crypt, a large space widened out of the service tunnel connecting several mausoleums, once used for storage...

Clem staring coldly after her...

***

The human members of the new Trio made their entrance at the Summers' home in the good ole fashioned way...Amy knocking at the front door while Warren waited in her car, face covered by a newspaper...

"Amy?..." Anya stared at her on the steps...

"Hi..." Amy beamed an innocent...Just stoppin' by...Smile...

"Willow?...Or Buffy around?...I just wanted to speak with them...Ok?"

"They're not..." Anya replying coolly, paused and looked back at a sound from upstairs...

Dawn emerging from her room, fully dressed, with a dull, blank look...She came to the stairs and started down...

"Dawn?...Go back to..."

"Let her in, Anya..." Dawn told her quietly, pausing... "Anne wants her to come in..."

Anya whirled back and moved to close the door...Amy waved her hand and the door flung open...

"Sorry, Anya..." Amy looked at her now raging, demonic face...So that's Anyanka...

"Get out of here!...Or I will make you go!..." Anya snarled...Grabbing the door as Amy tried to step in, struggling to force it closed against Amy's spell...One powerful vengeance demon, Amy noted to herself...It should take five strong men to move that door now...

"Anya...Let her in...Or I will hurt myself..." Dawn called from halfway up the stairs...Holding up the stake Anne had had her conceal on herself...

"Anne wants her to come in...And me to go with her..." she dreamily told her...

Anya looked back, still struggling to close the door...

"Anya...She will hurt herself if you don't let me in..." Amy told her, a slight plea in her voice...

"She's in Anne's thrall, you know that..."

Yeah...Anya gave an icy look...In full Anyanka... "I know that...And you know...You and whoever is..."

Hey!...Warren called from the open car door, too impatient to maintain his position...Anya stared at him as he walked up to the front door... "What's holding things up...?" he asked as he reached them...

Warren...Mears?...

"In the unflayed flesh, babe..." he smirked... "So...You're Harris' lil' La Vengeance...Nice to meet you...But lets take this inside, ok?..." He shoved his way past her, Amy following...

Anya moved back to where Dawn now stood at the foot of the stairs waiting listlessly...Stake still firmly clutched in her hand...

"We don't want to hurt Dawn, Anya..." Amy hesitated... "Or you..."

"But you did...You and this...Murdered her sister... and you will hurt her again...And Anne did and will..." Anya glared...

"Hey, lady...We don't have time or reason for explanations...If you don't want kiddie girl hurt, play along without any trouble...and nobody gets hurt..." Warren gave Summers' pet vengeance demon a once-over...Quite a girl that Harris has landed, he sneered to himself...Bout what I'd expect that loser would wind up with...



Whoa...Hmmn...As she reverted to Anya...Not so bad at that...

"Now why wouldn't I want to take the word of a three-time murderer...?" she gave him a cold smile...

"But then hey, two times were "accidents", right?...We should compare notes, Mears...I've had thousands of "accidents"in my time..."

He stared back...

"And I intend to have at least two more before I turn in my demon work card..." she grinned... "Soon as one of my friends makes a wish..."

Warren glared but motioned to Amy...Who came beside him...

"Amy?..." he turned to her... "I don't think we want the lady to hear any requests contrary to our best interests..."

"I don't know if I can handle her, Warren..." Amy looked at the glaring Anya, now holding wan Dawn's hand... "And I'd just as soon..."

"Are you going soft on me?..." he whirled to her... "All I'm askin' for is what we talked about...A little naptime for our demon lady til we get her and little Summers safely under lock and key to keep us intact..."

"I don't know...The power required to keep a vengeance demon under...It could hurt her, Warren..."

He pulled her a few steps back with him...Whispering harshly...

Do I gotta remind you who helped me kill Buffy Summers?...he hissed to her furiously...Don't start playing Lil' Ms. Moral Conscience with me now...

Amy stared again at Anya who watched them carefully, still holding Dawn's hand...

"Anya never hurt me...Or you...And I don't want to start playing this game according to Anne's rules...She's got her own agenda, Warren..."

"I'm not a fool...I know that..." he nodded... "But we need lil' Dawny...We'll only have one chance with Willow and we can't start holding back now...It's too late for that..."

He relented a bit...Seeing the pleading look in her face... "Am, I'm not asking you to kill somebody...Now, anyway..."

Do it for us...he stared at her...Gripping her arm...

"It's our only chance...If there's anything left in you that cares about a future...With me..."

You can do it...Without permanent damage...And we'll take all the precautions against partner-girl we can...he nodded...

***

Deathwishes...Part XLII...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...



Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLII...

In the ground floor chamber of his new crypt, William eyed his fellow prisoners, Xander and Clem, chained to rings embedded in bronze memorial plaques across the room from him...

"Harris, Clem..." he hissed... "We've only got a few...Anne will have Dawn in Warren's and Amy's hands soon..."

Anya?...Xander looked at him...

"Even if they try they can't harm her seriously, Xan...Thank God for that little cause in D'Hoffryn's contract...But listen, can either of you...Clem?...Ole fellow, any chance you could use your talents a bit?..."

Hmmn...? Xander eyed his companion...

"I can try..." Clem nodded...Trembling all over, his loose skin looser than ever...

He paused as Anne came slowly back up from below...An unfathomable expression on her human face as she reached ground level...A vicious coldness, but somewhere mixed in, Xander noted...Sadness...Perhaps even...Somewhere, as she avoided Will's look...Shame...

The moment passed and she looked round, grinning at them...

"Geesh, guys...I am disappointed...Haven't you all escaped yet?..." she shook her head...Moving over to the middle of the room between where William sat chained, across from Xander and Clem likewise...

"So, c'mon...Who's loosed their chains and is ready to run off?...Or club me one the moment I turn my back?..."

She came over to Xander and Clem...Eyeing their chains and handcuffs...Then to William...Rubbing his handcuffed hand a moment... "Stop twisting it round, you're chaffing it..." she began...

A momentary startle in her eyes as he shook her off from his hand...A look she brushed off immediately, smiling again, a bit wanly...

"Expected better from my ole pals..." she sighed... "And here I was, ready to hunt Xander and dog-boy down...Even if I'd have to use my umbrella outside now..."

"If I were free, Anne..." William replied coolly... "You wouldn't be going anywhere..."

"Spoken like a loving papa, Papa..." she nodded... "So I'll let that challenge pass...For now..."

Anyway...Dawn is with Amy and Warren now, so you'd best be good guests and wait it out quietly...

A long look at William...A plea in there? Xander wondered...

"Anybody want anything?..." she smiled lightly... "Coffee, water, me...or maybe some blood, Will?"

"Yeah..." Xander eyed her... "Stop pretending to be Buffy...I'm sick of it...Keep your demon face and stick to the usual telling us how you and your new boy, Mears, are gonna rule Sunnydale and the world together after we're all dead...Will isn't buying your crap, Anne...And neither am I..."

She stepped over, looking at him almost gently...Still holding Buffy face...



Xander...

"My new boy, Warren Mears...?" she chuckled...And slapped him suddenly, viciously...

"Anne!..." William called... "Enough!..."

"Xander, I really should kill you for that one..." she went on, ignoring Will... "But..." she leaned to his ear...Whispering... "I'll leave it at this...I am Buffy...You knew it when you came to kill us and you know it now...You can't deny me and even she has to admit to it in the end...We are Buffy..."

But then...You oughta see Vallee, your demon, sometime, boy...she grinned...

"But maybe you will...Soon..."

Vallee...? Xander frowned...Oh, right...

God, I hate that middle name...

***

"Ok...I've done an official vengeance demon summons..." Amy looked at Anya who stared at her coldly... "So now...You have a choice, Anya..." she sighed at her...

"Either you can let me put you under for a bit...Or you can hear my wish...It's up to you which you think is the safer course for you..."

"But once you hear my wish...My vengeance wish...You're bound to it..." she noted...Anya glaring as Warren watched, with Dawn, who sat blankly on the Summers' living room sofa...

"Never hurts to have a leetle extra firepower for the team..." he smirked, as Anya pondered her options...It was true, after all...If Amy placed a formal wish for vengeance in her presence...

"Well?..." Amy stared... "A little nap?...Or do you wanna help me with Willow?..."

"Hey, let me try..." Warren grinned... "I gotta humdinger of a wish..."

"You haven't summoned me, Mears..." Anya sneered... "So take your wish and stuff it..."

She looked at the waiting Amy...Glancing at Dawn...

"If you let her hurt Dawn..." she smiled coldly... "I'll grant that wish I can feel right at the top of your mind..."

I'll give you your deathwish...As a freebie, no request required...she eyed the witch...Death...And then some...

Amy staring in turn... "Amy...." Warren's call pulling her back...She turned...

Startled a moment to see, somewhere, in his look...Behind the miffed annoyance at her delay...And her refusal to risk using Anyanka...The slightest...Plea...

Don't leave me...?

She smiled at him just a second...Well, if you really...Want me...The moment fading as quickly...

"Amy?...Enough already...Wish her to..." Warren began...

Anya grabbed at her... "If you make a wish, I'll twist it!...I'll make you both suffer, I swear!..."



Put me under...she sighed...

"Wish her to help us!..." Warren insisted...

"No...She's right, Warren...It's what these demons do..." Amy looked at him... "You know that as well as I do...We'd be foolish to try it..."

She waved her arms a bit and Anya rolled her eyes and collapsed...

"That should hold her for a bit..."

"You sure she's under...?"

"Yeah..."

"And...?" he eyed her...Amy nodding...Great, he beamed...Our lil' playlet worked...

La Vengeance didn't figure on this one...As if he, Warren Mears, weren't fully versed in demon lore...Well aware of the dangers of using vengeance demons...And hardly stupid enough to try one who was friend to his worst enemies...

"Anya...?" Amy asked quietly... "Can you hear me...?"

Yes...the crumpled Anya on the floor whispered, in deep sleep... I hear you...

"I'm a customer...Tell me about what you and Mr. Giles have in your shop...The magics..." Amy asked...

"We've a full selection...Can meet any needs..." Anya gave the full pitch...She'd always said she could do it in her sleep...

"Ask her about energy drainers..." Warren cut in...Amy hushing him...

"Do you carry anything capable of draining mystic energy...Something that stores mystic energy?..." she asked carefully...

"Yes..." Anya nodded... "Orbs of Callos...They'll store any kind of mystic power...On sale right now..."

"Where are they?...Anya...Can I see them?..."

"Back of the shop..." Anya feebly pointed... "I'll get them for you..."

"That's ok..." Amy gently told her... "Just tell me...Where?..."

***

Warren and Amy carefully guided Dawn to their car...Leaving a still unconscious Anya behind in the Summers' living room, courtesy Amy's spell...

Dawn sat blankly in the rear as Amy watched her...Sitting beside Warren...

Staring at the bandaged wrist Dawn had carefully covered with her other hand...

"Lets move..." Warren nodded to her...

"Time for us to pick up our partner and for you to start making Willow's day a bit rocky..."

Ok...Amy sighed...Key in the ignition...Hesitating...

He stared at her...



"What?..."

"Warren...I could release her...At least keep Anne from summoning her..." she indicated Dawn... "And help Buffy drive Anne back..."

And if I did that...The others, even Willow...Might...

"We murdered Buffy Summers, Amy..." Warren eyed her coldly... "You think her friends are gonna forget and forgive that...?"

"And we have a chance thanks to dear ole Anya the demon lady...If Anne and I can get into that shop and reach those orbs while you keep Willow busy..."

"Warren...Lets forget it...Screw Anne...Lets go...While we can..." she pleaded...Gently touching his arm... "I'll protect..."

He glared at her...You'll what?...

"Look, girlie...Warren Mears doesn't..." he paused...She smiling a bit wanly at him...

"All right..." he sighed... "All right...I do need your help, Amy..."

"But I haven't gone this far...Come this close...Put my life on the line...To wuss out now..."

You wanna get out and take your own chances...Fine...He waved at the door...

"Get out...If you want..." he eyed her...

"Anne was right about you...She knew you'd toss it in when things got hairy...I knew it too...So go on and get out..."

"Warren..."

Go...he glared...

"Or stay...But if you stay...You're in for the full monty...Make up your mind...Are you with me or no?..."

"I'll stay..." she sighed... "Willow...Or your Anne...Will kill me anyway sooner or later...But you're a fool, Warren..."

She suddenly kissed him...As he stared at her in surprise...

"There may not be time later..." she eyed him mournfully...And started the car...

***

A quietly thoughtful Anne greeted Warren, Amy, and Dawn as they entered Will's crypt...

"Hey, fellas..." she eyed the blankly-staring Dawn...As did William from his spot against the opposite wall...

Dawn...she eyed her sis...

"Go over to that slab and lie down...Go to sleep..."

Dawn went silently over and lay down...Asleep in an instant...

"She'll need to get used to it anyway..." Anne noted, smiling at Will...

Whose returned look was enough to leave even her a bit unnerved...

"I could have had her kill herself right in front of you, William..." Anne pointed out...

No need to get all hissy-cat...

He just stared at her...And glanced at Warren and Amy...

"Guess we're ready as we'll ever be..." Anne smiled at her partners...

"Did Anya put up much of a fight?...Poor Xander over there is freakin' out of his skull, I'm sure?..."

"She's fine, Xander...Just asleep in a temporary stasis field..." Amy looked over at him...He nodded briefly and turned away...

"Was she...Helpful?..." Anne looked at Warren...

"We got what we needed..." he nodded back... "The big display case, lower left shelf..."

Nice...She smiled... "Just about all the pieces in place..."

You ready...? she looked at Amy...

Yeah...the wiccan nodded, sadly...

"Like that enthusiasm, kiddo..." Anne grinned... "But try to keep it within bounds while you keep our Willow hoppin'..." she turned to Mears... "You ready...?" he nodded as she quickly grinned again at Amy...A sneer...

"Boyfriend?..." she finished, smiling at him...Starting for the entrance...

"Anne..." Amy called to her...

"If he gets hurt...You get hurt..." she told her...

Aw...Anne smirked, glancing at Warren...Smiling over to William who watched them...

"Ain't love grand?..." she sneered...

"I'll watch over lover boy...He's my partner too, sweetie..." she grinned...They headed out, Amy watching...

"She'll kill him, you know..." William eyed her quietly...

No...Amy shook her head...She won't...

"It's too much fun for her to leave him alive...Helpless...Once she deals with me..." she gently smiled at Will and waving her arms, vanished...

Outside, Anne carefully unfurling her umbrella, Warren stared at her...Well?...

"One of them will get free before we reach the shop, I'm sure..." Anne nodded... "So long as Amy does her bit properly...We'll have our chance..."

***

Deathwishes...Part XLIII...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...



Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...

Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLIII...

The slight nervousness Willow was at pains not to betray to Giles after she was unable to reach Anya at the Summers' or Xander outside Will's crypt was almost immediately overwhelmed by the shock and rage she experienced on seeing Amy materialize in front of them...

And as quickly, vanish...Though not before experiencing a wee bit of shock on her own part, seeing a Willow clearly contemplating a move...In the romantic department...On a rather unsuspecting Giles...As the two sat next to each other at the research table...

My God...Willow and Mr...Giles?...Amy thought, blinking at them...And she seems the one trying to get them...Going...?

Amy?...Willow looked at Giles...

Damn...Just when I'd finally worked up the nerve...Another moment and...

Whoa...! Amy!...

"Rupert...!...Amy, she's the one!..." she cried...

I mean in terms of killing our Buf...Not as my new love interest, Rupert...she thought...Quickly feeling for a tracking spell...Amy, that ungrateful...Worthless...Murderess...

Murderess...? the thought struck her even as she waved to teleport...

Like me...?

"Wait, Willow...!" Giles called...Too late as she vanished in turn...

***

"Well...Here we are...All on our lonesome at last..." Anne grinned at Warren as he drove Amy's car towards the shop...She keeping herself carefully covered against the afternoon sun...

"Kinda like our first date, sorta..." she chuckled at him as he glanced at her...

C'mon Mearsy...she beamed at him... "Don't tell me you ain't loving the idea...You finally getting Buffy Summers'...Her bod at least...To workin' with you..."

"It was what you had in mind all along with this little transformation scheme, after all...Wasn't it?...You could've just killed me...Buffy, anyway...When we were unconscious the other night..."

You wanted it all...she teased...Not just Buffy dead...But a Buffy...Or at least an Anne...Who'd give you the time of day...Or night at least...

"We got things to do Anne...This isn't the time to start trying to psych me out..." he replied, watching the road...

"I'm hurt, partner..." she sneered... "And here I was...Thinkin' ya did this all for love..."



"I'm not an idiot, Anne...I know what you're trying to do..." he glanced at her a second... "I know you're...Married, if you like...Cicely..."

She eyed him...

"You're the one doing this for love...Mrs. Walthrop..." he continued... "For love of your William, that is..."

"In fact...I'm dealing with all three of you, aren't I?...Buffy...and two Brits...One demon...Workin' together...?" he gave another quick glance...

She smiled thinly and nodded...Not bad...On the ball there, Mearsy...

"Right enough, mate..." she smiled, a phony Cockney... "My "sisters" and I do have our own little partnership going for now...And I was in with Cicely from the beginning, back in England...I'm bloody impressed, Mearsy..."

"I'm not so big a fool as you and your "sis" Buffy thought..." he looked out on the road, turning into Main St... "So you may as well can the games regards Amy and me..."

"Sorry..." she grinned... "Can't help doing what comes naturally...Especially to a guy like you, Mearsy...But you oughta know...Whatever else I am...I am a demon...And we hate competition in the pride..."

And there's always room for a few spare mates...I was thinkin' of including Xander as well as you and maybe my dear Giles and even my ole army buddy, Mr. Riley Finn...

Uh-huh...

"What do you really want from Amy and me, Anne?..." he asked...Keeping eyes on the road as traffic thickened on Main...

William?...he suggested as she stared out at the traffic, silent...

"We might still be able to do it for you...Amy anyway...And leave your sisters choking on your dust..."

"He wouldn't..." Anne blurted suddenly...

Warren grinned now...Ah, honesty at last...

"If there was a way...?...If you could twist things to your advantage?..." he paused... "Of course any plans you have with the soul sisters for getting the better of us would have to go in the can...But we were always expecting you to cross us, you know..."

She blinked at him...

"Being on the lam has improved you, Warren...But...William would never... "

"Suppose...He...And everyone else...Thought you were the real Buffy..." she glared at him suddenly..."Sorry...The souled Buffy, I mean...You have her memories, right?...You could play her....And Cicely...In a pinch...?"

What?...

"Lets hole up a mo...Amy should be able to give us a good half-hour with Willow not supercharged and all..." he turned into a open parking spot, about two blocks from the Magic Box on Main...

"William...Would know...They'd all know..." she began, looking at him...This was a turn of events she hadn't quite... "He knew before...Almost right away..."

"You're already partially transformed...The souls and demon are all present, it's just a matter of which one dominates..." he noted...And if Amy and I could make it seem that Buffy was dominant again...



"And...Even if that could be done well enough..." Anne stared at him...A vague, formless hope taking hold in spite of herself..."How'd I explain why I let you two get away?...Presuming, unlike your lady friend, you have a desire to go on living?..."

"Let?..." he smiled... "Hardly...We get away only after a ferocious battle...And your vowing of an eternal quest to find us and bring us to justice..."

A quest, sadly...Never to be fulfilled...he shook his head...You and your William...And any surviving friends, having to flee Sunnydale to escape our power, once we take control here...

"After all...With poor Willow no longer in a position to fight us and your friend Mr. Giles' magics in our possession..." he sighed... "You guys will have no way of fighting us for quite a while...If ever..."

"William would know..." she looked at him...But something in her eyes- grasping, desperate...

"You are Buffy, aren't you?...In a part-vamp body?...And he knows Anne's there, just below the surface..." he smiled at her... "So what's there to know...?"

"I tried to fool them before...He knew..." she sighed...

"Amy can cover you...And provide the explanation for your...Buffy's...Escape from Anne's control..."

"You...Amy...Really could do it?...Make them believe?..." she paused...

I could...Stay?...As Buffy...she eyed him...

"Buffy in a part-vamp body..." he nodded... "You couldn't let them cure you, naturally...But then, without Willow's ability...How could they?..."

Of course, making them believe you're Buffy's dear soul is your job...he noted...

"But I have faith in your acting ability...And after all...You do love him...Maybe all of them...?" he smiled... "In your own vicious little way..."

"You're lying..." she stared out the car window at couples passing along the sidewalk...In this body, I could even go out...There...she thought...

William with me...By night, anyway...Not me watching while they have him...Me...Anne, who saved him...Who loves him more than those cowardly, gutless, duty-bound human bitches could ever imagine...

"We can do it, Anne...We can mask you...And if you can give them a reason for believing you're their Buffy soul, back in the saddle..."

And give an Oscar-caliber performance as Ms. Buffy-Cicely Summers-Walthrop, tormented part-vamp Slayer, but ever-loving wife, mother-sis, and friend...

"At least until you get bored with your little family...And start a killing spree..."

"How could I ever...Even if you masked me...?"

"Well...There is a way to restore a soul to control in a vamp body, right?..." Warren grinned at her...

A way good ole Willow is probably trying to convert for you right now...

"The way your old boyfriend, Angelus?...was restored?..."

Angel...If you mean the soul...she corrected...And the spell didn't leave Angelus behind in the body...



How?...she stared at him...

"Angelus had quite a rep in the underworld...His reappearances and re-exiling raised quite a stir...And as your name came up, Buffy...I naturally was interested..."

Though, to be honest, it was good ole Jonathan who was fascinated by the whole thing...But I remembered it...

"Amy and I have spent a little time going over what info there is on it..." he smiled...

***

At William's crypt...Anne's faith in her friends and lover were...Albeit slowly...Proving justified...

"Clem?..." William called to him... "Any luck?..."

A littttle...More...Clem groaned...Tugging at his loosened skin...

"Careful..." Xander eyed the smeared blood on his friend's wrist...

"Just a little..." the demon gave a quiet look over to the heavily sleeping Dawn... "Mooore...Uh..."

His hand...And a hefty patch of loose, bloodied skin...Slipped out of a handcuff...

"Got it..." he sighed...Stretching his arm and hand out towards the little table where Buffy and Will had eaten their first full meal together in a century...And grabbing a knife...

Will staring at the torn, hanging skin...

"No problem..." Clem looked at the wound... "Smarts a little, heals like that..." he lied...Starting to unwrap chain from his chest...While handing the knife to Xander who began picking at his handcuff lock...

"Thanks, old fellow..." William nodded...

"Of course, you understand...I'll have to speak to the Missus regarding who she'll allow our Amelia-Dawn to date..." he grinned...

***

"This...?" Anne looked at the charm...Warren nodded...

"It's a simple reflexive charm...But it will do the job, thanks to your souls already being present...The curse will be deflected harmlessly and your demon essence will be masked by its reflection of the souls' presence...Not even a vamp will be able to sense you, so long as you wear it and the curse is maintained..."

"Willow's naturally not gonna use the curse unless there's no other way...But if she felt she had to use it in some form...And if dear restored soul-in-part-vamp Buffy then saved her from the foul Warren and Amy..." Warren smiled...

"I thought you wanted Willow dead...?" Anne stared at him... "You're ready to let her live?...Come after you...?"

"Once she storms in...And she "saves" you just as the dreadful Anne is about to kill her or your dear Watcher...We hit her with the orbs...She drains...And while drained, Amy blocks her power off...Permanently..."

And who cares if little Willow Rosenberg lives once she's powerless...he grinned...

"You save her from us...Heck, save em all if you want...Take em out of town to safety...And we take over..."

"Giles would have the Council counterattack..." she eyed him... "Even if Willow couldn't...They'd never abandon the Hellmouth to you two..."

Council, smouncil...Mears waved a hand...Without Willow's power, they wouldn't stand a chance once we tap the Hellmouth...

"They'd check me..."

"And find two souls and a demon cohabiting...The demon held down by a special curse..."

"They're not fools, Warren...And the Council's got more strengths than either of us imagines, I'm sure..."

"My, my..." he shook his head... "Amy made me hold back this part until now in case you seemed reluctant and ready to go running to Willow, but I expected more courage and daring than this from Buffy Summers' demon...Do you want a crack at your William's love...For all time...or no?...Are you the true Mrs. Walthrop?...Or is Buffy-Cicely...?"

Once you get there, how long you last as beloved Buffy is up to you...But we can give you the chance...he beamed...

Admit it, Annie girl...he grinned... "You're liking it...And it is better than the "raid-and-try-to-kill-Willow" thing you thought we had in mind..."

She stared at him....

"Amy didn't seem to have much faith in your scheme...Though it's true, I didn't realize it was quite as elaborate as this..."

"Amy's sensible as she is suicidal...She sees the holes and the half-empty glass...Like your William...And she's right, we may very well lose it all...But that's why we...You and me, Anne...Are essential...We're the daring ones...But she'll come through for us...I know she can do it..."

Anne looked at her hands, thinking...

Who'd of thought...Caught by surprise by Warren Mears' plan...But then, his schemes had been improving of late...

"Well?...Mrs. Walthrop?..." he eyed her... "Ready to turn over a new leaf as the restored champion of good...?...And win back your William's love?...Or maybe you should just go back to Hell and let us duke it out with your sisters and Ms. Rosenberg?"

***

Deathwishes...Part XLIV...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...

Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLIV...

The phone rang in the Magic Box...Giles, buried in a book of tracking spells, with two mystic energy orbs on the research table in front of him, paused to grab it...



"Giles?..." Xander's voice... "Amy is..."

"We know Xander, Amy was here just now...Willow left in pursuit of her...Where are you?"

"Just by Will's cemetery...Anne and her partners grabbed us, I'm afraid...But Clem got us free after they left...And Dawn is safe with Will..."

Giles...he paused...

"It's Warren...He's alive...He did this..."

Mears?...Giles gasped...Alive?...

"Willow killed a clone, Amy helped him...Has been helping him...And Anne may be working with him...Or at least playing along with them..."

"Yes...We know...We believe...Well, save that for now...What do you and William propose to do?"

"Warren and Anne are coming for you, Giles...They want the stuff at the shop...They're hoping to use it against Willow...Amy must be trying to pull her away for them..."

And has succeeded, I'm afraid...Giles sighed...

"You've got to hold them off, Giles...Til we can get to you..."

"Xander?...Anya?..."

"Amy said she was ok, just unconscious at Buffy's...But..."

"I see...Go there first, Xander...I'll do what I can here...Though I'm not sure what they could be after here...I may be able to block Anne's entry here..."

"As for our dear Mr. Mears...I relish the pleasure of meeting him..."

"Well...Will's coming to you straight with Clem via the ole Spikemobile...I'll come soon as I can, though I don't think Amy was lying about An...I doubt she could kill her if she wanted to..."

"Can William make it to the car?"

"Clem will get him there...Besides..." A wan chuckle... "If we tried to stop him, the loving husband here would knock us silly and come anyway...In fact..." he waved hastily at the figures racing by...One covered in blankets and coat...

"They're on their way..."

"All right...I'd best get to it..."

"Willow's..." Xander choked a bit... "She's free, Giles...She didn't kill him..."

Yes...A pause... "It's wonderful, Xander...But...You do realize...She still knows she was capable of it..."

Yeah...A sigh... "But she knows now...Even Buffy is capable of it..." A pause... "I'd better let you go and head out myself...They've just pulled out...Good luck, Giles..."

"You, too..." he hung up...

Hmmn...Giles eyed the orbs...Well, no point in tracking her now...Teleportation will have to wait...



Oh, Willow...My headstrong Willow...God keep her safe, poor darling...

Well...A barrier spell is called for...And with these orbs to power it...Anne will be spending a fruitless day outside...he pulled another book to his side...Thumbing carefully...

In fact...he mused...These Callos orbs might be just what I need for Amy...

As for Warren Mears...He smiled to himself grimly...Tormentor of my Willow...Murderer of my Buffy, the only "daughter" I will ever have...

That pathetic, loathsome thing is going to be wishing for an easy death by flaying when I've finished with him...

"Excuse me...?" the sole customer at the front of the shop...Damn fool couldn't see the "Closed, Come Again" sign?...

"A moment, miss..." he called... Starting the chant...

Just in time, he realized...As a figure...Or two...? Appeared now at the door...Anne...And presumably, Warren...

He raced on through the spell...

"Hey, Giles..." Anne called, as Warren opened the door...

Arggh...She fell back, mild half-demon face appearing...And tried again, furious...As Warren stepped inside...

The door suddenly jerked from his grasp and slammed shut...Anne pounding on it from outside...

"Giles!!!..." she hollered...

Ummn...The customer stared at the two men...Glaring at each other...

"I'll be..." she nervously moved towards the door...Whoops, shrieking maniac just outside...

"I'm just gonna look at the books here a bit..." she noted...

"Welcome...Mr. Warren Mears, I presume?..." Giles stared...

"Rupert...Giles...?" Warren attempted the pose of a Fearless Leader...A nervous grin...

"I see you took care of my partner pretty easily..." he indicated Anne, now carefully watching as she stood outside, clearly waiting for any chance to enter...Via her partner or perhaps grabbing the next clueless customer...

"But you might as well not try anything with me...I'm magics protected..." he waved a charm...

"Indeed..." Giles eyed him...

Even better...he moved on the murderer of his "daughter"...On him even before Amy, disguised, could whirl from the books she'd been looking through to face him...

"Let him go, Giles!..." she hollered...Waving to reveal herself...

He stared, holding Mears firmly in a vise grip...Warren making feeble efforts to twist free...

"Amy?..."

"Willow's chasing a shadow, I'm afraid, Giles..." she smiled faintly... "Guess I've improved a bit since you guys last saw me..."

"Improved...Is hardly the word I'd use Amy..." Giles stared at her...Tightening his hold on Mears...



She shrugged...And her eyes darkened...

"Don't make me hurt you, Giles...Let him go...Please..."

Anne looked in through a door window...Waiting...

He released Mears...Who staggered over to Amy, gasping...

"I'm sorry, Giles..." Amy shook her head... "I could wish things had turned out differently...But you people all abandoned me when I needed you..."

"Is that a worthy motive for murdering the woman who saved your life...? For helping this..." he eyed the still-gasping Warren...

"We...'re...Not here...To argue...Pal..." Mears choked out, stumbling to a chair... "Just do...Like we ask...Or lil' Dawny joins her sis...In an...alternate lifestyle..."

"I will leave you to William, Mears..." Giles nodded at him... "He deserves to have you to himself...But, Amy...I warn you...You will not leave this place alive if you don't surrender right now and raise the spell you blocked our exorcism with..."

"I'm still up and running Giles...I don't see anything to indicate you've got something to stop me..." she replied...

"Dawn is quite safe for the moment...William is on his way...And Willow will be back as soon as she catches on to your little game, Amy..." Giles took a careful stance...

"And I am not without some "protections" myself..."

Warren looked up at Amy...Who nodded...

"We figured you'd have some personal defense..." she smiled at Giles... "But wherever Dawn is, Anne still has a hold on her..."

"Anne?!..." she called to the door... "Can you feel Dawn?..."

Outside, carefully holding her umbrella while attempting a nonchalant, causal shopper stare in the windows for the few passers-by, Anne gave a brief nod...

"She's at risk so long as Anne has that hold, Giles..." Amy looked at him...An unconscious hand out to the sitting Warren...

"As is your friend, there..." Giles gave a slight wave, Warren darting eyes nervously...Huh?...As his chair upended...

"Stop!!..." she hollered...Eyes black...A wave, and Giles was hurled back...

"You haven't the power on hand, Giles...Don't try it...!" she called as he stumbled to his feet...

"Anyway..." she calmed, watching him as he came back towards them... "What we want is very simple...Let Anne in and you go out..."

"No...To both..." he said quietly... "You've made a serious mistake coming here, girl...You're on my territory now..."

"Get him out of here...! Now!!..." Mears called...

"I can't magics him out...But I can hurt you, Giles..." she frowned... "So tell Anne to come in...And leave while you can...We'll take our chances with Willow when she comes..."

Yeah...Warren nodded... A fair fight...Wiccan and half-vamp to super-Wiccan...

"I can imagine your idea of a "fair fight", Mr. Mears..." Giles moved position a bit, Amy watching...

"And I think I can hold on until Willow returns, thanks for your concern, Amy..."

He waved again and the orbs on his desk suddenly flared up, flaming bright...

"Were these what you were hoping to find here?..." he called pleasantly...

***

"Welcome to Seattle..." the sign proclaimed...Willow staring up from the asphalt road she'd materialized on...Whoa!...She dodged a huge truck zipping up from behind and raced for the safety of the highway median...

"So...Willow..." Amy called from behind, Willow spinning round... "Nice we arrived on the one sunny day, huh...?" And vanished...

***

Neat car...Thought the young man fleeing for dear life as the Spikemobile nearly plowed him down on Main Street...Now five blocks from the Box...

Odd with that painted windshield and all...

***

"An...?" Xander raced over to Anya, prone on the Summers' couch...Her eyelids fluttering as he shook her...Kneeling beside her...

Sleeping Beauty, the image popped into his mind...She mumbled slightly in her sleep...

Well, why not?...He kissed her...No effect, except that she turned slightly and put out a hand...

And suddenly, began singing in a low, mumbley voice... "Mr. Xander Harris...That's the name he carries with pride..."

Lately I'm just Anya...she murmured...

"No...Baby, no..." he patted her... "Never just Anya...Love of my life...If only I were worthy of you..."

Hmmn...? He stared at her...There was one thing that might catch her attention, even subconsciously...

Worth a try...And he was kneeling, after all...He took her hand...

"Ms. Jenkins...?...I know I've been a fool and something of a coward...But I love you more than I can ever say...And if you could find it in your heart..." he began...

She opened her eyes, blinking...Xander?...

"An...Thank God..." he patted her, starting to rise... "We've gotta get..."

"Hey?..." she pulled at him... "Weren't you about to ask me something...?"

He stared back...

"Yeah..." he smiled...Kneeling again...

***

Back at the crypt, Clem watched the fitfully sleeping Dawn...Her hand still firmly clutching the stake in her pocket that Anne had made her take...



"Been so long since I let myself care about any mortal, God..." he prayed...Standing over her... "They live such short lives...Like the little butterflies...But I care about this one...And her sister...And my poor friend William..."

I wasn't a bad fellow in life...Never consciously did harm...And I haven't complained 'bout how things worked out for me...But I don't think it would be too much to ask for you to spare this little one...Please...

He gently pulled at her arm, carefully moving to the clenched fist...

"I'm so sorry Dawny...Please forgive me..." he pried at the fist, a slight groan from Dawn as she struggled...

He gave a desperate wrench, a cry from Dawn...The stake came loose...At the cost of at least one broken finger, he realized, staring at her poor hand as she moaned in her sleep...

He felt a slight touch of cold...Like a faint breeze...and turned...To see the little boy who'd choked at the sight of him in his clown suit, so long ago, staring at him...Nodding and smiling as he faded out...

He stared at the spot for a moment and sat down beside the murmuring Dawn...

***

Deathwishes...Part XLV...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...

Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLV...

Cold...Willow's first impression...As she materialized on what appeared to be a mountain summit, snow-capped...

Cold...And Whoa!...Slippery...As she found herself sliding down towards a ledge...

"Welcome to Mount Rainier...!" Amy called as Willow slid past...Desperately grabbing for anything solid...

***

Hmmn...Anne stared into the shop as she waited...Having covered her eyes from the blinding flash of the orbs of Callos Giles had just activated...

Things don't look so good for my partners...As Giles came over to them...Clearly having done something to gain the upper hand...He grabbed Warren, forcing an arm back as Amy stood, clearly unable to intervene magically...

Warren and his bright ideas...She watched as Giles "persuaded" the idiot human partners to sit and allow him to begin tying them up...

Lovely...She pondered her options...Try summoning Dawn?...A threat to her life?...Or just turn and make tracks for...?



A squeal of brakes as the Spikemobile pulled up...

She calmly sauntered over and opened the unlocked driver's door... "Hey, honey..." she grinned into the open car as a somewhat unprotected William eyed her from the safety of the dark interior...

She turned serious, seeing the sunlight reflecting in spots into the car... "Be careful, William...Didn't you bring any cover at all?...What the hell were you thinking?..."

"I was thinking of my child and my wife..." he eyed her...A bit ruefully...

Might have been well to wait for ole Clem at that...But in the heat of the moment, foot had hit pedal, pedal, metal...

"Dawn's ok for now...And we sisters three are holdin' up..." she grinned... "But thanks for caring, baby..."

Looks like my guys have got things well in hand in there...she hooked a thumb at the door of the shop...

"Really?..." he replied drily... "A little rude of 'em to leave you out here...Or are you taking the first watch on guard?"

Eh...She waved a hand...Giles put up a good barrier...Amy needs a little time...

"Then should I assume you are not keeping your word to me, Anne?...That I can't count on you?..." he stared at her...

"Time will tell, Will..." Hi...she nodded to a passer-by... "And I don't remember ever spelling any promises of good behavior out in so many words..." she smiled to him...Whirling to grab the passing woman's arm so quickly she had no time to shout...And dragging her more or less out of sight by the open car door...

"Anne?...Let her go!..." The young woman struggled helplessly...As Anne quickly sank her fangs in...

"No!..." she looked up, dropping the girl and racing to the door as Will started out of the car... "No, Will!...I'm not killin' her...Just a little for control..." she shoved at him... "You'll burn, Will!...Stop it!...Stop!..."

"I've had enough, Anne...!" he threw her back...And started to climb out, smoldering...

"No!!..." she screamed, as she leapt on him...

***

Inside the shop, Giles confronted Warren and a now powerless Amy...Bound in the chairs he'd waved them to after using the orbs to drain her...

"This game is over, Mears..." he began...Anne's scream drawing his attention to the scene outside...He raced to the door...

"Giles!!!!..." Anne screamed... "Don't let him burn!!..." her victim, the young woman now trying wanly to help cover both him and her mistress...Anne having lost her umbrella in the confusion the strong mid-day sun was quickly searing her rather sensitive skin red as well...

He opened the door and grabbed at the smouldering Will, tossing him inside...

"Come in, Anne...!" he pulled at her...The young woman struggling to follow, he tossed her back and shut the door...Locking it as the girl feebly pounded and rattled the doorknob...

He patted down the few flames which had started on Will as the vampire moaned on the floor...

"Is he alright?!...Giles?!" Anne cried...

A foolish mistake, he realized...I could have left her outside...She'd survive, half-vamp as she is...A trick?...



And yet...Her desperate concern left no doubt...She made her way over to Will, clearly in some pain herself, half-vamp or no...And knelt by him...

"Get some water!...Please..." she turned to Giles...Who went over to a water cooler, reviewing what he had on hand for restraining a vampire as he hurried...Pausing just a second by a table stand...

"He'll be alright..." she sighed...A wan smile up at her Watcher as she took the cup and water-soaked cloth with thanks...

"My Victorian hero..." she shook her head...Putting the cup to William's lips...Raising his head gently...He sagged back...

"So..." she smiled again up at Giles... "We gonna have our turn to fight it out...?" she eyed the bound Amy and Warren...

"Odds lookin' to be in your favor... For the mo..." she grinned...

"I don't want to fight you, Anne..." he sighed...

But I will do what's necessary...he raised a squirt gun...Holy water, no doubt...

"With all the magics energy drained out in here, you'll need more than that, Giles..." she told him, almost gently, as she rose...William now unconscious from pain on the floor...

***

Amy can't have this much power...Willow sighed as she waved hands frantically to part the Mexico City traffic bearing down on her...

This is some kind of...Amy popped in front of her... "Bueno, Willow...See ya..." she vanished...But not, this time, before Willow could put out a capture spell which failed to slow her departure...

An illusion...No doubt about it...Though a very classy job, I must admit, she thought...

Whoa!...The shop!...Giles!...That's what they're after...A direct assault on us...And here I am, letting myself be dragged around the continent...she waved arms and vanished...

If she hurts my Rupert...

Whoa!...My...?

***



"Hey, Wil..." Anne beamed at her as the wiccan materialized in the center of the Box...

Holy Mother of God!...And ya know....Willow thought as she stared...At a living Warren Mears, bound securely in a chair next to Amy's...

Yo...Warren gave a little grin...Disaster might be looming for the Fearless Leader of the old and new Trios but he'd have his lil' carping session...

"Hold it!..." Anne indicated Giles, held in the grip of the young victim she'd just let in the shop...Standing beside her...

She took Giles in her own grip as Willow watched, pondering...

William on the floor, bound as well...The girl turning to cover him with a stake Anne'd given her...

"Dawn was supposed to be our hostage but as she can't be here..." Anne grinned at Giles...

"Well, Wil...You wanna threaten to kill my partners or do we skip the nonsense?..." she continued, smiling at Amy and Warren...

'Cause you know demons aren't likely to shed many tears over human partners...

"What do you want, Anne?" Willow eyed her...

Whatcha got?...she grinned back...

"Cause I want it all..."

"Anne...I think you've been trying to help...At least help William...And even Dawn, in your twisted way...All you gotta do now is let Giles go and let me take care of Warren and Amy..."

And me?...Anne smiled... "No...I don't think so...I want some better return for my efforts..."

"Anne...I can kill you...And your little helpers here..." Willow waved at the bound Warren and Amy... "Easily..."

"But you won't..." Anne shrugged... "Not while sweet Buffy's around, ready to take her much abused body back..."

"Buffy would understand if I have to kill her as well as you..."

Would she...? Anne grinned...

"You might be surprised what Buffy understands...And what she is up to, Ms. Rosenberg..."

"You're all working together...You, Cicely, Buffy...We know that..." Willow nodded...

And Buffy...she paused... I understand...You're trying to save him...We all understand...Dawn will, too...

"But you have to help me now...And drive Anne back...We've got Warren and Amy, it's time for you...And Cicely...to come back..."

Anne chuckled a bit...

"You've "got" Amy and Warren, eh...? Like you got Warren last time?...God, damn you Willow I'm dead cause you failed to "get" him..."

"No, Willow..." Giles called... "Don't listen to her..."

William stirred on the floor, twisting a bit...

"Anyway, Willow..." Anne smiled... "You're right...There's not gonna be a fight...You waited a mite too long...You're nearly out of energy after teleporting all round the world chasing her shadow...And the orbs have been sucking your remaining power, at a lower rate...Magics ain't gonna work here now and you can't stop me by powering up..."

Amy figured things very closely...she nodded at her partner...

"So...Now...I'm gonna take my partners...William...These very useful orbs..." she pointed... "And Giles...As a little extra insurance...And go..."

"No..." Willow shook her head... "This stops here, Annie..."

Ah...Anne grinned... So then it's my turn to kick every square inch of your butt, then?...

"But bein' short on time, I think I'll just vamp you..." she shoved Giles aside and hurled herself at Willow...Who dodged and tried to send out an energy wave...It was true...Nearly running on empty...



Anne pulled up...Grinned and charged again, as William struggled to rise from the floor...And Willow desperately waved arms...Chanting...

Anne staggered, halting...

Staring...

"Willow?...Giles..."

"Buffy...?" Giles looked at her...Then Willow, shaken, who nodded...

"Buffy..." she sighed... "I'm so sorry...I had no choice..."

Will sat up, groaning...Buffy turning to him...Amy and Warren staring glumly...

"William..." she went over... "Are you ok?..."

Been worse...he sighed...

"The curse...?" Giles looked at Willow...She nodded...

"I didn't want to use it...But I was almost out of power..."

"It's alright, Wil...I understand..." Buffy murmured as she helped William to a chair... "But..."

Warren eyed Amy carefully...Stand-by...If all went like I...

"I think Warren's lookin' for this..." Buffy pulled the reflexive charm from her neck and tossed it to Willow, a quick glance at Mears... "He gave it to Anne, it was supposed to block things and mask her when you used the curse, I think..."

The faint smirk on Mears' face faded abruptly...

"Cute..." Willow held it up... "So you were ready for my flaying and the curse, too, eh Warren?...Always thinkin' ahead is our lil' chief nerd murderer..."

Sorry, Warren...Buffy eyed him briefly...Anne and us had a deal first...

"Guess you'll hafta settle for murdering me..." she turned away to Giles...

"Giles, is there any ointment?...You have a first-aid kit?..." she turned to him...He nodded and got up...As she looked at Willow, indicating Anne's victim, the young woman still standing, dazedly awaiting orders...Willow nodded and gently led the girl to a chair, Buffy smiling at her to indicate the mistress' approval...

Not too bad...Willow noted as she moved back...She'll be ok in a few hours...Buffy nodding gratefully...

Warren?...Amy hissed...If they take us out...

Wait...he hissed back...

"Don't let them get outside the room..." Will spoke up, wincing a little at the effort... "Amy's hoping to make a break if she can get away from the orbs..."

We won't...Willow nodded... "Not while she's conscious anyway..."

Giles returned from the back of the shop, first-aid kit in hand...Handing it to Buffy by William...Thanks...She opened it as he moved back to Willow...



"Willow?..." Buffy looked over at her, pausing... "Dawn?..."

"I think we can help her, Buffy...I'll have Xander bring her over..."

"Clem with her?..." she turned to William, who nodded...Eyeing her carefully as she began applying cream to his burns...

Giles staring at her as well... "William?..." he looked at him...

"Hard to say...They're all there, but it is the souls who are dominant now...Well as I can tell..."

"Shouldn't the curse have driven Anne out?..." he eyed Willow...

"Not strictly speaking, Will..." she shook her head... "The demon essence is as much a part of us as the soul...The leaving is voluntary...The curse restores the soul and our dear Angelus couldn't bear hangin' under the thumb of the soul boy...Anne, well..."

She likes being with you...Even if she can't run the show...Buffy finished...A weak smile...Sorry...she winced as he groaned as she applied more cream...

"And...Anne?...She let you have control back...? Even with that charm of Mears' to help her out...?"

"She knew you wouldn't be fooled..." Buffy replied...Looking him full in the eyes...

"I think...With all due apologies, my dear..." Giles sighed at her, she nodding..."We'd do well to be cautious..."

"I'm still a half-vamp in any case...I wouldn't take any chances..." Buffy gave him a weary smile...

"And it really is ok, Willow..." she smiled over at her...

However it turns out...I want to be here...With my husband and my family...All of you...

"But it's Dawn I'm worried about now...My daylight and feeding problems can sit...Giles, can you guys do anything...?"

Leaving out the staking me, for now...she grinned faintly...

***



Xander arrived with an exhausted but quietly joyful...Re-engaged...Anya...A few minutes later...Clem on the way with Dawn...he reported...

A bit concerned regards his ole pal who nearly ran him down with his car on leaving...he grinned over at Will, lying on the floor under Buffy's careful eye...

Anya joined Giles and Willow near Will and Buffy...

"Yeah..." she nodded in response to Giles' question...After carefully feeling out Buffy's aura...

"William's right...Buffy is back in control..."

But...She eyed Buffy... "The charm did work...The curse was blocked off...You don't have to worry about it..."

"What?..." Willow stared...

"Anne's allowed herself to be pushed down...She deliberately backed off..." Anya looked at Buffy..."And I'd recommend you block her off when you get the chance...The door is open for her yet..."

"It might be best to move the orbs and Amy to the store room..." Giles noted... "We can shield Willow in here and she can do the blocking spell..."

"So I can be happy, eh...? Phew..." Buffy grinned... "I mean just in case I get stuck in an Immortal body...And an Immortal relationship..." she patted Will beside her...

"Why did Anne give up so easily...?" William looked up at her... "She could have tried and brazened it out...Mears' little charm worked, if Anya's right..."

"A practical girl is my dark half..." Buffy shrugged... "She knew you'd know Will...And backing off this way...I think..." He nodded...

"Tell her I appreciate it...Though I can't forgive what she did to Amelia..." he stared at her...A hard edge in his voice...But, as always, she noted to herself...The kindness in the eyes...

She stared back...Looking...

"Thanks..." she looked away at the wall...

Well...Willow came to Giles, now looking over Warren and Amy...She ignoring the prisoners...He turned to her...

"I guess I won't be having a date with the Sunnydale PD after all..." she grinned slightly...

Warren suddenly whipped an arm loose, gun in hand...

"Nothing like good ole Science...And a little Houdini escape trick knowledge...To get one out of a tough corner..." he leered...

You always underestimated me, Ms. Rosenberg...he grinned up at Willow, waving her and Giles back...

"I should have known..." Buffy glared at him...Rising from where she knelt by William...

"You think I won't shoot you...Again, babe?..." Warren smiled at her...

"Bulletproof, Warren...Thanks to you...Remember...?" she moved towards him...

"Warren..." Amy called to him from her chair...

"Your friends aren't Ms. Summers..." he indicated the others... "And I would imagine your half-vamp body is leetle more sensitive to lead poisoning than dear ole Spike's is..."

"But lets not make this messier than it needs to be..." he pointed to the door... "Take your boyfriend and Mr. Giles and leave Ms. R and us to our lonesome for a bit..."

Amy needs to eliminate a potential rival in the art of magic...he grinned...Moving to Amy...

Buffy looked at Willow...

"Oh, not fatally...She's just gonna block her power off once she charges up a bit in the other room...We can't have super-Willow interfering with us anymore..." he smiled at her...

"And considering what she tried to do to me last year...I call that generous..." he pulled a bit at Amy's ropes, loosening them...

The others held their ground...Buffy clearly tensing...

"This is not a negotiation, lady..." he waved the gun... "And your lil' sis is on the way...Your "daughter", in fact, right?..." he gave a smirk...Amy, loose now, watching Buffy carefully...



"You wouldn't want to have me finish Anne's transformation by pumping a couple of bullets in her?..."

"I'm going to hurt you, Warren..." Buffy replied quietly... "I...We've...Had enough of you...And this time we are gonna hurt you like you hurt me...And my family..."

"Ok..." he nodded, moved the gun, and fired at Giles' arm...Striking him...The Watcher staggered...William tried to get up...Willow raced to Giles...Black rage on her face, trying to summon any dregs of powers she could...Nothing...

Warren tossed the remote for the chip to Amy who moved beside him... "Don't William..." she called to him as he tried to stand...Buffy turning to him...Willow looked at Buffy...

"You want us to fry his brain?!...I've told you we're willing to keep this polite...Now back off, take your Watcher and your honey while you still can...And get out!..." Warren raged at Buffy...Who stared at him...

"Get out?..." she grinned... "Why partner?...You'd cut me out of the action after all I've done for you...?"

***

Deathwishes...Part XLVI...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...

Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLVI...

The Magic Box...Mid-afternoon...

Anne grinned at Warren as he covered the gang...Giles, Willow, William on the floor badly burned, Xander and Anya just behind them...With his pistol, Amy beside him...

A confused and enthralled young woman, Anne's latest victim, watching dazedly from a chair...Awaiting orders or transformation...

"Nicely done..." Warren grinned back... "Anne..."

She gave a mock bow...As William rose to his feet, furious...

"William!..." she turned... "Stop!..."

Amy waving the remote for his chip...He paused...Turning back to Anya...

"It was her, Will..." she replied, shaking her head... "It was Buffy..."

" 'Deed it was...I gotta give the credit for this one to sis..." Anne nodded... "And she was quite right, Will...I never thought I could fool you, so we let her have the stage..."



For a mo or two...

Will stared at her...

"Guys..." she shook her head at Giles and Willow, Willow bandaging the Watcher's bleeding hand with material from the first-aid...

"Ya really should have picked up the pace there...Anya did warn you that I was still hangin'..."

"Get out of here, Amy..." William suddenly spoke up, startling her... "Mears, you and your girl had best vamoose...Now, while you can...Go..."

Warren burst into chuckling laughter... "Are you kidding, blondie...?" he smirked, waving the gun...

"We've won...And you and your pals are the only ones leaving...While you can..."

Get 'em out...he looked at Anne...

"Excepting our dear Willow, naturally..."

She smiled, turning to her enthralled assistant, who wanly came over to Giles...

"Don't make me have the poor kid hurt you, Giles..." Anne looked at him...

Sorry, Willow...she eyed her...

"You're stayin'..." The girl pulled Giles away, over to Xander and Anya...

"Mears!!..." William cried... "I don't give a damn about you or Amy...But for my wife's sake...I'm telling you to get out now!...Don't be a fool...She's not helping you!"

Giles stared now at Anne...Then William...

"Some people just don't lose well, eh, Warren...?" Anne grinned...

"Xander..." she called to him as he watched with Anya... "Take Giles and Anya out...William and Willow will be alright..."

Anya can't act against me, Xander...Not in here...she noted...

"Amy..." Giles looked at her as she stood by Mears...

"Will is right...Get out of here..."

"Gee..." Warren smirked again... "All this concern for us is touching...But we can deal with our friend and if you don't get out... Now...I'll start removing you permanently..."

"Take the orbs and our super-witch into the storeroom..." he turned to Anne...

"When Amy's ready she'll come and block Willow..."

Cool...Anne smiled...Lifting the orbs off the table gently...She paused...

"William?..." she eyed Mears...

"No brain fryin'...You got that Warren?..."

"If he stays put..." Warren shrugged... "If he starts something...Or if you get any ideas..."

"I resent that...Partner..." she glared...But motioned to Willow to follow her as she carried the orbs back...Her new minion now pulling the wiccan along...

"Folks?..." Warren waved the gun at the group now behind William on the ground... "It's been a ball catchin' up with ya...But if you're not out of here in one minute..."

And Anya...?...Remember...With the orbs gone Amy will be back up to strength as fast as the room allows...Don't let your friends make the wish that'll kill them all...he smiled...

"Hey..." he pointed towards the door... "Look who's here...Little Dawny and her pet dog..." As Clem and a blank-eyed Dawn approached the shop door...

"Get moving..." he told the group as they moved to the door... "We'll send your favorite witch out when we're done with her...You got my word on it..."

Amy watched Anne and Willow as they went to the back of the shop, Anne's latest holding Willow's arm as they entered the storeroom...

All going perfectly...And yet...

She concentrated...Best to focus on regaining her strength asap in any case...

"Amy...For the last time..." Will called to her...

Shock him...Warren turned to her...Warren?...she eyed him...

"Time we let Anne see who's boss here..." he noted... "Not too much but just enough to put him out..."

She hesitated and Mears grabbed the control, holding the button down as William writhed in agony and passed out...

***

"What are you going to do, Anne...?" Willow stared at her in the storeroom...The minion tying her arms carefully to a shelf post...

"What do you think, Willow?..." she grinned back... "I'm gonna try to win, of course..."

"Buffy...Cicely..." Willow looked at her firmly... "Don't let her do this...Stop her..."

Anne gave her a sidelong glance and smile as she went to the door...

"Buffy!...Don't!..." Willow cried... "Please!..."

"You're the Slayer..."

"Just watch her and keep her here...Don't hurt her...Unless she gets free and tries to leave..." Anne told the girl as she opened the door...And went out...

"Buffy!..." Willow stared at the door, struggling at the ropes on her arms...

And then at the single orb Anne had left in the room...

***

Outside the Box, the gang stared at each other, Dawn wanly looking from one to the other...Clem holding her arm gently...

"Giles?..." Xander looked at him...As Anya helped him to a bench outside the shop...



"Mears has a gun...This is a job for the police, Xander...Unless..." he glanced at the door...

"I could call from the payphone there..." Clem noted...Giles nodded and he led Dawn gently over...

"I could try and get in..." Anya suggested... "If one of you wished it against them..."

It's not something I'd recommend...She sighed...Side effects, consequences...They tend to be, you know...Not quite what you wished for...

"No, Anya..." Giles shook his head... "You're right...And even if we would risk it, Mears has the orbs...You couldn't overcome them and even you might be hurt if Amy or Anne caught you..."

"Giles..." Xander... "We can't just sit by and let Warren win...Let them all..."

"I don't believe they're going anywhere, Xander...It's not the chance of that fool winning this fight we have to worry about..." he replied...

"I should try Giles..."Anya looked at him... "Before it's too late..." Xander looking at her...

"We gave them a chance, Anya...They refused it...The risk is too great..." Giles shook his head... "We'll have to hope that Buffy can control her..."

"Police are on their way..." Clem came back to them, Dawn in careful tow... "Ten minutes, they say..." he stared at Giles and Anya...

"Control her?...Giles, that's the last thing on her...On all their minds...now..." Anya rose...

"An?..." Xander stared at her...

"Wish me in, Xander!...Quick!...Curse him or her and wish me to stop them...Now!..." Anya pulled desperately at him... "Hurry!...For Buffy's sake, Xander...!!" He blinked at her...And Giles...Who sighed and nodded...

"Yes, we have to try...Do it, Xander..." the Watcher rose as well and stumbled to the door...And smashed a pane near the locked doorknob...No good, bolted at several points... "Clem, help me get this door open..." The demon hurried over, one eye still on the wan Dawn, sitting now...

"But...An...?"

"Xander!..."

"Ok...?!...Ummn...I curse Warren Mears...I wish you'd get in there and stop him..."

She trembled...Giles, Clem, Xander staring...

"I can't...It's too late..." she looked at Giles...Who smashed now at the door with Clem...Groaning from the wounded arm, he turned to Xander now over to help...

"Get it open!..."

***

"Hey..." In the storeroom, Willow smiled at her guard... "Could you check this rope...? I think it's coming loose...And you know how unhappy Anne would be with you if she finds a loose rope on me..."

The woman came over, slowly checking...

"Pull on this one..." Willow suggested... "It's really the loose one..."

***

"So..." Anne beamed at her partners... "We win..."

Ah...she eyed the unconscious William on the floor... "You decided to go ahead and knock him out, eh...?"

"No time for takin' chances, Annie..." Warren shook his head... "If you don't like it, go join your pals outside..."

She smiled at him...A sweet, almost innocent Buffy smile...Amy feeling a sudden chill...Warren...she looked at him...

"Nah..." Anne shook her head... "I guess it's for the best, so long as there's no permanent damage..."

"You nearly ready for Willow, Amy?..." she eyed her...

No...Amy shook her head... "I'm not...I can't seem to bring up any power..."

"Giles has a few power items in his special area...Glowy, crystally stuff...Over there..." Anne pointed...They should be reviving now, maybe you can tap them...Best we got moving on this before my ole pals think of something...Anya maybe...She looked at the door...

"C'mon, guys...Time's awastin'..."

Amy headed over, a quick glance at Warren...Watch her...

"Less you just wanna kill Willow...I could vamp her..." Anne noted to Warren, coming to him...

And with a quick, sudden, almost effortless move, twisted the remote Amy'd returned to him and the pistol out of his hand...And threw them across the shop...Tossing Warren back...

"Anne!..." Amy whirled back...

"You've made a big mistake, Warren..." Anne told him quietly, looming over him as he lay on the floor...

And it's your own fault...You made me this way...Buffy gave you both fair warning...

And now...

"You gotta pay the consequences..." A vicious smile as Anne stared at him...

Amy moving back to them...

"What the...?" he looked at Anne, rising to his feet as she slipped back... "You can't hurt us, Anne...".

"I can't?... Gee..." Anne grinned... "Oh, is that the "We're partners and you can't breech our trust" thing?...Or the... "I can't sink fangs into you cause Amy's protected us..." thing...?"

She moved on him slowly, watching Amy...

"Get back, Warren...!" Amy cried, shoving him back...

"Hey partners...Why the terrified faces...?" Anne grinned...

We won, right?...Just like we planned...

"Ok..." she waved a hand... "Just like my dear soul sisters allowed us to win..."

"But it seems there's a little job they still need me to do for the collective Buffy..."



Them not wantin' to dirty their hands with a couple of sorry humans like you two and all...

"Sorry..." she smiled coldly... "Kiddin'...I would never think of breakin' up such a great partnership...Not completely, anyway..."

Though maybe the balance of power needs a little shiftin'...she eyed Giles' collection on the wall...

Hmmn...Neat samurai sword, she noted...Shoving Amy back, away from her and the shop door...

Warren sliding for the shop door...

"Giles always keeps his stuff in such great condition..." Anne smiled at them...

"You going, Mearsy?..." she grinned...Ok...She waved at the door...

"It's our Amy I need to go over things with anyway..."

***

"Buffy!..." Willow pounded from behind the storeroom door...

No good, Wil...Anne called back...Laughing harshly...

"I'm back running the show...And don't bother fumbling with the spell casting, Amy...This room is protected against you as well as my bestus pal out there...Surprise..."

She grinned at an increasingly terrified Amy...Pulling a blue, glowing orb from her pocket...

"I kept one for you, Amy..." Anne grinned maliciously at the witch...

But...I think harsher measures are called for here...She pulled the long sword out of its scabbard...

"Buffy...Don't do this...You don't want to let her do this...This isn't you..." Amy pleaded, trying to back away...Toward the locked storeroom...

Wasn't me...Anne grinned coldly at the witch...

But...Thanks to you...And your boy there...My little helpmates...Even Buffy was willing to help out in this little playlet...On some level...

"You know, I really think she's starting to enjoy expressing her inner demon..."

No...Buffy...Amy found the wall behind her...A hastily thrown, feeble shock wave hurled at Anne was absorbed by the orb...

"I can still help you, Buffy...Please..."

An...ne...Anne smiled... "Wasn't that what you wanted when you and lover boy killed me?...To have me out here and get rid of pathetic ole Buf's miserable lil' moral sense...?"

Well, as my vengeance demony friend Anya would say...Wish...Granted...she smiled...Grabbing Amy by the throat...

"But...Someone should've told you, sweetie...Be careful what you wish for..." she lifted Amy delicately off the ground...

"And as for helping me?...Amy?...Lose the new me before we've even begun to enjoy the pleasures our demon has to show us three?..."

"Besides, Amy sweet troubled thing that you are...You killed me...Hardly much of a stretch, starting my new human-killing career with you..." she noted, lowering the choking girl, but still holding her firmly...



"This is the Buffy you guys wanted, right?...A soulless, heartless killer?..."

No...Buffy...No, please!...Please!!...

"Warren!..." Amy screamed...Struggling helplessly...

A crash from the front door...Giles, Clem, and Xander smashing at it...

He stared at her...Eyeing Anne...Who grinned over at him...

"You still here, Mearsy?...Gee, Amy, look...Our miserable little nerd is still hangin'..."

That's love...she smiled gently at him...

"Great..."

"Wait..." he called over to Anne... "Don't hurt her...We need her...You need her!..."

"Anne!!!...Amy, get out!!..." he screamed...Grabbing now feebly at the demon-faced Anne, who brushed him aside with an almost gentle move...That tossed him again the side wall...

Just liking killing...A rat...Anne grinned...Lifting Amy off the floor again as the girl squirmed...Struggling not so much to free herself...As to look over to Warren...With a grateful look...A smile...

He stayed....He tried...He actually...Tried...

"Wait...Anne!..." Warren called again...As she raised her sword...He ran...

"Wait!...Please...!...Amy!!..." Anne kicking him off easily to the side...

"Only much more satisfying..." She swung the blade with a violent lunge...Severing Amy's head with one blow...

"There, there...See...Amy..." Anne eyed the pathetic bloody heap on the floor...

Much more satisfying...

***

Well...Anne grinned...

"That's that..."

She eyed Warren...Trembling as he stood in shock...

"Only one Queen of the Pride, Mearsy..."

Don't fret...I think you'll do for me, partner...And you can stay ridiculously human for now...More useful to me that way, I'd say even if I could get past poor Am's protection...

You'd make a pathetic vamp after all...she grinned...And we want you alive to remember your Amy...For a good, long time...

Warren stared at her...Blankly...

"Mears, you child...I was ready to kill everyone Buffy loved if it would give me William and you, you silly little...Murder us...Threaten my husband, our child, and you thought what?...That you could release me and dear ole Buffy would hold me in check if I got rambunctious?...Who the hell did you think you were dealing with?..." she shook her head at him...



"Best if you left before Willow or the others break in here, I'd say..." she went to ... "I'll be in touch..." she smiled coldly...And ran up to Giles' special magics area ...A quick glance at William as she broke the locked gate open and leaping to an upper window, smashing the pane, left...

Amy...? Warren looked at the huddle on the floor...

Amy...he stared...Trembling...

Moving quietly over...

He took her hand and stoked it...

The only person...He suddenly realized...Besides his Mom...Or poor ole Andy...On Earth or in Eternity...

Amy...Amy...

He looked dazedly around the room...

"I..."

I'm...Sorry...

He sobbed...

"I'm sorry Amy...I'm sorry...I'm sorry Kat...I'm sorry...I'm sorry..."

He was still crying when Willow came in on him...

***

She stared at him...And Amy's remains on the floor...

"Warren...?"

He looked at her, not recognizing for a moment...

Anne...he gasped out...She...

Then realized just who he was talking to...

Don't...he begged...Rising...

"It was an accident...I swear..."

Actually...Warren...Willow smiled at him coldly...

"I'm very pleased to see you're still with us..."

Your life is precious to me...Bastard schmuck...

"See...You being alive is one small chance that I may be forgiven...Might even get to see my Tara again one day..."

So, you are not gonna die...Today...At my hands, anyway...

"But you are going to prison...And while I doubt it will do any good, I suggest you consider trying to repent and make amends as you are lookin' at one long stretch in Hell later on..."

She paused...And calmed a bit, staring at him...And saw Amy's scarf in his hand...And the tears on his face...

"I'm sorry about Amy..." she said, sadly...almost kindly...

***

After letting the others in and leaving Warren in Xander's and Giles' hands, Willow headed out with the revived William...Little doubt between them as to where Anne had gone...The place she had as much right to call home as either of her internal "sisters"...

They found her waiting in the living room at the Summers'...Defiance, even a kind of brutal triumph on her face...But something else, Willow noted as she stared at her, William beside her...

Joy...As she eyed William...A man again, fighting to save his love and family...Whatever agonies of remorse and other sufferings might lay ahead for him, there was no deathwish in this human-souled vampire...

Of course, Willow suddenly realized...That damned soul of his...That was it...The thing in real danger...The reason he had to be helped, now...He was safe before, trapped in Spike all those years until she could come back and help him...But when William came out at last...In despair...He could've been lost forever...

And she...Anne...Told them...The others...Made them see the danger...And convinced them that she was the one to deal with it...

"Dawn...?" she looked at them...

With Giles and Anya...William nodded... "And as you promised, she's fine...Sleeping till you let her go..."

"Once you've gotten rid of me, huh?..." she gave a bitter smile...But the joy peeping out even on the mildly demonic face...

"So..." Anne eyed them... "The big fight scene, eh...?"

"You up for another round, Willow...?" she grinned... " 'Cause I'm rarin' and ready..."

Willow watched her quietly...William shaking his head...

"There's not gonna be a fight, pet...You're releasing Dawn/Amelia and going back, Anne...Giving it up...Control, I mean...Just as Spike did..." William stared at her...

She laughed a little, sneering at him...

"What?...Go back without a fight?...Like some wuss of a Spike...?...Hell, I could win this one...You and Rosenberg won't take the chance of hurtin' your sweet Buffy..."

"I wouldn't count on that..." he looked back at Willow...

"But it doesn't matter...You didn't come here to fight...Though as you've told us, you wouldn't pass up a real chance at the mass murder/world dominion thing...You knew from the start how this would end..."

My sensible Anne...he smiled at her...Who kept Buffy...And Cicely before her...Firmly grounded in the world...And alive...Through three lifetimes, counting Willow's little revival...

"I understand...At last...What the three of you have been trying to do...Ever since you all realized what a lousy idea it was Cicely came up with back in 1880..." he gave her a wry grin...

"Wasn't my idea..." she frowned, waving a hand... "I was for killing the whole Council, then retiring...I never trusted 'em for a minute..."

A slight grin crossing Willow's face...That's our Annie...



Pity Cicely didn't take her advice in 1880...

And yet...The image of Amy on the floor rose up...

So much love...And such rage...But can I blame her...Buffy...For letting Anne...?...Me, of all people?...

Anne...William shook his head..."You're no fool to go destroying yourself in some nonsensical battle over nothing important...Like some damned Angelus..."

"And what I would get?...For a favor like that...?...Your Undead, undying gratitude...?" she glared...

No...he paused...You get...What you wanted...What you really came here for...

I accept that you are a part of Buffy, Anne...And that if I love her...I love you, too...And more...

"I will never forget that part of Buffy-Cicely that let me be a man...A husband...A father...With a life and future...Again..."

She stared him in the face...He nodded...

Willow, seeing the new flash of joy that crossed her face, smiled in spite of herself...She did it at last...Mission accomplished...Saved, one husband with immortal soul intact after one hundred years of trying to get those cautious idiot Slayer counterparts to first not kill him and then to help him...She's saved him at last...Just as Spike saved Buffy's soul when she might have been lost but for him and his crazy love...

William continued...

"The part...That did what the others couldn't...Kept just enough of that ole love-light burning when the Slayer in you three would have destroyed Spike and me...And the part that kept Buffy alive until I found my way back..."

"Took a hundred years...But you found me and saved me...My Anne...The reckless, loving heart of my Cicely and Buffy...Promise me..." he smiled suddenly... "Both of you..." he glanced at Willow...

She and Willow both looked at him...

"You both promise you won't tell anyone that I'm Cathy and you're Heathcliff in this relationship?...My bad boy antihero's rep's shot to hell enough as it is... " he grinned at Anne...Who raised her head and gave him a proud nod...And a grin...

She stared at him a long while...Willow watching...Murderess...And mad lover...

Like me...

"Well..." she sneered again at last...

"You may as well get what's coming to you...You deserve to be stuck with us...With her...For all Eternity..."

And Willow there is ready to kick me loose in any case...she glared at her...

He nodded...But smiled at her...She finally smiling back...

"I mean it, Anne...I love you too...And you will be with us...Part of us..." he told her...

Willow watching in wonder...

"And I know...You'll always be there for me...In her...Just as Spike will be in me for Buffy..." William nodded...

Nobody loves like a demon from Hell...And I oughta know...he grinned...



"I love you more than the others put together...And even before Cicely knew, I knew..." Anne glared fiercely at him...Then at Willow...

"You don't need her..." she turned back to him... "Just..." she stared at him...Pleading...

He put a hand out to her...

"May I have this dance?...Anne?..." he asked gently...

She nodded slightly, and led him to the center of the room...

"In the tape box... "Begin the Beguine"..." she looked carefully at Willow...William looking at her as well...Willow nodded and finding the tape, started it...


Play

He held her gently, she hugging tight as they moved around the floor, Willow watching...

The music came to its end and she raised her head to look at him...Tears gently spilling even as she smiled at him...

"See what I'll do for you!...William!... My heart!...My soul!...My love!..." she whispered...

"You never needed a chip or a soul to love, girl...I will never forget..." he whispered back...

She rolled her eyes back and collapsed...Holding him to the last...

Buffy awoke ten minutes later...Willow quickly confirming that it was indeed Buffy's soul...Anne gone...Really gone, this time...And blocked off from return...Voluntarily...she shook her head in wonder...

"Not gone..." Buffy sighed...

Just back home where she belongs...she eyed William, sitting beside her...My extension in Hell...But me just the same...

She avoided Willow's stare...

"I let her back...Knowing she'd kill Amy..." she looked at William... "And when Dawn cried out for me to help her...I...We...Hesitated..."

Maybe we couldn't have stopped her...But...We could have fought harder...We...

"You saved the world a lot, Mrs. Walthrop..." Willow broke in... "It was time you had a chance to save your husband and child..."

"I nearly killed my child..." Buffy shook her head... "And...Amy...I..."

"Cicely..." Will looked at her... "When I came back...When you knew I had a soul again...You said I wasn't guilty of what Spike did..."

But, as Anne pointed out...There were times when I helped Spike to survive...Regardless of the consequences...Because I had to survive and find you again...

"You didn't know, Will..." she replied, hastily... "You...Didn't let..."

"Love..." he sighed... "We were dealt a terrible fate...And no kind God appeared to wave us out of it...We did...What we did...And somehow, we managed to survive it all and find each other...If God has complaints, so do we...So lets do what we can to make amends and lead the lives we should never have had taken from us...And then, together, we'll pay our call on the Almighty and if he's willing to make his apologies...We'll see about making ours..."

"I was the Slayer..." she shook her head... "And I..."



Yeah...Will nodded, taking her chin in his hand as he spoke...You found that the Slayer...Is no different from anyone else...

Maybe a bit more persistent...he grinned...Wilder in the darker depths of her heart...But as willing to risk it all as the most foolish of us...

"And at least now I'm prepared for when the PMS kicks in..." he smiled at her...

***

Deathwishes...Part XLVII...Conclusion...

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca/Cicelypg.html

PG-13/Borderline R

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...

Summary: S7 tale...William's back, seeking help from his favorite Slayer-girl...Who may shortly need a little help herself...

Another Cicelyverse tale...

Written partly pre-Lessons, so no major spoilers that I know of but you may want to see episode 7.1 and on first to be sure...

***

Part XLVII...Conclusion...

"You can't cure her...Even now...?" William looked at Willow...A deeply depressed Buffy beside him on the central slab of his new crypt...She having agreed it was the best place to stay under the circumstances...

"I didn't say that..." Willow noted...

I said it would take time...And like Spike, Anne is safely out of the picture...

"That seems to be the best we can do for now..." she continued...

As to the physical body...

"I'll be this way...Forever?..." Buffy looked up at her friend...

No...Willow shook her head...We'll find a way...

"Though I wanta hold on the killing you and trying to resurrect you yet again thing...For now at least..." she grinned faintly...

"Anne's one tough lady and I think we should expect she'd try a comeback if we gave her any opportunity..."

Buffy nodded...But suddenly smiled...

"Maybe...It's for the best...I can stay with Will now...I couldn't bear to think of him alone as I aged and died...And left him again..."

"You will never leave me...Not as long as my brain holds out...Besides, I wouldn't stay here a moment longer than I had to help the Nibs and our friends..." William insisted...

Speaking of Amelia...he eyed Willow...



"I'll look her over when I get back to the shop...But I'm sure Giles is right and the thrall hold is broken..."

Anne's a lady of her word...she beamed at Buffy...Who sighed a bit...

"Wil...? Do you think she'll ever...?"

Willow sighed...Well...Buf...

"Forgive?...Sure...Forget?...Fraid not..."

Nor will Xander and Anya...But that was the price you and Anne knew you'd have to pay here...she looked carefully at her friend...

"She's probably best off learning to be more skittish round vamps in any case...She's been much too close to a few of them in the past few years..." she patted the sad-faced Buffy...

"They don't hate you, Buf...But...You're in Willowland now, I'm afraid..." she grinned... "It does get better...And I think...I hope...Amends can be made...Especially with the mitigating circumstances..." she smiled at William...

"Well...You can't stay here all night, Wil..." Buffy smiled back at Willow...

Go home, call your poor Mom...Heck, go back to NYC for the rest of your vacation...

"I'm fine now...My husband will take care of me...And we have some catching up to do...Before Dawn's better and demands we come home..."

Willow stared at her...

"It will be fine, Red..." William nodded...

"Ok...I'll be back tomorrow...I promise..." Willow smiled at them...

"For now...Happy honeymoon, Mr. and Mrs. Walthrop..."

***

Well...Buffy eyed him...

"Honeymoon cottage and all..." she waved to take in the crypt...

And sat back down...

He put an arm round her...

"I'm sorry...Doesn't cut it, I know, girl..."

She shook her head...Rising...

"I meant what I said Will...I'm glad you won't be alone..."

Even if it means I miss out on Dawn's daylight graduation a few years from now...

After all, you would've...And she's your daughter too...

He nodded...But...

"I meant what I said too, Buffy...Cicely..."



Dawn's practically a Slayer now...Our Slayer girl...And she and the others don't need us to save them...If they ever really did...

"We can go...If you want, darling..." he looked carefully at her...

I know...Believe me...How hard it is for you now...

"We...can...go...If you want to..."

Together...

"God knows, Immortality has long since lost any charms it might have had for me..."

"You'd...For me...?" she stared at him...Looking down...

Will, I never helped you...

"At least not after hiring Halfreck's "help"..."

"Cicely...You came back for me from the grave...Three times..." he smiled at her... "To save my soul..."

"I'd say that qualifies as help...Big time, girl..."

But...he came to her and took her chin gently in his hands...

"What do you want, now?...My love..."

"I'm afraid, Will...I know I should stay...We should stay and help..."

But I'm afraid...That Anne might come back...Or that I might one day...she hesitated...

"I've already killed once...Me, as much as Anne...Who's to say I won't give in...in the end..."

"You will never give in, Buffy...Besides..." he grinned...

"Anne herself won't let you now...She's too much riding on your united self to let you fail and be lost to me...Cicely too...Just as Spike is doing his damnedest to buck me up..."

"But if you want to go...My sweet darling...You don't have to stay..."

"And I want to go with you..." he said...

She stared, tears beginning to run...

"I told Dawn once..."No guy was worth...Dying for..."..." she looked at him...

Course...I meant no guy you'd watched for ten minutes at football practice...Not the loving husband of a century plus...Still...

"Am I?...Worth..." she stared...

Yes...he took her hand...

"Cicely...Buffy...I have died for you in my dreams a thousand times...One more won't make a difference..."

She nodded...And shook her head sadly...

"Will...?...Will you believe that...In part...I am dying to be with you?..."

I did...I do...he nodded...

"I wish we could wait...For the sun..." she smiled wanly at him... "Remember...Even back in London, back then...We never got to see the sunrise together..."

But...If we wait and the others come...she looked at him...He nodded...

***

They stood by the crypt...Holding hands in the moonlight...

She handed him a stake and pulled out Mr. Pointy...

"God...Have mercy on the souls of my poor husband and..." she began...

"Buffy!!..." Giles cried...Racing for them across the grounds...His bandaged arm dangling...

"Don't!..."

"William!...Stop her!..." the Watcher shouted, still coming on...

"No, Giles...!..." she called to him...

Leave us alone!...she paused...

Unless...Her practical nature, both Buffy's and Cicely's sharpened by long years of experience, couldn't help kicking in...

"Have you got something...?" she called...

Not yet...he stopped, panting...Staring at her...

Willow and the others...he gasped...We...Are still trying...

But...You mustn't do...This...he panted...

"Buffy...You...And William, now...Have a responsibility to..."

Humanity?...Buffy looked at him...

"We're not human, Giles...Not anymore..."

I...We...Won't exist this way...Eternally...Not even to save the world...

"I won't take the chance of Anne coming back someday..."

And it's time Will and I found our peace in Heaven...

"William..." Giles eyed him...

"You stayed on with Spike for love of Cicely for a century..."

"And found her at last, Rupert...No, I don't want to stay here...Not if Spike may return one day...And separate us again..." he shook his head...

Go away, Giles...Buffy told him...

"It's over...And time for the Walthrops to go...Home..."

There'll be another Slayer...

"Buffy...You're afraid of Anne...But I tell you, girl...You are Anne...Anne lurks in you as human Buffy just as she does in your present form...She is part of you, as all our demons are...You can't escape her..."

Yes...I can...Buffy insisted...

"In Heaven, there'll be no place for..."

"Heaven doesn't look kindly on suicides, Miss Summers...er Mrs. Walthrop..." Giles frowned...

To win Heaven...You must defeat your demon...Not run from her...

"You must know that, William...Even if she doesn't..." the Watcher paused...

"Your lives...Or existences...Are in God's hands...Or the Fates...What you will...And you cannot throw them away without serious consequences..."

God...Buffy spit out the name...

"Look what God has done to my William...To me...?"

You think we care what that bastard wants...she glared...

"Yes..." Giles nodded...

"I've often wanted to make "that bastard" suffer as I...As those I loved and love suffer...myself..."

"But whether or not there is a purpose behind the suffering...And I can't say if there is...You two are risking everything you have just won back...At such terrible cost..."

"Oh...Buffy...If you've ever believed me...Believe me when I say I am not doing this merely for Humanity...Or out of Duty...I believe you and Will are risking separation again...If you act rashly..."

She looked at William...?

Will...he turned to William...

"You're a practical man...With great knowledge of the Dark Forces in this universe...Will you risk your Cicely?...Your Buffy?...For a leap into the Unknown?...Knowing how the Powers That Be delight in their games and their rules..."

"We will find a way to free you both...But if your demons seize you again...We'll stop you...Or you'll stop each other...But to throw your chance at being together away now...Oh...Please...Don't let yourselves be led down a wrong path...Not now..."

"It's not the way of living things to wish for death...That is the Darkness calling to us...Luring us..."

Cicely...It wasn't dying for William that told him you loved him...It was living for him...

"Life, not Death...Is your Gift, Buffy..." he called...

Live, my dears...However you can...And love each other...While you can...

"And Miss Addams...Suicide remains a mortal sin in the Anglican Church..."

Mrs. Walthrop...she replied without thinking...

"Might be nice to see Dawny grow up...Have kids..." she eyed Will...

Yeah...he nodded...

"Our little girl...She probably would appreciate having Mum and Dad at her wedding..." he smiled...

Even if it has to be held at night...

Buffy sighed...Well, maybe...She suddenly looked at her Watcher, still panting a bit...

"Giles...How did you...?"

He waved his good arm...

"You're my Slayer, girl...It's my job to know you inside and out...Besides, to be honest, we'd all decided it was best to have some one with you two these first nights..." he smiled...

After the past couple of weeks...Hell, the last couple of years...Guessing you might be a hair depressed was rather a no-brainer...

***

Several days later...

The gang filed into the crypt...Giles, Anya, Xander, Clem facing Buffy and William standing by a sad-faced, weary...But clearly loving...Dawn...All turning to look at Willow standing at the central slab...

"Thanks for coming guys..." she eyed each one... "I know some of you weren't quite ready for this...But I appreciate your coming for my sake..."

I'd been trying to be good old Willow again...Willow smiled sadly...

Had this image in my mind...A ridiculous one...One Giles tried but didn't completely rid me of...

Of gentle, compassionate...saintly, she grinned wanly...Willow...

The wonderful girl I used to be...

"But I was never that...I was nice enough, cared some...Tried to be a good friend..."

But my compassion never cut it...

At the first real blow, I caved to the darkness...And that's not all...she hastily added, stopping Buffy from protesting...

"What happened with Amy showed me...I never really cared...About anyone outside our little circle..."

The friends I needed to make my life worthwhile...

And even with you guys...

"For years I knew Xander was being abused at home..." Anya gently taking his hand which tensed slightly...

"I knew his father beat him when he was blasted...Not enough to get the cops involved, but I saw the bruises...And even worse the emotional stuff..."

How he ended up a loving man, I'll never know...But it wasn't because his friends helped him...

"I never lifted a finger to stop it...The girl who "loved" him for years..."

"None of us..." Buffy began, tearing...

"You reincarnated after a century to save poor lost Will, Cicely...But I'm not saying I was worse than anyone else..."

I just never was the person I've been telling myself I used to be...And it would not be an improvement for me to go back to being her...

"Giles tried to make me see that...That whatever I lost when I thought I'd killed pathetic old Mearsy there and released my dark side...I'd gained something when I came back...A kind of link, understanding, sympathy, call it what ever you want...For those poor things lost in the dark...Because, I know now that I am one of them..."

Just as you learned it Buf...Willow gently patted her...

"We all are, really...You and I were just lucky enough to have people who care..."

Poor Amy...she sobbed...And went over to stand by the casket...

"This is to say good-bye...To someone I let down...Badly..." she began...

"Forgive me, Amy..."

***

"Fifteen minutes..." the guard informed the tall, dark-haired young man beside him as he took a seat at a desk in front of a plastic-shield barrier...

Behind the barrier, seated...Warren Mears in orange prison jump suit...

Xander eyed Mears carefully...His usual attempt at smirking bravado a bit muted...He actually seemed pleased to see him...

Progress, Xander thought to himself...After the two previous trips...

"Welcome, Harris..." Warren nodded... "Back on your little mercy errand?...How's Summers and co...?...She still human-souled?..."

"Yeah...And we hope to restore both of them as human in time..." Xander eyed him... "No thanks to you..."

And I would keep clear of her...And even more clear of her husband...If they ever do let you out of here...

"Hey..." Mears waved a hand grandiosely... "I'm sitting pretty right here..." he leaned forward...

Tell the Slayer...Her pet witch...And my best bot customer...Ole Mears is doing just fine...

And...Quite content with the stalemate the game produced...he settled back, giving an attempt at a relaxed air...

"Stalemate, Warren?..." Xander grinned... "Mears, if Buffy or Willow wanted to...They could kill you in a second...And not all the fences or the wire or the guards and their guns could keep them from Slaying you...If they wanted that..."

"So?...They like sending their whipped pup to look me over from time to time?...Well, tell them..."

I'm not here for them, Warren...Xander sighed, cutting him off...

"I thought I'd made that clear the first time I came..."

"I'll Slay...When Buffy needs me...And I have to...But I want more than that..."

"From now on...I want to help the ones we fight...Try to, anyway...Whenever there's any chance...Even the slightest..." he smiled wanly at the figure behind the barrier...Mears still desperately trying to hold his pose as defeated but defiant...A little of his fear unavoidably seeping through...

"And God knows, Mears...You're the one person, demon or human within range, who's most in need of help..."

"So..." Warren eyed him... "You're here to save little ole Warren..."

"No..." Xander shook his head... "Not for you, you schmuck...For Amy...And for me..."

He sat down, eyeing a Mears who'd gone silent at the mention of that name...

"And you're gonna listen, Mears, and you're gonna try...Because you loved Amy, the one person in this existence who cared for you...And this is your one and last chance to save her and yourself..."

Mears blinked at him...Looked away...

"She needs you to save her soul, Warren...No one else can..."

Mears stared back, grinning...

"So...You got copies of "the Watchtower" with you, brother Harris?..."

"You know what I'm talking about, Warren...Her soul is trapped in Limbo...By her own guilt..."

No...Warren shook his head, his pose breaking...Not Amy...She...

"She committed an evil act, Mears...She helped you turn Buffy...And she's suffering for it...Punishing herself, I'm sure...Forever, if you don't help her..."

Suffering in ways even you'll never have to endure...Because, she was a good person...A loving one...Who let herself go down a terrible path...

"Amy wasn't...You don't know what you're talking about, Harris...You don't know what Amy went through...Hell..." he glared...

"Her parents abused and betrayed her...You and your little band of noble bastards abandoned her...When she needed you..."

"Yeah..." Xander nodded... "We did..."

Anyway...he nervously shrugged...What the hell can I do for her, in here...?...Pray for her?...

"Yeah...That's exactly what you can do for her, Mears...If you're ever worthy of being heard..."

Mears looked him in the eyes...Something working in his face...

Amy...he paused...

"Amy tried to stop me once...Told me I could still save myself...If I was sincere..."

That's what they say...Xander nodded...

And you believe that crap, too?...Mears grinned at him...

"It's all Amy...And you...Got...Mears..." Xander eyed him coolly...

Eh...Warren waved a hand...

"Time's up..." the guard returned...

Well...Mears stood...

"See ya next week, brother Harris...If I'm still hanging round here..."

Next week, Mears...Xander nodded...

***


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