Chapter Twelve - On Schedule

“And you’re quite sure this will work?” Giles asked, placing his glasses back on his face. Everyone was gathered in the Magic Box, obviously tired from the events of the past few days. Buffy was curled up against Angel’s side, bandages wrapped around her middle.

“I’m sure. Well, I’m reasonably sure. I think it might work. Probably,” Willow said, her voice trailing off.

“So what you’re saying is, you have no idea?” Spike said, rolling his eyes. Faith smacked him on the arm.

“I’m saying this is our only chance,” Willow said, turning on him.

“We have to try it,” Tara added. “We have to get the book before Kellan uses it.”

“They’re right. We need that book,” Xander said.

“What all do you need for the locator spell?” Wesley asked.

“Just some general herbs. We’ve got all of it here. I just need to know that everyone’s ready. It has to be now.”

“We’ll be ready,” Buffy said.

“Are you sure you’re healed enough?” Angel asked her, concern in his voice.

“Buffy, I don’t want you to get hurt again,” Willow said.

“Don’t worry about me, Will. By the time we get to the book, I’ll be ready to fight.”

“You may not have to,” Cordy told her.

“What are you talking about?”

“Well, I was reading about this Kellan guy, in some of the magic books. Doing the research thing, and all. He’s a really powerful warlock. He’s old, and really bad.”

“Yeah. He’ll have minions, for sure, but we don’t know if they’ll be magic-users, or if they’ll be ordinary demons,” Gunn added.

“So we fight the minions. The witches do the spell stuff,” Faith said, standing.

“That’s what I was thinking,” Willow said. “I need everyone on board, ready to fight. Tara and I will work against Kellan, and try to incapacitate him long enough to get the book.”

“Wow, Willow. You’re really taking charge here,” Anya observed.

“If you’d seen what I saw in my dream,” Willow said, “You’d understand. It was Hell. If we don’t get the book, horrible things are going to happen, to everyone.”

“Then we get the book,” Dawn piped up.

“No. WE get the book. YOU stay home, safe, away from all life-or-death battles,” Buffy instructed her.

“Buffy, I have to be there. What if you guys can’t beat Kellan? And Willow has to do the binding spell? Then I’m going to have to be there.”

“Dawn’s right. Buffy, the last thing any of us wants is for Dawn to be in danger, but she’s right. We need her there in case Willow has to do the spell on short notice,” Angel agreed.

“She’s my sister! She can’t go fighting countless demons on a whim!”

“You were my age when you started slaying,” Dawn argued.

“You’re not a Slayer! You don’t have any special powers, or anything,” Buffy said.

“Neither did we, when we first started slaying with you, Buffy,” Xander said. “Cordy, Willow and I, we’ve been there from the beginning. Before Willow started doing spells, the four of us went patrolling all the time.”

“Xander’s right, Buffy. We never had any slayer-strength, or special powers. But we slew, and lived to tell the tale,” Cordy said. “We’ll take care of her.”

Buffy thought about it for a moment. “Fine. But Willow, Tara, you guys do a protection spell. For all of us. Just in case.”

“It was already in the plan, Buff,” Willow told her, a small smile on her face.

“So we do the spell?” Gunn said. “Then we go find the book, we kick some demon ass, and then we save the world?”

“Again,” Buffy added.

The group sat in silence for a moment. “So this is what, apocalypse number seven for us?” Xander said, a humorless smile on his face.

“Something like that,” Willow nodded. “Is everyone ready?”

“Let’s get weapons, so the second we know where the book is, we can go after it,” Faith said, already headed toward the training room in the back.

“Good idea. Okay, Spike, Faith, Gunn, I want you guys to get the weapons. Willow and Tara, you guys do your magic thing. The rest of us are going to hammer out a game plan,” Buffy said.


“Expiscor pernosco,” Find. Book. Willow said in a low voice, blowing gently on the flam of the candle she was staring into. Tara sprinkled a few herbs in a circle around where Willow sat on the floor, while the others watched in silence. “Find what we seek, search for the light. Let us find our prize, let us end our plight. Knowledge we seek, in order to gain. Lead us the way, show us in the grain,” Willow and Tara chanted together. Wesley stepped forward with a large bottle full of sand, and began to slowly pour it on the floor. Willow stared into the pile it made, which shimmered brightly. Then Willow’s head flung back, and the sand exploded. Willow faced forward again, the momentary trance ended. She looked around at the expectant faces of her friends.

“We have to go now.”

They immediately gathered their weapons and supplies, then headed out into the night.

“Where are we going?” Buffy asked Willow as they walked through the empty streets.

“There’s a cave. Deep in the woods. He’s there, and he’s getting ready to use the book,” Willow said, her course not altering.

“How do you know how to get there?” Spike asked her, matching his steps with theirs.

“I just know. I don’t know how I know, but I do.”

“You’re sure it’s not a trap?” Xander asked. “I mean, maybe he knows we’re coming?”

“He knows,” Willow answered, her step not faltering. “But we have to go.”

“So he’s ready for us?” Gunn asked, hoisting his axe higher on his shoulder.

“Doesn’t matter,” Angel said. “Because we’re ready, too.”

“So let’s go kick some demon butt,” Dawn said cheerfully. Buffy shot her a glare.

“Sure you’re up for this, B?” Faith asked.

“Have to be. Come on, guys. Let’s hurry.”


“They’re coming,” Kellan said, grinning maliciously. “Everything is prepared?”

“Yes, Sir,” replied the vampire standing beside him. “Your followers are waiting for them, ready.”

“Good. Remember, no one needs to die. Yet. I need to do the spell on the witch. Keep the others busy.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Kellan said, grinning. “That they think they’re coming here to save the book? To save the world? That they’re going to take me by surprise? They have no idea that they’re bringing me exactly what I need to take their world away.”