Red Moon Rising
Giles was aware of what he would probably find when he entered the lower crypt the next morning but he was still surprised at the sight of two very naked young women on the air mattress on the stone floor.
Buffy was lying half on her stomach and had her arm thrown over Tara’s ribs while Tara was sleeping on her side, her own arm thrown over Buffy as well as a leg. Fortunately for the Englishman, a sheet was covering most of their skin.
What it didn’t cover concerned the Watcher though and he quietly descended the stairs and put the bags of food on the card table. He knelt softly next to Tara and gently pulled her hair back from her and examined the wounds and bruising he had seen from the top of the stairs.
Tara opened her eyes slowly and glanced up at the older man.
"It’s okay," she muttered. "She didn’t break the skin enough to bleed."
"Are you okay?" he asked softly.
"Yes, very okay," she smiled and started to turn over and winced. "Maybe a little stiff," she admitted.
Giles began blushing and stood up, he moved to the card table, keeping his back to the young women as he heard Tara rustling behind him.
"Goddess, I want a hot shower," Tara complained.
"I know, I’m sorry," Giles shrugged. "You’ll have to do with heating water on the camp stove for another day."
"And if Buffy is a werewolf, won’t we be cooped up here for another three days?" the witch asked.
"I’m hoping we can do something about the Initiative hunting Buffy so you and Willow at least won’t be stuck in here twenty four hours a day."
"I just hope Willow’s spell works, then we won’t have to worry," Tara grumbled as she started to put on her clothes from the night before but remembered they were shredded. She reached into her bag for other clothes and hoped Giles wouldn’t notice the condition of the clothes Buffy had ripped off of Tara and herself.
"I agree," Giles said as he began pulling out groceries for them. "Are you sure about what happened last night?"
"Are you asking if I have any regrets about sleeping with both Buffy and Willow?" Tara asked bluntly, surprising Giles with her forwardness but he nodded.
"No, none," she answered as she sat down and reached for his familiar thermos of tea. "I connected with Willow and Buffy on such a level that I’ve only read about happening in rare occasions."
"What do you mean?" he questioned.
"You know the term ‘shields’?" she asked.
"Yes, the shields are the protections that people put up against psychic attack, most people don’t even know they do it," he said thoughtfully, slipping into research mode. "I know witches, magickians and sensitives practice forming solid shields and can control them."
"Yes, exactly," Tara nodded. "Willow drew me in the other night while we…when we…"
"I get the idea," Giles said quickly.
"She totally opened up and we connected until there was just us, not Willow and I but ‘us,’ like one entity. I was able to do that with Buffy last night and I know Willow made the same connection with Buffy as well."
"You are all three connected that way?" he asked. "Usually it takes years for someone to get that close to someone. Tell me, what is Willow feeling, right now."
Tara looked startled but closed her eyes and concentrated. "She’s frustrated at Xander about something. She’s worried, like a bundle of loose electrical wires inside."
Tara opened her eyes in surprise. Giles nodded, apparently expecting Tara’s answer.
"You’ll all be able to tell what the other one is feeling, especially intense emotions. Given time, you’ll probably be able to read each other’s thoughts," he said in a distracted voice, pulling his notebook out.
"What I’m feeling is hungry," a groggy voice greeted them from the air mattress and Buffy turned her head to smile at both her lover and her Watcher. Tara grinned back and Giles merely shook his head and stood up so his back was to his Slayer.
Buffy discovered her clothes from the night before were in no shape for a repeat day until she cleaned up. She reluctantly put on clean clothes quickly to ease Giles’ discomfort and went to the card table and sat down on a milk crate. She leaned over and drew Tara into a long and drawn out kiss, her hand starting to roam up Tara’s leg until the witch smacked it.
Giles turned with a roll of his eyes and grabbed up some of the groceries, he headed for the camp stove they had set up in the crypt. "I’ll heat some water for cleaning up and start breakfast," he announced.
"Thank you, Giles," Buffy said softly, walking up to her Watcher.
"Whatever for?" he asked with a gentle smile.
"Taking care of me," she said in a low voice. "For not passing judgment about this."
"Buffy, it’s been difficult but I have to face the fact that you’re a grown woman now," he drew the Slayer into a quick hug. "You’re older than most Slayers ever get and I want to see you continue to break that record. If both Willow and Tara make you happy, then I’m for it and will fight for you all."
"I love you, Giles," Buffy whispered as she hugged him. "You’ll protect Willow tonight?"
"As best I can, I’ll protect you all."
"Have you got everything you need, Willow?" Joyce asked as Willow, Xander and Anya got out of the car. Xander went to the truck to gather their things, especially Willow’s packs.
It was late afternoon when Joyce stopped at the graveyard; not wanting to halt at either her house or Giles’ place for fear the Initiative might have men watching the place. The plan was to drop the kids off at the graveyard and then phone Giles. Buffy’s mom knew she was going to have one of the hardest tasks of all them that night, she was going to remain home and act as if nothing was wrong. Meanwhile, the rest would be standing watch over her daughter either inside or outside the crypt.
"Yeah, I packed everything before we left," Willow smiled as she held her coat over her cast-encased arm.
"Willow," Joyce said as the redhead leaned in the car window. "Please be careful."
"I think I can save Buffy," Willow responded softly.
"Don’t forget to take care of yourself," Joyce said firmly.
"I won’t," Willow smiled but Joyce had an uneasy feeling as she watched the three friends disappear among the gravestones, heading for the crypt area. Somehow she felt Willow was lying when the witch agreed to be careful.
Joyce continued to frown as she absently touched the bandage on her hand.
Willow followed Xander and Anya in a winding round about way to the crypt. The three weren’t surprised when they opened the door to the lower crypt and were greeted by two pistols and a crossbow.
Tara and Buffy grinned and lowered their weapons. Giles barely got out of the way of the two women as they dashed for the stairs and wrapped Xander, Anya and Willow in a large group huge. Then the hug included a kiss for Willow by both Tara and Buffy.
Willow raised Tara’s chin with a playful smile, taking in the various bruises on the other witch’s neck and then held Tara tightly. After a moment she turned and hugged Buffy tightly.
"I missed you both," the red-haired witch grinned.
"We missed you!" both of them said at the same time.
"Come on," Xander urged and the small group trotted down the stairs to include Giles in a group hug, much to his embarrassment.
Giles coughed and took his glasses off and began cleaning them with the end of his untucked shirt.
"Uh oh, time to get serious when the G-man cleans his glasses," Xander joked.
"I wish you wouldn’t call me that," Giles complained. "We really should go over things, I think."
"Right," Buffy said, sitting down on the air mattress and holding her arms out. Tara and Willow accepted her invitation readily and sat down on the bed with her. Willow giggled as Buffy leaned over and began nuzzling her neck while Xander and Anya sat down on milk crates with Giles.
"Well, I think the plan still is for Willow to stay with Buffy and work her spell, the rest of us outside guarding the crypt and Tara while she casts a protection spell around the crypt, right?" Giles asked.
"Yup, I think that’s it," Xander agreed.
"Willow, do you have everything you need for your spell?" Giles asked.
"Yes, I packed before we went to the beach yesterday," Willow answered, her breathing getting a little faster as Buffy nibbled on her neck while Willow held Tara’s hand.
"Beach?" Buffy asked, pulling back from Willow’s neck. "Beach?"
Willow began to blush and Xander gave the Slayer and the blonde witch a sheepish grin.
"Beach without us?" Buffy demanded.
"Your mom surprised us with an overnight trip," Xander responded.
"Can we focus, please?" Giles suggested.
"Yes, of course," Anya agreed readily.
"Now we have to be exceptionally careful tonight while guarding the cemetery," Giles said. "With it being Halloween night, it might be extremely difficult to tell a costumed vampire from a real vampire."
"Excellent point, Giles," Buffy nodded with a frown.
"Especially with some of the costumes they’ve come out with since that Masquerade game," Xander commented.
"So, no killing unless they try to bite you?" Anya asked.
"And you can’t pull their teeth out?" Tara smiled shyly.
"Oh, scary visual place!" Xander growled and Tara shrugged, a playful smile on her face.
"Let’s not concentrate on doing any hunting tonight, would be my suggestion," Giles countered. "Just guard the area around the crypt and we’ll leave the slaying to Buffy on another night."
"Yeah, another night that isn’t a full moon?" Buffy asked bitterly.
"Buffy," Willow said gently and leaned her head on the Slayer’s shoulder and Tara wrapped an arm around the other blonde.
"I’m sorry, guys," Buffy said softly, wiping a tear away. "I’m just nervous. Actually, I’m scared."
"Its okay, we’ll get you through this," Willow promised.
"Buffy, we are all here for you and always will be," Giles said softly, his soft hazel eyes reflecting the pain he was feeling for his Slayer, a girl he thought of as a daughter. "Alright, we’ve got an hour until dusk, I suggest that Anya, Xander and myself go to the upper crypt and take a look around outside and give you three some time before we…before we…" Giles stammered.
"Before you have to lock me away," Buffy said, her voice flat.
"Well, yes, actually," Giles looked down at the table and not at his Slayer.
"Okay, come on, Anya," Xander said, offering his hand to his girlfriend. "Let’s go neck somewhere."
"Oh really!" Giles complained as the three of them climbed the stairs.
Buffy lay back on the bed and Tara and Willow enveloped the Slayer in their arms, holding her tightly as she cried softly.
The Slayer’s tears diminished to gentle sobs and she kissed first Willow and then Tara and the witches reached across the Slayer to kiss as well.
"We did miss you," Tara told the red-haired witch.
"Yeah, I could tell," Willow teased, running her fingers through Tara’s hair as her head rested on Buffy’s shoulder. "You two kept me up last night," she said with a grin.
"What?" Buffy asked, her voice reflecting her surprise.
"Yeah, I could tell you two were…that things were…well," Willow stammered.
Both Tara and Willow blushed and Buffy laughed softly.
"When we were ‘frisky’?" Buffy asked gently.
"Yeah," Willow admitted.
"Does it bother you?" Tara asked slowly.
"No, you know I was hoping you two would," Willow reassured the two women she loved. "And it wasn’t for a spell or to battle Oz, but for us."
"You were hoping for the connection so we can help Buffy with the werewolf thing," Tara guessed.
"And her slaying," Willow nodded. "Joyce Mom described Buffy like fire, me like water and you as earth. I think she’s right and I think Giles is air and Xander the spirit."
Tara looked thoughtful for a moment and Buffy looked puzzled but then Tara began to nod. "I get it, I think I agree."
"Well, tell me," Buffy suggested.
"Fire: courage, energy, you, Buffy. Water: emotions, source of power, me. Earth: grounding, solid, basics, that’s Tara. Air: intelligence, and inspiration, that’s Giles. Spirit: the heart, Xander." Willow explained, using Joyce’s description of the group.
"You mean Tara grounds us and is the foundation, Xander is the spirit and heart of the group, Giles the intelligence, you the power, me the courage and fight?" Buffy said thoughtfully.
"Something like that," Willow nodded.
"I get it and with the connection we’ve made over the last few days, you think your magick will be even more powerful," Buffy continued.
"Yes, my magick started working when Tara and I started working together," Willow smiled.
"I follow that," Buffy nodded, her hands roaming down the backs of both witches.
The three women snuggled close, the two witches letting their warmth comfort the Slayer.
"I’m scared, guys," Buffy whispered after a few minutes.
"I know," Willow answered softly. "Me too. I don’t know if my spell will work, if it doesn’t you’ll be stuck as a werewolf."
"It was my choice," Buffy shrugged in an attempt to be brave.
"I won’t say it was the wrong choice," Willow answered slowly as Tara held her hand against her cheek. "It gave me a chance to escape Oz, but I don’t think a werewolf Slayer is the best option."
"Well, I don’t see any other choices," Buffy growled.
"Enough talking, more snuggles," Tara suggested.
Both Willow and Buffy nodded and moved into Tara’s arms, settling in to wait for the full moon.
Giles opened the door to the lower crypt slowly. He found Tara hugging and kissing Buffy almost desperately by the cell door and Willow standing by the card table, waiting.
The blonde witch hugged the Slayer tightly.
"I love you, Buffy Summers," she whispered. "I’m here for you."
"I’ll be fine, then," Buffy tried to smile. "Willow says that Oz always told her he never remembered the change or being the wolf, so I guess I’ll see you in the morning."
Tara turned quickly and grabbed Willow up in a tight hug and kiss.
"I love you, Tara," Willow whispered. "Remember that always."
Before Tara could respond, Willow turned her around and lightly shoved her towards the stairs. Tara dashed past Giles and out of the crypt without a word or glance back.
The Watcher walked down the stairs slowly as Willow finished setting up her magick circle. Whatever she needed was out of sight in the center under a large black sheet. Buffy walked into the cell without saying anything to Giles. She couldn’t stop herself from flinching when he shut the door, however.
He leaned against the bars and reached a hand out to his Slayer and Buffy melted into his arms around the bars.
"I’ll be right outside with the tranquilizer gun if the bars don’t hold you," he promised.
"And a silver bullet?" she whispered softly.
"If need be, I promise."
The Watcher turned and wiped the tear that escaped down his cheek away.
Willow was watching them, her own eyes filling with tears.
"You know, if those bars don’t hold then you’re in danger," Giles scolded.
"I know. I think if the werewolf gets out that our connection will keep her from hurting me," Willow said firmly.
Giles quickly hugged the small witch. "I’m right outside, first sign of trouble; you get up those stairs and yell."
"I will," Willow promised. "Go on, Giles."
The Watcher walked up the stairs and glanced back at his Slayer but Buffy had turned away. He reluctantly closed the door.
Buffy turned at the sound of Willow trotting up the stairs and held onto the bars as the witch stood at the door and concentrated.
Willow raised her uninjured hand over the lock and closed her eyes.
"In the dark thou are sealed, by my will you stay locked still, not to turn until the morning sun burns. In quo atroxocis obsignare, ab meusa voluntas tu mansionis pacasre, non tu conversio dum mane sol adustionis," she said softly and Buffy’s sharp ears heard a click as the lock shot into place.
"Willow, what are you doing?" Buffy called as Willow turned and trotted down the stairs. "Are you okay?" the Slayer demanded as Willow stopped and leaned against the stone wall, catching her breath.
"Yeah, stairs are still hard," the witch admitted. She waited a moment and then moved into the chalk pentagram magickal circle she had drawn earlier. Willow pulled off the sheet and quickly knelt down and ran her eyes over the items.
The witch moved out of the circle by way of a "doorway," a section that hadn’t been drawn in yet, and went to her backpack. Buffy heard the witch curse under her breath as she fumbled one-handed with the zipper. Willow pulled out a flask and stuck that into her sling. Next the witch pulled out a Ziplock bag but Buffy couldn’t tell what was in it.
Willow glanced over at the Slayer and smiled a small smile.
"What are you up to, Willow?" Buffy asked softly.
"It’s not long until moonrise, gotta make sure everything is ready," Willow explained. The witch entered the circle again and began pouring the contents of the zip-lock bag on top of the outer chalk circle, again stopping just before the circle was complete. She also lit a sterno can under a small cauldron suspended from a tripod.
Buffy frowned as Willow poured the contents of the flask into a silver chalice.
"Blood?" the Slayer questioned. "What are you doing with blood?"
Willow looked up at her with a slight smirk.
"You can smell it, huh?" Willow commented. "It’s your mom’s blood, actually."
"Don’t worry, I needed blood from a member of your family for the spell and your mom agreed," Willow explained.
The red-haired witch moved out of the circle and approached the bars to the cell.
"I need some of your blood, Buffy," she said softly. "Please."
Buffy hesitated, mentally opening that door Tara had shown her the night before but found Willow’s shields were up and the Slayer couldn’t sense what Willow was feeling.
The Slayer unbuttoned her shirtsleeve and extended her arm through the bars.
Willow pulled an alcohol prep package out of her sling and used her teeth to open it. She gently cleaned an area on Buffy’s forearm, not meeting the Slayer’s eyes yet. The witch threw the pad towards the table and then pulled her athame, her sacred dagger, out of her waistband.
She hesitated with the blade against Buffy’s skin. Green eyes met Buffy’s blue ones and she quickly sliced through Buffy’s skin. Putting the knife in her waistband again, Willow grabbed the flask from her sling and held it under Buffy’s bleeding arm.
"Willow, I love you," Buffy said softly and the red-haired witch leaned into the Slayer’s hand.
"I love you, Buffy," Willow responded. "More than life."
Willow managed to get the cap back on the flask and handed the Slayer a bandage and the Slayer pulled back into the cell.
"What happens, Wills?"
"Well, I mix some herbs and stuff in the chalice and some California wine, I do some magick stuff and you drink half the contents," Willow explained.
"Blood? You want me to drink blood mixed with wine?"
"You won’t even notice," Willow smiled as she moved back to the circle and grabbed the chalice. She moved to the card table and began adding herbs and stuff from various zip-lock bags from her backpack.
"For you, Wills," Buffy smiled, "Anything."
Willow smiled at her girlfriend and continued mixing the contents in the silver chalice. The redhead’s face became very serious and she chanted over the chalice and made several gestures with her fingers.
Buffy grimaced slightly when Willow walked over and held out the chalice for her. The Slayer smiled finally and took the chalice and drank half the contents without looking at it or smelling it as much as possible. She handed the chalice back to Willow and the witch handed her the bottle of wine.
Buffy quickly drank a mouthful of the wine and set the bottle outside the cell.
"Thanks," she smiled and touched Willow’s cheek gently.
Willow smiled and moved back to the circle and entered the magick area. Buffy watched as the witch sealed the outer ring with the chalk and the powder and then did the same with the inner circle.
The Slayer suddenly went to her knees, leaning against the bars. Buffy shook her head, trying to clear it as she blinked in confusion.
"Its okay, Buffy, some of the herbs are a little mind-altering," Willow said softly.
"You’ve drugged me?"
"Kinda," Willow shrugged.
Buffy squeaked when Willow took the chalice and drank the rest of the contents. "Wills! What are you doing?" she demanded, "My blood is in there!"
"A transference spell," Willow said softly and turned her back to Buffy.
Buffy’s face reflected her confusion and then realization.
"Willow! No!" she screamed.
Tara stood in front of the crypt and raised her arms. She concentrated and chanted. The blonde witch had no idea how long she chanted but it felt like it was longer than usual for raising power for a spell.
Finally, she felt the energy slipping into place and could see in her mind’s eye the silver sphere forming and encircling the crypt. No werewolf was getting in or out of that crypt as long as she was conscious.
Giles stood in the shadows next to the crypt, tranquilizer gun in one hand and Glock pistol in the other. The Watcher knew that Xander and Anya were within sight of the crypt as well, keeping to the shadows too. He just hoped they weren’t busy necking but actually keeping an eye out for Initiative soldiers and bad guys.
Tara joined the Watcher and Giles’ trained eyes could see the energy dancing from her body, to the earth and back again.
"Can you sense anything?" he asked.
"No, Willow has massive shields up and I don’t want to probe Buffy’s mind, right now."
"I understand," Giles responded. "All we can do is wait for Willow."
"Willow!" Buffy screamed and tugged at the bars with all her Slayer strength. They didn’t even creak. "What are you planning?"
"To take this damned curse off you," Willow answered and sat down in the middle of the circle. "If it works it jumps to me and I’m hoping to send it back to Oz. The last part is really tricky and probably won’t work. That would mean that I’ll be a werewolf next month but you’ll be okay."
"Willow!" Buffy snapped, breaking Willow’s rambling. "Don’t do this, please! I’m begging you! I took that bite to keep you from this!"
"The powder around the circle is silver, if I do change tonight then it’ll keep me in and you safe," Willow explained.
The Slayer suddenly grabbed her stomach and doubled over to her knees. Buffy cried out with the pain and fell over on her side. She could hear Willow chanting.
"Egomet, ruber Willow, invocare haec in orbem consistere. Egomet rogare elementum de terra tu occlususum haec in orbem consistere et tu tegere a me in a me ritus. Ab aer, ignis, aqua, et spiritus, I invocare haec in orbem consistere. I, Red Willow, invoke this circle. I ask the element of earth to close this circle and to protect me in my rites. By Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit, I invoke this circle."
The witch stood up and glanced over at Buffy, who was now writhing on the cell floor.
"Willow! No! Please!" Buffy screamed.
Willow poured more of Buffy’s blood into the chalice and added some of the silver powder.
"I imbue this powder with the powers of the all the elements. I imbue this blood with the powers of fire. I imbuere haec pulvis cum quo vis de omnis quo elementumu. I imbuere haec sanguisinis vis de omnis de ignis," she chanted and drank again.
Buffy growled and screamed as the sound and sensation of her leg and arm bones breaking and reforming themselves under her skin. That same skin was now growing thick fur and her jaw dislocated and began extending into a muzzle.
"By the power of earth, air, fire, water and spirit, I cast out the beast from Elizabeth Anne Summers and send it into this willing vessel! By tu contorqueo tellus, aeris, inflammo, amnisis, spiritus, ab iactus abs tu bestiae abs Elizabeth Anne Summers ablegatio abdera inlaborsus eiusmodi perlibet calixicis! By the powers of air and what shall be, I cast out the beast and accept it! Ab tu contorqueo aeris qui legare ab, ab iactus abs tu bestiea ab probare! By the powers of fire and that which is within, I cast out the beast and accept it myself! Ab tu contorqueo inflammo, ab tu qui intus, ab iactus abs tu bestiae ab probare! By the powers of water and that which is without, I cast out the beast and accept it myself! Ab tu contorqueo amnisis, ab iactus abs tu bestiae ab probare! By the powers of spirit and that which cannot be seen, I cast out the beast and accept it myself! Ab tu contorqueo spiritus, ab iactus abs tu bestiae ab probare!" Willow shouted, holding her arm up to the sky.
"By the powers of Earth, I cast out the beast! Ab tu contorqueo tellus, ab iactus abs tu bestiae!" she yelled and Buffy screamed behind her.
"By the powers of Air, I cast out the beast! Ab tu contorqueo aeris, ab iactus abs tu bestiea!" Willow yelled. "By the powers of Fire, I cast out the beast! Ab tu contorqueo inflammo, ab iactus abs tu bestiae! By the powers of water, I cast out the beast! Ab tu contorqueo amnisis, ab iactus abs tu bestiae! By the power of Spirit, I cast out the beast! Ab tu contorqueo spiritus, ab iactus abs tu bestiae!"
Willow, her head swimming, fell forward grabbing at her stomach.
The witch gritted her teeth and reached into a bag filled with mixed herbs and threw it into the boiling water in the cauldron.
Behind Buffy howled as her body contorted.
"Spirits from the deep, who never sleep, be kind to me. Spirits from the grave, without a soul to save, be kind to me. Spirits of the trees, that grow upon the lees, be kind to me. Spirits of the air, foul and black, not fair, be kind to me. Water spirits hateful to ships and bathers fateful, be kind to me. Spirits of the earthbound dead that glide with noiseless tread, be kind to me. Spirits of heat and fire destructive in your ire, be kind to me. Wolves, satyrs, ghosts, elect of all the devilish hosts, I pray you send hither, send hither, send hither, the great shape that makes men shiver!" Willow yelled.
„Geister der Tiefe, die nie schlafen, seid freundlich zu mir. Geister des Grabsteines, ohne eine Seele zum retten, seid freundlich zu mir. Geister der Bäume, die wuchsen aus dem Grund, seid freundlich zu mir. Geister der Luft, faul und schwarz, nicht fair, seid freundlich zu mir. Wassergeister hasserfüllt zu Schiffen und schicksalshaft zu Schwimmern, seid freundlich zu mir. Geister der Erdgebundenen, Tod der lautlos gleitet, seid freundlich zu mir. Geister der Hitze und des Feuers destruktiv in eurem Aerger, seid freundlich zu mir. Wölfe, Satyren, Geister elsesen ihr alle von den teuflischen Gastgebern, ich bete dich an sende Bedenken, sende Bedenken, sende Bedenken, die grosse Form die Menschen erschaudern lässt!"
Willow shouted, her eyes blurring over the paper she was trying to read. Having been brought up in the Hebrew religion, the German was flowing easier than the Latin, she thought.
Reaching under the small box she had set up for an altar, Willow pulled out a wolf’s tail. She had gotten it when Oz first discovered his lycanthropy, hoping that she would find a spell that would help him. Now she was hoping it would help Buffy.
The witch tucked the tail in her sling and dipped the chalice in the hot water.
Willow knew that she already had a good dose of wolfsbane, now she was taking a mixture of henbane, aniseed, camphor and poppy seeds. The witch drank deeply and fell over onto her back with a choked cry.
The witch pulled herself up with her good arm to the sterno fire and emptied a ziplock bag of reddish hair onto it.
"I call for vengeance on Daniel Oswald, by fire, water, air, earth and spirit, I call for vengeance. I have been wronged and I send it back to you threefold over. May your anger, your hatred, and your perversion blind you!" she whispered and then screamed as her stomach cramped.
„Ich bitte um Rache an Daniel Oswald, beim Feuer, Wasser, Luft, Erde und
Geist, ich bitte um Rache. Ich wurde betrogen und ich sende es dreifach zu dir
zurück. Möge dich deine Wut, dein Hass und deine Perversion blind
"Willow!" she heard Buffy screaming from somewhere far away.
"Willow!" Tara suddenly screamed and dashed for the crypt.
Giles, startled out of his deep thoughts while watching the graveyard, jumped up and quickly followed her. He spun at the sound of running feet and lowered his pistol when he saw Xander and Anya trotting towards them.
Tara grabbed the crypt door and pulled it open and dashed inside with Giles behind her. The blonde witch grabbed the door to the lower inner crypt and attempted to pull the handle. She began to tug and pull with muttered curses when it wouldn’t open.
Giles shoved the witch aside and tried himself, with no success.
Tara placed her hand over the lock and concentrated while Xander and Anya kept watch at the crypt entrance and glanced at the frantic witch.
"Damnit! It’s sealed with magick!" she snapped and began pounding on the door. "Willow!"
Giles began pounding as well.
"Giles! Help us!" they could hear Buffy screaming in the lower crypt. "Tara! Giles! Help!"
"Buffy!" Giles shouted. "What’s happening?" he shouted.
"I don’t know! It’s Willow, something’s happening to Willow!" she shouted.
"We can’t open the door! She’s sealed it!" Tara shouted.
"Tara, what can you sense?" Xander asked from the door.
"Willow’s in agony, so much pain her mind is shutting down," Tara answered, pounding at the door. "Buffy is frantic."
"So am I!" Giles muttered. "Can you break the spell?"
"I don’t know!" Tara snapped and then began concentrating again. "Damnit!" she muttered after a few moments.
"The moon is up and Buffy’s not furry?" Xander asked.
Tara shook her head. "No, but something’s wrong with Willow."
"She said the spell might backfire and send her comatose, is she unconscious?" Giles asked.
"No, she’s in pain," Tara growled and pounded on the door some more.
"Tara!" Buffy screamed from inside.
"Buffy! I’m here!" she screamed back.
"Willow….she’s…the spell wasn’t a sleep spell!" Buffy yelled.
"Do you know what she used to seal the door?" Giles shouted.
"Something about unable to turn until the morning sun," the Slayer shouted back.
Tara suddenly nodded and laid her hand on the lock. She began chanting again and Giles whimpered with relief when they heard the bolt turning in the lock. The witch grabbed the door and swung it open violently and dashed inside, despite Giles’ shouting to be careful.
Xander quickly pushed past Giles and followed Tara inside. Giles and Anya followed them in and looked down on the inner crypt.
Buffy was pushing frantically at the cell door; her long sleeved shirt was in tatters and hanging open and her t-shirt underneath was torn in several places. Her jeans were ripped in the knees and her shoes were off.
In the middle of the room was Willow in the center of her magick circle. At least they thought it was Willow.
Inside the silver enclosed circle was a red werewolf, writhing on the floor, apparently only half conscious.
"Don’t cross the circle!" Tara yelled as Xander dashed down the stairs. "It’s holding her in!"
"Get me out of here!" Buffy screamed and rattled the cell door.
Xander stopped at the edge of the circle, staring at the creature in front of him in disbelief.
Giles rushed over and keyed in the combination to the cell door and grabbed Buffy as she attempted to rush past him. His strength was surprising as he held his Slayer tightly in his arms.
"Don’t break the circle!" he shouted.
Tara moved over to the Watcher and Slayer and took Buffy into her arms.
"We can’t help her right now!" Tara said firmly.
Finally, Buffy seemed to listen and nodded, almost collapsing into Tara’s arms.
"Alright, everyone back upstairs where we can discuss this," Giles ordered.
"No, I’m not leaving Willow!" Buffy protested.
"Just to the upper crypt," Giles urged.
"Come on, we’ll keep an eye on her from the door," Tara compromised and held Buffy as they walked across the crypt and up the stairs with the others.
Everyone turned to Giles for answers.
"Well, I…" he stuttered. "Buffy, what happened down there?"
"I don’t know," Buffy whined. "Willow went up and sealed the door, then she asked for some of my blood. She already had some blood from my mom for her spell."
"Blood, your mom’s blood?" Xander squeaked. "Like, yuck!"
Buffy blushed and Tara held her from behind, wrapping her arms around the smaller woman. She would periodically glance back down into the lower crypt, watching the werewolf that was her lover toss and turn.
"Go on, Buffy," Giles urged.
"Then she mixed some herbs up in it with wine and I drank half. She sealed the circle and drank the other half and chanted and stuff," Buffy continued, her voice soft and low. "She said something about transference. I don’t remember after that except flashes of pain."
"You were changing into a werewolf," Tara confirmed.
"Next I was okay and Willow was screaming and was in pain," Buffy hesitated and closed her eyes tightly. She reached up and held tight to Tara’s arms. "Then she changed."
"Oh Goddess," Tara whispered and began to let her tears fall.
"She transferred the lycanthropy onto herself," Giles muttered and slid down the wall he was leaning against.
"No, this isn’t happening," Xander whispered and Anya took his hand. "Tell me this isn’t happening."
No one answered him.
"What now?" Anya asked, her voice unusually low.
"We have to wait until the moon goes down and she’s Willow again," Giles said wearily. "Xander, close the outer door, we’ll keep watch up here. Buffy, you and Tara go down and stay with her."
"Shoot anything that breaks through that door," Buffy suggested.
"Yes," Giles agreed, knowing that she meant both doors in case Willow broke through the protective circle.
Tara held on tightly to Buffy as they slowly walked down the steps. Once at the bottom they were both unsure as to what should be done next. The reddish furred werewolf was still thrashing in the circle of silver, apparently in pain but either unconscious or asleep.
Tara led Buffy to the air mattress and bedding and sat both of them down.
"What do we do?" Buffy asked softly, blinking as she tried to focus her eyes past the mind-altering herbs Willow had used.
"We wait for Willow to come back and then we help her like we were helping you," Tara said firmly.
Buffy leaned her head onto Tara’s shoulder as tears streaked her face.
"Did you know she was planning this?" the Slayer asked.
"No, I suspected there was something she wasn’t telling us, but not this," Tara answered wearily.
"Why did she do it?" Buffy demanded. "I took that bite to prevent this!"
"Willow feels you need to be healthy and not a werewolf three nights out of a month, you are the Chosen One," Tara responded.
"Damnit! What next?" Buffy snapped. "You taking the lycanthropy for her?"
"I would if I could, I’d spare both of you that," Tara nodded. "But I can’t. Willow chose to become a werewolf. A voluntary curse, Buffy."
"What do you mean?"
"She was able to transfer the curse from you because you were an innocent and not willing," Tara tried to explain some of the research they had found.
"We couldn’t cure Oz now even if we found a cure, right?" Buffy asked, sorting out the information.
"Exactly, he chooses to change and to be the wolf, that’s almost impossible to cure because the human becomes intertwined with the wolf," Tara agreed. "Eventually, he may become a full wolf and not revert to human form anymore."
"Oh eeekkk!" Buffy complained. "What does that mean with Willow though? She’s as innocent as I am in this mess."
"Not any more," Tara shook her head as tears began to flow down her cheeks. "She willingly took on lycanthropy; she’s as cursed as Oz now. Willow called it to her, Buffy. It wasn’t accidental, it wasn’t from a bite and it wasn’t from an inherited curse. She sought it out and accepted the beast into herself."
"Oh my God, does that mean she’ll become as bad as Oz?" Buffy whispered.
"No, it’s still Willow under there," Tara tried to smile slightly.
"I remember how it used to be with Oz," Buffy said thoughtfully, her eyes going cloudy with memory. "He never remembered changing or what it was like as the wolf. He’d change in the morning, put on his clothes, go back to his place and crash for several hours. Watching him change killed Willow though."
"I can imagine," Tara muttered. "The research we’ve done says that the first changes are the hardest but can eventually be controlled and relatively painless. Sometimes it even empowers the werewolf."
"Like Oz is now, he accepts the wolf and can change when he wishes," Buffy muttered, lying back on the bed and Tara leaned over her.
"Yes, he probably still changes involuntarily on the full moon but he can still think like a human while in wolf form," Tara muttered, laying down next to the Slayer.
"Can a werewolf learn that level of control without becoming evil like Oz?" Buffy pondered.
"I don’t know," Tara muttered, closing her eyes.
Buffy sat up and gently stroked the blonde witch’s hair. In a few moments Tara was asleep and Buffy was sitting up watching a twitching werewolf sleep off the narcotic herbs and spell.
Willow groaned and attempted to turn over but felt like she had no energy left.
In moments hands were holding her and turning her over. Voices tried to reach through to her and the witch finally opened her eyes to find herself looking into Buffy’s face.
Willow could tell Buffy had just been crying and tried to say something but didn’t seem to have the voice. The Slayer lifted the red-haired witch into her arms and gently carried her from the stone floor over to the mattress. Willow felt her body being covered by a sheet and blanket and wondered where her clothes were.
The hacker felt Buffy’s arms around her on one side and Tara joining her on the other. The rest didn’t matter as she drifted back into sleep.
"Wills?" Buffy asked softly.
"Let her sleep, Buffy," Giles suggested as he sat down heavily on a milk crate. Xander and Anya sat down on the end of the air mattress.
"She’ll probably sleep for a few hours," Tara muttered.
"Why don’t the three of you get some sleep, I’ll take Xander and Anya to Buffy’s place. I’ll fill Joyce in on what’s happened and we’ll grab some sleep as well," Giles suggested and Buffy nodded. It had been a long few days for all of them. "We’ll come back for you later Buffy, I suggest Tara stay with Willow tonight here in the cell."
"Why am I going out?" Buffy asked with a frown on her face, she wanted to be close to Willow, especially since the redhead might need her now.
"You’ll see," Giles muttered and motioned towards the stairs.
Xander and Anya both got up and managed to lean down and hug or kiss a forehead of the three women on the mattress before they headed for the outside world.
"Get some rest," Giles said gently and handed Tara the Glock pistol and Buffy the tranquilizer gun. "Don’t let Willow leave here today. She’s had quite a shock."
"We all have," Buffy muttered as the ex-Watcher climbed the stairs.
"Buffy, I love you both," Tara said gently, reaching out her hand for Buffy’s and interlacing her fingers with the Slayer’s.
"I love you both, I wish she hadn’t done this," Buffy said miserably.
"I know, I wish neither of you had to be a damned werewolf," Tara growled. "I swear I’ll skin Oz and use his rug in front of a fireplace!"
Buffy smiled slightly. "I like that imagery and you don’t stutter when angry," she agreed, her eyes closing. "As long as we keep everyone safe, especially you and Willow," she muttered as she drifted off into sleep.