If you like this premiss I’m looking for fic writers who’d like to develop a spin off series on these lines. E-mail me and if we can get numbers maybe we can have some fun.
Chapter 1 - SUNSET SAMHAIN Oct 31 427 BC.
The white robed figures filed into the oak grove. The wind whispered amidst the bare branches. This was a triumph processional but every face was long. A cage stood in the middle of the grove. It was made of oak staves bound together with ivy lashings. Inside it was darkness. As they watched the darkness coiled, became a gas and threw itself against the bars. The sacred sickle that was mounted on one side of the cage flashed and the smoke recoiled. It became liquid and tried another wall of its cell. Another sickle flashed foiling its attempt. It took on the jet black form of obsidian and pounded against the bars but yet another sickle repelled it. It roared as dark fire, but before it could even singe the oak staves of its prison, a fourth sickle flashed. The darkness within the cage settled into a brooding stillness.
“Dig the hole. Be sure it is deep.” The High Druid gestured with his white robed arm.
Several novices rushed forward with shovels to obey the order.
“Robin, there has to be another way,” objected the tall lanky man who stood to the High Druid’s left.
The High Druid pulled back his hood. He was a fair skinned man with a rugged but handsome face and long graying red hair that fell in twin braids down his back. “Bran, my friend, I wish there were. We both know the cage will only hold Falsoinfidus for a brief time. Only with life force, freely given, can the demon be bound. We cannot allow it to walk among our people again.”
“But - - -.“
”Bran, we do not make this choice lightly.” The woman standing to Robin’s right threw back her hood. She had hair like red gold, streaked with grey, and was fair skinned with a fine tracery of lines that spoke to a life of many smiles and deep green eyes that bore a deep weight of wisdom.
Robin gazed at her and regretted what must be. “I love you, Salix,” he said.
“As I do you, my husband,” she replied. “Bran, I speak now as High Dryad of this grove. What must be, must be. We have all seen it in the flames. Heard it whispered by the Oak and the Ash.”
“My lady, I can wish it were not so,” replied the younger of the men.
“As do we all. Care for Owen and Xana. See too it that Xana marries well, her dowry is worthy of a prince. Owen will do you proud as a bard, though he has not the will for the deepest mysteries.” Robin grasped his friend’s arm then taking Salix’s hand stepped towards the centre of the grove.
Bran followed. Hands still clasped Robin and Salix knelt. Bran placed berries from the sacred mistletoe in both their mouths and they swallowed. The effect came slowly. Fever and visions. Oblivious to those crowded around Robin pulled his wife into his arms and kissed her. They left their robes upon the grass and loved with a passion that put a lie to their years together. A tremor of energy flowed through the grove. The Druids took it and shaped it into the spell. The lovers finished and lay in each other’s arms as the cage was lowered into the pit. Water welled up around it as it settled.
Bran and another Druid gently guided Robin and Salix to the edge of the pit. The two lovers clasped hands, clinging to each other.
“We have captured Falsoinfidus, the destroyer of truth and gentle beauty. Murderer of family lines. Now we must imprison it for all time. Here we shed our finest blood, for only the life force of a willing sacrifice can hold this evil. Today our High Druid and High Dryad give the greatest gift up for the sake of their people. Show reverence when you eat of the dear, or taste of the salmon, for though their life forces bind the spell their souls move on and will find new vessels.” Bran held out his hand and a knife was thrust into it. As swift as he could he slit the throats of his two dearest friends. They stiffened but the mistletoe still held them in its sway. Two other Druids rushed up and garroted the sacrifices. The lover’s hands remained locked together. Another pair of Druids drove clubs down upon the sacrifices sculls. With a sob, Bran pushed them into the pit. They splashed into the water. As they fell it was like a last bit of will propelled them and they landed wrapped in each other’s arms. Energy roared up from the pool as the life force was released. The Druids took that sacrifice and shaped it, driving it tight over the cage, sealing it for all time. Then the spell was done.
“Fill in the hole,” ordered Bran.
“High Druid, will the spell truly bind Falsoinfidus for all time,” asked a young man newly come to the white robe.
“The beast will be bound until the end of days, so long as no one disturbs the resting place of Robin and Salix. Their bodies are the lock and the key. Bury them deep and keep this place secret in your heart. For if Falsoinfidus ever escapes, I cannot think of a power left that could bind it.”
8:00 AM Greenwich mean time, August 2 1999 AD.
“We’re one step ahead of the bulldozers again,” said the dark haired thirty something woman dressed in coveralls and a pith helmet.
“Barely. They almost didn’t call in the find,” replied a skinny twenty something man with blond hair and a hawk nose.
“Why did they?” asked the woman.
“You won’t believe this, Beth. One of the guys is a romantic. The bog people are locked in a hug.”
“Yeah right. Pull the other one, John.”
“Honest, I saw them. It looks like they’re cuddling each other.”
Beth moved to the edge of the pit and looked down. “God, you’re right. Talk about eternal love.” At the bottom of the gouge cut by the bulldozer two mummified corpses lay entwined in each other’s embrace.
“What should we do?” asked John.
“Get them the hell out of there so these nice people can get back to work. Rig a scoop, I want to take as much of the surrounding soil as possible. Looks like a triple death.”
8:00 PM Greenwich mean time, August 2 1999 AD.
“Ok, let’s lift them out,” called Beth. The soil had been removed from around the bodies and a tarp slipped underneath them. With painstaking delicacy they were lifted clear of the excavation and lowered onto the back of a pickup truck.
“Excellent. I’m taking them straight to the lab. The rest of you knock off for the day. We’re almost out of sun anyway,” said Beth as she climbed into the pickup.
The work crew raced to leave the site. Thus it was that no one noticed the black mist shot through with red that seeped out of the hole.
12:00 PM Pacific Standard Time August 2 1999 AD.
Willow hummed as she fixed the sandwiches. Rupert’s kitchen was like him, well designed, efficient but a little lacking in spice. Willow had endeavoured to fix that and now added a hint of salsa to the tuna salad.
“You don’t have to do that, Willow. I honestly feel somewhat uncomfortable with you dealing with my domestic circumstances. I am, after all, the host and you, the guest.”
“Giles, please let me do something. With all you’ve taught me it’s only fair. Plus well...” Willow placed a sandwich on a plate and set it in front of Giles at the kitchen table. A pot of tea already sat steeping.
“Coming here gives you an excuse to get away from your parents house while Oz is off with his band.” Giles finished as he poured himself a cup of tea.
“You got it there mister. My parents are poop heads, not letting me go with him for the gig. What do they think could happen in LA that couldn’t here?”
“Undoubtedly nothing that hasn’t already,” Giles eyes glinted.
“Giles!” Willow blushed.
“Oh, Willow, how old do you think I am. I approve of Oz, he is a decent man, and you... you make me wish I was twenty years younger.”
Willow’s blush painted her crimson. “I... err... Um.. Well... Eat... Eat.”
Rupert laughed. “In a sense I am glad I am no longer a teacher in your school. It opens the door for us being friends without the burden of responsibility the position placed upon me.”
“Friends,” agreed Willow.
The room seemed to shudder. Lighting exploded in both their minds. Without remembering how it happened they found themselves on the floor wrapped in each other’s arms, lips locked in a passionate kiss.
“Robin,” whispered Willow.
“Salix,” breathed Rupert.
“Oh goddess!” gasped Willow as she returned to herself.
“Indeed,” said Rupert. He knew he should release the young beauty but part of him didn’t want to.
“Gods and Goddesses all, defend us!” Rupert released her and came to his feet.
“What are we going to do?” asked Willow, as he helped her to stand.
Chapter 2 - A LOGICAL EXPLANATION
We can’t just vanish. I mean, OK, so Buffy’s the slayer, but she needs us. Doesn’t she?” Willow sat at the kitchen table fidgeting with a tea cup.
“No, we cannot desert Buffy. But we cannot allow Falsoinfidus to rage unchecked through the Western Isles. Sorry, England, Scotland and Wales. We must think of something, Salix... Um... Willow.” Rupert paused in his pacing across the kitchen and stared at the young redhead sheepishly.
“It’s OK Rob... Ru... Giles. I feel the memories leaking in too. We were. You and I.”
Rupert closed his eyes. “Very much in love. No wonder I have always felt a great fondness for you.”
“This changes so much. I mean, how can I keep dating Oz? He was our son. It’s incest. I... Ewwww.”
“Willow, love only promises to reunite us with those we love, it doesn’t dictate the form of the relationship. You are Willow, he is Oz, what Salix and Owen were to one another means nothing.
“And what Robin and Salix meant to each other?”
“As I said before. I can only wish I was twenty years younger. This aside, we have a dilemma. How can we be in two places at once?”
“Couldn’t the Watcher’s council deal with Falsoinfidus?”
“No. They have turned their backs on too much of the lore. It is a task for we two now as it was millennia ago.”
“There was a time when Willow was in two places at once.” Giles stopped pacing and cleaned his glasses as he thought.
“What? When? Oh... The Vampire me. Not a good idea. She’d probably eat Oz, seduce Xander ... And ewww, Buffy, ewww. Disturbing visual place. Then she’d vamp everyone.”
Giles looked distracted.
“Willow to Giles. You still there?” Willow touched his hand.
“Visual place. What? Oh.” Giles blush told her he found his mental picture anything but disturbing. “Yes well. The arrival of your vampire self did prove there are other worlds. There is a theory in physics that says there is an alternative dimension that plays out each decision made. The spell obviously drew the vampire version of you from one of those dimensions.”
“If we could find another one... Wouldn’t the Buffy there need her Willow and Giles?”
“Willow, how often have we both come close to dying? If we snatch a version of ourselves from the moments before death.”
“Got you. Research time?”
“Research time. Yes quite.” Giles smiled as another mental snap shot rose unbidden before his eyes.
Willow blushed at the expression on his face.
Willow and Giles knelt in the magic circle.
“I wonder if she’ll be in leather and lace?” mused Willow.
“One can only hope,” muttered Giles.
“Um... yes... well... It must be the memories leaking through. I didn’t realize I’d spoken aloud. Let us commence with the spell.” He blushed and nervously removed his glasses and shoved them into his pocket.
Willow grinned. She’d never would have believed that Giles thought of her in the way she was now learning he did. She enjoyed the discovery. She looked up at him. That look like he was undressing her with his eyes on anyone else would have offended or scared her. She found herself hoping he liked picture.
Willow, blushed then held up the powder and began “Arishon....”
Buffy fought valiantly. The battle ax she welded bit into the demonic Mayor’s neck, but it was little more than a fly bite. Faith leapt up behind Buffy, while she was distracted, and drew the blade across the blond slayer’s throat.
“No!” Willow battled to keep the panicked crowd from sweeping her into the arms of the attacking vampires. With a crazed strength she forced her way towards Buffy. The mayor bent down and swallowed the slayer whole. He turned his attention to the pretty redhead his jaws opened and descended towards her.
As Willow charged the mayor Giles leapt at Faith, trying to drive his blade home. She heard him, spun and drove her knife at his heart.
The world glimmered shifted then exploded into light and sound. Willow and Giles found themselves on the high school steps. It was full night.
“Goddess!” Willow scanned the blackened ruin behind them.
“Quite,” said Giles.
“Um... what happened?”
“I am sure, I don’t know. I do believe a drink is in order.”
Willow shook her head at her friend’s problem.
“Research, Giles. We need to know what happened to the mayor and the school and. Oh my gods!”
“What?” asked Giles
Willow pointed to where a couple of teenagers were huddled behind a bush necking. The boy was clumsily trying to slip his hand up the girl’s top as she kept taking his wrist and repositioning the hand.
“To each their own, I guess,” said Giles.
“I just. Ewww.”
“I believe the library has been destroyed. I had a few books at my flat. That seems a logical place to start.”
Willow was still watching the couple in the bushes. “I know him. He dated Terry Green. Oh boy, you can never tell.”
“Willow, research,” said Giles.
“OK.” They started towards Giles’ condo.
Willow put the last of the ritual tools away and took a seat by Giles on the couch. “This is scary,” she said.
“Waiting to meet ourselves. I mean the vampire me was so skanky and evil and she’d sleep with anything on two legs. That’s so not me.”
“Willow, it’s all right. We specified human in the spell.”
The door opened and Giles stepped in followed by Willow.
“What in the name of the gods!” gasped Giles.
“I can understand your confusion, please sit down and we’ll explain everything,” offered the Rupert on the couch.
“Oh goddess, you’re me,” gasped the Willow in the door when she saw the Willow sitting beside Giles.
“No. I’m me, Willow and you’re you, Willow, kinda like twin sisters.”
“Bloody hell. You said something about an explanation. And where do you keep the scotch?” said the Giles who was still standing.
“And there you have it,” finished the Rupert who’d cast the calling spell.
“So you want us to pretend to be you while you run off to stop this Falsoinfidus?” summed up the extra-dimensional Willow.
“You got her there...um... me,” said the Willow on the couch.
“OK, like, not that I don’t appreciate avoiding a tour of the mayor’s intestinal tract but, well. We have problems of our own.”
“The spell, when reversed, will return you to the exact time and place you came from,” explained Rupert.
“The exact. Bleeding hell. Is there any possibility of altering that,” asked the extra-dimensional Giles. He was on his third scotch.
“Well... it’s better than what we had,” admitted the extra-dimensional Willow.
“So you’ll help us?” asked Willow.
“Yes, I’ll lend my assistance,” said Giles.
“Good, I suggest we compare notes so you can determine where our two worlds diverged. It is important the others not know of our ploy. Buffy would insist of aiding us, and she is needed here.”
“Aren’t you going to miss Buffy,” the extra dimensional Willow turned to her twin.
“Yeah, but this is important.”
“She’ll suspect if I go all cold on her. I guess it’s not cheating because I’m you, but it would give me a wiggans.”
“What!!!” gasped Willow.
“Oh my,” said Rupert and Giles in unison.
The sober Rupert poured himself a scotch. “Cheers old man,” said the drunk.
“You and Buffy were... are... I mean... you???”
“For almost a year. After she forced Angela into hell to close the vortex she hurt so much. I caught up with her as she got on the bus. I couldn’t let her go away alone, so I went with her. We got a little place. It started out we were just room mates, then it happened. It was so beautiful. She was my first. I loved her. I watched the mayor. Oh goddess.”
Willow held herself as she cried. A long time later the tears ended. Willow looked uncomfortable as her counterpart hugged her in appreciation.
“So in your world I take it Angela is a vampire with a soul, and she and Buffy were involved.”
“Yes, then Angela lost her soul, and Buffy had to send her to hell. It was so sad.”
“What did Xander think about Buffy and I, I mean you dating?”
“I think he was a little envious, but then he and Oz got together and they were disgusting. Necking in the halls. Always holding hands. I mean showoffs or what.”
“Xander dated Oz,” Willow went pale.
Rupert buried his face in his hand. “Bloody hell! Willows allow me to test a hypothesis, if I may. Giles, old man. Who was your last serious relationship with?”
“John Calender. Angela...”
“I know old man... No need to go on. Willow.”
“Yes,” they both answered.
“My Willow. Perhaps you should tell your ‘sister’ who you are dating.”
“All right then.” Willow turned to herself. “Oz is my boyfriend.”
The extra-dimensional Willow leapt up and glared at her counterpart. “YOU’RE STRAIGHT!!!” she gasped horrified.
The drunken Rupert smiled. “Bloody hell, I wonder how this happened?”
“Hold on, if you’re dating Oz, who’s Xander dating?” demanded Willow.
“He took Anya to the prom,” replied Willow.
“Who? Never mind. Who’s Buffy with?”
“No one, she and Angel broke up. He came back from hell healed, but they just couldn’t make it work.”
“Angel. A guy. Buffy’s straight too. Her mother must be ballistic. She’s a real heterophobe you know.”
The drunken Giles hid a smirk behind his hand.
“Excuse me, my dear, but on this earth most people are heterosexual. Homosexuals are a small, albeit vocal, minority,” explained Rupert.
“So I have a question,” slurred Giles.
“Are we still married to Ethan here or are you divorced too.”
“Me and Oz. I, wow. I mean sure I thought it might be neat to try some day. See what it’s like, maybe when Buffy and I decide to have kids but, really dating a man. Ewww.”
“Hey. I’m pretty Ewwwed about the whole Buffy thing,” countered Willow.
“What I want to know is how this happened. Surely it could not be a natural evolution. Homosexuality is not as survival adaptive as heterosexuality for any species,” observed Rupert.
“That’s easy,” slurred Giles. “It started with Pope Malthus. He saw that we were breeding faster than bloody rabbits and were going to overcrowd the world. When he came to power it was just after the plague swept through Asia and the Middle East. There was no need for soldiers to fight so he suggested that homosexuality would be an effective form of birth control. The church made it canon and soon the Glitop Rose was discovered.”
“Who’s Malthus and the what rose?” asked Willow.
“In our would Malthus was a clergyman and economist who predicted the dangers of expanding populations. The rose is from one of the demon dimensions but I have no idea what other significance,” said Rupert.
“If a person drinks a tea made from the rose it causes the receptor cells associated with arousal to shift so that they prefer their own sex in the bedroom,” explained Willow.
“Eighty percent. About 20 percent of people are hetero or bi in spite of the rose’s influence. And I should know,” slurred Giles who then winked conspiratorially.
“Bloody hell. This complicates things. Willow?”
“Yes?” They replied in unison, then grinned sheepishly at one another.
“The guest to our world. Do you think, I know it is a difficult thing and well...” Rupert blushed.
“Oz?” asked Willow.
“I... I did kinda have some fantasies back home,” remarked Willow. “I think I could if I stop taking the tea. Oh boy, Buffy always use to tease me that I had tendencies, but when in Rome.”
Chapter 3 - Departure.
Willow shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other as they waited for their flight to board.
“Are you sure you told your counterpart everything?” asked Rupert.
“Yes. Giles, do you think. I mean she.”
“Willow, I have never seen you look at another woman with lust in your eyes. I do not believe you have cause to worry.”
“It’s just. It’s so weird, and well after we finished talking she asked me if I’d like to.”
“Really?” Rupert sat forward in the formed plastic chair mounted on the wall.
“I didn’t but I mean, this is the second time and Angel said vamps were based on the person- - -”
“Willow, your vampire counterpart was a hedonist. I have no doubt that you have a healthy appreciation for pleasure. Remove all restraint and that is a hedonist. Our other counterparts have been affected by a potent drug. I have no doubt that you prefer the company of men.”
“Thanks. Gi... Rupert.” Willow took a seat beside him.
“Rupert?” asked Giles.
“We’re going to be spending a lot of time together. I... I always wanted to use your first name. If you don’t mind.”
“Of course not.”
“So how was your twin.”
“Before or after I sobered him up? In a sense this might be a blessing for him. You see, he admitted to me that he was a closet heterosexual. I think that may be what started him drinking.”
“Did you have any difficulty getting your passport?”
“No. I hated it when dad dragged me to Israel, two weeks of trying to be more Jewish than Jewish, but I guess it worked out.”
“Flight 876 for Manchester now boarding at gate 27,” spoke the intercom.
“Ready,” asked Rupert.
“As I’ll ever be. I... Rupert, I’m scared. Will I ever see Oz, Buffy, Xander or my parents again?”
“I don’t know, Willow.” He set his case on the floor and hugged her around the shoulders. She melted into his side and fit as if she’d always been there. He smiled at her as his heart gave a little lurch. For a second he closed his eyes, hating his age. “We’d better board.”
Falsoinfidus felt weak. The world had changed and the energy centres had shifted. The demon drifted out as a mist upon the winds. Hunger gnawed at it, but it knew to move quickly was to invite the attention of the Druids.
A sprawling city drew its attention. It teemed with life. The richness of it boggled the mind of the demon. It descended into the darkened streets.
The human knelt amongst the filth of a deserted alley. A strange thing pierced the skin of its arm, and it depressed a plunger at its base. Falsoinfidus watched as the creature’s tattered aura flashed. An expression of bliss crossed the human’s face. The natural shield the aura represented was split in so many places it presented no barrier. The mist enveloped the human.
Falsoinfidus flowed into its prey through the nose. Merging with the wasted man. It tasted the man’s essence. Driving itself against the energies that bound body and soul. The man’s heart stopped the soul flew free. With a thought, Falsoinfidus restarted the heart and took a shuddering breath. The body lived once more. The demon watched the human’s soul depart as it tested its vehicle. A substance similar to the juice of poppies flowed through its veins. The beast smiled, knowing humans had found yet another intriguing way to open themselves to its influence. With a thought it neutralized the heroin. Yes, smack, heroin. It received the knowledge from the memories in the brain.
An hour later, the ragged body stood. It had a posture unlike any it had known for years. Falsoinfidus had scanned the memories, sifted the knowledge of the life it had stolen and was pleased.
“Humans, such strides you have made, and there are so many now. A feast indeed,” spoke the body in the language of this new era but with an accent long since lost to the ages. Falsoinfidus smiled and started towards the first of its goals.
“So are you taking your daughter to Britain to meet the family,” asked the middle-aged woman that sat in the aisle seat. Rupert had the middle and Willow, the window. She was staring out at the ocean below.
“Actually- - -” began Rupert, but Willow cut him off.
“I’m not his daughter.” She smiled at the woman and very deliberately took Rupert’s hand.
“Oh... oh... yes well... pardon me.” The woman stood and headed towards the washroom.
“Willow.” Rupert gazed at where she clutched his hand. The warmth of her palm touching his sparked memories of a long ago life. ‘And... I mustn’t think of it. She is less than half my age,’ he admonished himself.
“Well... she. It was so obvious and well. I... um.”
Rupert smiled, “Memory leakage.”
“Must be.” Willow hung her head.
Rupert put his finger beneath her chin and lifted it. He looked into her eyes and their lips inched closer together.
“Would you prefer the fish or the beef, sir, madam,” demanded the middle-aged stewardess from the isle. She eyed Willow with a barely hidden hostility.
“Yes. Well...” Rupert sat back in his seat and their hands parted. “I believe I’ll have the fish.”
“Beef for me, please,” said Willow, a note of disappointment in her voice.
Falsoinfidus reached above the door jam. The key was exactly where the memories said it would be. The beast inserted it into the lock and opened the door. The wealthy neighbourhood slept and he slipped into the house. Those in the rooms above had given life to the form he wore, the best type of prey. The cooking knives were where the body remembered them being. He took the longest of them and moved up the stairs. A rich carpet covered the floor. The older man and woman slept in separate rooms. He moved to the body’s father. The room was as large as an entire dun in a round house. It could easily have housed a family and it held but one old man, who snored in a huge bed.
The demon moved to the old man’s side and stared down at him. Images of fishing trips and playing in the park filled his mind. With a evil grin, Falsoinfidus slit the man’s throat. The body’s farther’s eyes shot open and his last sight was his son leaning over him, bloody knife in hand. Falsoinfidus drank in the horror, the betrayal, the pain as his victim’s life ebbed.
Blood spattered his filthy cloths. Grinning he stripped before moving to the other room. The mother of his form lay sleeping. A picture of her son hung on the wall. The demon felt his passion rise. He moved to the bedside and pulled down the sheet.
“Frank? Oh, all right, but let me go to the bathroom first,” said the gray-haired, old woman. The cold touch of steel against her throat silenced her. The rape was brutal. Falsoinfidus remembered how to play with a knife, then just before he slit her throat he turned on the light so she could see her son’s filthy bloodstained face. The shame, the horror, the rage, the pain. She was a feast as he stood watching her die, enjoying her agony. Feeding like he had not done in millennia.
“So good!” he whispered. He sniffed and became aware of the body’s smell. He smiled as a thing called a shower drifted up from the back of his brain.
“Hot water at the turn of a knob. How delightful. Better tidy myself up before I visit sister dearest and my beloved nephews.”
Rupert loaded the bags onto the airport trolley. Willow stood against the wall trying to stay out of the way.
“Hi,” said a twentyish man with an English accent. He had short, brown hair and a lean, muscular body.
“Hi,” said Willow, she smiled at him.
“I’m Tim. This your first time visiting England?”
“Yupper, you got it. How’d you guess?”
“Your accent. American right?”
“Look, I know you don’t know me from Adam, but I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t ask. I’d love to show you around if your going to be in town for a while.”
“Willow, Love.” Rupert appeared behind her. It felt like a thunderstorm had somehow entered the airport and was getting ready to rain destruction upon all in its path.
“Willow, that’s a nice name. I didn’t know you were travelling with your parents,” said Tim.
“I’m not her father!” Rupert’s voice was level but it had a quality that made the whites show around Tim’s eyes. Willow felt Rupert’s hand drop possessively onto her shoulder.
Tim swallowed. “Sorry mate. Didn’t know.”
“Quite all right.” Rupert’s voice softened as Tim hurried to the baggage carousel.
Willow turned and looked into Rupert’s eyes. A fire burned there that threatened to ignite the building. “Rupert,” she cautioned.
“What?” he asked.
“I think Robin was the jealous type.”
Rupert swallowed then shrugged. “Sorry, but well... I doubt you would have had much time for sight seeing. We must find the demon before it can regain its full strength.”
Willow smiled at him and stroked his cheek with her palm. “So how do we find our demon?”
“I borrowed several volumes from my library before we left. I believe we should be able to find its general area by its modus operandi, then a locator spell should pinpoint it.”
“It kills in a very particular way.”
“The law of family,” said Willow, an odd accent tinting her words.
“Yes. If the beast can kill an entire family line it will regain its full might. The old Druidic laws had more wisdom than many know.”
“This is not how I pictured visiting your home land.”
Chapter 4 - DESIRE
“It’s bleeding highway robbery,” grumbled Rupert as they loaded their bags into the dilapidated mini minor. They filled the trunk and the back seat.
“It didn’t seem that expensive.” Willow looked longingly around the used car lot. Vehicles of all descriptions filled the space.
“Think in pounds, love.”
Willow calculated the difference. “Oh um... We got ripped off there buster.”
Rupert smiled. “At least it past MOT.” He straightened and stared at the sunset. Red light under-lit gray clouds splashing out in luminous shafts.
Willow moved to his side and unconsciously tucked herself under his arm. “Pretty.”
Willow looked up and saw that he had shifted his gaze to her face.
“I... err...” she blushed and noticing her position pulled away from him. “Why didn’t we just rent a car?”
“This could take some time. Buying is less expensive in the long run,” explained Rupert.
“OK, so why buy this car?” Willow looked at the vehicle that crouched on the pavement beside them.
“Because it is inexpensive. Honestly, Willow. My family may have been well healed but my name isn’t exactly Trump.”
He watched her smile at him and any ire he may have felt vanished.
“We should go. I need to pick up some newspapers then we should find a room for the night.
Falsoinfidus lounged on the couch eating cereal, digestion was beyond its understanding but it enjoyed the sense of taste. The demon wore one of the body’s father’s robes. A police drama played on the television.
“Fascinating, the humans have made great strides in identifying their own. How nice that when the body is found all will know it was her son that raped her. What a delightful shudder that will send through the human cattle,” he spoke to himself.
Rising he moved to the kitchen and threw the dirty bowl into the sink, it shattered with the impact. “Hmm... must become accustom to maneuvering a physical form again. Oh well... it is worth it considering the variety of sensations now open to me.”
The family dog looked up from its basket. It was a old animal of indeterminate breed.
“Wolf, you haven’t touched your food. Not to your liking?“ asked the demon as it gazed down at the human arm it had dropped onto the dog’s food bowl.
Falsoinfidus laughed and poured itself a bowl of frosted flakes. “So sweet. I will enjoy this epoch. The Druids but a shadow of their former power and this new faith trapped in denial regarding my kind. How delightful.”
Rupert led the way to the motel’s desk. It was a small place off the highway and its low rates were reflected in its general state of repair.
“I hope we can get a room.” Willow moved to his side at the check-in desk.
Rupert smiled at her. She looked tired but had plastered a smile onto her face despite a long, trying day. He pressed the buzzer and waited.
The sound of a television blared as a door was opened then silenced. A pudgy man of late middle years with greasy, black hair wearing a muscle shirt and shorts waddled to the check-in.
“Evening,” he greeted.
“Good evening. We would like a room,” opened Rupert.
“Bloody hell.” The man’s gaze devoured Willow. “Governor you give the lot of us hope. Number five, twenty pounds a night. Pub down the street does breakfast.
“Do you only have the one room?” asked Willow.
The inn keep winked at Rupert conspiratorially. “Sorry miss, only one. Not to worry, the bed’s a queen size. Lots of space.”
Rupert rolled his eyes and signed a traveller’s check. Minutes later he was settled in the room’s lone chair. The bed dominated the middle of the floor and a battered television sat on the dresser that stood at its foot. The sound of running water issued from the shower.
Rupert buried his mind in the paper. A story about an archaeological find the press had labelled ‘Eternal Love’ caught his attention. It tweaked with memories and he leaned back in the chair closing his eyes. “Near York,” he muttered. “Yes, that would fit. York, a major centre, no shortage of victims. The beast would need to feed.”
The sound of the bathroom door opening caught his attention. He opened his eyes to see Willow step out wearing nothing but a towel.
“I forgot my pajamas.” She smiled sheepishly at him.
“Um.” Rupert swallowed in a mouth suddenly gone dry and tried not to shift in his seat, despite the discomfort biology was causing him. “Yes... I... well... I believe I may have found a place to start. An archeological dig seems to have uncovered our I mean um... the place we imprisoned Falsoinfidus.”
Willow moved to his side. Giles felt his breath catch as his eyes involuntarily traced up her lean, well-shaped legs. The towel did little to limit his view. Willow came to a stop beside him and looked down at the paper. Her hand slipped over his shoulders in a posture reflecting deep intimacy.
“Is something the matter, Robin? You seem tense,” she squeezed his shoulder.
Giles stifled a moan at the feel of her warm hands kneading his flesh. He sensed the towel slip. “Salix, awww... Um... Willow,” he managed to stutter.
“Yes?” spoke Willow’s voice with an accent long since lost to the world. She came around so her lips were only inches from his. He felt her hot breath caress his face. Smelt the mouthwash she’d used. Her eyes glistened. The towel fell to the floor and her slender form promised a thousand and one delights. Her hand stroked the line of his chest. He gazed at her and at that moment Rupert did the hardest thing he ever had.
“Willow, I must speak to Willow. Salix and Robin had their time. Willow.” He swallowed as blood thundered in his ears.
“I... oh.... eepp.... bad thing!” Willow scrambled for her towel and clutching it to herself moved as far away as the room allowed.
“I...” Rupert swallowed, his blush painting his cheeks crimson along with other things that were causing his blood pressure to sky rocket. He tried again. “I... I’m going to take a shower. I have turned down the page with the pertinent article.” He stood.
“Rupert,” breathed Willow.
He turned and there was fear, confusion, and need in Willow’s face. She looks so young, so helpless. It struck him almost as hard as the wanton display before, only now he wanted to hold her, kiss her fears away, keep her safe in a world he knew was full of dangers.
“Robin loves Salix. Willow, I...” He fled into the bathroom before the emotion became too much.
Willow trembled as she pulled on her pajamas and crawled under the covers.
“Oh goddess. No Oz and Rupert. How could he see me as more than a little girl. He’s seen so much and I’m just a kid. He’s so sweet not taking advantage, but. Down, Willow, it’s just memory leakage, that’s all. Yeah that’s it, Willow, and the moon is made of green cheese and you haven’t fantasized about him for the last three years.”
Rupert turned on the cold water and stepped under the spray. He shivered and began soaping himself despite the goose bumps that were forming.
“Gods man, grow up! She’s half your age. You’re an old pervert to think of her like that. I mustn’t take advantage.”
“Love her as we loved. You know you do. Allow us to love again through you,” spoke a voice in his mind that he knew was his own and yet was not.
“Bugger you mate! She’s... What would she ever see in a broken down old man. I’m over the hill, out to pasture.”
“Fie! If you believe that, I’ve been reborn as a fool!” answered the voice in his head.
“Shut up. You’re just a bunch of memories, experiences.”
“And you are? And she is? Love her. Look in her eyes, see what is there.”
“She deserves better.”
“Does not love always?”
Rupert turned the knob stopping even the faint trace of hot water that flowed in the shower and shivered under its stream.
Willow lay under the blankets. The bed felt strange. She missed Oz and the others already. Rupert emerged wearing boxers and a T shirt. He slipped under the covers and shivered.
“You’re cold?” she said.
Rupert swallowed. “Yes.”
“I’m scared. Suppose the other me messes everything up. Suppose the other me and Buffy... well you know. Then when I go back Buffy expects... well... I don’t think I could.”
“I don’t have any answers,” said Rupert.
“Rupert, it’s Willow asking. Will you hold me? I need to be held. Salix leaking through, chasing the demon, leaving home, everything, it scares me.
Rupert paused falling silent then shifted position. Willow snuggled her back into him, spooning. The warmth of her body stilled the shivers that racked him. His arms fell naturally around her.
“Rupert?” whispered Willow.
Rupert held her and somewhere in the comfort of that contact they both drifted to sleep.
Chapter 5 - DIG SITE
Rupert awoke to find a warm body nestled in his arms. He smiled still half asleep and gently squeezed his hand, which had moved to cup the woman’s breast. His morning erection was pressed hard against her through the material of their night cloths.
The woman murmured in her sleep.
A name. Let’s see, I was at the pub... Oh gods, I wasn’t! His hand moved away from the woman’s breast. She pushed her back into him and sighed. He nearly groaned as the material of his clothes shifted against his manhood.
“Oz,” she murmured, then her body stiffened and her jaw dropped. “Giles, I mean Rupert!” her voice squeaked.
“Yes, um... sorry. I seem to have shifted somewhat in my sleep, then I wasn’t fully awake...” he trailed of as she rolled over and looked into his face. She was smiling.
“It’s OK. I... well... things happen.”
“I suggest we travel on to the dig site today, perhaps we can intercept Falsoinfidus before it escapes.”
“Thank you for holding me. You...” Willow blushed. “You have nice arms. They made me feel safe.”
Rupert smiled and for once Robin and his latest incarnation were in accord. “I’m glad I could help. I am very fond of you.”
Willow smiled, crawled out of bed and disappeared into the bathroom.
“I find it hard to believe that a woman as intelligent, competent and capable as you, has never mastered the skill of reading a road map.” Giles grumbled as he turned down yet another country road in his attempt to get to the dig site.
“Like hey, it’s not my fault the English don’t know how to draw a straight line,” countered Willow.
Rupert pulled to the side of the road and took the map out of her hands and examined it.
“I could drive if you want to navigate,” offered Willow.
Giles looked up from the map and stared at her in silence.
“That could have happened to anyone! Why can’t the British drive on the same side of the road as everyone else?”
Rupert didn’t say a word.
“The old lady jumped out of the way, and I pulled to the left before we hit the semi, and that stop sign was behind a bush.”
Rupert refolded the map so the section they were in showed and stared at the lines. “You navigate! We are here.” he pointed to a spot on the map. “We want to be here.” he pointed to a near by spot. “This is how we do it.” He traced a network of back roads with his finger.
“I can too read a road map. If we’d asked for direction when I said we should.”
“Salix, you know you were never any good with maps - - -.”
“Willow,” she interrupted.
“You called me Salix.”
“Oh...” Rupert put the car in gear and pulled away from the road side.
The sun was descending to the west when he pulled up at the dig site. The archaeologists were packing up while the construction crew had moved on to the next lot over.
“Can I help you with something,” asked Beth as Rupert climbed out of his car.
“Are you the person in charge of this dig?” Rupert flashed her a smile that he’d used in bars on three continents with enjoyable results.
Beth paused and before she could stop herself smiled back. “Yes, Beth McDowl, and you are,” she asked.
“Rupert Giles, late of the British museum.”
Beth’s eyes went wide. “The Rupert Giles. I read your work on the Sumerian demon cults and their burial practices. I based my doctoral research on your excavation of the barrow mound in northern Westchester. This is an honour.”
Rupert seemed to preen “Thank you. Those were interesting pieces. It would seem you’re in the process of establishing a reputation of your own.”
By this time Willow had circled the car and she looked from Rupert to Beth trying not to appear moody and failing miserably.
“This dig is extraordinary. A double triple death and when we dug deeper we found remanants of a cage buried in the peat. It’s fascinating.”
Willow cleared her throat.
“Oh yes, allow me to introduce my protege. Willow Rosenberg, Beth McDowl.”
“Hi,” said Willow.
“American?” Beth eyed Rupert like a slab of raw meat.
“Yes,” Willow said through gritted teeth.
“I’d love the opportunity to show you around the site,” offered Beth.
“That would be lovely. Willow, please come along,” agreed Rupert.
Beth moved to Rupert’s side and, taking his arm, led the way to the excavation.
“Oh, Rupert Giles, I love your work. I did my doctorate on it. Oh please sign my shovel. I bet she’d run screaming if she saw a vampire,” Willow grumbled under her breath as Beth and Rupert chatted.
Minutes later Rupert squatted in the excavation pointing out several irregularities. Beth gazed at him wide eyed. Despite everything Willow admitted a grudging admiration. She’d known Giles as teacher, mentor, friend, but this was a side of him he’d never displayed before.
“Your work is excellent, considering your time constraints. I’m certain you would have noticed the striations in the morning.
“Well I’m glad to have such an expert opinion to add to my site notes. Are you staying in the area?” asked Beth.
“Sadly, we have to move on. I need to be in York tomorrow morning.” Rupert stood and taking Beth’s proffered hand climbed from the pit. Neither attempted to release the grip when he stood beside her.
“That’s too bad. There is a rather good restaurant in town and I would love the opportunity to discus the dig with an expert of your caliber,” remarked Beth.
Willow rolled her eyes and clenched her fists so tight the nails dug into her palm.
“Such is the call of duty,” remarked Rupert.
“Here.” Beth released his hand and rummaging in the hip pouch she wore extracted a business card. “If you’re ever in the area give me a call. I’d love the chance to discuss our experiences. I make a smashing lasagna.”
“A wonderful invitation if I ever heard one.” Rupert caught Beth’s hand brought it to his lips and kissed it making eye contact the entire time.
“It’s getting late. We should go,” said Willow.
“What? Oh yes, of course.” Rupert released Beth’s hand and reluctantly let Willow lead him to the car.
“A delightful woman,” he remarked as he settled behind the wheel.
“Tramp,” grumbled Willow.
“Willow?” gasped Giles as they pulled onto the road and stated towards the A road that would take them to York.
“Well... I mean... like... can we say obvious or what? And you. It took you months to even warm up with Jenny.”
Willow regretted the words as soon as they left her mouth and she saw the pain cross his face. “I’m sorry, Rupert. I didn’t mean...”
Rupert smiled a brief flash of teeth in the dim car interior.
“Quite all right, Willow. You are of course correct. With Jenny it did take time. It is a bit difficult to explain to a younger person.”
“As you wish. There are two types of women for me. Those who I can grow to love in a romantic sense and those who I know I will at best like. I tend to get a sense of which group a woman falls into rather quickly. Beth is of the latter. We could have a wonderful time together but it would never be more than that.”
“And those you can fall in love with?” Willow felt her heart in her chest.
“In my life there have only been four. A young girl I knew when I was seventeen. Her parents disapproved of me and mine her. They separated us by sending her to school in Canada. Her name was Catherine. She was my first love and she made my heart sing. Just to be near her was a joy.”
“Your parents sound like real poop heads,” said Willow.
“You said there were four.”
“I can see you will permit me no secrets.”
“Hey, I’m just catching up. You’ve had a front row seat for my past.”
“True. There was Andrea, when I was twenty six. It may have worked out but her husband objected.”
“A married woman!” gasped Willow.
“I didn’t know until he walked in at a delicate moment and. All I can say is I am very glad the British believe in gun control. Then there was Jenny.”
“You still miss her?”
“You said there were four.”
“Check the map would you? I think we may be coming up on our turn,” evaded Rupert but his eyes glinted in the twilight as he shifted his gaze to take in Willow.
“It’s the next left. Did you find anything in the pit?” She was half afraid of the answer she might receive if she pushed their earlier discussion.
“Yes, reach into my jacket pocket.”
Willow complied and grasped something hard and smooth. She pulled it out. It was a sickle with a crescent shaped blade and a dark wooden handle.
“The anaerobic environment of the peat preserved it.”
Willow caressed it, allowing herself to feel its magical energies. “Its incredible. It’s like an Athame but different.”
“It is the sacred tool of the Druids. I believe it may well prove essential in dealing with our foe.”
Willow nodded and looked at the man beside her wondering what the fourth name was.
Chapter 6 - YORK
Rupert wasn’t sure when he’d gotten up to use the WC, all he knew was that when he returned to the two beds in the motel room he’d slipped into the one that wasn’t his own, because for the second morning in a row he woke up with Willow in his arms. He tried to shift but she pushed into him and grasped his arm clutching it to herself like a teddy bear.
“Rupert, old man, the things you do to yourself,” he murmured as he settled back down and held her. She felt so right in his arms and he knew it was so wrong.
“Fool,” whispered a voice in the back of his mind.
“Do shut up, Robin,” Rupert spoke in the confines of his thoughts.
Willow shifted in her sleep and moaned, “Rupert.” She pulled him closer. Rupert swallow as her buttocks pressed into his groin.
Willow woke slowly, in stages. At first she was only vaguely aware of the warm body next to her own, it felt nice and she wanted it to stay, was the extent of her thoughts. Over a minute later she realized it was too large to be Oz but a voice whispered in the back of her head telling her not to worry. Later still she recognized the after shave and the unique sent of the man and knew it was Rupert.
Only question is when did I get in bed with him? Must have been when I got up to go to the bathroom, she thought as she pretended to be asleep and snuggled into him.
“Good, Willow, you recognize the bond,” whispered a voice in the back of her head.
“It’s as much as I can hope for. He’s so sophisticated and knows so much. He thinks of me like a daughter,” Willow silently replied.
“Liar, you know better than that,” whispered Salix.
“He’s my father’s age,” objected Willow.
“So,” the tone in the voice made it seem a trivial consideration.
“So, maybe it would be good for a year, then he’d realize he wants someone his own age.”
“Do you think so little of our Robin in his current form.”
“Rupert’s the best person I’ve ever met.”
“Just shut up!”
Silence issued from the long ago echo but there was a sense of smug satisfaction that pervaded Willow as she snuggled into Rupert arms and felt his harness pressing against her buttocks.
Falsoinfidus tried to open the hidden safe but failed. The complexity of the lock defeated his understanding of locks and the form he had stolen had known nothing of how the device worked.
“Very well, it is of little import,” he remarked as he picked up the sledgehammer. With crushing force he drove it against the steel door in the wall. He struck it time and time again. The battered hatch finally gave way. He smiled then dropped the hammer and gazed at the body’s palms. The skin had peeled away exposing the flesh. Blood poured from the wound as the demon’s will kept the heart pumping.
“Bother! This vehicle is beginning to decay. I must find out what strides these creatures have made in understanding their own life processes. Perhaps I can some day learn how to heal a wound. Such is the way of things. I must hurry if I am to visit my dear sister and her sons before this form shows its degradation.”
Willow scanned the news paper. “No reports of family homicides,” she remarked.
“None here either which means one of two things. Either Falsoinfidus has not come here or it has thus far covered its tracks.” Rupert sat behind the wheel of their mini minor with the paper folded out on the steering wheel.
“What should we do?” Willow closed the paper and leaned back against the passenger seat.
“I believe the spell we used to pinpoint the demon before might be effective, assuming we are close enough.”
“The spell we used before...” Willow began to object but before the words were formed a Druidic spell bubbled to the front of her mind from some hidden recess.
“He’s attractive when he’s concentrating,” remarked a voice Willow alone heard.
“Stop that,” she said.
“Stop what?” Rupert looked puzzled.
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
Rupert looked around the car then stared at Willow.
“I... Err... Salix.” Willow looked sheepish.
“Kiss her you fool. Look at that pout, it makes our blood boil,” a voice echoed in Rupert mind.
“Oh do be quiet,” Rupert replied being careful to keep his mouth closed.
“So we need a high place to do the spell,” said Willow.
“The museum grounds. They have an old castle there, if things have not changed you can climb to the upper wall. We should be able to get the other ingredients readily enough. I wanted to buy one of those automotive kettles anyway.”
Falsoinfidus checked that the gloves completely hid his wounds then rang the bell, before popping another toffee into his mouth. The house before him was as large as an entire round house and twice as high. It boggled his mind that a single family lived within it. The wealth humans now enjoyed. A king in his time would not have warranted so much private space.
The door opened and a plumb blond woman, who was maybe thirty, stood in the doorway. Dressed in jeans and a T shirt.
“Go away, Nicky. You used up your chances. Go bury a needle in your arm and forget you have a sister. I won’t help you kill yourself,” she said and the door started to close.
“Wait, Sue.” Falsoinfidus felt a moment’s panic but pushed it down. He pulled out his wallet and tugged out several bills. “I’ve come to pay back the money I owe you.”
The door paused. “Is this some kind of a joke? You have money? When did you stop sticking every dime in your arm?”
“I got off the stuff, honest. Please, I’m sorry.” Falsoinfidus searched the body’s memory. The decay was beginning to affect the brain and the more nebulous facts were lost but he found something. A new human thing. “I’m in a program. I have to apologize and make amends, please sis. I’m clean and I’m really going to stay clean this time.”
“You really want to pay me back?” asked Sue.
Falsoinfidus counted out five hundred pounds in large bills. “I know it’s only a start.”
Sue opened the door. Come in, I’ll put on a fresh pot of coffee. Bill’s taken the kids to the park so we can talk.”
The demon smiled and followed the woman into the house.
It had taken nearly two hours to collect and prepare the herbs, now Willow followed Rupert up the ancient stair that ran between the outer walls of the castle. She admitted to herself that when Rupert had said castle she had thought fairy tale spires and a moat. What she had found was a cylinder of dressed rock, a hundred feet across, on the top of a hill. The passage emerged on the parapet, which offered a spectacular view of the city.
“This should do nicely,” said Rupert. His accent was different.
“Yes,” agreed Willow. She gasped putting her hands over her mouth. “Stop that!” she thought. The accent she’d used had never known the Americas existed.
“We should get started,” said Rupert. His voice was back to normal but he had a haunted quality around his eyes. He placed a bowl on the top of the parapet and, opening a wine skin they’d bought, filled it with wormwood tea.
“You betcha there mister.” Willow pulled a cinnamon stick from her pocket and using the sickle notched one end. Gingerly she pricked the tip of her finger, with the ancient sickle, and let a drop of blood fall onto the cinnamon stick. Rupert held his finger out to her. She pricked it and he added a drop of his own blood. They turned to face out from the wall. Without either of them being aware of it their hands came together, the still bleeding fingers touching in a rite as old as mankind.
“I call thee Bran, blessed giant. Lord of prophecy and secret wisdom,” spoke Giles. The odd accent returned with the words. He felt energy tickle over his skin and flow towards the blood on the cinnamon stick.
“I call thee Cerridwen, keeper of wisdom’s caldron, knower of secrets,” Willow’s voice changed as she named the goddess. Salix spoke with her lips. energy flowed over her centring on the spilt drop of blood.
Together they finished the spell in voices long made silent.
“We call thee, lord and lady, grant power to this act. Show us our foe, Falsoinfidus. Let no thing hide him from our view, let his evil be revealed.”
Within the bowl the cinnamon stick spun then centred its notched end pointing towards one of the city’s better neighbourhoods.
“We thank thee, Bran and Cerridwen,” spoke the two in unison.
“Robin,” said Salix through Willow’s lips.
“My love,” replied Rupert’s body.
“What fools we have become.”
Robin embraced the beautiful redhead and she rested her head against his chest.
“They are bound by the rulings of this new world, my love. They only need time. After all, they are us, they simply have forgotten love’s power.”
Robin cupped her chin and lifted her face so he could gaze into her eyes. “To what end? It would be like a man of forty summers trying to be twenty once again. They are us, they simply need time to see that the love never died.”
“Robin.” Salix brought her lips to her husband’s. The kiss was deep, held passion and didn’t end immediately upon them returning to their places in their new forms’ psyche.
Willow felt Rupert’s lips pressing into her own. She had heard everything, seen everything, but been helpless to act. Now with the warmth of his arms around her, the softness of his lips pressed to her own, she didn’t want to move. Her mind was blank and her heart full.
Rupert knew the moment control returned to his current consciousness. Willow was nestled in his arms her lips pressed against his own her tongue tip lightly caressing his. He felt ten feet tall. His heart sang and the warmth of her in his arms melted every cold place in his soul.
Slowly, reluctantly, the kiss broke and they stood looking into each others eyes.
“We need to talk,” Willow half whispered.
“Yes.” agreed Rupert.
“Could they be right?”
“I...” Rupert felt his courage fail him. “Later, Willow. Now we must seek out Falsoinfidus.”
Reluctantly they moved apart and looked at the bowl.
“It worked,” said Willow as Rupert picked up the mystical tool and led the way down the stairs.
Falsoinfidus backhanded Sue, sending her over the sofa. He heard the bone in the body’s hand snap as he did so.
“Nicky,” pleaded the woman.
“Nicky.” mimicked the demon. “Little Nicky, always the fuck up. Well I’ll show you what kind of fuck up I am. Strip dear, dear sister. I’ll show you just what kind up fuck up your little brother is.”
“Please Nicky. I always tried to be there for you. Mum and dad...”
The demon leapt over the couch and grabbed the woman hauling her to her feet. With the knife he’d recovered from the kitchen he sliced the front of her T shirt, leaving a shallow red scratch down her front. “Dear, dear father. Always working so hard. He can rest now. Rest in his great big bed. Well... most of him. But don’t worry, mother won’t miss him. She won’t miss him at all.”
“Nicky,” whimpered Sue. Without warning she shot back with her elbow. driving it into her brother’s gut. As Falsoinfidus doubled over, she leapt away, her T shirt pulling off in the demon’s grip. She bolted for the door.
“No.” Falsoinfidus straightened and leapt after Sue. She heard him and, grabbing a lamp from a end table, swung smashing it into the side of her brother’s head. The lamp shattered, sharp edges tore into the demon’s skin which pulled away. Blood poured from the wound but the beast still caught her by the arms and pulled her up short, turning her to face him.
“Aw, you have fight. My kind of prey. Sister dear.”
As Sue watched the blood stopped poring from the wounds that stood open raw and red. Her brother’s hands gripped her arms preventing her escape.
“Don’t worry, I will send your sons to join you soon. Such a feast to kill a clan. To end a line’s journey through time. Did you know the Druids had a law that even in a vengeance feud one member of each family must be preserved. I wonder why that was? Did they fear that something might gain unbelievable power if it devoured an entire clan. Hmm,” Falsoinfidus brought his torn lips to Sue’s, kissing her as he brutally squeezed her arms.
Rupert turned down yet another street following the direction the cinnamon stick indicated.
“I think we’re close,” observed Willow.
“I hope we are in time to prevent what ever Falsoinfidus is attempting.” The cinnamon stick moved to point to the side then started turning behind them.
“We just past it.” Willow gazed into the bowl. Rupert pulled to the side of the road and shut down the engine. He leapt from the car, opened Willow’s door and took the bowl from her. She climbed out of the car and they followed the cinnamon stick which pointed to a well kept upper middle class home.
Falsoinfidus bit Sue’s neck so hard he drew blood, then pushed her away so he stood between her and the door. “Take off your pants, dear sister.”
Sue whimpered. The demon gestured suggestively with the knife and she began to comply. The door bell rang.
“HELP!” screamed Sue as she ran towards her stairway.
“HELP!” the scream penetrated the door.
“Bloody hell!” Rupert dropped the bowl stood back and drove his foot against the door. It stood against the first blow, then the second, with the third the wood of the jam gave way and the door flew open. Rupert and Willow rushed in.
A skinny man with a mutilated face was racing up the stairs after a half dressed woman. He was nearly on top of her.
“Falsoinfidus, By Bel’s power I command thee stand!” Willow snapped in a voice that blended her and Salix. Power leapt from her finger tips. Bands of energy clutched at the demon. It paused frozen. The woman reached the top of the stairs.
Willow felt the energy rise and flow. It wrapped around her enemy but she was not Salix. She had not yet spent the years preparing her body and mind to carry the powers of life and light. For all the power she held she was still a novice. The spell fluxed, surged then the demon’s power slashed out against it. The bands of energy shattered throwing back against her mind. With an agonized cry, Willow collapsed.
Rupert leapt after the demon his own will joining with the echo of Robin. Falsoinfidus was prepared.
Rupert drove his energy against the links that bound the demon to its stolen body. Falsoinfidus didn’t bother to fight instead it followed those bands of energy towards Rupert. Robin sensed the danger first and cried out in the consciousness. Rupert snapped back the bands of force before the demon could follow them into him and steal his body. The recoil of energy staggered Rupert and Falsoinfidus started up the stairs after Sue and the energy she represented.
Willow staggered to her feet, head throbbing, she prepared another spell. There was a loud retort.
Willow and Rupert looked up. Sue had stepped onto the landing at the top of the stairs. She held a double barelled hunting riffle. As they watched she emptied the second barel into her brother’s chest.
Falsoinfidus gasped, then the body fell backwards down the stairs.
“Willow, the sickle, pin the demon to the physical form,” snapped Rupert.
“Willow moved towards the body but before she could act a black mist shot out of the wounds in the chest. It swirled around the room then finding an open window jetted from the house.”
“Oh god!” Sue clutched the stair’s hand rail to keep herself from falling. Rupert raced to her side and helped her to sit.
“I killed Nicky,” she breathed, then collapsed, sobbing against the strange man’s shoulder. Rupert held her and let her cry.
Willow climbed into her seat in their car and settled herself. Rupert shook hands with Sue’s husband and climbed in behind the wheel.
“Was it right to tell her?” asked Willow.
“I believe so.” Rupert started the car and pulled away from the curb. “With the coroner’s evidence regarding when the body died to support our statements it eased her grief to know she hadn’t killed her brother and that he hadn’t done the terrible things he was accused of.”
“What do we do now?”
“Falsoinfidus knows we are hunting it. It will undoubtedly be more careful from now on. We will simply have to bide our time. Follow up on any leads. I believe this may take some time.”
“Maybe in a strange way that’s can be good, for us, dontcha know,” Willow smiled at him.
“How?” asked Rupert.
Rupert obeyed the instruction. When the car was stopped Willow undid her safety belt and kissed him on the lips.
“Willow... Salix and Robin.”
“Had their time.” Willow sat back and took Rupert’s hand. “Maybe Willow and Rupert can have some time too.”
“This is just the memory leakage.”
“No, it’s not. I... I’ve had a crush on you since the first day I saw you. I... I want a chance Rupert. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t but can’t we take a chance?”
Rupert stared into her beautiful emerald eyes. “A chance. I... I would like to have a chance with Willow. But Willow, I have to be sure it is us and not who we once were.”
“I think slow is good too,” she agreed.
Rupert smiled and he brought his lips to hers. The kiss was soft, sweet, a little tentative. The first kiss of old friends discovering that maybe they can be more. There was excitement and fear and deep inside them both an ancient being that was them and was not them smiled and was glad.
Her skirt was so short her panties were almost visible to the passing motorists. The halter she wore barely contained her firm young breasts and her long blond hair fell to the middle of her back. The nosebleed, the snorting had caused, was over. She stuck her thumb out as a car started down the on ramp. The driver, a young man with dark hair and a handsome face slammed on his breaks. She raced to the passenger side door and climbed in.
“We’re you going?” he asked as she settled.
“South, where the big cities are,” she replied and licked her lips.
“I’m going to Sheffield.”
“Delicious,” replied the girl.
“Funny thing to say about a lift.”
“Maybe I wasn’t referring to the ride.”
The young man pulled onto the highway.
An ancient hunger reared, knowing it would soon be fed again.
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