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Wind Out of the Willow

Angelus weaved through the almost unnaturally dark living room, hiding in shadows and avoiding his soulful counterpart.

"Spike saved you last time," he taunted. "But I don't think either of them will be able to spring to your rescue this time."

Angelus' voice seemed to float to him from everywhere at once. Angel's eyes shifted as he looked for him. "I think I can handle one prancing, preening, leather wearing Master by myself."

Angelus squashed his temper down, unwilling to be goaded into a mistake. "You know you've always been the weaker of us. You know who will win this fight."

"What, that again? Come up with some new lines, buddy. These are getting old."

"After I stake you, I'm going to have some fun with your childe. How long do you think it'll take me to make him scream? By the end, he'll be a shell. Worse off than Dru." Angelus laughed. "Ooh, I'm getting all tingly thinking about it."

Angel felt his demon emerge. The threat towards his family; his childe enraged him. He growled low in his throat.

"Face me like a man!"

A blow struck him from behind.

"Sorry, but I'm not a man," Angelus sneered and disappeared back into the shadows before Angel recovered.

Angel's eyes glowed eerily in the dark as he sought Angelus out. Some stray light from the dining room caught his eye, but a noise drew his attention back to the problem at hand. "Fight!" he screamed.

Once again he was hit from behind.

Angelus laced his fingers together and hammered a blow into the back of Angel's head. Angel fell to his face with a grunt.

"Pathetic. No wonder Spike is a simpering mess. Wait, that's what I'll make him," Angelus said.

Angel brought his hands to his side and shoved with all his strength. He shot up right in to Angelus, sending both to the ground.

They wrestled viciously, their nails tore flesh, their teeth gouged and ripped. Finally Angel gained the upper hand, driving his fist into Angelus' jaw.

Angelus flew into the coffee table, splintering the wood as it collapsed under his weight. Angel jumped on him, straddling his chest, he thundered blow after blow to his face.

Angel, too caught up in his assault, failed to notice Simon walk up behind him. Then a needle jabbed into his neck.

Angelus shoved Angel off and sat up. Working his jaw, he winced. "That hurt, but not as much as I'll hurt you, boy."

Angel felt all of his muscles constrict. His body jerked as the poison Simon injected him with worked its way through his system.

Angelus patted his doubles cheek. "I'll get back to you." He looked up at Simon. "Well? Kill the witch already."

Simon asked, "And you'll destroy the Keys?"

"That was the deal, wasn't it?"

Simon stalked off the find Willow.

XxXxXxXx

After the lights went off, Willow ushered everybody to a wall and made sure they stayed.

Past-Buffy refused to move; she still sat holding Past-Spike, who was wavering in between conscious and unconsciousness.

Willow search blindly through the drawers until she found a cache of three torches. She clicked them on and tossed one to Xander and the other to Wesley."Wesley, think you can find that blue girl you brought here?" she asked, ignoring the crashing noise from the living room.

"I'm not sure. She wasn't a fan of the… happenings in the basement earlier. She could be anywhere."

"Well try. Take Lorne with you." She shined the light on Xander. "Help Buffy move Spike to the basement. The rest of you follow."

Tara grabbed her arm. "Where are you going?"

"I have to check on my Buffy and Spike."

"I'll come too," Tara said with an air of conviction.

"No!" Willow cried. "I won't let you get hurt, not again."

Tara shook her head. "I'm coming."

Willow's hand tightened around the flashlight and she nodded curtly. "Stay close."

The two moved quietly to the dining room. Willow led, using her body to block Tara from any attack.

Tara gasped when the light landed on Buffy and Spike. "Oh god." The words were barely over a whisper, but they grabbed Buffy's attention.

"Willow, Tara, help me," Buffy hissed, keeping her voice low.

Tara moved immediately to her side, but Willow hung back, turning and she swept her flashlight around. A sick feeling hit her in the pit of her gut, the hairs on the back of her neck pricked up like hackles.

"Willow?" Tara whispered to her back. "Willow," she repeated, raising her voice slightly.

Willow moved to look at Tara, but as she turned the light flashed over glowing, yellow eyes. Startled, she moved back, dropping the flashlight. It rolled, and now illuminated Willow herself.

Though she could no longer see the eyes, she felt them on her. With a deep breath she breathed, "Ah hell."

"Willow, what's wrong?" Tara asked.

Willow caught the slight movement at the edge of the light and dropped to the ground. A figure flew right over her head.

"Tara, help Buffy get Spike out of here."

"But—""Do it!"

Once again Willow moved out of Simon's line of attack.

"Come on, witch. Die like good girl and I won't have to kill all of your friends," Simon said, his voice even, as though he was mentioning the weather.

Willow gritted her teeth. She was really starting to hate this demon. "Eff. You."

He made a sound of distaste. "Fine, I'll start with the blonde."

He snatched Tara into the dark, leaving Willow blind to what was happening. Tara's scream echoed through her ears, and she lost all rational thought.

"No," she cried in fury and swiped her hand through the air, bathing the room in light.

He stood with Tara in front of him. "I don't want to harm anybody but you. I'll let her live if you give yourself over."

Willow nodded slowly and put her hands behind her head. "Okay."

"Willow, no," Tara begged. "Don't."

Simon smiled triumphantly as Willow approached him. His smile fell when Willow's hand moved from behind her head, purple flame now surrounding it.

He made to break Tara's neck, but Willow thrust her hand into his chest. He felt the flame enter him, spread through his blood, burning him from the inside. He screamed and dropped Tara to clutch at his chest as Willow removed her hand.

"I think, where you went wrong was threatening Tara," Willow said matter-of-factly. "Dumb mistake. But now you'll never make it again."

Simon glared at her as he convulsed and fell to his knees. He growled and gurgled in an attempt to curse at Willow.

"Willow, the portal! Now we can't…" Buffy trailed off and looked down at Spike, stroking his face. She knew she would have done the same in Willow's position.

Willow shut her eyes. "I'm sorry," she said softly, "but I can't let her die again."

Tara's eyes teared and she threw herself into Willow's arms. "Thank you," she said wetly in her ear.

"Lovely scene you two make. It'll be fun to turn you." Angelus said, walking into the room.

"I love what you did to Simy boy. Must have hurt like a bitch. Definitely a sight I'll take to my dusting."

Willow moved Tara behind her. "You know, I could do you the same turn if you'd like a closer look at it."

Angelus smirked. "I think I'll stick to being a distant observer. But you know, after I turn you that'll come in handy."

"I'd rather die."

"Sweetie, what do you think I'm saying I'll do? I think I will enjoy you two very much after turning you, maybe even a little before."

Buffy stood from Spike. "Over my dead body."

"Among other places." Angelus agreed. "Nice look by the way." He leered at her shirtless torso.

"Yeah, well some dick head hurt my guy. I was forced to stop bleeding with it."

"I won't let the boy die, no worry there. I just love his voice too much, particularly when he's screaming and begging."

"Screw you," she spat.

"Maybe later, when he wakes up. I don't want him to miss a thing."

Buffy moved for him, but was intercepted mistakenly by Past-Willow, who teleported right in to her, sending both girls stumbling.

Angelus quickly snatched Past-Willow into his arms. "Lookie what I got." He ripped the necklace from her around her throat. "Wouldn't want you popping out on me." He crushed it in one powerful hand.

She gasped, "No."

"Oh yeah baby, you're mine." He stared into Buffy's eyes. "In fact…" He trailed his tongue from her chin to base of her neck, where he placed a kiss.

A cry from the hall entrance caught every body's attention. Past-Dawn whimpered softly at the scene playing out in the kitchen.

"Hello, girly. What are you doing here?" Angelus asked.

"Buffy!"

The front door banged and suddenly blew off its hinges, smashing into the stairway.

Drusilla stood in the doorless entry way. She ran her hands down the invisible barrier. "Daddy, let me in," she whispered seductively. "I want to play with all the pretty people."

"Mmm, sound lovely." He winked at Past-Dawn, who had moved towards Willow and Tara. "How about you let my girl in? Pretty please?"

"No," she shook her head. "Never."

"Too bad, guess I'll just kill the witch then." He vamped and went to bite the spot he had shown interest in earlier.

"Wait! I'll do it."

Buffy was too late to stop her and Drusilla glided to her "daddy's" side.

Angelus, holding Past-Willow with one arm, grabbed Drusilla's hair and pulled her into a vicious kiss.

He didn't notice when Past-Willow's hand slipped into her pocket, or when she pulled it back out with the small white crystal in her palm. But he did notice Buffy's advancements.

"Uh, stay. Be a good little Slayer, now."

Past-Dawn stepped forward. "Let her go now," she commanded.

He shrugged. "Okay, but first…" He sunk his teeth into her neck, taking deep draught.

She gasped as she felt the power drain from her body. She stared into Willow's eyes, sending a message, begging that she take care of Tara. And with the last of her strength she reached behind and grasped Angelus' hand, the crystal pressed between their palms.

Drusilla, who had jumped over to fight Buffy, stop suddenly and screamed in rage of what was happening to her daddy. Buffy used the time her outburst afforded her to scoop up a piece of wood and stab the vampiress in the heart.

"God, help him, please." The words slipped through Past-Willow's lips; the last words that ever would.

Darkness over took her as light enveloped Angelus.

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