Summary: Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest consequences.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note #1: This story was inspired by a vignette written by aaronlisa, and has been written with her permission to expand on it. (Alternate Realities: Willow #2)
Author's Note #2: I played around with the timeline a bit during Season 2 for this story. Pretend that Willow and Oz had been dating for a month or so when Phases occurs. (Dialogue borrowed from both Phases and Becoming I & II courtesy of www.buffyworld.com)
Author's Note #3: Thank you to my tireless betas for holding my hand through the months it has taken me to write this story.
An hour later they were ready to begin the ritual. Xander and Oz had arrived twenty minutes ago and had been brought up to speed. The boys both expressed their concerns over Willow performing such a powerful spell, each in their own way. They received the news of Willow being cured of her lycanthropy much the same way.
Pulling Oz aside, Willow told him, "I won't go through with it unless he does us both."
Oz shook his head. "I can't let you do that."
"It's not up to you," Willow argued. "I'm not going to make you be a werewolf all by yourself!"
"Will, it's my fault this happened to you. I can deal," Oz tried to reassure her.
"It was an accident!" Willow exclaimed. "I can live with the consequences, same as you."
"Not if you don't have to," Oz insisted.
"Aww, a lovers' spat," Spike snickered as he approached the couple, having grown bored with reading.
"Shut up, Spike," Willow snapped. "It's your fault we're arguing."
"And it's right fun to watch, too," Spike acknowledged.
Oz moved to place himself between Willow and the vampire. "Why don't you go amuse yourself somewhere else until you're needed," Oz suggested, sarcasm lacing his voice.
"Because this is so much more fun."
"Um, Willow, we're ready for you," Giles called from the table.
Stepping around the vampire, Oz led Willow over to where the ingredients for the spell were set up.
"You might want to go wait in the lounge," Giles suggested to Spike. "I don't know what will happen if you're in the same room when the spell is being performed."
"Good idea, that," Spike agreed. "Wouldn't want to find myself all soul-having when this little experiment is over."
"I'll just go and keep an eye on him," Buffy said, picking up one of the stakes she'd been sharpening. "Make sure he doesn't run off."
"Excellent idea," Giles agreed, watching the vampire and the slayer exit the room.
Willow climbed onto the table and sat cross-legged; before her sat the Orb of Thesula within a sacred circle, surrounded by candles, bones and stones. Willow cast some stones, then looked up at Giles and nodded.
Giles read from the book before him, "Quod perditum est, invenietur."
Oz swirled incense into the air as Xander watched.
"'Not dead nor not of the living. Spirits of the interregnum I call… Let him know the pain of humanity, gods. Reach your wizened hands to me. Give me the sword…" Willow intoned.
At the mansion…
"I've waited long enough. It's Spike's loss. The world can end without him," Angelus snapped. "Bring him," he called to the minions at the back of the hall.
A man, barefoot and bare-chested with his hands tied behind his back, was dragged before the statue of Acathla.
Moving towards the young man, Angelus spoke, "I will drink… the blood will wash in me, over me, and I will be cleansed. I will be worthy to free Acathla. Bear witness…" he looked at Drusilla, "as I ascend… as I become." He morphed into his demonic face.
Willow began to feel the strain of the spell weighing on her. She paused, breathing hard, stumbling over the words. "Gods, bind him. Cast his heart from the… evil… realm."
"Willow?" Oz whispered, worried about the strain showing on Willow's face.
Suddenly, Willow's head snapped back and she looked up, her eyes wide. Again, her head snapped, this time to stare at the orb. When she spoke again, it was in fluent Rumanian, as if possessed.
"Te implor, Doamne, nu ignora aceasta rugaminte."
"Is this a good thing?" Xander asked Giles.
"Nici mort, nici al fiintei... Lasa orbita sa fie vasul care-i va transporta, sufletul la el."
Angelus lifted the young man by his hair, exposing his neck. With a roar, he bit down, hard and fast. After a deep drink, Angelus dropped the man, swiping his hand through the blood as he fell to the floor, dead.
"Everything that I am, everything that I have done, has led me here," he said as he slowly approached the sword that kept Acathla dormant.
Oz, Giles and Xander watched helplessly as Willow continued to chant in Rumanian. They did not know if they should try to stop her or leave her be and hope that whatever was possessing her would complete the spell correctly.
"Asa sa fie! Asa sa fie! Acum! Acum!"
The Orb glowed brightly as the last word was spoken, then went dark. Willow relaxed and blinked, looking around at the nervous faces of the men surrounding her.
Angelus was about to grasp the sword when he fell to his knees, apparently in pain.
"No!" he shouted. "Not again. Not now!"
His body froze from the pain and a bright light emanated from his eyes.
"Daddy," Drusilla called, rushing to his side, dropping to her knees before him. "What's wrong? What's happening?"
Angel blinked, looking around him confused. His eyes settled on Drusilla, not processing that the concerned look she was wearing was for him. He scrambled back, seeing he was surrounded by vampires. Getting to his feet, he looked for an exit. Seeing the garden doors were open, he rushed through them and out into the night.
"What?" Willow asked, not liking the looks of concern on her friends' faces.
"What happened, Willow?" Xander asked.
"I don't know. Did it work? It felt like it worked. I felt… something… go through me."
"Something went through you all right," Oz agreed.
"Willow, part way through the ritual you began to speak fluent Rumanian," Giles informed her.
"I did?" Willow asked, wide-eyed. "Cool."
"It worked," Spike whooped, crashing through the library doors.
"How do you know?" Xander asked.
"I can feel it. Dru's out of her mind with worry. Only thing I can think of that would cause her to let me feel that is if something happened to her precious Daddy. Let's get this over with so I can collect her and get out of this sodding town."
Spike took a step towards Willow, who was now standing next to Oz. Buffy blocked his path before he could get there.
"And Oz?" the slayer reminded Spike.
"Look, no offense, I'm sure you're a decent bloke, but I'm in kind of a rush and only have time to bite one of you."
"No, it's okay," Oz said, squeezing Willow's hand.
"Oz…" Willow started to protest.
"No," Oz cut her off. "You get to be normal again. You take this chance. If Angel sticks around, we can get him to take care of me, okay?"
"Then I'll wait, Angel can do me too," Willow suggested, drawing a chuckle from Spike.
Oz shook his head. "Spike's here. Let's get you over with."
"Right then," Spike said, slipping into game face. "Let's have us a snack and be on our way."
Willow looked at Oz questioningly one more time, and after his reassuring nod, stepped up to Spike. She reached around and pulled all of her hair over one shoulder, tilting her head to the side as she bared her neck.
Spike licked his lips before sinking his fangs into Willow's flawless skin. Everyone seemed to hold their breath as they were forced to watch the macabre scene before them. Spike took one long draught before pulling back, a grimace detectable on his face.
"Ugh, the blighter was right," Spike hissed, wiping his mouth.
"You okay?" Oz asked, cleaning the dripping wound on his girlfriend's neck.
"Yeah. I mean it hurt, but he didn't take much," Willow said, leaning a bit into Oz.
"So, that's it?" Buffy asked, "Willow's not going to go all wolfy tomorrow?"
"Shouldn't," Spike confirmed. "Won't know for sure 'till then. But from what Angelus described, I should have taken enough to rid her of her beast."
"Thank you," Willow said quietly.
"You're welcome," Spike replied just as softly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to see to a girl." With a swish of his coat, Spike left the library.
"I suppose I should go and see if Angel's okay," Buffy ventured.
"Do be careful," Giles warned. "If he's still at the mansion, there will be other vampires about."
"I know, I'll be careful. I just need to see for myself if it worked," Buffy said.
Willow reached out and squeezed her friend's hand. "It did."
Buffy gave a small smile of thanks before leaving to find out for herself.
"What now?" Xander asked the remaining Scooby members.
"I don't know about you, but I'm kinda tired. I think I'm gonna head home," Willow said.
"Of course," Giles agreed. "You've had a busy evening. Xander and I can clean up. You did a marvelous job, tonight. And you were very brave."
"Come on, I'll drive you," Oz said, taking Willow's hand and leading her out of the library.
As the doors closed they could hear Xander's protest of, "Why do I get stuck with clean up duty?"
Spike entered the mansion to find complete chaos. The minions were standing about, not knowing what to do with themselves, there was a dead man in the middle of the room, Acathla stood silent in front of the fireplace, while Drusilla lay crying in front of him.
Angelus was nowhere to be seen.
Walking confidently into the room, he bellowed, "What the hell is going on here?"
Upon hearing her childe's voice, Drusilla called out to him, "Spike. He's gone, the Angel-beast has come and stolen him away."
"What do you mean, Princess?" Spike asked with false concern, lifting her to her feet.
"The light came and drove my daddy away," Dru muttered. "Can't fly away, can't fly away, locked in a cage."
Spike smiled into her hair. "Where is he now?"
"The night called to him, scared little rabbit."
"Why don't we go look for him then?" Spike suggested. "We can drive around until we find him, yeah?"
Dru nodded against his shoulder, allowing him to lead her away. Spike wouldn't tell her until they were well away from this town that they weren't going back.
Buffy was several blocks from the mansion when she heard something off to the side of the road. A quick evaluation of her senses told her it was a vampire. Pulling a stake from her coat, Buffy silently approached the noisy vamp.
Pulling back a branch, she gasped. "Angel?"
Angel sat huddled against a tree, looking lost and confused. He looked up when he heard his name called. "Buffy?"
"What's going on?" Angel asked. "Where are we? I-I can't remember."
Buffy looked into his eyes, seeing the familiar warmth she knew meant his soul was present.
"It worked," she whispered in awe.
Stepping forward, Buffy fell into Angel's embrace.
"I… I feel like I haven't seen you in months," Angel said, holding her close. Buffy returned his hug, relishing the feel of being in his arms again, still having a hard time believing that it was true.
"I know," Buffy agreed, not able to explain what had happened yet. There would be time enough for that later.
Oz pulled the van up in front of Willow's dark house. He cut the engine and turned to face his girlfriend.
"How's the neck?" he asked.
"Still kinda hurts, but I think the bleeding finally stopped," Willow answered. "Oz, I'm sorry."
"We've been over this," he protested. "It's for the best."
"But why should you have to be a werewolf when I don't?" Willow asked.
"I'm the one who was bit first."
"I know, but still…"
"It's done," Oz reminded her. "No use debating this now. Besides, I'm better suited to the whole 'lone wolf' mentality."
"Lone? What about me?" Willow asked.
"I didn't mean it like that." Oz traced a finger down the side of Willow's face. His voice turned wistful. "You're so beautiful."
Oz leaned across the short distance between their seats to kiss Willow. She eagerly returned his kiss, deepening it when she felt his tongue seek entrance to her mouth.
"I'm not going anywhere," he promised when they pulled apart, both breathing heavily.
"I'm going to hold you to that, mister," Willow said, stealing another kiss. "Just, no more kissing in the halls."