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The Witch of Wookey

 

Project Paranormal

Author: Smiling_n_Michigan

Season 2

Part 12

 

**

Summary: Giles races to stop a spell from destroying Buffy and Angel once and for all.

 

Thanks to Darkstar, Ezagaaikwe, Jo, Mommanerd, Myfeetshowit and Spiralleds for the wonderful beta!  I love betas!

 

And thank you to Project Paranormal for making me a core member.  It’s an honor and we’re going to have lots of fun!

 

 

**

 

The Witch of Wookey

 

 

+++++

 

 

 

“Why are we here again?” Buffy asked Giles, who was treading carefully in front of her, flashlight in his hand.

 

“If you’d let me lead,” Angel said.  “That flashlight?  Not necessary.”

 

“Remind me what we’re looking for?” Buffy asked, feeling more bored than ever.

 

“Shh!” Giles said, turning another corner in the cavern, leading to yet another cave.  “We are trespassing.  If you two cannot cease from your chatter-”

 

“I’m not chattering,” Buffy said.  “I’m questioning.  I’m asking questions.  I’m answer-seeking-girl.”

 

“Buffy,” Angel said.  “You’re chattering.”

 

There was a decorative light every five feet or so.  None of them had been turned on.  She heaved a sigh.  “We’ve been roaming around this dark, dank cave for hours--”

 

“Ten minutes,” Giles said.

 

“Okay, it feels like hours.  Slayer-vibe not giving off anything.  That tells this Slayer, who gets said vibes, that nothing is here.”  She rubbed her shoulders.  “And it’s cold and damp.  I just want to leave.”

 

Giles stopped suddenly.  Buffy crashed into his back.  Angel crashed into hers.

 

“Giles!” Buffy said.  “Brake lights next time!”  She felt Angel pressed firmly into her back.  He pulled away, but not before she felt him run his finger slowly down her spine.  “Or not.”

 

“I’m not complaining,” Angel said.

 

“Try being me,” Giles added.

 

“Why did you stop anyway?” Buffy asked.

 

“It’s as I feared,” Giles said.  “She is no longer bound.”

 

“The witch!” Buffy exclaimed, suddenly remembering why they were there.  “She’s not a rock anymore?”

 

“Stalagmite,” Giles said, correcting her.

 

“Okay, so does that mean I’d have tripped over her or bumped my head on her if she were still here?” she asked.

 

“A stalagmite is a conical mineral deposit, usually calcite or aragonite, built up on the floor of a cavern, formed from the dripping of mineral-rich water-” Giles began.

 

“You’d trip over her,” Angel whispered softly.

 

She laughed.  “So what do we do now?”

 

“We leave,” Giles said.  “We need to find a permanent binding spell and then find our missing witch.”

 

+++

 

“So,” Buffy said, looking over the top of her menu at Giles.  She knew he was talking, but she was having a hard time focusing on what he was saying.  She fidgeted in her chair.  Not like the menu was holding her interest either.  “Why are we finding her again?”

 

“Legend has it that Wookey Hole is famed for "The Witch of Wookey" a giant stalagmite, which resembles a witch’s face in profile. Folklore tells that the stalagmite was once a witch who terrorized the local area, and was petrified by the intervention of a monk.”

 

“Terrorizing monks, not a good thing,” Angel said.

 

“And I’m guessing that he speaks from experience,” Buffy added, glancing at Angel out of the corner of her eye.

 

Giles continued.  “There are a number of versions of the tale, but at its core, the stories are consistent in saying that a man from Glastonbury had been betrothed to a girl from Wookey, but the witch had placed a curse or possessed the girl, that part is unclear, and the couple’s romance failed. The lad, who became a monk because of his failed romance, took it upon himself to wreak his revenge on the troublesome witch, who had also caused a great many other romances to fail. He went into the cave and, managing to find her off guard, threw holy water over her. As a practitioner of magic, the blessed water had an immediate and astounding effect, turning her completely to stone, leaving her as a cold statue to remain in the cave until the end of time.”

 

“Bummer,” Buffy said, dropping her menu onto the table.  She took off her jacket and hung it off the back of her chair.  “You know?  There’s a lot more travelling here than there was in Sunnydale.  I could practically walk everywhere.  Here… well, I’m not even sure.  You have all sorts of countries and then little towns in them.  If you can even call them towns.  It’s all just confusing.  I don’t really know anyone except for you guys.  A girl needs other girls once in awhile to talk to.  It’s enough to make anyone crazy after awhile.”

 

“What about your Cluedo holiday with Lisa and her friend?” Giles asked.

 

“That was once.  Once doesn’t mean anything and it’s not like they’re really my friends.   Acquaintances, that’s what they are.”

 

“It’ll take some getting used to, but you will... adjust to it.  Just give it some time, Buffy,” Giles said.  “You know we’re always here for you.”

 

“Oh, and I’ve got nothing but time lately.”  She picked the menu back up.  “So what will we be having for dinner?  Ham, potato, leek and herb hotpot?”

 

“Quite an excellent choice,” Giles said, nodding wildly.  “I believe I’ll have the pan-fried chicken with chili beans and fennel.”

 

“What is a hotpot anyway?  Is it in a bowl?  Why don’t they just call it soup?” she said, tossing her menu to the table.  “I want a taco.”

 

“Are you feeling alright?” Giles asked, his voice lower than usual.

 

“I’m fine.  Why?”

 

“You’re acting… different,” Angel said.

 

“Different?  How am I acting different?”  She looked at both men.  “What?  So I’m sick of English food and I don’t like stomping around in cold, dark caves for no reason.  And I don’t have any girls to hang out with anymore that get what’s going on.  Who said that means something’s wrong with me?”

 

Giles and Angel exchanged glances.

 

“And some sun once in awhile would be a good thing.  Not like I spent a lot of time at the beach when I was in Sunnydale, but having the option would be nice.”

 

Her lips puckered in a pout.

 

“All this running around all night and day when it’s cold and rainy has a tendency to make life all icky.  Not like I can nuzzle up to the boyfriend and get warm.  Oh, and on the days when it is sunny, not like that said boyfriend and I can go for a casual stroll in the sunshine.”

 

Angel choked on his drink.  Giles spared a quick glance in her direction and took a sip of his own.

 

She pushed back from the table.  “On second thought, I’m not hungry.  I’m going back to my room.”  Grabbing her coat, she stomped away.

 

“Care to tell me what that was all about?” Angel asked.

 

“I’m not quite sure.”

 

+++

 

Buffy didn’t go back to the room.  She practically ran through the lobby and out the front door.  She was feeling a little too confused; and if she knew Angel, he’d be following her in no time at all.  She just wanted to be left alone.

 

“Fight with your mate?” asked a feminine voice behind her.

 

She turned and saw an older woman approaching, a slight smile on her face.

 

“Nothing worse than fighting with someone you love, is there?” the old woman continued.

 

Buffy raised her hand in a warding off gesture.  “Look, I know you’re trying to be all nice and stuff, but it’s not necessary.  I don’t mean to be rude, but I just want to be left alone.”

 

“American?  I should have guessed that right away.”  The woman persisted.  “Is your lover American, too?”

 

Buffy looked both ways and then stepped into the street.  “No,” she said, rushing to get to the other side before traffic picked up again.

 

“That could be part of the problem.”

 

Buffy turned and the woman was standing right next to her.  She hadn’t even seen her cross the street.

 

“Age can sometimes be an issue?  Is he older than you?” the woman asked.  “You can call me Auntie, by the way.”

 

Buffy didn’t respond to her question or her name.  Instead she asked, “Why are you following me?”

 

“I’m not following you,” Auntie said.  “We just happen to be going in the same direction.”

 

“Funny, feels like you’re following me.”

 

The woman laughed.  “There would be no reason to follow you.  As I said, we are just going in the same direction, Buffy.”

 

“Fine.  But let’s go in the same direction without all the talking.”  Buffy walked away, her last, clear, fleeting thought was that she had never told the woman her name.

 

+++

 

“She’s not in the room,” Angel said, meeting up with Giles in the hallway.

 

“That does not surprise me,” Giles said, his brows knitting together in concern.

 

Angel knew that look.  “What?”

 

Giles glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.  “I can’t be sure, but it is possible that our missing witch could have something to do with Buffy’s actions.”

 

“Like Buffy’s possessed or something?  This witch wouldn’t actually hurt her, would she?”

 

Giles shook his head.  “Her power comes from hate.  She takes the love and turns it to hate.  The stronger the hate, the more powerful she becomes.”

 

“We shouldn’t have let her storm out of the pub like that.”  He sighed deeply.  “At least she won’t get hurt.”

 

“On the other hand, Buffy is a Slayer and stronger than most other women, if she kills you out of that hate, the witch would become indestructible.”

 

“You just had to say that, didn’t you?”

 

Giles shrugged his shoulders.  “I assumed all pertinent information would be of value.”

 

“Some more than others.”

 

“So it would appear.”  Giles adjusted his glasses.  “Any suggestions on what our first move should be?”

 

“Finding Buffy before she decides to stake me?”

 

“Yes, indeed.  That would be a good place to start.  But I believe there would be one step before that one.”

 

Angel had a pretty good idea what the answer would be, but he asked anyway.  “And that would be?”

 

“Glastonbury.  We need to see a monk.”

 

“There aren’t any monks left in Glastonbury.”

 

“One would think.”

 

Angel’s shoulders slumped.  “What about Buffy?”

 

“She’ll be fine until we get back.  We won’t be gone long.”

 

+++

 

Buffy crumpled up the note she found on the hotel room’s mirror.  Buffy, With Giles.  Be back soon.  Love, Angel.

 

Taking off and leaving her alone in the middle of the night?  That sure didn’t sound like love to her.  Angel wasn’t around for her to take her anger out on.  A frustrated Slayer was never a good thing.  She spotted her weapons bag.  She figured she might as well go on patrol.  She suspected that killing a vampire would make her feel a lot better… especially a tall one with dark hair and eyes.

 

She didn’t remember the discarded piece of paper.  It quickly became a non-memory, something that never happened.

 

She grabbed her gear and headed out the door.

 

+++

 

Giles rapped repeatedly on the wooden gate.  “This is not a joke.  Please open up and let us explain.”

 

Angel stood behind Giles; his arms folded across his chest.  His skin was starting to tingle.  Sunrise wasn’t far away.

 

“Yes.  Yes,” Giles was saying.  “She is no longer bound.  She has escaped.”

 

He heard the unmistakable click of the large wooden gate being unlocked.  The barrier opened a fraction.

 

“No longer bound, you say?” a voice asked between the crack that had appeared.  “How would you know this?”

 

Surprising even Angel, Giles slipped one of their Project Paranormal business cards through the slit in the gate. 

 

“It is what we do,” Giles said.

 

The gate opened all the way.  “Come in.”  Untrusting eyes glanced at Angel.  “Except for you.  We do not permit your kind.”

 

“We?  What do you mean ‘we’?  Technically, you people don’t even exist.  Haven’t existed for 500 years.”

 

“Angel…” Giles warned.

 

Angel could feel himself launching into attack mode, nothing like being a little on edge.  “I need to get going anyway.”

 

Giles picked up on what he was implying because he nodded his head.  “I will meet you back at the hotel when I have obtained the binding spell.”

 

“Good luck.”

 

Giles smiled and then ducked inside the gate.

 

+++

 

After tossing and turning, Buffy bolted upright.  Her sleep had been wracked with bad dreams; dreams she couldn’t quite remember.  Somewhere along the line, she had gotten herself tangled up in the sheets.  Sheets that had once been soft, clean, and smelled like Angel.  Those same sheets were now tinged with sweat… nightmare-induced sweat.  They had lost their appeal, the freshness and security that had drawn her to them in the first place gone and replaced by the sourness that was quickly becoming her life.

 

Angel would just up and leave without telling her where he was going or who he was going with.  Could he be seeing someone else?  Another vampire maybe?  That would explain a lot.  He did spend some time with that succubus.  He said it wasn’t his fault.  It was magic.  Maybe she’d go out and find a guy one.  A boyubus and see how he liked it?  He did take off a lot on his own, there were probably more that she didn’t know about and it’s not like he’d ever tell her.  What made her think she could even trust him?  He was a vampire!  He drank blood and he had killed more people in more ways then she’d care to think about.

 

With her luck, another succubus had probably come into his life, sucking his soul right out of him… along with some other bodily fluids she didn’t want to think about. 

 

What did a vampire know about love anyway?  Not much, from what she could tell.  They loved blood, and now that Angel had drunk his share of Slayers, it probably was some weird kind of addiction.  He probably couldn’t stand to be around her because she wouldn’t let him drain her.  Well, sorry, baby.  Not quite ready to die yet.

 

She threw back the covers as an unfamiliar feeling began to churn in her stomach.  She knew it wasn’t hunger.  She wasn’t sure what it was, except that she had never felt it before.

 

She decided on a long, hot shower and was finishing up when she heard a soft knock on the door.

 

“Who is it?” she asked, leaning against it.

 

“It is me!” Auntie said.  “I have come to visit and spend more time with you.”

 

Buffy smiled radiantly.  She couldn’t have been happier if it was her own mother waiting for her on the other side.  She opened the door and took the older woman into her arms.  “I missed you.  I have been thinking about you and our talk all morning.  Will you have breakfast with me?”

 

“Why, dear child, I would do anything for you.”

 

+++

 

“We can return now,” Giles said, walking into the hotel room.  “Unfortunately, the ingredients I need for the binding spell are back in Westbury.”

 

Angel was sitting on the edge of the bed, his hair rumpled.  Giles could tell that he had woken him, but he didn’t quite care.  He was, however, grateful that he now knew the witch could not affect Angel as she had affected Buffy due to his being a vampire. 

 

“Little bright for me to be heading anywhere,” Angel said.

 

Giles measured his words with a teaspoon.  “It appears that my original assessment of the witch wasn’t entirely accurate.”

 

Angel leaned forward.  “What exactly do you mean by ‘not entirely accurate’?”

 

He glanced at the spell he held in his hand.  “I was under the impression that the witch would not harm Buffy, that the witch would use Buffy to kill you, thus making her more powerful.  I was only partially correct in that assumption.”

 

“Just spill it, Giles.  What did you find out?” 

 

Angel loomed over him.  He took a step back from the angered vampire.  “Since Buffy is a Slayer, and therefore special, if the witch can not only get Buffy to kill you, but herself as well, her presence here would be permanently established.  She would never again live under the threat of being bound.”

 

“You’re going to find what we need,” Angel said.

 

“You are right.  I will see what I can find locally since there truly isn’t the time for a trip back to Westbury.  After working closely with our monk, I believe we have found a permanent binding spell, but timing is of the utmost importance.”

 

“What is it with the monks?  They’re not supposed to even be here.”

 

“They are Keepers.  They ensure the witch remains bound.  The responsibility is handed down.”

 

“Doesn’t sound like they did all that great of a job.”

 

Giles chose to ignore him.  “Stay close to Buffy.  Keep her safe.”

 

“That would be the plan.”

 

“And Angel?”

 

“What?”

 

“Don’t get yourself staked.”

 

“That would be part of the plan, too.”

 

+++

 

It had been a good day.  Auntie was the most wonderful person Buffy had ever met in her life.  She was at the point of not caring if she ever saw Angel or Giles again.  They had been gone for days, maybe even weeks at this point, she wasn’t keeping track.  She needed female companionship, someone she could be herself with, and now she had it.  Auntie was a mom, sister, grandmother, and her best friend all wrapped into one person.  Who needed Lisa and her stupid friends?

 

“Are you sure you need to leave?” Buffy asked, pouting.  “It feels like we haven’t spent any time together today.  We could have dinner.”

 

Auntie smiled at her.  “Dear child.  I will not be around forever and as you can see for yourself, neither will your friends.  But the one that will abandon you and hurt you the most will be your lover.  You must start taking the necessary steps to ensure that you can live your life alone.  Girls like you should be alone.  And if you can’t…” 

 

“I can do that.  I will do that.  Just promise you’ll come back tomorrow.  You’re not leaving for good?  Right?  Just one more day?  I don’t know what I’d do if I could never see you again.”  Her eyes filled with tears.  “I don’t want to be alone.  I’m not ready.”

 

Auntie pulled her into an embrace.  “I will give you one more day.  It is my hope you’ll be ready.  Only I can show you the truth.  No one else can.  You believe me?  No matter what anyone else tells you or tries to convince you of, only I know.  You need to be alone, Buffy.  That is the way it was destined and if you can’t be...”

 

Buffy hugged her tightly back.  “Yes.  You are the truth.  Everyone else just lies to me.  I should’ve seen it before, but I didn’t.  Thanks to you, I know that now.”

 

“And you trust me?”

 

Buffy stood up straight and smiled.  “You are the only one I do trust.”

 

+++

 

Angel waited for Giles to pull as close to the hotel’s entrance as he could.  Once done, the vampire ducked out of the car and tossed the blanket behind the bushes.  After glancing over his shoulder one last time, he ran into the lobby as Giles drove away. 

 

He hoped that Giles would get what they needed, and fast.  He wasn’t sure what he was walking into or even if Buffy was in the room and there was only one way to find out.

 

“Can you check to see if my traveling companion is in our room?” he asked the concierge.

 

“Yes, sir.  As a matter of fact, she is.  Ms. Summers’ grandmother just left, so she is alone now.”  He winked at Angel.  “Your timing is impeccable.”

 

He didn’t bother knocking on the door since he didn’t want anything to appear out of the norm.  Raising Buffy’s suspicions was the last thing he wanted to do.

 

“Buffy?” he called out as he walked into the room, closing the door behind him.  The witch’s evilness clung to the room like an invisible fog.

 

“I’m here, you don’t need to shout and wake the dead,” Buffy said, walking out of the bathroom.  “Oh, wait.  You’re already awake.  My bad?”   She casually strolled over to a chair by the window and sat down.

 

“Are you feeling all right?” he asked.

 

“Never been better.” 

 

She toyed with the curtain cord and he knew it would only take a split-second for her to pull it, flooding the room with sunlight.  Having no choice, he took a step backwards into the archway that separated the entryway and the main part of the hotel room.

 

“We need to talk,” he said.

 

“I thought we were talking.”   

 

“Really talk.  You need to listen to what I’m going to tell you.”

 

She gave him a cold smile.  “Why?  So you can lie to me some more?  I think I’ve had enough lies for…” she counted on her fingers, “three lifetimes.  I’m on my third now, aren’t I?  And you’re on what?  Jeez, Angel.  I think I’ve lost count.  How many times have you come back from the dead?”

 

“Buffy, you’re cursed or possessed or something.  You’re not you.”  He didn’t know what else to say.  The situation was starting to escalate.  He wanted to go to her, but he knew that would be a death march in the making.  He needed to get her away from the window and that damn pull cord.

 

“I would know if I’d been cursed,” she said.  She rose and began pacing around the hotel room.  “I would feel different.  You spent, what?  Like three hundred years being cursed?”

 

“Wasn’t exactly that long,” he said, reaching out and trying to get her to stop moving now that she was a safe distance from the window.

 

She pulled away, out of his reach.  “Not the point.  You knew you were cursed.  I’d know if I was cursed.”

 

“Do you love me?” he asked.

 

That stopped her. 

 

“Why would you ask such a dumb question?  I know you’re not dumb.”  She opened her eyes wide.  “Maybe you are.  I never stopped to think about it.  You did let Darla vamp you.”  She pulled at her ear lobe.  “But you’re not the most stupid one.  I’m the most stupid one for trusting you and loving you so long.  How dumb is that?”

 

“Buffy,” he took a step toward her, “just stop and listen to me.  Listen to yourself.  This isn’t you talking.”

 

She threw her arms up in the air.  “Oh my god, Angel.  You’re right!  I am cursed.  Bless you for making me see the truth.”

 

Angel nodded his head, missing the sarcasm in her voice.

 

“Nice try.  It’s not a curse.  It’s the truth.  I have been blessed with Auntie’s truth.  She pointed it out to me.  She made everything so much clearer.”

 

“Her name isn’t Auntie,” he said.  “It’s the witch.  Remember when we went into the caves looking for her and she was gone?”

 

He saw something flash past her eyes, but it was quickly gone.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“She destroys people, Buffy.  She destroys true love.  She thrives on hate.”

 

“Then she’s wasting her time with us, isn’t she?  There is no true love here to destroy.  Never has been.  Never will be.”   She began fiddling with something behind her back.  “The hate thing on the other hand…”

 

“What are you doing?” he asked, suspecting he already knew.

 

“Honestly?  I was thinking.”

 

“About?”

 

“Well, if you must know.  I was thinking that I’m sick of being unloved and lied to.  Which led to my next thought, what could I do about that?  Leave you?  We know how well that works.  I sent you to hell and you still came back.”

 

“Buffy…”  Her words were starting to take their toll on him.  Even though she was cursed, part of what she was saying was based in truth.

 

“I was going to use the sun.”  She tipped her head toward the closed curtains.  “But I figured it’d take too long and you’d cry out and make all sorts of noise and that would cause a ruckus.  And we know ruckuses bring people running.  This is just between you and me.  Right, Angel?”  She pulled the stake out from behind her.  “But since we do have a history, I figured I’d give it to you quick.  I’ll just stake you.  And to make sure you don’t come back looking for me… did I mention that I’m pretty sure you’ll go to hell again?”  She shrugged.  “Well, I know I won’t go to a hell.  Figured they’re still holding my spot in heaven.  Once I’ve sent you to hell…”

 

“You’ll kill yourself and end up in heaven?”

 

She pouted.  “You ruined my surprise.”

 

“Hate to break it to you, Buffy,” he said.  “Actually, I don’t hate breaking it to you.  If you kill yourself heaven is out of the picture.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll be joining me in that little hell dimension and then we’ll be able to torture each other for eternity.”

 

“You’re all about the ruiny, today.”  She took a step toward him.

 

He drew himself up to his full height.  “You really want to do this?”

 

“It kinda turns me on,” she said as she lunged for him.

 

+++

 

After a great deal of driving around and even more stops, Giles had finally obtained what was required for the binding spell.  All he had left to do was to collect Buffy, Angel, and the witch who needed to be lured back to the cave.  One of those annoying tiny details of the spell: it needed to be re-cast at the point of origin. 

 

He kept telling himself that Buffy was okay, but the varying thoughts of what could be happening made him feel uneasy.  He knew that she and Angel loved each other, and in their right minds they would never hurt one another, but that was the part that he couldn’t let go.  At this point Buffy was probably as far from her ‘right’ mind as she possibly could be.

 

After parking, he made his way through the crowded lobby and waited through two cycles before he could get on the lift.  It was his hope that Angel had talked some sense into Buffy, though he highly doubted it.  He knew better than anyone else how strong spells could be. 

 

“Oh, dear,” he said, stepping into the room.

 

Angel was sitting in what was left of a wooden-framed chair by the window.  The seat of the chair remained, as did the back, along with the legs, but there were no arms, and it leaned to one side.   Giles unconsciously tilted his head in the same direction the chair was leaning, but when Angel arched an eyebrow at him, he realized what he was doing and immediately straightened back up.

 

The floor lamp that had once stood in the darkest corner of the room was now broken into pieces, the base having been shoved through the wall just next to the bed. 

 

The pull cord to the curtains hung at an odd angle.  He wasn’t sure what was holding the curtains up anymore since the curtain rod itself was sticking halfway out of the bathroom doorway.

 

One of Angel’s eyes was almost swollen shut and a patch of dried blood creased his brow.  His fingers were currently steepled under his chin and he wasn’t saying anything.  Angel sat in that cockeyed chair, staring at him.

 

Buffy was bound to the bed and gagged with torn pieces of bed sheets.  The remains of the cotton/polyester blends were now in piles on the floor, none were remaining on the actual bed.  Her eyes flared with rage and Giles involuntarily took a step back away from her.

 

The image would forever be burned into his memory.

 

“There’s no talking any sense into her,” Angel said.

 

Giles tried to focus on what Angel was saying, but his attention was captured by Buffy who continued to thrash, grunt and groan from the bed.

 

Angel continued, “She’s possessed to every degree of the word.”  As if to prove his point, Buffy thrashed harder, her groaning understandable, swearing even through the gag.  “On top of everything else, she bit me.”

 

Giles cleared his throat.  It was time for him to try and talk some sense into his Slayer.  He walked over to the bed and took the gag out of her mouth.  “Buffy—“

 

“So what if I bit him,” she croaked.  “If I could’ve drawn blood, he probably would’ve shot his wa-”

 

Giles quickly re-inserted the gag.  “I can see your point.”

 

“However did you subdue her?”

 

“All I had to do was point to the door and tell her that the old bat was standing there.  She is so out of it, she believed me.  When she realized that she wasn’t here, Buffy broke down.  All the fight went out of her… for about a minute, but that’s all the time I needed.”

 

“Angel, if you would be so kind?”  Giles pointed his head toward the hallway. 

 

Angel followed him.  After stepping away from the door and Slayer hearing, Giles said, “It is worse than I feared.”

 

“You think?”

 

“I am not sure what to do at this point.  We need to draw the witch back to the cave, but I am not comfortable with leaving Buffy here in the condition she is in.”

 

Angel nodded his head in agreement.  “Before the gag was necessary,” he said, “Buffy told me that the witch was supposed to be coming back in the morning.”

 

“Why would she tell you that?”

 

“She didn’t ‘tell me’ in so many words.  It was more along the lines of ‘When she gets back here tomorrow, she’s so going to kick your asses.”

 

Giles heaved a sigh.  “The witch is bound to the cave.  That is where she’s required to spend the majority of her time, if not wreaking havoc that is, one would assume that is where she would be now.”

 

“That’s pretty much what I was thinking.  We need to go there and do this now,” Angel agreed.

 

“What shall we do with Buffy?”

 

“We don’t have any choice.  I’m not leaving her alone again.  She’s coming with us.”

 

Angel flexed and released his fist; he expected an objection from Giles, an objection that never came.  They had no choice.  There was no other way to get Buffy out of the hotel without causing a commotion.

 

He stared at her on the bed.  He looked at Giles, his face expressionless.  Angel nodded and then hovered over her a moment longer.  She glared at him, but he could see she didn’t know what was coming.  She should have known what was coming.  He found it easier to slam his fist against her head, knowing Buffy wasn’t really there.  He knew he had to hit hard to knock her out.  It was a relief when her eyes closed into unconsciousness.

 

“Is she breathing?” Giles asked, his brow crinkling in concern.

 

“She’s okay,” Angel whispered.  “Let's finish this.  I want my girl back.”

 

“Right.”

 

+++

 

Angel couldn’t bring himself to look at the spot on her temple that had begun to swell larger then he would have expected, he just sat there, caressing her hand softly and willing Giles to come back.

 

“There is a fire exit to our right.  I’ve disconnected the alarm,” he said, walking back into the room.

 

“Finally!” Angel said.

 

“At least we have the moonlight as an ally.”

 

Angel would take whatever he could get.

 

Angel fastened Buffy into her seatbelt, and then glanced quickly at the bruise he had caused.  He was tempted to remove her gag, but decided against it.  He was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to take another--

 

“We need to surprise her,” Giles said. “If she sees us coming, I won’t be able to cast the spell.”

 

“Do you have everything you need?”

 

“All the way in the back.  I will need to assemble the items accordingly before we enter the cave.  I suspect there will not be enough time once we’ve gone inside.”

 

Angel felt Buffy stir next to him.  Her eyelids fluttered open briefly and then fell closed again.

 

“I suggest you hurry.”

 

+++

 

Giles didn’t take long setting up the spell.  “Can you keep her quiet?” he asked Angel.

 

“A gagged Slayer is a quiet Slayer… more or less.”

 

“Good.”  He turned his head to one side, but kept his eyes on the vampire.  “I think.  Come on then.”

 

They retraced the steps they had taken not even a week earlier, slowing down when they approached the cavern.  The cavern itself seemed even colder and damper then it had then.  The feeling of foreboding was almost more than Giles could take.  The lack of lighting wasn’t helping matters either.

 

“Bloody hell,” Giles said.  The Witch of Wookey was nowhere to be found.  “I’m not sure where she could be.”  His stomach was now as cold and as empty as the cavern they found themselves standing in.

 

“Probably out screwing up someone else’s life.”

 

“No,” he said, shaking his head.  “She focuses on one at a time.  And if she were to succeed with you and Buffy, she wouldn’t need anyone else.  I am certain all her time and energy are going toward the two of you.”

 

“Glad to see we’re so popular.  What now?”

 

“We need to lie in wait for her.  She cannot know we’re here.  If she catches us before we can cast the spell--”

 

“We lose?”

 

“Basically, yes.”

 

Buffy was struggling.  She was awake.

 

“And what do we do with Buffy?” Angel asked.

 

“I believe I have an idea.”

 

+++

 

She was beginning to think that being a rock for so long had not been completely bad for her.  She had woken to find a Slayer and a vampire with a soul who were in love.  The two of them would establish her immortality and nothing could’ve made her happier.

 

The Slayer called her Auntie.  No relationship was closer than mother and daughter or so the witch thought.  She wouldn’t have known from firsthand experience; she had never known her mother, or her father, but she assumed having the girl call her ‘mum’ would’ve pushed it.

 

It was a shame that the Slayer would need to kill herself.  The witch had actually grown quite fond of her. 

 

She had been gone longer than she was typically permitted, but she needed to establish a permanent residence that wasn’t in a cave.  After tomorrow, she would live forever and forever meant more acceptable lodgings.

 

She was struck by the feeling of a disturbance.  Someone had been in her cave and not too long ago.  They might still be there.

 

Auntie proceeded cautiously, walking slowly and sticking close to the walls.  She rounded the corner and her jaw dropped when she spotted what awaited her.  There was her Buffy, bound and gagged, splayed out on a boulder.  A message had been scratched into the rock wall above her.

 

You want her?  You can have her.

 

“It cannot be!” she said, rushing toward her salvation.  “He cannot leave you.  It will not work if he leaves you.”  She began to untie Buffy and removed the gag.  “Why did you let him do this to you?”

 

“Let him do this to me?  Does it look like I let him do this to me?” Buffy asked sarcastically, tossing the bindings to the ground.  “They left me here.”  She pointed at her temple.  “He actually knocked me out.  You were right, I should’ve killed him.”

 

“He still lives, then?”

 

“Who do you think left me here?  Angel and Giles.  I think I’ll throw Giles in as a bonus.”  She stood up and looked around. 

 

“We must find them.”

 

“You won’t need to look far,” she said.  “They’re here somewhere.”

 

“How do you know?”

 

“It’s Angel.  I always know when he’s close.”

 

+++

 

“She has a way about her.  Don’t you think?” Angel said, coming out from behind a large boulder.  “I couldn’t resist.”

 

“You son of a bitch!” Buffy shouted.  “You left me tied up and in a cave!  I hate caves!”

 

He shrugged.  “Figured you might like it.  Something different.”  He was having a hard time meeting her eyes.

 

“Why do you continue to talk to him?” Auntie asked Buffy.  “If you want peace, you must kill him, not talk him to death.”

 

“To know her is to love her,” he said.  “She has a tendency to babble.”  He looked at Auntie apologetically.  “And trust me, I’ve loved her in more ways then a sick old woman like you could ever imagine, and I’m not just talking about the emotional aspect of it.”

 

“Why are you speaking to me?” Auntie asked, walking over to him.  “I am stronger than you.  I will be here longer than you will ever be.  Refrain from acknowledging me, vampire.  You are not worthy.”

 

“You wouldn’t think so,” he said, his hands manipulating the small bag in the pocket of his trench coat.  He said a small prayer, to whom, he wasn’t quite sure, and pulled the package out, bringing a powdery-like substance with it.  In one fluid motion, he swept the powder towards the witch’s face and watched as it cascaded down around her.

 

“What is this?” she asked.  “What have you done?”

 

“What in the hell are you doing?” Buffy demanded.  “I need a stake.  Does someone in this hole in the ground have a stake?”  She glared at him.  “Maybe I don’t need a stake.  A little hand-to-hand might be fun.”   She took a step toward him.

 

Angel’s heightened senses could detect the words Giles was saying from another part of the cavern.  Buffy’s Slayer hearing wasn’t too far behind. 

 

“Is that Giles?”  Buffy stopped walking and glanced around hurriedly.  “Where is he?  What is he doing?”  Her search for a stake forgotten, she glared at Angel instead.  “You two are making it tough to decide who I want to stake first.”

 

“Buffy!” Auntie cried.  “Help me!”

 

Angel spotted something by the witch’s feet.  She had suddenly become one with the floor of the cave.  He was having a hard time telling where the rocky floor ended and where Auntie began. 

 

The substance moved slowly at first, and then it began moving faster, the progression of the minerals reminding him of a sand castle on the beach.  One a child was slowly dripping water over, the fine details slowly being dissolved in an array of dirt and water, but from the bottom of the formation.  Not the top.

 

“Auntie!” Buffy cried, reaching out for her.  She quickly jerked her hand away, as though she'd touched a hot surface.  “What can I do?  I don’t know what to do.”

 

“Move away from her, Buffy,” Giles said, emerging from a darkened corner of the cave.  “It’s too late.  There is nothing you can do for her now.  The binding spell has been cast.”

 

The sand-like substance was now hardening and working its way up to the witch’s waist.  Angel watched the transformation slithering like a granular snake that left nothing but hard rock in its wake.

 

Fury came off the witch in waves.  “I was freed once.”  The rock substance had made its way up to her chest.  She took a deep breath before she continued.  “I will be free again.  You cannot bind me forever, Watcher.”

 

“That is where you’d be mistaken,” he said.  “This spell is a little different.  Permanently different.”

 

The rock formation had made its way up to her neck and was now working its way onto her face.  She twisted her head, struggling to move a jaw already turning to rock.  Her voice was scratchy, like stones rubbing together, her vocal cords barely usable.   “It cannot be!”  Her eyes hardened, etched forever in a moment of surprised horror.

 

“She looks a little different than she did a week ago,” Angel said.

 

“And I don’t think she’s in the exact same location,” Giles added.

 

“Do you think anyone will notice?” he asked, judging the distance from where the witch had stood originally and where she now stood.

 

“Probably,” Giles said.  “But it will give them something to talk about for the next… eternity.”

 

“And another tourist attraction is always a good thing,” Buffy said, almost in a whisper.

 

“Buffy?” Angel asked, taking a step toward her.  “Are you okay?”

 

“Angel.  I am so sorry…”  Her voice cracked.  “I didn’t mean… I’m sorry.”

 

He swept her up in his arms.  “It’s okay.  It wasn’t you.”  He pulled back and looked deeply into her green eyes.  “I know better.  I’m sorry, too.” 

 

“We’ll need to talk about this.”

 

“Not now.”

 

She turned to face Giles.  “I’m sorry…” she began.

 

“Nonsense,” he said, adjusting his glasses.  “No apologies are necessary, but I do believe we need to vacate the premises before we get caught.  Our luck cannot hold out forever.  We are once again trespassing.”  He motioned for them both, turned, and walked away.

 

“Did he just say luck?”

 

Angel took her by the hand and pulled her toward the door.  “I think it’s an English thing.”

 

“It’s definitely a thing.”

 

“Let’s go home.”

 

She stopped him, reaching up and pulling his head down so that his lips were just a breath away.  “Let’s.” 

 

Not waiting for her to move, he leaned in and kissed her softly.  “And quickly.”

 

“Make-up sex?”

 

“Pretty much what I was thinking.”

 

-- End –

 

 

The Witch of Wookey is a real legend/myth.  You can read about it here:  http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/somerset/somerset3.html

 

I took the term ‘creative liberties’ to the max.  Besides the fact that she ‘existed’, nothing else in my fic is factual.  I took what I read and twisted the facts for my own purpose for this fic.

 

Thanks to Jo for pointing out that there haven’t been any monks in Glastonbury since the 1500’s and providing this link for me:

 

http://www.time-scapes.co.uk/Glastonbury/glastonburyabbey.html

 

She helped me keep this as historically accurate as possible and I appreciate that.

 

Here’s a link that shows the actual cavern our trio was traipsing around in:

 

http://www.thisisgwent.co.uk/gwent/mono/day_out/DAY_OUT78.html

 

And I would’ve been totally lost without the use of this website and its wonderful maps!

 

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/engdir.html

 

 



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