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Author's Note: This is a rewrite of the original episode, Shadow, renamed because in mine Joyce doesn't die. Slight changes to eliminate that, Riley's absence and the changes I've made to other relationships, but apart from that, this follows the cannon plot. Enjoy.
Amulets and Bloodstones.
"'Your one-stop spot to shop for all your occult needs.'" Tara paused as she glanced at her boyfriend, debating on what to say. "Catchy," she settled on.
Spike asked her. "You can be honest, it was Giles' idea. I wasn't too sure
Tara nodded. "Uh-huh. In a ... hard to read
sort of way, but I think it's great."
"Oh," Giles uttered
as he caught the uncertainty in her tone.
"Hail, fellow workers,"
Xander greeted as he, Willow, Anya and Oz entered the Magic Shop. His girlfriend
began straightening items on shelves, while he and the others made their way to
the counter. "Whatcha looking at?"
"Oh, the-the new
phone book's in with Spike's ad," Tara informed them.
what she was doing to rush round and see.
"Oh, nice," Willow
"Yay! Am I mentioned?" Anya asked as she looked
"No, luv," Spike replied.
Anya uttered in disappointment and returned to her previous occupation.
are you all here?" Spike asked them.
Xander replied. "G-man called us round this morning."
"Well, I've exhausted all my tomes, you see,"
Giles explained, "in trying to discover the identity of Buffy's mysterious
"Oh yeah, this has been fruitful," Xander commented.
"Trying to look up something you ... never saw and don't know the name of."
"Just do what I do: flip through the pages and look busy," his
"It'd be nice if we knew where she was, where
she's hiding out," Willow commented as she sat down at the big round table
by the books.
"No doubt lurking around some sewer or condemned
church or rat-infested warehouse," Xander remarked. "You know, the usual
"Hey," Spike glared at him. "We weren't
all like that, mate. Some of us had standards. Like Peaches."
Tara admonished gently. "Buffy's threatened to cut off Passions."
"Well, she's not here yet, and slayer hearing may be good, but it's
not that good," Spike remarked. "Where are the chosen one and poof anyhow?"
"Lying in at the Mansion," Xander replied. "Apparently they
have some 'paperwork' to do." His expression showed how little he believed
that to be the real reason. "Said they'd be along later."
"Nice if you can get it," Spike commented. "We'll most likely toiling the dregs while they're living it up in that suite of theirs."
Meanwhile, the mysterious woman was lounging too, on a sumptuous bed of grand
proportions, situated in a magnificently comfortable apartment, located on one
of the hellmouth's more plush streets.
"Most beauteous and supremely
magnificent one," her brown habit attired demon lackey simpered before the
foot of the bed, an ancient column of parchment clutched in his hands, "this
dark spell I hold in my worthless and scabby hand is our gift to you, most tingly
and wonderful Glorificus..."
The woman paid him little curtesy,
trying on a shoe. "Please, call me Glory. And get up, looking at you is hurting
Dreg rose immediately. "Forgive me, shiny special
one. I beg of you to rip out my inadequate tongue."
out her hand. "Gimme."
Nervously Dreg advanced towards her,
opened his mouth and held out his tongue. Glory grinned and grabbed the scroll
"Oh. I thought... You should know, your elaborate marvelousness,
that this dark incantation has been lost for eons..."
Glory uttered, trying on another shoe.
"And great dangers have
been faced to..." Dreg continued.
Glory stuck her leg out to him.
"Does this pump make my ankle look bony?"
Dreg was all compliments.
"No! No, no, your terrifically smooth one, it is the epitome of ankles. To
touch such an ankle would be," he cut himself off as he caught her glare.
"But I'm not touching. I'm backing away."
Glory kicked out
her leg, letting the shoe fly off her foot at his head.
"Dreg, is it?" Glory asked as she rose up.
"Yes. Dreg. Your creamy coolness has honoured me by speaking my name.
Your voice is like a thousand sweet songbirds that-"
him, irritated. "Yeah, I never tire of hearing that. Look, just so we're
clear, the spell's gonna work, right?" At his nod, she added, "I mean,
nothing worse than a gift that doesn't work. Then I'd have to get all mad and
kill you! It's this whole big thing."
"It will work, your
extremeness. Provided you have the other items you need," Dreg assured her.
"Don't worry. I'll have them all right," Glory uttered.
She walked past him to where a copy of the town's phone book lay, opened
to the page under M, for magic, among other things.
for 5124 Maple Court, The Magic Box, caught her eyes the most. She tore out the
"I'll have it all," she uttered.
"Mmm, what time is it?" A voice sleepily asked as it's owner opened
their eyes. An alarm started to ring in answer, causing her to groan and roll
over, to smash the source of the offending noise.
A hand grabbed her
wrist, halting her actions just in time. Another reached under her neck to press
the snooze button on the alarm clock. "Careful," her soulmate admonished.
"Or that'll be the third this year I've had to replace."
honey," Buffy replied, adjusting herself so she encased in the embrace of
his body. Her expression however did not turn apologetic to suit her words, remaining
in a relaxed, contented smile that spoke of deep satisfaction.
one Angel could not fail to return, as he gazed down at her. Last night had been
a rare night off for the both of them, and they had thoroughly enjoyed every moment
of it. His hand left her wrist, his fingers caressing their way down her arm,
until they reached her slender waist, before moving to stroke her slim belly,
and then upwards to touch the silver cross which still hung around her neck. Nearly
five years ago when he had given her that piece of jewelry, he had been careful
not to touch it, handing it to her encased within a box, the spiritual power behind
the symbol containing the ability to burn him. Now however, with his redemption
half finished, and the combination of the enchanted talisman around his own neck,
that power no longer harmed him, serving only to fascinate, as he marvelled the
way it suited her tanned skin.
Buffy watched him gaze at her, never
failing to be loved by the look in his dark eyes, seeing through their pupils
into the soul she loved so much. She wanted to lose herself within him forever,
for time to freeze them within this moment, if it was possible without causing
the rest of the world to go to hell. But from their troubles they could only have
a brief night of freedom.
Angel saw the intrusion of such make their
appearance upon her beautiful face, and instantly wished he could make them go
away. But it was her destiny, and he would not make her less than she was. He
had fallen in love with every part of her, even the slayer deep within. Reluctantly
he kissed her chastely, before rising to let her get up from the bed and begin
the new day.
"I just wish we knew what we were dealing with," Willow uttered as she
flicked a page of the volume she was studying. "It feels like we're going
around in circles."
"Our circles are going around in circles,"
Xander agreed. "We've got dizzy circles here, Giles."
former watcher was at the counter, attending to a customer whilst Spike was in
the storeroom. "Ah, weeping Buddha, shoulders your spiritual burden. Makes
a lovely paperweight too."
"Maybe she's not in the books,"
"What do you mean?" Oz asked.
mean, what if she's not a demon or sorceress or spirit or whatever these books
cover? What if she's something else altogether?"
come again," Giles uttered, seeing the customer out, before turning to Tara.
"Something new, you mean?"
"Tara shook her head. "Something
old. So old it predates the written word."
"Giles, the Dragon
sphere. You said that was created to repel.." Willow trailed off as she tried
"That which cannot be named," Giles answered thoughtfully.
Willow nodded. "So I'm thinking maybe she..."
language itself?" Giles finished her sentence.
if it means I don't have to read any more, woo!" Xander cried. "And
might I add a big hoo!"
"If Tara's right, then we're blind.
There's ... there's no way we can determine ... her moves, her habits, where she'll
turn up next." He turned round, only to be confronted by another customer.
"Oh! I beg your-"
The blond woman ignored his apology. "Uh-huh.
I want these."
"Yes, of course!" Giles walked back to
the counter. "Um, you find everything all right?"
problemo," the woman replied.
"That's, um...good," Giles
handed her a piece of paper. "Your receipt. And thank you!"
blond woman smiled as she walked out.
Giles returned to his previous
train of thought. "She could be anywhere. But if she is as powerful as, uh,
Buffy says, I imagine it won't be long before she makes herself known."
Spike walked out from the storeroom. "Everything alright?"
"Yeah, just two customers," Anya answered. "Giles dealt
"Well, I hope he's not expecting to get paid,"
Spike commented. "Doing your job for you."
"At what? I didn't hire you to reorganise my shelves."
"Well, someone should, they're in a mess."
we'll go over them later," Spike growled. "Now, back behind the counter."
"Yey, overtime," Anya clapped her hands as she returned to the
"No, evening opening hours," Spike returned
as the bell rang, signalling another arrival. "Oh, hey slayer. Peach- patriarch,"
he hurriedly corrected himself.
"Hey guys," Buffy greeted
as she and Angel entered the shop. "How was Elita last night, Giles?"
"Oh, she was no trouble," Giles replied. "Looked after your
godson all night. She's with Jenny now, helping her weekend computer class."
He smiled. "Good night?"
"Oh yeah," Buffy answered,
blushing, before turning to her friends. Behind her Angel smiled.
smirked. "I'll say, if what I saw on my return home last night is any indication,"
he grinned at his sire.
"Anya, what happened on Passions last
night?" Buffy asked casually, but with a look to her and Angel's resident
house guest which was anything but.
"Oh, I wouldn't know, me and
Xander were copulating," Anya replied, making the slayer wish she hadn't
"Anya," Her boyfriend cried, red-faced. "It was
bad enough in the restaurant last night," he murmured.
we saw," Cordelia said as she and Doyle entered the shop. The Irishman nodded
in sympathy. "I think they threw them out before desert," he added.
"Hey," Anya cried.
"Anya, it's the truth,"
Xander reminded her.
"No," she cried, pointing to something
on the counter. "Hey! HEY!"
"Anya, luv, your heys are
startling the customers," Spike said.
"And pretty much the
state," Xander added.
Anya ignored them as she looked at Giles.
"You sold someone a Khul's amulet and a Sobekian bloodstone."
I believe I did," Giles replied.
"Are you stupid or something?"
Anya asked him.
"Allow me to answer that question with a firing,"
"Hey, I fire my staff," Spike corrected.
"Even those volunteering free of wage."
Xander cried. "An, we talked about the employee-employer vocabulary no-nos.
That was number five."
Anya snatched the receipt. "He's not
my boss. You never sell these things together, ever! Bad news! Don't you know
about the Sobekites?"
"Oh! I do. It was an ancient Egyptian
cult, heavy into dark magic," Willow informed them.
the Khul's amulet, wasn't that a transmogrification conduit?" Tara sought
"Damn straight!" Anya cried.
that as it may, I still see no reason for concern," Giles remarked. "I
mean, the-the Sobekian transmogrification spells were lost thousands of years
ago. And besides, the young woman to whom I sold them would have to have had enormous
power......." he trailed off as he suddenly realised.
woman?" Buffy echoed, looking at him. "Blond, flashy dresser?"
The watcher groaned. "Oh, dear lord."
Xander looked at them.
"Well done," Spike snapped. "I
leave you, the foremost demonologist on the hellmouth in charge for five minutes,
and you sell something to the resident demon after the slayer which can create
"I, I, I... I didn't know it was her!" Giles
cried contritely. "I mean, how could I? If it's any consolation, I may have
"So what do these amulet and bloodstone
do?" Buffy asked Anya.
"A few thousand years ago there was
this cult, the temple of Sobek," the former vengeance demon replied. "Reptile
demon. Sobekites were reptile worshippers."
"Just once I
would like to run into a cult of bunny worshippers," Xander commented.
His girlfriend glared at him. "Great. Thank you very much for those
Xander had the grace to look apologetic. "Sorry."
"Anyway, their high priest Khul had great mystic powers. He, um, forged an amulet with transmogrifying crystal."
changing a living thing into a different kind of thing," Willow added.
Giles grabbed a book and searched through the pages until he found the
item he had sold. "She's going to transmogrify a cobra."
so she's making a monster. What for? What does it do?" Buffy asked.
turned back to the book. "That's the part ... we're working on it."
"Well, you keep working on it, I'll go kill it."
Giles called, making her stop.
"What? I'm going." Buffy affirmed.
"Buffy, this chick creamed you last time," Xander reminded her.
"That's because I wasn't ready for her last time. I am now."
"Don't worry, I'm going too," Angel added.
we don't know anything about it," Willow said worriedly.
"Will, I can't just sit here. I have to do something," Buffy replied, as Angel opened the door, before heading outside.
At the Sunnydale Zoo, where all had been quiet and normal since the disappearance
of their Coyote expert, a woman and her monk lackey stalked the path to the reptile
building, looking for their monster.
Glory punched her fist through
the cage containing the cobra. She grabbed the coiling snake, who hissed at her
for disturbing his previously quiet existence. She hissed back, unconcerned by
the toxins within him.
"Chill, worm. I'm gonna make you a star!"
Glory laughed as she deposited it into a large vase. Turning, she held out her
hand to Dreg, who gave her the amulet she had purchased. She held it over the
vase. "Chant!" She ordered.
"'The form is vessel, rendered
new. The base is stone, bathed in blood. The gem is fire and elements rarefied...'"
Dreg began, reading from the ancient scroll.
"Sobek, grant the
power," Glory requested. "That it may mould this wretched creature ...
that it may be reborn ... that it may serve ... ah! Dark incantations! Always
overwritten! Why can't they just cut to the-"
Suddenly she was
cut off, as something slammed her into the nearby wall.
Buffy queried as she kicked her in the face.
"No fair-" Glory
paused as she was punched again, "attacking-" another pause as the slayer
aimed a fist at her stomach and then her face, "when I wasn't even looking!"
Buffy grabbed her head and slammed it against the wall.
Glory grabbed her hand and returned the favour. "No, this is no good."
Buffy tried to rise and punch her again, but Glory grabbed her arm and
pinned it behind her back. "I'm out of the moment..." Glory added as
she braced herself against the slayer, "and you're not giving me anything
I can use. Dreg! I'm not hearing chanting!" She punched Buffy in the face
and slammed her against the wall.
"Yes, Glory." Dreg opened
his mouth, but was cut off as Angel punched him to the floor. Silencing one, he
went to help Buffy with the other.
"Hey, hey. Work with me here,"
Glory cried at Buffy, flinging her against a wall. Angel took the opportunity
and grabbed the woman to fling her against the opposite wall.
Glory cried. "No champion knights allowed. No damsels in distress here."
She punched Angel, sending him to the floor, before grabbing the slayer again.
"There! That feels more real, don't you think?"
her into the wall once more before grabbing her by the throat. "Even if I
do have to carry your performance."
Suddenly her hand was wrenched
off the slayer, as Angel grabbed it and slung it behind her back. The floor had
knocked his game face into the fore, and he growled at her before dislocating
"Scene!" He growled, before flinging her across
the floor and retrieving his beloved.
Dreg meanwhile, had recovered
enough to chant. "Cir hayyan win-hud!"
Glory got up and walked
to the vase. "Arise. Arise."
"Cir hayyan win-hud!"
"Arise!" Glory yelled.
shook, then exploded as a creature burst out of it; a large cobra snake with arms,
hissing and swaying.
Dreg stated the obvious. "He is arisen!"
"About damn time!" Glory grinned. "Spawn of Sobek!"
The creature turned to her, lowering its head so she could touch it. "The
power is yours ... to see what is unseen. To find what is shrouded in shadow.
Already, you know what I seek. I have given you form, now find for me the key.
Seek it out in the holy places. Yes, yes, yes! Let your vision guide you to its
hiding place, and then return to me and tell me where it lies."
behind, Angel and Buffy quietly stumbled out of the Zoo.
would be good." Glory urged.
The cobra turned away to hunt.
"Fun, fun, fun!" Glory giggled.
Outside, Angel helped
Buffy to his car. "How bad are you?" He asked her.
a scale of one to ten; twenty," Buffy replied, groaning as she sat down.
"But I'll be okay. What about you?"
"I'm all right,
I think," Angel replied. "We better get to the Magic Box. Elita and
Jenny have probably gone there by now."
"Step on it," Buffy ordered tiredly, sinking back into the leather as Angel put the vehicle in gear and drove away.
"Aleister Crowley Sings?" Spike echoed a customer's request.
"Um, sadly, no, I-I don't carry that, but I do have some whale sounds."
He held up the CD.
Giles stopped researching to answer his cellphone.
"Buffy, are you and Angel all right?" He asked anxiously.
I'm really not," Buffy replied. "I-I couldn't stop her. I couldn't even
slow her down."
"Where are you?" Giles asked.
Memorial, Angel's fetching me an ice pack or six."
badly hurt? I'll come right over."
"No. No, I-I just wanted
to warn you that that thing she conjured, it's loose - it's a big snake thing.
Not mayor big, but it's pretty lethal looking."
"Do you know
why she raised it?" Giles asked.
"I don't know yet."
"I'll warn the others. We'll get weapons, we'll
"Wait," Buffy cut him off. "What time
Giles checked his watch. "Half past four, why?"
"School's out. Elita's on her way over to you. Giles," she paused,
"Understood. We'll keep her safe here until you and
"She's in good
hands, Buffy. There's really nothing else you can do."
Bye," Buffy ended the call as Angel got back in the car. "Thanks,"
she uttered as he handed her an ice pack.
"No problem. Are you
sure you didn't want to get checked over?" Angel asked her worriedly.
"No, we need to get to the Magic Box. I'll heal on the way."
"Sure," Angel uttered, unconvinced, but obeying the urgency anyway. He restarted the engine and moved the car on.
A few minutes later, two tired warriors walked into the Magic Box.
made her way to Giles, Angel following. "So, any monster reptile cobra sightings?"
Her watcher shook his head. "None."
"Oz and I
did a mini-patrol earlier, but biggie snake was nowhere to be-" Willow stopped
speaking as something caught her gaze.
They turned in time to see the
cobra staring at them through the window. It burst through the glass and reared
up, glaring at them. It's eyes were fixed on Elita, who was screaming out of sheer
The Cobra's eyes glowed red, and then suddenly it turned and
"Elita, you okay?" Spike asked her.
was the big snake afraid of Elita?" Xander asked.
to Giles and Angel. "It knows!" She whispered, before running out after
it. Angel followed her.
Giles grabbed his car from outside and drove
it level with them, opening the door. The two champions jumped in and the vehicle
began chasing the cobra.
Angered the beast whacked with it's tail.
Giles managed to dodge one blow, but the snake was too fast, and the second sent
him into some garbage bags.
"We've gotta stop this monster before
it gets back to Glory," Buffy declared.
"That's what he called her. Giles, she's gonna know Elita's
the key if we don't-"
"We will," Giles assured her, before backing the car out to resume the chase.
"Please! Please, mistress!" Dreg begged as he cowered before her.
Glory was tossing shoe boxes at him.
"Perturbed, yet ultimately
Glory was fuming. "What is taking
so long, Dreg? You told me snakey-wakey would find my key. Now why isn't he back
here with a beautiful message for me?"
"I grovel like a bug,
most silky and effervescent Glorificus- Glory! Glory. Your most fresh and cleanness,
it's just a matter of time."
"Ohh! Everything takes time!
What about my time? Does anyone appreciate that I'm on a schedule here? Tick,
tock, Dreg! Tick frickin' tock!"
Dreg hit the floor as more shoe boxes came his way, anxiously praying to the gods that the creature would return soon.
The cobra slithered down the rapidly darkening streets of Sunnydale suburbs, followed
closely by Giles' car, as the vehicle careened around corners and dodged other
cars. Ahead the snake tore at a section of tarp covered fence, the movement almost
missed in the night, if not for the watcher's headlights.
with a screech of tires, and Buffy and Angel leapt out of the car to follow the
creature on foot.
Buffy grabbed a piece of chain from a fence as they
chased after the creature, leaping on to a large rock as the snake rounded a corner
of the path. She jumped off the rock and landed on the cobra's back, wrapping
the chain around it's neck.
Enraged the cobra thrashed about, trying
to throw her off, but the slayer hung on for grim death. Slowly she tightened
the chain, until it began to strangle the snake, until it stopped struggling in
her grip. She relaxed when she thought it was over.
Suddenly the monster
reared up, throwing her off him. She flew backwards into Angel's arms, who broke
her fall on the ground. The snake turned to hiss at her as she got up.
punched it in the face, then climbed on top of it again, punching it over and
over. She continued to punch, lost in the moment.
Angel opened his
eyes and rose from the ground to find his beloved thrashing the now dead creature.
Slowly he mounted the body behind her, and gently grabbed her arms, restraining
then finally halting the blows. Silently he held her, waiting for the adrenaline
to fade away, for the stillness of the night to calm her.
heaved a cry, then turned round and clutched at him, pouring out a sudden fountain
of grief, born out of tiredness and despair at the possible future of losing
against the her new enemy.
Angel said nothing, knowing nothing could
be said to make her hope again. He just continued to hold her, caressing her blond
locks, her tanned skin through her clothes, until the salty tears soaked his own.
Opposite them, a few feet away, the curtains on an apartment flickered
as their owner pushed them back.
Glory stared at the empty street, frowning into the darkness. Slowly her eyes made out the scene of her monster dead. She gazed at it for a moment, then let the curtain fall back, as she turned away.
To Be Continued In