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by templemarker

Notes: This fic was Meant to Be, I swear. The bunny began in Alex Dollard’s lovely fic Grave Words: “Absently, she wondered if this is how Angel felt when he first received his soul back.” It grew from that. If you haven’t read Alex, go do so now. Thanks to Minim, Amy, R. Liz, and Elena for beta. Couldn’t live without you. Spoilers specifically “Becoming, Part II” and “Bargaining, Part I.”

Part One

Willow looks around nervously. “Are we ready?”

Cordelia waves her smoldering bundle. “Stinky herbs are a go.”

Oz glances at the book in his hands, and then at Willow. “Did I mention I didn’t take Latin?” he asks lightly, covering the itchy feeling he’s getting from this whole ritual.

Willow nods at him and the book. “Y-you don’t have to understand it. You just have to say it. I hope.”

Oz just gazes back at her. “Right.”


Willow looks around anxiously. “Does everybody have their candles?”

Anya struggles with her lighter. “I’m trying, my lighter won’t stay lit.”

Willow glares a little. “Well, hurry, it has to-”

Tara breaks in, asking, “What time is it?”

Xander looks at his watch, then says, “A minute till midnight.”

Willow glances again at Anya. “C’mon, Anya, do you have it?”

One final flick, and the candle is lit. “I got it, I got it. I got it.”

Willow breathes a sigh of relief, studiously ignoring the Giles-voice in her mind telling her not to do this. “Okay. Start the circle. Now.”


“Quod perditum est, invenietur. (What is lost, return.)” Oz speaks softly, uncertainty faint but present in his voice.

Willow casts her stones, takes a deep breath and says, “Not dead … nor not of the living. Spirits of the interregnum, I call.”

She breathes hard, the effort of the casting overwhelming her. But still she speaks. “Gods, bind him, cast his heart from the demon … realm. Return his …”

The words come slowly, with difficulty. Perspiration beads her face. She sucks in a ragged breath.

“I call on … I …”


She takes out the Urn of Osiris and a small jar of a dark red liquid the others don’t recognize. She pours the contents into the urn, takes a deep breath, and says, “Osiris, keeper of the gate, master of all fate, hear us.”

Willow reaches in and coveres her fingers with the liquid from the urn, marking her forehead and cheeks. “Before time, and after. Before knowing and nothing.”

She pours the contents of the urn onto the grave before her.

“Accept our offering. Know our prayer.”


Willow’s head snaps back and she stares blindly with darkening eyes. Her head jerks back down with an almost audible pop, and she stares harshly into the orb. Rumanian pours from her mouth; words she couldn’t possibly have known develop into a steady chant.

“Te implor Doamne, nu ignora accasta rugaminte! Lasa orbita sa fie vasul care – I va transporta sufletul la el!”

I call on you, Gods, do not ignore this supplication! Let the orb be the vessel to carry his soul to him!

Oz looks at Cordy, alarmed, fearing for Willow. “Is this a good thing?”

Cordelia glances around wildly before turning back to Willow and saying, “Hey! Speak English!”

Willow doesn’t hear them; the spell controls her now.

“Este scris, aceasta putere este dreptul poporuil meu de a conduce…”

It is written, this power is my people’s right to wield …

The Orb of Thessulah begins to glow.


Willow goes taut, held by some invisible force. Her arms pull open, as if in supplication, and deep, long gashes form by power unseen.

“Willow!” Xander desperately reaches for her, almost breaking the circle. But Tara stops him – “No! She t- she told me … she’d be tested. This is supposed to happen.”

Willow doesn’t hear them; the spell controls her now.

“Osiris! Here lies the warrior of the people. Let her cross over.”

The pain is there, palpable. Willow is caught in it, looking madly down at the blood that flows freely from the gashes on her arm. Suddenly round bumps appear beneath her skin. The others recoil in horror as the insectoid mounds crawl everywhere inside Willow.

Xander looks at Tara, alarmed, fearing for Willow. “She needs help!”

“Xander, she’s strong! She said not to stop, no matter what. If we break the cycle now, it’s over,” Tara says, looking nervously at Willow.

And it sounds like thunder has hit Sunnydale in full force.

Anya freaks. “Oh god, what is that noise?”


Willow is rapt in the spell’s hold. She screams at something unseen.

“Asa sa fie! Acum!”

Let it be so! Now!

The Orb glows brilliantly for just a moment; then the light dims and finally disappears. Oz and Cordelia look on worriedly at Willow – who sags backward on the bed, then looks around blankly.

“Did it work?”


Willow is rapt in the spell’s hold. She screams at something unseen.

“Osiris, let her cross over!”

She stars to choke, throwing herself over the grave. She can barely breathe, and though the others don’t dare break the circle, they all wonder if she will die.

“Oh my god, oh my god,” Tara chants.

Xander, Anya, and Tara look on, horrified, as the tip of a snake’s head appears from Willow’s half-opened mouth. Even as it slithers away, Willow has trouble breathing.

Tara mutters on. “It’s a test. It’s a test. Willow …”

Willow pulls herself up, and calls out once more: “Osiris, release her!”

A reddish light encases her, holding her fast in its grip. Willow can feel the magic run through her – it’s working, it’s working.

She doesn’t notice the band of demons that have begun to circle the group until one of them runs his bike over the urn, destroying it. The stream of light ceases.

Willow screams in rage and pain – “Nooooo!” – then sags forward on the ground.


There is a rush of blinding, white light.


There is a rush of aching, red light.

Part Two

There is a flash of red light in his eyes.

He can’t see, he’s blind, he doesn’t know where he is. He’s gasping for air he doesn’t need, but why doesn’t he need to breathe? Oh, there’s pain. There’s a harsh, aching pain spreading through his body and he can’t think. He doesn’t know where he is, why is he here?

The light’s pain dissipates, and he collapses to the floor. Tears pour from his eyes, but he doesn’t know why he’s crying. There’s so much pain, he can’t think, he just looks up blindly, willing everything away, he just wants to be where he was, this hurts too much.

With the breaking strength in his body, he focuses on the person in front of him. Wetness stains his face. He wishes he were still blind. Because it’s —



There is a flash of red light in her eyes.

She can’t see, she’s blind, she doesn’t know where she is. She’s gasping for air she desperately needs, she must breathe. Oh, there’s pain. There’s a harsh, aching pain spreading through her body and she can’t think. She doesn’t know where she is, why is she here?

The light’s pain dissipates, leaving her shaking with blind fear. She begins frantically pounding in her prison, the confine that is keeping her here. She can’t think, she just bangs harder, ripping away at cloth. With each tear of the fabric she’s willing it away, she just wants to be where she was, this hurts too much.

With the breaking strength in her body, she pushes through the wood. She focuses on the dirt that stains her face. She wishes she were still blind. Because it’s —

a coffin.


Angel is confused, he’s crying, he’s reaching for Buffy. She kisses him, and he hears apologies in the kiss, goodbyes. He doesn’t want to let go, wants it to last forever. She pulls away, and when she says she loves him he almost falls again. Suddenly it’s cold between them, and he wishes he was where he was before.

“I love you,” he says.

She touches his lips with her fingers again.

Buffy asks him to close his eyes. He does, and the next thing he feels is metal going through his chest and pain, blinding pain that’s harsher than before. Suddenly he can hear whooshing. He calls out Buffy’s name, and the memories burn his vision.

He understands.


She breaks through to the surface, clawing her way through soil that covers her now. Pulling herself desperately upwards, she gasps for air and lies there, panting. She holds the ground, the only thing keeping her steady. Still breathing hard, she gathers the courage to look around. There is a cold darkness, and she wishes she was where she was before.

The next thing she feels is like metal slicing through her chest. Suddenly she can hear roaring. She wants to cry out, but the memories burn her vision.

She understands.

Part Three

Willow’s comfortable in her wheelchair, happier now that her friends are close. Giles and Xander come up to meet her, Oz, and Cordelia. Her brow furrows as she takes in their battered conditions. Neither of them are at their best.

Giles’s attention is suddenly focused on her. “Are you sure you should be out of bed?”

Willow goes for a shaky smile and a nod in his direction. “Look who’s talking …”

“Any word?” Cordelia asks.

Xander lets out a defeated sigh. “You guys didn’t see her either.”

Willow frowns in response. “No.”

“But we know the world didn’t end,” Oz says, and nods. “‘Cause, check it out.”

The group takes a moment to look at the non-apocalyptic world.

“We went back to the mansion. It’s empty, and Acathla is dormant,” Giles says, fidgeting with his glasses.

Willow wants to say something, to chime in, so she reaches for the first reassuring thing she can think of. “I think the spell worked. I felt something go through me, it was powerful. Kind of scary.”

“Plus the orb did that cool glow thing,” Cordelia adds.

Willow can see that Xander doesn’t like this idea. He starts moving anxiously, saying, “Maybe it wasn’t in time. If he did pull the sword out, and she had to kill him, maybe he was already dead when it happened.”

“Then she’d want to be alone, I guess,” Oz shrugs.

No, Willow thinks. Xander’s wrong. “Or maybe Angel was saved and they just want to be alone together.”

She knows Giles doesn’t believe her. “Perhaps.”

“Well, she’s bound to show up sooner or later. We still have school,” says Cordelia.

Willow decides to take comfort in that thought. “Yeah. She’ll be here in a while.”


They’re running, hard. They have to get away from those demons, and all Xander can think about is the broken woman in his arms. There are so many cuts, still oozing blood, and he hugs her tighter to his chest. They pause, for a moment, and he can’t help the spike of adrenaline that rushes through his heart when he feels her stir.

“Willow, are you okay?” he asks anxiously.

She’s drowsy, he can tell. It took so much out of her, that damn spell. They never should have tried, but she wanted it so much. “Did it work?” she forces out, and he can feel the effort her body made to say those small, agonizing works.

Xander looks back to where they left the grave and that stupid urn, a place even he knew was sacred ground that’s now being destroyed by those fucking demons, those demons who ruined everything. He doesn’t know what to say.

“I – I’m sorry.”

Willow hears this, he knows. He feels her absorb the knowledge, the shudders it sends through her supine body. He suddenly wants to bury her head in his neck, wants to give her the false comfort she deserves. But just as she goes unconscious, he realizes it was the false comfort that led her to this.

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