Tara stepped onto the porch and took a deep breath. She had never been known for her acting skills and now she had to convince several menacing looking police officers that she was calm and happy. She smiled weakly as two uniformed officers climbed from their patrol car and walked purposefully up the path.
"Tara!" Kelly tried to run toward the blonde witch but one of the detectives grabbed the model and held her back.
Willow came out of the door and stepped in front of Tara. She wasn’t going to let Kelly anywhere near her lover. She looked over and gave Tara a half smile as the two officers approached.
"Miss Maclay?" the taller officer asked. "I’m Officer Williams. Miss Larson has some concerns for your well being." He eyed Willow and rested his hand on the handle of his service revolver. "Are you here of your own free will?"
"I’m fine," Tara insisted, though her voice was shaking. She looked over and saw Kelly struggling to get closer.
"They kidnapped her!" Kelly yelled. "Tara, sweetie, they can’t hurt you with the police here."
Willow surged forward, the hatred in her eyes flashing. The officers both gripped their weapons and Willow took a step back closer to Tara.
"It w-was a mistake," Tara bluffed. She smiled unconvincingly. "A p-prank." She bit her lip and shrugged at the officers.
"You know us crazy college kids." Willow smiled. "We’re crazy, zany even."
"This is very serious," Officer Williams said. He glared at Kelly. "We don’t like our time being wasted, even by celebrities."
"Tara, tell them the truth," Kelly said as she grabbed Williams and pulled him closer. "Get her away from this woman and ask her. They’re threatening her."
Williams glared at Kelly, staring at her hand on his arm. She moved her hand but he did look over at Tara and cleared his throat. "Miss Maclay, if you’ll come with me please?" He motioned toward his patrol car.
Willow panicked. She wanted to grab her lover and spirit her away but she couldn’t. She looked at Tara, her eyes pleading. She had to trust that the blonde Wiccan wouldn’t bolt.
Tara nodded and walked away with Officer Williams as the other officer stepped forward and watched Willow.
Kelly ran to Tara as soon as the blonde was out of Willow’s grasp. She pulled her into a hug and let out a sigh of relief. "Sweetie, I was so scared."
Tara closed her eyes and tried to listen to her body. Kelly’s embrace was familiar, but it was also slightly unsettling. She wondered if it was because of the things Willow had told her, or if she was still hurting over Kelly’s sleeping with Claire.
"Tell them," Kelly said as she pulled back and took both of Tara’s hands. "Tell them this psycho kidnapped you."
"Hey!" Willow glared at Kelly. She glanced back at the door and noticed that Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies were nowhere to be seen. Apparently she was supposed to charm the police, except that Willow Rosenberg was not known for her ability to lie. Willow always told the truth, always. "Tell them what happened, Tara," Willow said. "Tell them it was a dorm prank." Apparently, lying wasn’t as difficult as Willow had thought.
"Miss Maclay?" the officer asked.
"It was a p-prank," Tara said. "I’m r-really s-sorry you were scared." She looked over at Kelly and pulled her hands away. "Willow’s in my dorm, and it was j-just a joke."
"Not a very funny one," Williams said angrily. He gave Kelly a disgusted look and then nodded at his partner. "Come on, just some stupid college kids."
"You can’t just let them go!" Kelly pointed at Willow. "She’s dangerous. At least give Tara and I a ride back to our hotel."
Willow’s eyes widened as the officer nodded and motioned for Tara to come with them.
"No," Tara said. She pulled away from Kelly and moved back toward Willow. "I have business here," she said grimly. "One way or another."
Kelly shook her head.
"You coming?" Williams asked.
"Not without Tara." Kelly jogged back to the blonde witch and took her hand possessively.
"Sure, feel free to stay." Willow’s eyes narrowed and she rubbed her fingers together as she began drawing her mystical energy. "We have a lot to talk about." Her eyes were locked on Kelly’s hand holding Tara’s.
"I don’t want to get called back here," Williams warned. He noticed the possessive posturing between the two women. He figured the blonde was cheating on one with the other.
"N-no, sir," Tara promised. She bit her lip and tried to smile, but she was actually terrified. She didn’t like the idea of Kelly staying. If Tara was wrong about Willow and her demon hunting friends, she didn’t want Kelly in danger.
"I mean it," Williams said. He picked up his radio and called his dispatcher and reported that he was available for calls.
"Come inside," Willow said. She smiled, but there was nothing friendly in the gesture. She looked like an executioner inviting her victim to sit down at the electric chair.
"Please, Willow," Tara said quickly. She rushed over to the redhead and took her hand. Both women felt a surge of energy when their fingers met. "Don’t hurt her."
"Tara, she wants to kill you," Kelly said. "She’s tricking you." She looked toward the street and saw the officers pulling away from the curb. They turned around and disappeared down the street.
"She won’t hurt me," Tara turned toward Kelly. "She knows I’m human now. She won’t hurt me." She nodded toward the house. "I have to figure this out."
Kelly reached out her hand and Tara inhaled sharply as the raven hared witch pulled her across the walkway with her mind.
"Kelly?" Tara was shocked. She hadn’t remembered Kelly having telekinetic powers.
"What are you doing to her!" Willow leaped down from the stairs and wrapped her arms around Tara from behind.
"Easy there, Broomhilda," Xander said as he came running out of the building.
"Get away from her." Kelly raised her hand toward Willow.
"No!" Tara jumped in front of the redhead. "Stop it. Everyone."
"Now you help?" Willow glared at Xander. "Where were you when the police were grilling me?"
"That was so not grilling," Buffy said as she came out of the door. "I’ve been grilled, and that was not even sautéing."
"Tara, we should go," Kelly said. "They’re toying with you."
"We know about the Brew of Oblivion," Giles said. He stepped onto the porch and held up the relics from her spell.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Kelly looked shocked. She wrapped her arms around her chest and sobbed. "Sweetie, these are strangers and you believe them?" Tears welled up in her eyes.
"Kelly, honey…" Tara broke away from Willow and ran to the crying woman. "I… I don’t know what to think."
"I love you, Tara," Kelly said. "I’m here for you."
"You lying bitch." Willow rushed forward but Buffy grabbed her from behind and held her in place. "You don’t know what love is. How could you let Tara think she killed someone?"
"She wants to break us up," Kelly said as she cupped Tara’s cheeks in her hands. "She’s trying to get revenge."
Willow was struggling to get free but Buffy held her securely. The Slayer leaned forward and tried to calm her friend. "Willow, you have to know some secret," Buffy whispered. "Something she never told anyone else."
"I can’t think of anything, damn it!" Willow sobbed.
"Tara, let’s go," Kelly said. "I don’t know why they let you go, but they are dangerous."
"Come on," Buffy prompted. "All those nights you two stayed awake cuddling and talking. Think."
Willow closed her eyes. She couldn’t stand seeing Kelly put her hands all over Tara. She pictured her own nights with Tara, lying in the gentle blonde’s arms. She pictured the two of them on their backs looking up at the night sky from the roof of the dormitory. They would often sneak onto the roof by climbing up the fire escape and just be together looking up at the stars. A smile spread across Willow’s face and her body relaxed.
"You thought of it, didn’t you?" Buffy asked with a smirk. She relaxed her hold and watched as Willow straightened her back and cleared her throat.
"Tara?" Willow said quietly, her voice full of love. "Baby?"
"Don’t call her th--" Kelly began, but Tara turned toward the redhead before she could finish.
"Tara?" Willow asked again. She smiled and moved closer. She pointed at Kelly. "You never trusted her. You won’t ever tell her." She smiled and crossed her arms over her chest. "You never trusted anyone with it."
"She’s tricking you," Kelly said. She pulled Tara’s hand.
"What?" Tara asked. She looked into Willow’s green eyes and saw them sparkling with happiness, love and more than a little smugness.
"Ask Kelly where she would go to find the Big Pineapple?" Willow smirked.
Tara’s eyes shot open wide and her mouth went dry. She had never felt safe sharing her secret constellation names for the stars with anyone. She never found anyone she trusted enough to risk being teased.
Kelly’s eyes narrowed and she tried to grab Tara’s hand.
"Tell her," Willow challenged as she looked at Kelly and her smirk blossomed into a huge grin.
Tara spun and looked at Kelly. "I always knew when I was safe with someone, really safe, I’d tell her about the Big Pineapple." She looked over at Willow and smiled. "And where to find it." She looked back at Kelly. "Where would you go to find the Big Pineapple?"
"Maui," Kelly guessed.
"You lied to me," Tara said sadly. "You let me think I killed someone. How could you?"
"You’re going to believe her based on oversized fruit?" Kelly demanded.
"Oversized fruit?" Buffy nodded approvingly. "Impressive enough to kick your ass."
"I believe we should bring this conversation inside," Giles said. He removed his glasses and gave Kelly a challenging glance. "You can come in or you can leave." He nodded for Xander to go inside and then watched as Buffy marched inside.
"Come on," Willow said. She held out her hand to Tara.
Tara paused and furrowed her brow.
"You find the Big Pineapple by looking at the Stack of Crackers and tilting your head right over there." She lifted Tara’s chin and tilted her head back until she was looking up into the sky.
Tara smiled and took Willow’s hand and followed her into the house.
Kelly reached into her pocket and gripped her athame. She could still win if she waited from the right time to make her move. "Tara, wait for me." She ran after the blonde.
"Well, isn’t this a civil little gathering." Spike was sitting on the back of the couch with his feet resting in the middle of the cushions. He watched as the group wandered back in, shaking his head. "Everyone all nicey nice and no one killing or maiming." He looked over at Willow and sighed. "I’m disappointed, Red."
"Spike, do get your feet off of my couch." Giles walked over to the fireplace mantle and rested one elbow on the thin flat counter.
"What now?" Kelly challenged. "You’ve tricked Tara into believing who knows what…"
"Shut up." Willow pulled Tara behind her and faced the black haired witch. "You don’t get to talk about anyone tricking Tara."
"Give her back her memories," Buffy ordered. She walked over to Kelly and stood in front of her, glaring.
"Or what?" Kelly rolled her eyes, dismissing the petite blonde.
Buffy grabbed Kelly and threw her across the room into the wall. The witch hit the brick surface before she even had time to register Buffy’s movements.
"Or that." Buffy rushed toward the fallen model.
"Buffy, no." Giles intercepted the angry Slayer.
"How did she…" Tara stared at the small blonde wondering how she had managed to throw Kelly fifteen feet across the room.
"Your demon side infected her," Kelly said as she rubbed her shoulder. She had impacted hard and was still shaky.
"T-that’s not possible." Tara studied Kelly, realizing that she could lie while looking completely sincere. It was unnerving.
"Especially since… oh, I don’t know…since your NOT a demon." Willow faced Kelly. "Give her back her memories."
"Let me convince her," Buffy said. She smiled like a snake watching a sleeping bird.
"No," Giles said firmly. "You cannot harm humans." He looked over at the dark haired witch with disgust. "No matter how vile they are."
"We don’t even know if she can fix Tara," Anya pointed out.
"Kelly, put her back to the way she was," Dawn pleaded.
"I can fix things," Kelly said a bit too calmly. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her athame and pointed the tip of the black dagger at Tara. She smiled and twisted the sacred tool in her hand until she held the black stone blade in both hands and then snapped it in half. "Deu, serve me," she whispered and then looked down at the two pieces of the athame. They began to hum and the silver lotus markings began to glow.
"That doesn’t look like fixing," Willow whined. She pushed Tara behind her to keep her lover safe.
"What are you doing?" Tara held onto Willow’s wisp thin waist and watched as Kelly’s eyes turned coal black.
"Kishimojin, return my love and banish these infidels," Kelly chanted as her body shook and she smiled. Buffy rushed forward but she was tossed back by a green barrier that appeared as soon as the Slayer tried to grab the raven-haired witch.
"She’s summoning rakshas demons." Anya backed away as quickly as she could, almost tripping over the table in her haste to escape. "The major mother of all Raksha demons. Kishimojin protects her followers and believe me, she can kick our asses. The lotus on the blade, that’s Kishimojin’s symbol."
"Kishimonjin protects faithful disciples," Tara corrected. "And only as long as they are striving to spread the ways of love and mystic law." She moved alongside Willow and took her hand. "Kelly, don’t do this. You can’t control it. You can’t use this for your own selfish desires."
The broken blade continued glowing and Kelly’s eyes rolled back into her head. Her body stiffened and then she snapped her head forward and opened her eyes. They were no longer black; both of her eyes were completely red like a demonic rat.
"You are mine." Kelly reached her hand toward Tara and the blonde witch slid across the floor toward her.
"No!" Willow grabbed Tara with both hands and both of the witches were dragged toward Kelly. The model smiled, baring serpent fangs and a blue forked tongue.
"That doesn’t look human," Buffy said as she looked for a weapon. "Can I kill her now?"
"Technically she’s human," Anya pointed out. "Just possessed. But go right ahead and kill her. Slay away!"
"No," Giles said. "She is human."
"Human and dragging us toward her slimy snake tongue," Willow yelled. The redhead was holding one arm around Tara and the other was hooked over the arm side of the couch.
"Kelly, don’t do this," Tara pleaded. She watched as her former lover’s head bobbed from side to side like a cobra. "You upset the balance. Oh, Kelly, no," Tara whispered. "You had no right to summon Kishimojin."
"Well, that sucks!" Anya ran behind the counter top and waved her hand at Kelly. "Now the rashanas will dole out something nasty to her. Something nasty that we will have to clean up."
"Can you be a little more specific?" Buffy leaped through the air and tried to kick Kelly in the chest but the raven-haired witch swatted her away like a fly.
"She told Tara she was a murdering demon," Spike pointed out. "I’m betting the nasty witch might get a bit of her own medicine. Either that or a tornado will drop a house on her sister."
"She’s a demon," Tara said as she pointed at her former lover. "That would create karmic symmetry." She shook her head as she realized that Kelly would now face the fate she terrified Tara with.
"Oh! I can kill demons!" Buffy ran to the wall and pulled down a sword. She moved toward Kelly, but then paused to look at Giles and he frowned. "I can kill her, right?" she whined. "Well, what can I kill, damn it?"
"You cannot harm me." Kelly laughed and took a dangerous swipe at Buffy. The Slayer swung the sword and it hit Kelly in the stomach but it bounced off. The possessed witch turned to Tara and smiled. "Tara, you can join me. It feels so good. The power…" She ran her hands over her arms and laughed. "It’s incredible."
Tara shook her head and her lips trembled.
"I invoke all the power of the night," Kelly said as she circled the room trying to get a good angle to attack Buffy. "And darkness fills my soul with second sight. All that moves without the light shall guide me in this holy fight."
"And now she’s rhyming like a demon Jessie Jackson," Xander said. "That can’t be good."
"And the poetry’s bad," Spike said. "Really bad."
Kelly glared at Buffy and the Slayer went flying across the room and landed with a thump against the wall.
"Giles!" Buffy yelled angrily. "Can I please kill the evil demon witch? Pretty please?"
"I’m so sorry," Giles said to Kelly. "We didn’t want to harm you."
"Go, Buffy!" Anya yelled. "Go with the killing. Yea killing!"
Xander’s jaw dropped as he looked at his girlfriend.
"What? She’s evil," Anya said as she pointed at Kelly. "Killing evil is good. It’s not like I want Buffy to skin little babies alive and cover them with peppercorns and roast them over a hickory fire pit."
"And that image just jumped into your mind?" Willow asked disgustedly. "What the hell goes on in the head of yours?"
Anya bit her lip and decided she probably shouldn’t share that particular demonic recipe from the middle ages.
"Wind!" Kelly waved her hands in front of her body and a whirlwind appeared. She batted her hand at Willow and the whirlwind shot over and tossed the redhead around the room.
"No." Tara stepped forward and decided to level the playing field. "I call upon the five mystic laws of the Gonhonzon. Protect me." Tara lifted both palms toward the ceiling and closed her eyes. "All demons that roam the night, all beasts that serve darkness come forward and face your sister."
"No!" Willow yelled.
"Bad idea!" Buffy yelled. She ran toward Tara. "Are you insane?"
Spike jumped into Buffy’s path and kept her from Tara. He looked down at his hands. He hadn’t intended to move and yet he was now fending off the Slayer as she tried to grab Tara.
"Oh, this is just grand," Spike said as he backed away from Buffy. He glared at Tara. "What the bloody hell were you thinking."
"S-she has demon powers." Tara pointed at Kelly. "Now, any demons in the area w-will protect me…us."
"Oh, my god." Anya let out a frustrated growl. "And people say I’m dense?"
"W-well… h-how many demons could t-there be in the area?" Tara asked. She looked over at Spike and frowned. "And why did he protect me?"
"Hello? This is Sunny-freaking-dale?" Anya waved her hands in the air.
"He’s a demon." Willow pointed at Spike.
"What?" Tara looked at Spike and tilted her head to one side.
"Vampire, actually." Spike morphed and bared his fangs.
"It won’t mater." Kelly tossed Spike aside moved toward Tara. "You can’t stop me."
The front window shattered and a half dozen vampires charged into the house.
"Maybe I can’t, but it’s about to become vamp central in here," Spike said with a smirk. "This I gotta’ see."
Kelly spun and stared at the vampires. They were all coming toward Tara.
"Why are we here?" one of the vampires asked. He was confused and kept spinning to look around the room.
"Who summoned us?" a second vampire asked.
"Um…" Tara shrugged and backed over to Willow. She pointed at Kelly. "Get… her?" Tara said uncertainly.
The small mob of vampires growled and attacked Kelly. She fought them off, flinging them in every direction, but more began pouring through the broken window. A few demons wandered in as well. Most attacked Kelly, but some noticed the other humans and went after them.
"Gee thanks, Tara!" Xander said when a blue horned Keklor demon hit him with a chair.
"I didn’t invite any of them in." Giles stared as his house began to look like Willie’s bar on a Friday night, a bad Friday night.
"No invitation required," Anya said as she sighed and waved her hand at the growing crowd. "She invoked them as protectors so where she goes…they go."
"Well uninvoke them!" Buffy yelled.
Anya smacked a vampire with a bottle of wine and then ran over near Tara. "Tell them to sit or something."
"How can this be?" Kelly was weakening, and more demons were coming in every second.
"Welcome to the hellmouth." Willow put both hands on her hips and smirked at the possessed witch. "Give up yet?"
Anya hurried over to the front door, which was now in several pieces on the floor. A steady trail of assorted demons came in over the shattered oak door and Anya tried to take charge.
"Okay, you, demons… a little order here please?" She waved her hand at a large slime demon. "Okay, any oozing demons, please stay on the tile. Vampires…oh…" She looked over at the large picture window at the front of the house. It was shattered and vampires were crawling in over the tops of each other. "Vampires…you just keep on doing what you’re doing. Good vampires. Attack the sexbot witch."
"Um, Tara?" Buffy kicked a vampire and then staked him. "Point the goon squad at the evil witch…pretty please?"
"No! Bad slime demon!" Anya slapped the monster as it oozed onto the carpet. "That stuff does not come out."
"Stop her," Tara ordered. She pointed at Kelly and the mob stampeded toward the raven-haired witch. "But don’t kill her!" She looked at Willow. "Where are they all coming from?"
"What, you’re kidding, right?" Dawn said from behind the couch. "This is nothing. Wait ‘til the ones from the graveyard get here."
"And the burned out high school," Xander added. "Can’t forget that lovely little vacation get away."
"Undo the spell!" Buffy yelled. "Before the fire marshal shows up and tickets Giles for exceeding the demon limit in a private dwelling."
"What is the demon limit in a private dwelling?" Willow quirked her brow. "I mean, this is Sunnydale…they might actually have a law on the books."
"Willow! Just help Tara call these things off," Buffy yelled.
"Oh, yeah." Willow grabbed Tara’s hand. "Can you undo that invocation?"
Tara nodded mutely. She was in shock. She had expected maybe one, perhaps two demons to eventually show up to answer her call. The flood of demons had overwhelmed her.
"Um, can I point something out here?" Anya asked as she jumped out of the way of a vampire. Kelly was tossing the creatures in every direction. "That whole breaking the spell? Not such a good idea…"
"Gonhonzon, take back your children from the night…" Tara said as she held Willow’s hand.
"Good heavens!" Giles spun and looked at Tara and his face went pale. "No!"
Willow closed her eyes and sent out all of her energy to help Tara cast the spell. A ball of light shot out across the room and the vampires and demons stopped fighting with Kelly.
"Great," Anya said. "Now we have a house full of demons…who are not under any control."
"Uh oh," Willow said when she saw a group of vampires turn and snarl at her.
"B-but you said to un-invoke them!" Tara pointed at Buffy. The Slayer now had a mob of vampires attacking her.
"Un-invoke," Buffy yelled as several more vampires charged her. "I said un-invoke them! I never said sick them on me!"
Buffy was being pushed back by a huge mob of vampires. Tara and Willow were trying to avoid the undead mob as well as the variety of demons moving around the room looking for a meal.
"Geeze, Tara!" Buffy staked a vampire and then did a back-flip so she could get some room to fight. "Revoke them."
"What?" Tara looked at Buffy and the squealed when a green demon with red eyes jumped toward her.
"Hands off, mister!" Willow deflected him with a large club. She looked down at the beast and saw that he didn’t actually have hands. He had scaly limbs that resembled tentacles. "Well, not hands off… but well, whatever those are…keep them off of my girlfriend!" She hit the demon with the club and it shrieked and crawled away.
"Wow," Tara said as she watched Willow defending her. "You…y-you hit him." She stared at the tentacled beast. "Hard."
"He was gonna’ hurt you," Willow said as if that explained everything. She grabbed Tara and pulled her down as a vampire leaped past her. "Honey, can you fix this?"
"Yes, fixing this would be good," Buffy yelled. "Revoke them."
"Like… revoke their license to be here?" Tara asked.
"I believe Buffy means re-invoke them," Giles said as he staked a vampire. "And I strongly advise another course of action." She staked another vampire. "Any other course of action. We don’t want more demons showing up."
Kelly was taking more of a beating than Buffy. The model turned demon had no experience brawling with hordes of demonic forces and she looked a little worse for the wear. She had slashes and bruises and her designer clothes were torn to pieces. She turned toward Willow and focused her rage.
"This is all your fault!" Kelly yelled. She tossed two vampires out of her way and ran toward Willow. She lifted her hand and razor sharp claws shot out the ends of her fingers.
Tara saw Kelly swing at Willow and she pulled the redhead out of the way. Kelly’s razor sharp talons sliced through Tara’s forearm sending up a spray of blood. The blonde witch cringed but she didn’t move out of the way. She couldn’t let Kelly hurt Willow. She pushed the redhead ahead of her as she herded her across the room away from the angry model
"Willow, with all these vampires, now would be a good time for that Olaf-calling-ball-of-light-spell," Anya yelled. She ducked and then jumped over the counter into the kitchen. A slime demon followed her and she pulled open a drawer in search of a weapon. "Stay back!" she yelled and then ran a rounded pizza slicer up his oozing, mucus-covered arm. "Well, that did a big fat nothing." She frowned and poked him in the eye with the pizza slicer and then threw it at him.
"I need Tara for that spell," Willow said as she turned toward her lover. "Oh, my god." She grabbed Tara’s arm and tried to slow the pulsing spurts of blood. "Buffy, Tara’s hurt!"
"Little busy here," Buffy said hoarsely. A brakken demon had her by the neck and was pounding her against the wall. She kicked him and then broke his grip and squirmed loose.
"What spell?" Tara asked. She saw several vampires attacking Kelly, but some were fighting with other demons. Apparently the demons were having the equivalent of a barroom brawl.
"It’s a light spell, but you’re hurt." Willow frowned at the wound marring her lover’s arm. Blood was running out from between Willow’s fingers despite the fact that she was squeezing the injury as tightly as she could.
"What will that do?" Tara asked. Her eyes widened when she saw a vampire coming toward her. It disappeared in a cloud of dust and she saw Giles standing behind it with a freshly fired crossbow.
"If it works…and it doesn’t unleash trolls…it will flood the room with sunlight." Willow pulled Tara toward the kitchen so she could get some towels to slow the bleeding.
"And that will help because?" Tara cringed as Willow shifted her grip to control the bleeding.
"Vamps go poof in the sun," Willow said. "Hold on," she said as she grabbed Tara’s uninjured hand and pressed it over the wound. She grabbed a pot from the stove and slammed it over the head of a demon that was trying to choke Anya.
"Makes them go poof all-righty," Anya said. "And it might counteract the sexbot’s spell."
"How?" Willow asked. She yanked open a cupboard and tossed Anya a steel mace.
"So that’s where Giles put this." Anya caught the medieval weapon and began bludgeoning the demon. "It’s suppose to go under the sink with the cookie sheets."
"Here," Willow said as she handed Tara a wooden cross. "Hold this up at any vampires." She wrapped a thick towel around Tara’s arm and looked over at Anya.
Anya was standing over the demon and pummeling its thoroughly crushed skull. The former demon had a determined look as she happily continued pounding despite the fact that bits of demonic brain matter were being flung across the tiny kitchen with each swing.
"It’s dead already," Willow said as she tried not to vomit.
"I know that." Anya smashed its skull one more time. "He pissed me off." She held out her arm revealing a green viscous stain. "This blouse is ruined. I warned the slime demons to stay on the damn tile."
"We should do the spell." Tara inhaled sharply when a vampire tried to come into the kitchen. She held up the cross and cringed. "Willow!"
The redhead turned and saw the vampire hissing at the cross. She opened a cupboard and grabbed a crossbow and shot him. "Good job, honey." She smiled at Tara. "You’re doing great."
"The spell?" Tara asked again. She didn’t want any more creatures coming into the kitchen.
"Well, I have an emergency kit with the herbs and stuff right over there," Willow said as she pointed at a ‘Wallace and Gromit’ cookie jar. "But you aren’t in any shape to cast."
"Hello?" Anya swung the mace, flinging bits of demon as she spoke. "She was well enough to put out the demon call to beat all demon calls."
"Good point," Willow said. She picked a bit of flesh off of her arm and frowned. "Stop flinging demon on me."
"Let’s do it," Tara said.
Buffy had managed to kill a dozen or so demons, but there were still more vampires than she could count. She looked over and saw that Kelly was choking a large demon that was covered with fur. ‘Well, at least they’re keeping her busy,’ the Slayer thought as she staked another vampire. She sighed and ran toward another group of vampires. "Like my night didn’t already suck enough as it is?" she asked under her breath.
Giles and Xander had chased some of the demons back onto the lawn but things were not going well.
"Just what we need," Xander said as he poked at a vampire with a wooden curtain rod. He looked down the street and listened intently. "Sirens. Just great." He looked over at Giles. "You explain to the cops what all these underaged demons are doing here. No more demon keggers for you, Giles."
"Lovely," Giles said under his breath. "Just bloody lovely."
Back inside the kitchen, Willow and Tara finished setting up the sunshine spell.
"Okay, hold my hand and pray for no trolls," Willow said. She held a small bowl of herbs in one hand and nodded toward the living room. "No trolls, I am definitely gonna’ vote no on the trolls."
"Me too!" Anya smiled brightly. "Mark me down for no on trolls. A decisive no on trolls. No dimpled chads here."
"Dimpled chads?" Tara’s confusion was obvious.
"Oh, baby, I wish I never had to explain that one." Willow shivered. "Come on." She pushed through the door and narrowly avoided being trampled by two vampires brawling. She nodded to Anya and the former demon held up a piece of paper.
Tara leaned over and read the incantation with Willow. The redhead had completely remixed the spell’s ingredients, since the first attempt had unleashed an angry troll. They spoke the words in perfect harmony. The spell was short and to the point.
"Spirits of light, I invoke thee. Let the gloom of darkness part before you," the two said in unison. A small orange orb appeared in the brass bowl.
"Let the moonlight be made pale by your presence," Tara read. She held Willow’s hand in hers and focused. She could feel Willow’s power, and it resonated with her own.
"Spirits of light, grant my wishes," Willow said. She smiled as the orb grew in size and flickered. She could feel the surge of power coming from her union with Tara. Her memory loss didn’t matter; their souls knew each other.
Anya screamed and ran across the room. She dove through the air and hit Spike in a full body tackle and drove him out the front door of the house just as a blinding light appeared.
Willow and Tara blinked as they saw the huge ball of light hovering in the middle of the room. Vampires burst into flames and howled as they turned to dust. A few stumbled outside and rolled on the lawn to extinguish the flames.
"Now that’s a ball of sunshine," Willow said proudly.
"And troll-free," Tara added.
"Way to kick vampire ass, Willow," Buffy said as she stared at the ball of light. It flickered out and then disappeared but it had served its purpose.
"The new and improved ball of sunshine," Willow said. "Now with one hundred percent fewer trolls."
The other demons stopped fighting and looked around. They realized they were in over their heads and ran for the door.
"Do you do this every night?" Tara asked.
"Well, not here in Giles’ house," Willow said, clearly horrified by that thought. She bit her lip and cringed. "But…well…yes…pretty much."
"Whoa." Buffy pointed at Kelly. She was unconscious on the floor next to the shattered door. "Not good."
"Oh, no." Tara ran to her exlover and fell onto the floor next to her. "Is she okay?"
On the front lawn, Spike was not amused.
"What the bloody hell was that for?" He tried to climb to his feet but Anya was on top of his back and his face was pressing into the lawn. "Get off," he said as he spit out a mouthful of grass.
"You’re welcome," Anya said. She pointed into the house.
"Did Red do that?" Spike asked. He watched as several flaming vampires came running out of the building. "Impressive."
"I’m not going to be impressed until I make sure there are no trolls." Anya climbed to her feet and waved at Xander. "Hi, honey. Way to stab that vampire." She cringed. "Sorry," she said when her boyfriend was hit in the side of the head. "My bad. I’ll stop distracting you now."
Two patrol cars slid to a stop in front of the house. Most of the demons had already scurried away and the sight of the police sent the rest into the shadows. Officer Williams climbed out of his car and he was not happy. He looked at the shattered window and then glared at Giles and Xander. Both were covered in bruises and had their shirts mostly torn off.
"Let me guess," Williams said. "More colleges pranks?"
"Oh, dear." Giles straightened his glasses, which was only for effect. The glass was cracked on one side and missing on the other.
The officer opened his ticket book and flicked his ballpoint pen into position. He was going to enjoy writing up this particular ‘disturbing the peace’ report.
"Get away from me!" Kelly screamed from inside the house. She came stumbling out the front door and burst into tears when she saw the police officers. "Thank god!" She ran to them and threw her arms around Officer Williams.
"Uh, ma’am?" He squirmed and looked over at his partner. The younger officer moved closer and pried Kelly off of Williams.
"This place is crawling with monsters!" Kelly said. Her eyes were wild and feral and she was pointing in every direction. "Monsters. Everywhere!"
"She’s quite mad," Giles said. "She attacked my party guests." He pointed at the front door. "Look what she did to my antique knocker."
"No! There were monsters everywhere," Kelly insisted. "Demons and vampires. Lot of vampires."
"Yes, of course there were," Williams said. He looked over at his partner. "5150," he said with a smirk. It was the radio code for an insane person.
"I saw them," Kelly said. She yanked away and held out her hands. "I was one. I was a demon. I had claws." She showed the officers her fingernails, which were perfectly manicured.
"I see them," Williams said.
"I don’t have them now," Kelly yelled.
"Drugs," Spike whispered to the officers. "Those Hollywood types are always doing drugs."
"And she tried to kill us all," Xander said. "She, ah… threw a chair through the front window. See?" He pointed at the broken window.
"I saw monsters," Kelly insisted. She grabbed Williams and tried to pull him toward the house.
"Easy there." Williams pulled away and held her firm in his grip as his partner moved closer.
"What’s next? I see dead people," Anya said sarcastically as she circled her finger near her temple. She smirked when the officers nodded in agreement.
Behind the officers, out of their view, Spike morphed into his vampire form and bared his teeth. Kelly let out a blood-curdling scream and pointed.
The officers turned toward Spike but he had returned to his human appearance. "Drugs," Spike said solemnly. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
"That’s a college slogan," Xander pointed out.
"So sue me," Spike said. He smiled at Kelly but she was shaking and trying to break free from the officers.
"Perhaps you could see to it that Miss Larson gets the help she so desperately needs?" Giles suggested.
"We will," Williams said. "I should’ve known she wasn’t right when she thought that prank earlier was real."
Giles nodded grimly and sighed. "Tragic, just tragic."
"You folks go on inside," Williams said. "We’ll send someone by to get a report later." He was trying to subdue Kelly but she was stronger than she looked.
"Let me go." Kelly kicked the younger officer in the shin. "You have to get Tara away from the demons." She pointed at Giles. "He’s a demon hunter."
Giles raised both eyebrows.
"Right, we’ll get right on that," Williams promised as he handcuffed Kelly.
"We should check on Tara," Giles said as soon as the officers began loading Kelly into the patrol car. The model was kicking and screaming and managed to bite Williams twice.
"Oh, she got sliced up pretty bad," Anya commented. "She was bleeding everywhere."
"Really?" Spike’s eyes widened. "You didn’t let it go to waste did you?" He ran toward the house.
"Ew," Xander said as he pulled Anya closer.
"I’m not cleaning up the mess in there." Anya sighed and squeezed Xander closer. "And Giles owes me a new blouse."
"How you feeling?" Buffy asked. She leaned down and looked into Tara’s eyes. "You doing okay after your first big demon battle?"
"It’s not actually your first," Willow said. "You’ve been in many demon fights. It’s just the first one you remember." She frowned as she realized her lover’s memory hadn’t returned. "It is the first one you remember, right? You getting any memories back?"
Tara shook her head sadly.
"How is she?" Giles asked.
"Fine," Buffy said. "Well, a few more holes than she began with, and she doesn’t have her memory back…so I guess I should say she is not fine." The Slayer frowned and bit her lip. "Well, at least she isn’t with that skank Kelly."
"What about her?" Willow asked. "She ran out of here but we were worried about Tara."
"Miss Larson is being dealt with." Giles cleared his throat. "What about her demonic powers?"
"Gone," Anya said. "The Rakshasa demons generally just give you a swift kick in the pants kinda’ punishment. That spell woulda’ lasted ‘til daylight…but with Willow’s sunshine spell, it’s over now."
"And my memory?" Tara asked. She looked up at the people around her. They had fought to protect her without any concern for their own safety, and yet, they were still strangers.
"I don’t know," Giles said. He looked over at Anya. "Any thoughts?"
"Could come back tomorrow…" Anya sighed and shook her head. "Might not ever come back."
"But… what about us?" Willow asked. "What… we…. She…I….?"
"We shall have to wait and see," Giles said grimly.
"Even if she never remembers, she’ll just fall in love with you all over again," Buffy promised.
Tara smiled but there was fear in her eyes. She knew that Willow was the kind of woman she could easily love, but she was terrified that whatever magic had made them fall in love the first time might not happen a second time. She knew enough about the world to know that lightning didn’t strike twice in the same place, and Willow Rosenberg’s love was more powerful than any bolt of lightning…that much Tara did know.
Willow smiled at her lover and rubbed her back. She leaned down and kissed Tara’s ear. "We’ll get through this together, love," she whispered, but there were tears in her eyes. "We have to."
Tara sighed and rested her forehead on Willow’s shoulder and decided to trust the redhead since she couldn’t even trust her own memories.