Author's Note: And here we go with yet another installment of the series of fics that kinda happened by accident. I'm not all too happy about the title (and not only because of the incredibly lame pun), so if anyone has any better ideas, don't hesitate to let me know! Also, feedback of any other kind is highly appreciated.
Disclaimer: The characters used from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer are not mine, but came from the genius mind of Joss Whedon. Any other original characters appearing came from my, less ingenius, brain.
And so, with no further ado...
With the Strenght of Faith
"I still think that this is stealing", Anya mumbled to no one in particular as she watched how Willow took several thin glass vials, looking at them critically before she nodded to herself and carefully placed them on the table, next to the other ingredients she had already lined up there.
"Anya", she then sighed out, turning to give the ex-demon an exasperated look, "we've been through this before, remember? Like, two years ago or so, during that business with the huge stinky troll guy? It's not stealing, it's using stuff without paying for it."
"Sounds like stealing to me", came Pat's voice from her place next to the open door, where she stood smoking a cigarette; frowning, Willow turned to look at her, the demon shrugging at the accusing look the witch was giving her. "What? It does."
"No it doesn't", the redhead protested, not seeing the triumphant smirk on Anya's face since she stood with her back to the ex-demon again so she could look at her girlfriend, "and even if it did, you're supposed to take my side!"
"There are sides now?" Pat wanted to know in reply, confused; Willow just rolled her eyes, then focused on her ingredients again, studying them as she tried to figure out if she had forgotten anything.
"Alright", she finally stated, looking up at her girlfriend again, "I think I have everything I need… Once you're done with that cigarette, we can get started."
"You think you have everything you need?" Pat gave back in reply, throwing the witch a worried look, also sounding concerned when she continued. "Can you make sure while I finish my smoke, please? Not that I don't trust you, but, well, it would kinda suck if you'd make my eyesight worse instead of better."
Figuring that this was making sense, Willow nodded, then went through her ingredients once more; while she did so, she remembered the other spells she had tried to restore her lover's ruined eye, holding back the urge to sigh as she thought of how none of them had had the desired effect, even though she had been so sure that she had done everything right each time she had tried.
Finally, after several useless attempts, she had been forced to admit defeat, to her great dismay; it had bothered her even more than Pat herself, the demon by now as used as one could get to her reduced sight, but since Willow was keen on making life at least a bit easier for her, she had agreed to let her try one more spell, one which would hopefully remove the short-sightedness of her good eye.
"Everything's here", she reassured once she had gotten done with her second check of the ingredients, "I just hope this will work better than the other spells we tried."
"You hope it will work at all, then", Anya helpfully corrected her, honestly surprised when Willow glared at her; her surprise didn't last long though, since she quickly moved her attention to the stuff the witch had lined up on the table and finished the list of it she had made on a little notepad, then started adding up what it all would cost, telling herself that she'd demand to be paid as soon as the spell was done.
Finishing her cigarette, Pat let the door fall close, then made her way to the table and sat down there; taking in a deep breath, Willow did the same, throwing Anya a brief glance and telling her in a strict voice that she should be quiet before she pulled the bowl she had readied for the ingredients closer to herself, taking a moment to sort her thoughts before she started throwing the powders and herbs into it, chanting softly to herself as she did so.
For once, Anya did as she had been told and kept her mouth shut, merely watching the witch and how she added ingredient after ingredient to the bowl; at last, they all had been mixed together, the redhead grasping her girlfriend's hands afterwards, her voice growing slightly louder as she continued the chant. Now feeling slightly nervous about this, Pat gave her best to keep still as she waited for Willow to finish the spell; half a minute later, the redhead did just that, her grip on the demon's hands tightening for a second before her eyes flew open and the stuff in the bowl was vaporized, turning into a cloud of smoke which quickly formed a long, thin column, the black haired woman's good eye going wide as well when the smoke shot right into it, briefly covering it and giving it a milky look before it vanished into nothingness.
Slowly, Willow opened her eyes and looked at her loved one, her expression a mixture of concern and curiousness, the same emotions showing through her voice when she asked if it had worked.
"Well", Pat gave back after a moment, still trying to figure out if that had hurt or if it just had felt odd, "I can't tell yet, let me take out that contact lens…"
With a shudder, Anya turned away at her from hearing this, studying the shelves behind the cashier's desk with great interest; briefly, Pat smirked at her back, once more amused by how squeamish she always got when the demon removed the contact lens in her presence, something which was rather odd, considering the things the ex-demon had done when she still had been big in the vengeance field.
"Tell me when you're done", Anya now claimed, still having her back turned to the witch and the demon, "so I can look at you again!"
"Uh-huh", Pat made an agreeing noise, then removed the contact lens at last, carefully placing it on the table in case she'd still need it; she blinked a few times, Willow watching her curiously as she waited for her to say something, the smile which formed on the demon's face shortly afterwards being all the answer the redhead had needed.
"It worked", the black haired woman still clarified, beaming at her girlfriend and making her beam back, "just perfect. Thanks!"
"My pleasure", Willow reassured her, glad that it worked; the two smiled at each other for a moment longer, then the redhead flinched as all at once, Anya waved her notebook in her face and demanded to be paid for the supplies she had used, Willow just letting out a sigh while, with a resigned look on her face, Pat dug out her wallet.
Anya smiled brightly at her as she received her money, thanking the demon and making her roll her good eye in reply; her dismay about the ex-demon's behaviour was forgotten though the moment she looked at Willow again and saw how happy it had made the witch that the spell had worked out, the redhead still beaming at her and automatically making her smile back before she leaned in to steal a short, but tender kiss from her, pulling back just when the door behind her opened and Buffy entered the store, having arrived for the training session they had settled for the afternoon.
As always when she had the time to, Willow watched her girlfriend and her best friend train together; since the shop had been closed for the afternoon, to keep unsuspecting civilians from walking in and hearing the unmistakable noises of battle, Anya had joined the witch on one of the training mats close to the wall, where there were in no danger of getting hit accidentally, along with Dawn, the teenager watching the two fight with as much as interest as Willow and the ex-demon.
"How do they manage to not seriously hurt each other?" Dawn asked after watching in silence for a while, wincing when she watched how Buffy kicked Pat's legs out from underneath her, making her fall to the ground with a low grunt, the demon quickly coming to her feet again though with a quick flipping move, just in time to block the next punch the Slayer was aiming at her.
"Well, Buffy has Slayer healing", Willow pointed out in reply, "and Pat can heal a lot in her demon form, so they're not really endangering each other. That's why Giles asked Pat to train with Buffy, you know."
"I know", Dawn confirmed, then grimaced, making the witch give her a questioning look, the teenager providing her with the answer moments later as she continued speaking. "But it seems Buffy got used to having a more… robust training partner. She's started to train me, you know, and sometimes, she goes a bit too rough on me."
"Poor you", Willow showed sympathy in reply, giving the teen a short smirk; smiling back, Dawn shrugged, then shifted on the ground slightly to make herself more comfortable, grimacing again when the demon landed a painful looking kick, only to be repaid a moment later by a punch straight in the face.
"Careful", Willow called out, despite knowing about her girlfriend's healing abilities, "don't bruise her good eye, it's a new and improved version!"
"What?" Buffy gave back, allowing herself to be distracted for a moment; to her endless dismay, Pat didn't hesitate to take the chance given, immediately grasping her and throwing her over her shoulder, making her hit the floor with a low thump, a groan escaping her as her back connected hard with the ground, the training mat not helping to take much of the impact away.
"Not fair", she complained while she grabbed the demon's foot as she tried to land a kick, giving a hard jerk and sending Pat to the ground next to her, "I was distracted!"
"Not smart to let that happen", the demon pointed out in reply, sitting up and readjusting her eye patch, Buffy giving her an annoyed look while she came to her feet again and straightened her clothes, making it clear that for today, training was over.
"Now you sounded just like Giles", she then stated, causing the taller woman to raise an eyebrow; she shook her head to herself, but before she could come up with a snarky reply, Buffy had turned to look at Willow, now sounding curious again. "New and improved eye? What did you do?"
"A spell", the witch proudly gave back, coming to her feet and moving over to the two, "to improve her eyesight. I tried several to restore the eye, but those didn't work."
She let out a sigh after the last few words, giving her loved one an apologetic glance; clearly not troubled by this, the demon shrugged it off, straightening her clothes as well afterwards, then letting the rest know that she'd go and have a cigarette, smiling when Willow immediately said that she'd come along. Together, they left the store, stopping on the sidewalk in front of it; smiling slightly to herself, the redhead watched how her girlfriend lit up a cigarette, then leaned against the wall, shaking her head when the witch asked her if she had been hurt during the training.
"Buffy's stopped holding back", she then stated, "at least mostly… I think. Bit freaky how strong she is, actually, even though I've known her for quite some time now, but, anyway, getting back to the point, no, she didn't, she always makes sure she doesn't. Well, most of the time, there was this one time she gave me a bloody nose…"
"And that was because she wasn't expecting you to duck", Willow recalled, remembering her shock when she had seen how her girlfriend had done just that, had taken the fist of the Slayer full in her face and had ended up flat on her back, dazed, blood pouring from her nose, the sight having frightened the redhead despite her knowledge about the healing powers of her loved one.
"Yup", Pat now confirmed, tearing her out of her memories, "and trust me, that hurt one hell of a lot."
"It looked painful, too", Willow helpfully let her know, making the taller woman smile at her before she took another drag of her cigarette before she asked the redhead if she felt like going to the Bronze for a drink or two later in the evening, Willow nodding her agreement immediately – it had been a while since they last had been there, and she didn't feel like spending the evening at home.
"We could ask the rest if they wanna come along, too", she added, "unless you want this to be an exclusive Willow-Pat-date."
"I'm fine with the others coming along", the demon shrugged in reply, making the redhead smile in response; the taller woman smirked back at her, then finished her cigarette before the two made their way back into the shop to ask the others if they wanted to come along later in the evening.