FEAR OF GOD by Phantom Dennis

All characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. The story belongs to me.

Spoilers: "Fear Itself"

Summary: What if the characters turned into their costumes in "Fear Itself"

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." Psalms 111:10

Whoa! That was weird. For a split second there I felt at one with the universe, like I was its creator. like I was God. I stare down at my nametag. God. It's sort of gag really. I had planned to pick my costume to match Willow's. I was a bit shocked when Willow picked Joan of Arc of all people. Willow explained her reasons. But that left me with a dilemma. I mean who was I supposed to go as. In the end, Joan stood alone. Nobody by her side. Even the French she fought for betrayed her. (Surprise. Surprise. But then I never liked the French.) So I asked Willow who was the most important man in Joan's life. God. Yeah, that makes sense. So, how does one dress as God? The old man with the beard? Nah. Too traditional. Besides my generation thinks Michelangelo was a Ninja Turtle. They'd think I was Father Time.
Or Colonel Sanders. I thought about George Burns God but that's a bit passe. Besides Xander's a big fan of classic comedy. He'd be peppering Willow with Gracie jokes all night. Then I realized that we are all made in God's image. It would make the most sense to go as myself.

My first instinct is to attempt to handle trouble myself. It's deeply ingrained in me. My family always encouraged me to be self-sufficient. Mom always belittled if I asked for help or showed emotion. I remember my mother berating for crying my eyes out after I saw that Special where Snoopy falls for the circus poodle. (Hey! Dog romance always gets to me.) "Real men don't cry." She say." That's why I almost lost my hand early my first senior year, before I saw her face. Apparently I didn't treat a cut so good. It got infected. Fortunately, Cordy convinced Devon something was wrong. They got me medical attention. The antibiotics worked. When Jordy bit, I made sure I was treated. If I had only known.

I know I need to talk to Buffy about this. She generally has a good sense for the supernatural. This is a definitely "get Buffy" moment. It's also a "find Willow" moment, but what if Willow's in trouble? Am I willing to endanger Willow because I don't like asking for help? So, the plan is "get Buffy" then "find Willow."

I run down to last I saw Buffy. She's still there. She looks totally bewildered. "Buffy, I think we need to find Willow. Where's Xander?"

Buffy blinks her eyes. "Excuse me, I appear to be lost. Would you happen to know the way to Grandma's house."

"Grandma's House, Buffy?" I don't like where this is going.

"Who's Buffy? I'm Little Red Riding Hood. I seem to have lost my way. I know my mom says don't talk to strangers, but I can take care of myself. Do you know way to the Grandma's house?"

OK. Little Red Riding Hood just asked the Wolf for Directions. I figure I have to say something. "Over the River and through the woods."

Buffy Hood rolls her eyes. "Everyone knows that. I seem to have lost the woods. Can you tell where I am?"

"Lost." I think I should find Willow. Buffy's not going to be much help. Then again, if Willow's undergone a similar transformation, she may be able to protect herself better than Buffy can currently. I'll have to convince her to come with me. "I think I know the way." I really hate lying to her but it's not like I'm going to eat her grandmother.

"Excuse moi, do you have reservations." Xander. He's sporting a thin mustache. Somehow I don't think he's James Bond. He consults his little book. "Party of two? What name?" He looks at what I'm wearing. Perhaps I can interest you in a Jacket and Tie."

"Maybe you can tell me how to get Grandma's house?" asks Buffy Hood.

:"What is your Grandmother's name, young lady?" asks Xander the waiter very Patronizingly.

"Grandma."

"I mean her last name."

"She doesn't have a last name. She's Grandma."

Buffy's kind of cute as a kid. She kinda reminds me of Dawn. Wait a minute. Who's Dawn? We're getting no where. "I think we need to arm ourselves." I grab Buffy's basket. She told us she was carrying weapons. Why do I suddenly feel like Yogi Bear?

"Hey put that down! That's mine! It's for Grandma!" No weapons. Sandwiches. A cake. Even a thermos of something. Everything looks very tasty and tempting until you consider it could turn up in the stomach as a wooden stake or worse a silver knife.

"Outside food is not allowed on the premises, monsieur." Says Xander the waiter.

"It's mine. Give it back." Says Buffy Hood.

"Here. Sorry." Buffy grabs the basket back and checks its contents. This is not working out. They both think they're other people. I know who I am. The last time something like this happened I wasn't part of the group yet. Buffy & Xander became other people. Willow became a ghost. She told me she actually felt like she was dying. And Cordy wasn't affected because she didn't get a costume from Ethan's. But I don't think it's cursed costumes this time. I could have sworn whatever it was did affect me. Could it have given me godly powers?

"Let there be light."

Buffy Hood and Xander the Waiter both look at me like I'm crazy. Nothing Happened. I should have known it's too much to expect Omnipotence from a nametag. Perhaps some manageable God-like power, then it hits me. Nah, it couldn't be.

"Xander,"

"Pardon, I am Monsieur LaVelle."

"Oh Pardon Me. Monsieur LaVelle, STAND ON YOUR HEAD."

Buffy Hood is very surprised when he complies. So is Monsieur LaVelle. PREACHER. It's a comic. An ex-preacher is endowed with "the Will of God". An ability that gives him power over others. Kind of funny since Yahweh is supposed to be omnipotent but leaves us with free Will. Useful ability if you don't abuse it.

"GET ON YOUR FEET. FOLLOW ME. BOTH OF YOU." They both comply. I need to find Willow.

"Release Me!" cries the voice.

I concentrate on Willow's Scent. With Buffy and Xander behind me, we come to furious battle. Willow is battling monsters. A plastic skeleton lies on the floor in pieces. Willow seems to be more than holding her own. Unfortunately, I recognize some of the monsters, as partygoers who were wearing monster costumes. If this isn't stopped, innocent people could get killed.

"STOP FIGHTING." Everyone stops fighting. A startled Willow turns to face us. Then seeing me, she drops to her knees. Then she starts speaking to me in French.

"That wild woman is butchering zee French language," says Monsieur LaVelle.

"Nah, that's Medieval French. SPEAK ENGLISH"

Now I can understand what Willow's saying. "My Lord, I am unworthy of your presence. But how is it that you deter me from my duty as your Chosen Slayer."

Joan of Arc was a vampire slayer? She was around the right age. In a way, it kind of explains a lot. Like how a young shepherdess suddenly became a mighty warrior. If she really thinks I'm God, I won't need to use the will on her. "They are ensorcelled, Jean." Remember to use her French name. "They are innocent humans."

"Vile sorcery! Why do you permit such things, Lord."

I hate deep theological questions. "Uh, Free will."

"Why do you desire I speak in the tongue of the Bretons. Even my Watcher speaks French. Although this dialect is less barbaric." That's because of the French influence on the language after the Norman Conquests.

"Willow, er Jean, We need to find a way out of here."

"Sacre Bleu, we've been overbooked. All of these people are showing up without reservations. The chef just quit."

"Oh my God, Gramma's dead. I didn't get the food to her in time and she's dead. She was sick, I should have paid attention."

Somehow the fears of the Personas are being attacked. I would have thought Little Red Riding Hood would have been more afraid of the Wolf than Grandma dying of natural causes. Then again, Buffy subconscious level, she's still the slayer and disease is something she can't fight. I keep getting this image of Buffy coming to home to find her mother dead of natural causes. Last I heard, Mrs. Summers is in good health.

All of a sudden, I feel like the wolf is trying to emerge. This can't be happening. This is my worst nightmare. All of sudden, an idea comes to me. I shout "STAY." And the wolf submerges.

"My Lord!"

"What is it, Willow? I mean Jean."

"They don't believe me. They say I'm possessed. That I'm a witch. They deny you guide me. My own watcher has produced evidence against me." Makes sense. The Council being British wouldn't have appreciated Jean's decision to lead the French Army.

I attempt to reassure her. "Wil ... Jean. I am always with you. You could never displease me. I will never forsake you."

"My Lord, Where are you? Why have you forsaken me? Lord, don't abandon me."

"Willow, I'm right here."

"Lord, where are you. Why have you abandoned me in my hour of distress? Don't leave me, Lord. Don't leave me!" Willow runs off. She can't see me.

All of a sudden I hear a voice in my head, "No one believes in you anymore. No one loves you. Everyone wants you to go away and leave them be. They don't need you anymore. You're nothing but a crutch. An outmoded superstition."

And I saw all the people in the world blissfully ignoring me, mocking my name. The love of many had grown cold. Who says God can't be scared. Doomed to be all-powerful and very lonely for all eternity.

"No. No. No. I don't want to be all alone." And I'm crying. After years and years of building emotional walls around myself I'm crying like I never have before. Feeling empty, Abandoned, unneeded, and unloved.

"Mister." What? "Hey, Mister. Where are we?" It's Buffy Hood. We're in the room where this all started. It's the room where this all started. I should have paid more attention to the books they were using.

"Sacre Bleu! I need to get back to the restaurant."

"Don't leave me, Lord. It's you I serve."

I run to Willow's voice. "It's alright, er Jean. I'm here."

'Oh Thank you, Lord." She looks around. "We seem to be in the lair of some accursed witch."

"Don't be ridiculous," chimes in Buffy. "Everyone knows witches live in Gingerbread houses."

"Someone needs to tell ze little girls zere are no such things as witches," says Monsieur LaVelle.

I find the book. It's in a foreign language. Ancient Languages have never been my thing, except for a passing interest in Old English folk ballads, but technically that's still English. "Er, Jean come here. Can you read this."

"Lord, I am but a humble shepherdess and am quite illiterate. I left these things to my watcher."

"YOU CAN READ THIS. THE POWER IS IN YOU."

"How is this possible, Lord?"

"Umm, the gift of discernment of Tongues."

"The icon is the Mark of Gachnar. It's a summoning spell for a demon named Gachnar. The demon feeds on fear and is trying to manifest itself." OK, that explains some thing but not the costume change.

"Our fears are manifesting it. We need to find away out of here."

"Our fears, Lord?"

"Uh, you are all a part of me."

"Vite, let us leave," cries Monsieur LaVelle heading for the door. He screams at a familiar noise. I try to remember if anyone dressed as Leatherface. Suddenly, a man bursts through the door wielding a chainsaw. It's Giles! Suddenly a giant bunny Rabbit leaps on top of Monsieur LaVelle. I swear I am not making this up.

"Get off, bunny. Get off!" says Xander in his French accent.

"We're saved. It's a woodsman," says Buffy Hood. Didn't the woodsman kill the wolf in that story?

"The walls closed up behind us," observed Giles.

"You sound British? Are you a Watcher? What manner of contraption is that in your hand?" asked Willow of Arc.

"Yes, Willow you know I am, and it's a chainsaw."

I move to explain, "They've become their costumes."

Giles is flustered, "But that doesn't make that doesn't make sense. It doesn't go with the other aspects of the spell." I shrug in response.

"But it does explain Anya's rather startling transformation," Giles continued. "You seem unaffected. Did you go as a ghost, by any chance."

"No. Solid." I show the nametag on the lapel.

Giles is again flustered. "I don't supposed you have God-like powers like lightening bolts, or"

"No, but watch this." I point at Anya. "BUNNY, STAND STILL!" Suddenly, the Giant rabbit backs away from molesting Monsieur LaVelle and stands straight.

"Sacre Bleu. I'll never get the rabbit hair out of this Tux," exclaimed Xander.

"Impressive," exclaimed Giles

"It's called 'The Will of God' from PREACHER, a comic book."

"I see. It's rather strange. The Judeo-Christian concept of God is of a Supreme Omnipotent Being who however endows each individual with Free Will. However your supposed god-like gift takes away free will."

I shrug. "It's a paradox."

Suddenly the voice boomed out again, "Release me!"

Realizing we didn't have time to dawdle Giles went over to the book, "Gachnar, of course. Its presence infects the reality of the house, but it's not managed to achieve full manifestation. We can not allow this to come into being."

"If it does, I shall slay it," uttered Willow.

Giles is puzzled at Willow's behavior. I decide to help him out. "Meet Jean D'Arc the Vampire Slayer," I say.

"Joan of Arc was a Vampire Slayer? That explains so much."

"You didn't know?"

"No. It is not any of the records I have."

"Maybe the Council didn't want it known that someone they trained helped the French beat the British."

"Perhaps. It would be embarrassing."

"Can Willow fight this?"

Giles shows me the picture in the book: "Oz, this is Gachnar." It's a nasty looking dude.

"I don't want Willow fighting that. Any way to break the spell?"

Giles flips pages: "I have it, I have it. Uhm, 'The summoning spell for Gachnar can be shut down in one of two ways. Destroying the mark of Gachnar . . ."

Suddenly I hear Monsieur LaVelle's voice, "Leetel girl, put that down!" We turn to see Buffy Hood operating the chainsaw. Somehow she got it working. It rips into the wooden floor tearing away chunks of it.

"Magic Ax destroyed Nasty Magic Mark," chants a triumphant Buffy Hood.

I race over and take the chainsaw from her. I'm ready to chide Giles for not being more careful with chainsaws around children, when he continues his reading, "Is *not* one of them and will in fact immediately bring forth the fear demon itself."

I notice that the mark is glowing. The floor rumbles. I ready the chainsaw and steel myself to be ready for anything. I watch as Gachnar manifests. OK, that I wasn't ready for."

Like I said, Gachnar is definitely one ugly dude, but he's also only about 6 inches tall.

"I am the dark lord of nightmares!" Gachnar cries in a squeaky voice. "The bringer of terror! Tremble before me. Fear me!"

"He's tiny," says Buffy Hood.

"He's shorter than a asparagus stalk," says Xander the Waiter. "Why I've seen cockroaches bigger. Not in my restaurant mind you," Xander quickly adds.

"Tremble!" Gachnar cries, as if any one is taking him seriously any more. Gotta admire his persistence, even if you don't.

The demon taunts Willow "They'll all abandon you, you know."

"None shall deter me from my chosen path!" cries Willow as she swings into battle. Ouch. First she removes the head then the left arm, then the right, then the legs.

"It's dead, right?" I ask Giles.

"Oh yes. I'd say so."

"So why aren't they changing back." It's pretty obvious they haven't especially in Anya's case.

"Because as I said before costume transformation has nothing to do with Gachnar. There has to be another spell at work." He casts about the room looking for clues. Finally coming to a statue covered with cobwebs. "Aha, Janus. Somehow the reality altering portion of the Mark of Gachnar must have activated latent curses in the statue causing the two spells to mix."

"So smash it, right?"

"Yes. Oz, may I have the chainsaw?"

I hand it to him. He rips into the statue with glee. All around me I see the transformations taking place.

"What happened?" asks Willow.

"You went Medieval on the Demon, Will literally," says Buffy. "While, I as usual chose the lame costume and became the wimp."

"At least you weren't speaking with ze accent," said Xander now fully himself.

"Oh my Dark Demonlord!" cried Anya. "I was a rabbit. An actually furry bunny. The violation to be trapped in the mind of that creature. You have no idea."

Actually, I have some idea, although I would like the luxury of merely waking up and not knowing if I raided McGregor's vegetable garden together.

"I need to get out of this suit right now," continues Anya. "Coming, Xander? We could take off all our clothes together and be naked again."

All eyes turn toward Xander. "Uh, well maybe later." Anya hops off in a huff wagging her cottontail behind her. Xander clearly would like to change the subject, "Any idea on what caused the transformation, G-Man? 'Cause I know I didn't rent the costume from Ethan."

"Mine's an old Halloween costume dating back to my carefree L. A. youth," chimes in Buffy.

"Mine was just a nametag," I add.

"As I was explaining to Oz earlier when Gachnar was summoned, the reality altering properties of the spell probably triggered a latent reaction in the Janus Statue, which I suspect was cursed by Ethan and left behind as a way of causing mischief while he was miles away. Although why the statue is here,"

"Mardi Gras," I say.

"What?" said Giles.

"It was a decoration in last year's Mardi Gras party here at the frat-house. Dingoes provided live entertainment."

"I was unaware that Mardi Gras was celebrated this far West,' says Giles.

"It's a frat house. They're not going to pass up a golden opportunity for debauchery based on mere geography."

"Debauchery? There was debauchery?" asked Willow waving her sword around.

"There was. I wasn't a part of it," I assure Willow.

"Uh huh. Well from now on. No debauchery without me."

"Got that. Early class tomorrow?" I ask.

"Yeah. Besides I'm still feeling a little saintly now."

"For the record, I did not understand that conversation at all," says Xander.

"Anyway this statue was center of a ceremony for the Krewe of Janus. The guy claimed he got to from an Englishman. He also said there was some ritual chant, but he lost it."

"That was most fortunate," said Giles. "What did he recite instead?"

"A lewd limerick."

"So anyone up for 'Fantasia'" asks Xander.

As we filed out of the haunted house, I thought about the fears I had felt as the Supreme Being. How even God fears being alone, abandoned, and unloved. And I wondered where I'd be if Willow stopped believing in me.

EPILOGUE

A.
"Ever wonder about the nature of God?" I ask.

"I'm not exactly your deep theological thinker,' said Xander. "I know you couldn't spend the night with Willow, but why invite me here? To discuss religion? Because I've never given the matter much thought in recent years. Except for the fact that God doesn't seem to answer my prayers."

"It has to do with what happened tonight."

"You mean with the whole 'will of God' thing. That was so cool, by the way. I don't know what I'd do if I had power like that. Actually I do, and it's pretty scary. Look can I ask you something?"

"Fire away."

"You're pretty experienced with women. I mean before Willow."

"Somewhat."

"I slept with Anya."

"Sort of figured that out."

"Well, anyway, she just shows up in my basement and takes off all her clothes, saying she needs to sleep with me to be over me. I tried to resist, but it's not really the guy's job to say no."

"You're worried you're becoming a slut?"

"Well maybe, easy. You see I'm not really sure I can control myself. I've been with two women so far and they both were the aggressors. And then there was this thing with Willow which was just lips."

"Just lips?"

"OK, maybe not just lips, but you know what I mean. That stuff at the factory. That's about as far as it went. But I mean I don't want to hurt someone else like I did..."

"Cordy?"

"Yeah. You saw her when you dropped off the ring with Deadboy, right? How is she doing?"

"She seemed fine."

"You don't think there's anything going on with her and Deadboy? Do you? I mean I remember when she was chasing him all the time."

"Nah, I can't see them together."

"Well, people couldn't see us together, either."

"I could. I mean I didn't always believe my eyes but I could definitely see you two together. I thought you were good for her."

"Until I blew it. So what's she doing the days?"

"According to her, she's an aspiring actress who helps out at Angel Investigations between gigs. Although I get the feeling there's a lot of between time."

"But she's doing all right?"

"Yeah, I spent the night with her, and"

"What?"

"No not that way, we were at this bar. We got a pretty good deal on Chicken Wings, because of the rate the other guy was drinking."

"Other guy?"

"Yeah, Irish fella. Name of Doyle. Got really hammered. Kept mixing up "Angela Ashes" with the FLINTSTONES. Swore the Rubbles were the main characters. Kept calling me Bam Bam."

"So who's this Doyle guy?"

"He works with Angel and Cordy. I heard her say he gets visions sometimes. Can't tell for sure, but he may not be totally human."

"What do you mean not totally human?"

"Something in the way he smelled. Hard to tell with all that booze though.

"Great. Cordy's hanging with a Vampire who turns all evil when he's happy and some drunken not human guy."

"You're concerned about her. Aren't you?"

"Yeah. You know just a couple of years ago I would have thought it was just desserts for Cordy to be penniless and stuck in that situation, but after what I did to her, it just seems wrong."

"Karma's a funny thing. Of course in the Judeo-Christian tradition, there is no such thing as Karma."

"Wait a minute, what about that 'What you sow, you shall reap business I learned at VBS."

"You went to Vacation Bible School?"

"Yeah. It's not as bad as real school. And with my home life, well, I'd rather be memorizing bible verses then hanging at home. One summer I even dragged Willow along with me. I was still a little naïve about the Christian/Jew thing. I mean the Bible is about the Jews, and Jesus is the King of the Jews. So why wouldn't a Jew want to go to VBS?"

"Her parents found out?"

"Oh yeah. It's a good thing she never got 'saved'. Or they'd never let me see her ever again."

"Anyway to answer your question. The bible is very big on sewing and reaping and actions having consequences. But it repeatedly rejects the notion that everything is Karma. For example in Job, his 3 friends continually tell him all the bad things he's done must be because Job did something wrong. Job constantly denies this and in the end God backs him up."

"Oh so it's a 'These things are sent to try us,' thing."

"I was thinking more of a 'It rains on the just and unjust alike. Time and Chance happen to all," thing."

"Well, you seem to know a lot about Theology."

"My dad used to be a minister. Not since I can remember, but the books are still in the Attic. Dad's an agnostic now. My brother, Isaac..."

"You have a brother?"

"Yeah. Older by 5 years. His name's really Isaiah, but I've been calling him Isaac since I was young, because I knew that story. Anyway he's a minister now. He's always telling me how much better things were when my parents had faith. I also have a younger sister named Ingersoll."

"Ingersoll?"

"Named after a 19th Century Agnostic Writer. She prefers Inger."

'You don't like to talk about yourself much."

"Yeah. It's kind of awkward. My home life is so strange. Emotional displays are pretty much discouraged. Tensions lie beneath the surface. Children are seen and not heard. The silence is deafening."

"You what's pathetic is that still sounds better than my homelife."

'What's sad is that I know once there was so much love between my parents. I could tell from old letters. From what Isaac has told me. But mostly because of the Candy."

"The cursed Band Candy?"

"Yeah. They were very different people. More relaxed. So in love. And surprisingly not that immature. Wanna know a secret? I stockpiled as much of that Candy as I could. Unfortunately, the effects didn't last."

"Not me. My parents don't do well under the influence. So what do you think I should do about Anya?"

"Sounds to me you still have unresolved issues with Cordy. Maybe you need to resolve them."

"I've tried before. It never worked."

"In Sunnydale High. The pain of betrayal was mixed with the social embarrassment she felt by being betrayed. Now that Cordy has other things to think about, you two might have the chance to put things behind you and move on."

"What if I see her and I don't want to go back?"

"Are your feelings for her that deep?"

"I don't know," said Xander slowly. "Maybe I'm fickle. She always said I only appreciated what I couldn't have. Maybe I only think about Cordy because she's out of my life, now."

"I think direct confrontation is your best bet. Can you get some time off to go to L. A. for a couple of days?"

"Oh, I've got nothing but time off. Seems I'm perpetually between jobs. Maybe it's time to head for greener pastures. Maybe I can use my newfound head waiter skills to wangle a job at some fancy restaurant. I hear that a single tip at one of those places is more than one of my measly paychecks."

"When you were the soldier, you retained a good deal of the memory and the training for some time, right?

"Yeah, unfortunately it was starting to fade just before the haunted house."

"'Cause I think I retained something."

"Is it too late to repeat how sorry I am about Willow?"

"Don't sweat it."

"Ok, I just don't want you commanding me to embarrass myself in public."

"You usually don't need help with that."

"OK, I walked into that one. So what did you retain, Oh Great and Powerful Oz."

"Well first I saw and heard flashes of the past and present."

"Your past?

"No, the past. Not historical stuff. But the past of Sunnydale and of us. I saw a Church where a really ugly vampire was conducting a ceremony get swallowed by an earthquake. "

"That sounds like the Master."

"I saw Buffy battling vampires in L. A. alongside a guy named Pike. I saw a guy I think was Buffy's first watcher get drilled with a stake, while Buffy watched helplessly."

"Well, that's interesting," said Xander skeptically.

"I saw you and Willow's first kiss. You were trying on formal wear for the Homecoming dance, when it happened. God, she was so beautiful I can almost excuse you. Almost."

Xander shifted uncomfortably, "Willow could have told you about that."

"OK. But could have Willow told me how you gave her Barbie doll to Cordelia and she laughed in your face, but kept the doll? You tried to force a kiss on her, and she beat you up. And you told Willow Larry did it."

"Neither one of us ever told anyone about that. Me, cause I was embarrassed of being beaten by a girl. Her, because she had this dainty feminine image to maintain. That girl was tougher than most Tomboys. I was kind of flabby in those days but after that I set my mind that I'd always be in shape. Any other embarrassing info you have on me."

"Just your summer job."

Xander threw up his hands. "Please tell me your kidding and that Buffy spilled the beans."

"You told Buffy, you were strutting yourself on stage in a modified Willie Wonka outfit to dance remixes of 'Land of Pure Imagination' and 'The Candyman Can'?

"My God. Please promise me you'll never tell anyone about this."

"Done. I'm still trying to blot the image out of my mind. I don't think I'll ever look at Oompah-Loompahs the same way again."

'You said I you saw future flashes. Any Lotto numbers?"

"No, the future flashes were kind of vague and cryptic. Either because I didn't have a context for them, or because while the past is definite, the future is always in flux. Does Buffy have a sister, maybe living with her father in L. A.?"

'Nah, she's a lonely only just like me and Willow."

"No, Willow does have a half-brother from her father's first marriage."

"Yeah, I forgot about him. It's not like they ever see each other. Abie's mother has full custody and they don't come to visit. I think I met him maybe once when Willow's grandfather died. That one of your flashes?"

"Nah, Willow told me about him. Why'd you ask about Buffy having a sister?

"Well I saw this girl named Dawn, a young girl moving in with Buffy and her mom. I thought they said sister. Maybe it's a relative that moves in with them."

"Because this is such a great place for a young girl to move," Xander said sarcastically.

"Ben is Glory."

"Huh?"

"I don't know what it means either, but is seemed an important thing not to forget."

"Anything Else?"

"I think Buffy's mom needs to see a doctor. I only hope early detection can stop it."

"Breast cancer?" asked Xander.

"No, Brain Tumor, I think. There was one other thing. I saw Willow and me separated because of the wolf. I ran away. I attempted to come back but she wouldn't let me. Then Darkness swallowed her."

"OK, that's heavy."

"Yeah, how the future comes out will depend on choices I make. And I have hunch I'm going to make those choices soon. However, I think I retained something else."

"I thought you said you didn't have..."

"Control anymore. Over other people. I think I retained something much more important, at least to me. Control over myself. That's why I called you here." I said picking up an object and handing it to Xander.

Xander looked at the object recognizing it as the tranquilizer gun they use to reign me in. "What?" he asks.

"Because I need you to shoot me if something goes wrong." Comprehension dawns on Xander as he readies the gun. Seeing that Xander is armed and ready, I reach deep down inside my self where the wolf lies in wait and for the first time instead just trying to make it go away, I drag it to the surface. I've read books on Wolves. They're supposed to be gentle creatures. But the primal forces involved transmute to something else when they encounter the darkness in the human subconscious. I feel the power washing over me as I physically transform. Fur and claws manifest, as I become a wolf-like creature. I feel the feral ferocity try to claim my mind, but I hang unto my consciousness as if it were a bucking bronco. Then slowly, I pull the wolf back in.

"Whoa!" said Xander.

"Took the words right out my mouth."

"Hey, you didn't become all big and tall. You were an Oz-sized wolf."

"Didn't want to rip my clothes. As it is I'm going to have to throw out these shoes. I should have done this barefoot."

"You think you need to test it all the way, I could always throw you a towel at key moments."

"Nah, if anything the fact that I could control my size, indicates how much control I have over the wold."

"Control your size? Nah, I won't say it. This is a real big deal for you, isn't it?"

"Yeah. The full moon will be the real test though."

"Willow will be so excited."

"I don't want her to know yet, not until I know for sure I have control. But there's something else. You know, I have this tendency to be an island."

"Huh?"

"Sorry. Poetic Metaphor."

"Oh, I get it. 'Islands in the stream. That is what we are."

"I was thinking more John Donne or Art Garfunkel, but that's not my point. When something goes wrong, I tend to feel this need to handle things myself. When I first discovered I was the wolf, I tried to handle everything on my own even though I knew Buffy and Giles might be able to help me. I could have gotten myself killed. Or worse Willow. If I make the same mistakes again, things might not turn so well this time. There's this girl that I've been getting vibes off of."

"Well, I mean you're only human. I'm not the best person consult on resisting temptation."

"I don't mean that. This isn't your average physical attraction."

"It's like I feel connected her somehow."

"Wait a minute, like my Hyena possession. I felt this strong connection to my fellow pack mates. I bet She's a she-wolf! Uh, don't tell Willow I remember."

"Oh she knows. She's known for sometime. Next to Giles, she does the most research. And because of my condition, she's read a lot on animal-related conditions."

"Man, the things I said to her."

"I know. She told me. Look I think the matter's off forgotten."

"Right. Back to werewolf woman. Think she'll be trouble?

"Plenty of it. She's drawn to me and I don't think she'll take no for an answer."

"And thing could get hairy? Or furry?"

"I'd like you to keep an eye on her. While I try I to stay away as much as possible."

"OK, but how are we going to keep this from Willow?"

"Oh don't worry about that. Willow's got a new toy to play with."

*****

The knife hit the bullseye again.

"Willow," said a tired Buffy. "I thought you had an early class. It's been a long day. I'd like to get some sleep."

"Ok, I will, but look, I mean I no longer have the Slayer strength, but I seem to have retained all the skills and moves and the agility. Look," she said balancing herself on the corner of her bed. "I'm doing the crane."

"Great, Willow-san. Hey, maybe this weekend I can see if Giles or Mom need their car waxed."

"You know, I need some weight-training to improve my upper-body strength. That way when I hit something, it will pack more punch. And I can patrol with you and really help. Do more than cry 'Look Out!' or hand you a weapon."

"Willow, what about your witchcraft?"

"Like you said earlier, no one's pushing. In fact I think I'll drop my Wicca group. I've met a couple of the members and they don't seem to know much anyway. It'll probably be a complete waste of my time. Besides Jean's a little antsy about the whole witch thing. It's better to ease in."

"Jean?"

"Yeah, she's in me, sort of. Not like I'm possessed, but it's more like I have her essence. She's a very fierce warrior, but also a devout Catholic. I've got to watch crossing myself before a meal, that won't go down well at the next family dinner."

"Gee, I didn't retain any memories of being Little Red Riding Hood."

"So none of the sexual subtext with the wolf offering you bits of Grandma's flesh."

"Yech. I'm so glad my Mother never read me that version."

"Besides, I don't want to lose this. If I exercise and train while the iron's hot, maybe I can retain most of my skills permanently."

"Looking to beat up those who picked on you in school?" teased Buffy.

"Maybe Harmony. I can avenge that nasty bite she gave me. Hey, We can train together."

"Together?"

"Yeah, I don't think Giles is happy sitting around twiddling his thumbs. He can train us. I bet we can learn all sorts tag team combos. It'll be so cool."

"Okay Willow, lights out. Even us Full Slayers need rest "

"OK. But this is going to be so cool!" said Willow as she settled in her bed.

"Yeah, Cool," said Buffy unconvinced.

THE END for NOW.