Calling In Paranoid
by Voracity

Derek Rayne picked up his ringing phone, leaning back in his desk chair. "Luna Foundation," he said, trying not to sound upset. This would be the third call asking if he needed more workers for the Legacy. Everyone knew what they were now. Even a panicked call among the Precepts didn't help calm him down any.

"Derek, I need to come back," a quiet, usually gentle voice said.

"Philip? What's wrong?" Derek knew the young man hardly ever lost his temper, but his voice sounded grated, showing a lot of strain. "Why did you need to come back?"

"My Bishop just found out I worked for ya, he *suggested* I come back for a few weeks before he lost his temper. He said I shoulda told him sooner, he'd have given me freer reign to do what was needed." Philip sighed. "I just need ta hide for a few days."

"Of course you're welcome," Derek said, smiling. "We could always use a calmer head around here. This...incident has torn many nerves." He waved Alex in when the door opened. "Do we need to come get you?"

"No, I'll get there. I have a small used car." There was a pause. "Thank you, Derek." Then he hung up.

Derek looked over at his head researcher. "That was Philip, he was outed to his Bishop about his working here."

"I take it he's coming back?" she asked. Derek nodded. "I'll tell the housekeeper to ready a room for him." She looked around the office, then back at him. "How did this happen?"

"From what we've found, it was a sneeze. Someone in the New York house had access to a prophecy about this event." He picked up a pen to play with. "Apparently, a young girl's sneeze was responsible for this lack of secrecy."

"What did the other Precepts say?"

"The message was to persevere. We're to continue with our work and do so in the least noticeable way possible. Other than that, we're to try and find out what we have to do to get this back to right."

Alex sighed. "What do we have to do?"

"We had a visitor last night, she said something about a few mixups that needed some attention, and some commandments that had to be followed. I have no idea what they are yet. That tapestry clued her in though."

Alex brushed a hair off her dark skin. "Well, I scanned the images into the computer and I'm digitizing them to see if they match anyone. Maybe we should gather them up if they're real people and see what we can do together."

Derek frowned. "If it were that easy, Alex, I would be surprised. Continue though, we could probably use the allies." She nodded and left him alone, going back to work with Nick, and to share the news of their visitor.

Derek went back to his paperwork, not at all happy with the current state of the world. He never wanted this sort of attention, and he was beginning to see why so many famous people complained about their exposure.


Methos slowly walked into the History Department in Cascade, and was amazed at the smile he got from the secretary. She hated him. "Morning," he said quietly.

"Good morning. Your new sword holder came in this morning. I put it on your desk," she said as she handed over his messages. "The Dean wanted to see your man when he got in, maybe sometime around ten?"

Methos nodded. "I'll tell him." He headed for his office, and nearly managed to lock himself in but MacLeod forced his way through the door. "What?" he asked tiredly.

"What happened?" MacLeod hissed, slamming and locking the door. "They know!"

"I know," Methos said quietly, trying to stay calm. "Something happened last night and everyone's secrets are out. Strife's trying to figure out how to fix it, but we'll have to live with it for now." The other immortal glared at him. "At least it's not a hunt. Be thankful for that much."

"True," MacLeod said, starting to calm down. He ran a hand over his face. "Amanda called. She got applause when she walked into a small museum to case it. They apparently know her on sight now."

Methos snorted something that sounded like, "Wonderful."

"No one's asked me who I really am," MacLeod informed him. "They're taking my identity at face value."

"That's even better," Methos said, starting to brighten up himself. That was the best thing he'd heard yet. "Is there any other news?"

"Just that your...mate needs to come in for a meeting. He forgot to pay us for this semester. The Dean needs the paperwork."

Methos looked at him. "You object to my sleeping with the God of Mischief?"

MacLeod shook his head, his face showing the horror of the suggestion. "No, not at all. I'm sure he's a very...nice man once you get to know him."

Methos snickered as MacLeod left in a hurry, sending the conversation to his lover, who appeared already laughing. "I heard," Strife said, giving him a kiss.

"Lord Strife, the Dean wants to see you," the secretary called from the hallway. "He wishes that you bring that paperwork with you too, he knows that you wanted to pay us but just forgot because of your other duties."

Strife giggled and manifested the paperwork, changing his clothes at the same time. Now he appeared to be wearing jeans and a T-shirt, with a leather vest over it. "Later," he said, winking at Methos. Then he disappeared.

Methos took off his jacket and pulled a cd out of it, starting his computer so he could get to work. His students really would need their syllabi today. Strife reappeared, giving him another kiss, then disappeared again. Methos shook his head, but he had a fond smile on his face.


Jim waited until after eight, then called Simon's desk. "Should I even try to come in?" he asked quietly, not sure if he was on speaker phone or not.

"Get in here," Simon sighed. "They all know and you've still got those two open cases to solve." Simon hung up and faced his other detectives. "You will not expect Ellison to do all the work," he ordered calmly. "You will not force him to work your cases for you. He gets the hard cases, letting you guys deal with the normal stuff, and he gets more cases on average than you." The other detectives looked at the table and nodded. "Ellison has said he'd quit if it got too bad," he stopped when a few detectives went very pale.

"We're sorry, sir, we'll keep our cases to ourselves and be good backup for Ellison and Sandburg," Rafe said, and the group agreed. "We had no idea we were that bad."

Simon nodded. "You are. You've been bothering them to do all the work around here and they're both tired of it. Ellison was a major coup for us, and we will not lose him." Everyone nodded. "Dismissed. I want paperwork by the end of the day." The detectives all left, the last one closing the door behind them. Simone picked up the phone and dialed Jim's loft. "It's me. The rest of the detectives have come to an understanding about you doing your work and them doing theirs. They've agreed to stop their begging and forcing you to do their work for them."

"Thanks, Simon," Jim said, then he hung up.

Simon poured himself a cup of coffee and picked up the first report, reading it through so he could send it up the chain.


Giles screamed in frustration and threw his mug across the room. "I can't believe this," he hissed, turning on the group. "How do they know?"

"Everyone knows," Xander told him. "There were a few demons grocery shopping beside me this morning." He leaned back in his chair, checking on the vampire in the kitchen. Then he looked at Giles again. "You didn't have anything about this?"

"Yeah, you have a prophecy or a book about everything," Willow told him, looking worried. "There's even a class on witchcraft and casting at the high school." She looked at the Slayer. "And didn't the Principal be nice to you this morning?"

Buffy nodded. "He was. It was creepy." She looked at her Watcher. "So? Give. What's going on?"

"It appears that a young girl has changed history," Giles said, gripping the back of a chair so hard his knuckles turned white. "Everything is now out in the open. Buffy, you're probably not going to be able to do your job unless you're saving someone."

She nodded. "I'll try and keep it quiet until we know more." She looked at her friends. "What are you guys gonna do while I'm being quiet?"

"We're going to...." Willow started but the door burst open and three cops rushed in.

"Freeze," the lead one said. "You're under arrest for murder." He hauled Buffy up and slapped cuffs on her. "You have the right to remain silent."

"Um, excuse me?" she asked. "I *save* people."

"You illegally killed three demons last night," one of the other officers told her. "There wasn't anyone in danger. We've left you alone as long as you were saving lives, but this time you wasted some normal, and protected demons." She looked at the others at the table. "You will not follow her example," she said firmly. "We will start enforcing the law, especially now that we've got someone on our team that's able to do the job for her. If we catch you slaying demons, you're going to join her in jail." She led Buffy away, the other cops flanking them protectively.

Xander blinked a few times, then looked at Giles. "Um, I think I should probably head home."

"Yeah, me too," Willow said, getting up and running out. She didn't want to be arrested. That would be bad.

Xander slowly walked out, stopping long enough to grab his book bag and give Giles a pat on the shoulder. "It'll be fixed," he reminded him. "Somehow, it'll be fixed." He left, going home. He could skip one more day of his senior year, just until this all got settled in him.

Giles pulled out the chair he had been holding down and sat, moaning pitifully. There was a polite knock on the door and an officer in dress uniform walked in. "Yes?" he asked tiredly.

"I'm here to talk to you about the demon population," he said, closing the door behind him. "We were told you knew about that sort of thing." He smiled. "They're going to try and force her to work for the force," he said quietly. "She won't stay in jail for too long."

Giles waved at a chair. "If I must work with the local authorities, I guess I should do it with a clear conscious." He got up and grabbed the phone. "I'll be right back, I have to make a report."

"Ah, the Watcher's Council. My name's Perkins," he told him, giving him a brilliant smile. "Just in case they needed it."

Giles nodded and walked away, heading to get some privacy. He stopped to look at the vampire in the kitchen, wondering why Spike was there. Weren't they still enemies?


Alex ran into the office, waving a paper. "We've got three pictures," she said happily. "I've matched them with people in licensing databases." She laid the pictures out. "We have here one Dr. Adam McKinley, history professor in Cascade Washington. We have one Dr. Blair Sandburg, Anthropology professor, also in Cascade, Washington. Then we have one Alexander Harris, high school student in Sunnydale, California." She stood up. "And, we have notations on two of the three. Sandburg is a Guide for a Sentinel, that's a file that appeared this morning. Harris works with the Slayer, who just got arrested for not saving lives, just for slaying."

"And where there's a Slayer, there's a Watcher," Derek said thoughtfully. He nodded. "Why are they in the tapestry?"

"Well, Harris was holding a lance, Sandburg was holding a ball of fire, and McKinley was holding a sword," she said with a shrug. She looked over her shoulder as Nick walked in. "Got another one?"

"Yeah, matched up from a visitor we had last night." He tossed the picture down onto the table.

"Whoa, who's she?" Alex asked, bending down to look at it. "And who came to the house in that outfit?"

"She, um, gave us the chalice in the Control Room," Nick told her, looking at Derek. He could explain it better.

"She's the protector of the remaining powerful Celtic artifacts," Derek told her. "The chalice was the feasting chalice of their Goddess of Passion. The girl's name is Rain."

"Um, Sandburg maybe?" Alex asked, flipping the pages over to show their personal stats. "Sandburg's wife's name is Rain. I couldn't find anything else out about her." She flipped over McKinley's. "And get this, look who he's dating."

Derek took that form and smiled at the entry. "Well, it looks like we've got a place to start. Nick, I want that prophecy from the New York house. And the daughter of the house that did it. Alex, start with McKinley and Sandburg, try and get a meeting set up. We'll have to find the Watcher to get to Harris probably."

"Not necessarily," Nick said, grinning. "Let me talk to him. You want to meet here?"

"No, that would draw too much attention." Derek thought about it. "Announce that the Luna Foundation has a need for certain people to look at this tapestry. Find some other pretext to get Harris and that Watcher down here." They nodded and left, leaving Derek alone to study the profiles. "Strife is back and dating Methos, again," he sighed, tossing it down. "I wonder how long it took him to find his favorite playtoy once he was back." He logged onto the Precepts only chat, giving them the good news. London cheered and New York logged off rather quickly. Oh, well, Nick would straighten them out. He and New York's second in command had a very good relationship.


Xander answered his door, frowning at the man on the other side. "What?" he asked, not getting out of the way.

Nick flashed his driver's license. "We spoke yesterday," he said quietly. "We've got to talk." Xander let him in, but didn't move from the entryway. "Listen, kid, apparently you're important to this situation. You're part of the prophecy in this case, the tapestry shows it. Will you just listen?"

"Only if you can do it in the next ten minutes, before my father gets home." Xander led the way into the living room. "I told you to call Giles."

"And we did, but he's denying that you exist." Nick sat down next to him, giving him a warm grin. "I know you deal with the strange stuff, so do I. I'm a member of the Legacy." Xander drew in a breath. "Yeah, and we need the help. We don't know how yet, but you need to come up and help us figure this out. And bring the lance."

"Lance?" Xander asked. "I don't have a lance. We are talking like what knights used and not another person, right?" Nick nodded. "Then I have not a clue. But I'll help in anyway I can." He looked around. "Not much going on around here now. The ascension was stopped when all the secrets were revealed. The cops arrested him and destroyed the mayor's setup." He shrugged, stopping when he heard the squeal of brakes coming up the street. "Um, wanna go out and discuss this further? I can take you to Giles' house."

"Sure," Nick agreed, standing up and following Xander out of the house. They made it to the sidewalk as a car started to turn into the driveway.

"Did you clean up after yourself?" his father yelled. Xander waved. "Good! And no more coming in late, boy! I know what you've been doing now and I won't accept it anymore!"

"Yay," Xander called back, waving some more. He hurried on, hoping the other man would keep up. Or not, it might be easier on everyone if he didn't.


Giles looked up as his door opened, shooting a glare at the two men walking through the door. "Xander, who is this?" he asked calmly.

"Nick Boyle, San Francisco Legacy house," he said, shaking the other man's hand.

"Oh, dear," Giles said, sitting down. "Are you working on fixing this?"

"Yeah, but we don't have all the information yet. Just a tapestry and the words of a very confusing woman." He grinned. "And one of the people in the tapestry was this guy," he said, patting Xander on the shoulder. "With a lance."

Giles glared at Xander. "Really? Have you been getting into my weapons again?"

"No," Xander said defensively, sitting down at the table. "I haven't done that in a few years, you know that."

"I don't think that the lance is the important part," Nick said, shutting the door behind him. "We need more to find everything we need to fix this situation before we're all in danger." He sat down between the two men. "I'm sorry to say, but we may have to take Xander with us to the house to fix this. We still don't know why he was on there."

"High school student," Xander put in. "I can't disappear for months on end."

"For right now, let's just worry about finding all the information, then we can worry about whether or not you'll need to disappear for a few months," Giles told him, frowning at him. He looked at Nick. "I have a book that mentions a prophecy with a tapestry, but there's not much information." He got a nod so got up to retrieve it, flipping to the right page before handing it over. "Xander, go get a drink," he said quietly. "This is going to take a while."

Xander went to get himself a snack, clearly dismissed. He wasn't that upset, it happened a lot recently. He took a detour, checking on whomever was snoring in the bathroom. "What is he doing here?" he asked himself. "He's an enemy." He shook his head and went back to the kitchen, fixing himself a snack.


Derek pulled Philip into a tight hug as soon as he walked through the door, not letting him go until a little voice told him it was her turn. He gladly turned Philip over to Kat's care, grabbing the bag the young priest had carried in so they could go up to his room. "Are you willing to help us fix this issue?" he asked quietly as they walked toward the living area.

Philip groaned. "Anything I can do to stop this horrible fate, I will," he vowed. "I'll even help banish whichever demon did this to the world."

Derek patted him on the back. "It wasn't a demon," he told him, smiling at the disbelief. "Not that it didn't benefit the dark side, but it was actually a young girl sneezing." The priest gave him a hard look. "Honestly, it was," Derek swore, holding up a hand. "I have a copy of the prophecy downstairs. We're getting the girl who did this soon, as soon as she's feeling better." He cleared his throat and opened a door. "You can stay here, come down whenever you're ready." He smiled and walked away, happy to have some more competent help. Nick wasn't going to be back for at least another day with the boy and the Watcher. Alex was still working on the tapestry. Kat was being more helpful than her mother at the moment, Rachel was not dealing well with the other secrets that had been exposed. The existence of other Gods had bothered her somewhat. Derek chuckled as he heard Nicks' heavy bag moving. "Yes, we'll get through this soon enough," he told himself, going to help Alex with the tapestry.


Xander looked around his small room, considering what to pack. He only had two bags so he needed to make the most of the space. There was no telling where his stuff would be when he came back. He jumped when his door was pushed open, turning to look at his parents. "What?" he asked tiredly.

"Why did that man want you to go with him?" his mother asked.

"Because there's a prophecy with me in it," he said honestly. There wasn't any use lying to them. It had gotten all over the town that he was helping Buffy. Willow was grounded until she left the town for college. He had been lucky, his father had only grunted something about him being a good soldier and wondering if he could put it down on a military application. "You know that what's going on isn't right, right?" he asked. His mother nodded, not looking pleased. "Well, there's a small matter of a prophecy done up in a tapestry. I'm in it." He lifted his arms. "So I get to go do there what I do here."

His father glared at him. "Do you know how embarrassing it is to have a son that's killing people?"

"As opposed to letting people die?" Xander suggested. "I could just sit at home and wait for the rest of my friends to die. Or hey, if I didn't fight, I might not have stopped you from inviting that vampire missionary last night. You could be down at the morgue with me wondering if you were going to wake up again." His father shuddered and walked away. His mother sniffed. "Nick said he could get me transferred up there so I could finish school. We're working on getting the world back to normal, Mom. It's not a bad thing."

She smiled grimly. "As long as you graduate. We'll pack up the rest of your stuff and give it to your friend Buffy for you."

He hugged her. "Thanks. I'll be leaving tonight." He let her go and walked over to his closet, pulling out clothes. He didn't notice when she left, he was too busy figuring out which shirts he was going to have to leave behind and dreaming of the glory he could have. Or the trouble he was going to get into, something like that.

When he was done, he called that Nick guy's cellphone, telling him he was ready.


Nick led the way into the house and up the stairs, settling the half-asleep young man into a room. He ran into Philip when he tried the wrong door, getting a hug instead. "Sorry," Nick whispered, nodding at Xander. Philip pointed across the hall and Nick shook his head. "Kat's."

"There's one ready on the other side of Derek," Alex said as she stuck her head out of her room. She smiled at the young man. "Our knight?" Nick nodded, leading Xander down to his room. "We'll meet for breakfast." She smiled at Philip. "You can fill him in." Then she withdrew and closed her door.

Philip leaned against his door, waiting for Nick to come back. "We made some progress," he said quietly, nodding Nick into his room so he could close the door. "We got hold of Sandburg and McKinley. They'll be down in two days to look at the tapestry, and Sandburg's wife'll be with them." Nick nodded. "Also, we've received all the official documents about the prophecy. Did the Watcher have anything?"

"Not a lot," Nick said, pulling a folded-up paper out of his pocket. "I copied the page that he had," he said as he handed it over. "What's up with Derek, usually he's up still."

"He had a headache and went to bed right after dinner." Philip frowned. "Well, it's got something at least," he admitted, putting it in the pile with the rest of his work. "What's with the boy?"

"He had a small fight with the Watcher, who didn't want him to come help. Rupert Giles, Watcher to Buffy, who's still in jail. They're trying to cut a deal so she works for the city." He rolled his head around, popping his neck. "He was against anyone doing anything that would bring more attention to them. I told him who I was and he looked impressed, but not enough to volunteer. I tried, but he's old school stubborn."

Philip smiled at that. "I know people like that."

"Ya think?" Nick asked, punching his best friend on the arm. "I think you should have come with me. It might have sped things up. But," he sighed, scratching his neck, "the Watcher said he'd send us anything he found. He's been in touch with his people. Xander's parents all but sent him with me. The boy's going to need some help studying, he admitted school wasn't holding much for him any more." He looked at the door. "You free to relax? I could use a game of pool and a stout."

"Sure," Philip agreed, following Nick out of the room, waiting while Nick put up his jacket and keys, and then they went down to play.


Derek looked up at the small noise, smiling at the young man standing in the doorway. "Come in, Xander. The buffet's over there," he said, pointing it out. "We'll speak after you've eaten."

"And you are?" Xander asked hesitantly.

"I'm Derek."

"Oh, man. Thanks for inviting me up. My bed was killer." He shook the older man's hand then went over to pick out some food. He considered overloading his plate but a good guest doesn't do that. The butler put more food on his plate with a smile. "Thanks. I'm a growing boy."

The butler's smile got brighter. "We have another such stomach in this house. Don't worry too much." He went back to cooking more eggs for Nick and Philip, who had yet to show themselves. "Doctor Rayne, I'll wait until after the first meeting to make out the shopping list if that's all right with you."

Derek smiled and nodded. "Of course, whatever you think is best, Dominick. Oh, please get a ham, it's one of Philip's favorites."

"Yes, Doctor Rayne." The butler stopped on his way to the buffet, scraping some of the scrambled eggs onto Xander's plate. "Eat it all, young man, or you'll have sandwiches for lunch," he chided at the shocked look.

Derek laughed. "He misses having children of his own," he explained. "Nick and Katherine have taken the place of his children, he spoils them horribly."

"Yes, Miss Kat asked me to tell you that she's out in the gazebo hiding from her homework," Dominick told them as he went back into the cooking area.

Xander started to eat, slowly so he didn't seem like such a pig. "How can I help?" he asked between bites. "I don't know anything about this. I'm a foot soldier."

Derek sipped his coffee. "We'll see once you're done, Xander. Don't fear, we know you have something in this horrible mess. It may take us a few days to figure out exactly what your purpose is, but we'll find it I'm sure. You were in the tapestry and that had to mean something." He stood up and picked up his coffee cup, refilling it then heading out. "I'll be in the library," he called behind him.

Dominick came over and patted Xander on the head as he handed over some milk. "I'll show you the way if Nick and Philip aren't up yet," he assured him.

Xander started to shovel the food into his mouth, needing to know why he had been called on. This was just too strange for him to deal with.


Blair finished packing and sat on the bed, watching his wife consider his clothes. "I think I have enough for a week," he reminded her. "If not, you can always come up and grab something else for us."

She looked over her shoulder at him. "You should be able to do some of what I can," she told him with a frown. She walked over and plopped down behind him, curling up around his back. "Okay, hold out a hand." He did, his left. "Now, think about some of your personal energy forming in the palm of it. Make a little ball of light."

Blair squinted, frowning at his hand. His face looked like he was straining, but nothing was happening. As soon as he relaxed, his right hand set the bedspread on fire. "Sorry," he said, giving her a grin. "I tried." She took care of the small fire for him.

"It takes practice," she assured him, giving him a hug. She slithered off the bed and disappeared, coming back a minute later. "Well, Great-Grandma said you could do it, but she wasn't sure about the control part. Apparently your mother took nearly forever to get control too." She shrugged. "We'll work on it while we're gone, dear."

"Okay." He pulled her down into his lap, kissing her. "Did you really get hot by chasing me?"

"Yup." She licked up over his chin, stopping at his lips to nibble. "I love a good hunt, I got that from my Unc." She slid off his lap. "I gotta go see dad. You finish packing for me, 'kay?" She disappeared before he could say anything.

"But you're packed!" he called.

Rain landed in front of her father's desk, looking at the files sitting there. "Ph.D. candidates?" He nodded, not looking up. "Are we in trouble?"

"We got funding for *half* of you to work," he said, looking up at her. "If you're stayin' on, you're gonna end up helping Mac the Uptight."

She shrugged. "I'll deal or he'll deal. Not that I need the money. I *do* have a trust."

Strife grinned and tossed a file onto the floor. "Good, one less I have to hear scream and cry." He looked her over. "Some reason you're here today?"

"Because we're packing to leave for Frisco tonight?" she suggested. "Should I bring my leathers or my official outfit?"

He shrugged. "Why're you askin' me?"

"Never mind," she sighed and headed out, going down to her drinking buddy's office. She smiled at the student standing in there. "Hey, should I bring my leathers or my official outfit?" she asked. Methos tossed a pen at her. "Sorry." She looked at the test, then at him. "Maybe you should give her the chance to type it and hand it back in," she suggested, not able to interpret the scrawl.

Methos glared at her. "I'm going to do that in the future. I wanted to know if she could read it."

"I was taught to write by a nurse," the student defended. "I've always written like this."

Methos turned his impressive glare on her, making her wilt. "I will give you the opportunity to type the test during the test time from now on. Redo that and have it under my door tomorrow," he ordered. She nodded and left, closing the door behind her. He frowned at Rain. "Why would you need to bring your armor or your official outfit? And what is our official outfit?"

Rain snapped her fingers and was now redressed. Black leather pants, knee high boots, green long shirt, and a dark-brown cape that looked like it was made of fur. Not to mention the small tiara she wore. "My mother thought it was cute," she said dryly.

Discord popped in and took a picture, then cackled and popped out.

"Aunt! No! You promised!" she screamed.

"Keep it down please," someone yelled from the hallway.

Rain frowned and returned to her normal jeans and loose T-shirt, leaving the soft leather boots. "So, will I need either of them?"

"Why are you asking me?" Methos asked her, grinning at her. "I have no idea what we'll be dealing with."

"That's what dad said," she told him with a scowl. "And Blair only wants to take one bag." She snorted. "Men." She disappeared, heading home.

Methos looked up at the ceiling. "I want a copy," he called. Strife popped in, waving an instant picture to make it dry. "Thank you," he said with a smile.

"I want paid for this," Strife said with a smirk.

Methos stood up and undid his belt and pants, letting them hang open. "Bend over and you'll get paid," he said with a nasty smile. Strife put the picture down and dropped his pants, daring his lover to jump him. He should have known that Methos would jump him anywhere and for any reason.


Willow Rosenberg opened her favorite magic book, flipping through listlessly. She came to a spell that looked promising, stopping to read it. It referenced another, more powerful, spell so she went to look it up online. She had found some of the best sites on the 'net with whole databases of spells and whole books scanned in. She found what she wanted and printed it down, smiling as she read over the spell. It looked simple enough, but it was one of those that was mostly personal energy and mental focus instead of herbs and chanting. She knew she shouldn't even try, that she probably wasn't strong enough, but she needed to try. Buffy was still in jail, her mother was devastated and hiding in her house, and Giles was trying hard to ignore that anything was going on.

She set out the few ingredients she would need, then settled down to clear her mind. She would have to focus, the warning at the top said she would die if she failed to cast the spell right.