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The 2nd Tuesday After the 12th of Never

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Willow was asleep when they came for her.

She jolted awake when the goon squad broke down the door, but there was nothing she could do. One of them shot her with a tranquilizer dart and she almost immediately fell back to sleep.

Just before she passed out, though, she heard her phone ringing. It rang and rang and rang…

She regained consciousness strapped to a chair with a black hood over her head. She felt muzzy and uncoordinated and it took her a few minutes to put the pieces together.

Panic spiked through her. She was pretty sure the Initiative had her- demons weren’t that organized- but she didn’t know why. Were they going to use her to get to Buffy? That was the only thing she could think of. Unless…

Someone jerked the hood off her head and she clenched her eyes shut against bright light. She felt whoever it was move in closer to her and she cringed away as much as she could.

Warm breath brushed her ear and she almost didn’t hear him speak over the blood pounding in her head. “Play along,” the voice breathed. “I will get you out of here. Help is on the way.”

Play along. Right. Didn’t he realize how horrible she was at acting? Willow was pretty sure the gang had shared the Talent Show From Hell story at some point. What exactly was she supposed to do?

Although, if the plan was to act terrified then she could totally do that. ‘Cause hey! She was scared spitless right now. The jury was still out on her doing anything else.

Her thoughts stumbled to a halt when a familiar voice spoke up. “Miss Rosenberg. Thank you for joining us.”

Willow blinked a few times and finally managed to focus. “Dr. Walsh. What’s going on?”

The Psych professor smiled thinly. Willow shrank away from her as much as possible. There was a fevered light in the older woman’s eyes and it made her very nervous. “A little birdie told me some very interesting things about you, Miss Rosenberg. I find myself quite curious to know if they are true or not. If they are then I want to know how it works.”

Willow swallowed convulsively and tried to regulate her breathing. Passing out because she hyperventilated would be bad. On the other hand, it would also buy her some time. She didn’t want to think it, but there was only one person she knew who could have, would have told Walsh anything.

And he was standing next to her promising to get her out.

“Wh-what things?” she asked, not looking at her personal Judas.

“That you can do what you call ‘magic’,” Walsh said bluntly. “I’d like a demonstration, if you please.”

Willow snorted and then actually started laughing. Okay, yeah, so her laughter was tinged with hysteria, but that was frickin’ hilarious.

“You, you,” she gasped out between guffaws, “Your goons break into my room, drug me, kidnap me, and tie me to a chair, and you just expect me to do tricks on your say-so?!” Her laughter finally trailed off and she made a ‘pfft’ noise. “Lady, even if I could do ‘magic’,” Ooh, hey, she could still do finger quotes with her wrists strapped down. Neat. Focus, Willow. “You really think I’d do it for you?”

Walsh removed something from the tray behind her and Willow gulped when she saw it was a syringe filled with a sickly yellow liquid. She moved towards her and said, “Miss Rosenberg, I am confident I can make you do whatever I want you to.”

“I will help you the 2nd Tuesday after the 12th of Never. How ‘bout that?” Willow had no idea where the bravado was coming from, but she was going to cling to it for all she was worth. The alternative was to turn into a gibbering idiot and she wasn’t going to give these jerks the satisfaction.

“Oh, I think you’ll help me sooner than that,” Walsh said as she twisted Willow’s arm to expose her inner elbow. Willow didn’t bother to suppress her cry of pain as the restraint rubbed her wrist raw.

Before Walsh could inject her with whatever nightmare was in the syringe, there was a thunderous boom overhead and the lights went out. It took about a minute for the emergency lights to kick on, but in that time, Willow heard a scuffle and the distinct sound of a fist hitting flesh. Repeatedly.

Just before the lights came on she felt someone undoing the restraints on her wrists. The room was washed in red light and she met Riley’s eyes. “Calvary’s here,” he said as he went to work on the restraints around her ankles.

“You told her about me,” she said flatly.

Riley clenched his jaw and looked down at the syringe that was on the floor. “She wasn’t wrong when she said she could make you talk,” was his answer.

Walsh was a few feet away, unconscious. Or maybe dead, Willow wasn’t sure and didn’t much care. She might feel bad about it later, but right now she was hoping for dead. Crazy bitch.

“You didn’t sell me out of your own volition?”

Riley looked at her in surprise. He cupped her face and she had to fight herself not to flinch. “God, no. I’ve been sidestepping her queries since the night we got locked in that closet. She finally got fed up and dosed me. I…I couldn’t stop myself. Please believe me, Willow. I’d never betray you. I love you.”

She wanted to believe him, but everything was too raw at the moment. She needed time. She didn’t say anything and Riley’s shoulders slumped, but he didn’t press. She let him help her up and keep his arm around her to make sure she stayed on her feet.

Riley guided her out of the room and down the hall. He swiped his card through the reader at the door and they typed in an override code. The door opened and her jaw dropped when she saw who was on the other side.

“Heard you needed a rescue.”

Willow lurched out of Riley’s hold and fell into Angel’s arms. “I can’t believe you’re here.”

Angel glared at Riley as he swung her up into his arms. Riley glared right back, but moved to take point and lead them out. “Cordelia had a vision. We tried to call, but I guess we were too late. Riley was filling Buffy in when we called her and we worked out a plan. I remembered how much Xander liked explosives.”

Willow giggled tiredly. “My heroes.” Riley looked over his shoulder at her and she said deliberately, “All of you.”

He looked relieved and gave her a wan smile. She tried to return it, but figured she failed if the way his expression fell was any indication. They weren’t good. There were definitely going to be some words later, but not right now. Right now she was going to sleep and hopefully forget all of this for a little while. Angel, her friend, was there and he’d keep the demons at bay for the moment.

In the morning, well, then she’d see.

-30-