“I’ll be ready in just a minute, Ahn.” Willow triple-checks her purse--stakes, holy water, and magic ingredients are all there. Sure, Halloween is supposed to be a quiet night for demons. But they’ve had two exceptions to that rule in the three Halloweens since Buffy arrived in Sunnydale, and Willow wants to be prepared for anything.
“You said ‘just a minute’ more than five minutes ago. And that’s five minutes of my too-short mortal existence that I’ll never get back.” Anya tugs on Willow’s arm, apparently deciding that words aren’t enough to express her impatience.
She loves Anya, really she does. But some days, Willow wants to smack her. “It really will be one minute this time. I want to make sure everything’s just right.”
She checks her reflection in the mirror, making sure that every detail of Season Five Lyta Alexander costume is perfect. If anything like Ethan Rayne’s spell happens again, she wants to be sure to turn into the universe’s strongest telepath.
She turns and gives Anya a once-over, making sure that Anya’s Kira Nerys is also perfect in every detail. If any costume-related shenanigans happen, Anya will turn into a badass in hand-to-hand combat. (And, to be honest, Willow’s also admiring the way the rust-colored bodysuit accentuates Anya’s curves.)
“Ok, your minute is up. Girls’ night out commences now.” Anya pulls her out of the apartment, and they’re off to celebrate Halloween, Anya’s new job, and National Pasta Day (which was technically a few weeks ago, but Willow will take any excuse to go out for ziti at Salvatore’s.)
“This risotto is pleasing,” Anya says. “It reminds me of the time I was in Tuscany to grant a wish to a chef’s wife. It was a particularly clever wish I got her to make--he used to make sausages--”
Willow knows all too well where this line of discussion is going. “Ahn! I’m eating!”
“Oh, right. No disembowelment stories at the table.” Anya scoops up more risotto, and looks to Willow for a sign of approval, a slightly uncertain expression on her face.
Anya is getting better at this sort of thing--it used to be an average of three gory vengeance stories per meal--so Willow smiles at her and changes the subject. “How much money did you make today?”
Anya perks up. “One hundred and fifty dollars and seventy-two cents.”
Willow’s so glad that Anya finally has an enthusiasm that’s also appropriate to discuss in public.
They walk home together, Willow leaning slightly on Anya, when something blurry roars past them at inhuman speed, leaving behind an odor of rotting squash.
While Willow’s still trying to process what just happened, Anya cries out, “Oh, no! No!”
“What is it?” Willow asks.
“That’s one of mine--we have to catch him before the clock strikes midnight.” She grabs Willow’s hand and starts running, dragging Willow behind her.
Willow’s eyes are still tearing up from the demon/monster/whatever’s stench. “What happens at midnight?”
“He turns into a carnivorous pumpkin that eats people,” Anya says, as matter-of-factly as if she were reporting the evening’s weather.
“Why did you do that to him?” Even as they’re chasing a super-stinky demon at a breakneck pace, Willow can’t help but indulge her curiosity.
“I--I don’t remember.”
“What do you mean you don’t remember? Should I grab a plate of pasta and see if that helps jog your memory?”
“It was nine hundred years ago! You can’t remember where you put your keys ten minutes ago!”
The demon turns the corner, runs down Main Street through a crowd of oblivious Halloween celebrants, and they follow him. Willow’s legs are getting rubbery, and they’re no closer to catching him than when they started.
Anya mutters to herself, too low for Willow to hear, and then she says, “It’s starting to come back. He was Prince Osimir. He had sex with a pumpkin farmer, and she left one of her shoes behind. He couldn’t remember her face, so he tried to find her by making women try on the shoe. And that made her mad, so I swooped in--”
“Wait, that’s Cinderella!”
“Yeah, I met Perrault at a party once. He got a few details wrong.”
Whoa. Willow Rosenberg--once the dullest person alive--is dating the Fairy Godmother. That’s really cool.
The demon reaches the burned-out remains Sunnydale High School. He slows a bit, looking for something--the Hellmouth, maybe? He falls to his knees, just as the Sunnydale Lutheran Church’s bells start to ring. His skin turns orange and his head starts expanding, getting larger and rounder.
They’re too late to stop the transformation. Willow grabs her bag of magic dust from her purse, and yells, “Teleportation!” to Anya.
They start the chant, throwing dust on him, then Willow shouts, “Discede!” and claps her hands.
The magic barrels through her, inside and out, squeezing the air out of her lungs, and pounding against her skin, but Demon-Pumpkin Guy disappears. Willow collapses.
Anya kneels down beside her. “You’re bleeding!”
Willow feels like signals are traveling through her brain from a million miles away, but she finally realizes that she has a nosebleed. Willow croaks out, “Purse.”
Anya fishes through it and finds a Kleenex. Willow holds it to her nose, tilting her head back.
“Are you alright?” Of course Willow’s not alright, but the look of concern on Anya’s face makes Willow hold back on a snarky response.
“Just took a lot out of me,” Willow says. “Also, I’m not sure where we sent him.”
Just then, Demon-Pumpkin Guy plummets to the ground, smashing into bits, and splattering gross pumpkin-bits everywhere. “I guess that answers the ‘where’ question.”
Anya takes Willow’s hand and pulls her to her feet. “Let’s call the spell a work in progress. When you feel better, we’ll work on perfecting it. Because you’re mine, and no teleportation spell is going to hurt you ever again, if I have anything to do with it.”
She loves Anya, really she does. But some days, Willow adores her.