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Shadows Of The Past

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Chapter One


Willow sat with her feet on Andrew's knee; he was painting her toe nails. She was flipping through a book on computers a feeling of excitement in the pit of her stomach. This book was part of her computer course at college. She was going away to college very soon and Willow could hardly wait. Aside from the fact she loved school and loved learning; it would be a blessing to leave Sunnydale and get far away from Buffy Summers and her one time best friend Xander Harris.


It was a Saturday night, and they had all gathered together at Warren's house for pizza and a movie marathon. They had started with Star Wars; it wasn't Willow choice, but she had been over ruled by Jonathan, Warren and Andrew. The next movie was her choice and she fully intended to pick something extra girly as pay back.


There was a large bowl of popcorn sitting between Jonathan and Warren. Warren kept dipping into it every five seconds, throwing the popcorn up into the air and attempting to catch it in his mouth. He was failing miserably, there was more popcorn on the floor than anywhere else. Suddenly he spoke, "Anyone want to team up and take over Sunnydale?"


Jonathan, his eyes glued to the screen nodded distractedly. "I suppose so."


"How are you planning to do that?" Andrew didn't look up, he was busy examining Willow's nails. "This town has a Slayer, remember?" He winced when Willow's toes curled into his knee. "Sorry, Wills. I didn't mean...."


"The Slayer is the reason we should do this," Warren interrupted, sitting up straight, an almost defiant expression crossing his face. "We need to show her just who this town really belongs to."


Willow considered, speaking slowly. "Take Sunnydale back for the human's you mean?"


"Exactly." Warren clapped his hands together for emphasis. "So, whose with me?"


"I'm in," Jonathan said.


Andrew nodded, "Me too. Willow?"


A smile as cold as sleet curled Willow's lips. "Buffy Summers will be as sorry as I am that she ever came to Sunnydale. "



A year later Willow was back in her home town of Sunnydale, having returned from college with her friends Warren, Andrew and Jonathan. It was convenient that they all attended the same college, although they did not all take the same classes. She and Warren excelled with computers and technology, more so than Andrew and Jonathan; although she did share her English class with the two of them and they had managed to secure a space on the folklore and mythology course.


Andrew and Jonathan did have some working knowledge of computers, but they, unlike Warren, possessed some magical ability. Willow far outstripped them; but they could hold their own and they were useful if she needed to channel someone for a magical boost.


When it came to science they were all pretty much on an even footing and enjoyed sitting down together to discuss ideas and perform experiments. Willow, Andrew and Jonathan were working on ways to incorporate magic into science for maximum effect.


Not one of them had forgotten that Saturday night in Warren's room where they had pledged to re-take Sunnydale as their town. For a year they had plotted and planned, devising strategies and working on their chosen skills to hone and enhance them.


They were up against a Slayer after all.


The fact that Buffy Summers was a Slayer did not worry them too much. After all, there were four of them and they would all be considered complete geeks. They knew what they were doing, they used their brains; unlike the Slayer who appeared to rely upon a middle aged man and Xander Harris to provide answers. Willow had been able to supply that titbit of information. From one of her rare conversations with Xander just before their friendship completely fell apart, he had told her that Rupert Giles the high school librarian was a Watcher and did most of the research for Buffy and that he helped out. Willow had been, and still was, rather scornful when it came to Xander "helping out". She'd known him all her life and had never willingly seen him pick up a book and research anything, even when his grade hung in the balance.


Willow was, at the present time, sitting on the sofa in her living room end to end with Andrew, their feet meeting in the middle. They were surrounded by magic books, busy researching a spell. It didn't worry Willow to have these kind of books lying around the house, her parents, both notable psychiatrists were never at home. They were once again on their never ending travels and Willow had the house to herself. Warren had deemed it the perfect place for their headquarters.


The door opened and Jonathan arrived with a bag of take out. "Got the Chinese!" As he passed the door to the basement he called out, "Warren!"


"Did you remember my egg rolls?" Warren shouted back.


"Yes. I got them. Come up and eat before it gets cold." Dumping the bag in the kitchen Jonathan poked his head into the living room. "Where do you want to eat?"


"Dining room," Willow said glancing up from the book she was reading. "I don't want to risk anyone spilling anything on these books."


Andrew marked his page and jumped up. He grinned boyishly at Willow. "Having our own headquarters is great! Our very own Baxter Building; just like a real life Fantastic Four."


Willow smiled good naturedly and rolled her eyes. She was used to the boys and their super hero references. Knowing them as well as she did, Willow understood they had, during their childhood and adolescence, immersed themselves in a world of fantasy to escape from the reality of being ridiculed and scorned by their peers. She could identify, she was used to being mocked by her peers too.


"So," Jonathan unloaded the take out as Andrew set out the plates. "What have you two been doing?"


"We've been studying this spell to summon a M'Fashnik demon," Andrew replied, licking his lips as he eyed his carton of special fried rice. His stomach voiced its approval of the aroma.


Jonathan frowned. "Which one is that again?"


Willow gathered the soda and the glasses together trotting back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen. "The M'Fashnik demon is a mercenary demon. He'll perform acts of slaughter and mayhem for the highest bidder."


"Warren!" Jonathan called again, helping Andrew to take the carton's of food to the table. "Why do you want to summon that demon in particular?"


Andrew slid into the seat opposite Willow reaching eagerly for his food. "Willow thought it would be a good idea to keep the Slayer busy with demon stuff so we can get a better gauge of her abilities. Besides, it gives us time to perfect our own gadgets; and then we lead her into an ambush the way Captain America ambushed Iron Man during the Civil War of the Superhero Registration Act."


"She was never all that smart at school and science and technology just went straight over her head. Demon's are her forte." Willow said, scooping some chicken chow mien on to her plate. "That's not the way to take her down. We have to be cleverer than that."


The basement door swung open and Warren appeared, his shirt opened at the neck and his dark hair in disarray from where he kept running his hand through it. "I think its finished, Willow. Before we all eat could you come and look at it?"


As Willow rose and followed Warren down the basement Andrew gave his food a longing look. With a sigh he got up and trotted after Jonathan. Their footsteps echoed on the wooden stairs as they went down into the basement. The Rosenberg basement wasn't a place to store junk, Willow's parents didn't believe in wasting space. Instead they had bookcases lining the walls housing their old psychology books and there was a desk set up where an outdated computer had once sat. Willow and Warren had taken that computer apart and the desk was littered with other computer parts, wires, a soldering iron and micro chips.


In the middle of the room stood a girl. A slender pretty thing with long dark hair, her green eyes staring straight ahead. She didn't move as they came in and crowded around her, she simply stared ahead unseeingly.


"A humanoid robot," Andrew breathed, his eyes widening. "Like Awesome Android in Fantastic Four."


Jonathan's lips pursed, his head cocking to the side as he watched Willow examine the robot. "Is it creepy that I think she's hot?"


"I'm not going to answer that," Willow said, her fingers tripping lightly over the motherboard stored in the back of the robot.


"You're like our very own Mad Thinker," Andrew said looking across at Warren, his mind still on The Fantastic Four. "What's she for?"


"She's a test subject," Warren said. "We need to see if she works properly and what we need to fix. And," he grinned wryly. "I prefer to think of myself as Doctor Doom and her as my Doombot."


"But," Jonathan looked confused. "What exactly is her purpose?" As Willow was the only one totally unsurprised and unfazed at finding the robot in the basement, Jonathan could only surmise that she had known all about it. They were meant to be a team and shouldn't the concept of a robot have been discussed before Warren went ahead and built it? Not that he hadn't done a good job, but Jonathan did rather resent the fact that he hadn't even been informed about it.


Willow emerged from behind the robot. Hard green eyes met Jonathan's over the robot's shoulder. "She's going to help us destroy the Slayer."