Disclaimer: Joss owns everything to do with Buffy, the extra 
            characters are from this strange brain I have...

Inspiration: Been lacking this, hence the amount of time it's been 
             taking to write these parts!!

Recap: B&W are in NW England helping a were-slayer who's just figured 
       out that B&W are in love with each other but haven't even talked 
       about it... 


    

Its Grim Up North (7/10)

By SPik


"When he comes you'll wish you weren't here." spluttered the vampire 
as Buffy held him against the wall.

"When who comes?" she asked punching him squarely in the back and 
pushing his face harder into the brickwork.

"Ay....ic", he mumbled

"I didn't quite catch that." replied Buffy 

"AYPHRIC", just as the vampire screamed out his reply a group of five 
vampires turned into the alleyway and headed towards Buffy.

"Oh great.", commented Buffy as she quickly staked the vampire she 
was holding and turned to face the oncoming group.

"You're not the slayer." yelled the lead vampire.

"You wanna try and take me then." she quipped back causing them to 
run towards her, 'Oh that was stupid' she thought noticing the large 
pipe being held by one of the vampires.


****


"So what are you going to do now?", asked Torr from in the kitchen.

"Talk to her I guess. Although I'm still not sure about this." 
replied Willow as Torr returned with two fresh cups of coffee.

"Don't worry about it. It'll be fine.", Torr replied sitting down on 
the sofa next to Willow.

"What have you done?", questioned Willow jumping up from the couch 
having noticed the look in Torr's eyes, "Have you already spoken to 
Buffy?"

"No, I haven't. I promise. I just think that if you're that close 
then it'll be alright.", Torr continued trying not to let the wicked 
grin she could feel building up from bursting across her face.


****


Buffy looked around the alleyway ready for more action as the final 
specks of dust from the first three vampires hit the ground. The 
remaining two vamps realising that if they stuck around here their 
life expectancy would be rather diminished, turned and fled. In the 
large rubbish cart behind Buffy, Joe was just coming round having 
been knocked out the first vampire threw him in there.

"You couldn't give me a hand could you.", yelled Joe struggling to 
get out of the cart, "I'm somewhat stuck."

"Have you ever heard of this Ayphric?" asked Buffy as she helped Joe.

"No sorry.", replied Joe dusting the rubbish off his coat, "I wonder 
what he... it is."

"I'll phone Giles when we get back and ask him. If he doesn't know, 
the rest of the gang can help look it up, I'm sure they could use 
something to do."


Over in Sunnydale...


"Quick the sword." yelled Giles as Spike continued to punch the demon.

Xander quickly grabbed the sword from the weapons bag and handed it 
to Giles. Spike's next punched managed to floor the demon, allowing 
Giles just enough time to stab the blade into the demon's chest.

"So what's that, three now, and not even 10 o'clock yet." commented 
Spike watching the demon's green blood ooze out.

"I think we should stick together tonight." replied Giles as he 
pulled the blade out of the demon.

"Good idea, the more of us the easier it is to kill the big 
monsters." stated Xander

"Yes, precisely." remarked Giles with a slightly irritated tone while 
giving Xander one of those 'That's what I just said' looks.


Back in Manchester...


"We might as well head home, the weather's cleared and the sun will 
be up soon." remarked Joe.

"And I would like to find out about this things." replied Buffy as 
they started to head back to the van.

"So can I just ask. What's the deal with you and Willow?" asked Joe 
as they reached the van.

"What do you mean?" commented Buffy opening the door to the passenger 
side of the van.

"Oh it's just something Torr said." replied Joe climbing into the 
driver's side and closing the door.

As they drove away, continuing the conversation as they went, a black 
car appeared out of the building opposite and followed them, just far 
enough behind to not be noticed.


****


As Buffy and Joe entered through the flat door they noticed Torr 
curled up in the arm chair facing the TV, that was still on but now 
showing the early morning news, and Willow lying on the sofa, both of 
them sound asleep.

"I'll go and use the phone in the back room and ring Giles, see if he 
can help us." whispered Buffy.

While Buffy crept across the room trying not to wake people, Joe went 
to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Just as Buffy shut the door to 
the back room Torr woke up with a jolt. Hearing the sound of the 
kettle boiling Torr headed towards the kitchen.

"Two sugars in mine... jeez, you smell bad." yawned Torr as she 
reached Joe and the coffee he was making.

"Thanks." Joe replied sarcastically handing a cup to Torr, "I had an 
argument with a rubbish cart."

"Hey there sleepy head." Buffy remarked as she came back in the room 
and noticed Willow had just woken up and was now stretching.

Willow put her hand to her head and felt what her hair was 
doing, "Oh."

"So what did you two get up to last night then?" asked Buffy.

"What? Nothing." replied Willow now looking somewhat agitated as she 
hurried off into the bathroom.

"We watched some TV, Willow told me tales of apocalypses and demons, 
monster snakes, then she fell asleep so I watched more TV.", 
commented Torr, "Then I guess I fell asleep. Nothing much really, how 
about you?"

"Well we killed a few demons, ooh and I got the name of what's coming 
but was forced to stake the informant before he could tell me 
anything else.", replied Buffy as Willow reappeared having freshened 
up slightly, "I rang Giles to see what he knows but he wasn't in, I 
guess they're out patrolling or something." 

"So what do we do now?" asked Willow.

"Well I'm off to have a rest.", yawned Buffy as she started towards 
the bedroom.

"I'll go and start on the books.", commented Joe feeling slightly 
refreshed from his coffee.

As soon as she was sure that Buffy was out of the room Torr turned to 
Willow, "Well what are you waiting for? Go and talk to her.", she 
whispered gesturing towards the bedroom door.

Willow entered the bedroom and noticed that Buffy was sitting on the 
edge of the bed.

"Hey Wills what's up?" asked Buffy.

"Buffy, there's something I need to tell you." As Willow sat down on 
the bed next to Buffy she could feel her own heartbeat racing and her 
adrenaline levels growing, she just hoped she didn't have a heart 
attack before she got to tell her, "We've been good friends for over 
four years now and we've always helped each other out and been there 
for each other, although you've done more helping than I have what 
with you saving the world and all, but we've always been close and I 
hope we always will and I'm rambling away here without getting to the 
point."

"But you're cute when you ramble." replied Buffy with a wicked look 
in her eyes, "And I know what you're going to say.", before Willow 
could reply Buffy grabbed the redhead and began to kiss her. As 
Willow realised what was happening she relaxed and lent into the kiss 
as it became more passionate. As the kiss continued Willow felt the 
adrenaline build and as she wrapped her arms around Buffy's neck they 
both collapsed down on to the bed.

"But how?", gasped Willow as the kiss finally broke.

"I think our host is quite observant and also quite the matchmaker." 
replied Buffy.

"But she promised that she hadn't spoken to you."

"She didn't, Joe did. Now come back here, I'm not finished with you 
yet.", continued Buffy grabbing Willow back into her arms


****


"Phew, I'm glad we don't have to do this all the time. It's too 
tiring, I don't know how Buffy manages it." commented Xander as the 
gang arrived back at Giles' house.

"You can't be tired, I'm only just getting started.", remarked Spike 
as he started air boxing while Anya and Tara flopped on the sofa.

"Spike, go home.", replied Giles, "You're not staying here all day, 
and if you don't want to have to run round with a smoking blanket 
you'd better go now."

"Fine, I'll go. Wouldn't want to stay here anyway.", with that Spike 
left.

"Can't we just stake him, please?" asked Xander closing the front 
door, "Oooh look you have a message." he continued, distracted by the 
flashing light on Giles' answer machine.

"Well what is it? Press the playback button." asked Anya getting 
excited, "We want to hear it."

"Anya, it might be personal." replied Giles but too late as Xander 
had already pressed the button.

"Sorry." remarked Xander as Giles glared at him.

"Ooops forgot about the time difference.", Buffy's message 
started, "Hi Giles, nothing's wrong so stop worrying, we just need 
some help with the book work. One of the vampires I was fighting last 
night mentioned the name of what was coming. Alfred... Aphid... 
Oafric...  Ayphric, that's it, Ayphric, although I'm not sure what it 
is. I was hoping you might be able to find out what this thing is and 
how we can kill it. I guess you're out patrolling, I hope it's all 
going alright. Phone us if you know anything. Bye."

"Bookwork, now?" questioned Xander.

"No, you go home and sleep. I'll see what I can find out and phone 
them in the morning.", replied Giles.

"I'll stay and help, I'm not that tired.", remarked Tara

"Thank you Tara, but you should go and sleep. If you come back in the 
morning you can all help.", as the three of them left Giles replayed 
the message and started on the research.


****


Willow was lying behind Buffy stroking the slayers naked shoulder, 
feeling quite content and happy. The clothes strewn around the room 
gave away the urgency they'd had while tearing each other's clothes 
off.

"So how long have you fancied me then?" asked Buffy breaking the 
silence.

"I'm not sure I was so engulfed with Xander, then Oz and then Tara 
and you were busy with Angel and then Riley, but I think I've always 
fancied you, not as much at first but it's built up slowly.", replied 
Willow as Buffy turned to face her, "What about you?"

"Well my feelings have certainly got stronger since Riley left, and 
then when you and Tara split up they grew even more, but I'm also not 
exactly...", Buffy didn't get a chance to finish her sentence as 
Willow planted another kiss on Buffy's lips.

"Sorry, couldn't help myself." she replied sheepishly

"Well if that's the game you're going to play...", hinted Buffy as 
she climbed over Willow.


****


Across town, in the old nightclub underneath the building housing 
Ruaric's penthouse apartment, Graham stood on the stage explaining 
his plan to four robed men in front of him.

"So you understand, we'll do this tonight.", Graham finished, "Now I 
just need to find out where they're based."

"In an apartment in one of the converted old factories on the east 
side of town.", replied a voice from behind Graham, "I'll take you 
there, but the wolf is mine."

"Of course my friend.", Graham replied with a over the top 'trust me' 
tone which didn't go un-noticed by his friend, "If you can take her 
out of the picture then we'll not stand in your way."


****


Willow snuggled backwards into the welcoming arms wrapped around her, 
this time she knew she wasn't dreaming. "This is nice, we should have 
done this ages ago.", she commented.

"It doesn't matter, we're doing it now." replied Buffy tightening her 
grip on the redhead.

In the background they could hear the phone rang and Joe answer 
it, "Hello. Oh hi Mr Giles, I'll just go and get Buffy for you."

"I guess that's our cue to get up.", Buffy commented, "Although I'd 
much rather stay here."

"I wish we didn't have to as well, but you do have to help save the 
world.", replied Willow unwrapping herself from Buffy's arms and 
turning to face her, "Just don't mention anything to Giles, I want to 
talk to Tara first."

"OK. I won't say a word.", with that Buffy passionately kissed 
Willow, sending her adrenaline racing again, then turned and got out 
of bed.

"You're cruel.", whinged Willow as Buffy quickly got dressed and 
headed towards the door. 

"But you love me really.", Buffy replied just as Joe knocked on the 
door.

As Buffy left to talk to Giles, Willow got up, threw some clothes on 
and went to join everyone else in the front room.

"Right, so this Ayphric thing is a pure demon, like the mayor...? Not 
like the mayor??", questioned Buffy.

"Well we're not sure what sort of demon it is. Just that it's likely 
to be big, possibly too big.", replied Giles on the other end of the 
phone.

All that Buffy could manage as a reply was "Oh."

"We'll keep looking and get in touch if we find out anything else.", 
continued Giles, "I suggest you try to stop it coming rather than 
actually facing it."

"OK, we'll try to. Bye."

"What is it Buffy?", asked Willow.

"The thing that's coming, its a pure demon, and possibly a big one. 
We need to stop them.", replied Buffy regaining her focus.

"Well the sun will set soon. Maybe we can find out something while we 
patrol." Torr replied.

"It's that late already. Oops.", remarked Willow.

"While you two are out, Willow can help me go through the books we 
have here, we might be able to find something useful.", commented Joe.

"OK. We might as well go now, the sooner the better." continued Buffy

"Be careful. I don't want to lose you now."

"Don't worry, I'll keep her safe." replied Torr throwing a knowing 
look Willow's way.

Torr quickly grabbed some weapons and then headed down to the van 
with Buffy while Joe and Willow went to hit the books in the back 
room.

"So you two have hit it off then.", asked Torr as she started the van 
engine.

"I have the sneaky suspicion that I should be thanking you for 
opening our eyes to each others feelings."

"Oh it was nothing." replied Torr looking rather pleased.

As they drove out of the underground garage they didn't notice the 
two figures standing in the shadows. "The wolf's mine, remember.", 
commented one of the men.


****


A few hours later in an old rundown warehouse on the edge of the city.

"Come on tell us." Torr yelled as she continued to whack the demon's 
head against the wall, "We just want to know who's pulling the 
strings. It's a simple question."

"I'd rather die than tell you.", growled the demon.

"OK." Torr replied as she snapped the demon's neck.

"This is pointless. We'll never find out who's behind it this way." 
complained Torr returning to her human form.

"Well we won't if you keep killing them." remarked Buffy.

"They'll take them away from you, you know." as the voice spoke a 
woman in her early twenties emerged from between the piles of crates 
behind Torr and Buffy. Her long, once-blonde, straggly hair, tattered 
clothes and general stench gave away that she'd been living rough for 
quite a while. "I see things, hear things, feel things. Things that 
haven't happened yet, things I hope never will."

"What do you mean, take them away? Take who away?" asked Buffy 
turning to face her.

"Your fire and the wolf's shadow." she replied walking between 
them, "That's what they'll take, that's what they told me."

"Who told you? Stop speaking in riddles." yelled Torr as she moved to 
grab the woman but was held back by Buffy.

"The visions told me and I'll tell you now - they'll take the fire 
and the shadow to get to you.", she re-iterated, "Take them away so 
that you won't stop their plans.", she continued turning away from 
them and starting to walk off, "You'll see, fire and shadow, shadow 
and fire." As the stranger wandered through the building Buffy and 
Torr could hear her muttering, "Fire and shadow" constantly, until 
she disappeared into the streets.

"What could she mean, my fire and your shadow?" asked Buffy, "It just 
doesn't make sense. How can they take your shadow?"

"Joe!" Torr exclaimed, the meaning of the message suddenly 
registering in her brain, "Joe's my shadow. Meaning your fire's..."

"Willow." replied Buffy also suddenly grasping the fire reference, 
with that the two of them sprinted towards the van.


Meanwhile at the apartment....


Joe and Willow were currently sitting around the table in the back 
room surrounded by half-read open books still trying to find out 
something, anything about Ayphric. After the death of Torr's watcher, 
Joe had bought every book he could find on demons, monsters, legends, 
myths, everything. This collection added to what her watcher had 
brought meant that they now had quite a collection, not quite Giles 
standard but not bad...

"I just hope they can find out where this is happening before it 
happens.", remarked Willow, "From what I've read and what Buffy said 
earlier, we really don't want this thing to be summoned."

"I'll agree with that.", replied Joe, "Did you just hear something?"

"No."

"It thought I heard a noise like there was someone in the front room. 
Probably nothing though.", just as Joe turned back to the book he was 
reading, the door flew open and the two guards from Ruaric's room ran 
in, followed by Graham and another two guards.

"Get them but don't kill them, Ruaric wants them both alive."


    
<<< Part 6 | Part 8 >>>
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