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Title: Discovery (In Harms Way {2/?})
Series : New Beginings
Author: Kathryn Merteuil
Disclaimer : The characters used are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, WB, Fox and probably some other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Copyright :

All parts not copyright to another entity (see disclaimer) -- including content, presentation and xHTML -- are copyright Kathryn Merteuil © 2000.

Many thanks to my beta readers Charles Praise, Kenneth McIssac and Babsi. Any remaining mistakes are mine all mine.

Spoilers : Late S4. .
Notes : Willow and Tara discover the results of the spell to try to restore Spikes soul.
Feedback : Yes please.
Rating : PG-13

Willow had awoken entwined in Taras arms the following morning. She looked around momentarily unsure where she was until she recognized Giles guest bed room. She gazed Taras face, eyes drinking in the beauty of her lover.

Willow eased herself from the embrace, careful not to wake Tara. She crept into the bathroom, noticing as she did that it was 10:34am by the bedside clock. Downstairs she could here the muted murmur of the television. After a quick wash Willow checked that Tara was still sleeping then went downstairs.

"Good morning Willow" Giles said muting the television as she stepped into his living room "slept well I trust. Can I get you anything?"

"I'll get myself some juice, if that's OK?"

Giles nodded "I was just watching the news, nothing major seems to have happened overnight. Buffy phoned, she should be here in about half an hour."

Willow returned from the kitchen, a large glass of cranberry juice in hand "How was last night? Have fun?"

Giles seemed a little embarrassed for a moment before he said "It was good. A few of us had a kind of jamming session. One of the lecturers from the college, I don't think you know her, Miss Appleby?"

Willow shook her head.

"She teaches English. Well, she plays keyboards and has a very good singing voice. We managed a pretty good rendition, even if I do say myself, of 'Don't Fear The Reaper'."

Willow looked blank for a moment. "Blue Oyster Cult?" she asked uncertainly.

Giles seemed a little surprised but nodded.

"My father likes that one. He used to play it in the car. Unless my mother was there, she's more of a Osmonds fan."

Giles smiled "I can see the incompatibility."

From upstairs they heard sounds of movement. "Sounds like Tara's up. I'll get her juice and toast" Giles said.

Willow looked at Giles with a degree of shock etched on her face.

"For breakfast she likes half and half Orange and Grapefruit juice and 4 slices of whole wheat toast with raspberry jelly." Seeing the look of shock deepen on Willows face he continued "She has been here for a month and a half now. I try do to be a good host, even though it did take me a week to get anything more than 'Anything will be fine Mr Giles' out of her."

Whilst Giles prepared her lovers breakfast, Willow climbed the stairs and greeted Tara as she exited the upstairs bathroom. "Morning."

"Morning," replied Tara before kissing Willow gently but firmly. "Sleep well?"

"Of course. I was with you." Willow smiled. Her smile widened as Taras face lit up at the compliment.

They walked hand-in-hand down the stairs to find Giles waiting with a breakfast tray. "I made some extra toast in case you're hungry, Willow"


"Thank you Mr Giles" Tara took the tray from him and carried it to the sofa "What do you have planned for today?"

"Well I'm looking at some vacant shops on Main Street this afternoon, should be finished by around five." Giles had been looking at the possibility of opening a 'rare books and classic rock music and memorabilia shop', he had received quite a lot of interest from people he had met through his evenings at the Espresso Pump. "Anything planned yourselves?"

"We thought we'd visit the mall, unless Buffy needs us for anything else ." Willow leapt in looking to Tara for confirmation. Tara nodded vociferously. Willow noticed that Sabrina had just started on the silent television, she glanced at Tara then Giles.

He followed her gaze and said with a mock sigh "Well if you have to." as he handed her the remote "I'll be in the utility room. Some new books arrived from a friend in England, and I wanted to unpack them. Just put your plates in the sink when you're finished." he left them to their own devices.

Willow restored the sound to the television and snuggled next to her girlfriend. Once she was sure that Giles was out of earshot Willow turned to Tara "That was pretty intense, last night."

Tara nodded. "Something definitely happened."

"How will we know if it worked? Spike's been pretty mopey lately so we might not be able to tell the difference immediately."

Tara thought for a moment. "Well, only creatures with souls have an aura so we could just see if he has an aura."

Willow shook her head slightly "How do you do that?"


"You have to kind of unfocus your eyes and say 'Goddess, grant me the true vision to see within'. An aura looks like a glow around the person, usually extends an inch or two around them. Yours is a kinda pale pinkish-lilac, Mr Giles' is sort of pale blue with a touch of purple. Buffys is a bit strange. It's pink but she's got these blue spirals running through it, especially down her arms, and it's bigger than normal, about 3 inches. I suppose it's a slayer thing, blue usually indicates physical strength."

"Have you checked out all of our auras?" Willow asked.

"Oh no. It's just that you three happened to have come round when I was trying it out. Want to try? You don't have to say the incantation very loud, just under your breath will do."

"Sure." Willow moved to face her lover, and tried to unfocus her eyes, whilst under her breath she said, "Goddess grant me the true vision to see within."

For a moment nothing seemed to happen but suddenly she saw that Tara was surrounded by a reddish pink glow with lilac and yellow streaks swirling through it. "Wow!" she exclaimed.

"I've been told that mine is pink. You can't see your own aura, kind of can't see the wood for the trees sort of thing."

"Well, yes it is. It's got these little streaks in it. Tara, you've got a beautiful aura. It suits you" Willow leaned in to plant a sweet kiss.

When they broke the kiss Tara asked, "Streaks?"

"Yes, pale yellow and lilac. they look like they're swimming around."

There was a knock at the door and as they turned Buffy walked in. Willow saw that Taras description of Buffys aura had been accurate. "Hi guys!"

"Hi Buffy," they responded in unison but were struck dumb as Xander followed behind Buffy with Anya. Anyas aura was a rosy pink and surrounded her about an inch around her body. Xanders however was a blinding white extending 5 inches around him, broken only by solid blue bars radiating from his heart and head. "Wow!!" they eventually managed to say.

"What's up?" Xander asked innocently.


"Tara's been showing me how to see auras. Yours is just... well... Blinding"

They saw Anya mutter something under her breath and look at her boyfriend. "Wow!" she exclaimed "Why didn't I see this before? Xander, yours is much bigger than usual."

"We still talking about my aura?" Xander couldn't resist the quip.

Willow turned to Tara, "How do you turn this thing off?"

"Stare at an object and it should go."

The three magic users stared at figurine on Giles' bookcase and after a few seconds the blinding light from Xander disappeared.

Giles entered the living room. "I thought I heard you arrive. Everything alright?"

"Just got here." Buffy replied. "Suddenly they're all talking about auras."


"Tara was showing me how to see them." supplied Willow "Then Buffy, Xander and Anya walked in "What does it mean when someone's aura is much larger than normal?"

"I've never been able to see them myself. I think the size indicates the power of someone's soul and the color depends upon what they're like deep down." Giles selected a book from his book shelf and flipped though "ah yes. Here we are. Red tones indicate emotion, purple power, white courage, blue strength, yellow vanity, black evil and so on."

Anya took Xanders arm "I knew you were something special.", she gave him a kiss on the cheek. Everyone was stunned for a moment by this show of affection without sexual overtones.

"So is someone going to explain to me what's going on here?" Buffy sounded a little frustrated.


Tara answered "Xanders aura is much larger than normal and is really bright white with blue bars running through it." she looked at Anya "I suppose that means he's a keeper!"

"So that means?" Buffy sounded somewhat impatient.

"He's our strong brave guy" Willow said with a touch of pride in her voice. By this time Xander was blushing.

Seeing Xanders embarrassment, Giles asked "So, Buffy. How did patrol go?"

"Nothing much. Heard a scream out by the campus but couldn't find anything so it might have just been an animal."

"Well keep a look out. There was nothing on the news or in the paper so you're probably right. I hope you're taking care though."

"Don't worry G-man." Xander put in. "Anya and I are keeping her company. I've even managed to resurrect a couple of the HST sensors we liberated from the Initiative."

 Buffys face dropped for a moment at mention of her former lovers organisation but brightened as she turned to Willow and Tara. "So. Mall later? Mom asked me to pick up some things from the store but I should be free about one. Where should I pick you up?"

"Espresso pump?" Willow asked.

Tara nodded "I'll just clean up a bit first," she said before heading up the stairs.

"OK. Espresso pump at one." said Buffy heading out the door.

"Wait up, I'll come with," said Xander. "It's about time I was getting on the road. Kids will be wanting ice creams.". He followed Buffy out with Anya close behind.

"I'll join Tara. I've still got a couple of changes of clothes here haven't I Giles?" Willow started to climb the stairs.

"Uh, what? Oh yes. Cupboard on the right at the top of the staircase same as always. I'll get back to unpacking my books. If you're not doing anything would you like to stay for dinner tonight? I'm doing a vegan chilli." Giles knew that Willow had a weakness for his chilli.

"Love to." responded Willow "My parents are out of town again."

"About half seven then." he called after her.



An hour and a half later, Willow and Tara were sitting in the Espresso pump. Willow had her usual double decaff hazelnut Mocha, Tara a fruit tea.

"So we'll find try to find Spike tonight and see if he has an aura."

"Uh. Yeah."

"Actually there's something I wanted to ask you about Tara. You know when we were casting the spell did you feel something pass through you?"

"Yes. I guess that was the soul. We kind of channelled it through ourselves."

"When I restored Angels soul something similar happened. But it felt different."

"Different? How?" Taras face took on a look of concern.

"Well it felt kinda... I'm not sure... Male? This time it didn't feel like that. Also I got a flash of looking at myself from the outside, sort of like looking in a mirror, but not."

"I had that as well. Just for an instant. I suppose because we were joined in the spell we picked up images from each other. I've heard that happens sometimes."

Buffy walked in before Willow could reply "Are we ready to hit the mall?"

Tara and Willow downed the last of their drinks and stood. The two lovers and friend left the coffee shop and headed to the mall. Concerns forgotten in an afternoon of window shopping and retail therapy. Willow found herself glancing towards the UC Sunnydale campus a number of times and noticed that Tara seemed to be doing the same. She wasn't sure why, but she felt a slight tug from that direction.

As they left Willow felt as if they had visited every shop in the mall, although she was certain that they had only managed a third of them. Buffy had spent most of her time examining everything in 'Baby GAP', Willow had been surprised that the store even had a maternity and baby section. "Must be all those Gen Xers with their ticking biological clocks!" she thought. As they left Buffy had pounced on a cropped top saying it was just perfect for Dawn.

Later that evening, after a delicious dinner, Giles was washing the dishes, Willow drying and Tara putting away the crockery. They were disturbed by a frantic hammering at the door. Cautiously Giles went to answer the door, Willow stood ready behind him holding a crossbow. He opened the door to reveal a rather bedraggled looking Harmony.

"Mr Giles!? What's happened to me?"

"Is this some trick?" asked Giles raising his hand with a stake. Harmony tried to step over the threshold but was prevented by an invisible force.

"What? Mr Giles, please help me. I remember being at graduation and running away from the big snake then pain and I passed out. The next thing I know I'm waking up in an icky underground crypt, and it's like I'm remembering things that I know I've never done. I looked in the mirror and I didn't have a reflection." Harmony looked on the verge of tears. "I felt like I had to get here, I don't know why, I just knew I had to come here, something was pulling me. When I tried to leave the crypt as soon as the sun hit me I felt like I was burning and fell back. I tried again when it went dark and it was OK. What's happened to me."

From behind them Willow and Giles heard Tara chant quietly then suddenly gasp. "Willow," she said. "I can't believe it. Look at her aura."

Willow chanted under her breath "Goddess grant me the true vision to see within." and unfocused her eyes. When she looked at Harmony she could see a flickering yellow aura with streaks of lilac and pink running through it.

"Why can't I get in?" cried Harmony franticly. She seemed to be verging on hysterical breakdown.

"You're a vampire," supplied Giles evenly. "Vampires can't enter a place without being invited."

"Giles, she has an aura."

"Only creatures with souls have auras, Willow." Giles responded then paused "Oh! But how? Ermmm. Willow, keep the crossbow. Tara, get the crosses and holy water from the cabinet behind you."

When they were appropriately supplied Giles turned to Harmony who was almost at the point of collapsing from despair. "Come in."

Harmony gratefully entered. "Sit on the sofa." Giles instructed her. She took her appointed place.

Tara and Willow sat opposite, watching her as Giles took a small glass bulb from a drawer and handed it to Harmony. She looked at it then looked questioningly at Giles. "What is it?" she asked tears forming in her eyes.

"Just hold it in both hands" he instructed then muttered a short incantation that Willow vaguely recognised as being Romanian. The bulb glowed a bright white then went out.

"What was that?" asked Willow.

"It's similar to a Thessolan orb but rather than storing a soul it glows when it's held by a being with a soul." Giles replied taking the bulb from Harmony and returning it to its place of storage. "I got it last year when Angel was still around in case I ever needed to check. This still doesn't explain why her soul has returned."

"What are you talking about?" Harmony's impatience and anger was winning against the unhappiness.

Willow felt the need to comfort her. She sat next to Harmony and held both of her hands as she explained. "Last year at graduation you were attacked by a vampire and killed. But they then turned you into one of them. When that happens your soul leaves your body and a demon moves in. The vampire uses your body and remembers your life but isn't you, your soul is gone. You weren't reported missing, you're parents had left so we figured you'd gone with them. Then last fall you showed up and you were a vampire. You attacked me."

"Oh god. I remember that." Harmony gasped in horror "And there was a man with an English accent and short blond hair."

"That would be Spike," Giles put in.

"Yes." Willow continued "About a month later Xander saw you but we didn't hear anything of you after that so we assumed you'd left the area. What do you remember?"

"It’s all blurred really. I remember having a big fight with this guy, Spike you say. Then it's just hiding. I remember tunnels, sewers. Oh god I ate rats." Harmony began to look a little nauseated.

"But how did your soul return?" asked Giles getting back to the crux of the matter.

"Ummm." Tara seemed uncertain how to continue "Well, uh, um, well Willow and I did a spell last night."

"What sort of spell?" Giles sounded midway between fearful and annoyed.

"Err. We were sort of trying to restore Spikes soul."

"What!!" Giles was incredulous for a moment but calmed down quickly.

"Well he was attacking all those people and I found a spell so we thought it best to try it. Sorry."

"Where did you get an Orb of Thessulah? I've been trying to get one for over a year now but the magic shop said that there were none available."

"The spell didn't need one. The caster channels the returning soul through themselves."

"I've never heard of... Wait." Giles seemed to recall something, "The book you found that spell in. What was it?"

"It's one I bought when I visited San Francisco a couple of months ago. It's um Magnata Malificarum."

"Do you have it here?" Giles seemed agitated and deeply worried.

"Just a moment." Tara ran up stairs to her room and returned a minute later with a slim leather bound volume.

Giles took it and opened it to the flyleaf. "Thought as much. This is the sixteenth century translation of a partial transliteration. I suppose you wouldn't have known." He went to his bookcase and extracted a thicker volume. "This is a complete transliteration. The original was the basis for many more books in later centuries. The original author is widely believed to have been either a genius or utterly insane." Giles searched through the book and then handing the book to Tara. "Is this the spell?"

Tara read for a moment and nodded "But there's some extra paragraphs."

Willow leant over Taras shoulder and read the passage following the spell aloud. "Be warned. From the day this spell is cast the soul to the caster shall be bound to the restored soul. Total clarity of mind is required lest the wrong soul be returned."

Giles explained "If you cast that spell your soul and the soul you are returning mix for a moment and may not separate perfectly. You each would get a part of the others soul."

"That would explain the streaks in our auras!" Tara suddenly exclaimed.

"What do you mean?"

"Well my aura is predominately pink but Willow said she could see yellow and lilac streaks in it. Willows was lilac but now has pink and yellow streaks in it."

"And Harmony's is yellow but has lilac and pink streaks," Willow completed.

"That could also explain why she felt drawn here." Giles said "The parts of your souls want to be as close as possible. In a way you're now soul mates, your souls are joined."

"But why her soul?"

"Hey, 'she's' sitting right here!"

Willow apologized "Sorry but we were trying to restore Spikes soul."

"Well, uh. That second sentence," Tara said slowly. "'Total clarity of mind is required lest the wrong soul be returned' I guess that means that if you're not absolutely clear then the wrong soul could get picked up."

"Goddess! While we were casting I was thinking about Spike but just for a moment I thought about Drusilla and Harmony."

"Drusilla? That sounds familiar. Yes, I remember getting really angry that he kept going on about this old lover of his, that was her name." Harmony was sounding less upset and more disgusted at what she had become. She also seemed very uneasy. "I can hear your hearts beating. It's making me hungry."

Giles looked up. "I think I've got some blood left in the fridge from when Spike was last here, it should still be fresh. Would you get it Willow please."

Willow got up to go to the kitchen "Blood!" Harmony squealed in disgust.

"W-w-well, you're a vampire and, uh, vampires don't eat, food that is, they uhm drink blood" Tara was feeling strangely drawn to the blonde vampire before her. She also realized that even though she could not see Willow she could tell exactly where she was. In the kitchen she could hear Willow open the door to the fridge and a few seconds later Giles' microwave oven running.

Willow soon returned with a mug in her hand. "I've warmed it up for you." she said "If it helps try thinking of it as soup."

Harmony seemed very unsure but took the mug. She looked at it for a moment then closed her eyes before quickly drinking the contents. Her features shifted between human and demon then back again. As Harmony drank, Giles saw both Tara and Willow close their eyes and their faces take slightly disgusted looks. When they reopened their eyes he looked at Willow, questioningly.

"I could taste blood," she said sounding as if she would like to be sick.

"Me, uh, me too," Tara murmured. She looked disgusted.

"That must be a side effect of your souls being in contact." Giles hazarded, "It must be quite disgusting for you."

"Actually it wasn't that." Willow replied hesitantly, "It tasted good. I can't believe that I liked the taste of blood!"

Tara nodded, still seeming a little nauseated.


"I need to make a call."

Giles left the three girls to use his upstairs phone. Opening a drawer he withdrew a card and dialled the number on it. The line rang out 3 times and a female voice answered. "Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless."

"Hello Cordelia. It's Giles. Could I speak to Angel please."


End part 2