The group stared at Peter Pan for a moment, the ex-dark twins lowering their heads in shame at knowing what they'd nearly did to his world. The two princesses smiling at the boy, and wondering if he'd ever grow tired of being just that, a boy. However they knew he wouldn't and knew he'd keep his childish innocents because of it. Clay and her group blinked, they felt no magic about him to make him fly, but if he wasn't using magic, then how could he fly? Pushing those thoughts aside for the moment they listened as he spoke. Willow and the others had nodded, "We heard there was some sort of creature?" The redhead asked watching Peter nod.
"Yeah, it appears at the clock tower and attacks anyone on the ground before coming here and doing the same."
"Can you tell us what it does?" Faith asked keeping her senses open for anything unnatural, "How does it attack them?"
Peter had to shrug at that question, "That I really don't know...I mean it doesn't even touch a person it only glances in their direction and after a few seconds they fall to the ground." He scratched his head, "It's like he can kill with a single look...we've been keeping everyone away from it as best we can, but we have lost a mermaid."
"I'm sorry about that, I know what it's like to lose a friend." Buffy whispered sadly with agreeing nods from everyone, "Where is it now?"
Peter turned around and pointed toward a mountain, "Between that mountain and the next is where the mermaids relax, but are currently staying away...that is where the Phantom is now."
The sound of a sword being unsheathed startled the group, "Take us, please." Clay spoke gripping her Gunblade in her right hand.
"Okay, but you'll need some Pixie Dust to fly..."
"No, we have a Float spell that will allow us to follow you." Willow number two said as she cast the spell on herself and the others as the rest began floating once more, "Now, please lead us to the Phantom."
Peter nodded and took off at a much slower speed that usual, allowing the group to keep up with him.
The entire group floated off the ship over the ocean to land at a faster pace than what swimming would have been, and floated just above the trees as they reached the base of the mountain. Peter began slowing down as they quickly reached the top and quietly landed on the ground. "He's just over there." Peter pushed a bush out of his way and pointed down toward the mermaid's relaxing grounds to where a figure in a pitch black robe could be seen, "He usually stays there, waiting and watching. When he sees something he goes after it." Peter whispered afraid to speak any louder on the chance that the Phantom would hear him.
Tara stared at the robed figure, there was something about him/it that didn't feel right...just wrong. But what was it? The blonde stepped closer to the bushes, narrowing her eyes and took a closer look at the Phantom, "Huh?" she whispered cocking her head to the right, "Is he floating?"
"Yes, the only thing to touch the ground at times is the robe." Peter whispered and scratched his head, "But I still don't understand it, how can he do that without Pixie Dust, or your magic?"
"That's it!" Tara almost shouted, "That's what feels wrong about it..." she trailed off closing her eyes for a moment before opening them with a sick look on her face.
"What? What is it, sweetheart?" Willow gently touched her wife's shoulder as she stepped behind Tara when the blonde looked as if she was going to fall over, "What's wrong?"
Tara relaxed in the feel of Willow's hands on either of her shoulder's and sighed when the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach subsided, "Something felt wrong with it...he didn't feel right and now I know what it is." she said and turned toward the group, "He's floating, so he's using magic, right? But why can't we feel it? I mean we can feel magic no matter what type is being used, so why can't we feel the magic the Phantom is using?"
"Must be...oh shit!" Faith number two growled as she took up a fighting stance, "We've got company!"
The others quickly turned, their eyes scanning the area as confused looks crossed their face, "What are you talking about?" Buffy number three asked shaking her head, "There ain't nothing here!" she said turning her head to look at Faith number two, "Behind us!" she shouted hitting Willow number three on the shoulder with wide eyes, "You seeing this?"
The third redhead nodded as she unsheathed her sword, "But how can this be?"
"What!?" Clay asked a tone of worry in her voice and keeping her guard up, "What the hell are you three talking about?!" she asked glancing from her Faith to the ex-dark twins.
"No!" Willow number two shouted shaking her head and backing up, "You won't get near me! Not this time!"
Clay turned and paled at what she saw and raised her Gunblade, "You stay away from her!" she shouted.
Buffy number two touched her lover's shoulder and stumbled back as she saw flashes before her eyes, "Damn!" she squeezed her eyes shut for a moment, "What the hell?" she gaped as she opened her eyes and stared ahead, "This ain't happening!" she shouted getting ready for a fight.
No one knew what to do, they couldn't see what the others were talking about, and that had them worried. Clay was standing in front of her lover gripping her blade so hard her knuckles were white. Willow number two for her part had gone pale, the blood having drained from her face, and she had a frightened look on her face. Buffy and Faith number two were both in a fighting stance ready for an enemy attack, but what enemy? The ex-dark twins had the blades in their hands, both holding their head high and both had taken the spot directly in front of the princesses. The princesses looked as if something green, slimy, and with teeth were standing in front of them.
"What in the hellfire!" Faith growled watching the two groups in confusion, before glancing over her shoulder at the others, her eyes going wide, "No fuckin' way!" she shook her head as if it would make what she was seeing go away.
"What?!" Buffy asked seeing her lover's face go white as a sheet, and turned, "Holy Shiva! This can't be good!" the Al Bhed's face went just as white as her lover's cause her to swagger from left to right like she were drunk.
Willow looked between her two extended family members, wondering just what was going on and turned. The redhead grabbed Tara and pulled her around behind her, "Stay away!"
"Will, what..." Tara trailed off as she glanced up, "You? But how? This can't be..." she shook her head.
Donald and Goofy stared at the girls, wondering what exactly was going on, they couldn't see a thing, nothing was there. So what had the entire group tense, frightened and ready to jump into a fight? Goofy blinked and took a good look at each of the girls, "Donald, something's wrong." he said looking into Willow number three's eyes and noticed they were glazed over, like all the others
"I can see that." Donald spoke waving his hand in front of Princess Tara's eyes and shook his head, "But what is wrong? What do they see, and why can't they see or hear us?"
Fear! Sweet, sweet fear!
Both Donald and Goofy turned in a complete circle, scanning the area around them, "Who was that?" Goofy asked and saw his companion shrug.
What the three guys didn't know was that the girls were seeing their worst fear coming back to haunt them. The ex-dark twins stood with their heads held high as they protected their lovers from the one thing that could rip anything and everything in half...Darkside. The pitch black Heartless monster rose from the ground letting out a howl that only they could hear, and swiped his five foot wide hand at the group. The ex-dark twins brought up their blades, blocking the attack, and letting out their own growls as they pushed on their blades with all their strength. As the two girls jumped into battle, the princesses both fell to the ground as they thought back to seeing the monster just before the Heartless attacked their home.
"What is that?" Princess Tara had asked staring out into the darkness from her bedroom window. The princess hated being cooped up in the castle, but there had been reports of strange creatures appearing and causing trouble, and the princesses had to be kept safe.
Princess Faith came to stand beside her sister and looked out the window, "What did you see?" she asked just as a flash of lightning lit up the castle courtyard and the area beyond. Dark eyes went wide when the princess saw a tall pitch black monster in the distance, "What is that?" she repeated her sister's earlier words but kept her eyes on the spot she'd seen the monster, when another flash of lightning came they both saw it was now closer.
"We must tell Captain Giles!" Princess Tara spoke, her voice slightly shaking from fear, what ever the thing was, it was coming closer toward the castle, and they knew the guard needed to be ready.
The two princesses reached the door and heard a scream coming from down the hallway, Tara had quickly swung her bedroom door open and into a seemingly war zone. Little black monsters with glowing yellow eyes had began appearing in the hallway along with slightly bigger ones with armor. The things had then attacked anything and everything that moved, the palace servants, guards, even the small animals, nothing was safe from the creatures.
The two princesses saw a young man bring his long sword down, severing the head off one of the small creatures before turning toward them, "Your Highnesses," he spoke between deep breaths, "please, you must stay inside your room where it is safe." he smiled sadly at the girls, "When I see Will and Buff, I'll tell them to get here as fast as they can, but I'm sure they are already on their way." And with that he turned and fought his way toward the stairs, hoping to keep the creatures at bay.
"Xander!" Tara had screamed knowing it would be the last time they saw him. The princess' head snapped up when a female's scream invaded the hall, "Anya!" Tara shouted poking her head out the door and cast a Holy spell to kill the creatures surrounding the young woman, "Come in here!"
"No," Anya shook her head with a sad smile, "I have to find Xander." she'd said and hurried off, "Thank you for taking care of those bastards!" were her retreating words as she disappeared around the corner. That had been the last either had seen of the young woman.
A loud roar filled the room announcing the arrival of the giant monster the girls had seen through the window, causing both to slam the door shut and back up against the wall. They heard Captain Giles shouting orders at his army, just before the door opened again allowing their lovers to enter the room.
Faith number two and Buffy number two had seen the one site neither of them had ever wanted to see again. The battle for their home. Heartless were appearing from every direction and were advancing forward. Both girls ran forward, pounding their way though the large group of monsters, only to have ten more take the place of one. Once on the other side of the enemies the girls turned, both with large gashes on their arms, and legs. Buffy also had a large gash on her cheek and Faith had one down the center of her chest. Taking a deep breath they cut their way back through the enemies, determined to help their friends...if they could find them.
Clay sneered at the one person she thought was long dead, a sorceress from their home world, one that wanted Willow. The blonde was not going to let her get her grubby paws on her lover every again, even if it meant that she had to die, Willow would be safe. With a loud and drawn out battle cry Clay shot forward, casting a Flare spell just as her Gunblade came down on her enemy. Willow didn't know what to do, being with that witch just that one time had scarred her mind, and now as she saw her once more she couldn't move to help her lover. What was she going to do?
Willow, Faith, Buffy and Tara were standing face to face with none other than Glory. The fallen summoner laughed as she raised a long sword with a jagged blade, and sprinted forward. Willow, Buffy and Faith met the fallen summoner half way with their own weapons raised. None of them could figure out how Glory blocked all three attacks, and still have time to make her own. A Flare spell sent Buffy flying back, where she collided with a tree and slid to the ground. Faith was knocked back by a Thundaga spell, and Willow had no time to block an Ultima spell, and fell to her knees trying to block the pain. Tara had began to cast a Holy spell when she saw Willow fall, and heard her cry of pain. The ex-summoner's eyes began glowing as she raised her hand, "Ultima!" she growled out forcing the spell to wrap around Glory.
"No!" Donald and Goofy shouted, "What is going on?!" Donald quacked angrily as he ran forward.
"That's it! More! More fear!"
"Fear?" Goofy glanced around at the girls once more before a light bulb lit up, "Fear!" he shouted, "That's it! It's the fear!"
Donald stopped, and turned, "I don't care about fear right now Goofy! We have to stop Tara from turning all black hair and eyes!"
The pain that's all there was racing throughout Tara's body as the darkness began taking over, and raising her power one hundred fold. "No..." Tara weakly whispered lowering her hand to her side and squeezed her eyes shut, it was happening again, the darkness inside her was taking over, and she had to stop it. "But why? Why should you? Sure it's painful, but it makes you oh so more powerful." A voice inside her mind spoke softly almost whispering, "Do you not want to be more powerful? Just let it out, and you will surpass even your wife." The voice this time whispered lovingly, "Tell me this is something you do not want. You can't can you? You're jealous of your wife for having more power than you, you always have been, don't deny it, I know you have, and this is something that you have wanted ever since she began casting magics."
"No." Tara shook her head and wished she hadn't from the pounding, "No, I have never been jealous of Willow! I was and still am happy that she can cast both white and black magics. I don't want this..."
"This power is something you can't deny!" Tara squeezed her eyes tighter from the loudness of the voice, "I will not be denied!" The voice shouted as the darkness rose within her.
"No! I won't give in!"
Tara's shout stopped Donald in his tracks, "I do not want this power!" Tara shouted again causing a shockwave and knocking everyone on the ground.
"Donald! The fear! It feeds off of the fear a person has! We have to tell the girls to face their fears!" Goofy shouted, and with an apologetic look, slapped Buffy number two and her lover, "Snap out of it!"
"That hurt!" Buffy number two rubbed her cheek.
"Sorry, but you have to face your fears, otherwise they will kill you!"
Buffy number two nodded, and with Faith by her side stood to face the growing group of Heartless. "We couldn't stop you the day you attacked our home." Faith spoke staring over the ever growing group.
"But now we have the chance to help change that!" Buffy spoke and took her lover's hand in hers, "We will change what happened, and get our friends and home back!" they both shouted allowing their love for their destroyed home and friends fill their heart and soul, "You will not win!" they screamed, shattering their fear, and causing the Heartless to disappear.
As that had been happening, Donald ran around slapping the girls, apologizing and telling them what to do. The only thing he couldn't possibly help with was Tara, who was at that very moment floating in the air with a gray mist swirling around her. After Willow, Faith and Buffy had faced their Glory-fear they had turned with Willow stepping forward only to be held back, "You can't." Faith shook her head, "She has to do this on her own..."
"Let's just hope she can." Buffy whispered low enough so the others couldn't hear her, sure she had faith in her cousin, but fighting the darkness within ones self, by themselves? But then again, if anyone could do it, it would be Tara. Just as that thought crossed her mind the shockwave sent her and the others flying back, "Damn!"
"Help me!" Faith screamed, pushing down on Willow's chest, "Tara's draining her magics!"
Willow had felt the link with Tara fully open as she had flown back, and just a second later her magics being drained. Only this time it was much, much worse. Her back had arched with her body going tense as a bowstring, and no amount of pressure from Faith, and now Buffy could push her down.
"You want this." The voice continued to tell the ex-summoner as she fought against the darkness.
Tara shook her head closing her eyes tightly and tried to stay calm, it had been working up until she felt Willow's magics being pulled into her body. "No!" she shouted and struggled in the air, losing concentration on fighting the darkness, and let out a primal scream when the pain intensified.
"Baby-girl, calm down, Willow is in danger, please calm down." Mythe's comforting voice filled Tara's mind, pushing out the darkness' voice, "Please, you must calm down."
On the Farplane everyone had been watching over the group, and had agreed not to interfere with the fight unless needed. It became needed when even the Aeon's fell to their knees from the overwhelming feel of the darkness coming off Tara, it was then Mythe decided to help her daughter. She didn't care what the others said, it was her daughter, not theirs, they didn't give birth to her and watch her grow only to leave her alone. Opening her mind and letting her consciences drift she entered Tara's mind and spoke to her, hoping against all hope that she could at the very least calm her daughter down. And it seemed to be working. Tara was zoning in on her mother's voice and blocking out the darkness', "Momma?" Tara asked very quietly.
"Yes darling, it's momma, now listen to me... You must calm down and concentrate on forcing the darkness from your body. Close your link to Willow so she will be out of danger, and focus on pushing the darkness out. If you can't force it out now, just keep it at bay."
Doing as her mother said, Tara quickly became calm enough to close her link to Willow, and focus on the darkness. Pushing against it was like trying to move a mountain at that point, but Tara knew she had to either force it out, or lock it down for that moment. The pain had began to lessen the more she fought against, and pushed the darkness down further, and forced under her white magic. It would weaken her, and most likely make her sick for several moments, or maybe longer, but it wouldn't get out unless she grew angry again.
Buffy had sighed, wiping the sweat from her face as she leaned back once Willow's body had fallen to the ground. The Al Bhed could see Faith doing the same, they both had been scared that the redhead would grow do tense that she'd snap her back. They had seen Tara calm down and for several of the longest seconds in either young woman's life Willow finally groaned as her body loosened and her back hit the hard ground. Taking their eyes away from Willow's unconscious form they looked at Tara, the gray mist was thinning- and would soon disappear- as Tara's feet touched the ground, "Catch her!" Willow number two had shouted and watched as Clay sprinted forward, catching her counterpart just before she hit the ground in a dead faint.
"That's my girl." Mythe spoke softly, knowing Tara could hear her, and exited her daughter's mind.
Clay carried Tara over, and lay her beside Willow, "I don't know about you guys, but I think that was just friggin' nuts!"
"What the hell was all that anyway?" Buffy number three asked keeping her guard up and trying not to think about what she'd remembered.
"Stay on guard." Goofy whispered, he may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he knew something wasn't right. Sure they had all faced their fears, but where was the thing that had made them see the fear? He didn't know, and he hoped he never would, but for some odd reason he just knew what had called on the fear, "Hey guys." he spoke but was ignored as the others talked about what had been going on, and keeping their eyes on Willow and Tara, "Guys." Goofy blinked taking a step back as he brought up his shield, "Guys!" he shouted.
"What!?" Donald turned toward Goofy, "What is it?"
"That." Goofy pointed behind the group, causing them to turned.
"I WANT FEAR!" The dark robed Phantom's voice bounced around in everyone's head, making them stumble back, and scatter just as the creature swiped at them, "GIVE IT TO ME!" he shouted in their minds again. Facing ones fear could be said as being easy, but could the same be said about facing a creature that lives off that very fear?