Jack had checked the mayor's house, and not finding him there only meant he could be in one other place. Leading the group back through the small graveyard, and jumped into the coffin, he led them into a small brick shack, and through another tunnel.
The group emerged in what Jack called the Boneyard. Buffy was glancing around, and wonding just how many graveyards this world had. First the one where the new Heartless had appeared, the the one where they found Sally, and now this one. The only difference with this one, was the huge smiling pumpkin in the middle of the area.
They saw the mayor standing near the back of the area and carefully made their way over, just because it looked safe enough, didn't mean it was. As they walked though the new area; Willow lost count of how many tombstones the Heartless could be hiding behind, and just settled for keeping her guard up. Tara and Faith had been keeping their eyes on the sky so they wouldn't be caught by surprise.
"Mayor?" Jack stopped behind the shorter man, "We need the 'surprise' element for the heart. Do you know where it is?"
The mayor turned and nodded, "Check those tombstones in the order the ghosts appear." he pointed to five tombstones at the back of the graveyard, "But, if you get it wrong, you're in for a surprise!" the mayor said and left, leaving the group behind.
"I don't like the sound of that." Donald said suddenly glancing around them, and making sure nothing was there with them.
"This test only requires one." Jack said shaking his head, "And only one can walk through the barrier."
"Great, so who goes?" Faith asked looking around the group.
'I'll go." Goofy said, and approached the clear barrier, and stepped through. The group was surprised to see that when Goofy approached the tombstones, the barrier turned dark.
The only thing they could do now was wait. It wasn't but a few minutes later Goofy flew back through the barrier, and landed on the ground, unconscious. Tara leaned down, and cast a healing spell on him to heal the wounds on his face.
Without saying a word; Donald passed through the barrier, and just like Goofy, he flew out after a few minutes. Again Tara healed his wounds, and began to wonder if this was such a good idea.
"My turn...I guess." Buffy said and stepped through the barrier.
She approached the tombstones, and waited. After a few seconds the ghosts appeared and disappeared at a fast rate, Buffy waited a moment longer after they'd disappeared, and approached the first tombstone.
Buffy touched it and heard a soft ding sound. Sighing she stepped to the last from the left, and touched it, and got another ding. Stepping toward the middle one she tripped on something and grabbed onto the second one instead of the middle.
Standing up she cursed and looked down, there on the ground was the root of a tree, and she figured that's what she'd tripped on. Turning around she screamed when the claws of a ghost cut into her chest, and automaticly brought her blade up, severing the ghosts' hand. She cried out again when her back was cut open, and felt herself begin lifted into the air, and thrown back through the barrier. When she landed, Tara was ready with a healing spell.
Jack tried next and as with the others he was thrown back through the barrier, and had to be healed. Faith was the next to try, but failed. Willow entered through the barrier, and took her time. She did not want Tara to be the one put in danger.
Carefully approaching the tombstones she waited and watched as the ghosts appeared, once they were gone she touched each tombstone in the correct order, but had t watch her step making sure t avoid the root she'd seen.
Everyone jumped when they heard a loud explosion behind them, and turned to see the giant pumpkin in pieces. Willow started back toward the others when she fell to the ground, cursing she turned over to see what had caught her leg and saw a hand holding on to her ankle.
Willow watched as a head pushed up through the ground, followed by the upper part of a body. The grip on her ankle was painfully strong; a burning pain shot through her leg as she heard a cracking sound.
The group turned when Willow's painfilled scream echoed around the area, and saw five bodies rising from the graves. Donald cast a Thundaga spell on the one holding Willow, and saw it release her; Willow used her right leg and pushed herself away from the rising dead, knowing she was too close to cast a spell of her own.
Faith rushed forward swinging her blade around, and severed the arm off one of the zombies that was reaching out for her. She stopped for just a second and back flipped as she cast a Blizzaga spell, freezing the zombie in it's place.
Buffy threw a Pineapple mix shattering the frozen zombie, and killed two more, blowing them both to pieces, and leaving only two more to deal with. Tara cast a Holy spell on one of the last zombies that lunged for Willow, and heard her lover cry out as the last one bit into her arm, and leaned forward. Willow had tried to get her blade, but it had gotten stuck, and had tried to scramble back only to have to zombie grab her arm and bite into her bicep.
"I'm sorry." Willow's whispered words floated on the air, causing everyone to stare wide-eyed as she cast a Flare spell.
The spell surrounded both the zombie and Willow, and exploded ripping the zombie apart, and almost killing Willow herself. Since Faith had been the closest she kneeled down, and gently touched Willow's face, and remembered when they were on Gagazet.
The burns on her then was nothing compaired to these, she heard Tara and stood to keep her from seeing her lover, as she grabbed Tara and fought to keep her away, she nodded to Buffy.
Buffy mixed up a few Poions, and a few others, and came up with what she liked to call an 'Al Bhed Recovery Mix' and gently helped Willow to drink it. The redhead coughed as the burning liquid settled in her stomach, and could feel it begin to heal her. The burns began disappearing at a fast rate, and the strenght was returning to her body.
"Shit!" Faith cried out letting Tara go, as Willow sat up.
Buffy looked up and couldn't help but let a giggle escape, as Tara wrapped her shaking arms around Willow, and pulled her close. Faith was holding her, now, bloody and broken nose, but had to chuckle at her own stupidness. She should have known not to get between a hurt Willow, and a worried Tara, but she had, and had to pay the price...even if it was a broken nose.
Buffy giggled again when she saw Tara had captured Willow's lips in a passionate kiss, and rose to check on her own lover. Pulling Faith's right hand away from her face; Buffy examined her swolen nose and shook her head handing Faith a Potion.
Jack, Donald and Goofy had left to give the girls some space, and was checking the exploded pumpkin. Jack smiled as he reached in and pulled out a small Jack-in-the-Box, and nodded. "This is it."
Ten minutes later the group had left the Boneyard and hurried back to the lab. "Splendid! I see you got what you needed." the mayor said meeting the group outside of the first graveyard.
"Yes, we did, but we had a little trouble afterwards." Jack smiled at the mayor and headed toward the lab.
Willow was surprised to see the glare Tara shot the mayor as they passed, and was glade it wasn't her it was directed at. She was afraid when they left this world, Tara was going to let her have it, and she knew when Tara was pissed, even the fiends would run.
When the group reached the lab they heard the doctor buzzing around in his electric wheelchair, and waited until he noticed them. Turning around he jumped a bit, but smiled nonetheless as Jack handed him the Jack-in-the-Box.
"Yes! This is it! Now, let's begin!" The doctor said and began gathering the ingredients on the metal table. After a few minutes the items were together, and inside the heart. "There you go, Jack. This time it's sure to work." he bounced happily.
"Thank you, doctor." Jack was also bouncing around, no one saw the three pairs of eyes watching.
"Ya!" Barrel shouted, as he jumped from the ceiling.
The doctor jumped hard enough to cause his wheelchair to fall back, as Lock, Shock, and Barrel appeared and grabbed the heart. The others tried to grab the kids as they ran by, but only succeeded in falling to the floor. Standing up the group chased after the kids, and ran out the lab door.
"Dammit!" Faith growled glancing around the square.
"We lost them!" Willow stomped her foot on the ground, looking much like a child that didn't get what they'd wanted for Christmas.
"Zero!" Jack whistled and pat the ghost dogs' head when he appeared. "After them, quick!"
Zero barked and floated off toward the graveyard with the group following. In the small graveyard instead of using the coffin, the group ran through the gate at the back and entered yet another graveyard, this one bigger than the rest, and it also had pumpkins all over the ground.
"There!" Buffy pointed to a walking bathtub, and quirked her left eyebrow. "Okay...now that is weird." she said watching it carry the three theives over a hill.
"Come on!" Jack raced off toward the hill.
"Let's go!" Tara nodded and followed the skeleton with the others right behind her.
As the group reached the top of the hill they could see a large manor at the bottom of the hill, and the bathtub, now, running inside. Jack sighed and shook his head, as the group studied the dark landscape.
"What's wrong?" Goofy asked staring at the manor.
"I should have known, this is Oogie Boogie's Manor."
"What kind of name is that?" Faith blinked.
"Umm...is that supposed to be scary or something?" Willow asked cocking her head to the left, with a grin.
Jack shrugged, "If he's got the heart, we're in trouble."
"That's nice to know." Tara sighed, and followed the skeleton down the hill, and interlaced her fingers with Willow's.
They were in for another fight, and for some odd reason everyone in the group knew it wasn't going to be an easy one this time.