“I see,” Brigadier O’Brian stood in the corridor of the cottage hospital talking to Willow, “so you used a power cable to electrocute the haggises.”
“That’s right,” Willow smiled nervously up at the big marine, “then I dragged Kennedy out of the chamber to where Sergeant Peterson found us…”
“Hmmm,” O’Brian gave Willow what is referred to as ‘an old fashioned look’ which translates as, ‘I don’t believe a word of it’; he put a hand on Willow’s shoulder and steered her into a vacant room. “So, you did all that for your assistant? Are all academics at UCLA so conscientious?”
Willow gave the man a weak smile and shrugged her shoulders.
“You must love her very much,” whispered the officer who turned on his heel and walked briskly out of the room and off down the corridor to check on his own wounded.
“I do,” Willow told the empty room quietly.0=0=0=0
Having sneaked into the underground workings, Willow had cast a locator spell and followed it to where Kennedy fought the haggises. Coming on the battle just as the haggises were going to tear her soon to be ex-lover apart, Willow had gone all black haired and vainy and destroyed all the haggises in the immediate vicinity. Exhausted by her use of magic she’d managed to drag the injured Kennedy out into the main tunnel where she’d been found by Sergeant Peterson and the rescued children.
Shortly after that they were joined by a party of marines and taken to the surface and on to the Cottage Hospital. Here Doctor Finley had delighted in explaining how she was only an ‘old’ country doctor as she worked on Kennedy’s injuries. In the meantime, the brigadier had moved back into the tunnels with his marines and exterminated the few remaining haggises.0=0=0=0
Walking back into the room where Kennedy lay, Willow sat down on the chair next to the bed. Brushing a strand of hair away from the sleeping girl’s face she sighed sadly. Her eyes ran over the tubes and wires that snaked from her one time lover’s body to machines that monitored her vital signs and plastic bags that dripped plasma into her body. Knowing that Kennedy’s wounds would all heal didn’t help, Willow as she sat beside her; broken ribs, punctured lung and various other traumas. They would all heal and fade in a week or so and she’d be up and about and heading back to the States and Willow would never see her again; she wiped away a tear that trickled down her cheek.
“Stupid witch,” Willow accused herself quietly.
“Och noo,” Willow looked up to see Constable McHenry standing in the doorway to the room, “foolish, maybe, but nay stupid.”
“W-what?” Willow looked up in alarm and wondered just how long the police constable had been standing there.
Walking across the room, McHenry sat down in a vacant chair and smiled at Willow.
“Janet McHenry,” she introduced herself formally, “sometime police constable and full time matchmaker nymph for the goddess Sheela-na-Gig.”
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Willow had never been any good at bluffing; but she was good at smelling the magic that buzzed all around the young woman now she’d revealed her true nature.
“Och, don’t be so modest,” laughed the young woman, “I know Miss Scapone here is a slayer and you, Miss Rosenberg are no more a doctor of criminology than I am…you’re a witch!”
“I’m not!” Willow felt herself sliding into the Witch Sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Janet McHenry gave her an indulgent smile.
“Miss Rosenberg,” Janet became more serious as she spoke, “we both have a problem which neither one of us can solve. But, by working together we can both have what we want.”
“Okay,” Willow said slowly as she drew her magics around herself ready to strike, “supposing I am a witch, what do you want…I’m not doing anything evil, okay?”
“What sort of nymph do you take me for?” Janet exclaimed, “I make matches for people so they can find their soul mates, I don’t turn people into frogs or try to end the world.”
“Oh!” Willow looked away from the nymph guiltily.
“Aye,” continued Janet, “my goddess has told me all about you.”
“She has?” Willow shifted uncomfortably in her chair, “She knows I’m better now, right?”
“Aye,” Janet nodded her head, “if she didn’t I wouldn’t be here now…she would!”
Just for a second, Willow saw the cheerful, pretty, young woman turn into a tall, red haired warrior woman standing in the back of a chariot with a spear in one hand and a sword in the other. Great black horses snorted and stamped in the harness of the chariot as thunder boomed and lightning crackled around tall mountains. As quickly as the vision had come it left and the hospital room went back to normal.
“So,” Willow sighed resignedly, “what do you want?”
“Nothing much,” smiled the nymph, “just a love spell.”
“But…” Willow frowned, “aren’t you a matchmaker?”
“Aye,” agreed Janet, “but I cannae use my powers to aid my aine love life.”
“Who do you want to love you?” Willow asked warily.
“Och,” Janet sighed longingly, “Sergeant Peterson.”
“You love him?” Willow raised an eyebrow, the sergeant was a good ten or fifteen years older than McHenry…if in fact McHenry was fully human and not a couple of thousand years old then all bets were off.
“Aye,” Janet answered dreamily, “with all m’heart.”
“So,” Willow sat forward interested in spite of herself, “what do I get out of this?”
“Och, you get your aine true-love back,” Janet gestured at Kennedy, “you get to live out your lives together, however long or short that may be, in love and happiness.”
“No!” Willow shook her head, “I wouldn’t want her love if it was only there because of magic.”
“Och you silly goose!” Janet’s laughter was like sunshine, “She loves you, she wants to forgive you, but can’t see a way of doing it. The pair of you are made to be together it would actually be harder to keep you apart. All she needs is a little push…and I can supply that push.”
“All this for a love spell?” Willow frowned suspiciously at the nymph.
“Well,” laughed Janet, “I think asking for the soul of your first born would be a little pointless under the circumstances, don’t you?”0=0=0=0
No more than a week later, Doctor Finley pronounced Kennedy fit to be moved. Willow was supervising the loading of her girlfriend into the back of the hire car when she turned to see Janet McHenry standing behind her.
“Just came tae wish you a safe journey,” smiled the nymph, “and say thank-you.”
“The spell worked?” Willow grinned.
“Like a dream,” Janet informed her, “we’ve not exactly set a date for the wedding but he’s coming ‘round to the idea.”
The two women hugged and wished each other well before Willow climbed into the car and started the engine.
“What was all that about?” Kennedy asked from the back seat.
“All what?” Willow replied innocently.
“All that about love spells?” Kennedy shifted her position and watched Willow’s reflection in the rear view mirror, “Slayer hearing remember?”
“Oh, no biggy,” Willow reassured her girlfriend, “just a very minor love potion…hardly magic at all.”
“That’s okay then,” Kennedy rested back on her pillow and closed her eyes.
“You close your eyes and have a snooze,” Willow suggested; for all her slayer bravado, Kennedy was still pretty ill.
Driving out into the snow covered countryside, Willow sighed with relief as she turned the car south. She’d be glad to leave Inverlochty what with its man-eating Haggises and the bad dreams she’d been having. All the time she’d been in the town she’d been having these dreams where Kennedy and herself were breaking up because she’d kissed some guy at a Christmas party and Kennedy had caught them. Then instead of just apologising (and probably getting a good spanking) she’d used magic to try and cover up her mistake. Of course it had all gone wrong and Kennedy was set on leaving her. Willow smiled as she drove, it had all just been a dream, she’d never do anything like that in real life. She’d never risk what Kennedy and herself had, not ever.0=0=0=0
High on a crag overlooking the road Janet the nymph and her goddess watched Willow’s car as it drove south and out of the glen.
“You were wise…” the goddess’s voice echoed in the snow laden air; she coughed and patted her chest, “That’s better,” she continued in a more normal voice, “now where was I? Oh, yes!” Clearing her throat again the goddess continued, “You were wise to bring this situation to my attention.”
“Och, good,” Janet the Nymph smiled.
“Yes,” Sheela-na-Gig said soberly, “it is important that the witch and the slayer are deeply in love when the end comes.”
“Aye,” Janet sighed sadly, “I suppose you’re right.”
“Of course I’m right, my girl,” the goddess sniffed, “I’m a goddess!” Shifting her magnificent bust into a more comfortable position Sheela-na-Gig took a deep breath and nearly burst out of her dress, “When the end comes the slayer must lead the vengeance against the others…” Sheela-na-Gig looked sadly at her nymph, “I’m only sorry that you, my faithful and trusted servant, will have so little time with your own true love.”
“Aye,” Janet nodded her head dislodging the snowflakes that had settled on her hair, “I’ll just have tae make the best o’ the time we’ve got…” Janet hesitated before saying anything else, “Is…is there nothing…”
“Sorry, no,” Sheela-na-Gig shook her head.
“But!” Janet looked imploringly at her goddess.
“I know,” Sheela-na-Gig smiled kindly at her servant, “I’m a goddess I can do anything…but it has been written and so it must be.” She paused for a moment as an evil smile spread across her face, “Of course,” she said quietly, “once it has
happened what comes next is anybodies guess…anyway, I must be off now.”
The goddess smiled indulgently before turning and walking off into the swirling snow of the Scottish highlands. A moment later the goddess’s voice echoed out of the snow.
“Janet?” The Goddesses voice sounded confused, “Where’d I park my chariot?”
“Hoots, woman!” Janet turned to look for the goddess and her chariot, “How many time do I tell you to switch your four-way flashers on!”The End?