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Author's Note: This is a rewrite of the original episode, Shadow, renamed because in mine Joyce doesn't die. Slight changes to eliminate that, Riley's absence and the changes I've made to other relationships, but apart from that, this follows the cannon plot. Enjoy.

Amulets and Bloodstones.

"'Your one-stop spot to shop for all your occult needs.'" Tara paused as she glanced at her boyfriend, debating on what to say. "Catchy," she settled on.

"Think so?" Spike asked her. "You can be honest, it was Giles' idea. I wasn't too sure about myself."

Tara nodded. "Uh-huh. In a ... hard to read sort of way, but I think it's great."

"Oh," Giles uttered as he caught the uncertainty in her tone.

"Hail, fellow workers," Xander greeted as he, Willow, Anya and Oz entered the Magic Shop. His girlfriend began straightening items on shelves, while he and the others made their way to the counter. "Whatcha looking at?"

"Oh, the-the new phone book's in with Spike's ad," Tara informed them.

Anya stopped what she was doing to rush round and see.

"Oh, nice," Willow uttered.

"Yay! Am I mentioned?" Anya asked as she looked at it.

"No, luv," Spike replied.

"Oh," Anya uttered in disappointment and returned to her previous occupation.

"Why are you all here?" Spike asked them.

"Research session," Xander replied. "G-man called us round this morning."

"Joy," Spike muttered.

"Well, I've exhausted all my tomes, you see," Giles explained, "in trying to discover the identity of Buffy's mysterious woman."

"Oh yeah, this has been fruitful," Xander commented. "Trying to look up something you ... never saw and don't know the name of."

"Just do what I do: flip through the pages and look busy," his girlfriend advised.

"It'd be nice if we knew where she was, where she's hiding out," Willow commented as she sat down at the big round table by the books.

"No doubt lurking around some sewer or condemned church or rat-infested warehouse," Xander remarked. "You know, the usual haunts."

"Hey," Spike glared at him. "We weren't all like that, mate. Some of us had standards. Like Peaches."

"Careful," Tara admonished gently. "Buffy's threatened to cut off Passions."

"Well, she's not here yet, and slayer hearing may be good, but it's not that good," Spike remarked. "Where are the chosen one and poof anyhow?"

"Lying in at the Mansion," Xander replied. "Apparently they have some 'paperwork' to do." His expression showed how little he believed that to be the real reason. "Said they'd be along later."

"Nice if you can get it," Spike commented. "We'll most likely toiling the dregs while they're living it up in that suite of theirs."


Meanwhile, the mysterious woman was lounging too, on a sumptuous bed of grand proportions, situated in a magnificently comfortable apartment, located on one of the hellmouth's more plush streets.

"Most beauteous and supremely magnificent one," her brown habit attired demon lackey simpered before the foot of the bed, an ancient column of parchment clutched in his hands, "this dark spell I hold in my worthless and scabby hand is our gift to you, most tingly and wonderful Glorificus..."

The woman paid him little curtesy, trying on a shoe. "Please, call me Glory. And get up, looking at you is hurting my neck."

Dreg rose immediately. "Forgive me, shiny special one. I beg of you to rip out my inadequate tongue."

Glory held out her hand. "Gimme."

Nervously Dreg advanced towards her, opened his mouth and held out his tongue. Glory grinned and grabbed the scroll instead.

"Oh. I thought... You should know, your elaborate marvelousness, that this dark incantation has been lost for eons..."

"Uh-huh," Glory uttered, trying on another shoe.

"And great dangers have been faced to..." Dreg continued.

Glory stuck her leg out to him. "Does this pump make my ankle look bony?"

Dreg was all compliments. "No! No, no, your terrifically smooth one, it is the epitome of ankles. To touch such an ankle would be," he cut himself off as he caught her glare. "But I'm not touching. I'm backing away."

Glory kicked out her leg, letting the shoe fly off her foot at his head.

"Ow! Thank you."

"Dreg, is it?" Glory asked as she rose up.

"Yes. Dreg. Your creamy coolness has honoured me by speaking my name. Your voice is like a thousand sweet songbirds that-"

Glory interrupted him, irritated. "Yeah, I never tire of hearing that. Look, just so we're clear, the spell's gonna work, right?" At his nod, she added, "I mean, nothing worse than a gift that doesn't work. Then I'd have to get all mad and kill you! It's this whole big thing."

"It will work, your extremeness. Provided you have the other items you need," Dreg assured her.

"Don't worry. I'll have them all right," Glory uttered.

She walked past him to where a copy of the town's phone book lay, opened to the page under M, for magic, among other things.

The advertisement for 5124 Maple Court, The Magic Box, caught her eyes the most. She tore out the page.

"I'll have it all," she uttered.


"Mmm, what time is it?" A voice sleepily asked as it's owner opened their eyes. An alarm started to ring in answer, causing her to groan and roll over, to smash the source of the offending noise.

A hand grabbed her wrist, halting her actions just in time. Another reached under her neck to press the snooze button on the alarm clock. "Careful," her soulmate admonished. "Or that'll be the third this year I've had to replace."

"Sorry, honey," Buffy replied, adjusting herself so she encased in the embrace of his body. Her expression however did not turn apologetic to suit her words, remaining in a relaxed, contented smile that spoke of deep satisfaction.

It was one Angel could not fail to return, as he gazed down at her. Last night had been a rare night off for the both of them, and they had thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. His hand left her wrist, his fingers caressing their way down her arm, until they reached her slender waist, before moving to stroke her slim belly, and then upwards to touch the silver cross which still hung around her neck. Nearly five years ago when he had given her that piece of jewelry, he had been careful not to touch it, handing it to her encased within a box, the spiritual power behind the symbol containing the ability to burn him. Now however, with his redemption half finished, and the combination of the enchanted talisman around his own neck, that power no longer harmed him, serving only to fascinate, as he marvelled the way it suited her tanned skin.

Buffy watched him gaze at her, never failing to be loved by the look in his dark eyes, seeing through their pupils into the soul she loved so much. She wanted to lose herself within him forever, for time to freeze them within this moment, if it was possible without causing the rest of the world to go to hell. But from their troubles they could only have a brief night of freedom.

Angel saw the intrusion of such make their appearance upon her beautiful face, and instantly wished he could make them go away. But it was her destiny, and he would not make her less than she was. He had fallen in love with every part of her, even the slayer deep within. Reluctantly he kissed her chastely, before rising to let her get up from the bed and begin the new day.


"I just wish we knew what we were dealing with," Willow uttered as she flicked a page of the volume she was studying. "It feels like we're going around in circles."

"Our circles are going around in circles," Xander agreed. "We've got dizzy circles here, Giles."

The former watcher was at the counter, attending to a customer whilst Spike was in the storeroom. "Ah, weeping Buddha, shoulders your spiritual burden. Makes a lovely paperweight too."

"Maybe she's not in the books," Tara remarked.

"What do you mean?" Oz asked.

"I mean, what if she's not a demon or sorceress or spirit or whatever these books cover? What if she's something else altogether?"

"Thank you, come again," Giles uttered, seeing the customer out, before turning to Tara. "Something new, you mean?"

"Tara shook her head. "Something old. So old it predates the written word."

"Giles, the Dragon sphere. You said that was created to repel.." Willow trailed off as she tried to recall.

"That which cannot be named," Giles answered thoughtfully.

Willow nodded. "So I'm thinking maybe she..."

"Predates language itself?" Giles finished her sentence.

"Well hey, if it means I don't have to read any more, woo!" Xander cried. "And might I add a big hoo!"

"If Tara's right, then we're blind. There's ... there's no way we can determine ... her moves, her habits, where she'll turn up next." He turned round, only to be confronted by another customer. "Oh! I beg your-"

The blond woman ignored his apology. "Uh-huh. I want these."

"Yes, of course!" Giles walked back to the counter. "Um, you find everything all right?"

"No problemo," the woman replied.

"That's, um...good," Giles handed her a piece of paper. "Your receipt. And thank you!"

The blond woman smiled as she walked out.

Giles returned to his previous train of thought. "She could be anywhere. But if she is as powerful as, uh, Buffy says, I imagine it won't be long before she makes herself known."

Spike walked out from the storeroom. "Everything alright?"

"Yeah, just two customers," Anya answered. "Giles dealt with them."

"Well, I hope he's not expecting to get paid," Spike commented. "Doing your job for you."

"I'm working," Anya protested.

"At what? I didn't hire you to reorganise my shelves."

"Well, someone should, they're in a mess."

"Fine, we'll go over them later," Spike growled. "Now, back behind the counter."

"Yey, overtime," Anya clapped her hands as she returned to the cash register.

"No, evening opening hours," Spike returned as the bell rang, signalling another arrival. "Oh, hey slayer. Peach- patriarch," he hurriedly corrected himself.

"Hey guys," Buffy greeted as she and Angel entered the shop. "How was Elita last night, Giles?"

"Oh, she was no trouble," Giles replied. "Looked after your godson all night. She's with Jenny now, helping her weekend computer class." He smiled. "Good night?"

"Oh yeah," Buffy answered, blushing, before turning to her friends. Behind her Angel smiled.

Spike smirked. "I'll say, if what I saw on my return home last night is any indication," he grinned at his sire.

"Anya, what happened on Passions last night?" Buffy asked casually, but with a look to her and Angel's resident house guest which was anything but.

"Oh, I wouldn't know, me and Xander were copulating," Anya replied, making the slayer wish she hadn't asked.

"Anya," Her boyfriend cried, red-faced. "It was bad enough in the restaurant last night," he murmured.

"Yeah, we saw," Cordelia said as she and Doyle entered the shop. The Irishman nodded in sympathy. "I think they threw them out before desert," he added.

"Hey," Anya cried.

"Anya, it's the truth," Xander reminded her.

"No," she cried, pointing to something on the counter. "Hey! HEY!"

"Anya, luv, your heys are startling the customers," Spike said.

"And pretty much the state," Xander added.

Anya ignored them as she looked at Giles. "You sold someone a Khul's amulet and a Sobekian bloodstone."

"Yes, I believe I did," Giles replied.

"Are you stupid or something?" Anya asked him.

"Allow me to answer that question with a firing," Giles returned.

"Hey, I fire my staff," Spike corrected. "Even those volunteering free of wage."

"She's kidding!" Xander cried. "An, we talked about the employee-employer vocabulary no-nos. That was number five."

Anya snatched the receipt. "He's not my boss. You never sell these things together, ever! Bad news! Don't you know about the Sobekites?"

"Oh! I do. It was an ancient Egyptian cult, heavy into dark magic," Willow informed them.

"And the Khul's amulet, wasn't that a transmogrification conduit?" Tara sought to confirm.

"Damn straight!" Anya cried.

"Be that as it may, I still see no reason for concern," Giles remarked. "I mean, the-the Sobekian transmogrification spells were lost thousands of years ago. And besides, the young woman to whom I sold them would have to have had enormous power......." he trailed off as he suddenly realised.

"Young woman?" Buffy echoed, looking at him. "Blond, flashy dresser?"

The watcher groaned. "Oh, dear lord."

"What?" Xander looked at them.

"Well done," Spike snapped. "I leave you, the foremost demonologist on the hellmouth in charge for five minutes, and you sell something to the resident demon after the slayer which can create a monster."

"I, I, I... I didn't know it was her!" Giles cried contritely. "I mean, how could I? If it's any consolation, I may have overcharged her."

"So what do these amulet and bloodstone do?" Buffy asked Anya.

"A few thousand years ago there was this cult, the temple of Sobek," the former vengeance demon replied. "Reptile demon. Sobekites were reptile worshippers."

"Just once I would like to run into a cult of bunny worshippers," Xander commented.

His girlfriend glared at him. "Great. Thank you very much for those nightmares."

Xander had the grace to look apologetic. "Sorry."
"Anyway, their high priest Khul had great mystic powers. He, um, forged an amulet with transmogrifying crystal."

"Transmogrifying is changing a living thing into a different kind of thing," Willow added.

Giles grabbed a book and searched through the pages until he found the item he had sold. "She's going to transmogrify a cobra."

"Okay, so she's making a monster. What for? What does it do?" Buffy asked.

Giles turned back to the book. "That's the part ... we're working on it."

"Well, you keep working on it, I'll go kill it."

"Buffy?" Giles called, making her stop.

"What? I'm going." Buffy affirmed.

"Buffy, this chick creamed you last time," Xander reminded her.

"That's because I wasn't ready for her last time. I am now."

"Don't worry, I'm going too," Angel added.

"But we don't know anything about it," Willow said worriedly.

"Will, I can't just sit here. I have to do something," Buffy replied, as Angel opened the door, before heading outside.


At the Sunnydale Zoo, where all had been quiet and normal since the disappearance of their Coyote expert, a woman and her monk lackey stalked the path to the reptile building, looking for their monster.

Glory punched her fist through the cage containing the cobra. She grabbed the coiling snake, who hissed at her for disturbing his previously quiet existence. She hissed back, unconcerned by the toxins within him.

"Chill, worm. I'm gonna make you a star!" Glory laughed as she deposited it into a large vase. Turning, she held out her hand to Dreg, who gave her the amulet she had purchased. She held it over the vase. "Chant!" She ordered.

"'The form is vessel, rendered new. The base is stone, bathed in blood. The gem is fire and elements rarefied...'" Dreg began, reading from the ancient scroll.

"Sobek, grant the power," Glory requested. "That it may mould this wretched creature ... that it may be reborn ... that it may serve ... ah! Dark incantations! Always overwritten! Why can't they just cut to the-"

Suddenly she was cut off, as something slammed her into the nearby wall.

"Fight?" Buffy queried as she kicked her in the face.

"No fair-" Glory paused as she was punched again, "attacking-" another pause as the slayer aimed a fist at her stomach and then her face, "when I wasn't even looking!"

Buffy grabbed her head and slammed it against the wall.

"Ow!" Glory grabbed her hand and returned the favour. "No, this is no good."

Buffy tried to rise and punch her again, but Glory grabbed her arm and pinned it behind her back. "I'm out of the moment..." Glory added as she braced herself against the slayer, "and you're not giving me anything I can use. Dreg! I'm not hearing chanting!" She punched Buffy in the face and slammed her against the wall.

"Yes, Glory." Dreg opened his mouth, but was cut off as Angel punched him to the floor. Silencing one, he went to help Buffy with the other.

"Hey, hey. Work with me here," Glory cried at Buffy, flinging her against a wall. Angel took the opportunity and grabbed the woman to fling her against the opposite wall.

"Hey!" Glory cried. "No champion knights allowed. No damsels in distress here." She punched Angel, sending him to the floor, before grabbing the slayer again. "There! That feels more real, don't you think?"

She flung her into the wall once more before grabbing her by the throat. "Even if I do have to carry your performance."

Suddenly her hand was wrenched off the slayer, as Angel grabbed it and slung it behind her back. The floor had knocked his game face into the fore, and he growled at her before dislocating the joint.

"Scene!" He growled, before flinging her across the floor and retrieving his beloved.

Dreg meanwhile, had recovered enough to chant. "Cir hayyan win-hud!"

Glory got up and walked to the vase. "Arise. Arise."

"Cir hayyan win-hud!" Dreg repeated.

"Arise!" Glory yelled.

The vase shook, then exploded as a creature burst out of it; a large cobra snake with arms, hissing and swaying.

Dreg stated the obvious. "He is arisen!"

"About damn time!" Glory grinned. "Spawn of Sobek!"

The creature turned to her, lowering its head so she could touch it. "The power is yours ... to see what is unseen. To find what is shrouded in shadow. Already, you know what I seek. I have given you form, now find for me the key. Seek it out in the holy places. Yes, yes, yes! Let your vision guide you to its hiding place, and then return to me and tell me where it lies."

Unseen behind, Angel and Buffy quietly stumbled out of the Zoo.

"Now would be good." Glory urged.

The cobra turned away to hunt.

"Fun, fun, fun!" Glory giggled.

Outside, Angel helped Buffy to his car. "How bad are you?" He asked her.

"On a scale of one to ten; twenty," Buffy replied, groaning as she sat down. "But I'll be okay. What about you?"

"I'm all right, I think," Angel replied. "We better get to the Magic Box. Elita and Jenny have probably gone there by now."

"Step on it," Buffy ordered tiredly, sinking back into the leather as Angel put the vehicle in gear and drove away.


"Aleister Crowley Sings?" Spike echoed a customer's request. "Um, sadly, no, I-I don't carry that, but I do have some whale sounds." He held up the CD.

Giles stopped researching to answer his cellphone. "Buffy, are you and Angel all right?" He asked anxiously.

"No, I'm really not," Buffy replied. "I-I couldn't stop her. I couldn't even slow her down."

"Where are you?" Giles asked.

"Sunnydale Memorial, Angel's fetching me an ice pack or six."

"Are you badly hurt? I'll come right over."

"No. No, I-I just wanted to warn you that that thing she conjured, it's loose - it's a big snake thing. Not mayor big, but it's pretty lethal looking."

"Do you know why she raised it?" Giles asked.

"I don't know yet." Buffy replied.

"I'll warn the others. We'll get weapons, we'll fan out-"

"Wait," Buffy cut him off. "What time is it?"

Giles checked his watch. "Half past four, why?"

"School's out. Elita's on her way over to you. Giles," she paused, concerned.

"Understood. We'll keep her safe here until you and Angel arrive."


"She's in good hands, Buffy. There's really nothing else you can do."

"Okay. Bye," Buffy ended the call as Angel got back in the car. "Thanks," she uttered as he handed her an ice pack.

"No problem. Are you sure you didn't want to get checked over?" Angel asked her worriedly.

"No, we need to get to the Magic Box. I'll heal on the way."

"Sure," Angel uttered, unconvinced, but obeying the urgency anyway. He restarted the engine and moved the car on.


A few minutes later, two tired warriors walked into the Magic Box.

Buffy made her way to Giles, Angel following. "So, any monster reptile cobra sightings?"

Her watcher shook his head. "None."

"Oz and I did a mini-patrol earlier, but biggie snake was nowhere to be-" Willow stopped speaking as something caught her gaze.

They turned in time to see the cobra staring at them through the window. It burst through the glass and reared up, glaring at them. It's eyes were fixed on Elita, who was screaming out of sheer terror.

The Cobra's eyes glowed red, and then suddenly it turned and slithered away.

"Elita, you okay?" Spike asked her.

"Why was the big snake afraid of Elita?" Xander asked.

Buffy turned to Giles and Angel. "It knows!" She whispered, before running out after it. Angel followed her.

Giles grabbed his car from outside and drove it level with them, opening the door. The two champions jumped in and the vehicle began chasing the cobra.

Angered the beast whacked with it's tail. Giles managed to dodge one blow, but the snake was too fast, and the second sent him into some garbage bags.

"We've gotta stop this monster before it gets back to Glory," Buffy declared.

"Glory?" Giles echoed.

"That's what he called her. Giles, she's gonna know Elita's the key if we don't-"

"We will," Giles assured her, before backing the car out to resume the chase.


"Please! Please, mistress!" Dreg begged as he cowered before her.

Glory was tossing shoe boxes at him.

"Perturbed, yet ultimately merciful-Please, don't-"

Glory was fuming. "What is taking so long, Dreg? You told me snakey-wakey would find my key. Now why isn't he back here with a beautiful message for me?"

"I grovel like a bug, most silky and effervescent Glorificus- Glory! Glory. Your most fresh and cleanness, it's just a matter of time."

"Ohh! Everything takes time! What about my time? Does anyone appreciate that I'm on a schedule here? Tick, tock, Dreg! Tick frickin' tock!"

Dreg hit the floor as more shoe boxes came his way, anxiously praying to the gods that the creature would return soon.


The cobra slithered down the rapidly darkening streets of Sunnydale suburbs, followed closely by Giles' car, as the vehicle careened around corners and dodged other cars. Ahead the snake tore at a section of tarp covered fence, the movement almost missed in the night, if not for the watcher's headlights.

Giles braked with a screech of tires, and Buffy and Angel leapt out of the car to follow the creature on foot.

Buffy grabbed a piece of chain from a fence as they chased after the creature, leaping on to a large rock as the snake rounded a corner of the path. She jumped off the rock and landed on the cobra's back, wrapping the chain around it's neck.

Enraged the cobra thrashed about, trying to throw her off, but the slayer hung on for grim death. Slowly she tightened the chain, until it began to strangle the snake, until it stopped struggling in her grip. She relaxed when she thought it was over.

Suddenly the monster reared up, throwing her off him. She flew backwards into Angel's arms, who broke her fall on the ground. The snake turned to hiss at her as she got up.

Buffy punched it in the face, then climbed on top of it again, punching it over and over. She continued to punch, lost in the moment.

Angel opened his eyes and rose from the ground to find his beloved thrashing the now dead creature. Slowly he mounted the body behind her, and gently grabbed her arms, restraining then finally halting the blows. Silently he held her, waiting for the adrenaline to fade away, for the stillness of the night to calm her.

The slayer heaved a cry, then turned round and clutched at him, pouring out a sudden fountain of grief, born out of tiredness and despair at the possible future of losing against the her new enemy.

Angel said nothing, knowing nothing could be said to make her hope again. He just continued to hold her, caressing her blond locks, her tanned skin through her clothes, until the salty tears soaked his own.

Opposite them, a few feet away, the curtains on an apartment flickered as their owner pushed them back.

Glory stared at the empty street, frowning into the darkness. Slowly her eyes made out the scene of her monster dead. She gazed at it for a moment, then let the curtain fall back, as she turned away.

The End.
To Be Continued In

Insane, Insane.