Sarah walked through the park by the mall and thought about what she would do when Nathaniel showed up. She wasn't sure what she should do, but she didn't want to hurt him. Charlotte had suggested that using magic had basically warped his mind. Which in her mind meant he wasn't at fault. She hoped she'd be able to heal him, or something. Her thoughts were interrupted by a shout.
"Willow!" a man screamed. Turning, she saw a very goth guy running towards her with some kind of big knife in his hand. He had his arm cocked like he was going to stab her. He was running towards her and she had a horrible feeling of deja vu. Suddenly it was John she saw. She tried to run, but he was already too close.
It's Nathaniel, not John! Vash yelled into her mind, but she didn't seem to hear.
"You'll die for betraying me!" Nathaniel screamed, bringing the knife down towards Sarah's face. Sarah panicked, but Mike's training took over. She stepped to the side and kicked the knife out of his hand. Then she began to run, but tripped and fell onto the grass, curling up into a ball in fear.
Sarah! John is dead! Nathaniel is not a threat anymore! Snap out of it! Vash screamed.
Sarah ignored him, huddled in a ball waiting fearfully for something she didn't dare even think about. Vash rubbed up against her and she grabbed and held him again, as she had before when the memory of her mother first surfaced. But nothing he did would get through to her. Glancing across the concrete path he saw that Nathaniel was in a somewhat similar shape. Tiffany, we need you! he called out.
After the phone call from Tina, Rose became worried. She was waiting for the doctor to call her, though. Should I go check on Sarah, or wait until I'm done? she wondered. She decided to wait when the doctor came out and called her. The appointment was a routine one and didn't take long. As soon as she was done she hurried out to her car and drove over to the mall. She tried not to run, but she had a bad feeling. When she got to the food court there was no sign of her. Where could she be?! she wondered frantically.
She stopped and tried to calm herself so she could think. Finding an empty seat in the food court she sat down and closed her eyes. She tried to focus on Sarah and prayed for guidance. Nothing happened for long moments, but then she thought she felt a pull. Opening her eyes she moved in that direction. Soon she was at one of the exits of the mall. The pull seemed to be coming from the direction of the park. Hoping she wasn't too late, she ran to the light and waited impatiently for it to change. She considered running across, but it was a very busy intersection and she'd almost certainly get hit.
As soon as the light changed she ran across the street into the park. It didn't take her long to find Sarah and a goth woman. The goth woman seemed to be in shock, sitting on the ground staring at herself. Rose dismissed her and ran over to Sarah. She was clutching something she couldn't see and rocking back and forth. Now what do I do? she wondered.
Try and hold her, it may help. a voice said in her mind. Startled, she fell on her butt beside Sarah. Shaking her head, she figured it was more guidance from her Goddess and crawled over to gently wrap her arms around Sarah. Sarah stiffened for a moment, and then released whatever she'd been holding and grabbed onto Rose. She gasped at Sarah's strength, but tried to calm her. Nothing she did seemed to help any. I wonder what happened to Nathaniel. she thought, hoping Sarah would calm before her ribs broke.
As soon as she heard Vash, Tiffany ran out to her car. Willow saw her running out and chased after her, but she didn't notice and sped off to find Sarah.
What happened? she thought, hoping Vash could still hear her.
She's alright, physically. Nathaniel is neutralized for the moment. Sarah needs her friends right now. Erica would be best, but we have no way of getting her here without Sarah. I'm contacting Jill and Mike, they will be there as soon as they can. Rose is here, but she could use some help. Vash said.
The park Vash directed her to was right across the street from the mall where she worked, so it only took minutes to get there. She parked as close as she could to where Vash said they were and ran into the park. She was confused by what she saw. The only people she could see was Sarah, clutching desperately at Rose, and some goth woman. Where's Nathaniel? she asked as she hurried to Sarah's side.
That other woman is Nathaniel. Sarah girlified him when she disarmed him. But she panicked, having a flash back of John's attack. I can't get through to her. Vash replied.
Tiffany glanced at Nathaniel, who was sitting on the ground and looking at herself in shock. She seemed completely unaware of everything around her. Shaking her head, she knelt down next to Sarah and hesitantly reached out to touch her shoulder. Sarah flinched at first, but then suddenly turned and grabbed onto Tiffany desperately. Rose sighed in relief. Now what? Tiffany asked, groaning as Sarah squeezed her harder than any girl as thin as her had a right to.
Erica, Jill and I are trying to calm her. Hopefully we will succeed before she breaks any of your bones. Vash replied.
How encouraging. she thought dryly.
"Is there anything I can do?" Rose asked.
"Maybe you should check on Nathaniel over there." Tiffany wheezed.
"Are you okay?" Rose asked worriedly.
"I'll be okay, I hope." she replied. Rose looked at her doubtfully, but went over to check on Nathaniel. Tiffany waited as patiently as she could as Sarah squeezed the life out of her. Finally, Mike pulled up behind Tiffany's car and Jill ran out. She knelt beside them and wrapped her arms around them both. Mike came up as well, but seemed hesitant to touch Sarah.
"What do I do?" he asked.
"She's still thinking of the attack from John. Maybe you should help Rose with Nathaniel." Jill suggested.
He shrugged and stepped over to where Nathaniel was still sitting in shock. She looked up at Mike, then Rose, and back down at herself. Then she started screaming.
Great. Mike thought.
The scream seemed to penetrate where nothing else had. Sarah suddenly relaxed, somewhat.
Sarah?! Can you hear me?! Erica was screaming over and over in her mind.
Erica? What happened? she asked tearfully.
Are you alright?! Erica cried frantically.
Um, I guess? Sarah replied, confused.
Open a portal! Erica said.
Rose and Nathaniel are here, I thought we were keeping my portals a secret? Sarah said, still not clear on what had happened.
We'll have to wait to bring you here, Erica. Vash said regretfully. But please stay in contact with Sarah.
Of course! Erica retorted angrily.
Seeing that Sarah was busy 'speaking' to Erica, Jill turned to Tiffany, who had fallen on her back when Sarah released her, "Are you okay?"
Tiffany groaned, "Uh, I'm not sure. She's really strong."
"Can you move?" Jill said.
Tiffany hesitantly tried to sit up. It hurt, but she was able to do it. Jill helped her to her feet "Let's see if we can help Mike, I don't think we're going to get anywhere with these two for a little while."
"Works for me." Tiffany replied, wincing as each step brought more pain to her chest where Sarah had squeezed her. She was sure she had broken ribs, or at least bruised.
Mike looked to be at a loss, but Rose had knelt beside Nathaniel and pulled her into her arms. The screaming was reduced to a whimper, and then sobs. "I suppose this explains why Nathaniel disappears in the vision." Jill said.
"Yeah." Tiffany wheezed in agreement.
Jill frowned at Tiffany, "You don't sound too good. Mike!"
Mike tore his gaze away from Nathaniel gladly, "What's up?"
"Tiffany's hurt. Would you take her to Sarah's?" Jill asked, adding silently, And use some healing water on her?
"Sure!" Mike agreed, glad to be able to do something useful.
"Maybe I should stay and help?" Tiffany asked.
"There's nothing you can do, especially in the shape you're in." Jill replied.
"Come on, it won't take us long." Mike said, gently pulling her towards his car.
Tiffany took another look back at Sarah. She still seemed confused and upset, but a lot better than she was. But she was having trouble breathing so allowed Mike to pull her with him to his car.
To Be Continued…
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