The Heartstone Part Eight

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series The Heartstone
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The Heartstone
A Spike and Buffy Adventure – Literally!

by Bogwitch

Setting: Season 6, goes AU after Doublemeat Palace.

Warnings/Rating: 15. Okay… er… R I suppose. Lots and lots of naughty words anyway.

Summary: ‘She’d been a passenger in Spike’s mind way too long already; she didn’t want to stay there. Sharing one body was too… intimate and intimate was the one thing she didn’t want to be with Spike…’

And lest I forget: Many thanks go to myfeetshowit, who really should get a medal for her efforts and for listening to all my whinging and hesadevil who reassured me I hadn’t written a load of old tosh!



Willow was worried.

She sat in the kitchen of Revello Drive at the counter, staring into the remains of her toasted sandwich as if it held the secrets of the universe – and maybe they did. Tara had told her once that anything could be used for divination as long as the diviner’s focus was right: the pattern of cracks in the sidewalk, the splatters of coffee on the tables of the Espresso Pump or even the spirals of caramel in a tub of Chunky Monkey if there was nothing else to hand. That sounded great, but the crumbs of cheesy toast were holding on to their secrets today.

The day was slipping away into another long winter’s night and still their missing Slayer mystery remained an unsolved case. So much for the ‘clearing her head’ theory, Buffy hadn’t returned and she’d missed her shift at the Doublemeat Palace. Even allowing for the unreliability of slaying, not turning up to work wasn’t like Buffy at all.

As time passed, Willow was growing more and more convinced that Spike had been telling the truth after all, or at least part of it, about his mysterious witch. Outside influence was hardly a rarity in Sunnydale and there were plenty of entities and magic users lurking amongst the population; a lot of them would be happy to see the back of the Slayer rather than the sharp taste of her stake. The puzzle was why Spike would lie about being with Buffy, especially with her extended absence. The way he felt about her was so painfully obvious, Willow was sure he wouldn’t have hurt her, even if he’d been able to; but there was no doubt he’d been cagey, covering something he didn’t want them to find out. His actions were way too suspicious to ignore.

The only hint of an answer she’d found in the crumbs were vague hatching patterns that criss-crossed a drip of melted cheese. The symbolism needed a bit of imagination to see, but the impressed marks looked like a gate or the bars of a portcullis. That didn’t tell her much; a gate could lead to anywhere, another dimension or the next field, and there weren’t many castles in Sunnydale, so finding a portcullis was pretty unlikely.

So much for toastamancy.

She gave up and dumped the toasted sandwich in the trash, scraping the crumbs off with her finger; Tara had always been so much better at the psychic stuff anyway and the knot of worry tied up in her gut made the food indigestible. Someone would have to do something soon; she couldn’t spin out the excuses to Dawn for very much longer. The surly teen was already beginning to suspect there was more going on than just a ‘double shift’. She hadn’t said a word to anyone all day and was now sulking in the living room, watching TV at an anti-social volume.

Which was more than okay. That just gave Willow more time to research Spike’s miraculous find without interruptions of the teenager sort. The less Dawn knew the better, because Willow had no idea how long she could resist the Heartstone’s lure and she still felt a little bit guilty over the last time she’d let the magic run away with her in Dawn’s presence.

Temptation was calling to Willow from the table. She picked the stone up. It promised much, but as yet it had given nothing away. She was holding the key to the mystery, she was sure of it, and she wondered what else it could do. It had to be more than some lover’s toy; she could feel the magic just waiting to be tapped within it. If she could use it to find Buffy…

She shoved it away from her, dumping it back into the Mickey Mouse bowl she was using to stop it rolling off the worktop. It was time for Resolve Face. She had made a promise to Tara and she intended to keep it. No more magic! And if that meant doing things the hard way, she would. Sighing with the realisation that the answer wouldn’t just come to her without making the effort to investigate, she took the Heartstone from its makeshift plinth and left the kitchen, grabbing her jacket from its hook. She didn’t want to leave the moody teenager alone, but if she was going to track Buffy down, she would have to find out what was really going on with Spike and that might get dangerous – for him. If she had to make him talk, she would. It was about time he started telling the complete story.

The meaning of the marks in the cheese came to her as she was leaving the house. They hadn’t formed the symbol of a gate or a portcullis at all.

They’d formed a cage.


Stuck with Spike inside the crypt’s grey and dingy walls, Buffy’s afternoon should have been measured in geological time rather than simple hours or minutes. For all she knew, civilisations could have risen and fallen as Spike filled the long hours of daylight with soap opera after soap opera, only breaking the endless monotony of poor scripts, ridiculous plots and arboreal acting for the occasional trashy talk show – a psychological torture surely in violation of the Geneva Convention.

After the third or fourth hour – she’d lost track somewhere during a re-run of The Bold and the Beautiful – she was convinced her mind was turning to Jell-O. She didn’t know how Spike could stand the boredom; but then he was the vampire who had once spent all night every night on guard outside her house. No wonder he was obsessed with her, he had nothing else to do.

What didn’t help much was that she’d barely spoken to him all afternoon; she found it hard to find anything to say to him now. There were too many awkward issues hanging between them just to get chatty with the light conversation. This was one of those times when she wished things were still simple, because he’d been a good listener once, before all the sex stuff had got in the way. Now there was no one to unload all the crap onto. Spike only ever wanted to talk about them and that was the one subject they were never ever going to discuss. Not until she got free and they had that conversation anyway. She was well aware there were things that Spike wanted to know or hear, but she couldn’t give him that sort of answer. Better to keep quiet and watch the god-awful soaps than to placate him with promises she no intention of keeping.

At the top of the hour Spike picked up his remote and started to flick through the channels again. Flick. Commercial. Flick. Commercial. Flick. Cartoon – pause on that for a moment. Nope. Flick. Commercial. Flick. Soap too awful even for Spike to contemplate. Flick. Old black and white film Spike probably saw back when it was a new release. Flick. Some old Murder She Wrote re-run. Spike settled on that, obviously the next show on his daily schedule.

She took heart in the light streaking through the murky windows, which had darkened with the long shadows of the late afternoon sun and now cast rays of angelic light over the crypt floor. It would be dark soon; then they could finally leave this drab hole and get her out of his head for good.

Just as the opening credits had finished and Jessica Fletcher was poking her nose into another murder she was suspiciously close to, the crypt door creaked open with a haunted house groan. With a hint of annoyance at the interruption, Spike turned to check out his visitor, but when he saw it was Tara, his irritation evaporated.

Thank god, said Buffy, also hugely relieved to see the witch.

“Hello? Spike?” Tara asked tentatively, hovering just inside the door.

Spike uncoiled from his chair, avoiding the sliver of sunshine that scythed in through the open door, and welcomed her inside. “I’d offer you a drink, but it’s mostly of the red variety.”

“Thanks. I’m good. Are you okay?” she asked, nervously looking around, probably for exit routes. Buffy was relieved to see she wasn’t a regular visitor. “Is Buffy…?”

“Still locked up in my noggin? ‘Fraid so.” He nodded as he lit another cigarette. By now Buffy was taking in each smoky breath like an old hand. In fact, to her irritation, she was even beginning to like it.

Obviously feeling bolder, Tara shut the door and came closer. She rooted around inside her bag and pulled out a sheaf of papers. “I did some research like Buffy asked. I think I know who your witch is.”

“Yeah?” Spike raised a curious eyebrow.

Tara gave him her work and pointed to a paragraph in the handwritten notes. Spike barely glanced at it. “Super stuff. Tell me about it.”

Spike. Let me look. Buffy ordered him when she was denied a good view.

He did what she asked and held the papers straight so she could see Tara’s neat and curvy handwriting, but it was impossible to read when Spike kept losing interest in the text and allowing his eyes to drift away from the page, giving the witch his attention instead. Buffy had to snap at him to keep him tracking the lines, but eventually, she gave up when he started to let the sheets waver in his hands.

“The name Zelda,” Tara was explaining, “I was able to look it up. I traced her back to the 16th Century.”

I want that cream she’s using, Buffy chipped in.

Spike smiled at her comment. “She looked a lot younger than that.”

“She’s immortal,” Tara said, her bewildered expression giving away that she didn’t have a clue what he was smiling about. “That stone you found, it’s the source of her powers. She draws the power through the stone from a demon called Arda. He’s a minor Lord of Hell.”

And you gave it to Willow! Buffy said to Spike in shock, wishing she had the use of her hands to slap him.

Spike’s brow furrowed. “So?”

Recovering magic addict Willow, Buffy said very slowly so he got the point.

“Oh,” he finally understood. “You think Red would use it?”

Buffy kept her silence. She didn’t like thinking the worst of her friend, especially after Willow had gone to such lengths to prove to Tara that she could avoid the temptations of magic, but Buffy couldn’t help remembering the look Willow had given Spike in the Magic Box when he’d tried to take back the Heartstone. There’d been nothing of the sweet girl she knew in that look and there had been too many slip-ups over the years to entirely trust Willow’s resolve. She hoped Willow had learnt to control herself.

It looked like Tara had been having similar thoughts. Her frown was grim. “I… I don’t know. She says she’s not done any magic for awhile now.”

Thoughtfully, Spike blew out a cloud of smoky air. “Does she now? Got any proof of that?”

“There haven’t been any… accidents. Not that I’ve heard about anyway.”

Spike looked at her carefully. “But it’s not about that.”

“No,” Tara bit her lip, nervous under his scrutiny. “I… I can’t…”

“Trust her anymore?” he offered.

She didn’t reply, but drew her bag to her tightly, clutching it against her chest.

Spike stubbed the cigarette out, grinding the stub out into the sarcophagus. “Doesn’t matter when you still love her, does it?” He shrugged. “Know the feeling well.”

Rolling her eyes wasn’t an option, so Buffy rolled them in her imagination instead. She wished he’d stop trying to bring everything back to them. Nothing would change the fact he was evil and a vampire and therefore terrible boyfriend material.

“I miss her. I miss the way it used to be,” Tara said. Her lip quivered as she spoke and a tear glittered as it rolled down her cheek. “Staying away is so hard.”

Buffy’s heart went out to her, she knew all too well how difficult it was to resist what the heart wanted and make proper decisions with the head. She admired Tara for not giving in to the weakness she herself hadn’t found the strength to stop. Not that Buffy was in any way admitting to having feelings for Spike, of course. No way! It was all about the sex. Sex was good and Spike was good at sex. She’d needed to feel good, because when she hadn’t been with Spike, she’d felt so bad; but that was over now or would be – soon.

Spike hesitated at first, but he reached out to Tara and wiped the tear track away with his thumb. Buffy couldn’t quite call what he was feeling empathy; the emotion was too complex and human for the vampire to grasp, but they made the acute unhappiness underlying Spike’s emotions rise to the surface, escalating his misery until he was feeling horribly sorry for himself. It was a nice try; he could recognise the emotion, even if there was an empty space inside him where he should have felt it for Tara, but it was a poor carbon copy of the real thing.

“I reckon she’ll be worth it all in the long run,” he said gently.

“I hope so,” Tara replied, looking up at him with a despair that contradicted her positive words. She looked no less lost.

He kept the young woman’s cheek cupped in his hand. He said nothing as he gazed down into Tara’s big watery eyes and Buffy wished she was able to hear what he was thinking to make his emotions so jumbled.

“I…” he started.

“Spike?” Willow asked, making all three of them jump.

Spike and Tara quickly split apart, probably looking guiltier than they actually were. Spike faced the newcomer nonchalantly, while Tara recoiled into herself.

Willow was framed in the doorway, dark against the heavy sunlight. Her voice broke as her eyes fell on Tara’s proximity to the vampire. “Tara?

Originally posted at

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