The Heartstone Part Six

This entry is part 6 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!

 

Six

Ten minutes later, Spike was no happier. Underneath the shock, a tremendous relief vied with a fury that was as vicious as it was undirected. Tara had forced him to sit on the edge of her mattress, but despite mumbling a lame quip about her having a man on her bed, he’d said nothing else, staring at his hands instead. He felt violated, betrayed and desperately lost for an answer to their dilemma.

He wanted her out of his head.

Buffy kept her silence while his internal maelstrom raged. She did what she could to comfort him, sending out soothing emotions to ease his, but they were lost in the storm. He was angry with the witch, with her, with himself, with anyone and everyone, the tempest only blowing itself out as he grudgingly accepted her presence in his mind. His temper was still volatile, balanced precariously on a knife-edge, but he was calmer. He’d vent that anger once he had something to hit. She knew how he felt; they’d both feel better if they could fight their way to a solution, but with the witch gone that wasn’t going to be an option.

“So what are we going to do about this?” Spike asked both women eventually. “Can’t go about with a sodding running commentary in my bonce.”

And I need to get back. Dawn will never forgive me, Buffy added. Spike. You need to tell Tara about that witch. Her name was Zelda.

Spike sighed, letting his body collapse back onto Tara’s duvet. “Tara, Buffy reckons the witch that did this to us was called Zelda. You heard of her?”

“No.” Tara shook her head and sat down beside him. She wavered for a second and then placed a comforting hand on his arm. “But now we know what she did, maybe I can find a spell to reverse it.”

Tell her what Giles said about the Heartstone.

At her suggestion, Buffy felt Spike’s anger begin to bubble again. She was relieved that she could only speak to him and wasn’t privy to his inner thoughts because she didn’t believe he was thinking anything she wanted to hear. She didn’t understand what his problem was; Giles hadn’t been lying to him, he had to know that. She’d been clear all along that they weren’t a couple; they weren’t anything. She couldn’t allow that to happen, however much she might want to.

It looked like new improved formula Buffy was going to have to do something about their little sexcapades when she got free. Now she felt better, she couldn’t continue the way it was. She didn’t need to use him anymore, so she had to either dump him or get serious….

Whoa, stop there! Those were dangerous thoughts of which no good could come.

“Ever hear of a Heartstone, kitten?” Spike asked Tara, unaware of Buffy’s turmoil. He kept his frustration out of his voice, but Buffy didn’t feel it recede. ”Witch left one just as she sent herself back to Kansas. Called Giles…”

“You called Mr Giles?” Tara said in surprise.

“Yeah, he might be a git,” Spike relented. “But he knows his stuff. He said this thing was rare and that this witch was using it to stock up on the mojo.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” Tara drew her knees up under her chin and sighed thoughtfully. “I’ll have to do some research. I could ask Willow…”

No! Buffy shouted. So not a good idea.

“No!” Spike propped himself up as he joined Buffy’s vehement protest. “Red’s not to know about this.”

Tara looked relieved, but she still asked, “Why? She knows much more than I do.”

His comforting smile helped to soften the truth. “Showed her the stone. Not sure I cared for the look she gave me. She said she’d keep it.”

“Oh.” Tara looked troubled. Her eyes flicked away towards some thought she was processing. “Okay. But this might take some time. I can’t guarantee I’ll find anything.”

“Fine with me.” Spike settled back against the pillows.

Tara’s shoulders sagged and Buffy could see how tired she was. I think we should let Tara sleep, Spike.

“Huh?” He craned his head to look at the young witch. “Oh. Right then. Seems I’d –” He gestured absently towards his head then the door. “We’d – better be off.”

Tara smiled thankfully as Spike slid off the bed and negotiated the obstacle course of magical bric-a-brac to get to the door. He opened it, but paused in the doorway, as if reluctant to leave Tara’s little sanctuary for the unknown outside.

She stood and toyed with the drawstrings on her pyjamas, twirling them nervously around her fingers. “I have a test tomorrow. I can come by after.”

He offered her a grateful nod, but Buffy noticed the big pile of books on the desk and the open file of revision notes. She suddenly felt horribly guilty for interrupting Tara’s sleep with their problems the night before some big test; she’d probably even gone to bed early to prepare.

With a deep sigh, she gave Spike a mental push out the door. C’mon, let’s get out of here. It’s going to be a long day.

~*~

Zelda did not do buses, nor any modern transport in general if she could help it, and now she remembered why.

As it slowly rumbled its way south through the morning rush hour traffic, the bus bounced its passengers about on its rackety suspension. The bus wouldn’t have been her first choice of transport, but the tip jar hadn’t yielded much of a cash crop and she was stuck with what she could afford.

The journey to Sunnydale would take most of the day, but she doubted she could stand it that long. Each time the crate ran over a bump in the road, she had to grit her teeth to stop them from knocking together. All that clenching made her jaw ache and her mood irritable.

Her eyes drooped and the bus jolted, banging her head against the window glass. Wide-awake all over again, she groaned in frustration. She needed sleep! A good night’s rest in a proper bed, not short dozes that she had to grab in a cramped coach seat each time the busy traffic brought the vehicle to a halt. She’d rested in the bus station from the arduous walk down the mountain, but she still felt drained beyond words.

The old hippy next to her seemed to have no such trouble drifting off. He snored on, dribbling into his tobacco-stained beard, no doubt dreaming in psychedelic Technicolor of the Summer of Love, but as far as she was concerned, he could take his rainbows and flower power someplace else, because he stank; a fume of sweat, bad breath and unwashed socks wafting into her personal space. She didn’t dare breathe in.

Zelda pressed herself close to the window, to avoid the stench and the ickiness of his body heat as much as possible. Her humiliation was finally complete. The day before she’d been wired; excited to see Arda again. they were going to rule this crappy dimension together. Now she was nothing. The disappointment was a crushing come down.

People, that’s what she hated so much about being helpless, the reliance on people. Even after all her years on the earth, she still despised them, Humanity was weak, obsessed with trivia and money, scrambling for every last penny they could get their hands on; but they would never see the world the way it really was, never realise they were just cattle kept for the benefit of their demon superiors. They couldn’t see what was going on beyond their noses. How could such dull beings ever experience the heights that demon passions could achieve?

Shifting again, Zelda tried to get comfortable in her seat, giving up when every position either got her too close to her companion or made her head bang against the window again. It was no use. Sleep was never going to come as long as she was cooped up.

She decided that maybe it was better to plan her way out of this mess instead of cursing those that had put her here. She might as well put the time to good use, there was going to be plenty enough time on this trip to dwell on her situation.

Her first priority was to find the witch that had her stone. The revenge she was itching to mete out might make her feel better in the end, but there wasn’t time for that just now. It would have to wait until Arda was safe. Five hundred years Zelda had kept her Heartstone close. Through it Arda’s remote presence had been a comfort; always there, always touching her soul, but now there was silence where her lover should be. She had never been this far from the stone before and she hoped its absence was just distance, since the alternative was almost too painful to contemplate. She consoled herself with the thought that it was unlikely that the other witch even realised what the stone was, and if she did, it would be useless to her unless she had a lover she wanted to bind it to. Nonetheless, the loss of its touch made Zelda uneasy.

Either way this witch was unlikely to just give the stone up and Zelda was too weak now to take it back by force. She needed some decent help and there seemed to be a distinct lack of it available. There was always that miserable vampire. If he wanted his girlfriend back bad enough, he’d make a bargain: the stone for the noisy ho. It didn’t seem like a fair trade, that wasn’t her problem. Once she had what she wanted she would deal with them both for good. She smiled, the thought of revenge always made her very happy.

Just as she was imagining how many bits she could chop the vampire into before he dusted, the hippy woke up with a gurgling snort. She squeezed herself further into the window and pretended that the country flashing past was deeply fascinating and not just a blur – until a gnarled, meaty hand found its way uninvited onto her knee anyway.

Her head whipped round and she hissed, “If you don’t remove that, I’ll fry your prick off.”

She didn’t quite get the reaction she expected. The hippy laughed and gave her leg a teasing squeeze. He’d laughed at her! He’d actually laughed at her! She glared at him, wishing him rendered into his component molecules or something satisfyingly messier.

His smile quickly faded as he took in her poisonous look and he retracted his hand – far too slowly for her liking. “You got quite an attitude there, missy.”

She snorted derisively. He didn’t have a clue what he was up against. She could make him wither and die with a flick of her wrist…

Except she couldn’t, could she? She folded her arms and huffed back into the padding of her seat. “Fuck off and leave me alone.”

He made a point of looking around the packed bus. “Ain’t nowhere for me to go. You need to take it easy, little princess. Tom Nightshade don’t mean you no harm.”

She laughed bitterly. Tom Nightshade? Oh please. Fucking hippies. “Just keep your filthy hands to yourself.”

“Just flirting with you.” Tom leaned in close. Zelda was caught again in the fiery blast of his halitosis and she coughed, covering her nose with her hand. For all the good it did, Tom didn’t seem to connect the action with his own reek. “Word to the wise,” he told her sagely. “That bad attitude of yours is getting you nowhere. I reckon you’re all alone out there in the world and that’s hard, but you’ve come to like it that way. Jus’ you have to learn that what it is you had is over now and there ain’t any going back. It’s way too late for that.”

Zelda narrowed her eyes. This man, if that’s what he really was, knew far too much about her. “Who are you?”

He tapped his nose enigmatically. “A friend is all. I’m just a guide to this whole wide world and you; you need a little guidance. Life’s all a-changing and you’ll be needing all the help you can get very soon. Chin up, little missy. You’re a big girl now. Time is you’re gonna have to act like it.”

“What do you mean?” she snapped. “I don’t understand.”

He wiped his hands on his jeans. “You will soon enough.”

Zelda threw her head back against her seat. “You’re from the Powers. I should have known.”

“Not everything in this world is about you.” Tom rose from his seat with a groan and the creak of old bones. “I have to take a tinkle.”

He gave her another smile full of yellowing teeth and she scowled back. She didn’t need an unhelpful intervention by the Powers right now. Destiny was for losers; she’d make her own thank you.

Tom patted the top of his seat. “I can’t say it was nice meeting you, little princess, but I’ll see you again soon enough.”

Zelda looked out of the window. Tom’s reflection sighed and made its way to the coach’s restroom.

He didn’t come out again.

 NEXT

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/170414.html

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