The Heartstone Part Two

This entry is part 2 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!

 

Two

Xander’s less than welcoming welcome rang through the shelves of the Magic Box. “Hey look, it’s chipped and fangless!”

Although she was slightly irritated by Xander’s attitude when for all they knew there could be a rising threat in Sunnydale, Buffy couldn’t have been more relieved to see her friends. Her night had been of the suck so far; so it would have been just her luck to find that everybody had decided to take an early night, but by the looks of the catalogues and brochures scattered across the table, a late night wedding planning session was in full swing.

Spike barely glanced at Anya cashing up on the counter and he swaggered over to the table where Xander and Willow sat amongst a large pile of bridal magazines. Xander had looked up from a stationer’s brochure he’d been studying, but Spike ignored him completely and went straight over to the witch, who Buffy noticed was hard at work on some college essay.

Now, Buffy thought, something might actually get done.

Despite the vitriol of his greeting, Buffy thought that Xander actually looked rather pleased to see Spike, as if having someone to snark at would ease the tedium of wedding talk. “Whatcha doing here, Spike? Got no where else to be tiresome?”

“No, you git,” Spike waved an arm in Willow’s direction. “Looking for the witch here. Got ourselves a little problem. The Slayer…”

“Would kick you out on sight if she was here,” Xander cut in. “Now skedaddle, before I have to get all manly on your skinny ass.”

Buffy didn’t need to see Spike’s face to know that he was scowling. “Stop being a pillock. Buffy…”

For once Buffy agreed; Xander needed to get over himself this time, arguing wasn’t going to get them anywhere. She’d been a passenger in Spike’s mind way too long already and she didn’t have time for Xander’s sniping. There was no way she was going to stay imprisoned in Spike any longer than she had to. Sharing one body was too… intimate and intimate was the one thing she didn’t want to be with Spike – hours of mind-blowing sex notwithstanding. She didn’t care to know how his night had been or how he spent his afternoons in his crypt and she was sure it wouldn’t be long before he did something gross that she really wouldn’t want to see. Besides, she was already fed up with following Spike around, she had her own miserable life to get on with and she didn’t want his. He had spent the past hour searching Sunnydale for her. Evidently – despite the great honking anvil that was the trampy witch at The Bronze – he was still half convinced she’d split on him. Go figure. Finally, he’d given up and headed for the Magic Box. Even one-track-minded vampires with a Slayer fetish knew that the store was a place of answers. Even if he wasn’t particularly welcome.

However, there was little hope that Xander would give up his personal vendetta. He was on a roll. “We’re busy being actually useful right now, which is more than we can say for you.”

“Yes,” Anya chimed in from the vicinity of the money. She took aim and fired the pricing gun at a Shiva statuette. “He’s picking out the placeholders. I read gold was lucky for weddings. I expect Xander to choose gold.”

Spike looked down at Xander’s reading matter. Buffy noticed that gold filigree and calligraphy seemed to be conspicuous by their absence, unless there was something that Wolverine was keeping firmly in his closet. Spike must have had the same thought. “Looks like the boy is catching up with his X-Men to me.”

“Xander!” Anya waved a finger in anger. “You’re not taking this seriously! Our wedding will be ruined and we will have to live with the fact our special moment wasn’t perfect for the rest of our lives.”

“Gold is perfect, An! Bright, shiny, the colour of gold coins and uh… gold. It’ll be great!” Xander turned to Spike. “You will pay for this, chip-brain!”

“Yeah, right.” Spike replied doubtfully, but Buffy felt him inch away. The chip still made him edgy even if he wouldn’t consider Xander a particular threat. Once at a safe distance, but not one that would seem too cowardly, Spike turned back to Willow. “Now about B… the Slayer.”

Willow, at least, took him seriously. “Where is she? What happened?”

“We were…” Spike groped for the right word – undoubtedly the one that would gain him the most leverage – and Buffy braced herself for the inevitable.

Perhaps being trapped inside someone else’s head for eternity wouldn’t be so bad. As long as she didn’t have to see the appalled faces of her friends when they found out who the Slayer they’d resurrected really was.

“…out.”

Buffy relaxed. Spike’s feeble excuse wasn’t at all convincing, but at least he’d kept her secret.

Willow didn’t look as if she was buying all this though. “You were Patrolling?”

“Patrolling,” Spike agreed vehemently. “Yeah, that’s right. We were patrolling. Then some bint zapped us with the mojo. Woke up and the Slayer was gone.”

“She just abandoned you? Good Call, Buffster.” Xander sniped.

Hey! I wouldn’t do that! Buffy thought indignantly. Not right away

“Xander! This could be serious!” Willow flashed him a warning with her best I-mean-business face. “Buffy could be in trouble.”

Xander looked at Spike grimly, but then relented. “Okay, fill us in.”

Spike nodded. “Looked everywhere. Couldn’t find her. She’s gone.”

“Do you know where?” Willow looked worried.

“There was a witch. Tried to get her to cough up where she took the Slayer, but she vanished. She left this.” Spike held out the Heartstone for Willow to see.

She was immediately entranced. As she took it reverently from his hand, a smile Buffy didn’t like brightened across her face like the dawning of the sun. “It’s so powerful! Oh, oh…”

Xander moved in to protect her. “Will?”

“She’s experiencing ecstasy.” Anya chipped in from behind the counter. “That’s how I feel when I touch my…”

“Anya!” Xander choked, cringing with embarrassment.

Anya pouted in response. “I was going to say my hard earned dollars, but I can say clitoris if you would prefer.”

“Back to the matter in hand.” Spike pointed at the stone. “What is it?”

“I don’t know.” Willow’s voice was heavy with awe. “But it’s old and it’s powerful. Really, really powerful. I think I can…”

Buffy was suddenly very afraid, her slayer senses screaming out that the stone shouldn’t stay with Willow and her poor impulse control. Her fear was so strong that it radiated out to Spike until he could sense it too.

“Don’t think this is a good idea, Red.” He reached for the stone.

“Nooooo! I think I’d better keep it…” She snatched it away from him. “I should have it – for research!”

Spike growled at her. “Need it to get Buffy back.”

“That’s okay, we’ll find her.” Xander rose and came to his friend’s defence, pushing Spike out of the way. “We’ll do fine without you.”

Willow’s eyes never left the stone. “We need to find out what this is. Spike, why don’t you… er look for her where Buffy disappeared?”

“But, I…” Buffy felt Spike prickle at the snub, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Willow head snapped up and she glared at him. Her eyes were black and very unfriendly. “You are not needed here.”

~*~

Stars weren’t what Zelda was expecting to see when she opened her eyes, certainly not the thin bridge of the Milky Way arching above her through the cold, clear night.

Fuck.

She sat up and shook off some of the snow clinging to her flimsy California clothes. Seemingly, her spell had not only backfired, but on a truly spectacular scale. The portal had opened as planned, but without the complete spell to anchor it to Arda’s dimension it had looked for another focus, plucking some half-actualised picture from her mind’s eye and transporting her there instead.

Checking her surroundings by the bitter light of the chilly moon above, she took in the ridge of snaggle-toothed mountains that sank the tree line just below her into sinister shadow. She groaned inwardly. She understood what had happened now. The spell could have sent her anywhere, any-when, but it had dumped her in the last place she’d thought of. Except she had no idea where that actually was. All she knew was that it was lonely, mountainous and incredibly fucking freezing.

One thing was for certain though; she wasn’t in Sunnydale anymore.

She looked up at the breath-taking expanse of the heavens above her, scrutinising them for occult meaning, but their splendour did nothing to soothe her seething rage. For five hundred years she’d analysed the sky and for five hundred years she had waited. She wasn’t going to be stopped now just because some vampire had wanted to screw his little human friend in a club restroom.

Relieved that the constellations were in their proper places and the planets she needed to open the portal were still in the right positions, she started down the mountain. She trudged miserably, her feet sinking into the deep snow that engulfed her boots and soaked through the soft fabric to freeze her toes. Occasionally, small stones masked by the snowfall would catch her narrow heels and turn her ankle, making her descent tricky as well as cold. But there was little else she could do except keep moving forward.

Idly, she flicked a heavily bangled wrist and cast herself a heat spell. It fizzed and sparked from her fingers but instead of the fiery glow she’d counted on to protect her from frozen mountain air, it only produced a faint lick of warmth that lapped her skin like a slowly cooling bath.

She tried again. Nothing at all this time. Zip.

She clicked her fingers, hoping to conjure some warming clothes instead, and something plopped into existence at her feet, half buried in the drift. Brushing off the snow, she picked it up, but it turned out to only be a threadbare green bobble hat. The wool was soggy from the heat of her hands but she put it on anyway. It would have to do until she found shelter.

At the thought of having to walk to civilisation, her shoulders sagged and she pulled the sleeves of her filmy top over her hands, wrapping her arms tightly around her chest to tuck her fingers under her armpits. Fuck it was cold. The knowledge that the cold couldn’t kill her as long as her life force was bound to Arda’s was of small comfort, it sure as hell didn’t make her warmer. Perhaps all her spell needed was more juice. Maybe the jump here had drained the Heartstone and she would just have to wait until…

The Heartstone! Now that she thought about it, she couldn’t feel its familiar presence.

With a rising panic, she retraced her steps, scrambling uphill until she found the spot where she’d woken. She already knew in her heart that it wasn’t buried under the crisp, virgin drifts, but she started to dig nonetheless, frantically using her freezing hands to fling the snow aside.

“Crap, crap, crap,” she cursed when her searches found little but more of the cold white stuff. “Fucking stone.”

She sat down on a frozen log, ignoring the dread possibility of chilblains, and put her head in her hands. If she calmed down she could feel for her stone, draw Arda’s power to her through it.

If she just calmed down…

Relaxing her whole being, she tried the one thing she knew she could do without the power of the stone. She separated her mind from her body, drifting upwards and out onto the Astral Plane. Her thoughts spinning out along the ley lines, using them to amplify her search as they criss-crossed the country like Tron, but more modern and in full colour. Nothing could hide from her like this.

The land zips beneath her on fast-fast-forward. She is everywhere at once. Overground, beneath the oceans, in the dark places of the earth. Cities and vast flat plains. Deserts, mountains and pastures. Acapulco. It’s nice there, warm too. It’s so, so tempting right now, but she’s gone too far. Pulls back. Reaches out. Finds her stone in the hands of another witch.

Zelda tries to snatch it, but it’s too far away. The redhead is smothering the stone in her own influence and it’s too strong to break. Her own powers are too feeble. Her fingers just slip right through it. Fuck it.

Retreat.

Zelda came back into her body with a furious bump. The stone was lost to her – for now. It was too far away, far enough that she couldn’t even feel the gentle pull of its magic or the comfort of Arda’s love.

She broke a branch off the log and lobbed it angrily down into the trees. That stupid vampire was responsible for this. If he hadn’t interrupted her spell, she’d be in the loving arms of her paramour, feeling again the raging power of his demonic lusts. The thought itself made her a little warmer and she smiled at the memories of the times they’d spent together; the way his body had shined with sweat as they made love for hours, the screams of their sacrifices as they prepared their diabolic schemes, the oh-so-naughty things he could do with a flick of his tail. Ah, very good times. Worth waiting nearly half a millennia for, most definitely – but for all the cold comfort memory offered, it couldn’t suppress the sadness that lurked deep inside that reminded her they were so far apart.

Tears started to turn her vision watery. She’d missed the optimum moment to bring him back now, the one point of time when her summons was guaranteed to work. She wiped the tears away. They weren’t going to help and there was still hope, still a chance that all her work wouldn’t turn out to be to be some fucking huge waste of time. The planets would remain close to their required positions for another day or so yet. The portal wouldn’t be as strong, but if she was quick it could hold long enough to bring him through.

She glanced up at the stars again. They offered no comment, no disapproval, no guidance, but Zelda’s mind was set. If she failed and Arda remained in the void, she vowed the vampire would pay. Him and his noisy ho of a girlfriend.

But first, she needed her Heartstone back.

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/169061.html

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