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by Eden Lee Raven

Rating: NC-17
Notes: Fifth in the Crawling Darkness series, Sequel to Snowstorm on the Sand. If you haven't read the others, this will make very little sense.



Her body pulsates above me, a light sheen covering her entire body. Her hair's slightly mused but her eyes are twinkling in the darkness as she looks down at me. God she's beautiful.

I'm gonna live forever and I don't think I'll ever think she's less than a goddess.

It's then that my back arches, that I throw my head back. It's then that she curls her fingers just right and hits that spot inside that makes me shatter into a thousand pieces. Who knew, out of the two of us, that I'd be the loudest.

I return to myself and blink open my eyes. And fall straight into hers. It's moments just like this, with her body cooling against mine, with her fingers still inside me, that I realise exactly what it is that I have.

No matter where I am, no matter what I'm doing, as long as she's there, I remember that I'm home.



It's been five years since Willow brought us back. But I still remember that day clearly. When I was soaking up the sun and it should've been a good time. And yet I had that curling fear crawling up my spine. That something was coming. That something was gonna change.

Nothing's happened yet, but that sliver of coldness hasn't gone away, not even in five years. Like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I'm sitting on the front steps again, just watching the sun fade over the horizon. Kyra sits next to me and hands me a bottle of cold beer. In all this time I think she's felt it too, but she's never brought it up. It's just the look in her eyes sometimes. Just like mine. When she knows the shit's gonna hit the fan. And we're gonna be caught in the middle of it.

"Soon." Her voice whispers in my mind, but I don't jump. I knew something was coming.

"I know." We don't know what it is, but we know it's coming. She reaches over and clinks her bottle against mine. We just sit and enjoy the last of the days heat.

The calm before the storm. Again.



It comes in the whisper of a breath, curling on the back of my neck.

All of us are lazing on the grass, enjoying the sun while it lasts. Buffy's curled on the grass next to me with her eyes closed. I know she's not asleep though. I can feel the energy running through her body.

And maybe she can feel the unknown danger too. Because she has her knives sheathed on her wrists and she made me wear my swords. Like the air today's different. Like something shifted and she felt it.

I'm led on my back, the sheaths of my swords digging in slightly, with Mist straddling my waist. We're having a tickle fight. Really it's me tickling her and her trying to keep my hands away from her sides.

And then she freezes. We all do. I look over at the tree line as Mist gets off me. She sheds her clothes in the blink of an eye and shifts in seconds. The rest of us stand as Amari start coming from the trees in their hundreds.

Out of all the things that could've happened, why didn't I expect this?



"You have an untrained shifter among you." It's the lead Amari who denied me help for Kyra. His eyes aren't looking at me, they're trained on my children. He has this look of awe on his face, followed closely by greed.

By the time they'd reached where we were stood Shimmer and Shadow had shifted too. And I know if he can't get his hands on Mist he'd try and take the twins instead. They're Ghost Sabers. The rarest of the rare. He didn't care which one he got, so long as he got one of them.

Over my dead body. And I don't die, so it's never gonna happen.

"Martoth's your heaven, so to speak, right?" he blinks at me in surprise but nods. "Guess where we just spent a hundred years?" a smirk curls up the corners of my lips as I hear Buffy move up behind me. "That's right. It's not a heaven, it's a planet. An' even if ya did go there when ya die, which I can guarantee is gonna be soon if ya don't leave, they'd kill ya. Your kinda prejudice ain't welcome there."

"Regardless, she must be trained." Like he didn't even hear me.

"Are ya deaf? One hundred years in a world of shifters an' you think we're unqualified to train our own daughter?" It's an incredulous question, but he doesn't care. He nods towards some Amari behind him, who move forward as if to take her.

I hold up my hand and my words stop them in their tracks. "Can guarantee if you lay one finger on any of my children, I will rip it off." They look back at their leader who nods them to continue on their mission.

I hear the soft shink of Buffy's knives coming out, and I feel the human side of me fade back, as the slayer and the animal in me join forces and take over. Her knives pierce their chests just as they register my cold, arctic smile and my emotionless words.

"Warned ya."

It's then that all hell breaks loose. Lucky for us the slayers on watch sounded the alert. We've got an army at our backs, all armed with silver blades. Giles isn't a stupid man, guess he knew something like this would happen.

Wish he told me.

Some slayers take Mist inside because even though she can fight, there's a lot more of them than there is of us. I wouldn't risk them taking her while I was busy killing.

And that's exactly what I do. Draw my swords from their sheaths and start felling any Amari that come close to any of us. But I have a purpose. A target and I head right to it.

To him.



When I reach him he's got this indulgent smile on his face. Like no matter what we do, no matter how much silver we wield, we aren't gonna win. Got some news for him.

"Ya think this is funny chuckles?" his attention comes to me as I stop in front of him. Less than three feet from him like I'm not worried. I'm really not.

"This is all pointless. We'll win. And she will be ours." I smirk. He doesn't know I'm a Ghost too. More fool him.

Suddenly his arm shoots out and he drives a knife right into my heart. I put on a show, stagger a bit. But then I look up into his twinkling eyes as I stand up straight again. As if he didn't just deliver a normally killing blow. As if I don't have a knife sticking out of my chest like a hood ornament.

"You ok?" Buffys voice curls through my head and I smile. Even though she knows I can't be killed she was still watching my back.

"Pinches a little." Her laugh follows and I enjoy the sound of it before I turn back to him. He now has a look somewhere between shock and curling fear on his face.

Good. He should be afraid.



"You really thought I'd let my children watch me die?" I take a half step closer to him. I'm not afraid and he needs to know that. He can see it in my eyes. "Few things ya should know ‘bout Ghost Sabers. First is that we can't be killed, with anything, no matter what you use."

It's then that I reach behind my head and pull Dark out of it's resting place. I know it looks like liquid darkness, but it'll still kill him. It can be whatever metal it needs to be to get the job done.

"Second is the kinetic abilities. One of four." And with a flash of light my sword's got flames licking all up and down the blade. "The Amari wanna fight those who can't be killed? More fool them. But you won't be apart of it."

And then my arm moves so fast it's just a blur. I drive my sword straight through his heart and stand there watching him twitch and burn as the flames swallow him whole.

His scream stops the fighting like words never could.



When his body slides off my blade and hits the ground with a dull thud, he's nothing but a hunk of blacked skin. From both the flames and the sting of my sword. The Amari just stopped fighting. Not sure what to do without their leader.

A man steps forward and takes his place, staring directly at Kyra.

"You'd choose a mixed pack over ours?"

She sneers at him before she answers. "Our pack? It hasn't been mine for more than two hundred years, since I saved two cubs lives. You don't deserve the life I saved you for, if you're willing to take a cub from her parents."

"She must be trained." I can actually feel Kyras eye roll from here.

"A hundred years on Martoth doesn't qualify me? Them?" he has no words to say to that. Good. I'm itching to cleave his asshole head from his shoulders. "Besides, your Alpha's dead. Mine," and then she looks directly at me. "is still alive. I think I'm better off on this side, with shifters I can trust with my life."

Alpha? Me? Well I'll be fucked.



The thing with a pack when they choose an Alpha; if it's you, you don't get a choice in it. They think you're the best to lead them. The packs word is final.

And it's not a majority rules kind of thing either. It can happen one of two ways; you put yourself forward, or someone else does. And the entire pack have to agree. If no one says anything, then you're it. Simple as.

Kyra put me forward. And no one disagreed with her. Not even Buffy. So I'm it, end of story.

"I'm Alpha here, you're not." I shot him a look that makes him take a step back. "Which means you all leave. Now."

"We'll be back for the girl." And then they all fade back into the trees and leave. I look to one of the slayers and nod my head towards the castle.

"Can you bring her back out?" and then I turn my attention back to my pack. And whisper softly, mentally, to them all. "We need a pow-wow." No one disagrees with  me and it makes me blink. Just until I remember I'm their Alpha now.

Gotta get used to that.



It's the next week and the core Scoobies and my pack are sat around a conference table. But I let Buffy do all the talking. She doesn't dance around with her words. Another thing she learnt in Martoth.

"We have to leave." It's Dawn that immediately jumps in.

"What?! You can't!"

"They're gonna come back. And more people are gonna die. Maybe you."

"Then we'll fight them!"

"We're gonna live forever Dawn. Please don't make me watch you get killed."

Her words stop Dawn in her tracks. It seems to sink in then; that we're gonna have to watch them all grow old. That we're gonna have to watch them die. 

And none of us want it to be because of us.



It's Giles that breaks the silence by sliding a leather folder down the table to me. He opens his own and I follow his lead. It's got a bunch of plastic baggies in it. Each has a name on it and a phone inside.

"They're programmed with all the numbers of those phones, and these ones." He starts handing the baggies out to the core Scoobies. "We'll be able to call each other whenever. They're untraceable." He indicates the big brown envelope in front of me. "That has the details of bank accounts, registered in the name of a company. There's one for each of you. You'll get your wages monthly."

"Wages? For what, running away?" he gives me a very fatherly smile.

"Not running away Faith. Being the councils roaming unit. Chasing rogue slayers, doing missions I'll call you about." So basically we'll still be working for the council. Like he said; the roaming unit. Only difference is, they'll never know where we are.

I forget how smart Giles is sometimes.


I give him a warm, thankful smile that he returns, before he indicates for Willow to start talking. She flips over a black velvet cover in front of her. Laid out in pairs are titanium bracelets with a different coloured stone set into it.

"The white one opens a portal to Martoth, so you can see Benadict. The black one bring you back here, if you get stuck." She lifts her head and locks eyes with me. Her expression tells me what she's not saying. She won't know if we get stuck, and she won't be around forever even if she did know.

I nod and give her a sad smile. "There's a pair each for all of you. I've had to make two sets for Mist though." She sends a smile to Mist before she continues. "One set for little wrists, another for when she grows up."

Mist gives Willow a huge smile and bounces on Shadows lap slightly. She doesn't understand. That we're leaving.

That this is the end.



It's Xander that starts speaking next. He heaves a huge black case onto the table and flips it open. "I've been trying to think of how you can protect yourselves. ‘Cause there's a hell of a lot more of them. And then I watched a few movies and it hit me."

He picks a gun from inside the case and shoots me a smile. "Guess what movies I watched Faith. I've got catnip if you get it right." Everyone around the table chuckles at that as he ejects the clip and holds it up. I speak without even thinking.


He grins at me. "Oh yeah. The bullets have liquid silver in them. One'll do the trick. It'll get into the bloodstream, dead in minutes. All the details of the company who makes them are in here too. So if you run out you can get more. The council's got an account with ‘em so just charge the order here." And then he picks out a belt, with leg holsters on it. He stands and puts it on. I speak without thinking again.

"Tombraider." He grins at me again.

"With some mods. Had to think of how to do this so it wouldn't get in the way of your swords." He ejects the clips from two of the guns and turns his back to us. In an easy, practised move he slides the guns onto two of the clips that're sat sideways. With a soft snik they come off the belt and they're ready to go. "Instructions on how to put clips onto the belts are in there." He nods towards the case before taking the belt off and putting it back.

He closes the case and slides it over, a smile still on his face. "I know you don't like guns, but I have to protect my girls." Malaki coughs from his seat. "And guys."


"I don't wanna go. I don't wanna take the pack with me. But no matter what they do we won't be killed. You can be. I really don't wanna be the reason." I don't finish the sentence but they all understand what I'm not saying; the reason they all get killed.

They should die as old people in their beds. Not because some nutty Amari Alpha can't take ‘no' for an answer.

There's nothing more for anyone to say. The goodbyes are tear filled, the hugs crushing. When Dawn gets to me I can actually feel bones creaking.

"Don't cry squirt. We'll see you again."




 It's been five years since we left the council headquarters. We've had to re-order two more lots of bullets since then. The Amari've tried to find us since we've been gone. Not in their hundreds, just a few teams. And the bullets work a treat. We've become amazingly good at using them since we've had to.

Buffy's voice mumbles through the apartment as she ends her phone call to Dawn.

She drops her phone to the table and joins me on the sofa. Actually right in my lap. "Everything's fine. They haven't been back since Giles told them we left." We don't talk out loud much anymore. There's no need really.

I lean forwards and capture Buffy in a searing kiss. She always needs reassurance after a call to her sister. It's not being able to see her whenever she feels like. Not being able to just open the door to her room.

"Oh my god." Mists voice in my head breaks our kiss. She's fifteen now and looks like a perfect blend of me and Buffy. Another few years and her body'll freeze, looking just as she is. "Could you guys please try not to scar me for like… ever."

I just roll my eyes and settle Buffy down more comfortably. Shimmer comes into the room fastening her gun belt round her waist. "Gotta get used to it poppin'" she got that nickname ‘cause of her love of cooking. "Get your guns, the range won't be open forever." They're teaching her how to shoot. How to make it count.

Shadow and Malaki enter the room, messing around and joking. Dusk's following and smiling at them indulgently. They're all armed. No one leaves without being protected.

It's when the door clicks shut behind them that my phone rings. It's in my pocket and Buffy leers at me before climbing off me.


"Faith, actual words.

"Oh sorry Red. What's up?" in less than ten minutes I've called the kids and have them heading back. The only thing about being the roaming unit; be prepared to move at a moments notice.

Pity we've gotta head to Virginia from Spain.

Long flight.

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