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by Eden Lee Raven


Notes: Seventh in the Crawling Darkness series. Sequel to Snare.
Summary: If only he knew what was within.


We were laying around in the living room of the apartment when it happened. A jolt of energy so strong hit us and every single one of us shivered at it. Mist sat up on the floor, where she was laying with her head in Shimmers lap.

"Ok, what the hell was that?"No one had an answer for her, until Buffys cell rang. She didn't even have to look at the screen to know who it was.

"Will what the hell was that”

"You felt it?"I was close enough so I could hear what she was saying.

"We all did."Will sighed heavily before she started talking.

"We've been dealing with a group who worship a warlock. A really, really powerful one. He's just magically locked down a mansion with the coven inside.”

"So how do we get in to kill him?"she's straight to it. She knows Willow would never call her on business unless we were needed.

Another sigh. "That's the thing Buff, he's already dead. So far we've come up with the fact he wants to live again, and he'll do pretty much anything to do that. So? Hostages. We just need you to get in and protect the coven until we figure out how to kill him for good.”

"If he's locked the place down how're we gonna get in?”

"Because the energies of the Ghost Saber haven't been in this world for a millennia. You'll be able to walk right in because he won't have the signature of it to block it."I share a look with Buffy. Just us Ghosts for this mission then.

"Where is he?”

"I'll be teleporting to pick you guys up in about 15. Be ready."They hang up without another word. We share another look, before turning to explain to the pack.



"Wait, so we can't come with?"Dusks voice rings through my mind and all I can do is shake my head no.

"Just us Ghosts for this lil D."we're in the training room, fixing our weapons on while we wait for Will. Kyra's got a small frown on her face. She still has a thing about letting me go and fight without her there to watch my back herself. She knows I can't die, she knows Buffy'd never let anything happen to me, but that doesn't stop her frown.

There's not really anything else to say. I clip my swords over my chest just as the air in the room starts to shift. A crackle fills the air and then a flash of light leaves Will in its wake. She shakes her head out before looking up at us.

"Hey guys."A smile cracks her face before she wades into the gathered people and starts dishing out hugs. When she's done she looks to me with a serious expression. "You guys ready?”

I nod before looking to Kyra. "Take care of 'em. Back soon. Promise not to die."A smile creases her face and she just shakes her head at me. She knows damn well I'm not gonna die.

My promise doesn't stop her from feeling better though.



We slam the doors behind us and I leave B to check on Shadow and Mist, as I help Shimmer lay down on the ground. Turns out there were some fans of this warlock guarding the outside of the mansion. With weapons.

We had to fight our way in and it turns out even they couldn't get past the barrier. I got a lovely gash down the length of my forearm. We all got some cuts actually.

Nowhere near as bad as Shimmer though.

As I'm cutting away her shirt I think I count seven arrows sticking out of her back. There's a mess of activity as Shadow finds and pulls out an extra shirt, from the bag she's carrying and Mist is making sure the cut on Buffys back heals ok.

And then I see them, coming out of the shadows to stand around us. The coven. The leader steps forward and looks at Shimmer. Laying face down on the floor, her shirt in tattered slices beside us and a pool of blood spreading out around her.

She meets my eyes before speaking softly, sorrowfully. "I'm sorry.”

I give her a smile before speaking. "Not as sorry as warlock-boy's gonna be.”



She gives me a highly puzzled look, right before I grab one of the arrow shafts and yank it out. Shimmer growls from the pain as I look at the shaft. Without its head on it anymore. Shit.

I run my fingers through her hair as a comfort. "Shit. Sorry babe, the head came off. Think they're probably all gonna do that.”

"Typical. Do it fast Mama.”

"Your wish is my command."I don't even let her get the sarcastic comment out before I just start pulling them out and dropping them to the floor. Buffy comes over with a pack of wet wipes and that's when Shimmer starts growling. I can guess this'd be quiet painful, what with the sharp edges and all.

As they start popping out of her skin Buffy picks them off her back. She starts to wipe the blood away and I look up as some gasps escape the coven members mouths. Because her skin's completely healed, not a mark left on her.

As she sits up to pull the new shirt on I send a grin to the coven leader. I wait for her to look at me before standing and speaking.

"There's a reason why we're the cavalry.”




"We're Ghost Sabers."I don't get any more out before a guy comes over to us.

"Seriously?"he looks kinda shocked. Same here, seem as thought he obviously knows what we are. "I study shifters. Hobby of mine. I've read about Ghost Sabers but I figured they were a myth.”

"Not so much."I gesture to Buffy and the kids. "We're half of a pack. The other half's Amari.”

"And your Alpha let you come?"a burst of laugher escapes Mist as she comes over.

"Was our Alpha who made us."She nods her head at me. "Hey, shouldn't there be perks to havin' one of my mothers as my Alpha?”

I growl at her. "The perk's me not kickin' your ass Poppin'."She chuckles as she goes back to the twins. The guy from the coven gives me a look.

"You're Alpha? But aren't you too valuable to be put at risk like this?"he looks pretty astonished. Guess the shifter books he reads don't tell him everything. "Oh wait, specific metal that kills you, never mind.”

"Best not let him know the specifics. Warlock-boy's probably listenin'."I speak to the pack as I give him a smile but don't answer. If I don't say anything I'm not lying. I feel the pack grumbling in my head in agreement.

Still haven't gotten used to them doing that without a fight.



"Ok, this sucks."Shadows voice barely registers in my head as I grab a flying vase and throw it back across the way. We're in an upstairs hall, protecting the coven. Warlock-boy's currently mentally throwing stuff our way.

We've been here two days so far and I swear to god. What a pussy. He can't do anything better than throw shit at us? Powerful my ass. Not that I said this out loud mind. I'd rather he throw household shit than sharp implements of death.

And the coven can't even help 'cause when the barrier went up, seems he also did an anti-magic thing on them.

I dimly feel as a cut on my forehead heals up. Fucker threw a book at me.

Knew there was a reason why I don't read.



"Bad news Alpha."I'm on the phone with Will but we're talking telepathically. The coven thinks it's so warlock-boy can't hear us. But it's really so they can't. Don't ask me why, it was Will's request.

"Shock. Tell me.”

"The only way to kill him is to let him take someone's body. He has to be grounded for that, so when the body dies, he will. Permanently."A deep sigh rumbles through my chest.

"We kill rogues Will, not good guys.”

"I know. But when he takes them they'll be gone.”

"How exactly does he do that?”

"He gets in by reflections. So you guys have gotta close your eyes. He's gonna take the most powerful, and that's you Ghost Sabers.”

I turn to the pack, catching their attention with a mental whistle. "Everyone close your eyes."It wouldn't be a good thing if he got into any of us. An evil as all hell warlock in a body that can't die unless it chooses too? Even I can see the bad in that.

"Ok Will, done. But we can't keep our eyes closed.."I don't even get the sentence to Will before I feel it. Power. Funnelled power. A shiver runs down my spine that's so violent it makes my teeth chatter.

"Faith?"She sounds panicked on the other end of the phone.

"It's happened. He's taken someone.”

"Shit. It'll be more than one Faith. When he was alive he was the most powerful person on the planet. That's too much power for a body that isn't his.”

"Fuck. Ok, guess this' our dance. I'll call you when it's over."When I open my eyes B's already looking back at me.

With the harsh light of the painful truth in her eyes.



"You take tall an' rugged, I'll take red."I could feel the changes in the guy and the girl. It wasn't hard really. Guess you become more attuned to the mystical forces in the universe if you are a mystical force.

"Any news?"the coven mistress happens to be the 'red' I told Buffy I'd take. And while I'm moving towards her Buffy's moving to the other part of mystic-boy incarnate.

"Some."Her mouth opens to ask what but I don't let the question come out. I draw Dark from its sheath and lop her head clean off. I hear Buffy's target hit the floor.

There's a second of deadly silence before all hell breaks loose.



"What the hell?!"another member of the coven falls to his knees next to the now decapitated body of the coven mistress. He seems more distraught than just one of her coven members. I'm guessing lover.

"She wasn't her anymore. She was him.”

"We could've expelled him!”

"She was already gone. Only him left behind."Another member walks over and looks at the bodies on the floor.

"That was the only way to get rid of him?"I just nod as Buffy walks over. Before she's even there fully the witch whips her sword around and takes Buffys head clean off. I have an appropriate shocked look on my face when she turns back around. She has a damn evil smirk on her face as she hefts her sword. "Silver. Let's see her get up from that.”

See the thing mystic-boy doesn't know is that we can't be killed. And doesn't know we can sense things like his kinda power. We knew he'd taken three bodies before we even moved. And his attention's now all for me while Buffys head grows back.

I twirl Dark in my hand before putting it away again. I love the look of surprise that greets me. I've put my sword away so in his mind I'm either stupid or giving up.

Alotta powerful people? Not too bright.



"Not too bright really, are ya?"he gives me a highly confused look. "Silver's the poison for pretty much every shifter. Unless you're a Ghost Saber."I nod behind him and he spins to see Buffy getting up off the floor and shaking her hair out. She gives him an annoyed look before toeing her decapitated head with her boot.

"And my hair looked so good for doing it without the help of a mirror."He swivels his head pretty fast to look to me and back to Buffy again.


"But we're not just shifters. We're the Eternal. Shame you couldn't take one of us; we can't be killed."Buffy walks over to my side and gives me a disgruntled look.

"Is it bad?"I give her a smile and run my fingers through her now loose hair.

"I like it down.”

"What do you mean; you can't be killed?"Warlock-boy brings my attention back to him.

"Exactly that. Ya can't kill us, we don't die. Unfortunately for you? You're grounded now; you can."He smirks at me before a purple bubble erupts around him.

"But now I have your mystical signature, so you can't pass this barrier."Buffy sighs deep as she looks at me.

"May I?"I gesture for her to go ahead. He did, after all, take her head clean off. Only fair she gives him a little payback. "When will you mystic freaks ever learn?"she flicks her wrist, bringing Snick down into her hand. "It's never just us champions you've gotta shield against. Try an' reflect this.”

Without even letting him speak she easily throws her knife at him. It cuts through the barrier and meets the resistance of his breastbone for only a moment. The barrier drops just a split second before he does.

The coven just stand there with open mouths.

Really don't blame 'em.



It's as the twins are putting the bodies next to each other that I start to explain. "He had to take someone, had to become grounded or you'd all die here. Was the only way we could kill him for good."I can feel the sorrowful expression on my face as I lift my hand and summon flames into my palm.

"So that's why you closed your eyes?"I nod to the guy that spoke before I drop the small ball of flames onto the bodies.

"Like I said to him; we can't be killed. You imagine that evil fucker alive forever?”

He gives me a sad smile as the bodies burn. I wanna make damn sure warlock-boy's dead and not coming back.

"But like I said; your friends weren't in there anymore, he'd pushed 'em out."The guy who I recon was reds lover steps forward with an arctic look on his face.

"You knew it was gonna happen, and you let it."He's pissed but that's justified. We might have given the death blows to mystic-boy, but we're still culpable for the people he took.

"I'm sorry."I don't say anything else. There's nothing I can say. He's right. It might've been the only way to get rid of him but we're still to blame for letting it happen.

Three damn good people died today and we had a hand in letting it happen.

The big drawback in living forever? You remember the bad stuff just like you remember the good.

Continue to Sequel

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