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by Eden Lee Raven


Rating: NC-17
Notes: Fourth in the Crawling Darkness series. Sequel to Jagged Inferno.


We've been chasing this girl all over the universe. She might not be the best, but damn she's fast. Of course when you've got Kyra, Shelly and Kaylen in panther form, escorted by two scary looking women, well that'd put some fire to anyone's feet.

So far we've been to a world that didn't have a night, where the sun was always shining. A world without men, a world without water and a world with nothing but water. The one we're in right now just looks like a rocky desert. With red sand and two suns shining in the sky. Haven't had a night here yet. Maybe there's two moons as well.

We're currently curled up in a cave. Me and B haven't slept in two days. Luckily shifters're telepathic. Kyra's following the rogue and Kaylen and Shelly are watching our backs while we get some rest.

"Faith." Shelly's voice makes me blink open my eyes. She's knelt next to me, completely naked with an anxious look on her face. "Kyra says she's a few miles away now. We should catch up."

I just nod as I turn to wake B up. I feel the air tighten slightly before relaxing again. I know she'll have shifted by the time I turn around again.

It's strange how most of these chases end on a cliff edge. She's just stood there, waiting for us to catch up. Maybe she's had enough of running. Hope so, Dawn's birthday's coming up soon. Don't wanna miss that party.

"You're never gonna get what you want." Her voice is strangely high pitched. I expected it to be deeper for some reason. I open my mouth but she doesn't even let me start. I hate when people do that. "If it's a choice between ending it when I say, or by your sword?" she shakes her head and a smile breaks out across her face. Kinda creepy. "One question though; how you gonna get home without this?"

She holds a runed stone in her hand, showing it to us, before she slips it into her pocket. She gives this little salute that pretty much says ‘fuck you'. And then she steps off the cliff. Taking our way home with her.

We jump towards her as she disappears. Not so much to get that rock. Just to try and grab her.

She was one we were hoping to save.



We've been walking around for two days now. Those suns are pretty hot. Luckily the nights are cooler. And no, not two moons. Four. Now that's a weird sight to see.

So far we haven't come across another living soul. Except a lizard that was about the same size as a really big dog. And for right now. In the distance, through the heats waver, we can see some huts. Like a little village. And we hope they're friendly.

As we get closer we can see a group of demons wrecking the place. About ten of them or more. Two huts have already been demolished.

Without any hesitation we all run into the middle of it. The demons look at us like we're food.

"Hey boys. Can anyone join the party?" the one I'm guessing's the leader smirks devilishly and starts advancing. I hear the womph of B's backpack hitting the floor. About a second before I draw my sword from it's sheath and look at it critically.

Don't think they expected us to fight back. Shame on them.



"No one's fought back for.. well. A really long time." We're sat outside of one of the huts with Benadict. He's the pack leader. Turns out this' a world of shifters. And a few demon clans.

"You're the first living soul we've spoke to in a few weeks. Wouldn't help if they killed ya before we could say hey." A smile curls up the corners of his lips and a chuckle escapes him.

"We haven't seen a human in more than four hundred years. You'll forgive the younger ones if they're a bit skittish." Me and B nod and smile back. I turn my head to track our three shifted friends. They're playing with a few other shifters from this little village. "How did you get stuck here?"

"Chased someone." I shrug as I look back to him. "She got the wrong impression an' took a header off a cliff. Took our only way home with her. Just need to hang somewhere til our friend comes to find us."

"You saved our village from being totally destructed again. You're more than welcome to stay with us."

Don't think I've seen B smile so wide since we started chasing that rogue.



We're stood in front of a hut that seems a little bigger than the rest. Two shifters are going in and out, looking completely at ease. One's got these two large bowls, balanced in each hand. They're full of a blue paste. Hope it'll help.

"No matter how short a time you're here for Buffy, this needs to happen." B's been arguing with Benadict for the five minutes I've been stood here watching. "You wouldn't want another pack to mistake you for food, would you?"

I feel a smirk curl up my lips. Which, with the tenseness of my shoulders is a really weird sensation.

I take in a deep breath as I feel Benadict put his hand on my shoulder. Guess it's time to get on with this.

First time in a long time that I can remember feeling fear curl in my stomach.



I really, really hate to scream. Shows weakness. I hate to hear B scream even more.

Turns out every village on this world has markings all their own. And as we're gonna be staying here we need to be identified as being apart of it, shifter or not. Unfortunately for my pain threshold we've come to a village who's markings are actually brands.

Seriously. Burning hot metal pushes into my shoulder blade again and another scream bubbles out of me. I turn my head to look at B. Maybe that'll distract me.

But no. There're tears streaming down her face and her features are pinched in acute agony. It's only then that I feel the wetness on my own cheeks.

Well I'll be damned. Didn't think I could still cry.


Kyra's just watching us, as we get our weapons from the floor of our hut. I pull the zipper of my leather jacket half way up before buckling my sword around my waist. I can feel B behind me, pulling on her own sword. Tying the leather string around her thigh. So it doesn't flap around.

We've been here for a good long while now. And even though it's not expected of us, we overheard Benadict talking to his second in command. The village one over can see the demons in the distance. They're in a cave about a half mile from the village. Waiting for the right time I guess. To attack. To destroy.

I don't know how many times this' happened to other villages since we got here, but it's not acceptable. Not to us. We let Benadict know that, in no uncertain terms. We're Slayers. It's our job to protect.

When we walk out of our hut there's a naked man waiting for us. He looks on edge. But then I guess if you spent so much time running from the demons it'd be against your nature to go out and find them.

I look at B, making sure she's ready, before giving Amatheon a gesture with my hand.

"Show us the way."



Stupid fucks. They've heard of us, protecting the village we're staying in. They know it's not far from this one. They know shifters can be telepathic when they wanna be. How moronic d'you have to be to not work out we'd be coming? Eventually. They've gotten away with it before, why worry now?

Because the Slayers have worked out how to tap into their primal power. And it doesn't matter what world you're from. Any self respecting demon knows what a Slayer is.

A sword flies up towards Buffys face with a deadly accuracy. I'm not worried. Before it can end her she claps her hands closed over the blade. Doesn't even flinch. She just shakes her head before ramming the hilt back into the demons face and ripping it from his hand. She doesn't spare him a second thought before slicing his head from his neck and moving on.

That's my girl.

I kept my eyes on her, drowning in the deadly poetry of her body as she fights. I'm barely paying attention to the demon who's punches I'm blocking. Like I said; we're so close to the Slayer now. So close I can actually feel what he's gonna do next. His moving muscles make the air shift. Gives me a few seconds to block before the blow hits.

Bored with this demon I look at him. Pushing his arms away as I reach out my hands and twist his head until I hear the sickening crack of his neck snapping.

I'm already moving to the next before his body's even hit the floor.



I unbuckle the sheath on the demons chest. It's got two swords that go down his back, the hilts pointing upwards and slightly to the side. So they can be reached over the shoulders. I slide one of the swords half way out and I can suddenly feel a pulse of longing in my throat. The blade has a black finish that looks like liquid. There are designs weaving down the blade.

Never seen a more beautiful sword in my life.

The other sword's got a white liquid finish to it with the same designs as the black blade. Both showing the silver beneath. A rustling draws my attention to B as she pulls off some leather forearm sheaths from a headless demon. Her eyes are drawn to the blades as she pulls the knives free. They aren't a solid metal. Like a really intricate and detailed celtish design instead. They're beautiful.

She removes the bow and thigh quiver next, testing out the strength of the bows string, before she feels my eyes on her.

When she meets my gaze a bolt of heat runs through me so hard it makes me gasp.

That's another thing about getting more in touch with our inner Slayer.

Hungry and horny? We're practically crawling the walls.


There's a second where are eyes meet and everything fades away. In a rush of movement we speed towards each other. It's simply a matter of who's fastest, concerning the matter of who's ‘on top' this time.

Turns out it's her.

My back slams against the cave wall hard. But it isn't a moan of pain that escapes me. I feel her lips descend against the skin of my neck. Her teeth nipping as my world narrows down to just us. Pressed up against a cave wall. Nothing but that burning heat sizzling between us.

She doesn't play games with me. We're both too far gone for that.

She yanks open the button and zip on my leather pants and slides her hand deep inside me. The feeling of her being buried in the most intimate part of me makes my back arch and my eyes slam shut. Now isn't the time for gentle. It's not the time for slow.

She shows she feels that too with the pace she starts up. Slamming into me so hard and so fast I can barely breath between thrusts. Her teeth gaze against my skin giving me a warning. The next thing she bites down so hard I dimly feel the skin split.

Right before my world snaps like a rubber band and blurs at the edges.



"There aren't many rules here Faith. But one that you need to know right now is ‘You keep what you kill'." Benadict cocks his head to the side as he looks at us. We arrived back a few minutes ago and took the weapons we rescued straight to him.

"But.." I flicker my eyes to the swords and I feel a rush of longing skitter through me. "..someone'll come for us. At some point." My hand inches towards him and he puts his hand out. Stopping me from offering them to him again, but not touching them. Not even close.


I don't have time to think it through before he starts talking again. "Those weapons belong to you now. No matter what world you're in. They wouldn't have let either of you touch them unless they wanted you too."

Um… what?



Turns out the weapon're mystical. With thoughts all their own. Benadict was deadly serious when he said they wouldn't have let us take them if they didn't want us too.

As for when we leave this world, these weapons go with us. Or they'll probably not get used again for a long time. Until they found someone worthy. Apparently it took them two hundred years to find new wielders. Before the demons took them.

Apparently you need a soul for them to choose you. To answer to you. Or refuse to let you take them.

The soul of a champion.

And I apparently I have one. Good to know.


We're in the desert again. With our shiny new weapons, getting a better feel for how they handle.

Benadict got a telepathic telegram from one of the other villages. They were under attack. Could we help? Damn right we could. My Slayer was just itching to be let loose again. Think B was in the same boat.

When we got to the village I could feel my Slayer screaming inside of me. For retribution. For blood.

The village was destroyed. Huts demolished and smoke rising. There were bodies everywhere. Covered in blood. Groaning in pain.

A shifter near us rolled over in pain and looked me right in the eyes. He didn't say anything. I don't think he could. He just pointed the way the demons had gone. I looked at Amatheon as he nodded and moved towards the fallen shifter. Then I looked at B and felt the Slayer in me respond to the murder in her eyes.

We took off without saying a word to each other.

The hunt was on.



This desert all looks the same. It's all hard packed red sand, and all the jagged rock formations look alike. That's the human side of me talking. But the Slayer can tell the difference. We move like shadows through the dark. As if we know exactly where we're going. As if it'd already been written and we were just following a script.

The suns are about twenty minutes away from breaking the horizon, and then our cover of darkness'll be lost. I have a feeling we won't be needing it much longer.

I was right. In the distance I see a pack of demons. Loud and brash as they talk about the village they just levelled.

A soft growl comes from Buffys throat. A low rumble in the darkness. I agree with ya B.

And then we're there and the demons are just looking at us. Something close to surprise on their faces.

"You fucked up what was ours." Buffys voice is a low rumble as it comes from her chest, making a few of the demons flinch at the sound of it. Those ones are smart. They know what's coming and they aren't enjoying the thought. Most of the others aren't so smart.

As they stand to face us I draw the swords from my back, sparing only a glance to the blades before I look back to them. I heard the soft shink noise of Buffy flicking her knifes into her hands.

We stand and stare at the demons for a few moments, no one moving. I think they're wary of the blades we wield. Because that can only mean one thing.

Blood. My Slayer relishes the thought of it.



The silence is broken by the soft whistling noise of one of Buffys knives flying through the air. It pierces a demon right between the eyes.

These demons are smarter than the ones back home. They attack all at once. Probably thinking strength in numbers. They've obviously heard the rumours about us.

Unfortunately for them a Slayer as close to the power as we are, is like trying to fight a blur. We can see their punches coming long before they arrive. My swords are a blur of black and white steel as they cut through the sunrise. It's raining blood.

Dimly I recognise a sharp stabbing pain in the palms of my hands. But I don't have time to inspect them. A sharp breath escapes me as my left sword shifts in my hand and I feel the skin tearing slightly. But I'm too focused on the two demons in front of me to care.

I cut them down like weeds and move on to the next with a growl.



When the blood's stopped flowing we're stood in front of two cowering demons. Two that didn't fight because they knew they wouldn't win. In the hopes that we wouldn't kill them.

"You don't kill ‘em for food. You do it for fun." My voice is a deep timber. Deeper than it normally is. "Deliver a message." One of them looks up at me, but I guess it's a scary image. Splattered with blood that isn't my own. A scowl covering my face, and Buffy at my back, pulling her bow from over her chest. "You leave what's ours alone. If you don't, can guarantee you won't live to see next week."

Without saying anything, just more whimpering, they both scramble to their feet and run. A cruel smile curls the corners of my lips.

"Hey Slayer, how many demon's it take to deliver a message?" I feel her come stand beside me. I feel the air shifting as she pulls the string of her now loaded bow back. I feel as a cruel smile crosses her face to match my own.




I stand for a second and look around me. The ground's so much redder than usual. Covered in blood. I feel the Slayer in me rumble at the sight of all those bodies. I feel Buffy moving around behind me as she inspects all the demons. I need to just stand here a second and breathe. Let the Slayer fade back a bit. Not look at Buffy, or I'll probably molest her where she stands.

Not usually a problem, but demon blood's a bitch to get out of leather. And I'd rather not give in to my urges a few feet away from a decapitate demon corpse.

I think she feels the same because neither of us are looking at each other. We can hold that burning lust back, so long as we don't look at each other. Or talk.

She grunts softly and I take that to mean there's nothing useful on the bodies. So I start walking back the way we came. Away from the carnage. Away from the blood lust.

Away from the destruction by our own hands.



Its as I shift my swords in my hand, to put them away again, that I remember the distant sting of pain. I look down and those blades are covered in blood. I wipe them off on my wife beater, but the blades don't come completely clean. A frown crosses my face. Those designs on the blades, the silver designs I love. They aren't silver anymore. They're a deep, blood red.

A small hiss escapes me as I loosen my grip on them and uncurl my fingers. I stop walking when I see what caused me the pain. Buffy comes over to me and looks down at my blood smeared hands. To the dozens of little uniform punctures over my palms.

To the little silver spikes jutting out all the way down and around the grips of my swords. We both watch in a kind of awe as all those little spikes slowly slid back into the handles.

Benadict told us this'd happen. The swords let me wield them, but they hadn't chosen me. Now they had. They'd bled me, soaking up my blood. Binding themselves to me.

Now it wasn't a case of only a champions soul being able to touch them. Now they'd bled me that'd changed.

The only person that'd ever be able to wield them while I was alive, was me.



We've walked for about twenty minutes. The bodies and the blood lost to sight a while ago. We still haven't looked at each other. Or talked. I know why. Even though the Slayer's faded back and left me to go to sleep, I can still feel the blood rushing through me. A slow thump as it flows, leaving a burning throb between my legs.

And finally I feel sane enough to look at her. Big mistake. Energy returns in a rush and I can feel the raw want tickle the back of my throat. She must feel my eyes on her, because she looks up at me and I can actually feel her want escape her throat in a gasped breath.

For a few seconds we just look at each other. For a few seconds my pulse calms and the world goes still. 

And then we move.



It's not the rushed and frenzied move it was last time. Maybe because we waited. Maybe because the Slayer's retreated. It's not about who's on top. It's not about the Slayer. Not this time.

We simply move towards each other and almost fall into each others arms. Our lips come together and it isn't a smash of mouths. Not this time. It's a soft movement of lips against each other. A series of little French kisses where it's just the tips of our tongues meeting, just for a moment.

And then we slide to the floor together. Buffy ends up straddling my knees as they're bent under me. But our lips haven't parted yet. If it were up to me, they won't be going far.

I slide my hand down her side and unbutton her pants. It's not rushed. Because this time isn't about the Slayer needing to be released. This is about me and her. About needing to feel her rolling against me. About needing to hear my name come from her lips in a breathy moan.

This is about needing just her.



It's as I slide my hand gently into her pants that the skies open. But it's not a pounding rain. It's snow. Swirling to the ground as the wind plays with it. Wrapping around us as she throws her head back with her eyes closed. Her hips undulate against my hand and my arm tightens around her back.

In response she brings her head back down to look straight in my eyes. The emotion I see there makes me thrust into her that little bit faster. That little bit deeper. 

Her breath hitches in her throat and I know how soon she'll fall over that edge. I can feel it in the throbbing of her around my fingers. With the desperate edge her moans have taken on.

"I love you." I whisper into her neck a second before my teeth sink in and split the skin. Her blood fills my mouth as she falls over that edge. My hand's still moving and her hips are still snapping onto my fingers.

When her body slows and stills against me, I think of this as my new favourite memory. This time that she gave herself over to me so completely.

When there was a snowstorm on the sand.



When we get back to the village Benadict gives us a mild look. Not just because we came back covered in gore, but because the fly on my leather pants was still open. Opps. I forget sometimes. I'm in such a rush, when the frenzy of heated skin's past, when my blood's calmed, about things like that. I just wanna get Buffy back to our hut and hold her. Things like zippers and ruffled clothing don't even enter my mind.

I feel a slight blush crawl up my neck as he nods us towards his own hut. When we get there he pulls back the curtain for us to enter and makes sure it's closed when be follows us in. Dunno why, it's not like people can't hear through the cloth.

He just looks at us for a few minutes before sitting down across from us. Looking for something I think.

"I'm going to assume the Slayer needs took over." Like they always do. What's his point. He gives us a soft smile. "My question is; before, after or during the snowstorm?" me and B share a look before I give him a questioning eyebrow. "While you were gone our female couples they.. well.. they coupled." And this is different how? "All our female couples." Ok, that's a little weird. "During the snowstorm."

It takes me a few seconds and then realisation floods me like a tidal wave.

"Maybe I should explain a few things to you."

Yeah no shit.



I'm leaning back against a wall at the top of our bed. Buffy's leaning against my chest and I feel like she's gonna break my hands. She's gripping on so tight I can feel the bones creaking against each other in protest.

She lets out another yelp of pain, mixed with a feral growl. I do nothing but lay a kiss on her head and then a sort of sucking noise fills the hut. Buffy flops back against me, her grip on my hands loosening.

A small cry fills the air, followed by another one. It's a piercing sound. But one of the best sounds I've ever heard in my life.

The thing Benadict needed to tell us? That snowstorm was mystical. Every same sex couple got it on when the snow was coming down. Why?

I just look at the other end of the mattress for my answer. Amatheon's swaddling a pink, squirming ball of flesh in a blanket and then hands it to Buffy. Followed by a second bundle. I just look over Buffys shoulder in soft wonder.

At my daughters.



It's when the twins are two that it happens. The tradition here is that you don't name your kids until their first shift. We followed along.

We were sat on the bed, watching the twins play, when a play fight broke out. I felt a smile tugging at my lips. Because the lighter colored twin usually always lost. But that never stopped her. It never did.

Me and Buffy looked at each other and shared a smile. We were both thinking the same thing. And when we shared a soft kiss is when it happened.

The air tightened in the hut, making it hard to breathe. And then it released. When we looked back it wasn't to see two little girls tussling on the floor.

It was to see two fully shifted beings.



The walk to Benedicts hut was interesting. Everyone in the village stopped and stared at the shifter cubs padding along between me and Buffy. And to look at them I couldn't blame them. Not only that but their parents weren't shifters.

I guess that doesn't matter in a world where only shifters are ever born.

I mean, the snowstorm did its mystical crap on us. Stands to reason that if one rule here applies to us, that they all will.

When Benadict pops his head out to our knocking, his eyes go incredibly wide at the sight of the twins stood between us.

Staring up at him with their deep green, shifted eyes.



"I didn't think. If the storm affected you, then of course this'd happen too." Me and Buffy both have a shifted twin curled up in our arms. Apparently it was the first night of the full moon. They'd stay shifted until the sun came up. And they'd keep shifting on the nights of the full moon, up until they were about eight.

But they were all there. We'd seen it in their eyes. We'd seen it in the way they followed our command to go talk to Benadict. I could still feel relief rushing through me at the thought of not having to lock them up until they could control themselves fully.

We were now the proud parents of two shifters. Who'd need teaching about how to control themselves. About how to concentrate and be able to shift at will.

"We can name them now, right?" Buffy's voice was strong, cutting through the stillness and making the twins snuffle in their sleep. A smile cracked Benedicts face as he looked from her to me. He just nodded, standing up and holding the curtain back as we got up to go back to our hut. We met Kyra on the way back. 

I had to concentrate hard not to laugh really loud at her shocked expression, and wake my sleeping daughters up.



We're in our hut and I'm led on top of Buffy. My eyes are only for her. For her body as it moves against me. I'll never get tired of it. I'll never stop needing it. Needing her. A moan's torn from the back of her throat and her hips start moving faster. Pushing my fingers in farther. Faster. Harder.

Her back arches, her head going back and baring itself to me, as pleasure overtakes her. I don't waste my time. I take the offered skin between my teeth, feeling the ridges of scars against my lips, and bite. Hard.

The skin parts beneath my teeth and blood fills my mouth in a rush. Her hips snap against my hand even faster, and another orgasm crashes over her.

When it's past she relaxes beneath me, her breath coming out in harsh gasps as I just hold her. I'll never get tired of that either. Knowing that it's not just the pleasure I can give her that makes her need me. It's just me. It's always been me.

I lean to her ear and whisper to her gently. "We got a visitor." Her head jerks to the side and when she spots our red haired friend, I have to keep her pinned to stop her just leaping to her and giving her a crushing hug.

Willow's stood there with her eyes tightly closed and her fingers in her ears. Guess we're gonna have to get used to being in a world where nudity isn't the norm again. 

I think Willow's blushing redder that her hair.



When we arrive back in Scotland it's cold. Probably normal for its residents, but we've been living in a desert. Buffy bends down and runs her fingers over the grass, as I turn and watch our daughters come through the portal. Followed by my best friend, her kids and her grandkids.

It took a bit of explaining to Willow when we told her it wasn't just us five coming home with her. That we had a few more passengers.

We promised Benadict we'd come back for a visit. Didn't matter that time between the worlds moved different. Like he said; he isn't going to get older, no matter how long we're away.

With a soft pop the portal closes and Willow nods her head towards the castle.

Yeah. We got some explaining to do.



I haven't seen Xander in forever it feels like. He gives me a quick bear hug when we enter the conference room and moves on.

Yeah. My time away didn't really cure me of my skittishness.

When we're all sat down I just look at Giles, down the other end of the table and take a deep breath before looking at B, then Kyra, and then back at B.

Ok. Guess I'm the mouth piece for this explanation. Not fair. Why me? I give both of them a mild look before looking at my daughters. No help there either. Everyone sucks.

"Ok. Let's get down to it. It's been a year here right? I mean that was what we worked out. A years goes an' we don't come home, you come find us." I shoot Red a look and she just nods at me. Never saying a word. "Turns out time moved different where we were. Way different."

Giles clears his throat at the other end of the table to draw my attention. "How different?"

"A year's gone here. For us? One hundred year's passed."

You can actually hear jaws hitting the table.



"One hundred years? But you don't look even a day older." The sputtering Dawn's doing is making me smile. But I can see everyone wanting an answer to that question.

"Turns out the rules of the world you're in? They apply. No matter where you're from. Everyone there was a shifter. Apart from a few demon clans. So for us time just.. stopped bein' important."

Giles takes his glasses off to clean them. It makes me smile. Haven't seen that in a damn long time. Didn't think I'd miss it. It's true what they say though. You don't think you'd miss something, until it's gone.

"Here's another for ya; you keep what you kill." Puzzled looks fly around the table. "Anything they're carryin' or wearing, you get to keep."

"Like what?" I stand and slide my swords onto my shoulders. A connected hum vibrates my shoulders slightly for a second as I push my chair out the way.

Without saying anything I reach over my shoulders and slowly slide my swords out. I hold them in front of me and look up sharply when I hear a clatter. Giles dropped his glasses to the table. His eyes are wide and his mouth's hanging open. He knows what these blades are. Any self respecting bookworm's read about them.

"But.. those were lost hundreds of years ago." I shakes my head.

"Not lost. Just not in this world is all." Willow lifts her hand. A confused look washes over her face as she looks at Giles.

"What's the big deal? I mean yeah, pretty. But they're just swords."

Giles puts his glasses back on as he clears his throat and looks to her. "Not just swords Willow. They're called ‘The Living Blades'."

"And that means?" My voice rumbles around the room. Drawing everyone's attention to me. I never take my eyes from Willows face.

"Only a Champion can wield them."



"They call ‘em livin' blades ‘cause they're alive." Xander raises his eyebrow at me in a question. I raise the swords so everyone can see the red designs down them. "They used to be silver. The designs." I lift the white one toward my face and turn it on its side. I hold the cool metal, just above the hilt. "Light. Could ya show ‘em the bloodin' spikes?"

I get some weird looks. Because I'm talking to a sword like it's a person. A real boy. In almost slow motion the spikes slide out of the hilt. When they're fully out I look up again to see more than one mouth hanging open. Yeah we've all seen some weird shit, some mystical shit, but they've never seen a supposedly inanimate object obey. 

Dawn clicks her mouth closed. Xander re-adjusts his eye patch. Giles just gives me a smile.

"They both shot those out while I was usin' ‘em to fight. The designs turned red ‘cause've my blood. Now no one can ever wield ‘em but me." As if to demonstrate I lay the dark sword down on the table and without a word from me, Buffy reaches out as if to pick it up. A short, sharp hum breaks the silence as Dark suddenly slides back to me. All on its own.

"An' this is my favourite part." I take a step back to give myself some room and then swing the swords. First one, then the other. As each one slides the air that same humming noise comes from them. Less angry this time. More normal sounding. 

If you can get past the fact that it's a coupla swords doing the humming.


"So Faith got singing swords, what did you get Buff?" Xander shifts in his seat as he turns his attention to my girl. I think everyone's a little wary of her. Not because they think she's gone nuts. Because there's something different about her now. A quiet strength like steel, running just below the surface.

She's quieter now too. She finally figured out that not all silences were uncomfortable. That she didn't have to talk just to fill the quiet. And there's the power. The Slayer just under the surface. She's no longer weighed down by it. It took her a while but she finally realised that the Slayer's been there all along. Not given to her, just awakened. 

And now she's learned how to use it. How to let it use her. To be a team with the power she can't ever be free of. Feels good to finally settle into your own skin.

A smile crosses her face as she slides her jacket off. The sheaths her knives live in run from elbow to wrist. With an easy, practised flick she brings the knifes out and holds then up for everyone to see. I watch as their eyes trace the lines of those celtishly weaved blades.

"This is Snick." She indicates the knife in her right hand, before introducing the one in her left. "And this is Snack." Xander's lips twitch into a smile at the names.

Giles takes off his glasses to polish them again.

"Is every piece of weaponry you present going to have been written about?"



A smile curls up Buffys lips as heads swivel to look at Giles and then back again. Before anyone can say anything she stands up. Pushing her chair out the way she takes a few steps back.

"They'll hit anything they're thrown at." I see Dawn open her mouth to point out her sister's a Slayer. She can hit anything anyway. No magic knives needed.

Buffy points the tip of Snick at the wall behind Giles. "I'm gonna hit that wall dead center." And then she turns her back to it.

With an ease born of years of practise she brings her arms back and throws her knives with some damn hard force. She lets them go and they arc around in midair, turning back on themselves. They sail over everyone's head and a solid thunk indicates they've hit their mark and Buffy turns around.

Everyone's silent for a minute. Looking at the knives sticking out of the wall. Right where Buffy said they'd hit. They're a bit taken back by the fact that she wasn't even looking.

Xander stands and goes to the wall. A low whistle escapes him as he sees just how far in they sunk. "I think we're gonna have a job getting those out Buff."

When he looks at her she just smiles. Kicking her chair back into place she sits down. And then holds her hands out. With a kind of shuddery noise those knives dislodge themselves from the wall. And then flying across the room. Straight into Buffys hands.

With a flick of her wrists they shoot back into their sheaths and she relaxes back in her chair.

Don't think they expected that.


"Ok," Willows voice makes everyone turn to her. "you said you'd tell who the extra passengers were when we got here. I think I've been patient enough." She gives me a pointed look before she flicks her eyes over the people she's never met.

I gesture towards Dusk and Malaki, who've been silent and waiting.

"This is Dusk," she lifts her hands as everyone looks at her for a moment. "and this is Malaki." He just nods his head and takes it all in his stride. Just like his father. "They're Shelly and Kaylen's children."

I wonder if the room's ever gonna be filled with more than shocked expressions and gasps. Because everyone knows what it means that they've had kids. The Amari only ever have marriages when kids are involved. And Shelly and Kaylen having them means that now they share more than just a bed.

The stunned silence is heavy and drawn out. Until Shelly turns and looks to Kaylen, flashing a smirk.

"That reminds me; you still owe me a wedding ring."


"This is Shimmer," she just blinks, as is her way, when she doesn't know what to say. "this is Shadow," She nods her head at the room. Eyes impassive. Which usually means she's nervous. And then I gesture to the sleeping five year old in Shimmers lap. "and this is Mist. They're.."

Before I can get the words out Mist stirs, waking up.

She takes a quick look around the room before spotting me. She slides off Shimmers lap and softly pads over to me, climbing on to my lap before speaking. "It's cold here Mama."

I hear Giles drop his glasses again. But I don't take my eyes from Mists face. I brush the hair back from her face and hold her a little tighter. I don't speak, I figure it's Buffys turn now.

She doesn't disappoint.

 "You ever seen a snowstorm in a desert?" I look up in time to see a few of the stunned faces register a resounding ‘no'. "Like Faith said; the rules of the world you're in apply, no matter where you're from. Turns out the snowstorms're mystical. We discovered that when Shimmer and Shadow were conceived."

Xander chuckles. He seems to have recovered faster than everyone else. "Bet that was a shock."

I share his chuckle as I catch his eye. "Yeah. But not even half as bad as B almost breakin' my hands nine months later."

"Mama," Mists voice makes me look down at her. She looks at me with those gleaming green eyes and I feel a part of me melt. "it's almost time." I glance out the window to see the sun almost below the horizon.

I stand her in front of me before giving her a smile and reaching for the bottom of her t-shirt. I can feel everyone watching me, wondering why I'm stripping my daughter naked.

Guess it's time for the next surprise in the long list.


As I sit her on the edge of the table I start talking. "Like I said: it was a world where only shifters are ever born." She lays down as I pass her clothes to Shimmer.

A shiver runs through her body and I know it's not the cold. I feel it as the sun disappears and the moon starts to rise. A series of popping and crunching noises fill the room. Her bones breaking and shifting, making way for new ones.

After a few minutes Mist stands up on her paws and stretches. And I know the gasps have nothing to do with the fact our daughter's a shifter. We've all seen too many weird things by now. They're all to do with what she's shifted into. 

I don't blame them.

"Body of a panther, markings of a white tiger, little saber teeth." I duck down behind Mists body and lock eyes with Giles. "And you can see right through them. They're called Ghost Sabers. They're the rarest kind of shifter, in any world, ever."

I think Giles should just leave his glasses off. He keeps dropping them.


"They can't control it?" Giles voice comes out soft, and I know it's an effort for him. Here's the rarest kind of shifter, right in front of him, and it's taking all he's got to not raise his voice in excitement. It's Buffy that answers him.

"It's something they've gotta learn to control, like all shifters. Usually takes til they're about eight. Until then the moon makes them shift." He nods his head in understanding and Buffy's lips curl up as she remembers the twins first shift.

Before anyone else asks I speak up. "They're immortal. Truly immortal. Unless they choose to fade an' die, they can't be killed."

"So they're little kids for a long time?" I shake my head at Dawn before I keep talking.

"They grow normally ‘til they hit their physical peak, then stop." I turn my head to Shadow. "Tell ‘em how old you guys are."

When her voice comes it's like mine; deep and husky and rolling round the room.

"We're 76 years old."


Dawn turns to the twins with a look that says she's sorry for what she going to ask. "Won't it be hard?" Shadow raises an eyebrow in question and Dawn cringes at the words as they come out. "To watch them grow old?" she doesn't continue but we all know what she's not saying; to watch us die.

A soft smile turns up her lips as she turns to us and gesture towards me in that age old sign for me to do the explaining. I give her a mild look and I feel a smile curl up my lips as I stand up.

"Xander, close your eye." He gives me a puzzled look but does what I ask him. I start removing my clothes and passing them to Shimmer. Mist sits up in Buffys lap and when she sees what I'm doing she jumps down and does a kind of butt wriggly dance of excitement.

When I'm naked I push my chair out the way and look back at Dawn. "They won't have to watch us die." She opens her mouth to say something but I don't give her the chance. I turn around and walk towards Mist. The air around me tightens and relaxes in what feels like a deep breath.

When I look back at everyone I know it's with deep green, glimmering eyes.


 "When the twins were three, and it was full moon, there was a little accident." I'm curled on the floor with Mist laying against my stomach. I catch Kyras eyes and whisper telepathically.

"Pretty sure they didn' expect that." she whispers back to me with a smirk on her face.

"Yeah no shit Slayer." My attention's drawn back to Buffy as she keeps talking.

"They got into a play fight but it was getting a bit too rowdy. It happened sometimes." She shrugs as she starts unbuckling her left arm sheath and then holds up her arm for everyone to see. See the small but perfect teeth imprint scar on her forearm. "I got in the way. The next thing Faith knew she was looking at a fully shifted Buffy."

"So Ghost Sabers can turn people?" Giles cups his chin in his hand and just looks at her. Doubt this is how he saw his would be daughter's life turning out. Not much anyone can do about it now though.

"Yeah. It took Faith about five minutes to realise it'd be just as hard for her to watch the three of us live on while she grew old and died, as it would be for us to watch it happen." A smirk curls up her lips as she looks at Kyra and remembers. "Never heard a more girly squeak come outta Kyra when she walked into our hut and found us all."

A groan gets pulled out of Kyra. She leads forward and bangs her head down on the table in defeat.

"You promised you'd never say anything." Buffy chuckles in response.


It's Giles that speaks first. He finally manages to tear his eyes away from me and looks back at Buffy. "You both are…" it's as if he can't finish the sentence, but Buffy nods her head before he gets the chance to anyway.

"I was an accident. Faith's was on purpose." She looks back at me and Mist and smiles softly before turning back. "Forever might seem like a long time, but we found something out while we were there." She coughs slightly, clearing her throat before she continues. "The Slayer isn't just the essence of a demon, the heart. It *is* the demon. A completely different entity inside us. Before we woke them all up, when it was just me and Faith, it was one demon split in two." She stops to take a breath and let that sink in.

Me and B, we're two halve of one whole. We don't feel right if we're not near each other. Incomplete.

While she's been talking Shimmer and Shadow started to strip off. Without a word they turn to us and shift as they come towards us. We settle into a big pile of see-through bodies, waiting for Buffy to finish.

"One more thing; we're not just shifters." A puzzled look makes its way around the room. "Ghost Sabers have a mental gift too. One of four; piro-kinetic, electro-kinetic, aqua-kinetic or telekinetic. I'm aqua, Faith's piro, the twins are tele and Mist is electro." She doesn't say anything more, just strips off, shifts and joins us. 

The twins mentally open the door as we all leave.


It's been a few months since we've been back. Will's sent us back to see Benadict and the pack a few times and I'll never get used to how much time passes between this world and his. But like he said; time between visits doesn't really matter.

Giles got excited about our kinetic abilities. We've had to give him a few demonstrations since Buffy told everyone. He expected us to just be able to manipulate the elements. I've never laughed so hard as I did at his expression when he realized two things.

The first being that we don't have to be shifted to be able to do it. It's an ability we can use anytime we feel like it. The furry doesn't really make a difference.

The second being that we don't just manipulate the elements; we can create them. I guess seeing Buffy fill a glass from the tip of her finger might've put him into shock.

It's been kind of strange being back in a world where you can't just walk around butt naked if you want too. Buffy's had to remind me of that a few times before I've wandered out our room without clothes on. Don't wanna shock Willow so bad her face never stops being red again.

I'm just sat on the front steps of the castle, soaking up the last of the days heat. And even though it's warm and comfortable, I can't ignore the coldness snaking through my veins.

Because something's coming. Something bad.

Something that's gonna change our world forever.


Continue to Sequel


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