I own Mr. Beltaine, Sandra Ogawa, Denise Parkinson and the Hell's Belles, all others are owned by the mighty Joss Whedon. I'm just playing in his dark sandbox.
Rating; PG-13 to R
Author's note; ]
This is the continuation of my series, "Somewhere I Have Never Traveled", my own personal epic. I'm looking at a trilogy, and now that I have a threat worthy of the mighty Slayer, I'm looking forward to springing it on you.
Buffy and Willow are reunited after the Slayer's return from Hell. But what are these strange dreams that Buffy is having? Who is the mysterious Mr. Beltaine? Where do Spike and Darla figure? And what happened to Faith?
Spoiler; Fourth Season up to "Hush" and "I Will Remember You"; Angel the Series
Somewhere I Have Never Travelled
Book Two; The Sang Real
Written by Kirayoshi
Your love is better than ice cream
Better than anything else that I've tried.
And your love is better than ice cream,
Everyone here know how to fight
And it's a long way down,
It's a long way down,
It's a long way down to the place
Where we started from.
"Okay, Buffy, close your eyes," an excited Willow Rosenberg insisted as she opened the passenger side door of her car. The blond woman emerged from the car, her eyes clamped shut. Willow took her hand, and led her carefully up the walkway, over the porch steps. She stopped as she withdrew her keys from her purse, and unlocked the door.
"Okay, Buffy," Willow announced after she led her beloved into her townhouse, "Open."
Buffy Summers' eyes blinked open, and she stood transfixed at the sight before her. The living room was spacious, with a rich hardwood floor, an enormous front window, and a beamed ceiling. A hand-woven carpet in Native American patterns dominated the living room. A handsome ceiling fan rotated lazily, circulating the air. The furnishings were simple, clean lines, earth tones and maple finished shelves were the dominant theme. Very Cost Plus World Market, Buffy thought. Suited Willow to a tee.
"Recognize the place, Buffy?" Willow asked sweetly as she made her way to the kitchen. "It's one of the places we were looking at when we went apartment hunting before -- well, before you disappeared. I just moved in a few weeks ago."
"Nice digs, Willow." Buffy whistled, "So, what's the monthly damage?"
"What do you mean?" Willow asked her girlfriend, peeking around the partition.
Buffy looked around, a puzzled expression on her brow. "Rent, Wills. How much do you pay per month?"
"None," Willow reported happily. "Other than utilities, of course." As Buffy's expression graduated from puzzled to incredulous, the redhead elaborated; "Zip. Nada. Bupkus. Squat. I own this pile, flat out."
Buffy looked around at her surroundings, amazed. "How? I mean, we both agreed we couldn't afford the rent on this place before, how did you afford to buy it?"
"My new part-time job," Willow emerged from the kitchen with two soda cans. "Diet Pepsi, right?" Buffy accepted the can, and popped it open. "A few months ago, when we thought you were gone -- I know, awkward."
"No, no, it's okay," Buffy assured her lover. Willow let out a sigh of relief and continued. "Well, I started to bury myself in work to deal with missing you. Didn't quite fill the void, but it helped a little. I started job hunting, and landed a job as a professional beta-tester."
"Man, I've been hanging around you long enough to know what that is," Buffy commented. "You've been trying out software and stuff, before it goes public?" Willow nodded happily. "How much does that pay?"
"From Cybermancers," Willow admitted as she flopped down on her overstuffed sofa, and bade Buffy to join her, "about as much as working for Mickey D's. Minus the paper hat and coming home smelling like french fries and secret sauce."
"And that got you into these swanky digs?" Buffy sat down next to Willow, amazed as always that this vibrant red-haired woman had given her heart to her. Even after a year's separation, there was no disguising her openness, her adoration. Silently and for the million-and-twelfth time, Buffy thanked whatever God had placed Willow Rosenberg in her life.
"Not really," Willow answered. "But someone from product development asked me to design some gaming software for them, and I agreed. They're a small firm, you understand, they haven't been swallowed up by Bill Gates or any of the other Pirates of Silicon Valley, so they had a more employee friendly approach. Someone heard that I was a crack programmer as well as a hacker, so they gave me a challenge. I ended up designing a role-playing adventure based on Buckaroo Banzaii--"
"What," Buffy started to laugh. "That weirdo sci-fi comedy starring the guy from Robo-Cop and Jeff Goldblum?"
"Hey," Willow answered mock-defensively, "Xander introduced me to that movie when we were kids, and I've always enjoyed it." Buffy composed herself, but still had a slight smile as Willow continued. "Once they got the licensing details squared away, which was easy since Buckaroo Banzaii wasn't licensed by anyone and was selling for cheap, the game was beta-tested, a few bugs were tweaked, and it ended up being Cybermancers' all-time top seller. Huge cult following on the movie, including a lot of tech-heads. The suits were so impressed that they've commissioned me to design at least two more games for them, and gave me a nice hefty bonus, which first went into buying this house. I figured that I'd better cover my nut." She gestured to a desk on the far side of the spacious living room, where she kept her computer. "And I'm still beta-ing for them, from home, when I'm not chasing my diploma at UC Sunnydale. That covers heat, electric, groceries, that sort of thing."
"Well," Buffy declared as she took Willow's hand in hers, "you did good, kiddo. Congrats."
"Hey, I know I did good," Willow replied softly, as she took Buffy's hand and kissed her knuckle, "the night you and I became lovers." She took Buffy's face in her hands, and kissed her on the lips. The kiss was soft, sweet, and undemanding at first. But as Willow's desire mounted, her mouth opened, and her tongue met Buffy's in an increasingly heated exchange. Her hands trailed down the blond woman's body, outlining her curves with gentle, questing fingers. "Goddess," Willow breathed, when she finally surfaced from that incredible kiss. "I missed you, Buffy."
"Yeah," Buffy agreed. "We missed a year of our lives. I know it's not my fault, but I can't help feel like I' responsible. I wish I could make it up to you."
"Just say you'll stay," Willow said. This was it, the moment of truth. She had feared that Buffy's year in Hell, even if she didn't remember any of her experience, might have changed her, might have erased the love she professed.
Buffy regarded Willow with a hopeful stare. "You asking me to move in with you?"
"I can't think of this," Willow spread her arms, to indicate the whole house, "as a home without you here. Yesterday, after I visited you at the hospital, I asked Dad to recommend a lawyer. He gave me a name, and I talked to her about having you legally named as co-owner of this house. Just say the word, and we can seal the deal. As far as I'm concerned, this isn't my place, it's ours. And I want you to live here. With me."
Buffy's eyes met Willow's, and her joy at Willow's offer was evident on Buffy's face. "I accept." Willow wrapped her arms around Buffy in a welcoming hug, showering her face with kisses, saying "Thank you," with each kiss.
"Will," Buffy stopped her show of passion with a gentle hand to Willow's lips, "I have to talk to you, though. Y'see, Wills," she tried to steady her nerves for what she planned to do, what she innately knew was the next logical step in her life. "Yesterday, while you were at class, Mom visited me at the hospital. We got to talking, about the mistakes that we made in our relationship, the things she always wanted to do, that sort of thing. She told me that I had an opportunity to make sure I had no regrets when I leave this world. And the first thing I thought of when she said that was you."
"Will, my one regret right now is that we lost a year together. I don't know how you got along without me, although I always knew that you would survive, you always were tougher than you looked. But still, we lost so much time. All the conversations we could have had, all the movie nights, the ice cream, the lovemaking we never got to do, I don't want to lose any of that again." She swallowed hard, and searched Willow's eyes for acceptance, for understanding. Seeing the warmth reflected in those green orbs she adored so much, Buffy continued;
"When I talked to Mom about it, I realized that there was only one thing that would assure me that I wouldn't ever be parted from you again. Mom and I talked about it some more, and, well," She started fishing an object out of the pocket in her denim jacket. "When Mom and Dad got divorced, Mom told me, she tried to return her wedding and engagement rings, but Dad refused. Something about not planning on using them again." She produced a small velvet box, and opened it in front of Willow. The box contained a simple gold band with a three-quarter carat diamond solitaire.
Willow's eyes widened at the sight, and at the implied question that came with the ring. Buffy gulped again before emotion overcame her purpose. "She told me that she wanted this ring to stand for something real, more real than her marriage. That's what I want, and I know that's what I got with you. So I guess there's no other way to say it, but to say it."
She got off the couch, and knelt before Willow. "Willow Rosenberg," she asked in a plaintive voice, desperately trying to finish the question before she was overcome with nervous sobs, "Will you marry me?"
Willow leapt off of the couch and into Buffy's arms, with a force that nearly knocked the blond onto her back. Buffy found herself assaulted by Willow's lips, as the wiccan rained soft kisses all over her beloved. Buffy finally pulled Willow's body away from her, looked at her soulmate, and asked, "Was that a 'yes'?"
"Yes!" Willow exulted in Buffy's arms. "Yes, yes, yes! I will marry you!" Buffy wrapped her arms around Willow's shoulders, not caring that she was in danger of losing her balance. Sure enough, they fell sideways to the floor, and rolled around on the carpet, lost in their bliss. They kissed like that for several minutes, before Buffy remembered the ring. Reluctantly prying herself from Willow's arms, Buffy crawled to where she dropped the ring box and collected the engagement ring. She took Willow's hand in her own, and gently slipped the ring on the appropriate finger.
Willow admired the ring, especially the sparkle of the diamond. She imagined that her eyes sparkled as brightly as she looked at the gem. She looked again at Buffy Summers, her fiancée (Goddess what a wonderful word, she thought,) and embraced her again. Buffy collected her lover in her arms, and lifted her effortlessly. It had occurred to her that she shouldn't be so strong, but at the moment it didn't matter. "Bedroom," Buffy whispered urgently in Willow's ear.
"Just what I was thinking," Willow agreed, her eyes darkening with growing lust.
"Where is it?" Buffy asked.
"Oh." Willow giggled slightly. "Uh, down the hall, to the right."
Following Willow's instructions, Buffy carried her toward the bedroom. Willow wrapped her arms around Buffy's shoulders, kissing and nipping her neck, and nibbling her earlobe. Buffy entered the bedroom, noting with satisfaction the queen-sized bed. She had to smile when she saw a familiar friend sitting on the pillows.
"Well hello there, Mr. Gordo," Buffy purred as she gently placed Willow on the bed, and picked up the stuffed pig. "Have you been taking care of Willow while I've been gone?" she asked, touching her nose to Gordo's snout.
Willow chuckled as Buffy doted on her childhood toy. "Yeah, he's been keeping me company this last year. Sort of a surrogate Buffy."
"Well," Buffy announced as she placed Mr. Gordo on top of a nearby bookshelf, "thanks for taking care of Wills for me, but I'm here now." She then glanced back at Willow, who started to unbutton her top. Buffy climbed onto the bed and stopped her with a gentle kiss. "Allow me," Buffy whispered.
She slowly unfastened the buttons, parting her shirt, and placing her lips on each new inch of exposed skin in a series of feather-light kisses. Once the last button was loose, Willow shimmied off the top, revealing a pink lace bra. Willow then grasped Buffy by the shoulders, rolled her over, and pinned her to the bed. She lavished her face with wet, passionate kisses, finally clamping her lips onto Buffy's mouth and sucking on her tongue. Buffy reciprocated, and the two women began to make passionate love. Clothes were discarded, lips and hands explored, and the air was filled with moans of pure pleasure.
Hours later, two naked women snuggled together beneath the covers, sated for the time being. Willow purred happily into Buffy's ear.
"Welcome home, Buffy," she murmured.
Buffy stroked a strand of red hair lazily, and kissed the top of Willow's head. "You know, Wills, if we're going to do that again--"
"If?" Willow raised her voice in mock-indignation. Buffy playfully swatted her lover's arm.
"Willow, I'm saying that if we're going to keep this up all night, we're gonna need to replenish our strength."
"In other words, food," Willow said, stretching like a contented cat. The act of stretching accentuated her subtle curves in just the right way to stir Buffy's passions further. "Okay, Buffy. Anything in particular?"
"Anything we can eat in bed, I'm thinking," Buffy pondered the offer. "Ice cream, of course. Just the container with two spoons."
"I dunno, Buffy," Willow smirked. "I could never eat ice cream in bed. It keeps landing on me."
"Oh dear," Buffy gasped theatrically. "What ever will I do if that happens? I'll have to lick it off of you or something."
Willow regarded Buffy with a wolfish stare. "I'm so liking that idea," Willow giggled. She rushed off to the kitchen to collect the ice cream.
Buffy suddenly remembered something else; "Oh, and peanut butter, preferably crunchy!"
"I got it," called a masculine voice. Within seconds, a naked Angel entered the bedroom, his arms laden with food. He dropped the parcels on the bed, where he joined Buffy. Buffy happily grabbed a spoon and tucked into the ice cream.
"The perfect yum," Buffy announced. "Mmm, this is a dream. You're human for like a minute and already there is Cookie-dough-fudge-mint-chip in the fridge."
"God, I love food," Angel declared, as he cuddled up to Buffy.
Buffy smiled at Angel, agreeing; "Food is good."
"Why didn't you ever tell me about chocolate and peanut butter?"
"Well, I figured if your vamp taste buds couldn't really savor it," Buffy answered, playing with Angel's chest hairs, "then it would only hurt you, you know? By the way, I'm over the whole needing to be mature thing. That time you just spent in the kitchen? That was enough time apart."
"Too much." Angel leaned into Buffy's embrace, and the two kissed with the passion of two lovers long separated and now reunited. The kiss quickened in tempo, until the ice cream in the spoon Angel was lazily holding dripped onto his chest. The sudden coldness caught him off guard, and he started to chuckle at his predicament. "Okay, mortal coordination leaving something to be desired."
"Wrong," Buffy growled, "it's just right." She then dipped her head to Angel's chest and started to lick the ice cream off of his chest.
"Buffy, Buffy," a voice that didn't belong to Angel broke through her reverie, and Buffy heard the sound of fingers snapping in front of her. She blinked, and Angel was gone. No, she realized, he was never here. She shook her head in disbelief, and no small amount of guilt; not a few hours after asking Willow to marry her, and Buffy was thinking about sex with an old boyfriend. And Willow was standing before her, peanut butter and ice cream in hand.
"You okay, Buffy?" Willow asked.
"Oh, uh, yeah," Buffy collected her scattered thoughts. "I'm fine. Just hit by your dazzling beauty, that's all."
"Liar," Willow stuck out her tongue at Buffy. "Was it your memory?" She sat down, placing her burden beside her on the bed. Her eyes displayed genuine concern.
Buffy nodded to Willow. "Yeah, I think so. It was about me and Angel before--" she hesitated. "That doesn't bother you, me talking about Angel, does it?"
"No, it doesn't," Willow's voice was calm, assuring. "He is part of your life."
"A very small part," Buffy illustrated by holding her thumb and forefinger up, very close together. "You, on the other hand, are everything to me. Never doubt that, you hear me, Wills?" Willow nodded, a tear of joy trickling down her cheek. "Now then," Buffy added, "let's dig in to that ice cream before it melts."
"Good idea," Willow answered, holding out two spoons. "Choose your weapons."
Buffy took one spoon, and dug into the ice cream container. She got in several large bites of ice cream, when Willow gave Buffy a sloppy kiss on the mouth, tasting the ice cream on her lips.
"Oh, are we in that mood, Wills?" Buffy grabbed the peanut butter, and dipped her fingers into the jar. Scooping out a dollop of peanut butter, she smeared the spread all over Willow's breasts, and then started to lick it off, savoring the taste and texture of the peanut butter mingling with Willow's skin.
Willow noticed that Buffy had cleaned up the last of the peanut butter, but was still nibbling at her breasts. Not that she minded. Their love play continued long into the night, as Willow gladly welcomed Buffy home.
Lady Hathor wore a linen cloth at her waist, but no other coverings. It was the way of her calling that she stand within the temple of Isis unadorned, that Isis might see her true self. Besides, she knew that Ankh-Isis took pleasure in seeing her naked. She approached the priestess of Isis, who regarded her champion and lover with a compassionate nod, her wisdom and her love showing within the depths of her kohl-rimmed eyes.
"Are you well, Hathor?"
"As well as can be expected, Ankh-Isis," Hathor replied. "The legions of Set and Anubis grow each day. The Nile will run red with the blood of our people before they are through." She winced in pain, as her shoulder protested her latest battle with the undead creations of Anubis, god of embalming.
"You are hurt," Ankh-Isis stood up from her throne, and supported Hathor's weight. "Come, sit, let me heal you." She immediately plucked a lotus blossom from the nearby pond, and crushed the base of the flower in her hand, wringing out the flower's sap. She rubbed the sap onto Hathor's wounded shoulder, massaging it deep into her skin. The soothing lotion began to work its power on Hathor, removing the tensions and pains of her battle with the undead.
"Set was always an obstinate opponent," Ankh-Isis said. "By his alliance with Anubis, he seeks to bring the dead to a mockery of life, thereby robbing them of the glories of the kingdom of Osiris." She turned Hathor in her arms to face her and continued. "You serve Osiris, as I serve his sister-wife Isis. As such, we are bonded as they were."
"You are right," Hathor agreed, seeing the warmth in Ankh-Isis' eyes replaced by the heat of her desire. "But is it right for us to feel as we do about each other?"
"Not only right," Ankh-Isis answered, taking Hathor's hand in her own, and kissing it, "but just and necessary. By loving each other, we fulfill the love of Osiris and Isis, the love that was cruelly destroyed when the betrayer Set killed his brother Osiris. Love me now, Hathor, as Osiris loved his Isis." Hathor said no more, but claimed the priestess' lips with her own.
Buffy's eyes opened suddenly, as she studied her surroundings. She was in Willow's room--no, their room, she reminded herself. She felt the weight of Willow's body on her own, as Willow caressed Buffy's breast in her sleep. She smiled as she enjoyed Willow's touches. But the dream still weighed down on her.
She didn't understand why, but this was the second dream she had in as many days, and the theme was similar. She was a fighter, a warrior of some kind, against some sort of great evil. And in each dream, she was partnered with a woman who was her lover. A woman who vaguely resembled Willow. Even if the appearance of the priestess in tonight's dream wasn't close to her Willow, the soul was similar.
She wondered if these dreams were the key to her lost memories, but she found that idea extremely far-fetched. Her memories would surface on their own, Giles had assured her of that.
But what if there was a connection between these dreams of the distant past and her own life? What kind of life did she have before? Who was she?
Buffy realized that she couldn't answer those questions now, so she let them drift back to the back of her mind. Right now, her only concern was the beautiful red-haired woman who, even when she slept, seemed to desire her body.
Buffy lay back and surrendered her body to Willow's caresses. This, she decided, is what was important. She had her Willow back.
And she was not going to let her go.