Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy and Angel, Joss Whedon does… Aren't you all happy about that ? I don't own the Bachert thing either, you'll have to thank Marc Levy for that beautiful story, in his book "Seven days for an Eternity" (I don't use the actual quote from the book, since it's in French, but I translated it)!
Summary: Good question… Is there even a plot? To make it short, it's about soul mates, love and hope… it's a future fic, post NFA, Buffy's POV… And it's, of course, B/A. As if it was even a question…
Note: It's unbeta'ed, so, all the mistakes are mine. I was so anxious to post it that I didn't have the patience to send it to anybody for editing! Bad, bad Marine… ;)
I promise that I'm still working on Broken Heroes, cross my heart, and hopefully, if I have the time, chapter five will be up before next week!
Dedication: To all my loyal reviewers, you make me keep on writing!! And especially to Rebecca, who's recently been traumatized by a C/A story she read by mistake… I hope it'll cheer you up!!
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"Where there is great love, there are always miracles…" Willa Cather.
Denpasar, Bali, July 2006
It's raining again. I really didn't choose the right season to come here… Seriously, Giles could have warned me. The slayer I was supposed to pick up here has left days ago, and is probably in England already, listening to the tale I know by heart, about the one girl in all the world who can fight demons, and who, thanks to a nifty trick, isn't really that alone anymore. Or so they think…
Guess she doesn't know yet that you can be alone in a crowded room, even surrounded by the people you love.
I don't really know why I stayed here. Really… the weather is horrible, my clothes are sticking to my body, and my hair is damped, I don't even want to know what I look like… probably a drowned mouse. A drowned mouse in a blue summer dress. Not that I really care, anyway.
I suppose I needed a break. My life has been kinda hectic for the last few years… The last two years especially. The twelve months or so that followed the destruction of Sunnydale were actually kind of good. Dawn and I made a shiny new life for ourselves, an apartment in Rome just for the two of us – okay, and Andrew from time to time, but how that little twit has managed to worm his way into our lives for so long despite our constant annoyance at his contact is still beyond me… We lived there, and it was great. We had fun, we went out, met new people, dated… Gave a try at the normal life we never thought we would have. Good times.
And then, somebody in L.A decided to go all heroic on us and the world, and literally brought hell to earth. Figured… they weren't going to go down without fireworks, now would they? We went there, but we were too late. Saw them die right before our eyes, before we could move… even if we actually won. The months that followed that particular battle are still a bit blurry in my memory. When I came back from L.A, my whole world came crashing down around me… First, there was the fact that people I trusted had lied to me. That people had talked, and said horrible things, hiding behind my name to give some weight to their words. That innocent people had died, and that my own family had refused to help them… that I had been kept in the dark while the end of the world was brewing… And that he was dead, for good this time. There went my hopes, and desires for the future, along with what was left of my heart. It took me weeks to even try to live again… To get out of my dazed state, to see my friends, to eat properly, and to decide I could smile again. To be able to fall asleep without seeing his face twisted with pain and sorrow, and hear his voice calling my name, asking for the help I hadn't been there to give… without feeling his ashes on my skin. Dawn thought for a while that I was going crazy. Maybe I was.
Eventually, I dealt with it. Went on with my life, met new people, and tried to forget the mess that was my existence. I even had a boyfriend for a few months. Nothing really serious… even though I deluded myself for a while into thinking he was the one. The truth was, I was looking for comfort, and for a presence that would dull the ache in my heart, and cure my loneliness. He was sweet, and caring, and helped me out of this, and I loved him for that. But he knew this was never going to go farther… he understood this, from the beginning, and just pretended, for me. Pretended he believed the lies I kept telling myself, and held my hand through those dark times.
The day I finally discovered that I could stand up on my own, he kissed me on the cheek, and left me with a smile on his lips. He was one hell of a man… Sometimes I regret that I couldn't be his. That we weren't meant to be. Because I know he would have made me happy, somehow. At least, as much as possible.
I forgave Giles, even Andrew, and even if our relationship will never be the same, everything pretty much came back to normal. Or, as normal as my life can ever be… The only difference is that I don't live in Rome anymore. I don't really live anywhere actually, I keep moving, I travel around the world to find slayers, or train them… And I like it. I like this life. I feel like I'm doing the right thing. I feel like he didn't die for nothing, and like with every step I take, and with every new victory, I'm honoring his memory.
And that's pretty much how I found myself here. In Bali… I never imagined, in my young years as the Slayer, that I would ever travel this far. And if I did, I never pictured I would do that alone. In my little daydream, there was probably a cute guy with me, at my beck and call, making me visit interesting places, and laying on the beach next to me.
Well, a girl can dream, can't she?
I love the island. I haven't actually seen it in the sunlight, since it's been pouring twenty-four seven ever since I came here… But it's beautiful. Exotic, different… Something about the place makes it almost magic.
I'm walking down the market, for the third time that week. I'm not the only tourist here, but I still get intrigued looks from people around… Well, I understand them. A blond girl, obviously American, and soaked to the bone… I must draw attention. I stop at every stall, buying fruits, spices… and a lot of things I'll probably never use, but I can't resist. And fruits are so much tastier here…
I already bought souvenirs for the gang. A dress for Dawn, a book for Willow, a shirt for Xander… I don't know when I'll see them, but I buy anyway. I already have souvenirs from Melbourne and Mombasa in my suitcases. I'm gonna get to play Santa Claus when I go back to England. Dawn is gonna love me…
I'm preparing myself to face the rain once again, and leave the shelter that the market offered, when I catch a glimpse of silver and gems out of the corner of my eyes… Now that's interesting. I never saw that particular stall the first few times I came here. And old woman, engulfed at least a dozen of shawls, is sitting behind it, watching me intently as I look through what she has to sell. Some of those necklaces are beautiful, made with pearls, or jade, or other gems I can't name… I know I shouldn't spend more money than I already have, but those are just too appealing. I keep looking for some piece of jewelry I could buy for Dawnie, really, I'm spoiling her.
After a few minutes, I can still feel the woman's stare on my skin, and it's starting to bug me little. Do I have something on my nose, or what? I peek at her face, hoping she'll avert her eyes, but she doesn't. She looks at me with an intensity that's almost disturbing, as if I was about to grow a second head or something… or as if I was holding all the secrets of the world. In all my years as the Slayer, I've learnt to be careful. Everything is not as it seems to be. She looks like an old lady, but what if she's a demon, or an evil witch… You never know with people. I give her a slight glare, and she just smirks at me. Irritating. I go back to looking at the items, and smile when one particular bracelet catches my eye. It's a silver one, with deep green gems that seem to change color even in the dim light provided by the cloudy sky… Its design is complicated, and somehow, it feels like I've seen it before. It's very old, by the look of it; I can't help but stare at it, mesmerized by the way it glimmers each time I turn it in my hand.
"Do you like it?" asks a croaky voice.
I jump, surprised. It's the old woman… I didn't even think that maybe she spoke English. I smile sheepishly. Somehow, the fact that she talked to me made her seem more… human.
"Yes, it's beautiful" I reply "How much does it cost?"
She shrugs, thus making the dozens of little bells dangling at the edges of her shawl tinkle. "Depends", she just says.
I frown. What does she mean?
"Depends on what?"
She smirks mysteriously. "On what you are looking for"
Gee… cryptic much? I almost decide she's too much of a loony for me to buy anything, and think I should just walk away, but something prevents me from doing this. Is it just the bracelet I'm still holding in my hand, or the look in her eyes… I have no idea. I decide to play dumb, and get it over with.
"Actually, I'm just looking for a bracelet." I say with a forced smile.
She quirks an eyebrow at me. The bells keep tinkling. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am. So how much for the…" I don't have the time to finish my question.
"That's a very particular bracelet you got there, you know that?" she asks, cutting me off.
She's annoying me now. "If you don't want to sell it, that's okay, Ill' just go."
She ignores me, and stands up from her chair. She's taller than I thought she was.
"A long time ago, a man in love had it made for his wife… He said it would keep her safe from the demons while he was gone" she says softly. "That it held a part of his soul, the part that was only hers, because it was inlayed with the rocks of love… And if she kept it on, he would always be with her"
"It's a beautiful story" I say. I don't know why I say that. A part of me, the cynical part of me, is screaming at me to get away, because she's never gonna let me leave without buying half of her stock it if I don't do it now.
"You see, that man was a hero. He died in battle a few weeks after their wedding. She kept the bracelet on almost all her life, until one day it became too painful for her to wear it, to look at it, knowing that the man she had loved with all her heart, and had given her soul to, was gone forever." She takes a deep breath, and pauses. "She died the night after the day she took it off, with a smile on her face…"
I feel my breath catch in my throat. That story hit a little bit too close to home.
"I didn't know there were such beautiful legends here" I manage to tell her, attempting to smile, but failing. I can't buy that bracelet… I'm not sure I even want it anymore.
She grins at me. "It's not a legend, my child. It's the gods' honest truth. History just forgot it, like it forgets most of the important stories, the ones that really matter… You know what I'm talking about, don't you?"
I nod. I don't know how, but somehow, I know what she's talking about. She's talking about the kind of life I've led for the last eleven years. It doesn't even occur to me to ask how she knows this about me…
"That bracelet is a symbol…" she says "its meaning, its whole history, is the one of the Bachert".
She gives a sweet smile, and I can feel it warm up my entire being. She must me some kind of witch."The Bachert… listen closely, because it's the most beautiful story in the world" she says softly. I hold her gaze, and wait for her to go on. "The Bachert is the person that the gods, or whatever power that rules this world, destined to you. The other half of you, your true love. And all the purpose of your life will be to find that person… and to recognize them."
I draw a sharp breath. For a split second, all the old pains, all the sorrow, come back to the surface and I just want to go back to my room, curl up like a ball, and cry. But I don't. I'm stronger than that.
I give her a soft smile. "That's a beautiful story, indeed." I look at the bracelet in my hand. "I can't take it, it's too precious" I say. "Besides, I don't have the money anyway"
She gives me another of her mysterious smiles, and closes my hand around the piece of jewelry. "Keep it." She says. "It's a gift".
I look at her in the eyes once again, and find that I can't say no… And I know I'm not under some kind of thrall. I can feel the kindness in her voice, in her eyes. I couldn't explain how, but I feel close to her somehow. As if she could see the part of me that I'm hiding from the world.
"Thank you" I just say, with a grateful smile. I look at her again for a minute, before turning to walk away.
"He's still out there, you know?"
I froze, keeping my back turned to her. Who is she talking about?
"Your Bachert. He's waiting for you."
I can't find the strength in me to tell her that's not possible. Because I already met that person. I met him, and recognized him, but now he's gone. I don't even have hope that he's waiting for me on the other side, because I'm not sure the Powers would be kind enough to put us in the same place in the afterlife.
"Where there's great love, there are always miracles" she says. "An Angel told me that."
Time stops for a moment, as I take in what she just said. My heart is pounding in my ears. Could it be possible? I want to ask her why she said that, what she knows… Is that a coincidence? She can't have known his name, it's impossible. He's dead, I saw it with my own two eyes.
I turn around slowly, holding back my tears…
And she's gone. The stall isn't there anymore, and nobody seems to notice it just vanished in thin air. I look around frantically, I need to talk to her, where did she hear that name. I stumble on a few boxes on the floor, and vaguely apologize, still trying to find the old witch.
Only when I stop moving do I hear her voice, somewhere in my head.
"You just have to know where to look."
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So? Is it worth a next chapter? ;)