Title: Lost Love

Author: iridescentZen

Fandom: BTVS

Rated: R

prompt: #015 Blue Pairing: Willow/Oz, Willow/Tara

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Willow missed Oz. She would never tell Tara that, though she suspected her girlfriend knew that already. Their relationship was fresh, new. It was on unsteady ground. Tara knew that she was the only woman that Willow had ever been with, and Willow would find her girlfriend's inquisitive blue eyes on her, watching and speculating, looking for any crack in the wall that was her newfound lesbianism whenever she interacted with a man.

Any man.

Willow did her best to never mention Oz's name; all photos, mementos, anything having to do with their entire relationship had been packed away. All it existed as now was cardboard and tape. Out of sight, out of mind. She already had to reassure Tara as it was. She had moved on, and told him goodbye.

Made that painful choice to lose someone she loved or lose someone else she loved.

It felt wrong to miss him when he hadn't cared enough to stay.

Willow missed running her fingers through his short, thick hair. She missed brushing over the copper locks with blue hair dye, getting more on the both of them than on his head.

She missed kissing him along the back of his neck, tickling him with her breath, tasting his skin with her tongue. And he would give her that grin, like he would never be more content than in her arms or spending time with her.

Willow missed his touch, his hands on her, his fingers inside. The way he took her to places she never knew existed with his body. He had shown her how to love, how to share herself with someone else. To let go of all the fears and just experience the moment. A connection like that wasn't severed easily.

It was hard not to feel guilty thinking about an ex-lover while stroking the satin soft skin of her girlfriend's back. It was hard not to feel like she was betraying Tara by thinking of Oz, by missing him.

She wanted to cry guilt-induced tears. Tears of what was and of what might be. Touching Tara's back with tenderness, feather light, it occurred to her that someday she might end up missing Tara like she missed Oz now.


Title: Burn

Author: iridescentZEN

Pairing: Buffy/Spike Notes: Written for the joss_las live journal community.

It was all about the spark.

There was no spark. No spark at all. He was nothing to her.

Not flesh.

Not a man.

Not real.

Spike was a dead thing, a monster. It didn't matter that he ended up with a shiny new soul, because She didn't see it sparkle. Didn't appreciate the candle that burned in the darkness that was him.

The mistakes that he made were many. Some he didn't even remember, lost in an abyss of a century and a half of agony where he was the perpetrator. Other mistakes haunt him in his nightmares. A spotless bathroom with a cold tiled floor, an injured, crying woman.

Those words.

"Ask me again why I could never love you?"

Love me, he begged with his eyes, and with his soul.

Would he ever be forgiven?

By Buffy?

Love me please.

By God?

I'm sorry. Love me. Tell me I'm not forgotten.

Standing before a crucifix, what he was about to do seemed perfectly normal. Perfectly acceptable. He deserved it. The holy relic burned as he embraced it. It sizzled against his flesh, a deep, searing wound left in its place.

God would not forgive him.

Love me.

God was burning him, reminding Spike that he belonged in Hellfire and Brimstone, and not in his house, his church.

If the most benevolent deity would not give him absolution then why would She?

Spike smelled her tears over the scent of his cauterized flesh.

Not tears for him.

Tears from a spring of guilt that flowed within her. Tears of self-loathing. Still, Spike burned, without a spark from the Heavens, without a spark from Her.

Love me he thought as he smoldered. She'll never love me. She never could. I'm a monster. Wisps of smoke ignited from his body without flame rose in the air, spiraling toward Heaven only to dissipate before it could get there.

Just like he would.


Circle of Death by iridescentZEN

Written for the joss_las live journal community. Prompt: Candles.

It wasn't real. At least, that's what he tried to tell himself when he woke up with a mouth full of dirt. With blood thick and sticky on his hands, in the back of his throat, and coating his tongue.

Breadcrumbs of blood from tiny splatters, to hand sized puddles all led to the circle of candles that sat, wicks burned down and out, drowning in their own wax, like the red head enclosed in the circle devoid of flame, of life, laying in her own dark red essence.

Willow was dead.

Spike licked his lips, tasting her blood in his mouth, the best kind of aftertaste. Only not so much when you had a soul.

He wanted to throw up.

The kicker was, he had no recollection whatsoever of having done the crime. But his head hurt, and there were three deep scratches on his face. She must have clawed at him, trying to get away. Dead Willow with Dead William's DNA caught beneath her fingernails.

Spell books littered the ground around the circle. There was a strange amulet, an old urn, runes made from different colored sand. There was more blood on the ground than there was in his stomach, so he knew she wasn't just a snack.

The scene had clearly been set up to do a ritualistic spell.

The entire thing smelled of The First Evil. No surprise there. Willow had unleashed it. Reaped what she'd sewn and all that. It made his soul ache to see her like that. So still, so on display in a protection circle that so obviously had not protected her.

It would have hurt more if he hadn't been the one to kill her.

Do you like her? The First, wearing Buffy's face, asked him. I had you kill her for you. You know, a little something special? Gave you all the tools and everything.

Spike ignored the voice, the image. The real time haunting. That's all it was. He knocked the white candles aside with his boot, and knelt down beside Willow. She smelled of terror, confusion and pain. The sulfurous smell of bottled magic permeated the air.

All of it Spike-inspired.

There was no actual memory the act, but sense memory. He felt his fangs when they ripped into her neck. The feel of her hand touching his cheek as she choked on her last breath was still imprinted on his flesh.

A tingle of hope went through him. Hope that she wouldn't stay dead for long. They could get her soul back, right? Gotta be someone else out there that can cage a demon besides her. The government managed okay.

If not, then there was always a trip to Africa.

Besides, she hadn't let him dust himself.

She sat next to him at the Starving Thanksgiving from Hell.

Once, she even complimented his taste in lamps.

And defended him against Xander's accusations when Spike had brought flowers in Joyce Summers' memory.

They drifted away when she jolted Buffy back into the grave, but he knew that when she sobbed out her apologies beneath that overpass, that he had been the first one to look back. The first one to care.

For him, there was simply no resisting a crying woman.

"Spike?" Willow's voice startled him back to reality. The perfect little vampire-witch. In game face, black eyed, and unique. "What's going on?" she asked him, standing up within the broken circle.

One of her fangs cut deep in her lip, her blood spilling over while she touched a fingertip to it, clearly dismayed.

Spike sniffed the air, closing sad blue eyes. It was hard to feel guilty, when he felt like he had finally found home. When death had led to such a wonderful rebirth.

Willow was his.

She was his.

Dru could never be sane for him. Could never be stable for him. She would never not love Angelus for him.

Buffy would never die for him. It went against everything that she stood for. The love the Slayer had for Angel could not be topped. It was all in the words she had spoken with true conviction, before their relationship had changed. I could never love you. The soul in him knew that. She felt affection, a deep caring.

It wasn't love.

Willow ... There was hope with Willow.

Turned out Willow was exactly like the candles she had been surrounded by.

Lit, then extinguished.

The only difference was that the wick hadn't dwindled to a burnt nothingness. Spike had reignited the fire, kick-started the engine.

By making Willow a vampire, Spike had made sure that her flame would never go out.


Title: Thank You

Author: iridescentZEN

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Rating: PG Character: Buffy Spoils: Season 5/6

PROMPT: 020 Colorless

It hurt her cheeks to force a smile across her face, like she was made of plastic instead of flesh. A wealth of lies caught in the back of her throat, but finally they were free and she said what they so obviously wanted to hear. Buffy said 'thank you' and tried not to cringe at how hollow her words sounded.

Thank you.

Thank you for saving me.

Thank you for ensuring that my nightmares became reality, and I was buried alive, confused and terrified.

Thank you for the gouges on my knuckles, and the stench of death from decomposing flesh and bodily fluids that had soaked and dried in the soft material that made up the inside of my coffin. It won't leave me alone, and allows me to smell nothing else.

Buffy knew that her friends were only motivated to resurrect her into a walking abomination because they thought they were saving her, but they were wrong. They could never know how wrong they were, how much they have hurt her.

It wasn't their fault.

Even if it was.

Coming from a heavenly place, the comfort of the womb, into this Hell on Earth was shocking. The food everyone tried to force her to eat tasted like dirt, and every time she swallowed she tasted the coppery flavor of blood. There was nothing more she wished to do then climb that rickety scaffold and jump again, but she knew ... if she did that, she wouldn't be going back to the place she came from.

Buffy would have to live the life that death had finally freed her of. Death was her gift, and it was the type that kept giving. Darkness and tragedy were once again her best friends. That burden of saving humanity from evil once again wrapped around her like a blanket, and no matter how she twisted and turned there was no way to get comfortable in her own body.

In between realms, the darkness that surrounded Willow was visible and for the first time in her life Buffy was afraid for her friend and of her friend. Was it Buffy's fault? Did the darkness that surrounded her with the title Vampire Slayer do this to Willow? Or was that darkness always there? Brought out in the redhead like fuzz on a VHS tape that had been watched one too many times, spell by spell, apocalypse by apocalypse, traumatic experience to traumatic experience?

If that was the case, then why was Xander so blindingly bright that it hurt Buffy's eyes just to look at him?

Buffy hugged her friend's stiffly, trying not to think of them as they really were. Buffy knew the secret, knew what was so obvious. All humans were walking, talking skeletons. A costume for the soul, Halloween for a lifetime. They were already dead but didn't know it.

They saw the world in vivid color meant to blind the eyes of those who should not know. Buffy's world with her demons, her strength, her stark fear. Buffy's world with its unrealistic demands and responsibilities. Buffy's world of destruction, death and evil was absolutely colorless.

Still, she loved her friends. Every effort was put into her forced awkward smile as she thanked them again, wishing that she could live in the reality of blissful ignorance that they lived in.

Buffy hugged them, hated them and loved them, and hoped as their warm embrace enveloped her that she would someday see the world in color again.


Title: Treasure

Fandom: BtVS, Angel

Pairing: Angel/Willow

Spoils: Orpheus

Variety Pack 100 prompt: #022 "Enemies."

They weren't enemies.

They weren't exactly friends either.

Angel owed Willow more than she could possibly know. Part of her soul rested inside him; her magic coalesced around his dead heart, giving him scruples that simply didn't exist without it.

How do you say thank you for a gift like that?

How do you say thank you when your dreams are plagued with rape and murder, and it's always her face, her body, her soul that Angelus wanted to destroy night after night until it could leave the fantasy world, his subconscious, and be acted out?

Angel didn't want to say thank you for the feeling of deep content when she was near or how his Buffy Summers memories have somehow morphed into Willow Rosenberg, and the things he remembered her doing while he was romancing her best friend.

He didn't want to say thank you for the feelings of guilt, because the gift that she placed inside was killing him, and would kill her if he should ever unwrap it.

It was his feeling, his emotional baggage. Often he brooded more about her, and how he felt about her than he did all the people he's supposed to be saving, and why he was responsible for saving them.

So he hugged her, not missing the electric spark of deep, amorous magic that bound them. The magic that anchored him to his shell with an invisible chain that reached to her no matter the distance.

It scared him to think of what would have happened if Angelus had enough time to head toward Sunnydale.

/Rape./ /Blood./ /Bruises./ /Torture./ /Murder./

/Eternal damnation./

Lost in the cocoon of her embrace, he tried to put the images out of his mind. The demon was not in control. No one knew how he felt about Willow. His love was his secret, a hidden treasure that would stay buried forever because he would never draw a map.

The guilt he had didn't stop him from saying the words in her ear. He felt her shiver, and wondered briefly if she was afflicted as he was with their magically shackled bond.

The thought alone was tragic.

"Thank you," he told her, careful not to let the hug linger, to let it go past what was socially acceptable.

I love you, Angel thought, but you can never know.


Junkie Prayers by iridescentZEN

Disclaimers: The characters are not mine. The title is from the poem "Withdrawal" from the book, Poems For The Dead by Hart D. Fisher.

Rack used to be Willow's God. Used to be all that she worshiped and adored. All that she knew and wanted to know, because things were good. She would pray to him. Long, rambling prayers every night. Sometimes in languages her own ears didn't recognize. Always, she was rewarded for her love, for her devotion. Until he started looking at her in that human way, concerned when he shouldn't be. He made her in his image, and didn't like what he saw. That was when he denied her all magic. When he denied her the one thing she craved, casting her out of his Heaven and into a Hell she had never known before.

So, that's fine. Willow's converted. New member of the Church of Tara. Darkest magic mama in the land. Willow has hope that she will be welcomed here, that she will be rewarded for donations made between thighs with her tongue, her fingers. For letting the witch feast on all that she is.

Willow has hope that her whispered junkie prayers won't fall on deaf ears.


Title: From The Shadows Author: iridescentZEN

Rated: PG

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Pairing: Willow/Spike Prompt: 031 Sunrise

Spike watched the sunrise from the shadows. His girl was going to rise tonight like the moon, and she would be as luminous with her demon inside as she was when she was still alive and cast an innocent shadow.

Losing the sun was hard to adjust to, even if the night was ruled by the moon and the tides of the ocean. He planned on being vigilant with her training, on being the perfect mate. They were going to be a pair of sharks, swimming through the vast darkness of the sea and preying on whatever they could.

Truth was that Spike needed her like he needed blood. Making a child of his own was not something he ever wanted. Despite the vampire society norm to do so, he put it off. And usually ended up getting a lecture from Angelus on vampire etiquette. The Master with Darla, Darla with Angel, Angel with Dru, and Dru with himself. It was thought of as odd not to have a child of your own, someone to fight, fuck and kill with.

Dru tried to seduce him with all sorts of lovely ladies, but Spike was never interested. Unlife with Dru was all he ever wanted, and he had it for a while. The dark rose he considered his showed her true nutty colors, and slept with one chaos demon too many.

After being abducted by soldier boys and tinkered with in ways he was sure he didn't want to know about, and escaping, his fury knew no bounds.

The slayer had to die.

That's how he ended up at Stevenson Hall, and hitting the jackpot with Willow. At first he was brutal with her. Blaring loud music muted her screams, but after he broke her skin with his fangs, he slowed down. Took his time with her until she was unconsciously writhing against him, ready to die for more of the feeling.

Willow sobbed softly, but Spike continued to bite her, softly stroking her hair. "Ssssh, s'okay Red, we're going to be forever."

Spike remembered the pain of being turned. Dru was not gentle. The silly bint had no dinner manners and tended to practically inhale the coppery fluid of life's essence upon the first taste.

There was no difference in the feeling though. Spike wanted to die. He had all but invited death to him, let Dru hypnotize him with her beauty. Drusilla's eyes were not an indicator to her madness. You'd think she was perfectly fine until she spoke and said something like, "My dolly's had an accident! No porridge for her tonight."

Willow invited him in. Invited death to walk through her door, and put her out of her misery. It hung like a cloud over her, gloom and doom, despite her will to survive. With Spike at a hundred percent, she never stood a chance.

Tonight Willow was going to rise from her light grave on the beach, and they would hunt.

Tomorrow she was going to watch the sunrise from the shadows with Spike by her side, and she would do so for centuries until the sun collapsed, taking out the galaxy with its supernova, and they flaked and crumbled away into nothing.


Title: Water Baby

Author: iridescentZEN

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Rated: PG Prompt: 032 Sunset (sequel to 031 Sunrise)

Pairing: Willow/Spike

At first, Willow found it hard to be on the other side. As much as she didn't want to believe it, part of herself, part of the shell, was still Willow. Willow's thoughts, Willow's memories, Willow's death.

She was so sad.

So sad.

Because the not so big bad wolf left her to drown in her own emotions, and she felt dead inside.

Then Spike walked through the door and that became reality.

Inside and outside.

When Willow rose, she greeted the nighttime sky with sparkling green eyes illuminated by moonlight, and was greeted in turn by the loud crash of the breaking waves of the ocean. The smell of salt and dirt was nearly overwhelming, but the boom of the waves was seductive. Like the tide was somehow linked to her, connected, and she thrived in time to its pull and release.

Spike was standing off on a far away pier, but she saw him, and was in awe. He was a hundred feet or more away from her, casting a silhouette by moonlight. Black leather dead slayer trench coat billowing slightly in the ocean breeze, a lit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, and he gave her an amused smile.

The pull and release of the ocean told her; it spoke and said that Willow was his. As if she didn?t already know that. She stared at the moon, so full and wide in the sky, and she felt like she could touch it. That she knew all its secrets, and could pluck it from the sky and eat it like a piece of candy.

The moon was part of her.

And she was his. The ocean and the mystics, the evil animating her body when she was supposed to cease being.

Willow was a water baby.

With that magnetic pull that would surely have dozens standing in line waiting to die just to be that close to her.

Walking slowly, stretching out her stiff previously dead limbs, she managed to make it to Spike mostly grave sand free. William the Bloody. She felt restless, like she was going to explode if she didn't kiss him, didn't touch him. If she didn?t feel his lips against hers and know that this was real then she would cease to exist.

And never wake up.

When she finally reached him they stood staring at one another for a full thirty seconds, before she bared her neck and pushed her hair out of the way to give him better access to her skin. She tilted her head, and offered him complete and total submission.

"You're mine, Willow. I made you." It wasn't something that he really needed to inform her of. She knew it from the moment she woke up without the need to breathe three feet under, and dug herself out of her grave.

"I'm yours," she spoke with conviction.

"Mine," he said harshly again.

"Yours," she repeated.

"Don't ever forget it," he cautioned. Then his entire tone changed, and he smiled wide. "C'mon, Red. It's time for breakfast."

Willow knew she wouldn't miss the sun. She would only yearn for it to set.

That's when the fun started.


Title: Pull the Pin Author: iridescentZEN

Fandom: BtVS

Pairing: Xander/Willow

Spoilers: Season six varietypack100: #097 Writer's Choice - prompt: A Terrible Beauty

With dark magics running through her, Willow was scary. It was her resolve face devoid of the compassion behind the expression. She was pain, hate and grief. A mixed bag of explosives, and Xander knew he wouldn't be able to search for his friend, his everything, without tripping a wire or pulling a pin. She had the same trembling lower lip she always had when she was hurting. When she was trying to keep the emotions she felt so readily at bay.

It was a look he was all too used to seeing. It was a result of personal insult, of being thrown into a locker hard enough to bruise, of having books flipped up and out of your hands while a group of people laughed.

It was the same expression on her face after being mocked by the undead, getting called a loser, and a nerd all in one night.

Yes, he knew that look.

Sometimes he even saw it in the mirror.

Xander knew this was still Willow, even if she seemed a little different. Radiant with power, her eyes were cold, and she was fighting to raise some kind of ugly statue and end the world. And okay, the black veins snaking down her face weren't exactly the marks that inspired confidence.

If there was such dark Willow on the surface, the one that was capable of ripping off a man's skin with a flick of a wrist, there was the pure light of Willow beneath. There had to be. His not crazy beautiful Willow was there somewhere. Maybe cowering behind a funnel of hate fueled magic and swirling debris. Shielding herself by lashing out, by cutting him, hurting him.

To hurt him was to hurt herself.

Xander chose not to live if he couldn't have her in his life. Picked her over all others to be with at this time. Not to save the world. Not for some heroic deed. But because he loved her, and there was nowhere else he would rather be but with Willow, and her terrible beauty.


Back Chapter 10: The Trick is to Keep Breathing

The trick is to keep breathing by iridescentZEN

Characters are not mine.

Title from track 08 on Garbage Version 2.0

There's a series of loud bangs but it doesn't startle her. It's probably just a car backfiring, she thinks. There's the sound of shattering glass, the tinkle of shards hitting each other as they land on the floor. Not as easy to explain away. It doesn't matter because she's not thinking of that.

Inhale.

Donnie used to tell her that the trick to life was to keep breathing. That as long as you continue doing that, you're doing okay.

You're doing better than some people.

Its all about survival. Standing up to your family, having your coherency devoured by a Hell God, knowing your girlfriend tinkered with your brain and then leaving her to an addiction she denied she had. In each situation the only thing Tara had been able to do was deal and move on.

Just survive.

Just keep breathing.

Willows doing better now, and Tara's world is so much brighter with her in it, because she has never loved anyone the way she loves Willow.

There is something on Willows shirt. She's positive it wasn't there before. Your shirt, she says, puzzled.

Exhale.

She hears her brother's voice like he's standing beside her.

The trick is to keep breathing, Tara.

With her world dimming, Tara wonders what happens to you when that trick doesn't work anymore.