Render the Extra Mile
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. They do not belong to me.
"I think… I know how to track him." Tara uncomfortably uttered to the room.
"How?" Willow asked looking over at the other witch with surprise on her face.
"I gave him a Galamehjian blessing when we were talking on the porch. We should be able to use it to track Spike to whichever dimension he's been dragged." The gentle witch shrugged, uneasy at being the center of attention.
"Do you think it will work?" Giles asked skeptically.
"Galamehjian is one of the most potent goddesses. She is worshipped cross dimensionally." Willow interjected " She should be able to locate Spike. Where ever he might be."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's do it!" Dawn proclaimed, as her tears began to give way to hope.
"It's not so easy, Dawn. We have to curry the favor of the goddess." Willow warned.
The entire afternoon seemed to crawl for Dawn as she watched the witches and Giles prepare for the ceremony to call on the goddess. Anya and Giles had gone to the Magic box and returned with assorted spellbooks and other appropriate supplies. Several stacks of books were spread across the breakfast table as Tara and Willow looked for a specific spell in a large dusty volume while Giles and Anya were busy sorting and discussing which of the books would have the most appropriate spells. Wandering around the edge of the table, Dawn picked up a small uninspiring looking book that was the size of a manual that was sitting on the corner. Turning it over in her hand, she saw the title was Basics of Inter-dimensional Corporeal Displacement. She turned to look at the Scoobies who were all busy in preparing for tonight's ceremony. She knew that not one of them valued Spike like she did. She wondered how far they were willing to go for this rescue effort for a vampire that they really did not care a lot about. Like it or not, Dawn decided it would be better if she devised a rescue plan of her own just in case. Dawn's eyes darted around the room as she slid the book from the table down one of the chairs where she secured it under the cushion of the chair. Tara looked up from the page that she was studying and caught Dawn a moment too late. Dawn had just relaxed into a casual pose when Tara addressed her which made her jump slightly.
"Dawn. Do you think you still have some of Spike's hair from your haircut?" Tara asked the teenager
"It was pretty nasty, so I flushed it, but maybe I missed some. Let me go check." Dawn stated as she began to step away from the table. "Do you think it will help locating Spike?"
"I think it will most definitely." The gentle witch confirmed with a nod and a soft smile.
Dawn charged up the stairs to the bathroom, where she had cut Spike's hair. She spun around in the center of the room, eyes searching for any blonde hair that might have missed sweeping up. There, against the corner of the cabinet, she saw it. A small lock of white hair lay curled under the overhand of the cabinet. She got down on her knees and reached for it, her fingers enclosing on it. She stood up and turned toward the door to march downstairs and present her prize, but she stopped. Looking at the perfect white curl in her hand, she looked at the door and then down again at the curl. Twisting her mouth, she pulled a pink colored tissue out of the box on the counter. Laying it flat, she pulled a few strands from the curl and placed them on the tissue. She folded the tissue up and carefully stuffed it into her front jeans pocket. Sighing, she patted the curl flat against the palm of her hand and then opened the bathroom door to the hallway to deliver the hair to Tara.
She hung out at the entry of the dining room as she watched Giles and Xander move the dining room table over to the side and Willow and Tara create a sacred circle with ashes, odd vessels of particular fluids and candles. In the center of the circle was a smaller circle that had a large bowl in the center. Dawn buzzed with anxiety as she tried to stifle her impulse to hurry the proceedings, her thoughts dwelling on Spike and whatever trauma he might currently be experiencing. Buffy would come over from time to time, to put a comforting arm around her obviously suffering younger sister. Dawn would lean the top of her head against Buffy's temple as Buffy muttered soothing words that it would all be all right and Spike would be found. Dawns hand would unconsciously cover the opening of her jeans pocket that held Spike's hair.
Finally, after the sun disappeared behind the horizon and the full moon rose in the sky, Willow announced that everything was prepared for the ceremony. Willow gathered everyone into the dining room and sat them on the floor at particular spots around the circle. She asked that everyone clear their minds of negative thoughts and not speak during the ceremony. All lights were turned off so only the moonlight filtered into the room from the windows, Willow held up her hands and said a few words to call on the spirits to assist them. She held up her arms and flames suddenly jumped up from the candles. As the caster of the blessing, Tara came down the stairs in a floor length gown with a design painted on her face. There was a dot on each cheek with three dots across her forehead. The room became eerily quiet as she took her place at the head of the circle directly across from Willow.
"Galamehjian , Resplendent Holder of Light and Dark, Guardian of the Infinite Balance, we beseech thee. Galamehjian, hear us. Your handmaidens ask you to hear our plea." Tara and Willow intoned in unison, their faces becoming illuminated by an unearthly light as they spoke.
Suddenly a plume of what appeared to be illuminated silver and gold dust appeared to spring forth out of the bowl. The small sounds of gasps filled the room as the onlookers' eyes widened in surprise. Xander's hand reached over and grasped Anya's. Giles' eyes went to Tara as she calmly proceeded with the ceremony.
"Galamehjian, Lady of the Umbra, I ask to be admitted into your circle." Tara pronounced as she took a grave step inside the outside circle.
"Galamehjian, Eidolon of the Radiance, I ask to be admitted into your circle." Willow pronounced as she too took a step inside the larger circle.
The two women sat down across from each other on either side of the smaller circle. They joined hands as the plume of brilliant sparkling light spun itself between them.
"Glamehjian, In light of the sun, we praise you. In light of the moon, we praise you. We ask for your assistance in locating out companion. He is lost and must be found." The witches intoned.
Tara picked up the piece of Spike's hair and dropped it into the light before rejoining her hands with Willow. The lock of hair hung suspended for a moment in the light before it winked out of existence. Tara began to chant. "Look upon the worlds beyond end, seek him. Show him to us, we beseech thee. Glamehjian, we beseech thee."
Willow joined in the chant. The two witches repeated the chant in unison, as the light twisted wildly between them.
"Glamehjian. We beseech thee. Show us the lost one. We beseech thee."
Suddenly, the spire of golden and silver light began to get brighter. It flared so brilliantly that Willow clinched her eyes shut and turned her face away. Tara however, stared into the light. Her face was golden as her eyes focused on spot in the flame. Her face took on a look of recognition as she drew in her breath. In that instance what looked like a demon's reptilian hand reached up out of the bowl and extinguished the flame, causing a explosion of light to surge out of the circle, overturning the vessels , blowing out the candles and knocking everyone backward.
A few seconds later, everyone was pulling themselves off the floor from where they lay sprawled.
"TARA! WILLOW!" Buffy yelled into the darkness.
Xander scrambled up from the floor, staggering over to the wall and flipped the light switch. As the light filled the room, everyone began to rockily sit up.
"Is everyone alright?" Giles called as he sat on the floor, looking around the room. Xander was bent down over Anya helping her to sit up. Buffy was looking over at Dawn, who was raptly staring at the two witches in the center of the circle.
"Are you two okay?" Dawn asked as she stared at the two women who were slowly sitting up again in the center of the circle.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Tara, honey? Willow asked as she reached toward the other witch.
"I'm okay, just a little banged up." Tara answered as she was weakly supporting herself by one arm as pushed her hair back from her face. She gave Willow a small smile and nodded as she ruefully rubbed her neck.
"Dear Lord, what was that thing that crushed the plume?" Giles stated as he found his glasses perched on top of his head and pulled them off to clean them. "I've never seen anything like it."
"I don't know what it was, but it sure didn't appreciate you two peeking through its window shades!" Xander spouted as he helped Anya to her feet.
"I don't ever want to do that again!" Buffy announced. "It was too freaky!"
"Tara, that thing. Does it have Spike? Did you see him?" Dawn asked slowly as she watched the witch's face closely.
"Yes, I think I began to see him just before that thing…" Tara replied before she shook her head in revulsion at the recent event.
"Was he alright?" Dawn asked methodically, not to be averted from her course.
"I think so. He's alive or whatever you call Spike's normal state, but..."
"But what? Was he hurt?" the teenager asked urgently.
"No, not physically but his aura did not look good."
"His aura? What do you mean?"
"I think he's hopeless. Whatever has got him has taken away his spirit." Tara looked away from Dawn's face, as she thought of the misery that seemed to emanate from the vampire.
"No, Spike's a fighter." Dawn declared, slowly shaking her head in defiance. "As long as he has a glimmer of hope, he'll fight."
"Dawn, I know it may be hard, but you may have to accept that Spike may be out of our reach." Buffy said as she kneeled next to her sister, placing her hand on her back.
"No. I don't believe that. You just don't want to rescue him." Dawn snipped as she pulled away and wheeled around to face her sister and the room. "You all thought he was worthless, just another evil vampire. Well, he's not. He's my friend. I am going to rescue him whether you all help or not!"
"Dawn, please calm down." Giles' voice carried over to the girl. "Of course, we're going to do our best to rescue Spike."
"Your best? Wow, I'm impressed." Dawn barked as she felt her eyes fill with emotion. "You make it sound like we're talking about a game of cricket. Oh well, jolly rotten luck, that we lost that one, old boy. Maybe we'll have better luck on the next vampire."
"Dawn, don't speak to Giles like that. We're all here trying to help." Buffy said softly as she tried to calm her sister
"Sure, I'm sure you're going to put that on top of your to do list, Buffy. Why does it seem that I am the only one who is insistent on rescuing Spike?" Dawn bawled at the room.
"No, Dawn. You're not the only one." Tara's quiet voice broke in.
"Look, Dawn. I made you a promise that I will get him out of there and I am going to do it." Buffy affirmed as she grasped her sister's shoulders in her hands.
"When, Buffy? Next week? Next year?" Dawn uttered, as she slightly turned away from her sister.
"Dawnie, we don't know what we're up against. That thing that just reached in here and ended the laser light show we had going on." Willow interjected. "We need to be prepared so we can defeat it and rescue Spike."
"Tara, did you see where that demony looking hand came from?" Buffy asked the timid witch.
"No, I didn't. If it was strong enough to crush the elemental in our plain, it is formidable."
"We don't know if that hand even came from the dimension where Spike is. And if it is, and that thing has Spike, we need to go get him!" Dawn blurted as she attempted to pull away from Buffy's arms.
"Dawn, let's not be rash. We need to plan our next step." Giles admonished the young girl. "There's obviously another player in the game and we need to find out all we can before we launch a rescue attempt for Spike."
"Yeah, Dawn. I would hate to meet what was on the other end of that hand in a dark alley." Xander added from the far end of the room.
"There's no time. Spike is suffering." Dawn sputtered as she looked from face to face, looking for a compatriot in her reasoning.
"Dawn, we'll rescue him. We just need to plan an effective attack." Buffy's voice sank Dawn's hope. Buffy turned to the rest of the Scoobies. "I think we've all had enough for tonight. I think we should all go home and get some rest. What say we meet here again tomorrow night?"
Dawn pressed her lips together in frustration as she watched Giles, Anya and Xander leave the house for the evening. Tara and Willow soon went up the stairs to their bedroom since the ceremony had taken so much out of them. Buffy stood at the entry to the dining room, looking at the mess and decided to leave it as is, since they would probably be up to using it again tomorrow night. Ten minutes later, Buffy pushed her sister up the stairs to bed.
A few hours later, Dawn came down the stairs. Sneaking over to the kitchen table, she pulled out the small booklet she had squirreled away under the chair cushion. She pulled It out and went over to sit down on the end of the sofa. She turned on the reading light and opened the booklet. She read the entire booklet in a little over twenty minutes.
She was surprised at how simple inter-dimensional transport turned out to be. All she really needed was a sacred circle: Hello dining room- got that. A personal item of the target in the other dimension: Spike's hair-got that. Finally a power source: Just call me 'I was a glowing ball of green energy' Summers she thought- got that. All she had to do was to perform the simple incantations and she should be able to get to Spike and rescue him.
"Hmmm. Rescue." She thought she better take some precautions if rescuing Spike turned out to be harder than she thought. Sneaking back upstairs, Dawn grabbed her long underwear from a skiing trip, a white blouse, one of Buffy's vests she had borrowed, a silver chain with a gold cross, wool socks, hiking boots, a long skirt of Willows. Once she had put all that on, she made sure that the skirt hid the fact she was wearing jeans. She also grabbed several large bobby pins, a pony tail holder and a large shawl that had been her mother's. Once she got back downstairs, she raided the weapons chest, pulling out a dagger, a bottle of holy water and stake. She went to the kitchen and gathered a large kitchen knife, a paring knife, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a universal screwdriver, and box of matches along with several small candles.
She pulled her hair back into a ponytail, securing it with the holder and slid the paring knife inside her hiking boot along her ankle, just in case. Opening the shawl on the floor, she placed the remaining items inside and wrapped it up tight into a small bundle. Grabbing the book, she tore out the page with the incantations and slid it into her bra.
Walking over to the circle in the dining room, she brushed the mussed ashes with her hands back into a line so the circle was once again complete. She picked up the vessels and was pleased to find a little of the fluids had managed to be retained by them. She placed the candles upright and lit them. She knelt by the bowl in the center of the circle. She shoved her hand into the front pocket of her jeans and pulled out the pink tissue with Spikes hair. She carefully opened the tissue in order to pick up the few strands of Spike's hair between her fingers. She gently laid the hairs the bottom of the ceremonial bowl. Looking over her shoulder at the entrance of the dining room, she checked to see if she was truly alone. She breathed a sigh of relief and then picked up the shawl and tied it tightly around her waist. She pulled out the paring knife from her boot and placed it on her lap. She pulled out the sheet of paper with the incantation and read it out loud. The flames of the candles seemed to jump a little higher and the bowl holding Spike's hair began to vibrate. Swallowing down a knot in her throat, Dawn looked down at her lap and picked up the small knife. Holding her hand out over the bowl with her index finger extended, she made a small cut into the pad of her finger. Her thumb pressed on the lower part of her finger to make the few drops of blood drip down into the bowl. As it did, Dawn began to recite the spell once again.
"As breath and thought be tightly drawn, power and chaos be reigned, let barriers between worlds fall and give me what I seek."
At first, Dawn blinked her eyes as she saw what could best be described as a ripple in the bottom of the bowl. As she watched as the pool of energy began to swirl and get larger. It enveloped the bottom of the bowl and began to spread out. As it came nearer, Dawn stood up from her kneeling position. She took a few steps back and quickly replaced the knife back into her boot. Bringing up her chin in determination, she flung herself into to the portal which just as quickly winked out of existence.
Dawn did not know where she was. She felt a rough surface cutting into the flesh of her back and head. She was sitting propped up against a wall. Her eyes were reluctant to open as she rocked her head back and forth trying to open them. She needed to see where she was, but she could only use her other senses until her eyes decided to obey. Her body told her that where she was it was bone chilling cold and the air had an unpleasant taste of smoke and odd smells to it. She could feel her arms crossed in front of her and the weight of the shawl pressing against her forearm. Good she thought, at least her supplies came with her. In the next instant, an ugly voice rang out like a slap across the cheek.
"GIRL! GET UP!"