Authors Note - The following series involves refers to characters and
incidents from earlier stories of mine. To understand much of what occurs
from here on in, you should definitely read.
Harbinger Parts 1 - 14
Holmstead (featuring Katie Holmes)
Stolen Child (featuring Rachael Leigh Cook)
If you haven't read them, and you want to get the most out of this then read
them now. Also, if you're after a heap of plotless sex, you won't find it
Crossfire Part 3: Altered States
by Arcane ([email protected])
Events here occur just after Doppelgangerland in Season 3.
As darkness fell over Sunnydale, the last of the sunlight retreating behind
the hills, the tons folk shut themselves away for the night, at least those
with an underlying suspicion that dark forces were at work during the night
Paranoia could be a life saver in Sunnydale.
Those that did go out took a risk of not coming home, at least not as
But there people who reversed those odds.
People like Buffy.
Any creature that encountered her would be unlikely to win over it's expected
prey. In fact it was far more likely they would end up a pile of dust thanks
to a swift stake through the heart.
But even with her role as a Slayer Buffy never got through a night of
patrolling without wishing she was warmer in her own bed.
Or someone else's. Her attempts at relationships tended to crash and burn.
Off hand she couldn't think of a boyfriend that hadn't been killed, tried
to kill her or had been killed by her. The killing theme seemed to run
It was the price a girl paid for being the chosen one.
Tonight was slow. So slow in fact that it was as close as physically possible
to motionless. Normally this would have been a blessing but Buffy was stake
happy. The vampire front had been quiet all week and she was itching for some
evil creature to jump her just so she could defeat it.
Training with Giles was a small outlet for physical aggression but it had
it's limits. She wasn't allowed to kill him for one thing.
Not that she was a violent girl by nature. Impulsive certainly, shallow
potentially and catty occasionally but not the overtly violent type.
But she still felt like killing something.
What she saw when she turned the corner was something she couldn't kill.
In fact it was probably the last person in the world she ever wanted to kill.
"Hey Will." Buffy waved to the red hear who walked casually down the street.
"Hi Buffy. Find any Vampires?"
"None. Nada. Zilch. All of a sudden this town is a vampire free zone. Why are
you out tonight?"
"Oh, planetary alignment stuff. Tonight is the best night in a hundred years
to cast magic mirror spells."
"What do they do?"
"Well.. they work like mirrors. Only they're magic."
"Like a compact mirror?" Buffy pulled a small make up mirror from her satchel
of Slaying implements.
"Yeah. Sort of like that."
"Isn't magic wonderful."
"Anyway there were some ingredients that I needed to pick up from the all
night witchcraft store."
"The all night witch craft store?"
"Oh yeah. It's under new ownership."
"Let me guess, it's for the same reason every shop in this town is ever put
under new ownership?"
"Mysterious accidental death." Both girls said in unison.
"Anyway, the streets are safe right?"
"I guess so." Buffy almost sighed. "I'd better keep moving. See you
Willow wandered off with the innocent spring in her step that she always
seemed to have. Buffy on the other hand slumped down at a bus stop.
What was the point of being a Slayer if there was nothing to slay.
On the other hand, perhaps something had happened to the Hellmouth. Maybe
vampires were heading somewhere else now.
Another town. Somebody else's problem. Then she could live a normal life as a
normal girl and never have to worry about the supernatural again.
"Blech." Buffy choked out her sentiment. It was nearly impossible for her to
imagine a life without slaying, her existence being free of her talents and
As tough as it could be at times, Buffy liked being a Slayer.
And if she ever met such an alternate self, such as Willow had had the
dubious fortune of doing recently, Buffy would be the first to tell her what
she was missing.
Slaying made her what she was.
And a lack of it made her frustrated.
* * *
"I thought a change in vampire numbers was a sign of something about to
happen." Buffy complained, leaning back on her chair in the library.
"Well, partially yes." Giles admitted. "But usually it means an increase. A
dramatic drop in vampire numbers may be a good sign. What does Angel know?"
"Nothing. Suddenly vampires have just been moving to other pastures."
"Maybe they're just tired of the same meal night after night." Xander
suggested, looking up from a book he was supposed to be reading.
"Somehow I doubt that vampire culinary tastes are to blame. There may be
something in it. But nothing comes to mind."
"Willow said something about a planetary alignment for mirror spells."
"And vampires don't cast reflections. That could mean something." Xander
"Or it could mean nothing." Giles brought him back down to earth. I wish
there was something we could do but until evil rears it's head, so to speak,
we'll have to wait."
"So what are we waiting for?" Willow asked as she entered the room, looking
slightly more content than usual.
"Evil." Buffy replied. "What else? Why are you so happy?"
"Oh just the mirror spells I used last night went really well."
"I would have thought you'd have had enough of mirror images lately." Xander
"Eww. Don't remind me."
"Yes Xander." Buffy added. "Please don't."
"I'm sorry. It's this mouth. I think the breaks are faulty."
"It's okay." Willow shrugged. "I mean, she was creepy and all but. well no
she was just creepy really."
"Yes. Well I'm sure wherever she went back to suited her perfectly."
"Just another vampire that's left town." Buffy shrugged.
"Oh I wouldn't worry." Xander tried to re-read the top of his page for the
twentieth time, "I'm sure evil will turn up sooner or later."
* * *
When Hannah Prescot first heard the voice she thought it was her imagination.
She switched on her bedside lamp and looked about her room, fearing that some
monster might leap out of the darkness. It was a foolish action she told
herself, especially for a mature teenager. Nevertheless she felt as if the
voice somehow had been more solid than a mere thought.
She flicked her head about, blonde hair spinning behind it. There was nothing
there. Nothing but her nice safe room.
And a voice.
"Who's there?" she accused into the dim room.
Shh. You wouldn't want to wake anyone would we?
"Where are you?" she asked softly, her voice shaking with fear.
she asked softly, her voice shaking with fear.
Right in front of you. Came the voice from the foot of your bed.
And behind you.
Hannah flinched as the voice came from her back.
And inside you.
The teenager covered her ear as the voice rung in her mind.
"What do you want?"
I need something from you Hannah. Something very precious. Something that I
am willing to reward you well for.
"I.. I don't have anything." She whimpered.
Oh but you do Hannah. Everyone has something.
"Please don't hurt me." She begged.
I won't hurt you Hannah. I'm going to make you happy.
Yes. You want to be happy don't you? You want to feel loved.
"Loved?" she asked again.
Poor little Hannah. Ever since mommy died you've had no one to talk to. Daddy
doesn't care does he? He won't even let you date boys. Just keeps you locked
away all lonely. Nobody loves you.
"That's not true."
Nobody loves poor Hannah. Poor Lonely Hannah wants love. Wants warmth.
"No. I'm not. " she cried softly.
I can go if you want me to Hannah.
"No. Please don't go. Please stay with me."
Of course Hannah.
Hannah felt a warm presence press against her, beneath the fabric of her
pyjamas, stretching out over her skin, infusing her with warmth. Hannah let
out a soft gasp at the touch, everything she and ever imagined it to be and
more. Invisible fingers entwined with her own, a soft touch stroking her from
head to foot. Beneath her night shirt she felt delicate gusts breezing over
her breasts, forming goose bumps on the tender flesh and quickly making her
nipples rise up. Hannah gasped again, rolling over as the touch continued to
flow through her, bringing her a greater contentment than she had ever known.
It ran over her sides, past her hips, down between her legs, sending tingling
shocks of pleasure deep within her.
She pressed her mouth against her pillow least her rising cries be heard
where they were unwanted. Her delight was so great that she periodically let
out squeals of delight at the expert sexual touch unlike anything she had
ever experienced. I will make you so happy Hannah. The voice whispered in her
So happy for the rest of your life.
"So. No vampires tonight." Joyce asked her daughter over the dinner table.
"Nope. No vampires, no werewolves, no mummies, reptiles, demons or other
assorted nasties. Tonight I am one hundred percent your normal daughter.
apart from the fact that I just shot off that list. Try not to let it bother
"I try Buffy. I'm sure every mother worries about their daughter but their
daughters aren't out saving the world every other night."
"Actually I've only saved the world a few times. More than enough I guess. So
what do you have planned? A gathering?"
"I've slightly gone off gatherings." Joyce looked down at her food.
"Oh yeah. The whole welcome back thing. We could just sit back, watch T.V and
binge on chocolate."
"I've gone of chocolate too."
"Oh. Gee there's really a lot of things this town can sour your experience
"Buffy. We don't have to do anything." Joyce smiled. "I'm perfectly happy
with the knowledge that my daughter is safe and well in her own home as every
daughter should be."
* * *
"Six girls ran away from home last night?" Willow mused the news as she
munched on her lunch.
"At least that's what it's being considered as."
"But why would seven different people run away on one night?"
"Maybe they weren't allowed to watch the season final of Melrose." Xander
shrugged. "It was on last night. So I hear." He added quickly.
"It could be just coincidence." Willow shrugged.
"No such thing in these parts." Buffy chewed a pencil, hoping Giles wouldn't
notice it was one of his.
"Yes I sometimes feel that the use of the word `coincidence' should be banned
within Sunnydale city limits." Giles added.
"Nevertheless there is a slim chance that this has nothing to do with
anything supernatural. Is there anything linking the girls?"
"Not that I can think of." Buffy mused. "One was track star, one was an art
student, one drama buff, one lab rat. No link there."
"They could have run off with their boyfriends." Xander suggested wildly.
"Nope." Buffy shook her head. "I don't think any of them had boyfriends."
"None of them?" Giles suddenly seemed more attentive.
"Might that mean that they were all virgins?" Willow asked nervously.
"It's possible." Giles nodded. "Which would mean that we may dealing with
some sort of cult after all."
"Well we're safe right?" Xander shrugged.
"Xander," Buffy raised an eyebrow, " I think you'd be safe even if you were
still a virgin."
Xander swallowed nervously and turned his eyes to the floor as did Willow.
The revelation of his experience with Faith were as fresh in the young
witches mind as the experience of meeting her evil twin. The more upsetting
experience was a matter of debate. Willow had known herself longer than she
had known Xander but not by much. And emotions were beyond magic.
"Well we have to figure out where they are and why." Willow hoped to get the
conversation moving again.
"I agree. We should get the rest of the gang in." Buffy suggested, eager to
get on the tail of potential evil.
"You mean Angel?" Giles tilted his head. "Wesley is making a report to the
"Oz is off on a week long road trip." Willow sighed slightly.
"Faith is.. hey why should I know where Faith is?" Xander caught himself.
"That would leave Cordelia." Buffy mused. "So I'll go talk to Angel this
"And I'll avoid Cordelia." Xander raised his hand. "And Faith."
* * *
Hannah hung, suspended in a dream of pure ecstasy. She had run from her house
the night before, under the request of the voice and ever since she had been
blanketed in a perpetual haze of pure physical and mental delight. Nothing
mattered anymore, not her home, not her friends, not her life.
All that mattered was the touch, the pure tide of sex that washed over her.
She had not opened her eyes for hours, wandering instead in a world of
blissful dreams. Occasionally a noise would break through her euphoric
trance, the sound of another girl crying out in pleasure.
She might have been able to move but it was so nice to feel the touch that
she had no desire to do so. She simply rested, letting the touch creep over
her. She didn't want to move, not ever again, not while the touch had her.
Hannah wanted to die this way.
* * *
No luck. No links.
Nothing of value anywhere on the internet that might have been a clue to the
whereabouts of the girls.
Willow sighed and lay back on her bed, wishing that she could help in
someway. The others had done no better, not Giles with his book work or Buffy
with her street searching, or Angel with his ancient knowledge or Xander with
his. Willow searched for a word for what Xander actually did. The closest she
could get was moral support. But as it happened his role turned out to be the
most successful. All the others, including her, had failed.
She turned her head, looking about her room for the source of the voice.
"I hear a voice yet I see nothing. That's a bad sign."
I want to help you Willow
"I suffer this horrible trust issue with disembodied voices." She stood up
and looked about the room.
I can offer you something unimaginable in return for something so small.
"You sound like the add for World Vision. Who are you? You.. you took the
other girls." Willow clicked.
I took them to a place of pure delight.
"I've already been to Disneyland." Willow stammered. "I was four. I was
scared of Pluto."
You need not be scared
"I'm not scared." Willow protested. "I'm merely stringing jokes together as a
means of bolstering my spirits."
Your spirits will serve me well.
Willow turned suddenly and lurched for her phone. As she did a wave of pure
ecstasy flowed through her, knocking her to her knees. She felt it engulfing
her being, slowly gaining control over her. She knew that soon she would go
anywhere to follow that reward.
She fumbled the speed dial button awkwardly, her hands trembling.
Hands ran over the skin of her legs, kneading their way up her body.
Caressing her shoulders, her back her arms.
Her neck, her thighs her breasts.
"Hello Giles speaking."
"Giles!" Willow gasped as she felt her mind being clouded over by the touch.
She dropped the phone to the floor.
* * *
"Willow?" Willow!" Giles demanded into the receiver but got nothing but a
buzzing tone. He slammed down the phone in frustration and picked up his
jacket just as Xander entered with a carton of Chinese food.
"We have to hurry." Giles jogged past him.
"Hey. I walked two blocks to get this." Xander protested.
"Willow's in trouble." Giles called back.
Two seconds later a swinging door banged into the dropped carton.
* * *
"It's kind of weird." Buffy flicked rocks at a tree stump. "It's like I
really want their to be bad things happening just so I can get action. Like
people who want a bad one night stand just for the feeling you no what I
mean. Sorry. Bad analogy."
"Don't worry about it." Angel mused. "I know what it can feel like. both..
"Yeah. I know. I still think about it too." Buffy stopped throwing and
examined the stone in her hand. "Sometimes it's hard not to. I mean
everything, all the horrible things that came after, for you, for me, for
everyone. It would be so much easier to accept if it hadn't been."
"A moment of pure happiness." Angel finished.
"Yeah." Buffy bit her lip in silence for a moment, wishing that something
would distract them from the awkward moment.
Lurching across the graveyard with a struggled semblance of humanity was a
Buffy sprung to her feet, carefully examining the distant figure. From where
she stood, looking at it in the shadows, it might well be a zombie. Whatever
it was it wasn't moving like any human would.
"Come on." Buffy nodded to Angel as they slipped cautiously closer.
As they watched the figure came out of the shadows, lit by the moon light.
"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed in shock. Her friend did not reply or even
acknowledge the Slayers existence. Instead she kept moving, not a normal
human walk but a laboured one, as if she were a puppet on tangled strings.
"Willow? What's going on?" Buffy stepped in front of the vacant girl and
looked at her face. Willows head hung back, mouth slightly open with an
expression of blissful ignorance on her face. It was as if she was caught in
the middle of a wonderful dream.
"Willow wake up!" Buffy demanded, shaking the girl who didn't stop walking.
Buffy felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to find Angel staring at the
helpless teen with concern.
"Buffy she's under some sort of spell. And she's going somewhere. We can't
fight it until we find out what's going on. If we follow her we might."
Buffy cast a nervous glance at the sleepwalker and considered.
"If you think it's the only way."
"Well you could shake her again but I she already looks pretty shaken up."
Buffy examined Willows face again, seeing it flushed and with a sheen of
"Alright. We follow her."
"Buffy!" the ex lovers turned to a call behind them, seeing Giles and Xander
running to meet them. "We were following Willow and lost her."
"You lost her? She's moving about as fast as a turtle on depressants."
"Well we kind of got caught up with a vampire."
"Oh great. The only other vampire in town and I miss him." Buffy sighed.
"Willow called me. She sounded.. well bad. Told us to follow her."
"We were about to." Angel nodded, looking at the still lurching girl. "Any
idea what this is about?"
"None." Giles admitted. "But keep your eyes peeled for anything."
* * *
They followed Willow onwards, each one of them filled with concern for their
friend. At the worst of times Willow was lively, even the evil vampire Willow
had been, but this dead and mindless version was something none of them
wanted to see for longer than they had too.
Willow descended down into one of the many tombs in Sunnydale, leading on to
a complex tunnel system. The others followed, Willow giving them no attention
The tunnel became dustier and darker as they went, occasional torches on the
walls the only light source.
"There's someone up ahead." Angel whispered cautiously. "In there."
He pointed to a small alcove through which Willow was passing where a
humanoid figure rested against a wall.
"Ready?" Buffy exchanged a glance with Angel who nodded.
They quickly rose and crossed over to the wall, ready to attack.
The figure did not move. Not an inch.
"Oh my god." Buffy whispered in dread of what she saw. Standing against the
wall was a teenage girl, or what had once been a teenage girl. Now her body
was a husk, dry and flaking, lifeless eyes mercifully closed.
"What could have done this?" Buffy asked, staring at the body.
"Using Soap without moisturiser?" Xander suggested.
The others cast him disbelieving glances.
"I'm at the joke or wretch stage." He shrugged. "It'll pass."
"This is what happened to the girls isn't it?" Buffy asked the Watcher.
"I think it's a safe bet to assume it."
"Then that's what's going to happen to Willow too."
"Not if we can help it." Angel said, striding forward to follow Willow once
more. The others cast one last, unsettling glance at the body, then moved on.
* * *
Hannah was tired. So tired. But it still felt so nice. She felt as if she was
sated with pleasure, she was drowning in it. Her strength had all been sapped
by the still reaching hands on her body. The sounds around her had died down
too, exhaustion setting in. She felt her consciousness fading, fading into
But she was still at peace, knowing that the last moments in the world would
be pure bliss.
* * *
"Welcome Willow" spoke the voice, given a physical presence at last. "I
wondered how you would get here my dear. The others, they came so willingly,
but I fear I did not have the time to convince you."
Willow did not reply, still lost in the delirious haze. She could not see the
chamber in which she stood, the other girls on the walls, most of them dying
shells of what they once were, some still twitching in delight.
She did not see the man before her, dressed in black robes, his hand encased
in a gold gauntlet.
"The time is near child. But I fear I need your life energy quickly. I
imagine this will feel somewhat intense."
He waved his hand before her, the gauntlet radiating a yellow light.
Willow began to scream.
* * *
At the sound of her scream all four friends increased their speed. For Buffy
and Angel this meant that they entered the chamber in seconds. Giles and
Xander were not far behind.
Buffy's mind raced at what she saw, dying girls on walls, a man with a cloak,
Willow standing in a yellow light screaming.
One thought was all she needed. In a second she tackled the man to the
Angel moved and caught Willow before she hit the floor.
The man struggled with Buffy, somehow managing to overbalance her and rise to
"Angel! Stop him." The Slayer cried out but the man had reached forward,
gloved hand grasping onto a sceptre in the middle of the room.
From it a bolt shot out, striking each of the remaining kidnapped girls,
drawing from them the last of their life. One beam reached for Willow but
Angel shielded it, the life force of a vampire not what the spell sought.
Then it stopped, the beams fading, the girls crumbling to dust.
And the man lying on the ground, laughing.
"It is done." he cried.
"What's done?" Buffy growled pulling him roughly to his feet.
"You cannot stop it. It is done. He will be here soon."
"Gosh, I never learn to like the sound of that." Xander sighed, taking
Willow, barely conscious in his arms.
"Who is he and what have you done?" Angel grabbed him as he shifted into
"He is Yeatril, High Chaos demon, bound in the void between worlds. But he
shall be freed. You cannot break the spell now.
Then he will come for you and there is nothing you can about it."
"Why did you kill those girls?" Angel demanded, shaking him again.
"The life force." He laughed. "The life force was the key to opening the
gate. Only virgins could do it. Females too. Only females be focussed on for
opening the gates. Once there open then anything can come through. But you
need girls to do it.
Very dangerous for men. Never mind. All the girls were silly, all wanting
someone to love and to trust. They had what I needed.
And I gave them a death of unimaginable pleasure."
"Shut up." Buffy back handed him in anger. How do we stop it?"
"You can't. You can't stop it." he giggled madly.
"Mirror." Willow whispered.
"What?" Buffy turned to her weakened friend.
"Cast a magic mirror spell to deflect it." The young witch broke away from
Xander, standing on her own feet. The last thing she remembered had been
hearing a voice in her room, feeling a loss of control then awakening here.
Even as tired as she felt, she was able to conclude that she'd been under
some sort of control and something very bad was about to happen. That was
all she needed to know.
"Willow, you can't cast a mirror spell. You're too weak."
"I'm not weak." Willow protested. "I'm just a little flushed. Buffy it's the
The Slayer, the Watcher, the vampire and Xander exchanged a glance.
"Let's try it." Buffy nodded.
"No!" the man protested. "You cannot turn the spell. Not now! Not after so
"Shut up!" Angel snarled and even the madman wasn't insane enough to speak
"Buffy, I'll need your help." Willow sat down beside the rod, which was
beginning to glow more and more intensely.
"What about us?" Xander asked, eager to help."
"More reflections can be complex. And besides, he said that only girls can do
this sort of stuff. Buffy?"
The Slayer nodded and sat down across from her friend, who seemed to be
"You know what you're doing right?" Buffy asked, noticing worried glances
from the four others, standing across from them.
"No. I just hope that the mirror spell will do something. It should be
powerful enough. Give me your hands."
Buffy reached out her hands gripping Willows. She could feel the damp palms
and heat radiating from Willows body.
Obviously there had been more going on than simple control. She would have to
ask her about it sometime.
The young witch began to chant, recalling the words of the mirror spell she
had cast the night before, hoping that a slight alteration would be enough.
Between the girls, slowly forming around the glowing rod, was a sphere with
a mirrored surface. Buffy looked up at her own face, masked with concern. If
this didn't work then there would be some serious demon slaying to do.
Willow focussed on her own flushed face, repeating the words of her
incantation. Behind her reflection, at the top of the rod, a smaller sphere
was beginning to form, glowing blue, pulsing as it became larger and larger.
Willow hastened her chant, straining harder to channel her magic potential
and that of her friend. The sphere grew, wider and wider until it was no more
than an inch from the girls faces, directly reflecting their images. Within
the silver orb the blue one continued to grow, but now it distorted, twisting
as it pulsed, losing it's form.
"No!" the man screamed in desperation, trying to rush forward as inhumanly
strong arms held him back. "The target is becoming lost! You're ruining the
"Good." Angel looked at the sphere as it twisted and turned, spinning faster
and faster until it was almost out of control.
"How long do we have to hold this?" Buffy called to Willow, looking through
her reflection to the seething mass of chaos.
"Until the other spell wears itself out." Came the reply. Buffy could tell
there was strain in the young witches voice. She was not used to powerful
magic and she had very nearly died once tonight already. Buffy could only
hope that she might lend her friend her own strength and hold the spell.
The sides of the blue chaos touched the side of the mirror, pushed back in on
itself. It folded and twisted, unable to break the barrier.
"No!" the man cried in despair, collapsing to his knees as he saw all his
work fall apart before his eyes.
"How long has it been?" Xander asked, staring at what looked like a massively
destructive force, blocked only by Willow magic.
"Five minutes." Giles checked his watch. "How long does it last?" he demanded
of the whimpering man but he received no coherent reply.
"Buffy!" came the desperate cry from the other side of the sphere. Willow
felt her concentration slipping, parts of the spell starting to give way. She
struggled to keep control of her power, focussing on only the mirror before
her, not what she saw behind.
The blue mass was swirling now, spinning into a vortex with the appearance of
She had to keep hold of the spell. Sweat dripped from the witches brow, her
teeth grinding together, as an ache flowed through her.
"Buffy!" Willow groaned. "I can't.. I can't hold it.."
"Try to Willow. Just a little longer."
"You have to."
Tears blurred Willows eyes as the vortex spun faster and faster, pressing
against the sides of the sphere. She felt it bending, bubbling, losing its
integrity. In front of her the mirrored Willow bent and warped.
"I can't." she whimpered in defeat.
And the barrier gave way.
In a flash of blue light the room was gone. Buffy shielded her eyes but could
still see nothing apart from the searing blueness.
The other too were forced to hide their faces as the massive blue storm
Then suddenly, in a final flare, the light was gone.
Buffy squinted, trying to blink the after images out of her eyes. She looked
to the entrance where Angel and the others were rising to their feet.
Then she turned to Willow.
The young witch was rubbing her eyes and getting up off the ground where she
had fallen. She took a second or too to grab her breath then looked up.
Into the face of the last person she ever expected to see.
Both Willows screamed.
At least that was what Buffy heard. But she didn't see it. Her eyes were
fixed firmly in front of her, matching the identical eyes of an identical
So stunned was Willow and Buffy and indeed their friends, that they didn't
notice the other new arrivals until a voice piped up, as a small girl rose
to her feet.
"Well Katie," Rachael said as she looked around the chamber. "I don't think
we're at Warner anymore."