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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
here.



Crossfire Part 4: Crossing Point
by Arcane ([email protected])

For seconds the four newcomers stood examining the room, particularly it's
occupants.

Xander looked from Willow to Willow, Buffy to Buffy, and apart from their
manner of dress there was nothing to differentiate between them.

"Giles?" the confused teenager turned to the watcher, looking for some sort
of explanation.

The older man had his glasses off, rubbing his eyes in disbelief. "I..
Imagine that we are dealing with another Buffy and Willow. From another
reality. The portal must have brought them through."

The second Buffy turned to the second Willow.

"Alyson? What the hell is going on here?"

"Alyson?" Willow cast a confused look at her double.

"I think this could get confusing." Angel looked from Buffy to Buffy.

"I think it already has." said one of the other newcomers.

"Ruined!" screamed the man in fury, turning to run. Before her could move
Angel caught him by his hand, ripping off his golden gauntlet. The man
crashed to the floor, scampering away in terror and despair.

"Shouldn't we go after him?" Xander watched him go.

"I think we have larger areas of concern." Giles mused.

"So.." Buffy looked at her own face. "You're me huh?"

"No! My name is Sarah Michelle Geller and I want to know what's going on
right now!"

"Sarah?" Buffy asked in confusion.

"Yes Sarah. And this can not be real. What's going on?"

"Just calm down Sarah." Alyson suggested, rising to her feet. "I'm sure
there's a simple explanation to all this."

"Which is?" Sarah pouted, crossing her arms.

"Some form of magical spell was cast which reached out for our world."
Rachael began, "It probably focussed on the two individuals in our world
which mirrored the ones casting the spell, meaning Alyson and Sarah. Once
they were targeted the portal remained until they were drawn through. Katie
and I were present when it occurred so we were brought through too bringing
us into a parallel world similar to the one which our fiction follows."

Everyone in the room looked at her in wonder.

"Hi," she waved, "I'm Rachael. Rachael Leigh Cook. Actress, Vegetarian and
Guardian of Magical Balance."

"Yes that would explain it." Giles nodded in acceptance. "Did you say
fiction?"

"Yes she said fiction." Sarah stepped forward, her mannerisms quite unlike
Buffy's own. "And that means that none of you should be real. This should be
a film set, I should be Buffy and you three should be David, Nicholas and
Anthony."

"Am I the only one she lost there?" Xander asked.

Angel shook his head.

"Forgive me for asking.. Sarah," Angel said, "but you don't exactly look like
a Vampire Slayer."

"I'm not a Vampire Slayer! I just play one on T.V. There's no such thing as a
Vampire Slayer."

"Actually there is." Alyson replied. "I've met one."

Willow cast a look at Alyson.

"So I'm.. I mean you're not a witch."

"Oh I'm a witch all right."

"Oh.. That's.. cool."

"And what about you?" Xander asked the other girl, who seemed just as, if not
more attractive as the others.

"Katie. Katie Holmes."

"You're not a witch?"

"Not that I know of."

"Look all this is fine and dandy but can we find a way back home before I
start believing any of this is really happening." Sarah complained.

"You know you whine a lot more than me." Buffy threw a disgruntled look at
Sarah.

"Yeah. Well at least I'm real. So? How do we get out... Giles?" Sarah forced
out the request.

"Well luckily we know almost exactly how to do it."

"I think there's going to be a but somewhere in this dialogue." Alyson
sighed.

"But..," Giles continued, "It would take this gauntlet, the life force of a
number of virgin girls and a complex ceremony. And.. on top of that..."

"Oh oh," Willow shivered, "More foreboding."

"Willow and Buffy used the mirror spell to target you two on the other side.
Because you're now here..."

"There are no targets." Rachael finished. "Meaning that we just went through
a one way door."

* * *

He ran, scurrying through the corridor like a lowly rat. He had failed
himself and what was worse he had failed his master.

The Slayer. The accursed slayer and all her accursed friends. They were to
blame. They had turned a perfect plan into a complete failure. Not only had
he failed to free the demon but he had brought another Slayer into this
world.

There was nothing more to be done but run like an animal, hoping that they
would not hunt him down.

FOOL!

The man collapsed to his feet, pressing his hands to his head as a voice
flared in his mind.

"How.." he coughed in agony.

YOU FAILED ME!

"No... the Slayer.. she ruined.. the.."

SILENCE! YOU ARE WORTHLESS TO ME.

"My Lord. How? I am willing to give my life to help you."

GOOD!

A scream died in his throat his life began to drain away.

* * *

"So.. You're saying that all this is all just a T.V show?" Xander asked for
the third time in as many minutes, still having difficulty coming to grips
with the idea."

"Yes." Sarah replied quickly.

"Sort of." Rachael cut in. "Imagine parallel worlds. If you believe in
infinite possibilities then any fiction has a world behind it. Arguably the
closest worlds to our own are the ones which we imagine."

"Where did you learn that?" Sarah groaned. "Magic school?"

"No." Rachael shrugged. "I was just making it up as I went along."

"So that means we still have our free will?" Buffy still felt uneasy with the
concept that her life was nothing more than a form of entertainment.

"As much as any Chosen one can I suppose. I know how destiny can be."

"Ditto." Katie leant up against the library bookcase.

Sarah cast a look at Alyson, wondering what she had to say.

"Mine wasn't all destiny but I think I can figure what you're talking about."
the Blood Witch shivered slightly.

"The fact that we're here is a pretty good sign that you're world is as real
as any other. A lot more goes on in your lives than appears on T.V."

"Hey... wait a second..." Xander realised.

"PG13." Katie quelled his concern.

"Oh.. Good."

"So you're no a Slayer like me. You're just an actress?"

"Just an actress? Just an actress?" Sarah flared with indignation.

"So," Willow turned to Alyson who sat beside her. "you've never saved the
world?"

"Once." Alyson shrugged. "But it was a joint effort."

"Isn't it always." the young witch sighed.

"So what do you suggest we do about all this?" Sarah looked for answers but
found none.

"Well." Buffy broke an awkward silence, "My suggestion is.. we sleep on it."

And strangely enough, Sarah was the only one who disagreed.

* * *

The disembodied will explored the Sunnydale night. The life force of his
minion offered him no substantial power but it was the last chance her had.
He should have known better than to deal with humans. His aeons of
imprisonment had left him careless.

Shapeless, the almost invisible mist drifted. It did not have long in this
world, the weak life force that feed him already fading. But there was hope.
So long as the travellers from the other world were here there was an
imbalance. And where there was an imbalance there was a hope that the hole
could be ripped open, that he might at last be free. He knew the means of
doing so.

But the materials were beyond the reach of one without a body. He would need
one before the night was over.

Spurred by impatience and limited time, the mist wafted across the town.

* * *

Sarah sat on the porch swing and looked out at the Sunnydale sky.

It was not her sky. It looked the same, perhaps a little different due to
geography, but she knew that in this world she simply did not exist.
Everything she had ever lived for meant nothing.

She was lost. And she was further from home than she could ever imagine.

"I thought you should be getting sleep." Buffy's voice came from behind her.

"Probably a body clock thing." Sarah shrugged. "It was only afternoon when
we.. crossed over."

"Still having a rough time getting used to this all huh?"

"Yeah. I guess so."

"If it makes you feel any better I feel the same weirdness talking to you.
Here."

Buffy handed Sarah a woollen sweater.

"You don't want to get cold out here." The Slayer smiled. "And I know you're
my size."

Despite her depression Sarah laughed slightly, putting on the top.

"It's funny," Sarah looked out at the night, "To think of all the times that
I was scared that I'd be Buffy the vampire Slayer all my life."

"Yeah." Buffy looked down at the porch. "Sometimes that scares me too."

Sarah laughed again, becoming more comfortable the more she realised that
Buffy really wasn't like her at all. "Think about it. I wish that I wasn't
pretending to be a Slayer all the time, you wish you could live a normal
life. Each wants to be the other. What does that say about us?"

"I think it says were human. Wanting to be something else. Never really
content with our lot in life. I mean some people seem happy with that sort of
thing but.. Well maybe we're more alike than you realise."

"Maybe." Sarah considered the thought.

"You're scared that you'll never get back aren't you?"

"Yeah." Sarah admitted. "I think I am."

"You know.. Last summer.."

"I know what you did last summer." Sarah said then registered her words and
burst into laughter. Buffy watched her, utterly unaware of what she found so
hysterical. It was quite a while before Sarah could compose herself again.
"I'm sorry." she snickered, "In joke... What was I saying.. Oh yeah.. Last
summer. Chances are I've already acted any anecdote you can tell me."

"Well stop me if it sounds familiar. Last summer when I was moving on, I used
to spend a while every night just thinking about home. Sometimes I'd rent a
cheap room, sometimes I'd just be camping out somewhere. But whenever I saw
those stars, I remembered the nights Mom and I used to spend out on the
porch, before the Slayer thing. And all the nights that Angel and I used to
spend.. those were hard memories. The point was that I couldn't forget about
those things and I wondered if they could ever be the same again. Then one
night. I looked up and it was cloudy. There wasn't a star to be seen and just
for one silly second I wondered what it would be like if they never came out
again. I'd lose my only link to the past I loved. But you know what I
realised. I realised that if the stars wanted to come out again they would.
And they'd always be there. And there was always a way back no matter how far
from home you went. You just had to try hard enough. You see what I mean?"

Buffy turned to her doppelganger.

Sarah twitched slightly but did not stir.

The Slayer smiled, pulled a blanket over the actress and lent back, staring
up at the stars.

"It's kind of weird." Katie considered as she lay in the sleeping bag. "I was
offered the role of Buffy but I turned it down to finish school. If I had
taken the role would that mean that you're Buffy would look like me?"

"I have no idea." Xander had found it difficult to follow her words, let
alone do so when he was looking at her. His love life had been remarkably
traumatic in the last few months. He had suffered an irresistible attraction
to Willow, which he knew was forbidden, his girlfriend Cordelia had found
out, almost died then proceeded to scorn him and the others. And the wayward

Slayer Faith had first slept with him then tried to kill him. His track
record was not a safe one. But Xander was Xander and sometimes his mouth
wasn't the only thing with faulty breaks.

"So you're an actress too right?"

"You don't get Dawsons Creek here in Sunnydale?"

"What's Dawsons Creek?"

"Never mind. Yes. I'm an actress.. Um not that I'm not flattered but.. could
you stop looking at me like that."

"Sorry. Really." Xander turned away suddenly. "I have control problems. I
couldn't help myself."

"You may well be right there." Katie mused. She hadn't really developed a
full understanding of her powers and there was a chance that some of her
attractive force leaked out form time to time. Not that Xander wasn't
attractive. But the idea of a fling, especially one with an essentially
fictional character, didn't sound like a good idea.

"You know," Xander commented, "you didn't have to stay here."

"We flipped a coin.. Rachael went with Giles and I came here. Luck of the
draw."

"I can picture it now. They'd probably in his living room discussing the
balance of magic and nature as we speak."

"Yeah." Katie wrinkled her nose. "I'm still getting used to that one myself."

* * *

The mist glided forth, ever searching for the perfect host.

A man would be preferable but anyone would do. They would have to be
vulnerable, but then so many humans were. The host would only be temporary
but I would be long enough for him to complete his plans. He had seen the
travellers as they passed through, seeing what they were capable of, what
secrets they held. And there was great potential that they held, both against
and for him. If he could use them then it would make his victory all the
sweeter. But that time would come soon enough.

As soon as he found the body he sought.

* * *

"Doesn't Blood Magic hurt?" Willow asked down to the floor beside her bed.

"Yes. I thought you needed sleep." Alyson rolled over on her mattress.

"I should. But I'm not tired. So you need blood as a focus? Why did you chose
that path of magic?"

"I didn't." Alyson sighed.

"Oh." Willow wondered what she was talking about. "But you have to admit
magic is kind of cool. In a mature, responsible fashion of course."

"I guess so."

"I remember, the first spell that I cast. It was an illusion to cover up this
nasty zit on my chin. And it kind of worked. Only it cut out in the middle of
Math class and was kind of embarrassing. What about you?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Oh come on. Everyone remembers their first spell."

"I didn't say I didn't remember it. I said I didn't want to talk about it."

Willow rolled back and looked at her roof.

"You know, When Xander and I were... well I don't exactly know what we were
doing.. but it was secret and it felt really bad but when it got out, though
it was really painful at the time.. well it was kind of better."

"I know all about you and Xander." Alyson replied. "And this is nothing like
that."

"Well.. You don't have to tell me."

"I don't have to tell anyone."

"But if you can't tell me... when are you ever going to find someone closer?"

Alyson swallowed, feeling a lump forming in her throat. Willow was right in
her own naive way. She had never talked about what had happened, not to
anyone, not even to those that had been involved. Even they didn't understand
what she had been through. There were only three others who could have
understood but their memories were long since erased.

"About.." Alyson began then took another deep breath. "About half a year ago,
a woman, an ancient vampire called Jezebel.. she tried to take over the
world.. Everyone became mindless zombies.. even me.. But there was a group
who tried to fight her.

Jezebel took four women to turn into her Horsemen of the apocalypse.. I.. I
was one of them.. They.. she .. she invaded my mind.. Tortured me.. I."
Alyson wept at the pain of the memory. "She corrupted me. Made be believe I
was War, gave me magical power, blood magic, and sent me out to destroy
them.. I lost.. we.. joined them and.. we won.. And I made the choice to keep
those powers... They were.. nothing like the power of War but... they had
their use.. but it hurt.. it hurt more than just pricking a finger.. You
don't know what it was like. You don't know what she did to me in there."

Tears rolled down her face and she wiped them away with the sleeve of
Willow's spare pyjamas. The girl in the bed found her own face wasn't dry
either.

"I'm sorry." Willow chastised herself. "I should never have brought that up."

"Sometimes it just comes back to me.. I have nightmares. I have nightmares so
often.. and I wonder if magic is worth that pain."

"Is it?" Willow asked, wondering about the damage her own magical education
had wrought, both to her and her friends.

Alyson wiped away the last tear and swallowed one last time, resolve
returning to her face.

"Yes."

* * *

Perfect.

It sensed he host, a boy, simple and weak. The demon knew how to exploit
weakness. It drifted forth, up through the windows into the bedroom, seeping
towards the body. It reached into his mind, into his dreams.

The boy stood in a corridor, a school corridor. It was empty, empty save for
himself.

He heard giggling as the cheer leading team appeared brushing past him as if
her didn't exist.

You want them.

"So." the boy replied. "I can't have them."

Follow them.

The boy watched them as they moved and walked after them, down the empty
corridor to the changing rooms. He stopped at the door.

"I can't go in there."

Why not?

"Because it's wrong."

How can anything be wrong in a dream?

"A dream?"

Don't you know? You're dreaming.

The boy considered then pushed open the door. He walked into the locker room,
almost bumping into a blonde girl who had just pulled off her tee-shirt. She
looked up at the boy, as if about to yell.

Tell her to be silent.

"Shh." said the boy and the girl said nothing.

Tell her to kneel before you.

"I.. kneel." commanded the boy and the girl did so.

She will do whatever you wish.

"Take off your bra." the boy requested and the girl did so, revealing an
attractive pair of breasts.

You can control them all.

The boy nodded and walked about into the room. The cheerleaders stared at
him, all in various states of undress, some wearing only towels.

"All of you don't be afraid. I want you to continue as if everything was
normal."

Each girl returned to her routine, oblivious to their spectator who marvelled
at the display of flesh before him.

I can offer you all this.

"But it's just a dream."

Why can't a dream be just as pleasurable. I know how you love them, lust
after them but they always push you away. Aren't you tired of that? I can
offer you all of them, every girl you've ever loved, rolled into one. Or
perhaps all at once.

"You can?"

Indeed.

One by one the various objects of his lifes lust appeared before him, all
ready to do his bidding.

"What do you want from me?" the boy asked, not breaking a trio before him of
blonde, brunette and red head who beckoned him.

Enjoy them boy. When the time comes I will tell you.

The boy hesitated then stepped forth and was soon lost into the lust before
him.

The demon laughed.

So long as the boy was ensnared in this dream his body would be an easy
receptacle.

Exactly what the demon needed.

* * *

Time passed.

The sun rose on a Saturday morning.

And the youths from both worlds gathered once more in the Sunnydale library.

"I take it there wasn't any trouble with the accommodations." Giles inquired.

"Mom was.. remarkably understanding." Buffy shrugged.

"My parents are away anyway." Willow added. "Which is lucky because I don't
think I could have passed it off as easily."

"And mine were pleasantly avoiding when I came home after midnight with a
girl. How about your guest?"

"Oh. Rachael and I had an interesting conversation about the balance of magic
and nature."

Xander cast Katie a brief 'I told you so' glance to which she rolled her
eyes.

"And," the Watcher continued, "we think there might be a way to get you
back."

"Glad to hear it." Sarah cut in. "Incidentally, to we have a cover story to
why there are two Willows and two Buffys. Just in case anyone comes in here."

"Strangely that problem never comes up." Willow remarked.

"Yes." Giles pondered for a second. "Well there are several things that we
may want to research."

"Oh goody." said Xander.

"I suggest we split up into groups. One from each world would be best. Sarah,
Willow, Katie and Xander will go to the public library. Look through the town
plans and any history you can. There might be a location in Sunnydale where
the barriers between worlds are weaker. Alyson, Buffy, Rachael and I will see
what we can dig up here. Any objections.

Xander turned to Katie, expecting one, but got nothing.

The library doors swung open.

Everybody in the room turned to see Cordelia Chase.

Cordelia looked at the library.

She saw Xander standing very close to a girl in a thin singlet. She saw
another girl sitting flicking through an old book.

She saw two Willows and two Buffys.

And without a word she spun on her heel and left.

Eight sets of eyebrows rose in unison.

"So mostly I do little spells. Like protections, pencil floating. I tried a
de-lusting spell once."

"De-lusting?" Katie looked up from the book, suddenly interested by the red
heads persistent chatter.

"Uh huh. I didn't work though. Well actually I never got to cast it. Long
story."

"I'll check the episode when I get back."

"Oh. Yeah. I guess you could. Eww. Shiver down my spine. So what do you know
about magic?"

"Not as much as I'd like." Katie admitted. "Which is weird considering..."

"Considering what?"

"I have at least one other soul inside me. The shadow of an ancestor. She
knew a little about pagan stuff I think. And there were all these other
women's passions and... Anyway.. when I want to I can project physical
desire. Like a lust spell I guess."

"Wow." Willow exclaimed. "Does everyone in your world have super powers?"

"Thankfully no." Sarah sat down beside them, carrying another large book.
"Most of us are just normal, boring old people who just happen to get pulled
into other peoples worm holes."

"Sorry."

"No big. You were just trying to save your world. Luckily ours is a lot more
safe. Right Katie?"

"Actually," Willow cut in, "Alyson did mention saving the world once. Some
demon, taking over the worlds population."

"News to me." Katie shrugged.

"And me." next time I talk to Alyson I'll ask.

"You probably shouldn't. It's a touchy subject."

"Oh. Anybody found anything of use?"

"Nothing." Xander came back to the desk and put down a large stack of papers.
"Nothing at all. I'm going for snacks. Anybody interested."

"I'll come." Sarah slammed a book and stood. "So long as the inter
dimensional exchange rate isn't to high."

"Get me a pack of Skittles." Willow waved.

"Sure."

Xander walked up the steps and out of the stack room. The lower level of the
Sunnydale library, like so much of Sunnydale so often, was deserted. And
fairly dark. Sarah marvelled at just how much more there was to this world
than she'd ever got to see.

"It's kind of cool." she looked down the dark corridor. "There's so much here
that I don't get on set. Just seeing this all for real gives me a really
different perspective on things. You know what I mean? Xander?"

She turned about and an icy chill ran through her. Xander was gone.

"Xander?" she called again but there was no reply. She took a step, her shoes
clicking against the cold floor.

"Are you here?" Sarah shivered, tensely walking forward, desperately wishing
that she really was a Slayer.

She spun about the dark corner.

The shape hit and the floor rose to meet her.

"I could have been Buffy you know." Katie commented as she flipped pages. "I
can't believe I turned it down. Then again, Dawsons Creek can be cool."

"Dawsons what?" Willow asked.

"Never mind. What's taking those guys so long?"

Just then the door flew open and Xander burst in puffing, his jacket missing
and his hair more tangled than usual."

"Xander?" Willow stood, knowing trouble when she saw it. "What's going on?"

"There's someone here. He grabbed me then Sarah. I tried to fight him off
but.. I don't know it was like he wasn't human."

"A vampire."

"It's day time. I don't know. But it's out there."

"Okay." Willow considered. "You two hide. I'm going to find Sarah."

"Will, you can't go out there."

"I've got a magical ward." she displayed her amulet. That should give me a
little protection. And I can always cast some spells. I've been looking for
a chance to try some nasty one."

"Will." Xander began.

"Don't be a hero. I know. This is me remember. Hero doesn't appear on my
resume."

"Okay. Katie? This way."

He grabbed the actress's hand and lead her back among the shelves, looking
for a hiding place.

Willow cautiously ascended the stairs, making sure her steps were as soft as
possible.

There was no sound coming from the corridors ahead but she knew that there
were plenty of creatures that could keep silent.

Shuffling forth she brought to mind any offensive spells she could imagine,
the best of which was a basic fire spell. It wouldn't exactly hurt anyone but
it might offer a distraction. She peered around a corner.

"Buf.. Sarah." she hurried over to the fallen blonde.

"Through here." Xander walked through a mesh door and closed it behind them.

"Are you sure it's smart to paint ourselves into a corner."

"It's not a corner. There's a trapdoor to a tunnel system."

"How do you know?"

"When you live with Buffy, spelunking is in the job description."

"Oh." Katie wondered what that was supposed to mean. "So we go down?"

Xander pulled open the dusty trap door.

"We go down."

"Sarah?" Willow nudged the girl as she groaned slightly, putting a hand to
the back of her head. Willow felt a bump there but it wasn't anything life
threatening, at least as long as whoever did it didn't come back.

"Xander?" Sarah moaned, still regaining her senses.

"He got away. He warned us. He and Katie are hiding."

"No." Sarah shook her head as she rose to a sitting position. "You don't
understand. It was Xander. He hit me."

Another, even colder bolt of fear ran through Willow.

"You're sure this is the right way?" Katie asked.

"Yes." Xander called to the girl running a head of him.

She couldn't see his smile, a smile belonging not to the youth Xander but to
the demon Yeatril.

"It's the only way." he added with a grin.

    

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