Title :: Oleander Wine
Series :: Miles to Go
Rating :: FR18
Disclaimer :: Supernatural and all related characters are copyright Eric Kripke, Kripke Enterprises & The CW Network. No infringement intended. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are copyright Joss Whedon and ME. No infringement intended.
Beta :: Demona
Spoilers :: SPN season 4 episodes “Lazarus Rising,” “Are you there, God? It’s me, Dean Winchester”
and “Heaven and Hell”***
Note :: For this story season 2 of BtVS happened concurrently with season 3 of SPN. Which means that this work of fiction takes place in the year 2008 with all of the pop culture and technology that year has to offer.***
Synopsis :: She couldn’t sacrifice Angel. Not again. So she damned herself in his stead. The life Buffy came back to is very much the same. Too bad it’s not hers anymore. Chapter 1: Resurrection
Grief choked her, tightening her throat as her heart gave an uneven lurch and his cold lips parted above her own. She rose on tiptoe, pushing her mouth against Angel’s until it warmed under the careless embrace and her fingers flexed. Creating shadowed indents along his jaw as the kiss opened wider, attempting to swallow them and Buffy pulled back, ran her tongue along the inside seam of his upper lip before bringing the sword forward and across his angled hip.
He jerked, spine straightening as the ensouled vampire pulled himself up and back, opening his eyes to stare down at her in confusion. His mouth opened as if to question her and cast more doubt across the resolve that was forming in the back of her mind. The hand caging his jaw tensed and her nostrils flared, teeth grinding as Buffy swallowed the urge to cry, to scream and ordered, her voice a broken whisper, “Close your eyes.”
Dark lashes lowered, blocking the sight of his trusting, too trusting, gaze and Buffy stepped back, her fingers tightening around the leather-wrapped handle of the sword. The worn rawhide sat comfortable in her palm as the hand cupping his chin loosened, dropped to curve around his shoulder and she spun them, putting herself before the stretching jaws of Acathla. The sword arched forward, the hilt striking his sternum and forcing Angel to stumble back. His eyes opened, widening as she brought her outstretched hand rushing back toward her center, using her free hand to guide the blade, smeared with his blood, into her abdomen.
Her lips parted and her next breath hitched as the pain sliced through her a moment after the cold metal and she watched those dark eyes narrow. The line of his mouth curved upward as he stepped forward and shadows descended while the room tilted and Buffy flinched as hissing moans and terrified screams filled the silence in her head. Her next breath shuddered outward, a death rattle that brought the fine hairs along the back of her neck up, skin prickling as lightning arced across the cloud covered sky and she swallowed past the taste of pennies.
He leaned over her, his fathomless gaze paled, green bleeding in along the edge and through the brown, stealing away all traces of warmth and compassion, as a light spread of freckles appeared across the bridge of his nose and his face reformed. Buffy hiccupped, holding back the sob that always threatened to debase her when he did this, when he brought her to Alastair and set her up so perfectly to be shattered and torn into hundreds of bloody broken pieces—echoes of herself.
He cupped the worn leather of the handle and leaned into it, pushed the blade deeper, sawing down before his fingers tightened and his arm tensed, drawing it out. Her back arched, spine bowing as the blade tore from her skin and speckled her chest and face in a warm spray. Tears gathered in her lashes as her jaw tensed and she swallowed her scream, pushed a hissing breath between clenched teeth in its stead.
Those pale green eyes narrowed and his head inclined before he spun, raised the sword and Buffy winced, flinching away from him and more pain as another inhabitant of hell made itself known. Their very presence quieted the din, the screams of so many countless others faded as a being of light and shadow leached its way forward and her tormentor collapsed, blade clattering, useless and blood soaked, against a floor that didn’t truly exist.
The being reached her captor and knelt, gripped his shoulders and rose, pulling him to his feet before it turned and she felt it’s considering gaze flow over her worn and beaten form. Her tongue eased out, wet her dry lips, before she pleaded in a hoarse whisper, “Please.”
The screams roared up around them, sudden and without warning. Becoming a wail, an alarm that thrummed over her senses and tightened every fiber in her being as a terror so deep, beyond anything Alastair had ever inflicted, cemented in her core. More tears leaked from the corners of her eyes as the shadows hovering over the invader gave way to a pure and radiant light that illuminated that small pocket of hell. The screams faded, replaced by hushed and senseless whispers and she flinched as the light struck a focal point and her shoulder jerked, her body suddenly engulfed in its brilliance and the pain lacerating her was swept away in the wash of it as she was dragged upward and inward in the same instant and then there was nothing. ~*~
Blissful quiet greeted Buffy as she came back to awareness and she lifted her chin, the soft pillow beneath her head flattening as her eyes opened, pupils spiraling outward when a darkness so pure, so complete filled her world. Small hands lifted, the backs of her wrists striking satin-lined wood that thudded with the contact and her next breath came out as a whimper as her fingers became claws and she jerked at the tightly laid cloth. It tore beneath her nails, shredding as her flesh, her soul had beneath Alastair’s careful movements.
Her stomach twisted, chest tightening as panic threatened to choke her, force her back into the hell of her memories until her knuckles struck wood, drew blood. Her hands became fists and pummeled the pine above her, pushing through the well lined wood and allowing in a wave of cold, soft soil. It coated her hands, stung the open abrasions along her knuckles and spilled across her face and her eyes closed as more dirt and rock rained down upon her.
Fingers curved, clawing around the edge of the small opening before she jerked her arms, broke the last barrier and the rain of dirt became a downpour as she pushed and pulled her way back up through the earth. Something wet and smooth brushed her cheek and she ignored it, ignored the pain in her chest and lungs as the will to breathe threatened to have her choking on dirt as she continued to push her way upward. The soil above her concaved, sucking down and the small tunnel surrounding her form tightened, narrowed her world further just as she broke through.
The grass beneath her hands was warm from the sun as she caught handfuls of it, used it to anchor her weight as she tugged her shoulders and head free, back arching as she drew in her first lung full of fresh air. She coughed, choking on the bit of grave-dirt that had violated her mouth as Buffy continued to tug and pull herself free of the ever-tightening hole. The dirt collapsed around her hips as she tried to slip them through the narrow opening and her hands flexed, fingers curving downward, finding purchase where they could as she grunted and shifted her thighs to help widen the tunnel.
A burning replaced the straining ache in her muscles and her right shoulder screamed in protest as she lunged forward and caught another handful of sod and earth. Anchored herself further as she pulled her hips and thighs free of the hole before slumping to her side and coughing as the sun engulfed her worn and whole body. She pushed herself onto her back, gazed up at the cloudless blue sky as she gasped for breath and marveled at the fact that she did need to breathe, did feel something other than pain as her muscles quivered and shook from exhaustion.
Her head turned, chin falling against her shoulder and she caught sight of the marker above her grave. Elbows dug into the grass as Buffy pushed her upper body up, lifting her shoulders as she scanned the delicately carved letters that made up her name and the dates of her life from beginning to end separated by a dash. Her head inclined, dirt matted hair spilling around her shoulders as she focused on the words beneath the facts of her life, “Beloved daughter, devoted friend. We will remember.”
A line appeared between her brows and she caught the small wall of granite with her left hand, still favoring her right shoulder, and used it to help her rise onto bare feet. Her toes wiggled against the grass and she stared down at them a moment, confused by the lack of shoes before her gaze strayed to the small dark hole she’d just vacated. Her mouth dipped at the corners and she dragged her focus away from her grave to the surrounding area and the sight of it dried her throat, left an acidic taste in her mouth.
The statues and graves close to her own were perfect, unmarred, but past those few laid devastation. Tombstones were broken, statues and mausoleums fractured or utterly destroyed, barely rubble in the grass. The few trees spread out across the cemetery had been flattened, their dark roots exposed to the bright sunlight and tears burned her throat as she stumbled forward, past the ruin of her surroundings and toward the, still somewhat intact, gravel walkway that would hopefully lead her toward the road and civilization.
She winced when her feet struck the hard rocks and she shifted to the side of them, following the white trail and keeping her gaze forward, away from the desolation mirrored on either side of her. A light breeze slipped up from behind Buffy and brought a wave of goosebumps up over her exposed back. She shivered, marveling at the sensation of being cold after so long and paused, suddenly uncertain. She turned, looked back at the ruin behind her and the hole that had held her body and Buffy wished it had held her spirit, protected it. Protected her from Alastair and his favored pupil—she shivered again, but not from the cold and turned forward.
The thin strap holding the front of her dress up slipped along her right shoulder and the soft fabric grazed her skin, bringing with it a wash of white hot pain that staggered her steps. Buffy hesitated in stopping, in looking down at her wounded shoulder where the being had gripped her tight, dragged her out of hell and into her coffin. Green eyes closed, dark lashes resting against dirt smeared cheeks before she inhaled sharply and opened her eyes, turned her head and gasped.
Red skin, welted and raised in the form of a handprint cupping her shoulder stared back at her and Buffy dipped her shoulder, rolling it forward to see the wide expanse of the being’s spread fingers. Her left hand lifted and she ignored the sight of her bloody and bruised knuckles as she gently settled her small hand over the vibrant mark, still hot to the touch. The line between her brows reformed as her softly whispered words brought with them a coughing fit as she asked the vacant cemetery.
“What in hell brought me back?”