The indefinable had become reality. A bottomless chasm held her within its grasp. Powerful fingers clutched at her heart. They squeezed it with an uncaring air, and tried to push the life from its fragile form. She swam against an unseen tide. It wanted to pull her under, to keep her.
She didn't know what had happen, or how she ended up here. It sent chills racing down her spine as foreboding danced along sensitive nerve ending. Buffy felt it tear at her soul. Cold encompassed her as the dark bore down on her. Screams worked their way up her throat. They choked her as she found no relief in the deep, dark silence.
Buffy wondered at the Powers sending her prophetic dreams. This felt different somehow, more tactile, more real. Fear raced down her spine. It tasted acrid on her tongue. She thought it might strangle her, before letting her go.
Her eyes ached as they strained against the inky sea that slammed her against its bounds. There deep within its folds a glimmer teased her. She prayed it was safe harbor shining out to guide her around the sharp rocks.
Buffy's world went from pitch black to faded moonlight. She simply wanted to wake up, and have Riddick hold her. The moonlight pulled her to it, and she knew there was no leaving here, until it was through with her.
Soft, fierce words wrapped around her, giving no comfort. She squinted into the darkness, trying to force her senses to detect who or what awaited her. Who could it be? Was this the all-knowing Powers, finally getting off their…whatever they sat on to actually speak to me in person…err unconscious me anyways.
Silence answered her. Her brow wrinkled in confusion. She lifted her hand to feel the creases that marred her forehead. Her lips fell into a heavy frown. This was more than odd. Buffy never had this amount of bodily awareness before, and it was freaking her out beyond belief. It was almost as if her body had followed her psyche into the dream.
"Your abilities allow you to feel this on every level."
The voice filled the distance between her and it. Its conciliatory tone was starting to piss her off. Buffy was beyond tired of people, entities, nebulous blobs of energy messing with her life.
"Well, aren't I the lucky girl? What else do you have to say, because I'm a little busy trying to destroy the evil empire?"
She crossed her arms over her breasts, while her foot started to tap against the – dark. This was way weird. Buffy's toe slowed down with the realization. Her head tilted down to hide the swallow that somehow returned her indignant anger. The sharp staccato grew louder. She had decided to ignore everything except getting answers from the voice.
Silvered eyes peeked at her in the dimmed light. Buffy drew in her breath. She felt as if someone had sucker punched her. The distance between them melted away. Buffy stared up into eyes that matched her mate's. Her hand moved of its own volition. She touched the soft cheek, and her eyes closed in wonder.
"You compliment my son well."
Her eyes flew open in shock. Riddick. Somehow, she knew this was about him. What did she want, and would it put him in danger?
Long, cool fingers slipped beneath her chin. They lifted her face up, and Buffy felt those cool eyes inspecting her. She wondered if they saw straight into her soul.
"Be at ease young warrior."
Buffy responded in true Buffy fashion. She pushed her fear down and replaced it with anger. If this woman
thought she could win her over with tenderness, she was sadly mistaken.
"I'll relax when you get the hell out of my head."
She crossed her arms over her chest, fighting the urge to place them on her hips. This was so not the way she saw her day ending. Since when had her head become Grand Central for higher beings? The Powers decided to cut her loose, and take away her dreams. Now, here was some silvered-eyed wannabe looking to slide into their place.
"I am nothing like those who think you belong to them."
Buffy's brow rose in question and no little amount of concern. Is this lady reading my mind? I think she's a bitch. See how she likes that!
Her lips curled into the feral smile Riddick knew so well.
Musical laughter filled the space they inhabited. Shining eyes sparkled with merriment as they considered this warrior.
"I am at times, but only when necessary. Perhaps, we can start anew, and I will introduce myself."
Buffy held her pose, as she waited to see what this person had planned for her. Her ability to trust easily withered long ago. She had few confidants, and saw no needed to expand her circle to include others. Hard experience had shown her that road only lead to heartache.
"I am Shirah."
Buffy's nose wrinkled as the name niggled something from memory. She knew she had heard that name before. Where?
Names still gave her trouble at times, but she worked hard to remember those important to her. Shirah. Who, who mentioned that name to her? Her face relaxed with cool composure. The information came to her, and she wasn't sure whether to smile or growl.
"Ah, I see you have heard of me."
Full lips twitched upward, hinting at the playfulness behind the words. Green eyes narrowed at the sight.
"What do you want? In case you haven't noticed, I'm kinda busy what with trying to free an entire race."
The merriment left the beautiful face.
Buffy swore she saw storm clouds pass behind those intriguing eyes. Her back straightened as she prepared to battle her way out of this situation. That was if she could hit the annoying entity.
"Calm yourself, little warrior, I know what you and your mate are about, and support it."
She paused to allow her words to sink into Buffy's consciousness. Shirah knew her time was short. It wouldn't do for the Powers to interfere. She couldn't standby any longer and not offer aid her warrior's mate. The small loophole the Powers created would soon fade. She prayed the Powers latest interference wouldn't stop Buffy from considering her offer.
"I offer you my patronage."
Although seemingly impossible, Buffy's eyes narrowed even more. They were barely more than slits as her anger became so tangible it practically heated the air around her.
"What makes you think I want yours anyone else's patronage? The Powers are trying to hang me out to dry, so you think I'll accept your shackles. I so don't think so. You may have 'helped' Riddick tap into his inheritance, but where the hell were you the rest of the time? His life has been nothing but one battle after another. Why aren't you offering to help him? Has he outlived his usefulness?"
Buffy started forward. She wasn't sure she could hurt Shirah, but she was ready to give it her best.
Shirah waved her hand, stopping Buffy in her tracks. Her silvered eyes grew glacial. Buffy felt the space contract around her, as if the air had suddenly disappeared, leaving a vacuum in its wake. Her lungs shut down, and she fought to breath.
"The Powers interfered between my warrior and his true destiny. They think him and me nothing but their pawns."
The words sprang from her lips with such disdain that Buffy ceased her struggles.