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Ascendent Sun, Burning Moon

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Summary: A lost soul, striving to redeem himself, and the world with him. A long foregotten teacher, fufilling his purpose. And the one girl in all the world who can save us all.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Fantasy > ExaltedInDrkFR1818106,27643911,01212 Sep 1227 Feb 13No

Husband Seducing Demon Dance

A/N: There is an extensive scene in this chapter (2,045 words) that is missing from SpaceBattles. This is because it violates the NSFW Policy. I'm not happy I had to remove it, but once I'd finished the scene, I had to admit it's fairly graphic. It isn't, however, a Lemon scene, nor is it Pw/oP, or even PwP. I feel that the scene is very important to the characters involved, and it deals with the complications that come with Angel and Buffy's Solar Bond, and the vast age difference between them, as well as the balance of power in the relationship. You can find the full scene on Twisting the Hellmouth, under the pen name InDrk. I highly recommend you read the scene, because otherwise you're going to be VERY confused later on. Anyone without accounts on TtH, feel free to PM me with any questions, comments and criticisms.

Dream Sequence, Three Days Later–

A warm, moonlit field of soft grass and white flowers stretches out before her. A light wind blows through her hair, and Buffy closes her eyes and enjoys the sensation of the grass beneath her feet. Everything had been so chaotic lately in the courts lately, what with Desus slowly but surely taking over the nation. Buffy was fairly certain he was using some new charm to take over the younger Solars, but she couldn't prove it, and she didn't want to risk making an enemy of the Second Lord of the Solar Deliberative.

You're late,” an amused voice points out, and she smiles. The one person that understood her, that knew what she had to deal with every day-

Running, bright flashes of light. Blazing hate and betrayal, a desert awash with blood. A golden blade swinging out before her, striking the head from a woman's shoulders.

Pain, an arrow in her shoulder, turning, a curse on her lips, fire in her hand, but the breath is stolen at the sight before her. A young woman, with long, dark hair and deep, black eyes looks upon her with unfathomable sadness as she unleashes a bolt of lightning that sends her sprawling.

A flash, blood and pain and death, sorrow as her brothers and sisters fall, hate and love for the dark-haired woman as she kills the heretics, smiting them with the power of the Sun. Mortals die by the hundreds as brilliant light burns the flesh from their bones, even while the Star-Born strike out through fate itself, removing chunks of their armies from existence.

A monstrous figure tackles her, clawing and snarling and punching and kicking, a black-haired tiger, one she knows well, tearing at her throat, even as a massive man with a glowing sun on his head pulls it off, preparing to kill it, she strikes out, killing her savior before he could blink-

A terrible chill, pure darkness and great golden eyes staring at her through the void, and she knows the true definition of terror, and a monstrous laughing echoes in her mind, as the terrible evil presence weighs down upon her very soul-

End Dream Sequence–

Buffy's eyes shot open, panic flaring within her when she realized that she wasn't in her bed. It was a moment later when she realized strong arms were wrapped around her, her head resting on a muscular chest, that she remembered where she was. All of the fear seemed to wash away as she cuddled closer to Angel, admiring the softness of his bed as she reflected on the previous night.

It seemed almost...surreal, now that it was morning. The attack by the witch, the Green Lady, the visions, Angel's revelation...

She smiled to herself as she remembered their first kiss last night. It had been...amazing, incredible. She wondered if it was because they were Exalts, or if all kisses felt like that. She vaguely recalled beginning to fall asleep on him, and him carrying her into the bedroom. She blushed a little to herself, but smiled even wider. True, they hadn't done anything, but it wasn't like they didn't want to-

Angel shifted a little and Buffy grinned as definitive proof of his desire poked her in the thigh. A small part of her mind was still shouting in confusion, stunned that she was in an older man's bed, cuddled up to the man in her PJs, him clad only in sweatpants, completely at ease with his hard penis pressed against her leg. The rest of mind, however, didn't see anything wrong with the situation. It felt right. She felt complete for the first time in her life, she felt comfortable.

She sighed in contentment as she pressed herself even further into Angel's arms, pushing her thigh against him, and getting a small noise from him in his sleep, a strange cross between a growl and a moan. She smiled mischievously as a wicked thought came into her mind.

Angel–

Angel was vaguely aware of the tiny girl in his arms as she shifted against him. He was briefly concerned, but when he didn't get any reaction of shock or embarrassment he assumed she was still asleep. Sleepily, he tried to shift away from her so that she wouldn't wake up to him poking her. As he did so, she shifted as well, and he froze as she pushed herself against him, rubbing him with her thigh, and he let out an involuntary moan as a shiver of pleasure ran through him. He felt her stiffen, and then relax. Before he could move back, however, he felt a small hand snake down from his back and into his sweatpants. Dextrous fingers wrapped around his erection, a soft, warm thumb pressing against the tip, and he closed his eyes and leaned into the sensation. Then common sense caught up with him, and he mentally sighed. He needed to be the adult in their relationship, and that meant not letting her dp stuff like this until they'd had a serious talk about how this was gonna work.

So, reluctantly, he reached down and took her by the wrist, and felt her freeze suddenly, and he mentally tried to come up with something, anything to say.

Buffy–

She froze solid, mortified beyond belief. She couldn't believe what she'd just been caught doing.

“I appreciate the thought, Buffy, but maybe we should talk about this first,” came Angel's sleepy voice. Belatedly, she realized that her hand was still on his penis, and she let go suddenly, as if burned, and removed her hand from his pants, blushing furiously.

“I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-I-I was just-you were-I-,” she stammered out in a panic, worried she'd offended him, but was cut off by a quick kiss.

“Buffy,” he said with a slight smile after breaking the kiss, “It's alright, I'm not mad.”

Buffy nearly fainted in relief. As it was, she did allow her head to collapse back onto his shoulder. Then, a new, equally horrifying thought hit her.

“Did I do something wrong?” she asked suddenly, scared to raise he head to look him in the eyes, “Oh, God, I didn't hurt you, did I?!”

“Buffy, relax,” Angel ordered firmly, “Calm down. Deep breaths.”

Buffy nodded meekly, her heart racing, and she closed her eyes and began taking deep, slow breaths.

“Okay, first thing,” Angel said quietly, once she'd stopped hyperventilating, “You didn't do anything wrong. Second thing, you definitely didn't hurt me-”

“Then why'd you stop me?” came a quiet, confused question, with an undertone of fear and hurt, and he knew she didn't believe him. He sighed, and knew he'd made the right decision to stop her. She was so strong in so many ways, but she was still only fifteen, still just a child.

“Because before we do anything else,” he said softly, “We need to work some things out.”

“Like what?”

Angel almost smiled at the adorably said question, the young girl's tone all confused innocence, and he really wondered if she realized just how powerful her social abilities were.

“Like how this is going to work, for one,” he answered simply. He saw Buffy frown into his shoulder, and, not for the first time, praised Luna for his ability to be aware of anything within his territory. Otherwise, not seeing her facial expressions would be very confusing. Absently, he rested in chin on top of her fully-regrown hair, and inhaled deep of her scent, a sweet, flowery smell that spoke of sunlit fields and cheerful laughter and the sheer beauty of summer. It was the scent of her Essence, of her Anima, the scent that was Buffy at her most basic self. The closest physical scent he could equate it to would be orange blossoms in full bloom, with a potent hint of confederate jasmine, but even that wasn't able to describe the scent of his Solar Mate.

Angel suddenly remembered that she was waiting for an answer, and it struck him just how much he'd missed her like this, kind, considerate, how she was before the Deliberative, before Desus.

Before the War.

“If this is going to work,” Angel said finally, “We need to know what we're comfortable with, what we want, what we don't want-”

“I want you,” Buffy said instantly, without hesitation, with such utter conviction that he remembered the blond haired champion who'd once challenged Ligier to single combat for Angel's life, in a life long since past. Sorrow welled up within him as he remembered the last time those words had been spoken to him, and of the horrible events that had followed.

'No. She isn't like that now. This isn't then, this is a completely different context. This is my second chance, this is my repayment for my sins, both then and now. This is my chance to save her.'

“I know,” Angel said simply, betraying nothing of his dark reminisces, “And I want you, as I'm sure you can tell,” and he shivered in pleasure as her arms wrapped around his neck, pushing her fabric-covered chest against his bare one, pushing her pelvis against his, and he was surprised to feel his pants front dampening. This was...actually somewhat worrying...

“Buffy, stop,” he told her flatly, and even through closed eyes, he saw her grin as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

“I don't want to,” she said, her eyes closed as she pressed against him, “and you don't either, so why-”

“Buffy,” Angel said through suddenly gritted teeth, memories of horror after horror, a sadistic grin on a beautiful golden face, so like the one in front of him, of the phrase, said over and over every time he'd begged for his mate to stop, every time he'd pleaded for mercy-

'I don't want to.'

With great self-control, he prevented himself from throwing her off the bed and through a wall, repeating the inner mantra-

'She's a different person, she's a different person, she's not trying to hurt me, she's trying to be seductive, she doesn't know, she doesn't remember, she's a different person-'

“Buffy, this is one of the reasons we needed to talk,” he said firmly as he pushed her off of him, sitting up even as every fiber of his being rebelled at him for defying the wishes of his mate-

'Don't lie to me, you know I can always tell. You want this as much as I do, your very being is rebelling against you for defying me, you fucking little whore, so take your fucking clothes off and fuck me!”

No sign of his inner torment crossed his mind, no hint of what she had done, what she had once been, and he explained as the older partner teaching the younger, rather than the victim standing up to their tormentor.

“What are-” Buffy looked horribly confused and worried, and a flare of guilt rose in his gut-

'If she falls again, you'll have way more to be guilty about-'

His resolve returned, and he looked her in the eye.

“Buffy, just because you're in a relationship,” he elaborated with a stern look, “Doesn't mean you can do whatever you want to the other person. Just because you're my Solar Mate, it doesn't mean you have to have sex whenever I want-”

“But I do want-”

“Which means,” Angel said over her protest, “That just because you say you're ready, it doesn't mean that I'm ready.”

Buffy's eyes widened in sudden understanding.

“Oh, God, I'm sorry, I had no idea you were a virgin too-”

Angel couldn't help it, he burst into a fit of hysterical laughter. It was just such a quintessential Buffy thing to say. Always come to the most awkwardly incorrect conclusion, and have absolutely no clue why the other person was laughing-

“What's so funny?!” she demanded indignantly, and Angel just laughed harder.

“S-sorry,” he gasped after a moment, “I-it's just-” he started laughing again, and Buffy glared in response.

“Sorry, sorry, I'm better now,” he said at last, and Buffy's glare didn't fade.

Angel met her gaze with a grin, and he remembered why he'd fallen in love with her to begin with: Even in the Primordial War, she never failed to cheer him up when he was down.

“Okay, I'm not a virgin, first off,” he clarified, to Buffy's immense confusion, “And second off, by 'ready', I meant for this relationship, I didn't mean sex in general. Relationships are complex, Buffy, and if you rush into things, you can jeopardize things in the long run. It's important not to move too fast, and to always, always respect your partner's wishes. Do you understand?”

Buffy nodded, a thoughtful look on her face.

“Yes,” she said finally, “I understand that I don't get relationships at all, so I'm just gonna follow your lead on this one.”

Despite himself, Angel smiled and kissed her.

“I suppose that'll do, for now,” he shrugged, “Now, we should probably get you home. It's one in the afternoon, and I'm sure your mom's getting worried-” but Angel stopped at the horrified expression on Buffy's face.

“She's going to kill me!”

Buffy–

Buffy stood in her living room, watching a master at work. She knew she was good at people stuff, but Angel surpassed even her. They'd come home to find police officers and Giles at her house, her mother frantic with worry, and Buffy was running through her abilities in her mind, trying to find the Charm that might allow her to keep living past the next few minutes, and then Angel walked boldly up to her mother, with his most charming smile on his face, all 'Hi, I'm Angel, we met the other night, you're looking lovely today, Ms. Summers, Buffy was out helping me with some vampire troubles last not, and we lost track of time down in the catacombs, I take full responsibility as senior Exalt, why, no, of course I don't mind signing an autograph-'

And now Giles had surreptitiously done something to convince the police to forget about the incident, Angel was chatting amiably with her mother at the table over a cup of tea, and she and Giles were being politely included in the conversation, the latter still occasionally looking at her with a look that said 'You are in trouble as soon as I get the opportunity to remove us from this conversation', and Buffy couldn't get the memory of what Angel felt like in her hands out of her mind, so she kept blushing, and now-

“Ah, that reminds me,” Giles said loudly, “Joyce, Angel, would you excuse us a moment, I need Buffy's opinion on something,” and her mother nodded an affirmative, and Angel gave only the slightest glare of pure hatred for Giles, which went completely unnoticed by her mother. She wordlessly followed Giles outside to the porch, shutting the door behind her, and prepared to face the music.

“So, was it everything you thought it would be?” Giles asked coolly, disapproval radiating off of him in waves. Buffy winced.

“Um, we didn't actually-”

“Your relationship with your Lunar Mate is not what I am referring to, and please never bring it up in that sense in my presence again, thank you,” Giles said rapidly, eyes closed in irritation and discomfort.

“Oh,” Buffy blushed again, “Um, in that case, I don't-”

“I was referring to the Cheerleading Squad.”

Oh,” Buffy said in realization, “I'd forgotten about that-” but she stopped talking at the bug-eyed expression of utter disbelief and anger on Giles' face.

“You'd forgotten-” he began to shout, before closing his mouth and taking a deep breath.

“Well, yeah, a witch tried to-”

“I wouldn't think one would simply forget,” Giles interrupted acidly, “About something important enough that you would violate the sanctity of the free will of a fellow Exalted!”

Buffy's eyes widened as she realized that she'd been caught.

“You...you found out about that then, huh?” she asked with a nervous grin. Giles looked like he wanted to hit her.

“Buffy,” he began coldly, “What you did to me was appalling. I was expressing disapproval over something that I had no true power to prevent you from doing. I was attempting, without the use of my Essence or Charms, to persuade you of a certain viewpoint. You were never in any danger from me. And still you decided that, if I wouldn't willingly approve of your activities, you would force me too.”

“I-” Buffy started, but Giles continued as if he hadn't heard her.

“I, as a fellow Celestial Exalt, have the right to refuse to agree with you, Buffy,” the anger in Giles' voice was becoming steadily more heated, “And you stole that right from me! You stole my right to say 'no' to you, you robbed me of my ability to willingly consent or not! In Sidereal Courts, Buffy, there has evolved a new term for what you did to me: Mind-rape. You violated the sanctity of something that was not yours, something precious to me, you invaded my privacy in a deeply intimate sense, for your own convenience. I have never, in all my years, been so very disappointed in a student of mine.”

“I-I'm, I'm sorry,” Buffy said, tears welling up in her eyes as she realized that Giles was right, “I didn't mean to, I didn't realize-”

“No,” Giles said coldly, “you didn't. Don't come near me for a few days, Buffy. I'm deeply hurt by what you did, and I honestly can't stand to be near you right now.”

And with those words, Giles stormed off to his car, started the engine, and drove away, leaving a crying Buffy on the doorstep.

Giles–

It was some two hours later that Giles was relaxing in his chair, reading a good book and waiting for the tea to come to a boil, when a terrifyingly powerful kick shattered the door into splinters as he stormed into Giles' house.

Giles shot out of his recliner as soon as the kick was delivered, Essence flaring around him in indignant, invisible light.

“What is the meaning of-” he began angrily, but was cut off by a vicious right hook that sent him flying into the kitchen table, smashing it to bits.

You arrogant self-righteous piece of shit!” Angel snarled, grabbing Giles by the hair and throwing him back into the living room, smashing into a bookshelf full of priceless books. Giles gathered his Essence around him and rewove his body's base construction, declaring to the universe itself that he was made not of flesh and bone, but of leather and iron. Thus, he wasn't expecting Angel's Essence-powered kick to the shin to completely shatter the bones in his lower leg in an explosion of agony that sent Giles to his hands and knees. A vicious kick to his ribcage sent him flying into the far-right wall, denting the brickwork and shattering most of her ribs.

“You lying, deceitful, cowardly prick!” Angel roared, and Essence flashed around him as Giles' powerful Charm washed harmlessly over the Lunar. Giles cursed in frustration, and then screamed in agony as Angel stamped, hard, on his injured leg, crushing the bones to power and muscle and skin to bloody paste.

“You hypocritical shit-eating worm,” Angel growled, “Buffy is locked in her room, crying her heart out, because she 'betrayed' you!” Angel kicked Giles hard in the broken ribs, and Giles nearly passed out from the pain.

“I know what you're hiding from her, you scheming little rat,” Angel hissed, and Giles closed his eyes as he put it together. He murmured a name that escaped Angel's hearing.

“Speak up!” Angel snarled mockingly as he yanked Giles up by his hair and slammed the Vizier's head into the wall, “I couldn't hear you!”

“He's a liar!” Giles managed to gasp, “He walks in the shadows, sneaking and plotting, but he cares nothing for her! Not like us!”

“You knew I was her Lunar Mate,” Angel growled softly, “And you let her think she was going mad!”

“She didn't ask!”

You should have volunteered the information!”

That's not how it works!”

I hate you!” Angel screamed, and threw Giles with all his might, sending the sidereal through the leftmost wall and out into the yard. Giles rolled painfully until hitting the fence between his yard and the next, pain tearing through his mind, a burning in his torso and a shortness of breath beginning to scare him. He was seriously hurt.

“I hate you, Rupert Giles, I hate you, Ripper, I you you, whatever the hell your real name is, with all my heart and soul,” Angel hissed, voice filled with hate, “I hate you, your peers, and I hate your entire fucking council!”

“We-” Giles tried, but Angel blurred and another kick to the ribs sent his mind into yet another spiral of pure agony.

“You killed her!” Angel accused, “You with your wisdom, and your worldliness, and then you left us to die! All of you, with your citadels, and your libraries, and your fucking Loom, you left us to die.”

“What are you talking about?!” Giles managed to gasp, and then a very nice leather shoe kicked him straight in the mouth. Pain and the taste of blood burst in his mouth as his teeth shattered and his jaw crumbled into a bloody mess of tooth and tissue and blood and bone.

“I don't know if you remember, and I don't care!” Angel snarled, “All I know is that it's you, and not knowing doesn't excuse the crime. You haven't changed a damn bit! You're still the same arrogant, self-centered, know-it-all holier-than-thou prick who left us to die.”

A chill ran through him as he began to see what Angel was saying. But it couldn't be, he could count on one hand the people who knew the previous holder of his Shard...

“You wanna keep secrets and fuck us over again?” Angel snarled, “Fine! But stay the hell away from Buffy while you do! I won't let you set her up to fail, and then guilt trip her, make her try harder and harder, and make her fail every goddamn time! I won't let you get close to her if you're just going to repeat the patterns. I won't let you damn her again,” he finished in a furious hiss.

Giles tried to speak, but all that happened was that his mouth exploded in pain and he burbled blood.

“Stay out of her life, or I swear, by Luna, the Maidens, and The Unconquered Sun himself, that I will kill you, Kejak.”

Angel–

Some twenty minutes later, Angel stopped his furiously aimless walk through the park as a familiar sense of terrible, final power, of cold graves and infinite darkness gathering in the depths of the night weighed down on his shoulders, and he closed her eyes in mild annoyance. He wondered what had happened now.

“Now, that,” came the extremely amused Voice, “was truly a sight to see. I've been wanting to do that to old Ripper for decades.”

“So why didn't you?” Angel asked, mildly curious despite his determination to remain in a bad mood. He'd never seen Voice this animated. Come to think of it, he'd never actually seen Voice at all...

“There's a reason he's called Ripper, you know,” Voice pointed out dryly, “And if you hadn't blocked his charm, you'd have found out first hand. Ripper has an...interesting set of abilities. Nothing compared to yours, of course, but we can't all be you.”

“Have you been spying on me?!” Angel demanded angrily as Voice's words registered through his Giles-induced hate-haze.

“No, on Giles,” Voice said with a chuckle, “I'm not into suicide.”

“So, why are you here, then?” Angel asked.

“The Master did something unbelievably stupid, and you're about to yell at me for not telling you first.”

“What'd he do?”

“The Day Caste is in town, along with a few favored minions. They've set up a base in a cave beneath a lot where nothing grows, over near the south end of town. The lot is full of dead evergreens, you can't miss it.”

“How do you know all this stuff, anyway?”

“How do you know how to punch stuff so hard it explodes?”

“Touche,” Angel conceded, “In that case, what do you recommend I do?”

“Get Buffy, and bring her to the lot. I'll meet you there. We need to take her out before the Lion's forces get here. I would much prefer to fight one Abyssal than two.”

“We'll be there by six,” Angel promised.

“Two hours, then. Don't keep me waiting. I'm serious, I don't know how long I could remain undetected just standing there, and I stand no chance without you. And I really, really don't want to be captured by the Day Caste. I've heard...things...about this one.”

“I'll be there right at six,” Angel assured Voice, and, with a blur of speed, he was off.

–Buffy–

Buffy lay back on her bed, staring red-eyed up at the ceiling. The enormity of what she'd been doing was fully hitting her. And it hadn't just been Giles. Her mom, back at the hospital, the doctor with the pamphlets, both Xander and Willow, more than once. How could she have been so thoughtless?

“It happens to the best of us. What's important is what you do to fix it.”

Buffy jumped back off of her bed in an instant, staring at the figure sitting on the edge of her bed, head cocked to the side, staring at her quizzically. It was...her. Except not. It's skin and clothes and hair were all pitch black, as though forged of darkest shadow. It's eyes were grey, smoky orbs, staring oddly at her. She hadn't even noticed it materializing.

“Who are you? How did you get in here?!” she demanded, anger in her voice.

“I live here,” it answered simply.

“No, you don't-” Buffy began, but the-the thing-, cut her off.

“Here, in your head,” it clarified, “I'm your conscience.”

“Sure,” Buffy snorted in disbelief, “Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.”

“Buffy,” it said, smiling slightly, “Consciences aren't bright, cheery little crickets by nature. A better term, perhaps, would be 'Devil's Advocate', and yes, it is a rather damning name, isn't it?”

“Are you...reading my mind?” Buffy asked hesitantly, pretty sure it wasn't. She could always feel other influences, but this time, nothing.

“Yes, and no. The Solar Exalted are more subject to...I suppose melancholy might be right? The word I'm looking for is sadness-stemming-from-lack-of-surety-about-rightness-of-one's-own-actions, than the other Exalted. You don't know the term, so neither do I,” it said, “So, anyways, The Unconquered Sun put me, or us, into the Shards. We're a sort of metaphysical program that is the opposite of your basic personality, so we can argue from an alternative perspective than you, giving you a look at the bigger, or smaller, if necessary, picture-”

“Wait wait wait,” Buffy interrupted, “slow down: Are you telling me you look all evilly because you're my shadow?”

Shadow-Buffy smiled.

“Not just your shadow. I'm everyone's shadow! That's how I can match different personalities: Because I can access all of them! I'm the Shadow Of All Things, if you will.”

Buffy nodded slowly, frowning. This was making...a disturbing level of sense, for something so ridiculous. Then again, she could totally swim in acid if she wanted to, so who was she to judge?

Seeing her silence, Shadow-Buffy went on.

“Look, you screwed up, that's true. You cried, you felt bad, and now, it's time to stop dwelling on it.”

“I raped-” Buffy began, but Shadow-Buffy shushed her.

“No, Giles was being over-dramatic, and you know it. Had you used a permanent Charm? Yeah, that'd be a lot more like rape. But you messed with him for a few hours. And the mortals? Morally, they just don't matter.”

“How can you-!”

“Let me rephrase,” Shadow-Buffy cut her off, “You are a Solar. You're responsible for EVERYONE. ALL mortals. ALL Exalted. ALL sentient, non-demonic life. You are given a LOT of leeway as far as morality goes, because you are expected to do so much good throughout your life that it outweighs whatever evil you might do. I'm not saying that what you did was okay, just that it isn't that bad in the long run.”

“That still doesn't-” she tried, but once more Shadow-Buffy interrupted.

“It does,” it said, “It really, really does. When I say leeway, I mean it, in a very literal sense. When you go to the Underworld for judgment, you will be judged by a different scale. With most people, their lives are judged by a mix of intent and results. But, for Solars, the results are guaranteed, in the end, to be, ultimately, positive. So Solars are judged entirely by intent. No matter what harm you do, Buffy, you are, by virtue of being a Solar, guaranteed to do more good than harm through your actions.

Shadow-Buffy looked her right in the eyes, a very serious look on her dark face.

There have been Solar sociopaths who, when they went to be judged, were found to have done far more good than evil. But they were still condemned, because their intent was to hurt people. The good was incidental. Because you're a hero, sometimes you'll have no choice but to do bad things for the greater good. Because you're fallible, you'll make mistake. Because you're so powerful, those mistakes will cause more damage than mortals who might make the same error. It isn't your fault that so much more harm was caused than if you weren't an Exalt, so you can't be judged by results that you were basically forced into. So, Solars have to be judged by intent. Otherwise, you'd all go to hell.”

Buffy's spirits began to rise as she followed Shadow-Buffy's logic.

“So, because we've got more responsibilities than mortals,” Buffy said slowly, “We get an equal boost to leniency for our mistakes?”

Shadow-Buffy smiled and clapped her hands.

“You've got it!” she exclaimed, “And that's exactly why The Unconquered Sun put me here! Just don't worry about it so much. As long as you have good intentions, every thing will work itself out.”

“Thanks,” Buffy smiled slowly, “I actually feel a lot better.”

“Good, that means I'm happy too!”

“So, do you have a name?” Buffy asked curiously, “Because I've been calling you 'Shadow-Buffy' in my head this entire time.”

Shadow-Buffy thought for a moment.

“Call me...Emily Dickinson. I've always liked her poems, at least the ones you've read,” Shadow-Buffy replied with a proud smile, “But I have to go now, I'm using up your Essence to communicate with you like this. And don't be worried if you find you can't tell anyone about this conversation. The Unconquered Sun added that to make sure Luna and the Maidens didn't get mad at him for not giving the same power to their Exalted.”

“Okay, but will I ever see-” Buffy started to say, but suddenly, Emily was gone, and Buffy was by herself again.

She smiled, and decided to go downstairs and get something to eat. She was suddenly very hungry.

Xander–

Xander was whistling a happy tune as he walked down the street of what he affectionately called 'pawn shop lane'. It was the best place to go for bargains, and Xander knew some of them carried old comic collections. Those were always good for a look. Then, a voice from the alley he'd just passed made him jump a few inches.

“Well, look at what we have here,” a cooing female voice came from behind him, and Xander spun around, and saw the second most beautiful woman he'd ever seen stepping towards him. She was tall and pale-skinned, with big dark eyes and beautiful black hair than ran down past her shoulders. A skintight leather outfit ran down from her collarbone to just below her hips, clinging tightly to skin. A small zipper between her thighs sent implications and blood far south of Xander's brain. Her breasts were barely covered by the leather, with the inner sides completely visible, the nipples poking against the restrictive material. An air of sensuality and domination poured from the woman, and Xander heard alarm bells ringing in the back of his mind, but then the woman drew closer, looking him in the eyes, and suddenly he forgot what he was thinking about.

“A lost little dolly, looking for a lovely treat,” the woman went on, clearly away of his train of thought, obvious as its destination in his pants was making itself, “Does the dolly want a treat, hmm?”

Xander felt a rush of mixed embarrassment and excitement as her gaze traveled down towards his groin, and her eyes lit up with delight.

“Ooh, I think he does!” she exclaimed happily, and clapped her hands.

Xander finally managed a complete thought, and responded.

“Umm, I don't have any money,” he managed lamely, but to his surprise, the lady just laughed. She leaned close to whisper in his ear.

Neither do I, but that's never stopped me!” and then she snapped her teeth playfully by his ear, making a 'rah!' sound, and giggling, and Xander found a smile grow across his face.

“So, dolly, would you like to have some fun?” the woman asked eagerly, her big black eyes bright with anticipation.

“I like fun,” Xander managed to say, and then she grabbed his hand and pulled him into a nearby alley, pushed him against the wall and captured his lips in a passionate kiss. He moaned into her lips as she pressed her thigh against his groin, when a sudden chill and bright light made him open his eyes. He stared into twin black abyss' as a black circle on her head glowed with the absence of light. He had just enough time to start to scream as shadows engulfed him and all fell into cold and terror and death.

End Chapter–

This...this was gonna happen to him sooner or later...
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