Buffy X - Power Overwhelming
Buffy was tired, hot, and sweaty – and not in a good way. The non-insect-like sandcrawler was quite possibly still partially demonic in how hot it was. The living quarters were far too small for non-Jawas, but that had not prevented Dalen from making a joke about Buffy’s height. The only area large enough for three standard-sized humanoids was a cargo bay that housed the largest variety of droids that Buffy had ever seen.
The Jawas had little in the way of modern healing technology, but Dalen had managed to barter for some kolto to help heal his arm. Buffy could feel his pain in the Force, but she could also sense that it was less than it had been not that long ago.
How long Buffy, Dalen, and Thriss had been inside the sandcrawler en route to the ruin, Buffy could not say. While the Jawas’ living spaces might or might not have had lights or windows to indicate the passage of time, there was only a dim artificial light in the cargo hold by which to see anything at all. The cramped closeness of the room, with several droids producing some amount of heat or another, was making the room hot, musty, and generally not very comfortable.
“How’re you holding up, Thriss?” Buffy asked. The Chiss woman had put up minimal complaint despite her obvious discomfort. Buffy suspected that she was either afraid to speak her mind, or else the Chiss just didn’t complain a lot. Whatever the cause, it was slightly unnerving.
Thriss had removed her robe and her outer shirt, leaving her top mostly exposed save for a grey tank top that looked to be soaked with sweat. “I am dealing with the heat as well as can be expected, I assume,” she said between heavy breaths. “I confess that I had hoped that my first visit to another planet would be to one with a more agreeable climate.”
“Thriss, might I be blunt?” Dalen asked. The three of them were sitting a few feet apart from each other on seats that Buffy suspected might have been droids that were either not working or else were too polite to tell them to get off.
“You may be blunt, Lord Dalen. I prefer that conversation be direct,” Thriss replied.
Dalen arched a brow at her statement. “Then I ask you, Thriss, as someone who favors the direct approach, why do you balk at expressing your own discomfort? It is obvious that you are only barely tolerating the heat. Am I correct in assuming, Buffy, that you meant to allow Thriss an avenue with which to express herself freely?”
Buffy shrugged. “I just don’t want you to feel like you have to censor yourself, Thriss.”
“That is what I just said,” Dalen remarked with a touch of annoyance.
Thriss shrugged, and Buffy took a moment to admire the Chiss archaeologist’s well-toned body. It might have been blue, but it was still quite attractive.
“I find no use in protesting against what cannot be helped,” Thriss said simply. “It is wasteful and inappropriate.”
Buffy sighed and wondered if this was Thriss’s personal opinion or else a byproduct of Chiss society. “If you’re going to slow us down, then we need to know.”
“Why?” Dalen asked with complete honesty. “If she ends up being a burden, we will learn one way or another eventually and deal with the matter then.” He looked to Thriss with what might have been an apologetic look. “You did say you favor directness.”
“I do,” Thriss said bitterly.
Buffy shook her head. “Well, that’s not what I meant. If you’re hurting, then we need to know so that we can help you. You’re no good to us if you’re dying from the heat.”
“A man or woman who is withering away is of little use to anyone,” Dalen shot back. “Better to look forward rather than to be weighed down by those who cannot keep up.”
“You did not protest against waiting to treat your arm when it was damaged,” Thriss noted. “Are you less expendable than I, Lord Dalen? Or is there some excuse you will attempt to conjure to explain how you are more useful than I am?”
“People, please!” Buffy said, trying to calm things down. Dalen was usually civilized and polite, and Buffy sometimes forgot that he was the product of a truly ruthless society, and that he himself was capable of a surprising level of ruthlessness. “We’re on the same team here. If one of us needs to rest, we all rest. If one of us gets hurt, we all stop to heal him or her. We rise or fall as one. Do I make myself clear?” she growled.
Thriss answered with a silent nod of her head. Buffy wasn’t surprised that the Chiss had agreed.
Dalen looked to be less decisive. Buffy guessed that he was torn between his faith in the two women and his familiar Sith culture.
Buffy swore and drew her lightsaber, igniting it so that her blade was just centimeters away from the break in his arm. “We do this together, Dalen. You can fall in line or you can get out of our way, but you will not become an obstacle. Got it?” she snarled.
For some reason, Dalen smirked with what looked like satisfaction. “I understand perfectly, Lord Summers,” he said smoothly. “This will not be an issue again.”
“Good.” Buffy switched off her lightsaber and attached it to her belt.
The sound of metal grinding against metal screeched throughout the cargo bay, and a large door on the side of the sandcrawler opened. A Jawa came up a ramp and began rambling off words in its yappy language.
“Sorry, what was that?” Buffy asked.
“He said,” a bodiless square metal head answered, “’we have arrived.’”
They were far enough away from civilization that Buffy could not sense anything sapient save for herself, Dalen, Thriss, and the Jawas. The latter were none too thrilled when Buffy told them that they would have to wait for the three of them to return so that they could get safely back to their ship.
Buffy was dealing with a Jawa she hadn’t met before, who was supposedly the chieftain of the Tkon Clan. There were three other Jawas with him: Shamans who were trying to impart to Buffy and her companions just how dangerous the area was.
“Look,” Buffy said, “I get that this wasn’t explicitly stated in our agreement before, but I kind of assumed-“
The chieftain started jabbering angrily, which Buffy took to mean, ‘Never assume anything.’ A protocol droid confirmed her suspicions a moment later.
“What are you afraid will happen if you just wait out here for a bit?” Buffy asked.
“Bad things,” were all that the droid was able to say, and Buffy sensed that the Jawas’ fear was more superstition than it was anything else.
Buffy was hot, she was tired, and she was out in the middle of an alien desert. These little rats would not
deny her a way back.
“Let me make myself clear,” Buffy said in a low snarl. “We bargained with you in good faith. If you plan to leave us here to die, then I have every reason to kill you all and keep the sandcrawler for myself. I’m sure that some of your droids know how to pilot it back to Anchorhead.”
The chieftain leaped up and yapped in shocked horror. An “Utinni!” later, and the chieftain and his three shamans turned around and looked ready to leave.
Buffy felt bile rising in her throat, and she reached out with one hand and yanked the four Jawas back towards her with the Force.
“No,” she hissed. “You will stay, and you will take us back when we are ready to go. You will not disturb us until we are ready to leave. We will tell you when we are ready, and then you will do as we say. You can obey now, or you can die.”
The feel of arcane Force energies flowing through Buffy’s body was exhilarating, and the briefest touch of the Jawas’ minds told her that she was the one in control.
The Jawas muttered something in unison, which the droid translated. “We will obey.”
Buffy smirked as she felt the admiring gazes of Dalen and Thriss from a few feet behind her. “I was right,” she said to herself. “It’s about power. Go back inside the sandcrawler and stay out of the heat. We’ll tell you when we’re ready. Keep your people in line while we’re gone.”
Another chorus of words from the Jawas, another “We will obey” from the droid, and the Jawas filed single file into their vehicle.
“I am impressed, Summers,” Dalen said as he came up to her side. “I confess, I did not think you had the strength of will to dominate another’s mind.”
Buffy sensed his true meaning and faced him with a smirk. “What you’re trying to say is that you didn’t think I was mean enough to do it. I’ve dealt with demons of all sorts over the years. Some are benign, some are downright evil, and others are tricky and need to be handled properly. These Jawas are the latter. Handle them the right way, and they’ll do what we need them to do without any need for violence. No muss, no fuss.”
“That was quite exhilarating,” Thriss said. “The power of the Force is truly astonishing. Do I have this power too?”
Buffy felt invincible now, and she channeled a bit of her power to the young Chiss and directed it to inspire in Thriss more confidence in Buffy’s own abilities. “You do have the power, Thriss. I’ll teach it to you, and we’ll be unstoppable together.”
Thriss’s breath caught in her throat, and Buffy felt her loins grow hot as she felt her subtle manipulations cement the Chiss’s loyalty even further. “Excellent, Lord Summers!”
“Call me Buffy, already,” she said lightly. “Let’s go.”
She did not have to specify a direction. They were in the middle of the Dune Sea, and there was only one landmark within eyesight other than the sandcrawler: A number of columns that looked to be made out of stone rose up out of the sand in a circle. They surrounded a stone bottom that was untouched by the desert sands.
That, and the Dark Side of the Force was positively thrumming from the place.
The three Force-users walked with purpose towards the site. Buffy could feel the power in the air, and she wanted it. She could feel Thriss’s lust for her building after her display with the Jawas, and Buffy decided that she had gone too long without the comfort of another. When they got back to the ship, she would only have to ask, and Thriss would be in her bed.
It gave her something to look forward to.
The edge of the ruin was made clear when Buffy stepped through an invisible threshold. There was suddenly no wind, the heat was immediately less, and the power of the Dark Side had increased tenfold.
“It is colder than I thought it would be,” Thriss said strangely.
“I would think that you would be glad for a change in temperature,” Dalen inquired.
Thriss shook her head. “It is not a bodily thing. It is something intangible, and yet I feel it inside me. It is dark and cold. Should we be here?”
“Yes!” Buffy exclaimed. “This is the power of the Dark Side, Thriss! It’s harsh and unfriendly, but you can dominate it! Make it yours!”
“How?” Thriss gasped with yearning. “How can I make the cold go away?”
“Close your eyes,” Dalen instructed.
Buffy whipped her head around and almost smacked Dalen over the head before she realized that he was just trying to help. So what if she wasn’t the one to teach the lovely Chiss woman such an intimate thing. They were a team.
“In the darkness, there is a single spot of heat and vibrancy. That is you. It is both a part of you and separate from you,” Dalen instructed. “Reach out and grasp it. Feel its power in your mind’s eye, and know that this power, your power, serves no master but your own will.”
Buffy could feel the intensity of Thriss’s red gaze even through her closed eyelids, and when they opened again, Buffy projected her pride at the other woman.
“It feels good,” Thriss purred. “So much power, just waiting to be tapped.”
“Not tapped,” Buffy corrected. “Taken. Seized. Made your own. Do you understand the difference?”
Thriss nodded, panting from something other than the heat of the suns. “Yes, Lord… Yes, Buffy.”
“Good. Let’s continue.”
Buffy widened her strides, but Dalen caught up to her.
“What?” she demanded more harshly than she meant.
“You are growing in power day by day,” he said softly. She heard him perfectly. “Your mastery of the Force is incredible. You have an intuitive grasp of subtleties that many Sith Lords need years to master. I find your power… intoxicating.”
Buffy smirked silently, knowing that she had power over both of her fellows that she could exploit at will. “You want me, do you, Dalen?”
“Do not be coy, Buffy. You know that I have lusted for you for quite some time.”
The force with which Dalen had spoken told Buffy that he had wanted her for longer than she had guessed. This was good. He was no threat to her now. “Maybe later, we can take some time to play. But you’ll have to be a good boy,” she teased.
“You are insufferable,” Dalen hissed, but Buffy could tell he was far from angry.
“I know,” was all that Buffy said.
The stone columns grew closer, and Buffy could see that they were hexagonal. The same emblem that had been on the ruin in Csilla adorned the nearest column. Buffy guessed that each of the other three columns was identical. They surrounded an octagonal stone floor that was engraved with alien symbols.
Buffy stepped onto the stone platform, and Dalen and Thriss followed right behind her.
“What do we do now?” Thriss asked.
“We figure it out,” Buffy said. “It’s a puzzle, it just needs to be solved.”
“Perhaps one of the droids in the sandcrawler can make sense of these symbols,” Dalen proposed. “They seem to be a sort of language.”
Buffy nodded. “Good idea. I’ll go back and get a droid or two. You two stay here and try to make some sense of the thing.”
“As you wish, Buffy,” Thriss cooed.
Dalen shot a glare at Thriss, and Buffy felt envy flowing off her former master like a torrential river.
“I’ll be back soon, okay? You two behave while I’m gone,” Buffy chided mockingly.
Dalen scowled, but he nodded in acknowledgment all the same.
Buffy turned around and started to walk back towards the sandcrawler. Very soon, the feel of the ruin and her two companions were faint in the distance.
The walk through the sand was tiresome and boring. The Jawas’ vehicle looked to be farther away than she remembered, and it didn’t look to be getting any closer.
Anger began to overwhelm Buffy, and she looked inward and made that anger into power. She would master the power of this ruin no matter what it took.
She turned to look back at the ruin and her two companions.
It was gone.
Turning around quickly, Buffy looked for the sandcrawler, but it too had vanished.
Despite what her eyes told her, Buffy knew that she was not alone.
A moment’s notice in the Force was all she had, and Buffy rolled to the side and came up with her red lightsaber blade active and thrumming, ready to face her new enemy.
Staring at Buffy as she prowled across the sands was a feral-looking human woman with dark skin, tattered white clothing, wild black hair, and white face paint.
It was Sineya, the First Slayer.
“What do you want?” Buffy yelled angrily.
The First Slayer was silent as she prowled in a circle around Buffy.
“What is it this time? More riddles? More games?” Buffy shouted. “What do you have to tell me this time? Let me guess: Death is still my gift, right?”
Sineya lunged at Buffy with a wicked-looking knife. Buffy dodged and let the First Slayer move past her.
“Death,” Sineya said with mocking cruelty, “is your curse.”
That drew Buffy up short. “What? Since when?”
your gift. It is now your curse.”
Buffy stormed forward with her lightsaber ready to strike. “Stop messing around and tell me what’s going on, already!”
Sineya made another lunge, and Buffy ducked and flipped the First Slayer over her shoulder.
Buffy turned to face her and found herself in the middle of the desert ruin. Dalen and Thriss were each tied to a separate column. Their arms and legs were bound, and their mouths were gagged.
“What is this?” Buffy demanded.
Sineya spoke again, but this time her words were distorted and strange, as if something else was speaking with her body. “Death,” it said, “is their
A rush of wind and a smoky visage appeared next to either of Buffy’s companions. The black smoke resembled Buffy in a dark, twisted way, and one had a red blade drawn across Dalen’s throat. The other threatened Thriss similarly.
“Death,” mocked the cruel not-Sineya, “is your curse.”
A flash of insight hit Buffy like a boulder to her gut. She had never left the ruin, and now it was testing her. It wanted her to choose either Dalen or Thriss to die. And to add insult to injury, whatever was making this demand was channeling her inner Slayer.
“You are so wrong,” Buffy said with a vicious grin. “Death isn’t my curse. It’s yours.”
Lunging at the false Sineya, Buffy made a play for its gut with her lightsaber. The spirit, ghost, demon, whatever it was parried her blow with the long metal knife and danced just outside of her reach. It did not occur to Buffy to question what the thing’s weapon was made from.
Howling in anger, Buffy lashed out at the demonic essence, but it kept eluding her and laughing all the while.
It was toying with her, trying to tire her out. And if it succeeded, then she would die. And she wouldn’t be able to save either Dalen or Thriss.
With that one word, Buffy reached out with the Force and seized the false Sineya around its throat and flung it into one of the bare columns.
It only laughed at her, and Buffy could feel its cruel mockery.
“You.” Buffy took a step forward. “Are.” She raised her hands skyward. “So.” Power began to dance across her fingers.
Dark violet lightning stormed down from the sky, cascading around Buffy as she hovered in the center of a maelstrom of violent dark side energies.
The false Sineya writhed and screamed against the column, and Buffy felt its pain and reveled in it.
The mock First Slayer fell to the ground, and Buffy also let her feet touch the stone again as the storm abated. She moved with deadly purpose towards the false Sineya’s body.
The thing was on its back, but Buffy reached out with one foot and turned it over. She wanted to look it in the eye as she struck it down.
And then she saw the last thing she expected.
“You did it,” Faith whispered just as she had on that apartment balcony so long ago. “You killed me.”
A soft breeze blew through the stone ruin and Faith’s peaceful face dispersed into grains of sand along with the rest of her body.
The last thing to go was her knife, and Buffy saw that it was no longer the long, machete-like weapon that the First Slayer had wielded, but the wide, curvy dagger that was stained now – as it had been back then – with Faith’s own blood. It almost seemed to taunt Buffy before disappearing in the wind.
The last vestiges of the false vision faded, and Buffy was standing in the center of the stone ruin once more.
Dalen and Thriss were there also, but they were both huddled on the ground in obvious pain, and their clothes and skin showed numerous burns.
Buffy felt sick as she realized that her own conjured storm of lightning had done this to her friends. In her anger, she had damaged them, hurt them. She remembered Darth Arctis’s brief use of Force lightning on her, and she knew that the pain Dalen and Thriss had suffered was much greater than what she herself had experienced.
The four columns of the ruin each lit up and shot a beam of white light into the middle, and an image of the galaxy formed at Buffy’s shoulder level.
Buffy had no desire to look over the star map now. She hastily took Dalen’s datapad out of his pocket and held it up to the map, and it obediently poured its information into the storage device in a stream of white light.
“All right. Come on!” Buffy said in a panic. “You guys are okay, aren’t you? Dalen? Thriss? Come on, stay with me!”
“B-Buffy,” Thriss croaked out. “What happened?”
“Never mind what happened. Can you move? How bad are you hurt?”
Thriss winced as she got to her feet. “I can move, but it hurts to do so. I will recover in time. How is Lord Dalen?”
Buffy was by her former master’s side a moment later. “Come on now, Shar. Come back, okay? You’re gonna be all right.”
Dalen opened his eyes and tried to move, but he winced in pain as he did so. “You are far stronger than I had imagined,” Dalen croaked out.
Buffy shook her head. “If I’d been stronger, I would’ve been able to beat that thing without hurting you.”
Dalen smiled thinly. “For all your power, you still have much to learn. But not from me.”
Buffy didn’t like what he was saying. “What’re you talking about? We have some kolto, right? We’ll get you patched up in no time.”
Dalen winced as he tried to speak. “I’ve become a liability. I will only slow you down. Go, my Lord. Take Thriss as your apprentice and lay waste to the Republic. I will die here, as a Sith should: At the hands of the apprentice who surpassed me.”
Buffy had to restrain herself from smacking Dalen across the face. “What did I say just earlier today? We do this together. Thriss, help me carry him back to the sandcrawler.”
The Chiss rushed to obey, and the two women each took Dalen by one arm and lifted him up so that they supported him on either side. “We will not abandon you, Lord Dalen,” Thriss vowed.
“Damn straight we won’t,” Buffy said.
Dalen looked at Buffy with something resembling longing. “You are a strange Sith, Lord Summers. But I am glad to have you as my friend.”
Buffy felt herself swell with pride as Dalen, for the first time in her memory, called her a friend. She willed her tears not to fall. “Don’t go soft on me now, Shar,” she said. “We got what we came for, so what do you say we get off this God-forsaken rock?”
“As you say,” Dalen whispered. “My Lord.”
I do not own anything from Star Wars or from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Specifically...
Jawas: not mine
Sandcrawler: not mine
Tatooine: not mine
Sineya: not mine
Shar Dalen: original
Faith Lehane: so very not mine
Buffy Summers: even more not mine
Special Thanks to Sithspit for beta-reading this chapter. You are a life-saver, my friend.
My Muse hungers. She will devour you all, body and soul, unless you feed her reviews. They are her favorite treat, after all.
As an aside: Anyone who knows where the title of this chapter comes from earns a free e-cookie in a flavor of their choice.
Thank you all for reading, and I hope you enjoy the chapter!