Title: Dark Night of the Soul
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Genre: BtVS/AB Crossover.
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things AB belong to Laurell K Hamilton, et al. The song lyrics are from “The Dark Night of the Soul” by Loreena McKennitt.
Distribution; WLS, WLF, NHA, BMP, Aislin, TTH, TQC.
Author’s Note: TQC Pairing # 44 at http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com
Notes2: For Ash, who won a drawing on my list.
Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest
The hotel balcony was dark, as was her room, except for the light that came in through the glass, brought down by the nearly full moon hanging in the sky. The night was clear, no clouds to mar the perfection of a blue so deep it could be called blackness. The stars were difficult to see, like in any city, and at once she longed for home, for the small town she had grown up in where the stars were bright, even if being outside to look at them was nothing more than suicidal.
She drew her robe around her, the deep, even breathing of her roommate filling the silence. The clock on the nighstand read quarter to midnight. It was now or never. He was waiting for her, just as he did every night since their arrival in this mixed up town.
The robe slid to the floor, and beneath it she was clad still in her clothes from that day – shorts and a tank top. She slid a jacket on over her bare shoulders and then slipped from the room without another sound. There was a note already on the desk, just in case Buffy woke before she got back. ‘Gone out for a walk – be back soon’. She would get berated for the ‘danger’ of walking these streets alone should the blonde wake, but Buffy wouldn’t look hard for the truth.
Because it was a truth she wasn’t ready for.
Nor was Xander.
This was a truth that only those that knew of it could keep – herself and the man that waited for her.
She fled the hotel, the warmth of the day having long since faded to the night’s chill. The jacket was pulled tighter around her, and then she was off and running. Down the street, turn the corner, run one more block and into the waiting car.
“Evening, Miss Willow,” the driver purred, glancing at her in the rearview mirror. She spared him a small smile but said nothing. He started the car and they slid into the streets, towards the outskirts of the city and the woods beyond. He drove until there was no where else to go and stopped, letting her exit the car. “I’ll be here when you’re ready.”
She nodded, stumbling blindly into the darkened woods, trusting her sense of direction to lead the way even when she could not see. Tree limbs reached out to snag her hair, and leaves fell from overhead as the cool night wind drifted through the trees. The forest smelled musty, old. Like decomposing leaves, and bits of matter that she didn’t want to classify. This was near where the wolves did their monthly thing, she knew. There was no telling what that smell was, the bitter taste in the air.
Walking on, her foot caught on a fallen log, and she steadied herself on a nearby tree, her hand catching against the rough bark, scraping soft against hard. She winced but kept going, seeking and searching. He was here, somewhere. Close by. He could come to her now, but this was part of their game, part of the buildup. She would make it to him or she would not have him. He was the prize.
Shrouded by the night
And by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead
She stopped, the clearing coming out of nowhere, and a steady smile stole its way across her pale face.
“Did you doubt that I would?”
“Non.” His teeth were a flash of white in the darkness, and the moon was bright enough that she could see bits and pieces of him, here in the darkness. His face, his hands; the rest of his clothes were too dark for her to see even the general shape of his body. Only those pale bits, made so much more ethereally pale by the moonlight overhead, gave her any indication of where he was. When he moved it was shadow on shadow, a blur to her eyes, and then he was just there, in front of her, one of those pale, long-fingered hands reaching out to touch her cheek.
His fingertips were cold, even to skin that had begun to cool to the chill of the night.
“Why do we do this?” She whispered, her eyes wide in the darkness. He could see her clearly, she could not do him the same honor. There was no sense in trying to mask her emotions behind the cover of the night when the creature that stood before her could see her just as easily as if there were sunshine.
“Because there is no other way, ma cherie. You know this. If she were to find out –“
“She would kill me.” Willow whispered, her heart aching with that knowledge. “She loves you.”
“And I her, but no longer in the way that a man loves a woman. I love her now in the way that a father would his daughter, a mentor his prodigy. She is no longer ‘my love’.”
“Jean-Claude –“ She sighed, leaning into the caress of her cheek, abandoning the fool conversation that she had started with a question that would never have an answer. Why did they do this? Because they had nothing else. They yearned for the other’s touch, for skin to skin contact, for the heat of their own relations.
This was all they could have, and she clung to it like a drowning man to a life raft.
Oh night thou was my guide
of night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other
“We’ll be going back soon. . . Buffy’s work here is done.”
He nodded, she could feel it in the darkness, with her head resting on his shoulder. That up/down motion of his head.
“Will you –“
She wanted to ask – would he miss her? Would he think of her? In the middle of the night would he remember the times they had shared? Or would his thoughts of her fade like they had for so many other women in his life?
“Of course, cherie. Of course. You will visit?”
And she agreed, though she knew it would be impossible. He lived half a continent away and there was no good excuse for her to come back unless Buffy was called here for some reason. That was unlikely, if not far-fetched. The Slayer had not gotten along with the local cops well enough to ever be called in to consult again.
“I’ll miss you.” She murmured, shifting down to lie in his arms for just a few more minutes.
Before their reality once again took them away.
I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lover's breast
And care and grief grew dim