She had welcomed him into her thoughts, her being as the pair stood motionless lost in the power the other possessed. The unease she had felt since their first meeting was multiplied in the tranquility of the planet around them as it darkened into a licorice night. His psyche was open for her to seep into, become lost in the shadowed corridors of his past but Buffy hesitated at taking the final step with her charge.
For the first time since the beginning of her ascension Buffy was unsure of Oma’s judgment and of the being that stood beside her, lost in the echoes of her memories. His utter fascination with how she had come to be in this reality and his amusement with the evil of her past.
She felt him shift beside her and she willed the effervescent tendrils of her essence from his. Buffy pulled back without completing the fusion and she watched as he melted into his first form, blue eyes narrowed as she retook the shape of her humanity.
“Why did you lie?”
Buffy’s brows lowered with his question, “I have never lied to you.”
“You’re name is not Nemesis.”
She angled her neck in question, “It is now.”
Anubis shook his head and stepped forward pushing past her boundaries and invading her shields without consent. His hand rose to press along Buffy’s cheek and slid effortlessly into the waves of her hair. He took a final step, pressed them together from hip to chest as his face hovered above hers.
The color of his eyes crystallized reminding Buffy of ice forming over a bottomless lake and she was struck by the knowledge within their depths. The thinly veiled darkness in his gaze brought forth memories of Spike—before the Initiative—before the chains that bottled the pureness of the demon’s rage were placed securely around his neck. Within his mind.
Buffy’s eyes widened as her subconscious finally released the kernel of knowledge that allowed her conscious mind to welcome the unease of his presence. She wrapped herself in the heat of understanding and began to pull back from Anubis as his lips tilted upward with her discontent.
“The pupil surpasses the master.”
The ice of his gaze fractured and the darkness within his psyche traveled upward to invade Buffy’s mind as his grip on her hair tightened and his mouth slanted across her own.
Revulsion crashed along the shore of her perception as Buffy dissolved within his embrace spreading outward, farther than his current form could contain. Anubis followed and the cloud of effervescent rage surrounded Buffy, warped her world. The tendrils enveloped her light, casting shadows across the planet that housed them. His will engulfed hers and she shuddered at the slickness of Anubis’ psyche.
She was entrapped by the chill of his deceit with his mind pressed along her own. He speared through the barriers of her will, taking purchase where he could. The attack on her humanity was unexpected and Buffy found herself within the glossy walls of Anubis’ form. Helpless to defend herself at the invasion of his thoughts and memories as the thin veil separating the pair dissolved and Buffy fell beneath him.
Death surrounded her, tore through the carefully constructed walls of her psyche and towered upward like a fast moving wave before crashing down, over and over. The tide of despair swept her up and Buffy struggled, bombarded by thousands of deaths. The utter destruction Anubis had brought forth in this reality for eons. The faces of the innocent, their screams melding into one interminable howl and Buffy felt the desolation burst forth from her own mind and entrap her within the pain he had spread across this galaxy and the next.
The innocents’ pain tainted her, lacerated the humanity still within Buffy’s form and brought forth the well of darkness she kept from the others—from Oma. Anubis embraced the shadow corners of her mind and pulled them forth. The lust for battle, the pleasure of watching your opponent’s last breath and with these thoughts, these emotions Buffy felt the darkness within her stir.
And answer the challenged thrown before her.
The wraithlike tendrils of Anubis’ power entrapping her broke, shattered as pinpricks of light spiked though. The pair separated with an influx of power that cratered the planet beneath them, fractured its shell and brought its molted core to the surface. The backwash spread across the galaxy in sweep of chilled air, stars flared, planets faltered in their course and the others stirred. Buffy’s stepped from his embrace and melded back into her first form, eyes narrowing.
His essence shifted back into the false refection of his humanity and he stared at her, arrogant features pulled back into a malicious grin that in no way frightened the Ascended before him. Buffy titled her chin and the gown she wore melded to her form, reshaping and darkening from lavender to onyx as the silk hardened. Becoming a solid leather that hugged her frame and mirrored the rage blossoming in her gaze as Anubis raised a brow at her ensemble and softly clapped.
Buffy shrugged and welcomed the soft groan of her body suit, the comfort of the leather against her flesh. She had missed it and she moved to circle the deceiver, her steps unhurried. Buffy welcomed the battle cry and embraced the shadows that welled up from the darkest parts of her mind. Her lips quirked at the flicker of unease that flared in the Ascended’s gaze before Anubis quelled it and turned to watch her casual circulation of him.
“You can not destroy me.”
With his words she stilled and quirked a brow at his lack of understanding. Buffy allowed the smile that had been teasing her lips to spill forth and with it fell a merciless laugh that tightened the core of her. She felt the weakened shell of the planet beneath them and pushed her will deep within the rock.
“I don’t need to destroy you.”
Anubis cocked his head, “But you’d like to.”
“You are nothing but desolation rising to desolation.”
A dark chuckle fell from his lips and he tilted his head back to gaze at the shimmering stars blanketing the sky. “The summit lost to heaven. Is there a heaven Buffy?”
His mouth soiled her name, made it unclean. “A lotus in a vase.”
“Rising out of the darkness are we?” He laughed, “Do you always fall back on the precious teachings of Oma when you existence is threatened?”
She smiled at his arrogance and in happiness as tendrils of her essence speared deep within the molted core of the planet and pulled forth-pure carbon. It spiked upward piercing the rock beneath Anubis and swirled around his lowered half, bombarded by the intensity of her will and the fires of rage she had long ago thought diminished. The combined force hardened the carbon, crystallized it and she bound it through Anubis. Through his essence and immobilized his will in the beauty of a diamond.
His eyes widened, “This is impossible…”
Buffy stepped forward and laid a hand above his chest, smoothing it across the surface of the heated stone. She met his gaze unwavering, “The others call me Nemesis for a reason, dumbass.”
His eyes narrowed, “You are weak, young…”
“But still way prettier than you and just ‘cause one is older, it does in no way make them wiser.” Her eyes swept over his trapped from, bound by her will to this planet. “Besides you are in no position to be throwing insults when I kicked you ass in less then five minutes.”
Buffy shuddered at the sudden backwash as the waves of her hair were swept forward obscuring her vision as the others’ will stilled the planet and cooled the carbon beneath her hand. The diamond fractured with the sudden change in temperature and Anubis met her gaze, triumphant.
“No.” Buffy spun and glared up at the rolling clouds forming above them. “This is what you asked me to do!”
Lightning erupted across the sky and the diamond fractured, pieces arched through her form and she swore turning back to Anubis. His smile serene as he stepped from the remains of his confinement. The clouds darkened as they lowered closer to the planet and the being that had offered Buffy her place among them separated from the masses to take shape before the pair.
Anubis lowered his head in welcome to the female that appeared. His lips still spread into a malicious grin as Buffy felt the familiar calming of Oma's presence as she called her. The Ascended being stiffened as the other, that acted as her mediator inclined her head and spoke.
“You are being summoned.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed and she shook her head, “Don’t do this.”
She flinched as Anubis’ chuckle assaulted her and she spun to glare at him, “Shut up.”
Her back straightened and she turned her head painfully slow to stare at the others. Their neutral faces brought forth another coil of trepidation as she whispered harshly,
“You’re all fools.”
Oma moved forward as Buffy watched the punishment the others bestowed upon Anubis. Her brow lowered as she raised arms to encircle her waist, fingertips brushing the leather still encasing her form. Its presence brought forth an emptiness inside and she willed the armor away.
“I am sorry.”
A gentle hand slid over the slope of her now bare shoulder as Buffy shook her head and turned toward Oma. Her uncovered body was encased in the essence of the universe, its power. She no longer felt the same reservations—restrictions—she had in her previous life. Her first form was one she celebrated, embraced but in this moment she simply did not notice her nudity as she asked,
The Ascended winced at the hollowness found in her pupil’s gaze, “You have lost something this day because of my actions.”
Buffy’s jaw tightened, “No,” She shook her head and turned back to watch Anubis’s dissention, “I’ve learned something.”
Oma sighed and shook her head, “Lightening flashes, sparks shower and in one blink of your eyes you have…”
“OMA!” Buffy’s shoulders dropped and she finished softly, “Not right now.”
The elder’s eyes softened and she stepped forward, pressing her robe covered chest to her charges bare back as Buffy’s shoulders began to shake.
The rage that she had been holding onto melted as she welcomed the touch of another. “They’re not human.”
With an understanding of the Slayer’s need for physical contact during her most trying of times, Oma pressed her forehead into the soft illusion of Buffy’s hair. “No.”
“I’m not human.”
Silence stretched between.
Author’s Note: Thank you for reading and thank you to everyone who has reviewed! An SG-1 member will be making an appearance in the next chapter or so my muse keeps telling me.