elisi: (Spike DD by ruuger (NOT sharable!))
[personal profile] elisi
Hello BtVS/AtS fans! I'm still here! *waves*

So, Buffy's anniversary. I wanted to do something to mark it, but couldn't think of anything... Until I remembered this fic. I started it back in 2006 or 2007, and wrote 14 chapters (amounting to about 50,000 words) but never posted anything because this story (unlike pretty much all my other stuff) has A Proper Plot and A Story Arc and I didn't want to joss anything in the story by writing my self into a corner (seriously, it's long & complex). Plus those 14 chapters were only about half the fic (or a third...), and I didn't want to leave forever between updates. However, as you can see, I was so invested that I got [livejournal.com profile] ruuger to make me an icon, and [livejournal.com profile] kathyh even semi-beta'd the chapters. ♥


ANYWAY! In honour of the 10 year anniversary I thought 'Sod it, I love this fic, I'll start posting!' And then hopefully people will nag me into finishing it, because it's a properly EPIC story with world building and character development and PLOT and all kinds of things that people should appreciate. Of course fandom is now a fraction of what it was, but I'm hoping to lure in a few readers for old times' sake... Because I'm seriously proud of this fic. (My guarantee to you: it's better than the comics!) Figure I'll post a chapter every few weeks, and then hopefully be able to get started with writing again once I reach the end of what I've got...


Divided Destiny

Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Rating: Teen.
Characters: Spike, Angel, Illyria, Buffy, Scoobies + cameos from more or less everyone in the 'verse.
Feedback: Is bloody ambrosia! (The secret ingredient is otter...)
Setting and Summary: This is the sequel to ‘Maybe Someday’ (or, more accurately, Maybe Someday was the prequel for this - Master post of 'verse here), in which Spike, Angel and Illyria turned up in Rome and encountered Buffy (Sept. 2004). During the following week Buffy and Spike started dating (and working through their issues), Illyria picked up some handy portal opening powers and Angel got a lead on someone who used to know the Wolf, Ram and Hart. This fic starts the evening after that fic ended. The story chronicles Angel, Spike and Illyria’s attempt at taking down W&H. Can it be done? And if so, what will the price be? (That’s all the warning I’m going to give you, OK? Don’t yell at me later. Also see quote below.)

SPIKE: What do you think all this means for that Shanshu bugaboo? If we make it through this, does one of us get to be a real boy?
ANGEL: Who you kidding? We're not gonna make it through.

‘Not Fade Away’


Chapter 1

The desert lay silent and still under the vast blackness of the night’s sky. Then the air began to shimmer and tear apart, and a moment later a hollow of nothingness hung above the sand.

Through the rent stepped three figures. Two males clad in leather coats - one tall and dark, one slim and blond; both carrying themselves with the unconscious easy authority and self-assurance of warriors long accustomed to battle.

The third figure was female in shape, but its demeanour spoke of otherness and its eyes were as old as time and chilly blue.

As the rift closed behind them, the figures looked around.

The blond one studied the landscape, identical sand dunes surrounding them on all sides.

“So... any idea where we’re going? Or are we going to blunder about like the lost children of Israel?”

The dark haired one sighed, then turned to the third member of the party.

“Illyria. This sorcerer we’re looking for is said to be very old, very powerful and fairly easy to sense...”

The blue entity closed her eyes and stood immobile for a while. Then her eyes snapped open.

“This way,” she said and set off across the sand.

The other two looked at each other, shrugged, and followed.

“So...” The blond one said lightly, after a few minutes’ silent walk. “Did you have nice time these last few days?”

The dark one studiously kept his eyes fixed on the horizon.

“It was... OK,” he finally answered.

The other cracked a wide grin. “Oh come on Angel - you smell all over like werewolf! Where’d you go?”

“Cabo... in Mexico.” Angel tried to keep a smile out of his voice, but didn’t quite succeed.

“Nice one!” his companion replied, his wide smile deep and genuine. “Gotta say you’re a lot easier to be around when you’re gettin’ some - must remember to get Dog Girl somethin’ nice to show my appreciation!”

Angel’s smile vanished. “Spike! For the last time - don’t call her ‘Dog Girl’ - she has a name!”

After a moment’s silence, wherein Spike frowned and thought hard, a reply was forthcoming. “Can I call her Wolf Girl then?”

Angel opened his mouth and then closed it again firmly.

“Hey,” Spike continued, “Does this mean that she’s finally forgiven you then?”

“Something like...” Angel answered. “Although not having actually seen her since May it was kinda hard to make up before now.”

“‘Spose,” Spike shrugged. “Still - can’t help but thinking that coming home from holiday and seeing that half of LA had been turned into a hole in the ground should have made her a little grateful that she was away...”

“She was mostly pissed off that I broke up with her,” Angel cut in.

“Oh...”

There was silence for a while, then Spike frowned again.

“This sand is bloody annoying. Oi - Illyria! Can’t you make a new portal taking us a couple of miles further on?”

Illyria kept walking without a word. Spike grumbled.

“She’ll take you to friggin’ Mexico, but she won’t make life just a little easier... my boots are getting full of sand.”

Finally, without breaking stride, Illyria replied. “My powers are not unlimited. And I will not pander to your lassitude.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Great. Smack-down from the Blue Bitch.”

They walked on, the surroundings an endless repetition. Then Angel suddenly halted.

“Can you feel that?” he asked, and Spike looked at him sceptically, one eyebrow raised.

“Feel what?”

“Something... powerful.” Angel wore the same slightly paranoid look he’d so often displayed at W&H.

“Sorta....” Spike replied cautiously.

He did feel something - and he didn’t like it. It made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, prickled under his skin and quite frankly all he wanted to do was to walk away in the opposite direction. Overall the sensation was far too similar to how he’d felt when he’d entered the cave in Africa, seeking out his soul. The sense that there was something old and dangerous that shouldn’t be there.

More than two hours later they finally came to a tall cliff. As they neared it, they could see a perfect semicircle of bleached bones - full skeletons of various desert animals laid out at uneven intervals.

Illyria stopped and smiled disdainfully.

“He hides behind a wall of power. Stay back - it kills any Lower Being.”

She nodded towards the dead animals and then reached out with one of her slim hands. The air began to lurch and wave, and then with a sharp movement she made a large gash in the barrier, motioning the vampires to step through.

Spike followed Angel, and yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that it was some sort of trap... that something bad was going to come of this.

As they neared the cliff face, they saw a cave about halfway up - a narrow, barely visible flight of carved steps leading up towards it at a dizzying angle. Illyria started climbing as though she was walking along a wide path, but Spike and Angel found the exercise somewhat daunting.

‘I’m bloody well jumping down when we leave!’ Spike thought to himself, as he tried to cling to the rough stone where a couple of steps had nearly vanished.

Finally they reached the cave entrance, and as their eyes tried to penetrate the severe blackness inside, there was a spark in the dark.

Slowly a bright flame started to shine - far brighter than any fire had the right to. A black hand plucked up the flame and placed it on the wall in a small metal holder, and the place was bathed in light - as bright as if the sun had shone down through the roof.

There was a moment where they all assessed each other. The owner of the cave was human in shape, but its skin was sleek and black, its features sharp and canny. As it moved there was a sudden and odd flickering of shadows in the corners - strange shapes stretching and fluttering.

The creature cocked its head, staring at Illyria so intently that the rest of the world could have stopped existing. Then it spoke, its voice strange, hoarse and rasping, and Spike wondered in earnest what the thing was.

“How come an Old One is walking the earth again? Why is Illyria not resting? Why is It here, in such diminished form? I recall beauty and majesty and grace and power beyond any other, and what I see here is but a shell and a shadow. Why?”

Illyria made no movement, but after a while her eyes narrowed a tiny fraction.

“You are The Raven. I thought you would have perished long ago.”

She slowly let her eyes travel around the cavern. “You have fallen out of knowledge, living on nothing but air and darkness. I will not answer your questions - but you will tell me much.”

Then she held out a hand, placing it on the creature’s head. It fluttered momentarily, but didn’t move. After a moment Illyria smiled - that small, cruel smile they knew meant that she had found something.

“You betrayed them - The Wolf, The Ram, The Hart - trickster! They banished you, seized what power you had.” She nodded slowly. “They might yet conquer all.”

The creature hissed and sharply withdrew. “It was not me. It was them. They found a source of power, deep and dark, but they would not share, would not allow anyone else to know. They asked me to set up The Circle of the Black Thorn - thinking that I would be content to be their puppet. Follow their rules. Their scheme.”

Shiny black unblinking eyes fastened on them each on turn. “It wasn’t betrayal. It was vengeance.”

Illyria had gone utterly still. “They found power pure - how? Where?”

The odd creatuer make a strange spitting, strangled sound - anger billowing out in large, sharp, inky black shadows. “You think I know? You think I would be here if I knew? They grew. They expanded. They saw the humans take over the world and they saw their chance to fight from below. Hidden. They are wise. The world turns and the darkness grows.”

There was a pause; then The Raven, curtailing its fury, studied the vampires and became puzzled. “Why does Illyria travel with vampires? Surely there must be more worthy servants to be found.”

Spike could feel Angel tense at his side, but Illyria shrugged.

“They are Champions of the people and mortal enemies of The Wolf, Ram and Heart. They destroyed The Circle of the Black Thorn.”

The Raven suddenly inspected them more closely. “Vampire Champions... how much this world has changed.” Its eyes darting between Spike and Angel, it asked, “The whole Circle dead? Every member?”

Angel looked back, impassive. “The Circle is... gone. But you were once close to those we fight. Tell me - how do we kill them?”

The Raven stared at him silently for a long while, then it shook its head. “They are Immortal demons like I, from the edge of time. They cannot be killed. Now they do not even reside on this plane...”

“Yeah - The Home Office. Heard all about that - even stole The Band of Blacknil once. Much good that did.”

A sudden look of what might be respect passed over the black creature’s face. “You had a Band of Blacknil?”

“Didn’t work.”

The Raven blinked rapidly, studying at Angel. “They must have disenchanted it. A Champion coming to The Home Office.... Bad. Bad.”

Angel was staring at the other one as though he’d been smacked hard across the face. “You mean The Home Office is real?”

“Of course it is real. Foolish vampire - so little knowledge and understanding.” The Raven was sneering now.

Spike observed silently. Half the stuff made no sense and the other half was less than useful. And the place seriously freaked him out. No wonder Illyria felt at home.

Illyria, ignoring Angel, spoke again.

“Can their power be undone?”

The Raven looked from one to the other, then after a final penetrating stare at Angel abruptly turned and swiftly strode to the back of the cave, as large black shadows danced across the cave walls in eery unnatural skittering.

“There is a tale of a Key...” the voice drifted towards them, rasping against the cold stone and making Spike shiver as he sent Angel a look.

“The Dead Key...” he said, remembering the ancient text in The Council’s library that had sparked their quest in the first place - sent them slowly moving down through Europe, searching for someone who might tell them more.

There came a strange almost-cackle back at them.

“Not so foolish after all maybe. A Key fashioned long, long ago - some say by The Powers themselves. Nobody knows. A Key of Living Energy, built to undo and destroy the Power of the three we hate...”

“Where is it? Can we find it?” Angel’s voice almost cracked.

The Raven walked towards them with something clutched to its chest, a dark shadowy wing span suspended above it on the ceiling. Ignoring Angel it fastened its eyes on Illyria.

“But it was never finished. The Wolf, Ram and Hart found it before its completion. They could not undo it, but they killed it and broke it. Scattered it over many worlds, leaving the pieces to be guarded by their most trusted servants.”

It held out its hands, revealing a strange curled-up grey lump inside.

Illyria shrunk back, a look of revulsion on her face.

“Dead Energy... How did you get this?”

“There are ways. I am good at... concealing myself. And my thirst for vengeance only grew after they drained me. I do not have the power to undertake to find the other pieces... but if you will swear to do it, to finish it, you can have this.”

Spike felt his bullshit-o-meter ping high and loud.

“But if it was never finished, what’s the bloody point? And if it’s dead - like dead dead - it won’t work whatever we do.” He looked at the horrid lump with distaste. “Seems like a wild goose chase to me.”

The Raven sent him a look that almost made Spike reach for his sword.

“I have told you much, and spoken only truth. Maybe others know how to complete the Key. How to bring it back to life. I have aided you. For the sake of my vengeance and for one who used to give radiance to all the worlds. Now leave.”

It held out its hand, and after after a swift look at the others Spike reached out and took the odd nugget. Immediately the cave was plunged into the same impenetrable darkness that had filled it when they first entered, and swearing loudly Spike took the few necessary steps backwards to stand on the precipice once again. Tucking the Key fragment into a pocket (if that really was what it was, he’d like more proof than the word of some creepy Old Timer), he looked down onto the sand far below. Then he took a deep breath and leapt, body pulsing with adrenaline and ready to absorb the impact. It was somewhat terrifying and absolutely fantastic, and the fresh cool air rushing past him was the most wonderful change from the stifling atmosphere of the cave. His landing was abrupt and the sand was no softer than a pavement, but not hitting it face first was definitely of the good.

He turned to look back up at the cave opening and saw Illyria slowly and precisely navigate the slender steps, as unruffled and self-composed as ever. Angel stood on the edge still, obviously carefully weighing the options and then - much to Spike’s delight - chose the fast route also.

When Angel was by his side, Spike pulled out the grey lump, handing it over.

“What d’you think? This really what we’re looking for?”

Angel turned it over in his hands. “Illyria seemed convinced. Guess we’ll have to go looking for the other pieces... and more info.”

Spike sighed. “So what - we try the Helldimension Holiday Package?”

Angel shrugged. “Something like. I’m hoping Illyria has an idea where to start looking.”

“Oh this... this is bloody fantastic,” Spike proclaimed, shaking his head. Then with a deep sigh he pulled out his cell phone. It rang a few times before Buffy picked up.

“Hi Love - did I wake you? How’s the big Slayer meet going?” He listened for a while, then tried to cut through her chatter. “Look - you know how we were goin’ to try and have this long distance relationship? Well - the distance just grew...”


TBC

(no subject)

Date: 24 May 2013 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zanthinegirl.livejournal.com
Very intriguing start! I loved this verse, and you're adding to it in ways that make me very happy! There are very few things I love more that Spike and Angel snarking at each other. The jumping down from the cliff was nicely done!

The key, huh! I have an idea where you may be taking this, and look forward to the ride!

Thrilled to see your Buffy Mo-jo is back!

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zanthinegirl.livejournal.com
Esp as it's actually good. (Well, it is. Am still not quite sure it's mine, and dread having to write the second part, as I've not been in this headspace for years...)

It certainly is good! And for not writing in this fandom for years you jumped right in there! Looking forward to more!

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
lynnenne: (spangel: dead march)
From: [personal profile] lynnenne
Aw, so nice to see you writing these characters again. :)

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 03:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rebcake.livejournal.com
Yes, please. I would like more of this, ma'am.

I'm going to go back and read the prequel, but these three doing the derring do together works nicely. Do do hope that there isn't anything to shattering coming up for Spike, but then it wouldn't be the Jossverse, would it?

Can I call her Wolf Girl then?

Heh. Like anybody can stop you.

The Raven was very interesting, with all his illusions (or are they?) shimmering just at the edge. Cool. I'm betting he'll be back before it's all said and done.

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 03:34 am (UTC)
rahirah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rahirah
1. Yay! Elisi fic in a fandom I read!

2. I think your HTML is a teeny bit borked...:blink: or no, it's not. I swear, everything was centered there for a minute...
Edited Date: 25 May 2013 03:35 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 09:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] linpen.livejournal.com
Great to see more Buffyverse from you. I am a terrible lurker but wanted to register my continuing interest in your BTVS fic.


"Spike sighed. “So what - we try the Helldimension Holiday Package?”

Hmm no telling where they will end up.

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 10:01 am (UTC)
kathyh: (Kathyh Spuffy together)
From: [personal profile] kathyh
I thought I was hallucinating when I saw this :) Nice to see you posting it.

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 10:06 am (UTC)
kathyh: (Kathyh Spuffy together)
From: [personal profile] kathyh
Absolutely fine. Always happy to help :)

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
kathyh: (Kathyh Spuffy together)
From: [personal profile] kathyh
I had a vague memory of you saying you weren't going to post it until you finished it! On the other hand posting it might mean that it gets finished :)

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
kathyh: (Kathyh Buffy slayer)
From: [personal profile] kathyh
If you can handle time travel you can handle anything :)

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spikereader.livejournal.com
I haven't read fic in quite a while, but if you write it, I'll read it! I love this 'verse and the prospect of a new story is just too tempting. Will have to re-read Maybe Someday first before diving into this. :)

(no subject)

Date: 25 May 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
gillo: (Ensemble)
From: [personal profile] gillo
Eeep. Don't like the sound of that last line! Intrigued by teh rest, though Key makes me think of a specific person...

Lovely to see you writing in this verse again.

(no subject)

Date: 27 May 2013 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devilscrayon.livejournal.com
This is going to be goooood. Can't wait to read more!
(I went back and read your two stories leading up to this and I really enjoyed them. You write these three so well!)

(no subject)

Date: 28 May 2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-royal-anna.livejournal.com
Yay, resurrected fic! I'm very excited. The Raven offset with shades of Spike worked beautifully.

I was hoping to finish writing some of my Buffyverse fic as a 10th anniversary tribute, but it's nowhere near postable at this point. Hmmmm...perhaps by 25 years I'll have got there.

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