“Spike!” a breathless voice gasped in a ragged whisper. “Yeah, there… Oh. Oh my god right there… Yes!”
Zelda checked her watch. Four more seconds… Three… Two… One…
The moment was finally here.
She’d been waiting so long for this. Five hundred years of preparation and ritual leading to one small point in time when the conditions were just right. The universe was primed; the heavens were in perfect alignment and the distance between dimensions was at its thinnest. Everything was in place. There would never be a better opportunity to open the portal.
She was ready. She pushed out the sound of the tryst going on in the next stall and picked up her Heartstone, focusing all her powers of thought on the shiny red ball of polished rock.
“Precious Arda, hear me,” she chanted. “Open thy door…”
The flimsy wall of the toilet stall shuddered as two bodies finally joined in lust and slammed against it. What had been the furtive, breathy – and ignorable – gasps of a heavy make-out session had now become the rough, rhythmic groans of a vigorous knee-trembler.
Zelda banged on the wall. “Shut the fuck up!”
“Piss off,” came the gruff reply.
Zelda frowned. She didn’t have much time. The optimum moment was so short, barely a pinprick in the fabric of time and she couldn’t afford the distraction of a pair of noisy lovers next door. She relaxed again and took a deep breath to calm herself. There was no way she could escape the noise; the club bathroom reverberated with the sound of their embarrassingly loud fucking, but she was good at meditation, she could tune the noises out.
“Spike!” There was a loud squeal as someone’s G-spot received a direct hit. “I’m so close…”
With her concentration well and truly broken again, Zelda gritted her teeth. Why did they have to fuck here? Why now? Why did the only gateway to her lover’s dimension in half a millennium have to manifest in the busy Bronze bathroom and not in a secluded forest glade or some lonely peak?
“Feel it Slayer. You’re inside me as I’m inside you,” The male voice rumbled sexily. “You consume me…”
“Guh, keep going! Keep talking!” was the reply.
“You burn me from the inside…” Grunt. “Can always feel you…”
Zelda winced. That was it. Having to listen to them fuck was bad enough, but this string of cheesy pillow talk was way too much. They wanted to be inside each other so much, they could be. With a flourish of her hand, she flicked a spell their way and the noises stopped.
“Ah, blessed silence, at last!” Zelda focused back on her Heartstone. “Precious Arda, hear me. Open thy door…”
Dazed, he opened his eyes to the discovery that he was laid out on a hard tile floor, which smelled faintly of alcohol and stale piss under the potent mask of the disinfectant. Above his head the swan neck of a toilet bowl towered over him imperiously. Not his first choice of place to take a nap then, but he’d had to kip in worse places over the years.
He had better things to do than linger in the Bronze toilets though; when his head stopped whirling like a dervish, he’d persuade Buffy back to the crypt to continue the brilliant shag they’d been having in more comfortable surroundings. He still had plenty of ideas he wanted to try out tonight.
Unfortunately, there was a big flaw in that plan. From his limited viewpoint, he couldn’t see Buffy anywhere. He didn’t need to look around to know that she had already gone; her scent was fading under the chemical pong quicker than he could breathe it in. There wasn’t even enough to keep him going until next time they met. Yet again she’d got what she wanted and abandoned him. No wonder his head hurt, he was far more likely to get her boot in his face than a goodbye kiss from his girl.
He was just thinking about getting to his feet when he heard a soft chanting, muttered in hushed and reverent tones, coming from the cubicle next door. If he bent his head back a bit he could just make out the crossed legs of someone sitting on the floor and some candles. Odd that. Or perhaps not. Maybe Buffy hadn’t kicked him in the head this time. Maybe the blinding white light he remembered hadn’t been a spectacular orgasm after all…
He got up shakily, a chill running through his dead veins that was more than just the cool draught he felt around his privates. Looking down, he noticed that his dick was flapping out of his jeans, hanging down dejectedly in disappointment. With a sigh, he adjusted himself, tucking his valuables back inside and zipping himself up. He remembered now. Some girl had complained about the volume of their shagging. She’d bloody well cast a spell on them! He’d tell that bossy bint a thing or two.
Spike ventured back out into the Ladies, where a large group of young girls were piling in to check their make up in the long mirror that skirted the top of the sinks. The throbbing music from the club flooded in through the open door and smothered most of their excited chatter with a thumping bassline. A self-absorbed moment passed before they even noticed his presence, but once they realised there was a strange man in the room trying to squeeze past them, they started to titter amongst themselves, glancing at him nervously. None of them were bold enough to ask him to leave.
Even when he kicked in the cubicle door.
A small woman looked up at him in surprise and annoyance. She sat in a puddle of tie-dyed skirts, her long black hair spread like creeping vines across her shoulders. In her hands she cupped a large orb of red stone. She looked as young as the girls outside, but there was a timelessness in her eyes that didn’t fool him into thinking she was one of them.
“…Come through to me…” She stopped chanting and said angrily, “Do you mind?”
She raised a hand for a spell but Spike grabbed her wrist before she could cast it.
“Where is she?” he growled. The woman didn’t even flinch; even when he surged into his vampire face with all the threat a very angry and sexually frustrated vampire could muster. She opened her mouth to reply, but as she did so, the air around her wobbled.
She turned to face the swirling portal that had just opened above the toilet bowl. “Fuck…”
Spike glanced at the portal and back at her. “What’s going on?”
“Arda!” she cried as the shimmering circle overwhelmed her. Before Spike knew what was happening, her wrist was yanked from his hand and the portal snapped shut.
He stared in surprise at the space where the witch had been only a second before. That wasn’t what he’d intended at all and, by the look on her face as she’d been swallowed up, that wasn’t what the witch had planned either. He growled in frustration and returned to his human face, the bitch had done something to Buffy, he was sure of it, but now he’d never know what.
“Buffy? Buffy!” Enraged, he searched the other cubicles in the restroom, slamming each door violently open as he went. There was no sign that Buffy had ever been there. In desperation, he turned on one of the gaggle of girls, all of whom had been watching him in stunned awe. “You seen anyone leave here? Blonde girl, so high, pretty.”
The girl shook her head, but she fluttered her eyelashes at him.
“Hey, are you English?” one of her friends asked. There was some surreptitious nudging as each girl tried to stake the first claim on him.
Spike rolled his eyes at them and turned back to the witch’s cubicle. His heart sank as he smudged the circle of sand, there was nothing else he could do without help. He kicked one of the candles into the wall. It cracked a tile and landed beside something wedged behind the toilet bowl.
It was the witch’s stone.
He dropped to a crouch, hooking the orb out with a couple of fingers and scooping it up when it rolled free. He guessed she must have dropped it as the portal sucked her in. It was a curious thing; solid, heavy and made of a stone the colour of a nice drop of O neg. Wispy shadows shifted across the patina like stormy cloud systems. They sped up and spread from his fingers as it vibrated slightly in his hand; until, as the whole surface turned to black, the energy reached its peak and the stone flashed back to red again, settling comfortably into a low hum.
Intrigued, he rubbed a thumb across its surface. At some point it had been lovingly polished to a bright shine, but there was now a multitude of tiny knocks and scratches pitting its shiny surface, as if it had seen a great many years of use. It was too big to shove into his pocket, so he tucked it under one arm. Perhaps it was of bugger all use, but Willow might know what it was and if not, the demon girl could always flog it as a paperweight.
He headed out. The silly girls scattered before him, but he barely acknowledged their existence. More pressing matters weighed on his mind; Buffy was gone, zapped somewhere by some bloody witch and he had no idea where to even start looking.
Avoiding the mirror, he shoved past them, eyes intent on the floor. He couldn’t bear looking into something that was as empty as he felt, but as he passed the last sink, he finally lashed out with his fist.
The mirror broke into as many fragments as his heart.
Buffy woke to a thumping headache and her cheek pressed to a dirty, white tile floor.
Ew! She thought and tried to move.
Big mistake. Her body didn’t obey her. It felt numb and, strangely, when it did move, it seemed to act of its own accord. Which was just as well, as her mind was too scrambled to keep up. She relaxed for a moment, trying to stop the drumming in her head, but her body had other ideas. Her head lifted itself and looked about; a toilet bowl rose over her like the bow of a great ship. Apparently, she was still in the restroom and Spike was nowhere to be seen. Great, one annoying flash from a bulb or something going out and he had just left her here.
Bastard. He was so going to pay for this.
Through the Kodo Drummers in her head, she could hear some muttered chanting in the stall next door. Whatever. Some people needed stuff like that to pee in a public bathroom. Yet chanting in Sunnydale was often a sign of trouble brewing and her head craned back in an awkward direction to try to see through the gap between the floor and the cheap melamine of the stall. She could see a pair of legs sitting crossed and the flicker of candlelight. That couldn’t be good.
Her body wrenched itself to her feet, a little wobbly, but she was okay. For some reason she felt herself look down. She expected her skirt to be trashed, but instead of a crumpled mess fit for the garbage, she was wearing jeans and her penis was hanging limply out of the fly.
Penis? Penis! She panicked. Oh fuck!
Black jeans, manly hands reaching down to zip herself up, the swirl of leather around her legs…
Oh God, no! She was Spike! No, worse – she was in Spike’s head somehow. She could sense everything he sensed, feel everything he felt and she felt… bitter; and slightly drunk, which accounted for some of the wobbliness at least. She was feeling all of his emotions and the functions of his body as if they were her own, but when she tried to take control her will had no effect. She was a prisoner in his head.
Spike was moving again. Out through the stall door and into a swarm of underage girls, all trying to push their way to the mirror. A second or two passed before the spell of lipstick and hairspray broke and they noticed her, him, them, but once they spotted the aesthetically pleasing vampire in their midst, they turned to each other en masse, giggling their embarrassment away in a circle of teen sisterhood.
Spike ignored the shy glances they occasionally flicked his way and swept past them in a swoop of black leather and focused attitude; but that didn’t put them off. They watched in awe as her foot, no Spike’s, definitely Spike’s – there was absolutely no way she’d ever wear those chunky motorcycle boots by choice – struck the centre of the stall door. The impact destroyed the flimsy lock and the door burst open, hitting the side of the stall with a startling crash. Spike’s anger washed through her like a tsunami as they both looked down into a pair of owlish, yet knowing, eyes.
The girl was pretty, kind of; maybe if she made more effort she could have been attractive, but her eyebrows needed plucking and her make up owed more to Marilyn Manson than Max Factor. Her choice of jewellery was tacky to say the least. She jangled with bangles and her necklace spelt ‘Zelda’ in chunky alphabet beads. She could have points for originality, but a big zero for style.
“…Come through to me…” the woman stopped and snapped, “Do you mind?”
“Where is she?” Buffy found herself saying in Spike’s low, dangerous rumble that made her quiver and regret they hadn’t finished their little lust-a-thon. She had no control over the words or of the way the bones in her face seemed to shift.
Was she dead again?
Ineffectual panic gripped her a secontime, everything but her own emotions ceased to matter. She turned inward; shutting Spike out, ignoring what her – his – body did while she ran the implications of her situation through her head. She could be a vampire or she was stuck inside one and couldn’t get out. There was no way to even tell him what was wrong. She was going to have to watch everything he did forever and he could live a very long time…
The force of his fist smashing the mirror into a billion pieces snapped her out of her fright and brought her back to reality.
Which right then had become a very scary place.