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Authors Note - The following series involves refers to characters and
incidents from earlier stories of mine. To understand much of what occurs
from here on in, you should definitely read.

Harbinger Parts 1 - 14
Holmstead (featuring Katie Holmes)
Stolen Child (featuring Rachael Leigh Cook)

If you haven't read them, and you want to get the most out of this then read
them now. Also, if you're after a heap of plotless sex, you won't find it
here.



Crossfire Part 1: The Blood Witch
by Arcane ([email protected])

Unobserved, the Blood Witch watched.

No one knew her for what she was, no one could see past what she projected.
They were innocent, načve.

They had not seen the true darkness of the world, not beyond their safe
little film star lives. They did not suspect what she was doing and she knew
it was better that way.

It worked so much better if they didn't know.

So much better.

She waited, biding her time, waiting for the opportunity to arise that she
might take the blood of her spells target. She could cast many spells with
her own blood, for blood was the source of her power, but the blood of
another was much more powerful, binding the essence of the target to the
spell.

All it would take was a single drop and then the spell would be ready.

Soon.

Alyson Hannigan was browsing a potential script when she caught sight of her
co star out of the corner of her eye.

"Hey Sarah. You look.. tired."

"Tell me about it." the petite blonde slumped down into a chair. "Between
fight scenes, and training for fight scenes I'm beat. We had thirteen takes
on that last one."

"Bad luck?" Alyson commented.

"Bad luck for me." A shoulder roll off a pile of crates might be alright for
a real vampire slayer but I personally lack superhuman endurance."

"I'm lucky. All my abilities get added in with special effects."

"Well this bruise isn't a special effect or make up. Ow."

Sarah Michelle Geller looked beat. Alyson knew how she felt. This latest
Buffy episode was dragging. Somehow the scenes needed to be re-shot or a new
sequence added. She herself wasn't too bad, her physical exertion kept to a
minimum but Sarah had it tough.

Right now she looked like she was ready to slay someone for real if she
didn't get home to bed.

"Are you done for the night?" Alyson asked, closing her book.

"Yeah. They let me off at last. You?"

"Yeah. Luckily a midnight full moon is one of those special effects. I get to
meet my bed time. Need a lift?"

"I guess I can use one. Hang on a sec, I'll grab my stuff."

* * *

While most of the town lay sleeping, the Blood Witch stayed awake, readying
various spells, scrying on events of the world.

The nature of magic in the world meant it was important to keep a watch on
it, at least for those that believed in it. So few did, many believed it was
dying. But magic could no more die than dreams or darkness.

Magic infused everything. All that had changed was relationship of people to
it.

The Blood Witch knew how to tune to this nature when needed, mixing her own
blood with the life blood of the world.

But not tonight. In fact not since she had put her plan into operation.

The world could wait but there were those that deserved more attention.

Those like Sarah.

* * *

Sarah slept.

But she didn't sleep well, at least not in her dreams.

In her dreams there was a demon, not one of the latex creations she was used
to battling on set. This demon was a towering monstrosity, a whirling mass of
chaos. Whenever she tired to make out it's form it became something else. She
was on the Buffy set, at least it seemed to be, but when she looked harder it
was real. In that it was a perfect fiction, no set and cameras, just more
graveyard. It shouldn't have been like this. But it was and somehow it was
even more frightening than a nightmare, more real. The demon seemed to ignore
her, as if she was no threat. There were other forms, other shapes in the
whirling chaos, fighting against the form. Losing.

Sarah shivered, frozen in terror as she stared up at the shape.

Fear. Cold fear gripped her and refused to let go.

She wanted to do something, anything but she couldn't move.

Still the mass of chaos swirled, growing in size, more shapes swirling within
it.

She wanted to scream.

But no scream emerged.

* * *

Alyson was worried. Worried about Sarah. Her friend had looked terrible when
she'd arrived on set and now looked even more tired.

"Rough night?" the red head asked cautiously.

"No. Yes. Just nightmares."

"Bad?"

"If you call waking up in a sweat and screaming bad. Ever have those?"

"I.. yeah.. Sometimes."

"And you really want to move but you can't. It's like there's some invisible
force holding you in place and... Hey are you okay?"

"Sure." Alyson swallowed. "It just sounds really creepy."

"Tell me about it. Between that and having to work like this all day, well
things are kind of tiring me out."

"Well maybe your luck will change soon enough."

"I hope so. I really hope so."

"Sarah is your lip-"

"Bleeding. Yeah. I zigged when I should have zagged. Lunged when I should
have ducked. You know how stage fighting can be."

"No. But I know you should get something on that. Here."

She handed Sarah a tissue and the actress tenderly dabbed her lip.

"Do you know any natural recipes or something that can help sleep?"

"Warm milk? Sorry Sarah. I'm no more a witch than you are a Slayer."

"Shame. Then you could get me a sleeping potion and I could heal faster."

"Wishful thinking for us all."

"Yeah. I'm going to go and get some ice on this."

"Sure."

Sarah stood and headed off, pressing the tissue to her mouth. Alyson watched
her with concern. Something was going on but she had no idea of what it might
be.

But she would do what she could for her friend.

* * *

As night fell and the moon rose, the Blood Witch performed her ritual. Now
she had the vital piece of the spell. She had Sarah's blood. A small stained
issue, discarded where all thought it was of no further use. But their
concept of useful was different to her own. To her the blood was the key to
the spell, the spell that would soon weave itself around Sarah without her
ever knowing. The Blood Witch held the tissue over the candle, letting the
flames consume the paper and the blood. She chanted her words carefully,
letting each tone flow perfectly.

If all went to plan, Sarah would soon be at peace.

* * *

The demon. Again.

The same dream, exactly the same and once again there was nothing that she
could do.

She strained to move her muscles but physical control was absent.

Suddenly things seemed to change. The grim battle scene lifted, the darkness
was replaced with sunshine, the graveyard with a shady tree in a field.
Control returned to her body and she sat down, no longer afraid. Everything
seemed perfect.

Sarah sat on the blanket that covered the green grass.

A man approached. She didn't know who he was, anybody, nobody it didn't
matter.

In her dream she knew that she was content with him. Content to hold him
tight, to feel safe and warm beside him. And when he touched her she felt no
fear. She touched back and the dream proceeded to take a life of it's own.
She let go of her conscious mind, letting her dream self do what it wished,
letting her dream lover do what he wished to her. Clothes were shed magically
until they lay naked, side by side, pressed close together. Sarah savoured
the pure pleasure of the dream, knowing that there would be no ill effects or
implications. It was just a dream.

The safest sex of all.

* * *

"You're looking better this morning." Alyson noted upon seeing Sarah for the
first time that day. She did look better. Not only was she wide awake but
there was a smile on her face and a spring in her step.

"Well, I had a good night."

"That's great.. hold on you don't mean.."

"No. Not that kind of a good night. Well not really. Kind of."

"I'm not sue I follow."

"Well you know how I was having bad dreams?"

"Yeah. Nightmares."

"Well last night I had a good dream. A very good dream."

"Oh. Those dreams. Lucky you."

"I'll say. And I'm all ready to kick some vampire butt. In acting terms of
course."

"Of course."

Sarah headed for make up, the spring in her step seeming to get greater with
each stride.

She was happy alright. Something had done her a world of good.

Alyson sighed. "I wish I could have dreams like that."

* * *

The Blood Witch smiled. Things were going perfectly. Sarah had no idea that
the spell was in effect and no one else was any the wiser. For a time she
could rest, letting the spell run it's natural course. But there were other
spells to cast, other things to observe in the world. For the moment she was
content with the way Sarah was feeling. She herself could check the nature
of her magic, detect how her spells were working.

Now that she was enchanted she could watch Sarah if she so desired.

She knelt down on the floor, tracing a circle in front of her. Pricking her
finger she put a drop of blood into the centre and focused. The drop would be
the eye through which she could perceive her magic in effect, detecting how
it operated in respect to the other magic of the world. Her spell was a small
and subtle one, hardly anything to affect anything else, but it had been some
time since she had checked that status.

She closed her eyes and chanted.

* * *

Sarah sat in her dressing room, reading through lines for the upcoming
scenes. She wasn't needed for a while and, even though she was ready to get
into action, a moment of quiet reflection would do her good.

In mid-sentence she stopped. A shiver ran down her spine. Something was
wrong. It was as if someone was watching her. Not just someone, something.
Something dark. Something sinister. The memory of her nightmare suddenly came
to her, pushing away the pleasant memory of the night before. But with the
fear came a weariness.

She felt her eyelids slipping, no matter how hard she tried to hold them
open.

She made a move to get up but instead her body slumped to the floor.

She felt tired. So very tired.

Then blackness consumed her.

* * *

Suddenly the Blood Witch lurched from her trance, eyes flying open in shock.
There was a disturbance, something in the balance of magic was being thrown
out of alignment. Not just a ripple or a drip but a huge whirlpool of chaos.
It was something she hadn't detected, something she had overlooked all this
time, not looking into the wider world, focussing only on the target of her
spell.

It was a spell that had gone very wrong.

Because Sarah was the target of the magical upheaval.

Sarah blinked and looked around. It was a set, a Buffy set, cameras and all
in place.

But it was empty, not a soul to be seen anywhere.

"Hello?" she called out but there was no reply.

It was dream. Suddenly she knew that it was just a dream, even though it
seemed so vivid.

But why was she dreaming or sleeping. It was the middle of the day.

She spun on her heel as a voice seemed to whisper something through the still
darkness.

There was nothing to be seen anywhere.

"Is somebody there?"

"Is somebody there?" came the echoing reply.

Sarah walked forward, across the artificial graveyard to the source of the
voice.

"Who's out there?"

"Who's out there?"

"Hello?"

"Hello?"

Sarah stopped, looking in front of her. Suddenly the gravestones seemed to
form a pattern. It was as if she was facing a mirror image of the cemetery,
identical gravestones in front and behind her. But there was a difference.
Whereas behind her was a studio, the grave yard in front of her wound off
into the distance, city light visible.

And there, In the middle of the mirror graveyard was a mirror Sarah.

But it wasn't Sarah, she knew that straight away.

It was Buffy, complete with stake in hand, watching Sarah watching her.

Wordlessly Sarah stepped forward, reaching out her hand as Buffy did the
same.

Then they touched.

"SARAH!"

Sarah's eyes flew open. She shook her head and blinked, taking a fast track
ride back to reality. Alyson was kneeling beside her on the floor of her
room.

"Alyson. What's going on?"

"You must have blacked out there."

"No. I. I was having a dream."

"A.. dream?" Alyson swallowed nervously.

"Yeah. For some reason I fell asleep and was dreaming."

"Good dream or bad dream?"

Sarah considered for a second. "Weird dream. I was on set but no-one else was
there. And there was this whole other set only it was real. And there was a
real Buffy. I just touched her hand and you woke me. Does that mean anything
to you?"

"No. But I think it means something. Sarah you're in serious danger."

"What?"

"Something really bad is about to happen. I meant to protect you but all it
did was hide the warning signs."

"The what? What are you talking about?"

"Come with me right now."

Sarah was still too groggy to put up any sort of a fight. Alyson led her by
her hand, out of her dressing room and to her own.

Only once they were inside, with the door locked, did Alyson talk again.

"Sarah, there's a massive convergence of magic focussing on you."

"Magic? What are you talking about?"

"Look, Sarah you know how I said I'm not a witch? Well I am. And I can cast
spells and that sort of thing. I cast a spell on you yesterday."

"You did what?"

"It was a protection spell. I was worried you'd get sick or hurt or
something. But instead it just covered up the signs that something was out to
get you."

"Okay, Alyson I'm going to go and get help now."

"No!" The red head put her hand firmly on Sarah's shoulder. "It's not
something you can stop like that. I think it has something to do with your
dreams. And why you fell asleep just now."

"Alyson I really think you should calm down."

"You don't believe me? Fine." She raised her hand and produced a needle,
pricking her finger.

"Alyson?" Sarah's eye filled with sudden fear. "What are you doing?"

"The magic I use requires blood to work. I'm a blood witch"

"Oh." Was all Sarah managed to say, shuffling towards the door carefully."

Alyson chanted a quick incantation and the drop of blood floated out into the
air and flared into a small globe of red light.

Sarah stopped and blinked, disbelieving of what she saw.

"Is.. that..?" the blonde stared at the hovering light.

"Magic." Answered Alyson.

"But.. but.. when did you learn magic.. how did you learn magic?"

"I.." Alyson stopped and swallowed nervously, diverting her eyes. The globe
of light faded from vision "I'd rather not talk about it. Anyway," she shook
her attention back to the present, "There's something out there coming to get
you. I could sense it in the flow of magic."

"You cast a spell on me?" Sarah suddenly realised. "You didn't even tell me?"

"I couldn't. Protection spells are voided if the subject is told about it.
Which I just did but it wasn't going to work anyway. It just deluded you."

"From what?"

"From the truth. Those dreams were a warning they were about to tell you
something before my interfering spell got in the way. Damn it!"

"Alyson don't beat yourself up. You were just trying to help." Sarah was
amazed at the speed at which she was buying in to the magic explanation. "So
how can I find that information."

"I don't know how long we've got. This room has wards on it but I think this
thing is more powerful than that. We have to find out what you saw."

"How?"

"Ever been hypnotised?"

"Not that I can remember."

"Yeah well pretty much no one remembers." Alyson said softly.

"Remembers what?"

"Never mind. Look are you willing to do this?"

"I guess. I can trust you right?"

"Sarah, I may be a witch but I'm still your friend. Give me your hand."

Sarah stretched out her palm.

"This might sting for a second."

"What? Ow!" Sarah flinched as a small needled pricked her finger. Alyson
squeezed and a small droplet of blood formed.

"I know what you're thinking, It's a pretty lame way to cast magic. But
beggers can't be choosers. Oh and the needles magically sterile if you're
worried."

"I trust you."

"Okay then."

Once again Alyson chanted and the droplet of blood spun into the air to
become a glimmering red light.

"Now Sarah, I want you to focus on the light. Just look at it, concentrate on
it. Forget about everything else and just listen to the sound of my voice.
Watch the light. Watch it spinning around, spinning around. I want you to
watch in spinning, concentrate on it spinning around, spinning around.

Sarah watched the red light as it spun before her, relaxing her mind as she
did. She listened to Alyson's voice, a voice she trusted, smooth and passive,
repeating the words over and over.

"Watch the light spinning. Just relax. Relax. You're starting to feel drowsy
now, just slightly drowsy, still watching the light, Feeling sleepy, sleepy."

Alyson took Sarah's hand and gently squeezed another drop of blood, this time
casting a sleep spell. Sarah's eyes drooped, struggling to remain open as she
watched the spinning light.

"Don't fight it Sarah. You're feeling very sleepy. Very sleepy."

Sarah's eyes closed and didn't open again, her face peaceful.

"Do you feel safe Sarah?"

"Yes.. I'm safe here." She replied dreamily.

"Good. Now I want you to remember the dream you had the other night. But
you're not going to be scared now because I'll be there with you and you're
safe alright?"

"Alright." Sarah agreed.

"Good. Now You're in the dream now Sarah. Totally safe. Nothing can hurt
you."

"Nothing can hurt me."

"Tell me where you are."

"Sunnydale."

"You're on the set here?"

"No. I'm in Sunnydale. In the graveyard."

"What time is it?"

"Night."

"And what can you see."

"It.." Sarah twitched in discomfort. "It's here."

"Sarah? What is it?"

"I.. I don't know. It's evil. Dark. I'm scared. I'm so scared."

"Don't be scared Sarah. I'm here. You're safe remember?"

"Okay." Sarah replied with a tremble in her voice.

"What does it look like."

"It's like a storm. A huge storm. All dust and clouds but it's made up of
things so many things. Like a patchwork man. I can't move I want to run away.
I can't run. It's so evil I can feel it. Help me. Help me."

"I'm here Sarah." Alyson gripped her friends hand, partly for her own comfort
as well. "Is there anyone else in the dream?"

"Yes. I.. I can't make them out. They're trying to fight it but they can't
it's too strong. They can't beat it. And I can't help them.

It's too frightening. Help. Help me. I don't want to be here. I want to get
away please help. Help!"

"Sarah." You're safe here.

"No! It's coming to get me. It's coming to get us all." Sarah squirmed in
distress, flinching from side to side.

"Sarah on the count of three you'll wake up alright."

"Please!"

"One."

"Somebody help me!"

"Two."

"No!"

"Three."

Sarah's eyes flew open, tears dripping from them. She gasped for breath,
having just woken from a nightmare. She tried to say something and failed.
Instead she just leant forward and hugged Alyson.

After a few seconds Alyson broke the silence.

"We have to get ready."

"It's coming to get me isn't it?"

"I don't know what it is Sarah but I'll do my best to protect you. Where's
the best place we can.."

"Alyson!"

The young witch turned to look behind her. There she saw her dressing table
mirror folding in on itself, spinning about in a liquid swirl.

"Sarah! Move!" Alyson stood and pulled Sarah up after her. Behind them the
maelstrom was increasing in size, starting to reach for them. Alyson fumbled
with her door lock then finally opened it, both girls rocketing out of the
door, much to the surprise of the set crew. When they looked in at the room
the girls had just run from, there was nothing at all out of the ordinary.

* * *

The girls ran, exiting the soundstage and sprinting, in no particular
direction, across the Warner Brothers sight. They ran until they could find
an isolated spot, somewhere that Alyson could cast more powerful spells
without attracting attention.

"Did we get away from it?" Sarah asked, looking about with concern.

"I don't think it's something we can get away from."

"You've dealt with this sort of thing before right?"

"Well. Sort of. I guess."

"How many times?"

"Once."

"What was."

"Don't ask."

The wall beside them started to bend, taking the form of the mouth, opening
up to draw them in.

"I hate this part." Alyson gritted her teeth a drew a blade across her palm,
squeezing it into a fist as she chanted, ignoring the burning pain.

Before them a red translucent barrier formed, blocking off the swirling
maelstrom. Now that it had formed it was less of a mouth and more of a
portal, a portal into something that neither girl wanted to know.

"Can you hold that for long?" Sarah asked, staring at the gaping maw.

"No." Alyson admitted.

"So what can we do?"

"Hold out as long as we can and hope some help arrives."

"What are the chances of that?"

"Unlikely." Alyson peered into the abyss, inches away from her face. "Very
unlikely."

    

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