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Turn To Stone, Part One
The Desert's On Fire

Giles: “But you’ve mastered so much. I mean your strength and resilience alone…”


Buffy:  “Yeah. Strength. Resilience. Those are all words for hardness. I’m starting to feel like being the Slayer is turning me into stone.” 

In the desert


Buffy fidgeted again on the hard slab of sandstone she had been sitting on for the past several hours. Waiting. Watching. Bored. She smiled to herself, remembering Giles with his magic gourd and that ridiculous dance, um, ritual he had performed. He must love her if he was willing to sacrifice his dignity in front of her. She looked around her, seeing nothing but sand and scrub grass and endless, endless brown. Even the mountain lion, her growly but seemingly harmless animal spirit guide, had disappeared.


She sighed softly. Maybe she was doing this wrong. Giles had just told her to go and quest. What if she was supposed to be chanting or praying or oh, didn’t the Native Americans use some kind of drug when they went on quests like this? Not that she thought Giles would ever be cool with giving her drugs. Well, except that one time when the Council made him. Some Tylenol wouldn’t be unwelcome at the moment, though.


She propped her elbows on her knees and cupped her chin her hands. She giggled, picturing the look on Giles’ face when she had refused to leave until he had hokey-pokeyed his way in and out of the circle. She wondered what he was doing now. Chanting? Working some mojo to get this quest on the road? Or maybe pouring through some fifty-pound Watcher’s Diary and McGyvering tea out of twigs and cactus flowers. She giggled again. Great, she was getting the sleepy sillies.


Sleepy. So little sleep, lately. When was the last time she had rested? Riley. Mom. Dawn. God, longer ago than that. Angel. Faith. So many people she had loved. Gone or going. Her eyes closed and her arms slid forward on her knees until they crossed and she could rest her head on them. Love, love, love…


Buffy awoke suddenly, hearing, smelling and feeling the fire before she saw it. It burned bright before her in the empty desert. And suddenly it was dark and cold around her. How long? And the fire blazed as if it had been burning for a while. She looked into it and saw a shadow…


Her eyes narrowed and then widened in recognition. Her! From the dream…"I know you,” Buffy said softly as the figure moved closer behind the fire. “You’re the First Slayer.”


The image of the First Slayer swayed behind the fire, her gaze more direct, more human than Buffy remembered, and somehow less savage. “This is a form,” a calm voice answered from the one who had known no language. “I am the guide.”


Buffy stared back at her, through the fire, realizing that this was it. The quest. And not really knowing what she was questing for. “I have a few questions.” She paused, searching for the center, the reason behind all of this. “About being the Slayer. What about love?” She stopped herself, wanting this…guide to understand she meant something deeper. She took a deep breath. “Not just boyfriend love…”


The First Slayer continued to move slowly behind the fire, peering out at Buffy from behind the flames, her face darkened by ceremonial paint, but her eyes bright and seeing far deeper than Buffy wanted her to go. “You think you’re losing your ability to love,” came the answer.


“I didn’t say that,” Buffy began defensively and then realized that she was lying to a vision. “Yeah.”

“You’re afraid that being the Slayer means losing your humanity.”


Buffy stared into the fire, to the First Slayer, this non-human, this almost-demon that she was afraid of becoming. “Does it?” she asked quietly.


The First Slayer, or guide, or Higher Power or figment of too much grief and too little sleep slowed her swaying motions and locked gazes with the Now Slayer. “You are full of love,” she answered, surprising Buffy with the joy, the peace she felt at hearing that. “You love with all your soul. It’s brighter than the fire…blinding. That’s why you pull away from it.”


Buffy looked from First Slayer and into the fire, the flames. She shook her head. It was too bright. There was nothing to see, anyway. Just red and orange and bright…blinding. “Look into it,” the First Slayer commanded. “Do not fear it. Do not fear love. It is your greatest gift.”


Buffy looked into the fire and then grimaced and looked away. It was too bright. And anyway, she didn’t fear love. She feared not knowing how to love. She looked back into the fire. Red. Flames. Bright. Nothing. Red…she felt herself falling and reached out to grab the rock she was sitting on…but there was nothing, and then…


Continued in Just Like Heaven 


Some dialogue from BtVS "Intervention." 

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