The Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations looked back and forth between each other and the massive, enthroned figure of Cernunnos.
"Worship." Cordelia said.
"Um. Yeah. Worship." Anya agreed.
"Yes, worship." Cernunnos said. "I’m a god. This is my day. I’ve just performed a miracle for you. I think it’s appropriate."
Willow, Tara, Giles, and Wesley looked back and forth at each other with nervous expressions on their faces. Angel had a similar expression, but he didn’t share it around with anyone.
"Of course," Buffy said, starting to dip to one knee. Oz caught her under her arms and hauled her back to her feet before she could reach the ground.
"Oz!" She hissed, turning on him. "What are you—" She stopped short when she realized that his eyes were glowing a soft blue.
"Ah, ah, ah," He scolded in a resonant voice, shaking a finger at her. "You know better than that. No groveling."
"Then what do you want us to do?" Buffy asked, frustrated. The thing was that she wanted to worship him, a first for someone as irreligious as herself. Compared to the glorious light and music of Belial, or even the world-ripping abomination of Angelus, he was almost mundane. He was just a twenty-foot tall naked guy with antlers.
But in his presence, there was a sense of awe and majesty that neither of the other two had even come close to.
But even more than the power, she felt love. As much as Belial had hated her—and more—this being loved her. She knew that somehow, in her heart. More than her mother, more than Giles, more than Riley or even Angel.
She wanted nothing more than to fall on her knees, kiss his hooves, and repeat "Thank you" and "I love you" in an endless, senseless stream.
But that wasn’t what he wanted. So what did that leave?
Cernunnos shook his head. It could have been in response to the question that she had spoken aloud, but she had little doubt that he had also heard every thought she’d just had. "Mortals. Is that really the only way you can think of to do this? Well, it really is a necessary part of the process. You’ll see why. Here, let me help you get started."
Suddenly, Riley went ramrod straight and his eyes flared with blue light, just like Oz’s.
On Buffy’s other side, Angel straightened as well, and his eyes flared gold.
"What are you doing?" Buffy asked, her questions forgotten as she looked around the circle. The other women followed her lead, and saw that all of the men were like Riley, Angel, and Oz: standing straight, their eyes aglow.
"Don’t worry," Cernunnos said softly. "All of your questions will be answered. That’s what all this is for, after all."
"Are you possessing them?" She asked, horrified. She’d been body-switched and diabolically influenced, and some of her friends had been possessed. Each instance had left her feeling sick. Violated. If Cernunnos could so casually commit mass soul-rape…
"Yes, if that’s the only word you have for it," Gunn said.
"But possession isn’t really that accurate," Wesley added. "It implies that I have forced my way in where I don’t belong."
"But that’s not the way it is," Oz concluded. "I am them. They are me. All men are the God…" his head turned to Willow.
"As all women are the Goddess," she finished, her face lighting up with comprehension.
"Exactly," Cernunnos agreed. "I am in all men, and I am in everything male."
Buffy calmed. She didn’t understand. Not really. But if Willow thought it was okay, it probably was.
"I am the Oak King, the Stag King," Cernunnos continued. "I am the Sun, who both nurtures and burns—and all men are sons of the Sun. I am the storm: the thunderbolt and the falling rain."
"I am the Father," Giles said.
"The Brother," Xander added.
"The Husband." Angel.
"The Lover." Riley.
"And even the Son," Wesley finished.
"My wisdom is man’s wisdom," Cernunnos said.
"The wisdom of the Warrior, the Champion, the Guardian," Angel said.
"The police officer, the soldier—the wisdom of facing violence so those who could not withstand violence may have peace." Riley elaborated.
"The wisdom of standing on the front line so that your death may buy the lives who stand behind you." Gunn said.
"The wisdom of standing up for yourself," Xander added.
"The wisdom of knowing how—and when—to meet force with force." Giles finished.
"Mine is the wisdom of the Hunter," Oz began again. "The fisherman."
"The Farmer," Riley added. "The wisdom of daring the woods and seas, or working your muscles raw to build or bring back what others need."
"The wisdom of the Provider," Giles concluded.
"The human spirit grows toward greater wholeness in these days," Cernunnos said softly. "Men learn the wisdom of Heart that they dismissed as being ‘for women only’ before: nurturing, healing, compassion. Women learn the Hand wisdom that men have kept from them for so long, especially the wisdom of the Provider." He smiled softly, and buds swelled on all the flowers poking up out of the grass. "If the Slayers always knew the wisdom of the Warrior, it’s because they’ve always been my daughters." Then his smile turned into a knowing grin, a twinkle returned to his black eyes, and all the flowers burst into bloom. "But there’s a few things that my boys can teach their sisters yet."
"Like what?" Buffy asked.
Cernunnos quirked his grin at her and sudden heat flashed through her body, settling into a low throb between her legs. Her breathing quickened and she licked her lips—not so much because they needed moistening as because her tongue was suddenly looking for something to do.
"Have you ever noticed how many women slouch?" Cernunnos asked. "It goes beyond simple bad posture. It’s something they learn, usually right around puberty. If you cave in your shoulders enough, you hide your height, you hide your breasts—people don’t pick on you as much because you’re not a threat to anyone."
Oz took Tara by the shoulder with one hand and placed the other between her shoulder blades, pressing gently but irresistibly, until her spine was straight and her shoulders were back. Then he cupped his hand under her chin and raised her head until her bangs no longer hid her face.
The men—acting in unison again—all grinned in the same satisfaction as Cernunnos.
Buffy was startled by the transformation. She hadn’t known that Tara was so tall. Or so well-endowed. She was at least a C-cup and her eyes were on a level with Xander’s. But the real change was somehow less quantifiable. Standing like this, Tara looked more powerful—like a high priestess or a queen, like a woman instead of some little-girl-lost. Usually, Buffy thought of Tara as someone she needed to protect. Right now, she looked like the big sister that Buffy had never had.
"The wisdom of standing straight and tall," Oz said.
Giles crossed the circle to Joyce, who looked like someone who hadn’t expected to be called on in class by the time he arrived. He took her by the shoulder with one hand, smiled at her reassuringly, then ran his fingers through his own once-dark hair.
She smiled and closed her eyes as Giles ran his fingers through her hair, and Riley, his mind high, peaceful, and as clear as it had ever been, wondered if she was purring like Buffy did when he did that.
Angel knew that she was.
The men knew what was happening, but it took the women a moment to realize. One gasp followed another as it hit home: with each stroke of Giles’ fingers, some of the ash-blond faded from Joyce Summers’ hair, until more of it was gray than not.
Buffy felt a momentary twinge of guilt as she wondered how many of those gray hairs she was responsible for. She knew that her mother added some color from time to time. Who didn’t? But she’d never suspected…
"The wisdom of being comfortable in your own body," Giles said.
Joyce’s eyes flew open, and her expression turned from contentment to horror as Giles, still smiling, brought a gray lock up in front of her face. The horror faded to confusion as Giles raised the lock to his lips and kissed it.
"Smooth," Faith approved. "Very smooth."
"He’s a god. Of course He’s smooth," Buffy said out of the side of her mouth.
"Actually, I had nothing to do with that," Angel said, causing both Slayers to jump. "Maybe you underestimate your father."
Buffy opened her mouth to argue that Giles wasn’t her father, then closed it again. She already knew the answer: yes, he was. Faith was already nodding.
The "lesson" continued as Xander approached Anya and took her in his arms. "The wisdom," he began, then interrupted himself by kissing Anya deeply. After a long moment, he released her mouth and stared into her eyes. His eyes weren’t glowing anymore—probably a gesture of courtesy from Cernunnos—but there was much more than Xander in them. "Of being unafraid of your desires." Then he started to kiss Anya again and she relaxed into his arms. He reached down with one hand, cupped her ass, and pressed her against him as he ground his hips into hers. She gave a short squeal, muffled by his mouth, which then faded into a moan.
"What does he mean by that?" Cordelia asked. Normally, she would have shouted at the passionate couple to get a room, nobody wanted to see that. But strange…tonight, she did. Tonight it seemed beautiful.
Suddenly Buffy’s voice wafted out of empty air: "Maybe you need to make the first move."
"That won’t make me a slut?" Willow’s disembodied voice answered.
Willow flushed and hunched her shoulders shamefacedly. Tara put a comforting arm around her shoulders.
"None of that, now," Cernunnos’ deep, resonant voice said from Oz’s mouth as he put his own arm around Willow’s waist
Joyce was outraged. Hadn’t her generation dealt with that double standard? It was perfectly acceptable for a woman to do the asking these days. She opened her mouth to say so—then shut it again, remembering her own shame over her dealings with Rupert. But then, maybe that was what he was saying.
Others started to think about that as well: Buffy started to look back and forth between Riley and Angel.
Faith, who had long since accepted the label of "slut" as inevitably hers and inevitably her, began to wonder.
"Good, good," Cernunnos said. "You’re learning. That’s what this is all about. Now…" Xander and Oz disengaged from their lovers and raised their hands as all of the other male entities in the circle were doing. "Dance." The god and the men all clapped their hands in thunderous unison
Then Cernunnos settled back into his "throne" as the men started clapping in the two-beat-rest heartbeat rhythm that Oz had been beating out on his drum earlier.
Clap, clap. Clap, clap.
One after another, the women joined them, stepping up into the circle and starting to clap.
Clap, clap. Clap, clap.
They could feel something building again, but this time it wasn’t some outside force waiting for the proper channels to open so it could fill them. This was something from inside, something filling them up from deep within, like an artesian well in their souls.
Clap, clap. Clap, clap.
The men’s eyes no longer glowed, but they were still wild.
Clap, clap. Clap, clap.
Angel stepped out into the circle, clapped twice in rhythm, then stomped his foot during the break. Everyone joined him almost immediately.
Clap, clap, stomp. Clap, clap, stomp. Clap, clap, Stomp. Clap clap Stomp. ClapclapSTOMP.ClapClapSTOMP.
Angel took off racing toward the fire. The clapping and stomping cut off abruptly, replaced by gasps of fright and reaching hands that were far too late. No more than three feet from the fire, he planted his foot and launched himself, seeming to fly above the flames.
He landed on his feet on the other side and kept moving, spinning into a blur that only ended when he came back to a stop in the circle, letting his shirt and trench coat go sailing into the night.
The gasps of fright turned to cheers.
And then they began to dance.
Were fiddles playing? Pipes? Drums? There couldn’t have been, but it seemed like there were. In fact, when they discussed it later, they would all agree that they had heard music, but hadn’t known where it was coming from. And they hadn’t cared, either. It was like a dream: what could and couldn’t be didn’t matter. There was only what was, and it was accepted without thinking.
At first, as they danced around the circle, their hands were joined, but soon they broke into leaping and spinning, waving and gyrating, each doing their own thing but each still moving around the circle.
As they danced, other items of clothing followed Angel’s shirt and jacket out into the darkness until all the men were stripped to the waist, and all of the women were in T-shirts or even brassieres.
As Buffy danced and watched her friends dance, her mind was high and wild and empty of the clutter that usually filled it, and she saw certain things clearly and without her lenses for the first time.
Her Xander-shaped friend was actually—who would have believed it?—pretty damn hot. Willow—the person that she still saw as the shy, mousy girl who that she’d pulled out of her shell—was fully topless, her small breasts translucently white, tipped with coral-pink nipples. And why not? She was a witch, and this was Beltane. Full nakedness was sure to come at some point, and in Buffy’s current state of mind nothing seemed more natural.
But there were two people she finally saw clearly for perhaps the first time in her life:
Her father—Giles—her father, his body a network of scars laid over a hard foundation of muscle. It was the body of an old warrior, battered and strong, still fighting on. It was the body of a man.
And her mother. For the first time, she saw her mother’s breasts as something other than a mere part of the geography of her body. For the first time, she saw something that she recognized in her mother’s smile, a smile that was neither polite nor refined. For the first time, she recognized that her mother was a woman just like any other, a woman like herself.
She had always thought of them as neutered somehow, parents instead of people, somehow used up, worn out—what had Cordelia called Joyce during Xander’s love spell?—a "former". Yes, that was right, and perhaps that was how they had thought of themselves. But she saw the look passing between them, that reawakening in their eyes. Maybe they were used and worn, but they were still a man and a woman, still people of power and passion.
For the first time in her life, Buffy could picture her parents—not Hank Summers, but her true father, the man before her and with her now—making love, holding tight to each other, sweating and straining, and not be embarrassed.
Nothing seemed more natural.
And the dance went on.
Then Xander caught Anya’s hand again and spun her out of the circle, toward a place on the edge of the dell that had been waiting for them since the Earth had coalesced out of space-floating dust.
Gunn stopped in place and held out his hand to Faith, locking eyes with her across the circle—inviting, offering the choice. She leaped the fire, as he had known she would, took him by the hand, and pulled him out into the shadows.
The broken circle scattered. Willow, Oz, and Tara crossed their arms and clasped their hands and formed a triangle as they spun to their place, while Angel and Riley simply took one of Buffy’s hands each and spun away across the ground like a propeller blade. Giles, perhaps recognizing the significance of what was happening more than the young people did, caught Joyce up in his arms and carried her off.
Cordelia and Wesley were left standing beside each other as the circle fragmented. Their feet fell still and they looked at each other as soft moans and cries started to come from the flickering shadows, both of them breathing harder than the exertion of the dance would have required
Both of them, in that moment, experienced an epiphany similar to the one that Buffy had experienced during the dance. Cordelia hadn’t thought of Wesley as a person at all during her initial attraction to him; just a Pierce Brosnan-like face and a cool accent. Since then, she’d thought of him as a hapless, overgrown boy, even as he’d proven himself again and again. For his own part, he’d gone from attraction to annoyance, thinking of her as a spoiled, ignorant child as they faced horror after otherworldly horror together.
Now she saw him gleaming with sweat, all lean muscle and claw scars, his eyes clear and blue. A man. For his part, he saw her fuller of breast and rounder of hip than when he’d met her; her once obsessively cared for hair sweat-stuck to her forehead and unheeded. A woman in body, a woman in spirit.
"Miss Chase," he said, his voice trembling but formal. "Will you do me the honor?" This may be Beltane, and he may be the God, but she was still the Goddess and consent was not taken for granted.
She stared back at him, her breath growing more panting and ragged rather than calming. A lifetime of training to choose for status or advantage rebelled against it, as it had against Xander and Doyle. He was poor, somewhat dorky, and…
And without his glasses she could see that his eyes were the color of the a wild summer sky.
Status and advantage meant nothing to her hard, tingling nipples or the hot, rolling ball of desire growing in her stomach, or the wet, throbbing hunger in her cunt.
"What the hell," she rasped, pulling him into a kiss that erased forever the memory of those first fumblings in the stacks of the Sunnydale High library.
Spike closed the car door behind him and looked at the other vehicles gathered in the parking area. The wolf’s van—wild horses running through a mountain stream on the side now, was it? Very pretty—the Poofter’s giant penis-substitute of a convertible, the Librarians mid-life-crisis mobile, and a few of the others.
"This is the place, all right," he said as he leaned against his car and lit a cigarette. Did they really think he didn’t know about this place? Demons that lived any length of time in California, or did any serious studying about the Hellmouth, heard about the place out in the desert that demons went into, but didn’t come out of.
Big deal. The Sunnydale Superfriends and their LA branch were facing their "greatest foe" tonight. If it wasn’t him, and it wasn’t Angelus, and it wasn’t even Belial—well, then, this was something he had to see.
"Threaten me with what I fear most and think it’ll keep me away?" He muttered to himself. "They don’t know me very well."
He looked out across the desert and saw red light rising from what looked to be a natural stone amphitheater.
"I guess that’d be the place," he said, flicking his cigarette away and tugging the collar of his jacket up. "Best get moving. I don’t want to miss this."
There are some who believe that there are many gods; gods of life and death, field mouse and leviathan, wood and stone, automobile and internet, music and storm, television and dream. Others believe that there is One God, in a distant Heaven. Others believe that the same God is everywhere, in everything.
All of them are right. All of them are wrong.
Regardless, one thing is true: it is a truly rare thing for a god (or an aspect of God) to fully, physically manifest on Earth. That was just what was happening in the nameless holy place in the California desert that night, and it was sending ripples throughout the world.
Visionaries and seers and dreamers and the insane would see visions and speak prophecy all through the night. Many of the latter would wake up in the morning with their minds whole and well, never quite remembering what they had seen that had healed them.
Clouds coalesced from nowhere over the desert and poured down rain, everywhere but in the dell. The next day, the desert would bloom, but some of the life that was already there was washed away by flash floods.
Across the state of California, young lovers made their first experimental fumblings. New lovers were taken. Old lovers and spouses of many years awoke to a renewed passion. That January and February, the papers would note a West Coast baby boom. What they wouldn’t notice was that similar baby booms had occurred in every species, including plants.
And across much of the West Coast, cardiac monitors flatlined in the intensive care units of hospitals and nursing homes alike. Trees fell in the woods and old, feeble creatures of all kinds found a private place to die, as animals often do.
But the Heroes knew none of this. And if they’d known, they wouldn’t have cared. There were no gods, no life and death, no outside world. For them, there was only love and desire.
* * *
Buffy, Angel, and Riley closed into a triangle as they reached a clear, soft-looking spot.
"Are we going to try again?" Angel asked in a hoarse whisper.
"No," Buffy answered, reaching up and pulling her men’s heads down close to hers. "Do," She gave Angel a long, hard kiss, and his tongue was cool until her mouth started to warm it, and tasted ever-so-distantly of copper and salt. "Or do not," she gave the same to Riley, and his tongue was even hotter then hers. "There is no try."
Angel and Riley met each other’s eyes, then looked down at the woman they both loved, as she looked back and forth between them, a challenge in her eyes.
They understood what she had meant by her half-joke. There would be no backing out this time, no trying it out and seeing how it worked. Once they chose, there would be no going back.
They felt a hunger in them, a need older than humanity. There was lust, oh, yes—Riley and Angel’s hard-ons chafed against the confinement of their pants, as Buffy’s nipples showed through her tank top. Even Riley could smell her rich, earthy musk. But it was more than lust. It was the need to join with someone, become a part of them. Life moved through them, and creation, and even Angel’s chest was heaving, and they knew that there was really no choice at all.
They would never know which one of them said "Then let’s do it." The voice was deep, and hoarse, and charged with need, so they couldn’t even tell the sex of the speaker.
This time, there would be no interruptions.
Giles was still coming down from his possession by Cernunnos, and although he was intensely aware of the woman pressed up against him, her breasts soft and bare and sweat-slick against the hard plain of his own chest, Revelation was still spinning through his mind.
"We’ve been fools," he said while he was taking a breath. Then he kissed her again, and his tongue returned to exploring her mouth. He could taste the faint, leftover sweetness of marshmallow and chocolate, but her own sweetness lay beneath it. Is this what Angel and Riley tasted? No wonder they found it so intoxicating. "Such fools. There is no old here."
She looked up at him incredulously. "I guess I need to get your attention," she said. Then she dropped to one knee, and with a few quick, practiced motions—
Just like riding a bike, flashed through Joyce’s mind—
His belt and fly were open, his pants were drooping, and his cock was bobbing out in front of him, so high and hard that it was almost poking him in the stomach.
"Forget old, Ripper," she said, the perfect words coming from somewhere other than her mind. "Let’s fuck like teenagers." With that, she took him in one hand and sucked him up into her mouth and all semblance of Revelation was blown from his mind.
"What’s this?" Faith asked as Gunn lifted her up and set her down on a boulder.
"This is your altar. I’m going to worship you," Gunn answered.
"You’ve done some down-and-dirty, roll-in-the-hay fucking, and that can be plenty of fun. But you’ve never been worshipped. Every woman oughtta be worshiped every now and again."
"All right," Faith laughed. "We’ll do it your way." She pulled off the sports bra she’d been wearing, then leaned forward and arched her back, jutting her small, high breasts out at him. "Start praying."
He laid his big hands on the flat of her chest, between the top swell of her breasts and her collarbone, then slid his fingertips down until they reached her taut brown nipples.
Her breathing quickened.
He kept up like that, stroking her with that same light, teasing touch. Of course, to her utter lack of surprise, he focused on her breasts—and why not? It made him happy at the same time he was driving her crazy, and that was beyond good. But he also ran his surprisingly delicate fingers over her shoulders, down her arms, across her face, through hair.
She started to purr.
Down her legs—pull off her jeans, leaving only her panties in place—then back up, slide in, along the insides of her thighs.
She started to moan.
Xander put one hand on Anya’s waist and the other on her shoulder and bent her over a waist-high boulder. She sunk her fingers into the moss and gripped tight.
With a few practiced moves, Xander had her belt unbuckled, and her pants around her ankles, baring the smooth curves of her ass to the cool night air. He laid his hand on one of them, but then Anya’s tight, husky voice came back to him:
"Xander, if you do anything to me when I’m like this, I’m going to fall. Take them all the way off, Xander."
"Right." He swatted her ass once, just to remind her who had his balance and was thus in charge here (and to hear her pleasure-startled yelp), caught her hips to steady her, then dropped to one knee and bent to the work at hand.
Lift one foot. Pull the pants down off the foot. Take the other foot—
"No," Anya said, spreading her legs and planting her feet. "That’s good enough."
Tara landed on her back in the soft grass and Willow landed on top of her, straddling her hips and pressing hot kisses into her face. Then Willow felt a still-familiar weight settle onto her as Oz’s flat, hard chest pressed up against her back and the hard ridge of his cock pressed against her ass.
Tara looked over Willow’s shoulder, where she met Oz’s clear, dark eyes.
"I’ll take low, you take high," He said.
"What are you—" Willow started to ask, but Tara slid her hands between their bodies and cupped her breasts, and the red-headed hacker never got the words "talking about" out of her mouth.
Tara raised her lover into an upright position. "Careful," she warned Oz, nudging the inside of his thigh with her knee to let him know that he, having backed up a little, was now kneeling directly above it.
"I will be," he said. Then he twined his arms around Willow, and his skillful fingers had the front of her pants open in seconds. One-handed. Still hadn’t lost it.
Then he slid his other hand down her panties, cupping her soft, warm fur, and slid one of those skillful fingers into her cleft, which was already hot and slick.
Willow gasped at the feeling she’d never forgotten: Oz’s hands. Fingers as long as Tara’s, but thicker and stronger, and hard with calluses from playing the guitar, where Tara’s were soft.
To feel both at once--!
Oz could still play her like a guitar, and her nerves sang in her cunt (such a blunt word Anglo-Saxon like "drunk", so blunt and earthy, and it’s been used so ugly but it’s a good word, I like it, does any other word match ‘cock’? I don’t think so, and they’re both good words, primal, like animal grunts and that’s good, that’s right because cock and cunt are where we stop being polite, where I stop being sweet and nice and start being hungry, where I stop being someone’s girlfriend and start being somebody’s mate), sending a web of pleasure shooting through her abdomen. But Tara was stroking and squeezing her breasts, flicking her nipples, and the nerves up there were purring, and the blend was sending her thoughts spinning away in fragments.
"This is for you, baby," Oz whispered in her ear.
"Yes," Tara agreed. "Just enjoy us."
That focused her mind on a thought, perhaps the only thought she was capable of right now. "Just enjoy?" she panted. "When there’s so…much to…explore?" She reached back with one hand and cupped (cock, that’s his cock, yes, I like that word), and reached down with the other to stroke one of Tara’s heavy breasts. "I don’t think so."
"Oof!" Wesley landed on his back on the ground, then Cordelia landed on top of him. He didn’t have a chance to get his breath back before she grabbed him by the back of the head and shoved her tongue into his mouth.
He was going to suffocate. But what a way to go.
No, just as he was starting to see stars, she peeled her mouth away.
"Cordelia," he gasped, unsure whether he was going to follow it with a request for a moment’s breath, or a plea not to stop.
"Shut up," she commanded, her voice rough with need, as she pulled his belt open.
"Yes," he agreed, never questioning what prompted him to say "My Queen."
Like acolytes helping a priestess with her vestments, Riley and Angel slid Buffy’s pants down her legs. She stepped out of them with regal grace, and was left standing naked in the firelight. She closed her eyes and let the sensations wash over her.
Cool, smooth hands slid up one leg; hot, trembling, callused ones up the other.
Fire and ice. Her men. She placed her hands on their heads and tried to force her hands not to clench in their hair. One short and dry and spiky, the other sweaty and longer, but only by comparison.
A hot mouth kissed its way up her belly and stopped at her right nipple, sucking hungrily. A cold tongue traced its teasing way up her leg.
Her hands slid down the broad, muscled expanses of their backs.
One was hot and slick. The other cool and dry. Her men. Fire and ice.
One hot hand slid up her stomach, and stroked her breast, trembling, so strong, trying so hard to be gentle. The other hot hand, more confident, clutched and pressed at her ass the way it knew that she liked.
The cool tongue traced up the inside of her thigh. It felt so cold against her own heat—fire and ice—and she could feel her cunt full and heavy and slippery, almost dripping wet, and she could feel her desire, coiled in her womb, growing and building and pressing—
Two thumbs opened her lips, and the tongue flicked at her clit.
"Oh, God." Buffy gasped and her eyes flew open, and they weren’t just bundles of sensations anymore. There was Angel, on his knees in front of her, slowly sinking his face into her crotch, sliding his hands around her legs to press her closer. There was Riley, half-standing beside her, his head bent to her breast.
Pleasure flash-flared through her body with each flick of Angel’s tongue, each stroke of Riley’s hot hands. She could feel the pleasure building…growing…
Across the clearing, Cernunnos smiled.
"Please," she begged. "Please, I’m ready for you. Now—" Then her hand, which had been stroking down Riley’s back, found the waistband of his jeans. "Hey…no fair…" She gasped, her face trying to scowl. "Too…many…clothes…"
They lost no time in remedying that situation. As they were pulling their pants off, Buffy had a moment to catch her breath. Oh, she was still just as horny as ever—her lust still roiled and raged in her belly—but she didn’t feel like she was about to explode any second. Not that it would have mattered if she had—she was a woman, she could come as often as she wanted, when she could get it. But she wanted something else, something more. She wanted…
Her men were standing naked in front of her now. Angel was ivory-white, while Riley was bronzed—especially his face and arms, what she’d heard him call a "farmer’s tan", but really everything but his shorts-lines—but both looked like statues of some ancient, forgotten fertility gods: all gleaming, rippling muscle, their cocks high and hard in front of them.
She reached out, took hold of both, and began to stroke them.
Riley gasped and Angel moaned, and they both went rigid. They both throbbed in her hand. Hot and cold.
"I want…" What did she want? It was crazy, this was crazy, how could she even think of such a thing? "I want…you both…now…" Because it was tonight. Because it was Beltane and there was nothing else in the world that mattered but her men and her need. Fire and ice.
She needed to be more clear. "I want you both inside me…together. All of us together. Now."
Riley and Angel looked at each other.
"How do we do this?" Riley asked, trying to keep his thoughts from scattering completely as Buffy’s hand slid up his length again. "I’ve never—oh, God—done anything…hff…like this before"
"I…huh, huh...have," Angel said. Then he caught Buffy’s hand. "I’ll be right back."
With that, he turned and, unmindful of audience or dignity, he ran across the circle for the oils.
Faith felt herself starting to tremble.
Gunn’s hands were so gentle, but she felt the power in them. It was like using Angel’s broadsword to shave her legs. But that wasn’t why she was trembling. Her pleasure was growing from individual thrills to a constant, ever-building dynamo hum and he hadn’t even touched her pussy yet. But that wasn’t why she was trembling.
She was waiting for it to start hurting—every time his fingers stroked the delicate skin between her thighs, she waited for his hands to clamp down and pry them apart—not that she wasn’t willing to open them anyway. Every time he massaged her breasts, she waited for him to start pinching and twisting.
She was getting scared. That was why she was trembling.
But why? She hadn’t been scared since she’d become a Slayer. Since then, she’d been the one calling the shots. Besides, most of the guys she’d been with had been all about getting done and getting gone, just like her.
Gunn took hold of her panties—black and plain (Hey, she thought she’d been coming here to fight)—and slid them off. She lifted her hips obligingly.
Except Xander and Riley. Xander had tried, and that had scared her—why else would she just toss him out the door afterward? Riley had said he loved her.
But they were different. Xander had been confused and a little scared and he hadn’t had the experience to live up to his good intentions. Riley had been saying "I love you" to Buffy.
But Gunn was here with her, with Faith, and he was worshipping her, worshipping her. Like she was a queen, or a goddess—
And he was kneeling down in front of her, lowering his head to her pussy, hooking her legs over his shoulders, giving one soft kiss and looking up at her with those eyes that asked too much, that asked that she be here with him before lowering his head and burrowing into her, licking and sucking and even nipping.
The pleasure was building to an almost unbearable pitch, and she knew that she would bust her nut (Does that make any sense oh who the fuck cares?) any second now. She remembered a guy in Southie, just after she’d been Chosen, whose jaw she’d broken for coming in her mouth without warning, and realized that she was that guy now. Her embarrassment just added to her fear, but it seemed like her pussy was running on a different circuit than her brain, ‘cause it was getting revved up and ready to roll.
She was trembling violently now, as if she was trying to shake herself apart.
"Faith?" Gunn asked, rising to his feet. When had he gotten naked? And oh, my, didn’t he look fine? But she couldn’t help it—she just started shaking harder. "Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?" There was concern in his eyes, of course, but there was something else there as well. Something she couldn’t identify. After all, she’d never seen adoration before. At least, not directed at her.
"N-n-no," she answered. "It-you-wonderful. Just…just…"
"Shh. It’s okay." He gathered her up in his arms and held her tight.
"Whatever it is, it’ll be okay. We can get through it."
‘We’. They were a ‘we’. Faith felt her trembling started to fade. She hadn’t felt this safe since…she couldn’t remember ever feeling this safe.
"Do you trust me?"
Faith realized, to her amazement, that she did. She heaved a sigh, relaxed against his chest, and wrapped her arms around him. The trembling was gone.
She trusted him. One best way to let him know.
She raised her head, looked him in the eyes, wrapped her legs around his, raised herself off the rock, fitted his tip to her opening, and slid down the length of his shaft.
Impalement. Hurt me now, if you will. Drop me, my feet aren’t touching the ground. I surrender myself to you.
"Yes," she answered.
Giles leaned up against a rock, locking his legs and gritting his teeth against the urge to start thrusting.
The urge passed—a little—and he looked down to where Joyce’s—his Joyce’s—now-gray head bobbed in front of him. One of the hands that had been clutching the rock against the urge to grab and hold her head in place relaxed and swung forward to stroke her hair instead.
She popped him out of her mouth and grinned up at him, but didn’t stop with her own stroking. "Are you here with me now?" She asked.
"Oh, yes," he growled, taking her by the shoulders. "Let me show you."
Her grin only broadened as he lay her back on the grass.
On his knees, Xander gently parted Anya’s labia with his fingers, like the petals of a flower, leaned his head forward, and delicately licked at her cleft, tasting her body’s honey.
He could feel his cock, rock-hard and almost painful in his jeans. But he would take his time. Yes. And she was so, so sweet…
That was when Anya kicked him with her bare foot.
"That’s enough," She panted. "Penetrate me. Now."
Xander leaped to his feet and began tugging at his belt buckle. He didn’t need to be told twice.
He was horny beyond all imagination and couldn’t wait another second. So of course he had trouble getting his pants off. His zipper got caught at half-mast and his belt seemed to refuse to unbuckle until he decided to simply shove them off by main force. This didn’t work very well. He struggled with the denim knot around his legs until he tipped over sideways and fell to the ground.
Anya, red-faced and panting, looked back over her shoulder at the noise and started to laugh.
"Laugh it up, wench," Xander growled, still struggling with his clothing.
"Give me something to take seriously," she taunted, swaying her ass at him in challenge.
Forever afterward, Xander would swear (and Anya would smile indulgently and nod) that he must have teleported out of his little unintended bondage experiment, because the very next instant, he was up and gripping Anya’s hips and slamming into her from behind.
Anya gripped the moss tighter, braced herself more firmly against the rock, and howled loudly enough to be heard over the storm and frighten animals deeper into their burrows.
It took a bit of shuffling about, but they finally got Tara’s legs free so Willow could shove her skirt up to her waist.
That done, Willow had hooked Tara’s legs over her shoulders, and buried her face in her lover’s (Yes, I like that word, I think I’ll keep it) cunt. Other nights, she might have teased her way up Tara’s legs, around her abdomen, but tonight she was hungry. So she buried her face between her lover’s legs and now she was delicately flicking at the bud of Tara’s clitoris with her tongue. The next moment she had her tongue buried as deep in Tara’s passage as it would go, taking as much in her mouth as she could, and she was so sweet, so delicious—she never tired of exploring Tara’s body, there was always more to discover, and she was seeking and probing with her tongue—now tracing a circle of fire around Tara’s lips…
But she didn’t lie down flat, as was her wont. Instead, she left her rump in the air, her legs parted, open and ready for her other lover.
And Oz was there. He took hold of her hips and slowly eased into her and she moaned into Tara while he hissed through gritted teeth.
Oz held very still, not quite daring to thrust. She felt so good and it had been so long, and there had been no one since her—wolves mated for life, after all, and—
And Willow, feeling him in her, filling her up for the first time nearly two years, a feeling she’d never forgotten, was completely uninterested in waiting by this point. She began to thrust back against him.
Oz hissed again as he felt her tight heat sliding up and down his shaft, forming a piston of flesh. Hold on hold on just hold on. He wanted to explode that instant, just empty himself into her, but he also wanted it to last all night, last forever. Gently, with just the tips of his fingers, he began to stroke Willow’s back. As it always had before, that began to calm her down.
Tara, like Giles, had to resist the urge to grab hold with a hand and grind her lover’s face into her crotch—or clamp down too hard with her legs. Instead, as Giles had, she reached down and began to stroke Willow’s hair.
Oz, having calmed both Willow and himself a bit, was pretty sure that he could last a bit longer yet. A sudden urge from the Wolf struck him, one he had no problem whatsoever with following. He leaned forward and, very carefully, very gently, fixed his mouth on the back of Willow’s neck.
Willow knew what it meant, that the Wolf was here with them, reclaiming his mate, and that was good. Wasn’t that what this was all about? She arched her back and pressed hard up against him, grinding in.
Tara, who had her eyes closed, suddenly ran her fingers through hair that was much different than that she was expecting. Soft, yes, but short and spiky. She opened her eyes and looked down, to see that she had been stroking Oz. She saw what Oz was doing—she’d seen it before, of course, she was a country girl, wasn’t she?—and couldn’t help but grin. She reached down a little further and scratched him behind the ears.
Oz looked up into her smiling, flushed face, smiled back, and nuzzled her hand.
Cordelia straddled Wesley, her knees planted firmly on either side of his hips, kneeling up straight. She was naked below the waist and he had his pants around his ankles (thoroughly binding his feet), and she was peeling his rock-hard, straining cock away from his belly and feeding its tip into the hungry, raving mouth between her own legs when he touched her shoulder and said "Cordelia? Are you sure?"
In one way, it was a dumb question—in the way that she was the one on top, the one taking action. But there was more to the question than that:
Are you sure that I’m the one you want?
I’m but a humble man, Cordelia. I’m not a hero or a wealthy man. I don’t even flatter myself that I’m that handsome. I’m just a scholar. A geek, as you’ve so kindly put it.
Are you sure you want to do this with me?
Cordelia’s reply didn’t address his question—but it did answer it.
She took her hand away, leaving his tip embedded in her. Then she leaned forward, planting her hands on both sides of his head and staring him straight in the eyes. Then she said a very strange thing. Later, she wouldn’t know why she had said it. But it was still a true thing, and it was the right thing.
"Be my friend," She said. "I love you."
Then she slammed down hard and all doubts were consumed in a fiery haze.
Angel returned with a jar of oil in his hands. "Lie down," he ordered "Not you, Buffy," he said, catching her by the arm when she started to do as he said. He pointed at Riley. "You. On your back."
Riley’s face was blank with confusion, but he obeyed, lying down in the grass.
Buffy watched him laying back and licked her lips.
"Now you, Buffy." Angel directed. He waved his hand at the reclining Lightning Warrior. "Mount him."
She grinned up at him. "Okay, if you’re going to twist my arm."
"Are threesomes always so choreographed?" she asked as she knelt down.
"Not always," He said. "But you made a special request."
So she mounted Riley, and his look of confusion was replaced by a grin, then a look of ecstasy that was almost agony as he felt her tight heat enclosing him, every slick fold and muscle gripping him. She felt his heat, his hard length filling her up and oh god it was so good and she was just starting to swivel her hips when she felt a cool hand on her ass.
"Not yet," Angel said softly. "Hold still." Then the cool hand parted her buttocks, and warm oil flowed down between them, anointing her anus. Then she felt a cool finger slowly, gently sliding into her tight passage, opening her up, lubricating her, making her ready. Then the finger was withdrawn, and she felt the blunt tip of his cock, thoroughly oiled, nudging against her ass. "Are you ready?"
Buffy realized, to her surprise, that she was. This was below and beyond, this was something from the porn movies that Forrest used to run for the frat house when they didn’t think anyone female was around. But somehow…these were her men, and there was no shame here.
"Yeah," she answered, reaching back and putting a hand on his hip. "Just, take it slow…careful."
"I wouldn’t be any other way," he said as he slowly, gently nudged his way into her.
Both Buffy and Riley held still as Angel eased into her, carefully, millimeter by millimeter and then he was in, his hips were pressed tight against her ass, and both of her men were buried to the hilt in her and she was pressed between them and she’d never felt so full and she couldn’t hold in a sob of joy.
"Buffy? Are you okay?" Angel asked, alarmed.
"Are we hurting you?" Riley asked.
"No! No, you’re not—please, please don’t stop!"
She didn’t tell them, as they started to move inside her, started to thrust, that she wouldn’t have wanted them to stop even if it did hurt, because she wanted them both in her, filling her, and even if it hurt, it would hurt so good.
She felt the pleasure building to a volcanic peak in her belly and her last thought before her mind was erased by the first of a series of atomic-level orgasms, was a fierce, primal exultation at being with her men. Her mates.
Fire and ice.
Spike took hold of two rocks and pulled himself up to the top of the ridge. This was the place, no question: storms? Animals going wild? Column of light into the night sky, holding a clear spot in place? All pretty standard Final Battle stuff. Even if it weren’t for all that, he would have been able to find his way here. There was a heavy feeling of power in the air, and it got stronger the closer he got to this place. But there was something odd. The power didn’t feel like Angelus’s or even Belial’s had. It wasn’t a question of degree, and it wasn’t just a personal "scent". It was something fundamental.
Ah, well. No point in worrying. You’re here now, aren’t you? And from all the screams and moans, it sounds like he’s opened up Hell right here, just for them. For some reason, the idea didn’t please him as much as he thought it would. He refused to wonder why. Instead, he hid behind a boulder and looked down into the dell.
Well. He certainly was an impressive one, all right. Twenty feet tall if he was an inch, plus the horns and hooves. Room for the classics in the modern world, isn’t there? Very passable "Greatest Foe" material. But he wasn’t putting that massive bulk to any use. He was just sitting there on a rock, watching. Still, it seemed to be doing the job, because the entire happy little lot of them were writhing on the ground like—
They weren’t writhing.
Shagging? He’s making them shag? What the bloody blue FUCK?
They were even with the people they would have chosen, no less. Sure, that DP thing that Blondie had going with the Poofter (going in the out door, of course. What a surprise) and Captain Righteous looked pretty intense, but "Damn Sore In The Morning" was hardly up to the standards of a proper archnemesis. Why, he himself had…
Uh-oh. Maybe the Satan Wannabe down there had heard him thinking, ‘cause He was looking up, and—
What the hell?
Had something actually moved up there beyond the hole in the clouds? And what gave him the impossible, unbelievable, absolutely flipped-tripped-bloody-raving-insane idea that it had happened just as this jumbo-sized voyeur turned his head?
Then the giant perv rose to His feet and turned to face him and then Spike had no more doubts; the very stars were moving in unison with the horned giant below him. A constellation that he’d never seen before tonight, a man with a stag’s head, looked down from Heaven at him as the antlered man below raised his head.
Bugger this, then. I’m out of here.
But he never had the chance to run. The Antlered Man lifted his gaze, and their eyes met, and Spike was lost. For unlike earlier that night, when he had ordered Faith to look in his eyes, Cernunnos did not shield his eyes for the benefit of the mortal being before him.
In that moment, Spike—William the Bloody, Childe of Angelus, once a human named William—saw worlds and stars and the tiniest of microbes, living out their lives and dying. He saw the Truth, and he saw the Plan, and his own infinitesimal place in them, and he Understood as no being in the mortal realms had ever been allowed to Understand.
He saw a love that was deeper and broader and greater than any other force. A love that dwarfed Belial’s hate, a love that set the nuclear fires burning in the hearts of suns and drove the greatest gears of the universe. A terrible, terrifying love like an endless ocean of light.
In that moment, as the ritual below, whose holiness Spike would never have been able to understand, reached its peak—as the men groaned and pressed tight and spurted into their women, as the women pressed hard and squeezed tight and cried out one last time; as the storm outside reached its peak, flooding out rat and rattlesnake alike while nourishing the roots of cacti and awakening the seeds of delicate flowers that only bloomed when such things happened; as visionaries all over the world saw something that they would never be able to remember—
In that moment, the demon known as Spike, named William the Bloody, Childe of Angelus, who had stolen and used and desecrated the murdered corpse of William the Poet, looked into the true face of God, and then he burned away into nothing and was gone forever.
Buffy awoke to the sound of a guitar playing. The storm had ended, the moon had set, and the light of a false dawn was in the sky.
She felt an unaccustomed weight on top of her, and for a moment she was disoriented. Then she opened her eyes and realized that both Riley and Angel each had an arm stretched over her protectively: Angel at her shoulders, Riley at her waist.
As carefully as she could, trying not to wake them, she disentangled herself from them and got up. She winced as she started to move, but she managed to keep the "Ow" in until she was up and away from them. Neither Angel nor Riley were poorly endowed men, and gentleness hadn’t been very high up on anyone’s list of priorities that night. She suspected that anyone who wasn’t a Slayer would have been unable to walk.
Limping slightly, she crossed the dell, following the music to its source. She found Cernunnos, once more human-sized, playing Giles’ guitar and singing something softly in Gaelic.
She paused when she caught sight of him. She was naked, her lovers’ semen dried crisp on both sides of her thighs (Should she be disgusted by that fact? She pondered that for a second. She’d hardly noticed the first time with Angel, and it hadn’t happened since then. No, she decided. Except for the one terrible mistake that was Parker, I only have sex with men that I love. Sex is messy. They’re all sticky, too, and it’s kind of nice to have a reminder that the men I love have been there. Further proof that I’m a weirdo, I suppose.), and her vagina and anus were both sore from the pounding they’d taken. Was that any kind of way to approach a god?
After a moment’s further thought, she realized that it was the only way to approach this particular god.
"Good morning," he greeted her as she took a seat on the thickly-mossed rock across from him.
"Good morning," she said. She sat for a moment, listening to him play and looking out at her sleeping friends. "Is this what you had in mind when you said ‘Worship Me’?" She asked.
He shrugged. "I am a fertility god," He answered, still softly playing the guitar.
"Fertility?" She repeated, something awful occurring to her. "Oh, crap. Couldn’t we have worshipped you with condoms?"
"Relax. I wouldn’t add to your burdens just to make a point. Heck, I’ll throw in the rest of the day free. But everyone’ll have to be just as careful as ever after midnight tonight. Faith, too, make sure she gets that."
"But I thought, when we were all mind-melded, that Faith was—you know—"
Buffy’s eyes went wide as she realized what he was saying. "Oh," she said. It was the only thing her mind could manage. "Good."
He finished whatever ancient song he’d been playing, and looked up from the instrument to her face. "So. Do you have your answers?"