The tendrils of the spell throbbed in the night, flashes of green and gold that twined together and wrenched, tearing a hole in the air in front of Faith and revealing lighting and stone. Faith clenched her fingers around her knife and looked back. "You sure this is the way, kid?"
Dawn nodded, her eyes sparking like fire and void. She held up her hands, her blood-slick fingers trembling. "Whatever did this to me," she said, "it's through there. I can feel it." She swallowed, and Willow murmured, wrapped a sweater over Dawn's shuddering shoulders.
"Okay." Faith tucked her knife into her belt, taking a moment to tie her hair back. "Can I get back out the same way?" Her gaze skipped over Dawn's shaking, and settled on Willow.
"I think so," Willow said. "It's definitely a hell dimension, but it's close to ours." Dawn slumped against her arm, and she bit her lip. "Faith, we have to--"
"I know," Faith said. She stepped forward, pressed a kiss against Dawn's forehead. "Stay strong, kid." She pulled the knife from her belt and dashed towards the portal.
"Be careful!" Dawn shouted, and then her voice was lost in the thunderclap.
Faith rolled down the slope, oil and mud oozing, caking, against her skin. She slammed to the ground, finally, jagged glass tearing her jacket and jeans, and one sliver stabbing into the base of her thumb. "Damn," she said, hissing as she yanked the glass out of her hand.
Lightning flashed again, and she rose to a crouch, peering at the shadows surrounding her. The landscape was alien, stones rising like beasts around her. She stood, looking around for something with teeth and claws, something she could stab until it stopped hurting Dawn.
And one of the boulders shifted, and Faith realized they weren't boulders at all. She dodged one of them as it lunged forward, but the tip of its stone tentacle crashed into her shoulder, and she shouted as something cracked, as her shoulder dislocated.
She tumbled backwards and saw a gap in the lumbering boulders. She ran, and ran, and the stones trampled like oceans behind her. Faith whirled and wished for more lightning, wished she had a better view of the terrain.
Then somebody shouted, and Faith stopped halfway to thrusting the knife between her ribs. The newcomer grimaced at her, blond locks plastered around her face and throat. She shoved Faith behind her and raised her arms, and light shot from her hands, lavender and violet and magenta, and the closest monster shattered to pieces.
The woman grabbed her arm, the injured one, and Faith couldn't contain her shriek.
"Sorry," she said, her eyes wide. "There's shelter." She raised her arm again, and a tentacle dropped, broken, a yard away from them. "Can you run?"
"Yeah," Faith said. She shook her head to clear the pain. "I can run."
The woman tripped backwards, grabbed Faith's other wrist, and they ran.
The shelter, a crack in the nearby cliff that wasn't much wider than a pup-tent, was warm and dry, thanks to a crackling fire. The woman did something with to ward the entrance from walking stone octopi, her hands swirling into a purple figure eight.
Faith leaned against the wall, panting. "Nice trick."
The woman shrugged. "For now." She pulled her sodden hair back, then tugged at the shredded hem of her red dress. Faith eyed the line of her legs, a smile tugging at her mouth. "You should get out of those clothes," the woman observed, and at Faith's leer, she laughed.
"You first," Faith dared, and the woman shrugged, tugging the dress over her hips, over her head, and then she stood in just a bra and panties, both red, both lace. Faith caught her breath.
"Your turn," the woman said.
Faith raised her eyebrows. "Kind of tough," she pointed out, gesturing at her shoulder.
"Right." The woman stepped forward, taking Faith's elbow in firm grip.
Faith nodded. "Thanks." She took a deep breath and yanked, her shoulder grinding back into place. "My name's Faith."
The woman smiled. Her fingers still grasped Faith's elbow, tracing small circles against her skin. "I'm Glory," she murmured. She leaned forward, and Faith leaned forward, and her lips tasted like copper and roses. Faith arched, her shoulders pressing against the rock behind her, and Glory slid her hands under Faith's T-shirt, feathering up until she undid the clasp of Faith's bra. "It's been a while since I've seen anyone out here."
"Yeah," Faith muttered, then she jerked back. "Not even any demons?"
Glory blinked slowly. "Demons?"
"I've got a friend," Faith explained, "and she's hurt." Glory's fingers tightened around Faith's breasts, just enough to be distracting. "We think there's something here, somebody that did it."
Glory bit her lip, and dropped her hands to Faith's waist. "Who's your friend?"
"Dawn," Faith said. Then she smiled. "Just a friend."
Glory's smile was sharp in the firelight. "I think I can help you," she said, "and Dawn." She hooked her fingers inside Faith's waistband. "In the morning."
Faith nodded, and Glory ripped open her jeans.