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DeadWar -1: If Immortality Unveil

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  • DeadWar -1: If Immortality Unveil

    Rating: PG (violence; a bit of nasty language at the end)

    Disclaimer: None of the characters in this fic belong to me, but to Joss Whedon.

    Setting: Roughly a month after NFA (aside from the frame story)

    Beta: KingofCretins

    My life closed twice before its close;
    It yet remains to see
    If Immortality unveil
    A third event to me,

    So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
    As these that twice befell.
    Parting is all we know of heaven,
    And all we need of hell.

    --Emily Dickinson

    "Buffy," she says, and Buffy's eyes spring open.

    "Mom?"

    Joyce smiles down at her daughter and pats her gently on the arm with a cool hand. "Yes, sweetie. I'm here."

    "I thought...I mean, I could have sworn you were dead." Buffy struggles out of the sheets. "I mean...I think...what happened? Is this a dream?"

    "Yes," Joyce says to her. "Or no. Does it matter?"

    Buffy scrambles up to wrap her arms around her mother, then takes a deep breath. "Only if you were a zombie," she says with a grin, "and you don't smell all rotten."

    "Well. That's good to know."

    "I think I'd still give you a hug and talk a little while even if you were. If you could talk to me, anyway." She doesn't want to let go, not ever. "I miss you."

    "I miss you too," Joyce tells her, and kisses her on the forehead. "But we'll be together again soon."

    "Um. You mean relatively speaking, right?" Buffy glances at the bed to see if she's lying on it still, finding it empty save for the rumpled sheets. "Sorry. Premonitions of death--not the Slayer's best friend."

    Joyce giggles, white teeth gleaming in the nightlight's glow. "Silly Buffy. I know it's hard on you, being what you are." She tries to turn toward the door, but Buffy clings to her, holding her immobile with greater-than-human strength. "Come along with me," she tells her daughter. "Let's walk a little while there's time. Forget the Slayer and be my daughter, just for a few minutes."

    The door shouldn't lead outside. Buffy can't remember for sure where it goes, but not out into the chilly night air. Definitely a dream. Should she know that? She leans on Joyce a little, trying to keep her close. Sometimes in dreams, people fade out and you forget they were there. "Are you in heaven?" she asks. She doesn't really remember what heaven was like, not in the harps-and-clouds sense, just that it was peace.

    "No," Joyce tells her. "I'm not. You should know that."

    Buffy tries to stop, but her mother is determined to keep moving, and this time Buffy can't seem to hold her still. "I...I mean, right, you're here with me now, but you came from heaven to see me?"

    "No, Buffy." Her mother turns, looks into her eyes. "I didn't come from heaven. I miss you. You left me, and it's not heaven with you gone. I'm alone. I'm all alone in the cold earth."

    "Mom! You can't...you're not supposed to..." What can she say to that? "I didn't mean to leave, I'm sorry! I thought.... What do I need to do? I'll make it better, I...I promise!"

    When did they pass through the cemetery gates? The old one, closed and up on the hill? It's a dream, though. They're passing by tombstones, most of them faded with age. Or a nightmare. "You can't fix this, Buffy. There's only one thing you could do, and I won't let you do it, not even to get me out of hell."

    Hell? Buffy has no words for this, no quips, puns, or jokes. "I'll do whatever I have to for that, Mom. I can't leave you like that. I can't leave you alone, not in...in hell? Oh god, Mom. How could you expect me not to help you?"

    One last tombstone, facing away from the town. And an open grave at its foot. "I can't ask you to come back to me, Buffy. That's not fair to you."

    "I can't not. It's not fair to leave you." Buffy swallows and moves toward the pit in the earth. Something...wasn't this...she's not really here somehow... What was she thinking about? "Do what you have to do."

    "If this is really what you want, dear..."

    "It is. Do it."

    "Somehow I thought you'd say that." It's not her mother's voice.

    Teeth sink into Buffy's neck like cold needles, drawing the warmth and feeling from her feet, her hands.

    The arms that wrap around her waist are pale and cold. Not her mother's at all...someone smaller. Dark red nails carve redder lines across a wrist. Drusilla's nails, Drusilla's wrist.... Wake up, wake up... Buffy's own arms refuse her commands to shake the vampire loose.

    The dream shimmers.

    Time to wake up.
    ***
    Dana jackknifed upwards from the bed, screaming her lungs out. One Slayer each grabbed an arm; the third, at her head, seized her by the shoulders and pushed. "Watch the legs!" "Hold on, hold on!" "Don't let her up!" They wrestled her, shrieking, into the straps that were present for just this purpose and, once that was done, injected her with sedative.

    "Is she like this often?" Jennifer was the newest of them at this task, which they rotated out of from time to time.

    "She's been getting worse," said Tammy. "Ever since Buffy."

    Yolanda nodded sadly. "Slayer dreams."
    ********
    It'd been centuries since Angel slept like this. Sweating. Heart pounding. His arms and legs thrashed beneath the sheets.

    Through all the long years there had been rivers of blood...tentacled obscenities...demonic forms that stank of rotten flesh or ammonia. Angel had become familiar with nightmares.

    This one was worse.
    ***
    "Where is she, Dru? What have you done with Buffy?" Angel needs to believe he's not too late. Not that the universe has ever cared what he needs. Tracing her path from Buffy's room has taken two days already.

    Drusilla moans softly through her fangs. "Went down like sunshine all the way to my belly. Burning." Fingernails slide down her sternum. "She thought the same of me."

    No... But he can still save her from the rest, at least. "You have no idea what you're playing with here, Drusilla. Where is she? Somewhere in that cracked skull of yours, you must know I can't let Buffy rise." Legend said turned Slayers were monstrously violent and unpredictable. Angelus had tried taking that risk with Faith, once--certain he knew which way she'd bounce--but there'd never been much mystery about what was underneath Faith's shell of control. There was darkness in Buffy--just like everyone else--but far more tangled with Slayer duties and the kind of guilt a vampire could never feel. No telling what would become of her, allowed to wake.

    "Why, Daddy? Why must I be all alone?" She stamps her feet and pouts like a small child, sniffling. "First you went away. Then you took Grandmum--took her from me twice!--and let her die. And she took my William from me and let him burn. Saw the sun take him. Saw the dragon too. Sss." Her hand flicks upward to seize him by the throat. "I hear my daughter calling me. Won't let you have her now. Won't be alone again, not ever."

    Angel struggles to pry her fingers loose, one after the next. He's stronger than her--always has been--but Drusilla's obsessions give her a kind of ferocity even Angelus was hard-pressed to match at times. "Dru...listen to me, just this one time. Daddy wants what's best for--"

    Earth fountains upward, the ground erupting almost beneath their feet. "Baby's awake," Drusilla crows, and tosses Angel casually into a pillar tombstone. "She'll want feeding. Such a hungry girl she is."

    Dazed, he lifts his head in time to see Buffy, nightgown hanging askew, sidle up behind Drusilla. Buffy's lips part in a mirthless grin. "Want," she says. "Take." Drusilla starts to turn, smiling beatifically over her shoulder. "Have," Buffy finishes. And buries her fangs in Drusilla's neck.

    Drusilla twists, wrenching her way free, opening a great gash across her shoulder. "Baby dearest, what--?" Buffy's fists send her hurtling over Angel's head; he hears bone smack against the marble above him.

    Buffy advances on him, her face a mask of fury and dismay. "All I ever wanted," she grates, "was to be a normal girl, damn you." She glances between him and Drusilla, blame settling on each of them. "You made her," Buffy accuses. "This is your fault." He tries to rise, not bothering to deny it, and she kicks him in the groin. "But you'll keep."

    He struggles through the pain, fighting to reach his feet. Drusilla is trying to scoot away on her back, two legs and an arm working, the other held tight to her side. "You're supposed to run," Buffy says, and hauls Dru to her feet by the broken arm. "It's no fun...if you don't run. Isn't that how it's supposed to be?"

    With a snarl, Angel grabs Buffy from behind. "Dru...if there's a shred of sanity anywhere in you...help me. She has to be stopped, now, before this goes any further." But Drusilla only whines and cradles her arm.

    "God," says Buffy, and he's surprised to hear the hurt in her voice. "You're siding with her? Against me?" He's hundreds of years old; Buffy is a fledgeling, barely even fed. He's supposed to be the stronger. She twists free of his grip as if he were a child. "You never cared about me at all, did you?"

    "I'm so sorry," he tells her. "I tried to find you, to save you. I would never have let this happen to you if I could have stopped it. I'll always care about you. But I can't let you go on like this, either. If that means accepting help from Drusilla...then that's what I have to do."

    Buffy shakes her head, denying his words. "I can...I want to hurt her, Angel. I want to slay her. I can do this. I can keep it under control, I swear." She swallows hard. "I feel...I still feel like me. Am I me?"

    "No," Angel says sadly. "You're not. And I can't trust you, no matter how much I wish I could. You can't 'keep it under control' because there isn't any you to do the controlling." Drusilla, he realizes, has slipped away through the tombstones. He'll have to manage this on his own. Somehow.

    "When you lost your soul the first time," she insists, "I couldn't kill you. Not yet. If you still feel anything for me--"

    "I know better than you did," Angel tells her, "because I've already been there. You didn't understand what it meant, not really. I...Angelus wanted to make you suffer. When you didn't stake him then and there, he laughed at you, Buffy, because you were weak. I can't afford to make that mistake with you."

    "It really is that simple, isn't it?" Pain flickers over her face like firelight. "Everything's simple. Black and white. Good and evil. Vampire and human." Buffy shivers, and a smile flashes over her lips just as quickly. "It's all so clear. But I can decide, Angel. I have to be able to choose. I don't feel any different."

    Angel moves closer, pulling the stake from inside his jacket. "Except that nothing was ever simple to Buffy." He remembers that clarity. They all see it differently...but it's the same experience. "Buffy...if there is anything left of you in there...then there's really only one thing you can do to prove it." She looks up at him as he draws near, expression filling with hope. He breaks that hope, as cleanly as he can. "Close your eyes."

    Her face twists, then. Not the rage he expected. Only pain. Buffy roars and slams her palms into his chest, tossing him like a stuffed doll. Marble cracks against his skull, but this time he leaps to his feet. He can't stop, not even for an instant. She's already behind him, though. "You lie," she says in his ear. "I can beat you. I can prove you wrong. And I will." The stake he brings around at her shatters on hard stone. Buffy is gone.

    That's how the nightmare begins.
    ********
    Simple images

    Cain to her Abel, Caleb says

    Cain raises the rock, and Abel turns
    shearing knife in his hand
    always knew you hated me been waiting for this moment you ****er
    drives the knife into Cain's guts

    Cain is avenged sevenfold
    says Buffy
    But I am avenged seventy times seven

    Faith lies there in the dust
    nothing left but dust
    a world of dust
    choking

    bolt upright in bed

    "Damn." They just kept getting worse.
    Mabus
    evil soulless fundie
    Last edited by Mabus; 26-07-07, 01:59 PM.
    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
    Out Now.
    Avatar by Barb
    Feedback is always welcome here.
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