Chapter 5 - Peter Jackson's Earlier Work

Under her grip, she felt the vulnerable throat, slippery with blood. The pulse thumped in dramatic rhythm under the tips of her fingers. The pressure of skin against the palm of her hand betrayed the fragile windpipe behind it.

It would be so easy to crush it like porcelain. It would be fun. Wonder why?

“Buffy!” the vampire shouted.

Without loosening her grip on her helpless sister, Buffy turned to look at him.

Spike stared back at her. Was this real?

Feeling his soul splinter and drift to the floor like confetti, he closed his eyes. A speeding rerun of his earlier visions of horror flashed on the back of his eyelids. He struggled to make sense of the situation and understand if his mind was playing cruel tricks on him again.

No. This was different.

He heard Dawn’s heartbeat drumming through his mind and Buffy’s rapid breaths cutting through the room.

This was real.

He opened his eyes again and looked at her with sadness and confusion.

“Buffy?” he spoke again, now with a whispering, pleading voice.

Her golden hair fell in perfect, shiny strands around her face, ending in soft curls against her shoulders. Her skin was flawless and smooth as always, like an angel’s complexion, and her slender body was dressed in a blue silk dress that would make any man turn.

But her eyes weren’t right.

She had been his deputy conscience, his deputy soul, for so long. Ever since that night when he woke up terrified from the realization of love in his chest and heart and mind and body, he had not been the same. He was torn and broken and lost in rapture, and he was falling helplessly into her eyes from that moment on...

But now they were wrong. Now his deputy conscience was holding her sister by the throat, with her sister's blood slipping down her arm.

“What?” Buffy's voice was empty, emotionless.

She abruptly released her grip, and Dawn slid down the wall, coughing and trying to catch her breath. A wide smear of blood marred the wall above her, painted by the open wound at the back of her head as she slid to the floor.

Seeing it, Buffy froze. She lifted her hand and looked at the blood that covered it, then watched as the blood dripped down on the skirt of her dress, leaving small discolored spots and trails on the blue fabric.

She looked away from that, and once again met Spike’s scared gaze. She tilted her head a little bit, as if she was trying to find in his eyes something she temporarily had forgotten. He took a few tentative steps, then paused, but then finally closed the distance between them.

Xander ran up to Dawn, who was getting up slowly. Luckily, she did not appear to be seriously hurt.

"What," Spike reached out and touched Buffy’s soiled hand, "are you doing?”

She didn't answer. They just looked at each other with mutual confusion.

“You bitch!” Suddenly a vase broke against Buffy’s head.

In a split second, Buffy turned around.

“I’m your big sister," she grabbed Dawn's arm, "and I’m telling you to behave!”

Then she slammed her right fist against Dawn's cheek forcefully, and sent her tumbling across the floor like a tossed rag doll, splattering wallpaper and the the couch with blood in classic Polloc style.

Dawn landed on the rug in the hallway. For a moment she lay alarmingly still, but then she moaned a little and moved. Propping herself up on her bruised arms, she looked up at the silhouette of her enraged sister and tried to speak, but before she could accomplish that task, she slipped into unconsciousness and went limp on the floor.

Xander rushed to Dawn's aid. Kneeling by her side and holding her protectively, he stared up at Buffy in disbelief.

Taking rapid, unnecessary breaths, Spike once again reached out to Buffy.

As he touched her shoulder, she spun around. Giving him no time to react, she shoved him away with slayer strength and he crashed into the opposite living room wall like a toy tossed aside by a child that wanted funnier things to play with.

As Spike looked back at her blood-drenched appearance, a memory flashed through his mind. He'd noted it’s presence in the stream of images that had filled his mind in the assault earlier that day, but it had all been so foggy. He knew that there was something specific he should remember, but it had alluded him. Now it was suddenly etched in his cornea, and he couldn’t look away.

The setting was a dark, midnight street. The streetlights were all broken and shards of broken glass were scattered on the pavement between smashed cars, some still with the alarms functioning, cutting through the air as sterile warning cries. People were running, and here and there, bodies were lying like scattered windfall. Human sounds were mixed into the symphony of the car alarms ­ screams, loud laughter and the voices of ecstatic party-goers, shouting out their ode to stolen booze and sudden, easy access to unconscious girls.

He recognized this part of town ­ it wasn’t far from Revello Drive, and he had driven past it many times, during those trips on his motorcycle when he hoped he would “accidently” meet Buffy as she was coming home from patrol or leaving for research sessions.

Under a big tree on one of the lawns, he saw Buffy sitting on the dewy grass with her back turned to him. As he looked closer, he noticed that she was holding something.

No, someone.

It was a little boy that couldn’t have been more than eight or nine years old. His head rested on her shoulder, and she rocked him soothingly, telling him that everything was going to be OK. But as his mental camera turned to capture them from the front, he could see that, although she was smiling, something was wrong.

Like in the present, her hands were tainted with blood, only more of it. It also covered her clothes and was smeared down her pale arms. Then he saw that the boy was dead, his throat ripped out with brutal force.

“I told you," he heard her calm and sweet voice, "not to throw toilet paper at my house.”

Then Buffy suddenly looked up at him. As he watched her, the image started to flicker, like they had reached the end of the roll of film.

Then it was over, and he was back in the bloody living room, with the Slayer slowly walking towards him with the same look in her eyes that she'd had in his vision.

For the first time in in a very, long time he was truly, thoroughly terrified.

There was a shuffling sound from the hallway, and Buffy turned from him to see Xander lift Dawn’s unconscious body from the floor and
start to move towards the door.

”Please," Xander saw he'd been noticed, "she needs to get to a hospital.”

”This is my house, and I haven’t told anybody that they could lea..."

A forceful blow to the back of her head knocked her out effectively, and she dropped to the floor, unconscious. Behind her, stood Spike with a big copy of ”Remembrance of Things Past” in his hands.

Thank God for pretentious birthday gifts from clueless watchers.

* * * * * *

Awareness of the growing, dull pain was what eventually awakened her, but it was soon joined by a brief wave of nausea. Her head was spinning as she tried to understand what was going on.

It was dark. Were her eyes closed? No, she saw vague outlines of furniture of the guest room in front of her.

A new surge of pain shot through her head, and as she instinctively tried to lift her hand to touch her forehead she felt a tug on her wrist that hindered the motion. She whimpered as the metal scratched her skin, but the pain quickly was replaced by anger.

Who got the lousy idea to capture the Slayer like some kind of
caged animal?

She saw that she was caught by a pair of handcuffs that were suspended around a thin, but sturdy, metal pipe. She assumed that they were the ones that were left in her cupboard drawer, souvenirs of her X-rated activities with Spike earlier that year.

Buffy tugged hard on the cuffs, but the pipe didn’t show any signs of buckling.

She paused for a moment, catching her breath. Then she returned to the pulling, now more out of anger than anything else. There was a black rage rising inside of her.

The sound of metal hitting metal filled the room as a techno tune that was just so 1998.

The predator inside was growing stronger, engulfing her, taking over her cerebral functions. Frustration was driving her to a frenzy, and she finally cried out in a loud growl that echoed through the empty house.

Suddenly she stopped her desperate actions. Standing still, she looked out across the darkened room, searching.

She wasn’t alone.

In the opposite corner of the room, he was sitting on the floor with his arms wrapped around his knees, something that made him look almost like a child. His blue, sad eyes were fixed on her, following her every move.


Her tone was something between a statement and a threat. She made a quick movement in his direction, causing the handcuffs to clang loudly against the pipe. She expected him to react, but there was no movement from her capturer.

Finally she heard his weak voice through the darkness of the room:

”There’s something wrong with you.”

She laughed a hollow laugh.

”And you are the one to judge that?" she asked, "You’re a pathetic mental patient. A rehabilitated impotent serial killer is what you are.”

"I’m sorry," he spoke up again, and, to Buffy’s satisfaction, he now sounded confused and frail, ”I didn’t want to. . But there’s… you’re not…”

”Loosing our line of thought, are we?"Buffy smiled viciously, "Don’t worry, it’s a common phenomena among crazy people”,

”I dunno what it is," Spike replied, "but it must be some spell.”

He remained still, crouching and with muscles tense as rock, observing her from a distance. Pale blue moonlight flowed through the bedroom window, highlighting the thin coat of sweat on her face. She was on her knees, hanging forward from the cuffs, and she was peering at him with eyes that lacked the spark of humanity. There was a terrifying vacuum in its place.

Her dress was now slightly torn and wrinkled and stiff with coagulated blood. She was like the Angel of Death, the patron saint of slaughter houses and everything beautiful and unholy.

”So”, she whispered, ”you like me like this, don’t you, all tied up and helpless?”

She laughed, then she leaned forward as far as the cuffs allowed.

”Oh, come on," she taunted, "this is what you want, stalker boy. Buffy, the one and only, tethered and helpless, and all covered in a crusty coating of sweet, intoxicating blood. I’m quite a little treat for starving vampires, and I’ve heard that slayer’s blood is quite a rush.” She tilted her head to the side, baring her blood stained neck.

”It’s what you are," she continued, "You’re a killer. You’re a being of darkness and death. Do you think a fluffy little soul could change that?”

His humanity was fluttering around inside of him, and now more than anything, he needed to catch it, to hold on to it. He had no practice in using this newborn core of self, and he felt himself. crumbling. Inside him, the battle for sanity raged like a hot white fire.

He couldn’t break, not now. She needed him.

She didn’t see it, but she needed him, and this time he wouldn’t let her down.

He would hold himself together. He would save her.

This time he would.

He stood up on weak legs, walked up to the corner where she was trapped, then got down on his knees in front of her, just a few inches away. Seeing her so close-up almost made him crack.

He looked deep in her eyes, wishing desperately to find her somewhere in there, to find her essence swimming around in the patterns of the iris, coating the white of her eyes, or floating in the depths of her pupils.

”Why don’t you release me?" her voice turned dark and seductive, "we
could have lots of fun you and me.”

She slowly licked a little spot of dried blood from her upper lip and tasted it, trying to see a reaction in his body language.

He backed up a little, but kept his eyes on hers.

”I know what the darkness feels like, love," his voice was hoarse with pain, "and I won’t let you slip into it.”

Buffy stared back at him for a second, then suddenly closed her eyes tightly. He heard her breathing speed up and her muscles tense. A split second before her gleaming eyes flung open, she yanked the pipe apart with supernatural force, and before he could react, she had her hand around his throat, and he found himself being thrust into the big drawer next to them. Splinters of wood cut through the skin on his head and neck, and the pain and the shock made him cry out.

Spike’s desperate attempts to free himself were futile, and soon he stopped trying. His body became limp under her grip. He was in her violence, and maybe that was the way it was supposed to be.

He had, after all, wished for hell.

Without letting go, she slowly straddled him, pressing her body tight against his. Spike felt her breath tickling his skin as her lips stopped only an inch away from his. He tried to look away, but her other hand grabbed his bleeding face, holding it in place. Buffy smiled the smile of the conquerer inspecting her newly acquired assets.

Then she leaned forward, briefly brushing her lips against his.

”Spike," she whispered, "don’t look so frightened. You’re the Big Bad, remember? Well so am I.”

She released the hand that held his face, then slid it gently down his chest.

”Aren’t we perfect together?" she asked, "Death is in our veins, we shouldn’t deny it.”

Her touch became harder, and the tips of her fingers started to bore themselves in his t-shirt covered flesh.

She leaned close to his face, and whispered in his ear:

”You know you wanna dance”.

Small drops of tears appeared in the corner of his eyes, and his cool breath escaped in short gasps.

”Buffy, let me go”, he pleaded.

”Let me think…” She bit her lip, ”No.”

Buffy pushed him even further into the broken drawer. A small trail of blood came sipping down from a cut wound on his temple, and she stuck out her tongue, then slowly licked it off.

”I’m bored," she said, "and I wanna play”

With her free hand she grabbed his t-shirt and quickly tore it apart. She then leaned down and licked a wet trail up from his navel, over his shivering cheast, to his bruised neck.

”Let me go”, he gasped, an agonizing lump in his throat.

Her answer was to tug him up on his feet and then grab at the buckle on his belt. She studied him with cold eyes, and then with a dark voice she spike again.

”I said I wanna play.”

Leaning forward against him, she felt a sharp tip touching her chest. She'd forgotten that she kept stakes in almost every drawer in the house, and when she looked down she saw Mr Pointy aiming at her heart.

Holding the stake between them, Spike slowly backed away from her with an expression of hundreds of conflicting emotions on his face. Not that he could ever stake her, not in a million years, but he prayed that she wouldn’t call his bluff.

He soon found himself standing with his back against a wardrobe door, staring at the Slayer on the other side of the dim room. Neither moved for minutes, stuck like a couple of chess pieces in the end phase of a game, waiting for check mate, with the ticking of the timer in the background telling them to time was running out.

Finally she took a step towards him. He flinched, but didn’t try to escape. If she was going to kill him he wouldn’t stop her.

She looked at him with calm cold eyes, and then she spat at him in the face. As she turned and walked out of the room, he heard her patronizing voice echo through the room.

”Never mind. You’re beneath me anyway.”

When he heard the sound of the plastic sheet in the hallway announce that she was leaving, all the tension left his body, and he fell to his knees, leaning on weak arms. He felt his intestines tighten into hard intricate knots, and the room around him started to spin, drawing him in into the horrors that had been hiding in the corner of his eye.

He had no more strength and no more reason to hold himself together, so he fell boneless to the floor and dissolved into the darkness.

* * * * * *

The machine was making a strained coughing sound, but the white styrofoam mug remained empty. The green LED display received a punch, but seemed unable to take the hint, so finally the cup went flying through the air, landing several feet from the waste basket, producing a tiny thumping sound when it hit the floor.

Sounds were welcome. Xander couldn’t stand the empty and silent waiting room where not even the stupid wall clock made a sound. He stared at it.

An hour.

Almost an hour.

Why couldn’t they tell him anything yet? It couldn’t be that bad. Sure, she was beaten up by a crazy girl with super powers, but Dawn was strong, she wouldn’t…

He paced another turn around the route that he had walked over and over since he got there. Behind the bench, rounding the big, ugly plastic plant (in consideration of the allergic people, he assumed), past the table with scattered toys on it, and back to where he started. He hated the green walls more and more every second, cursing the people who thought that they would be soothing and neutral.

A moment later, Xander decided that his patience was exhausted, and he marched through the door labeled ”staff only”. He looked into the rooms one by one, trying to find her, but there were only strangers ­ pale, patched up, bruised or or just plain unconscious strangers. Men and women in green clothes were hovering over the beds, writing on clipboards and preparing shots. He wondered what they were doing to Dawn, and if they looked down at her with those same pessimistic expressions that he saw in some of their faces now.

Finally he reached the last room in the hallway, and as he peered in through the scratched glass, he saw her. Her long brown hair was spread out over the pillow, and the tubes and the intravenous drip that were connected to her painted an almost surrealistic scene. She didn’t look well. Not at all.

And for the first time fear caught up with him.

There were three of those doctor/nurse/other-people in the room, and they were clearly busy, which probably wasn’t a good thing. After a moment, one of them noticed him, and immediately walked to meet him. He recognized her as the doctor that he had spoken to when they got here, and as she opened the door, she looked at him with a combination of compassion and stress.

”I’m sorry," she said, "but you have to go back to the waiting room. This is a restricted area.”

For the first time this evening, Xander felt that he was about to cry.

”I just want to know," he looked into the room, watching her pale appearance, wishing she would move, "if she’s going to be OK?"

”I’m sorry, Mr Harris, we just don’t know yet.”

Inside one of the machines started to beep frantically, and the doctor excused herself and quickly returned to the bed. Their actions tripled in an instant, and it became clear to Xander that the people dressed in green were clearly more concerned now than a minute ago.

”Please," Xander pleaded, whispering quietly as he watched them through the door that was still swinging back and forth, "Don’t let her die.”

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