Chapter 6 - Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
There were many kinds of uncomfortable emotions that plagued humanity.
There was that feeling that occurred when you had eaten way too much cake.
There was that feeling that came when you were at an awkward family dinner
and your uncle started making corny comments, nudging at you with his
And then there was that feeling of waking up with dried tears in your
eyes, leaning with with your cheek against a plastic toy tractor.
Xander sat up, wiped some drool from his face, and immediately felt that
nausea and a pressing headache were approaching. He sat up on the hard
waiting room bench and looked at the clock. It was twelve o'clock, and
the noon sunlight fell on him with tauntingly joyful light.
Before he could get himself together enough to go force his way into the
treatment room and demand answers on Dawn's condition, one of the doctors
spotted him through the glass of the swinging doors.
Xander stood up and went to meet him half-way.
“Mr Harris, isn’t it?” The tall doctor said as he entered the waiting
Xander looked really hard, trying to decipher the doctor's facial expression
to see if the news was bad or good, but the doctor's face give no hints.
“How is she?”
“I’m sorry, but she hasn’t regained consciousness yet. She has serious
internal injuries, and for the time being, at least, we just have to wait
Xander found himself growing increasingly angry about the man’s neutral
expression. He wanted him to seem at least a little bit upset - not this
professional, this calm.
“What do you mean wait and see?”, he blurted out, “This is your job
for crying out loud, surely you can do better than that!?”
“Calm down Mr Harris," The doctor seemed stressed by the younger man’s
bad temper, "We’re doing all we can.”
“Perhaps," the doctor placed a hand on his shoulder, trying to bring out
his friendliest voice, "you should get away from here for a while? Spend
some time with friends? We’ve got your number, and we’ll let you know
as soon as there’s a change in her condition.”
As the doctor left him and returned to his work, Xander sighed loudly
Coffee. He needed coffee.
Xander's gaze once again fell on the vending machine. This time he was
determined to make it give him at least some kind of liquid. He put a
coin in the slot, and pressed the button, but once again the machine produced
nothing but a few noises. Without a second’s hesitation, his fist hit
the display, breaking the plastic into little jagged pieces.
Sudden, intense pain in his knuckles chided him for the angry gesture.
“Friends!” he said to himself sharply, watching his injured knuckles turn
bright red, then purple, “Perhaps I should spend time with some friends.”
* * * * * *
He took a deep breath.
Her scent was the only thing that existed. It soothed him and killed him
over and over, almost like a Sisyphus thing, a path that never ended and
a heart that never healed.
Hell was this.
It was the resuide of her presence that broke him and the horror of her
absence that tore him apart. If he wished hard enough, would she come
back to make it all right? Would she clean his wounds and tell him it
was all a dream? That she had been a dream?
She was heaven and hell, and when she touched him she left him in ashes.
* * * * * *
As Anya stepped into the Summer’s house, she could do nothing but stare.
Yesterday, this was a lovely little household that would have made Martha
Stewart proud. It was a well known fact that when there weren’t any apocalyptic
battles going on, they always kept things neat and cosy, with matching
fabrics and nicely organized bookshelf contents, but now she found herself
in what looked like one of those “C.S.I” crime scenes, save for the missing
“Police line. Do not cross”-ribbons at the front door.
She stepped over a messed-up rug and found herself standing in a pool
of blood. She felt a growing queasiness, tried to push it away, but the
worries wouldn’t leave her alone.
Who’s blood was it? And did she even want to know about the bloody copy
of "Remembrance of Things Past"?
Whoever was the cause of this still might be in the house.
Or perhaps there was someone who needed help, she thought, embarrassed
about her lack of demonic indifference. It was bad enough that she had
come here to apologize and to see Xander again. It was now official
she was the worst vengeance demon ever. Once she was feared all through
the realms, and look at her now!
She silently cursed the humans and their corrupting company. They were
like one of those street gangs with lame names, only with compassion and
other crappy things instead of guns and powder that made people funny.
She stopped and listened for a minute, but there were no sounds. Then
she heard a small noise from the second floor. Cursing her curiosity,
she silently made her way up the stairs, trying to locate where the
sound had come from. A moment later, she was standing outside of Buffy’s
room, with her demonic heart pounding in her chest. There were drips of
blood leading to the doorway, and a red smear on the door knob.
That never was a good sign.
She gathered up her courage and pushed the door slightly open and peeked
into the dark room.
She noticed a figure that lying in the bed, and as she took a small step
past the threshold, she studied it intensly, trying to make out who it
was, and if this someone was friend or foe. She realized with discomfort
that those categories were somewhat vague for her at the
As she moved closer, she started to amke out out some features, and when
she got to the bed, she felt a kind of tentative relief that the figure
He was lying with his back to her, curled up in a strained fetal position.
The faint light from the window created a blueish outline that gave his
silhouette an almost mysterious appearance. His body was shaking a little
bit, and Anya could see his muscles moving in erratic rhythm as they alternated
in tensing up and relaxing. His pale, bare back was covered in wounds
that had left small spots of blood on the linen bedding, but the wounds
didn’t seem like something that his vampire healing wouldn’t take care
What took her a moment to notice was that he was holding a pillow in a
As she leaned forward a little bit, she saw that he had his face burrowed
deeply into the soft material. Leaking out from the fluffy fill of down,
she could hear muffled sobs.
This couldn’t be good, she thought, especially considering his unknown
friend/foe-status and thus, his possible involvement in the unknown events
Anya was taken completely off guard. What did humans do with crying vampires?
Was there some kind of etiquette regarding this, cause in that case she
must have missed the memo.
Ok, crying called for… empathy, right?
For the first time, she actually missed Xander's annoyed comments.
With a sigh, she leaned down and patted him gently on the arm.
“Ehm… there, there.”
She waited for a response, but there was no change in his condition.
She patted him again, this time a little bit harder.
“There, there. There, there.”
Ok, now she was officially out of options. She left the room briefly,
only to return with a bucket of Plan B, which she unceremoniously poured
over the trembling vampire.
As the cold water rushed over Spike, he jerked onto his knees on the bed,
staring around him like a startled animal.
“Hey, I’m not gonna hurt you! It’s me, it’s Anya!”
He remained on the bed, wet and shivering, and looking at her without
recognition. Then the pain seemed to push the shock away, and he peered
out into the dark hallway.
“Buffy”, he slid to the edge of the bed and sat there with slouching shoulders,
his eyes to the floor.
“No”, the demon girl replied, “Anya. An-ya.”
He lifted his head again and looked at her.
“Buffy”, he whispered.
Anya felt a sting in her heart. The poor vampire was really messed up,
not to mention lovesick. For a moment she found herself pondering on her
own soul status. If she had a soul, wouldn’t she be loosing her mind over
her history too? On second thought, souls might be an overrated commodity
since it seemed to have the side effect of insanity and, apparently, a
“What about Buffy?”she asked.
He looked away again.
“Did something happen to her?”, Anya continued cautiously.
There was a look on his face that she couldn’t decipher, but it reflected
a pain that she couldn’t shield herself from. She took a step closer and
sat down next to him on the cold, wet bed. They sat there for some time
without looking at each other or speaking. This probably wasn’t the time
“I’m bad," he finally spoke, still looking away, "and she punished me.”
She looked at the pale, chilled vampire next to her, silently hoping that
it was some kind of kinky sex metaphor, ‘cause kinky sex she could deal
with. Perhaps Buffy had a thing for crazy people?
“I tried to save her, but I failed. I failed, and she punished me.”
She looked at him, now with worry in her eyes. That didn’t sound like
sex. Then her eyes once again fell on his wounds, and she felt a lump
in her throat.
Slowly she reached out her hand, and as she touched his bruised skin,
he flinched a little bit. She felt that she probably was way out on the
limb, but she needed to know.
“Was it Buffy who did this to you?”
“I’m bad," he was weeping, "and she punished me.”
What the hell?
“So it’s your blood downstairs?”, Anya asked, trying not to picture the
Suddenly he lifted his head and looked at her like there was something
he had forgotten, and then he was quickly on his feet.
“Dawn! Where is Dawn!”
Anya stood up, placing one hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t know," she told him, "Calm down and tell me what happened!”
Spike stared straight at her for a second.
“Did she die?!”, he shouted.
“Die?!” Anya asked. Not good, not good.
“I don’t know," he went on, "She was here, and then she hurt her!”
“What do you mean? …Buffy?” Not good at all.
“Did Buffy… hurt Dawn?”
Anya was horrified and confused. What the hell was going on?
“Is she here?”, Spike rose, then ran out into the hallway, calling, “Dawn!”
“Oh my God. Xander,” Anya walked up to him, grabbing his arm, “Where is
Xander?! Is he ok?”
“He’s fine. He was here but… he left with Dawn. After Buffy…”
He fell to his knees and covered his face in his hands.
“It’s my fault," he wailed, "I should have helped her. I should have seen…”
Anya sat down in front of him, not knowing what to think. She reached
out and pried his hands away, holding them while she met the guilt in
“Listen”, she said with a soft voice, “I don’t know what really happened
here, but I’m sure we can figure it out. It’s gonna be ok.”
Yep, definitely the worst vengeance demon ever.
* * * * *
“So, let me get this straight, Buffy went completely crazy?”
They were sitting in the sofa in the living room, both slightly shivering
from the wet clothes that stuck to their bodies like uncomfortable second
skin. There weren’t exactly piles of men’s clothes lying around in the
house, and Anya would rather get a urinary infection than wear any of
Buffy’s ugly skirts.
Anya insisted on making some coffee for herself and the vampire. Spike
didn’t have the energy to tell her that caffeine made him strange and
that it often tasted like liquid cardboard, but at least the hot liquid
helped a little in warming himself up.
After a while, she managed to make some kind of sense out of Spike’s depressing
litanies, and she began to tie the loose ends together.
“Ok, so a ringwraith came for a visit, made you glow in a non-post-sex
related way, and gave you a personal preview of coming attractions. Then
Buffy does a Faith in the spirit of your visions? Well, it’s another Friday
in Sunnydale. Come for the food, stay for the
She took a sip of the coffee, and looked over at Spike who, to her
relief, had finally stopped crying.
“It seems to me," she commented, "that the Big Bad of the week is the
prime suspect...Elementary, dear Watson.”
She took another sip, then continued in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Evil people never do things for no reason. I should now. It’s not like
I would appear in someone’s bedroom and do some cool special effects just
for the fun of it. There is always some pretentious scheme, usually involving
taking over the world or making people sing horrible little tunes.”
Spike felt too disoriented to comment on the demon’s conclusions, so he
closed his eyes and Anya’s voice started trailing off. But there was no
rest to be found in hiding in the dark corners of his mind. The pain wouldn’t
leave him alone, it kept haunting him, covering him like a sticky pale
fuzz, and he couldn’t help seeing the Slayer’s eyes staring at him. He
couldn’t turn away from her.
He gave off a quick gasp when he felt Anyas hand nudging him.
“Could you point him out?” she asked.
He was quickly pulled back to reality, and for a split second not really
sure where he was or what was going on, and he jumped back a little bit
then he saw Anya next to him.
“Point out?”he asked.
"The ringwrait, of course," she sighed a little, putting down her mug
at the table. "Pay attention.”
“A lineup would be great," she tilted her head a little bit, looking thoughtful,
"but we haven’t got the suspect in custody, so you have to pick him out
“You know, like those binders with photos. Geez, don’t you ever watch
“Law and Order?” I still have a lot of books on demons left in the Magic
Box. Willow actually didn’t manage to destroy all of my assets.”
A look of capitalistic bitterness flashed across her face, then she
“We should go there and identify the bad guy. We don’t know where the
others are, so we might as well try to find out what is going on and how
to stop it. I’m confident that this day still might end in happiness and
funny paper hats!”
He stood up too, not sure what was expected of him.
“Paper hats?” He fidgeted a little, wondering if he should know where
she was going with that.
“You know, stupid colorful little things that people wear when they are
Spike's head was spinning and he felt more tired than he'd ever felt before.
He saw her lips move, but his brain refused to register most of the information,
and he draw shaky fingers through his thoroughly tousled hair while trying
to gather his thoughts. He wasn’t entirely sure what to think of Anya’s
sudden reappearance. She had been there earlier that day, at least he
Hadn’t she been in the living room? Hadn’t they talked to her like she
was the enemy? But he was losing track of the line in the sand. And on
what side of that line was he standing? He had forgotten. Once he had
known, but now he had forgotten. Perhaps if he thought hard enough, he
could find it again, the line in the sand that was scattered around him
Suddenly he became aware of the sound of someone approaching the house.
“Anya!” he grabbed the demon’s arm, pulling her against him, away from
“Hey!"She pulled her arm away, "We’re not in that category of friends!
It was only a one-time thing you know!”
He shook his head, not at all pleased to be reminded of that little incident.
“Someone is coming,” he whispered.
Before Anya could turn to the doorway, she heard Xander’s voice ring through
Anya and Spike stared at the enraged scoobie that stood in the hallway,
looking at them like they were guilty of a capital crime. His chest was
heaving, and his face had quickly gotten that distinct color of too-ripe
strawberries, which matched the dried blood that covered his shirt.
"Xander!" Anya was clearly embarrassed and hurt, "What are you…?”
“After yesterday I couldn’t wait to find you and tell you that I missed
you, and now I come here and find you with that monster! Again!”
“What do you mean, I was just…”
“Oh," Xander rolled his eyes in contempt, "I know just what kind of girl
you are. I let you out of my sight for a second, and you get drunk sleep
with vampires. That’s the kind of girl that you are!”
Spike stood as paralyzed. Why would Xander act like this? Was he supposed
to take a side here, and what side would that be? He was vaguely aware
of the mug of coffee slipping out of his hand and crashing to the floor
in front of him.
Xander walked up to Anya, grabbed a handfull of her hair, then pulled
her head backwards, making her wince in pain. Without hesitation, he pressed
his lips to hers in a rough kiss. Then he let go of his grip and started
to soothingly stroke her hair while talking to her in a soft voice.
“But it’s ok honey, I know it’s not really your fault.”
He gazed over her shoulder, looking at Spike with cold, empty eyes.
“I know who is to blame,” he said.
Without looking at Anya, Xander pushed her away, and she went tumbling
into the hallway. When she stopped, she looked back at her ex-fiance with
horror and sadness, but he paid no attention to her.
He took a step towards Spike, who backed up a little, not sure what was
“Everything was just fine until you returned. Then it all went to hell.
I wonder why that is?”
“I’m thinking," Xander smiled a disturbing smile, "that you have something
to do with that. You and that slayer whore of yours.”
He took another step, closing in on the confused and twitchy vampire.
“You must be quite pleased with yourself," he said, "since you managed
to completely corrupt her. Make her a monster, just like you.”
Then he paused for a second.
”You know, Dawn’s in a coma,” he said.
As he saw the reactions in Spike’s face, Xander snorted.
“Don’t put up a show for me, I know you love it the blood and the pain.
Don’t try that “I have soul now”- line. I know you. And I know what to
do with things like you.”
Xander walked past Spike and yanked open the lid at the weapon’s chest.
Spike stared at him as he pulled out a big shiny axe, grabbing it firmly
with both hands as he looked back at Spike with hate in his eyes.
There was a loud scream from the hallway, and suddenly Anya came dashing
through the living room, throwing herself over Xander and pinning him
to the floor. The axe came crashing down into the floor, momentarily drowning
the sound of Xander’s loud protests.
Anya waited until he stopped yelling and cursing.
“Listen," she told him, "something strange is going on, and it’s affecting
you too. We’re going to figure it out, but until then we have to stop
you from doing something stupid.”
She looked up at Spike.
“The basement door!” she said with a voice strained from the struggle,
“Open the basement door!”
Spike did as she asked, and before Xander could grab on to something sturdy,
she pushed him in and closed the door as fast as she could, leaning against
it while she nodded at the weapon’s chest. Spike pushed the heavy box
to the door as Anya moved away.
“Sorry!”, Anya shouted, futily trying to make her voice heard over the
angry sounds that came from the other side of the door.
She walked away from the noises and went into the kitchen, while trying
to make sense of the incident.
“Ok, it’s not just Buffy," she said, "Something is really, really wrong
here, and we have to find out what it is.”
Spike followed her, and stood next to her as she leaned over the kitchen
island. She was right, something was going on, something bad and dangerous.
Suddenly he felt a drop landing on his hand, and as he looked over at
her, he met her teared-up eyes.
“You really love him," Spike said gently, "don’t you?”
She didn’t have to answer, it was written all over her face.
Spike wrapped his arms around her small body, and felt her pain reverberate
against his own.
“We’ll figure it out. We always do.”
He wasn’t so sure he believed his own words, but at the moment that wasn’t
important. She needed him. Someone needed him, and that was all that mattered,
and for a moment it felt like there was a Meaning.
* * * * *
The strange, rumbling chantings filled the air around the small circle
of beings that were deeply absorbed in the ritual at hand. They looked
like identical quadruplets, and as one might expect of identical quadruplets
they were all dressed alike, in blue shiny robes, but thankfully not with
matching bows in their nonexistent hair. They were short and wrinkly,
almost like human/mastiff hybrids except for the creepy faint reddish
In the middle of their little circle there was a small glowing ball of
light that flickered magically between solid and non-solid state, keeping
time with their chantings. It lit up the place, but the light curved in
an unnatural way when it reached the inter-dimensional area outside the
Outside the light, in the fluctuating state that surrounded them, the
dark being waited. The cloth around him billowed along with the light
as he was watching his henchmen’s magical chores, and his dark eyes were
fixated on the changing light, it was intriguing, almost hypnotizing.
With impatience he reached out to the mind of the chanterers.
“How long will it take?” His thoughts echoed through their consciousness.
“Not long”, they replied without halting their singing. ”Not long at all,
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