Show: Angel, Buffy, X-Files
Summary: why. does. it. always end up like this?
One sunny day in the middle of spring, I found my best friend’s body waiting for me on my doorstep. It was neatly laid out across the cement step, with a grimy baggy of dust and a handwritten note pinned to what had once been her chest.
FYI. Dusty baggy’s all that’s left of Spike. youKNOWwho.
A fly buzzed past my ear and landed on Willow’s face.
That was when I screamed. I screamed until my throat was numb and my head swam with unshed tears. Then I realized my mistake and ran into the house. My enemy was smarter than me. She distracted and conquered. I sank to my knees as I stared at the long, jagged lock of dark brown hair stuck to the coffee table with a bloody butcher knife and yet another note beside it.
Did you lose your Muffett? Oopsie. No Muffy for Buffy!
I had no screams left to scream. Just a cold, definite need to find you-know-who and gut her with that butcher knife.
..which was of course the point.
My enemy needs to be taught the first lesson: don’t get complacent. Just because no one else kills the Slayer’s friends doesn’t mean they’re invincible. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it’s undoable.
Dear girl, you are mortal. And you, too, can die.
“You’re not Glory,” a little voice accuses me.
“Hallelujah for that,” I mutter sardonically. Then I turn around and smile at the Key. I do like what she’s done to her hair.
“My sister–” she threatens.
“Was too busy screaming to save you from the big bad wolf. Or am I the spider?” I ask, half-attentive even though it’s very important. Something is wrong with me. I keep forgetting to remember things. I don’t half remember where the little girl came from.
“Well, you, well, you–you distracted her on purpose!” she says, clearly agitated.
I distracted her? How? I don’t remember that. I thought I would burn in the sun. Maybe that’s just a myth. That would be funny. Thousands of years of myths and wary vamp behavior and it turns out it’s not true.
“How did I do that?” I ask.
“Willow! You left Willow on our doorstep!” the little girl screams.
“Oh,” I say. I don’t remember. But my hands are dirty. They have dust all over them. I put the dust in a baggy. I put it on the body. The witch’s body.
Now I remember. “Yes, right. And then your sister screamed and I got you. Right.”
The little sister who isn’t real or a sister tilts her head and peers at me, clearly confused.
“Are you okay?” she asks.
“No, I can’t let this wait!” I screamed at my friends shrilly. They all stared at me with dull eyes. “I can’t. We can’t let Dawn– I’m sorry. I–”
“Are you s-sure it was Glory?” Tara asked. Her arms were wrapped around her own shoulders, like she was trying to shrink. I couldn’t think about what Tara was feeling, or Xander, or anyone else. My head was spinning with the possibilities of what was happening to Dawn.
I would kill that hellgod and mount her head on the wall. I’d do something. Terrible. I’d do something despicable, like Spike. Like Spike if he wasn’t bits of grimy dirt in a baggy.
“No, she’s not,” Giles said irritably. Giles was not helping me. “For all we know, this could be Spike, or Drusilla, or Dana, or–”
“Hello?” I asked, my head pounding. “Spike? Also dead.”
“But we don’t know that,” Angel pointed out, brooding in his corner. Of course, he wasn’t so heartbroken that he didn’t have time to make eyes at Wesley. And I just had to ignore that because there were no words to describe the squick. “He could have done this to throw you off the track.”
“Except for the part where he’s into me. Like, hardcore. He’d want me to find him,” I snapped. “He’s dead. And Glory killed both of them to hurt me.”
“Nice theory,” someone drawled. “Sounds great. Except for the part where it’s totally wrong.”
We all turned to see Darla standing there, shaking her head in disgust at all of us puny mortals. I wanted to stake her, but I held back, because that’s what I do. I hold back at the wrong moments.
“Darla,” Angel said flatly. “What do you want?”
“I want my Key!” Glory screams. “You said you knew where it was!”
Gods. You invite them over, they act like spoiled children.
“I thought I did,” I say. “Ask the girl. I have her key, don’t I, Dawn?”
The girl looks at me strangely. Like we just went over this or something. Maybe we did. I’m feeling very strange today, like I’ve been magically split in two or something.
“Uh,” she equivocates.
I look at Glory. “You didn’t do the sanity-suck on me, did you? Because I needed that to think.”
She glowers at me, gesturing wildly. “No. I didn’t do the “sanity suck” on you. Because you? Already crazy. And not human. Where’s my key, Dana?”
This is the part where I stun everyone with only pretending to be vague and crazy.
“Oh, she’s right here.”
“The Slayer’s sister is my Key?”
“Do you really expect me to buy that?” Glory asks, annoyed. “Crazy people. Where’s my Key?”
Hellgods. Never offer them any favors.
“She’s the girl. I’m not lying.”
“You’re probably not lying,” Glory says. “But you’re crazy. How do you know what’s real and what’s in your head?”
I look at her and shrug. If she’s going to be difficult, I’m going to be difficult. I don’t like her that much anyway. If she never gets the Key, who cares?
“If you’re really curious, we should consider Hamlet.”
“She’s crazy. But she’s not crazy,” Darla said, shading her eyes from the stray beam of sunlight that filtered into the dusky interiors of the Magic Box. Angel couldn’t look at her. He paced instead, with fluttery gestures from Wesley slowing him down occasionally. “I can’t explain. When she killed your friend–and about time–she broke down in a way I don’t understand.”
“What did she say?” Giles asked. I was getting desperate. I had to find Dana, stake her, and then get Dawn away from Glory by any means necessary. Then I would have to slap Angel silly for the entire Wesley thing and stake Darla, but first I had to find Dana.
“She said that she’d killed the baby. What baby?” Darla asked. “I don’t get her. She has destiny, she has power, she’s got that hellgod wrapped around her finger. And then she decides to go crazy and start killing people for no reason. I like death, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want to die over my meal.”
“How wonderful of you,” Xander said. “Where’s Dana?”
“Probably taking the Key to her hellgod boss to start the Apocalypse. Dana’s on a serious Apocalypse kick. Think Angelus before he got souled and boring,” Darla said archly. She didn’t mention the gay part, but she really didn’t need to. That was just obvious.
“Do you think they’d go to the Hellmouth?” Riley asked. “Because if you ask me–”
“We didn’t,” I said coolly. I hadn’t forgotten about the vampire whores. “But you’re thinking Apocalypse on the mouth of hell. I think that’s not a crazy idea.”
“Except that it’s been done,” Darla said. “Glory’s a hellgod. Don’t you think she’d be more original than that?”
We all stared at Darla and shook our heads.
“Have you met Glory, by any chance?” Xander asked. “Not so original. In fact, she reminds me a lot of Faith. Except blonder, eviler and a God. Not to mention that your friend Dana–”
Darla glared at him. “Look, I’m sorry your little witch friend is dead. It sucks when you lose the ones you love, especially to clearly inferior beings. Still not sorry Spike is dead, but I didn’t ever like him. But you’ve got to watch your attitude. I was made by the Master himself.”
“Do you know where Dana is? Do you know how we can stop her or Glory from destroying Dawnie?” Tara asked.
“Okay,” Tara replied. She dove across the table and before any of us could stop her, drove a makeshift stake (a sharp pencil) into Darla’s heart. Darla couldn’t even make a snide expression before she exploded into a puff of dust. We all gaped for a minute or two. Angel couldn’t move. Served him right, I thought.
Tara stared up at me from her place on the table. Her eyes were full of tears. “I’m sorry, Buffy. But I had to.”
I remembered Willow’s body on the doorstep. Of course she had to. It was the only sane thing she could have done.
“It’s okay. Good job,” I said lamely. Tara almost smiled.
“Th-thank you,” she said. “Please, can we find the one who did this?”
Everyone remembered to start breathing again.
“Right,” Giles said. “So I believe that Riley’s suggestion is our most solid one, and I suggest–”
I didn’t want to hear suggestions. I wanted to hear that it was time to carve that vampire bitch’s heart out of her chest and eat it. I wanted to set fire to Glory just to watch her burn. And I wanted it to feel like the right thing to do.
I looked over at Tara. She was staring at her hands and looked like she was going to be sick.
Is it possible to survive your own vengeance?
“Yes, Hamlet,” I say calmly. “Have you ever considered the fact that a sane person who plays crazy in earnest is in fact, a crazy person?”
“Not really much about thinking about Hamlet or crazy people,” Glory replies. “Get to the point, Dana. Then give me my Key or I’ll have to get stern and boss-like and then kill you.”
I sneer for the briefest moment and then stand up and strike an extremely studied pose. Dawn and Glory watch me intently.
“Then I’ll be brief. As we all know or should know, Hamlet pretended to be crazy so he could get revenge. But he got so good at it that basically, we don’t know if Hamlet was crazy or sane. But, if we consider the hypothesis that Hamlet knew when he was crazy and when he was sane, it doesn’t matter. Because he was whatever he believed himself to be,” I say, smiling at both girls.
“So he basically decided if he was sane or not? How?” Dawn asks.
I smile and press a finger to my lips. They both lean forward.
“Wind direction,” I whisper. Disappointed, they pull back. I explain further.
“See, it doesn’t matter how he knew, or if he knew. Vengeance was what mattered. As long as Hamlet remembered that he was alive to avenge his father’s death, he could be crazier than crazy and still think himself functional. I find it fascinating that–”
“Fucking who cares about Hamlet? Give me the Key, Dana! I’ll get you a pretty room where you can explain about Hamlet to a bunch of people who give a shit!” Glory snaps.
Glory didn’t notice that my pretentious pose-striking took me right above Dawn. I grab the girl and pull her over the couch.
“No,” I say.
“What?” Glory shrieks, throwing the couch aside. I step back two steps.
“You’re not going to try this, are you? You need it alive. I can snap its neck before you kill me,” I reply cavalierly. I’m not quite sure this is true, but it makes the hell bitch move back three steps.
“Why won’t you give me my key, Dana? I need it! You don’t!” Glory screams.
“I’m not an it!” Dawn says over the din.
“Shut up, kid,” Glory says. “Dana, give me the Key.”
“No,” I say. “I’ve decided I’m keeping her until I find the person who’s best at taking care of her.”
I can hear the shock in both of their heads. It echoes across the room like a bad joke trying to find someone, anyone, to amuse.
“You’re joking,” Dawn said.
“Maybe I am,” I say. “Who knows? The wind’s all wrong for answers. Go away, Glory. Come back when you can convince me that you’re the best thing for Dawn.”
Glory gapes at me. “I’m a god.”
“And I’m crazy. It evens out. Now go.”
It’s the first lesson the enemy has to learn.
Don’t get complacent.
I’m no exception to the rule.
Glory screams and sets the room on fire. It’s all like a horrible dream, except when I wake up, I’ll discover that everything’s been a dream.
Am I the dreamer? Has this all already happened? Are we all just having the same dream tonight?
“So we’ll go instead,” I say, looking over at the girl. “Watch this.”
I take her hand in mine and hold tight. And it suddenly makes sense. Everything I’m doing has been for a reason that I couldn’t know. But now I do. The girl who’s not a girl stares at me.
“Did you feel that?” she whispers to me.
I nod. We take a step. The entire world changes.