WARNING: Contains disturbing plot elements, including character death and nonconsensual sexual contact.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The title comes from “Levi Stubb’s Tears”, a song by Billy Bragg. The line that I kept hearing over and over in my head when writing this fic was “When the world falls apart, some things stay in place.” Which, actually, has very much to do with the story.
Drusilla’s song is from “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot and Tara reads from “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats.
DEDICATION: To Annie, beta dominatrix, for whipping my sorry ass into shape until I got it right.
Chapter Thirteen: When the World Falls Apart
“I’m afraid I’m here to catch a flight myself,” Hank said apologetically. “I have business in Madrid that I wasn’t able to get out of. The doctors tell me that Buffy’s coma isn’t likely to reverse itself and it wouldn’t do any good to stay.”
Giles regarded the other man for a moment. “You do what you think is important. I’ll be here when she awakens.”
Hank smiled uncomfortably. “Yes, of course.” He paused. “Dawn is settled back in at school and trying to go on normally. She doesn’t need to be upset unnecessarily. If anything changes in Buffy’s condition please let me know before you tell her.”
“Of course,” Giles’ voice was sharp. “I wouldn’t want to overstep my place when it comes to your children.” The two men stared at each other.
“Thanks again for coming,” said Hank. He plucked nervously at his tie, then turned and walked to the ticket counter.
“Only two weeks and the bloody bastard has given up on her already,” Giles said angrily.
“It’s been hard to deal with all this,” Cordelia said. “Everyone is doing the best they can.”
“How is Spike? If his condition improves, or vice versa, there must be hope for them both,” asked Giles.
Cordelia shook her head. “They have both been comatose since Buffy killed the gunman. Tara tried magic to deactivate the chip, but nothing she tried worked. She takes care of Spike at home, but it’s taking more and more of her magic just to get him to feed. He’s skeletal; he doesn’t look remotely human anymore. He won’t last much longer, even tapping out all she has to give.”
Giles sighed and cleaned his glasses. “And Xander? Has there been any improvement?”
“He’s still not breathing on his own. He had a living will made, and it’s clear that he wanted to be taken off life support if there was no chance of recovery. His parents have scheduled a memorial service for tomorrow.”
Willow held Xander’s hand as the respirator pumped life into his body. “I know you can hear me,” she told him. “I love you so much, and I really need you.” She tightened her hold on his hand. “I’ve needed you my whole life. You’ve always been there for me. Don’t leave me now.”
Anya patted Willow on the back. “They’re going to turn off the respirator,” she said, her voice thick with strain. “We should leave now.” Mrs. Harris stood on the other side of the bed, sobbing into a handkerchief, as her husband stood behind her with a stony face.
“I’m not going to leave him,” responded Willow fiercely. “He could wake up any time.”
“We’ve gone through this, Willow,” rebuked the other woman. “This is what Xander wanted. He left a living will, and he was very specific. This is the way he wanted to end his life.”
“I’m not willing to let him go!” Willow’s face was red and swollen from weeping. “Am I supposed to just walk away? Buffy’s in a coma; are we going to go unplug her next?” She laughed hysterically as she plucked at the front of her crumpled shirt with her free hand.
“Please don’t make this any harder on me,” Anya whispered painfully. “I love him so much. This is the last thing I would ever want to do.” She covered her face with her hands and cried. Willow held her and rested Anya’s head on her shoulder.
“This can’t be happening,” declared Willow. “I won’t let this happen.” She pulled away, her eyes pure black. “Subsisto!” The world froze in its tracks. The tears on Anya’s face halted in their path. The respirator stopped its motion. The sobbing of Xander’s mother ceased. Everything was still, clear, and quiet.
She went to Xander and placed her hand on his chest. Her red hair swung down and brushed his cheek as she intoned over him, “vivo vixi victum.” Tears fell from her eyes and moistened his face. Crackling trails of blue energy cascaded from the witch’s fingertips, cocooning Xander and flickering brightly. She eased the surgical tape from his mouth and pulled the respirator tube from his throat. Healthy color replaced the pallor of his skin. She gently placed her hand on his chest, and felt the rise and fall of his breath. She kissed him gently on the forehead and caressed his cheek. For several minutes, they sat together as Willow watched him sleep peacefully, a smile on her face.
With no warning, her expression became stormy again; Willow rose from her seat beside Xander and stalked down the hall. The other people in the corridor stood frozen, trapped in the moment. Opening the door to Buffy’s room, she found the bed empty and Angel on the floor in a pool of blood, his throat slit. Willow placed her hand on his chest and electricity sparked from her fingertips. “Sano.” The wound reversed itself, the blood flowing back into his throat, tissue mending. “Tempis resumo,” intoned the witch. The hospital sprang to life around them, phones ringing, machines functioning, and people talking. Angel grabbed at his throat.
“Drusilla,” he gasped. “She took Buffy.”
“How could a vampire just waltz in here and take her without anyone noticing?” Willow cried in disbelief.
“Magic,” he croaked. “She has a mage with her.”
Willow smiled, and darkness filled her eyes again. “Good. I’m up for a fight.”
“This is the way the world ends, the world ends, the world ends,” a voice sang sweetly. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” The garden was dark and peaceful; the only sound was the gentle trickle of the fountain. Buffy rested in white, fragile arms, rocked gently like a child. Blood trickled down the Slayer’s throat and she drank it greedily. “Such a good girl for Mummy,” Drusilla purred in her ear. “Sire’s blood will heal you. Silly doctors don’t know how to heal my baby girl.” Dru pulled her wrist away from Buffy’s mouth and gently kissed her lips.
Buffy slowly stirred. “Where am I?” she asked. “What happened to me?”
“You’re dying,” the vampire said calmly. “A little whizbang popped you in the head and you’re dying.”
“I don’t want to die,” whispered Buffy. “I’m finally happy.”
“You can live forever,” crooned Drusilla seductively. “You can be loved forever.” She ran her fingers over Buffy’s neck, and her features morphed. Buffy opened her eyes and looked up at the vampire.
“I don’t want to lose my soul,” Buffy struggled weakly. “I don’t want to be evil.”
Drusilla grabbed Buffy by the throat with one hand. Pointing her fingers at her eyes, she commanded, “Be still and listen.” Entranced, Buffy obeyed. “If you don’t do as I tell you our William will die. Your mortal body is failing and he is fading away. ”
Drusilla leaned forward and licked Buffy’s neck. “You taste so sweet, so warm.” She nuzzled Buffy, trailing her mouth down to the juncture of Buffy’s shoulder. “Such a good girl,” Dru crooned. “When you wake up from your sleep we will have a wonderful party.” The vampire sank her fangs into Buffy’s throat, and her heartbeat rang loudly in the vampire’s ears, until it stopped.
Drusilla stood up slowly from the ground and looked down at her handiwork. Buffy’s dead eyes were open and staring. The golden strands of her hair spilled over the dark ground. Drusilla tilted her head back and smiled up at the night sky. “Take her,” Drusilla said to the man who stood in the shadows. He lifted the slayer and rested her gently in a shallow grave.
“I just want to take a brief rest and then go to the hospital,” said Giles.
She looked at her watch. “Visiting hours will be over soon. You may as well get a good night’s sleep tonight and see Buffy in the morning.” He looked at her. “Eat, and rest,” she said gently. “There is nothing that can be done now.”Buffy’s bedroom was filled with soft light and flowers. Incense burned in a cauldron as Tara gently turned Spike onto his side. His eyes stared vacantly forward. She bathed his nude body with a damp sponge and lay him carefully back down. She rubbed oil into his hands and feet, then covered him with the sheet and blanket. She moistened his lips with balm and wiped his face clean. She sat next to him and positioned his head on the pillows before she opened a book of poetry. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,” she read quietly. “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is drowned. The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. “
He turned his head and looked up at her. “Spike?” Tara asked, disbelieving.
He smiled at her, his blue eyes blazing with affection. He slid his hand into hers and held it tightly. “The first time I died it hurt. This is so easy. It doesn’t hurt a bit.”
He turned his head away, and disappeared in a soft puff. “No,” Tara cried out. “No!” She held out her hand, and stared at the shimmering dust within.
Giles and Cordelia entered the Summers house. “I made up Dawn’s room for you,” she said. “And Tara made a casserole for dinner if you’d like to eat.”
They walked into the kitchen. Nanny Travers fed Connor baby food as he sat in his high chair, gurgling and smiling. “You must be Connor,” said Giles with a smile. He leaned down and caressed the baby’s cheek. “I’m Rupert Giles,” he introduced himself to the nanny.
Screaming rang out from upstairs. Giles took off running and dashed up the stairs. Tara sat in Buffy’s bed, hysterical. “Tara?” he inquired, taking her hands. He noticed the empty bed. “Where’s Spike?” She held out her clenched hand, and upended a few wisps of dust into Giles’ palm. “Dear God,” he said his face blanching.
Angel peeled out of the hospital parking lot and pressed a cell phone to his ear. “Cordelia. Let me speak to Giles.” He paused. “Drusilla has Buffy.”
“Spike is gone,” the Englishman told Angel. “If what I understand of the claiming is accurate, that means Buffy must be dead.”
“Dru will turn her,” Angel said. “We need to find out where she’ll rise. It has to be somewhere with enough dirt to bury her, and it will have a view of the night sky.”
Drusilla carefully moved handfuls of dirt over the grave. “Good night, sleep tight,” she sang, “don’t let the bed bugs bite.” She continued her task until all that was before her was a smooth mound of dirt. She tilted her head back and looked up at the stars in the sky. “Star light, star bright,” she said ecstatically. “Shine brightly on my child tonight.”
“It’s a miracle,” cried Anya. “Oh, thank God.” She held Xander’s hand tightly as she peppered it with kisses.
“What happened?” asked Xander, his voice raspy. He sipped on water through a straw.
“You underwent surgery to remove a bullet from your lung,” the doctor explained. “You went into arrest on the table and have been on life support ever since.” He smiled broadly. “It really is a miracle that you’re moving and breathing on your own.”
“Where is Willow?” asked Anya. The Harrises shook their heads. “Where could she have gone?”
Willow sat in front of a computer in a darkened hospital administration office. “Nurseries Sunnydale,” she typed into a search engine. She waved her hand at the screen and a list of names and addresses popped onto the screen. “Stars Sunnydale,” she typed. More information appeared on the screen. “This is taking way too long,” she muttered to herself, impatiently.
She stood up and outstretched her arms, closing her eyes and spinning in a circle. “Locate,” she said as she spun. She focused on Buffy, and came up with nothing. “Locate,” she said, spinning faster. She focused on Drusilla, and images flashed into her mind. Sky. Lights. Street. House. Room. She watched Drusilla in her mind’s eye.
*Giles, Angel,* she said telepathically. *She’s at the mansion on Crawford Street.*
“I really hate it when she does that,” Giles muttered under his breath. He grabbed weapons and shoved them into a black bag.
“She’s supposed to have given up magic,” Angel said as he flicked on a butane torch. Blue flame burst out from the nozzle.
“Well, we’ll deal with that disastrous turn after we deal with this one,” replied Giles. He slid a stake into each sleeve of his shirt.
Cordelia walked up from the basement and handed them small glass globes filled with holy water. Each man tucked one a few into their pockets. “Don’t trip and fall on that or anything,” she said to Angel. “It’s to hurt the other vampires, not you.”
He shot her a look and his face softened when he saw her worried expression. “It will be all right,” he soothed.
“You guys are going to kill Buffy,” she pointed out. “How can anything be all right?”
“The Buffy we know is dead already. Being turned was her worst nightmare,” Giles said quietly. “It is our responsibility to prevent that from happening.”
Willow ran out of the hospital. “Open”, she said to a gray sports car. The door popped open and she slid inside. “Drive,” she commanded, and the car sped out of the parking lot.
“Oh, darling,” Drusilla said happily. “This will all be so wonderful.” She clapped her hands and twirled around.
The tall black haired vampire wrapped his arms around her. “Whatever makes you happy, my dark rose,” he said as he kissed her neck.
“It shall be like old times. All my boys and I. We shall hunt, and dance, and make glorious love in the moonlight.” The soil under her feet began to crack and move and she stepped back. “We shall be a family again.” Buffy’s white hands burst out from the ground. She sat up inside the grave. Dark soil streamed over her, running from her hair down her chest. Drusilla grabbed her hands and lifted her to her feet. “Happy Birthday to you,” she sang brightly.
“I’m hungry,” said Buffy roughly.
“Of course you are, my sweet child. Let’s just get you cleaned up, and we shall have a feast fit for a princess.” She took Buffy by the hand and led her inside the mansion.
“Are you sure this is the right thing to do?’ asked Angel as he drove.
“If there was any way to reverse this, any way to restore her life, I would do it gladly,“ Giles replied. “But there is no other way. For Buffy to live as a soulless demon, for her to become the thing that she hated most, that is worse than death.”
“She loved Spike,” said Angel. “She’d moved beyond the hatred. She saw him as a man, and more than that, a good person. Even without a soul.” He paused. “And the way that I understand the claim, it is eternal. If one lives, they both live. If Buffy rises, Spike will rise too.” He looked directly at the Watcher. “You won’t just be killing Buffy. You’ll be killing Spike as well.”
“Spike existed for over a century as a vampire,” said Giles. “And he lived a mortal lifespan as well.” He snapped a bolt into the crossbow. “If he truly loved her, he would want me to do this.”
Willow ran down the steps and entered the garden of the mansion. She saw the open grave and the path of dirt that led inside. She rushed to enter. A tall figure walked from the shadows and stood in front of her. “I will not let you interfere,” a low voice said.
Willow’s eyes glowed brightly as blue fire flared up and down her hands. “Nothing can stop me,” she said.
He waved at her hands and smoke drifted from them, the fire extinguished. “Apparently your logic is a bit flawed.”
The witch backed away as she blazed bright with energy. “I am strong! I am powerful! No one can stop me.”
The vampire walked towards her, and his features became clear in the moonlight. He tilted his head at her and smiled widely. His brown eyes were warm. “You are nothing but an angry little kitten.” She brought up her hand and tossed a ball of energy at him. He caught it easily and threw it into the wall, where is shattered the stone. “Why don’t you save some time and sheathe your claws.“ He crossed his arms and stared at her. His long black hair swayed slightly in the breeze.
“Who do you think you are?” she hissed.
“I am Aurelius,” he replied.
Drusilla paced around an opulent bedroom, the silk of her kimono sliding across the carpets. A fire blazed in the fireplace, casting shadows on the walls. Buffy was shackled at the wrists to a large four poster bed, her body clothed in a sheer black gown. She stared up at the ceiling, her face expressionless. Drusilla picked up a small chain with a twist of metal at each end from the bedside table. “Our clan has many traditions.” She slithered onto the bed in a blur of white silk and straddled the other girl. The mass of Dru’s unbound black hair draped around Buffy’s face as she leaned forward. She ran her tongue along Buffy’s eyebrow as the chain twined through her long pale fingers. The other woman didn’t respond at all. “You’re part of our family now, so it’s up to Mummy to teach you.” She bent her head and pressed her lips to Buffy’s. The fledgling turned her head, breaking the embrace.
Drusilla grabbed Buffy’s chin tightly in her grasp. “I am your sire. You submit to me,” she said in firm tones, her eyes blazing green. She clenched her hand and Buffy whimpered in pain. Drusilla brought her mouth to her child’s and kissed her deeply. “You taste so sweet. No wonder they all buzz around you. Bees want to drink such sweet nectar.” She slipped the straps down Buffy’s shoulders and revealed her breasts. The blonde girl was a pliable as a doll, not providing any resistance. “You’re a very good girl,” enthused the dark haired vampire. “You obey me well.” She drew her nail down Buffy’s cheek and licked the trail of blood that formed there.
Drusilla cupped her hand underneath the other woman’s breast and delicately pinched the small nipple between her fingers. Buffy startled in response, a faint noise escaping her lips. Drusilla repeated the movement on the other nipple, then brought the chain up and snapped a clip to each one. Buffy gasped, shocked at the pain. “You have to work through the pain to gain the pleasure,” purred Drusilla. She yanked on the chain, making Buffy cry out. “You’ve only come half of the way.” She drew her hand down to the hem of Buffy’s gown. “You’ve done the claiming, but you’ve never been claimed. You have to give over, let someone else take the reins. You haven’t let anyone master you, not since Angelus.” Her hand tugged the gown off, the fabric sliding across Buffy’s stomach and down her legs. Nude, Buffy shivered as she stared at the other vampire.
Drusilla grinned, a predatory smile full of promise and anticipation. She gently brushed her hand across the soft curls of the blonde’s mound. “You’re my slave now, as William was before. Just as we were Angelus’, and he was Darla’s.” Abruptly, she morphed into her demon self, and sank her fangs into the soft flesh of Buffy’s thigh. The girl screamed, her cry echoing off the walls and ceiling of the room. Drusilla pulled away, leaving bite marks and a trail of blood in her wake. “I will make you sing a beautiful song of pain, my dear,” she said, pleasure animating her delicate human face.
She walked to the fire and pulled out a red-hot poker, the tip glowing orange. “I will break you as Angelus broke me. I will mark you forever, as he marked me. It is our way, our tradition.” She swung it close to Buffy. The new vampire stared at it as if mesmerized, making no attempt to get away.
“I never did think highly of tradition,” announced a cold voice from the doorway. Spike stood there in full demon visage, his face tight with anger. In his hand he held a large battle-ax.
“Spike!” Drusilla cried with delight. “I knew you’d come.” She got up from the bed and ran to him. He took the poker from her and threw it into the fireplace, shattering it.
“I’ll kill you for this, Drusilla,” said Spike as he backhanded her savagely across the face. The female vampire flew back and hit the wall.
“I saved you, Spike,” she said in confusion. “I saved you both.” She darted away, her hands aflutter.
“You killed my wife!” He roared in anguish as he advanced upon her.
“You were both going to die,” she pleaded. “I didn’t want to lose you.”
“You stole her life,” he raged. “You made her a demon. You made her a slave.” With a mighty swing of the axe, he lopped off Drusilla’s head.
Continued in Chapter Fourteen: Domino