Chapter Fourteen: The Harbinger
Spike woke slowly; he was dizzy and disoriented, unsure of what had happened. He’d been walking after the fight with Xander and then…Drusilla, he remembered. He lifted his eyelids enough to see that he was in a dark chamber of some sort, but his eyes were too sensitive for even that small amount of light, and his head throbbed in pain. When he tried to shift his position he realized he was chained uncomfortably to the wall. Great, just what I need! He thought sarcastically. Dealing with Dru’s craziness when he loved her had been hard enough; dealing with it now when he wished her dead would be torture.
“Oh, goody! My little Spike’s finally awake; now he can join in the games!” Drusilla announced. “It’s so much more fun when I can hear you scream.”
“What are you hoping to accomplish here Dru? I’ve withstood far greater torture than even you could hand out,” Spike told her as he looked her up and down appraisingly. “Why did you come looking for me anyway; couldn’t find anyone to play with? No one else willing to put up with your bloody insanity?” Dru slapped him hard across the face.
“Shh, quiet!” She held her finger to her lips. “It’s mummy’s turn to talk now.” She began to pace around the room. “I waited for you when the slayer died. I waited for you to return to me once her hold on you had been broken. But you were a naughty boy; you stayed to protect the sister. And now you hurt me by loving her, by choosing to be with her.”
“You won’t win me back by hurting her, you know. You only make me hate you.” Drusilla laughed mockingly.
“Silly boy! I didn’t come to win you back; I came to punish you. You’ve been a very bad boy. You shouldn’t have turned your back on what you are; on what I made you!” she told him. Then she smiled. “The others, they think you did it.”
“Yes,” he responded bitterly. She came over and stroked his cheek.
“That’s why I wanted to do it in the house. It was easy really; she thought it was you knocking.”
“What if she hadn’t given you the invite?”
“I have my ways. Funny, isn’t it? How quickly they turned on you? How easy? You should know by now that you could never truly be part of that world. To them you’re a killer, a monster and that’s all they’ll ever see. It’s sad really. You used to be truly magnificent, but now… A mere shadow of your former self; you’re as pathetic as they are, doing good deeds and whatnot, and they don’t even know.” Spike looked at her wearily.
“If you’re going to kill me just get on with it already. I’m sick of listening to you prattle on.” Dru grabbed his throat, angry at his insolence.
“My darling boy, I’m not going to kill you; that would be much too easy. I’m going to kill your little friends, one by one. And you get to watch!” Spike’s mind registered her words with horror, but he let none of it show in his face as he said,
“They’re not my friends. As you said they turned on me rather quickly; I really don’t care what you do to them.” She tipped his head up so she could see his eyes.
“Naughty, naughty! Shame on you for trying to trick mummy.” She smirked, waving her hand above his head. “I can see the pain of it spreading through your mind. You’d rather die than see them hurt, even after they’ve proven their disloyalty and distrust of you.” She continued to stare at him intently. “There is one. One you still consider a friend; I think she’ll be first.” Drusilla did a little spin around the room, a vacant smile on her face. “Pretty, pretty little girl; do you think she’s pretty on the inside too?”
“If you do this, you had bloody well better kill me afterwards. I’ll never allow you to live if they die.” Spike’s voice was low and deadly. Dru patted him on the head as though he were a small child before leaving the room. Spike pulled at his chains, growling with rage.
The doctor’s all thought Dawn was in a coma and while that was true by their definition, it wasn’t entirely accurate. Dawn found herself in a dark void and thought at first that she was dead. As she tried desperately to see where she was, to see anything at all she became aware of several sounds. The sound of rushing water came from a distance and she could also hear what seemed to be a low hum. A cool breeze could be felt and she was filled with a sense of overwhelming calm. Where am I? she thought.
“You are nowhere and everywhere,” a soft voice responded.
“Who said that? Why can’t I see?” Dawn demanded.
“I am here to give you the answers that you seek.”
“How did I get here?”
“These questions are irrelevant. We have more important matters to discuss.” The low hum began to grow louder and Dawn felt like she couldn’t breathe.
“What- What is…happening,” Dawn asked, barely able to speak.
“All will be revealed.” The voice sounded as though it came from very far away and suddenly Dawn was falling.
Spike waited restlessly, wondering what Drusilla was doing. Wondering if, at this very moment, she was bringing Anya to be tortured and killed. Wondering if she had gotten her wish and Dawn’s life was slipping away while he was here, unable to do a thing about it. He pulled desperately at his chains to no avail; he had to get out of here and stop Dru. She obviously didn’t know Dawn had survived, but the others…they were in danger. Even if they had turned their backs on him he still couldn’t let them die because of Dru’s twisted desire to see him suffer. The door opened and he was surprised when a young female vampire walked into the room; she looked to be no more than sixteen. She was tall and slender with an almost ethereal beauty; she actually looked quite a bit like Dru except she had long, auburn hair rather than Drusilla’s dark locks. She paced slowly as she examined him and he met her gaze unflinchingly.
“Drusilla asked that I check on you while she rests; she thought you might be getting hungry.” Spike stared at her then pointed out,
“She must’ve turned you pretty young. What’s your name?” Spike asked.
“Sorcha, but Drusilla is not my sire; I was sired long ago. My appearance is of youth, but I would wager that I am older than you by at least two millennia.”
“Wow, I don’t think I’ve met any as old as you. And you work for Dru?”
“Then what, you’re mates?” The girl rolled her eyes.
“Most assuredly not; I find that I am barely able to tolerate her and her…moods.”
“Yeah, they’re a little hard to take.” Spike said dryly. “If you’re not the help and you’re not a friend why are you here? Or am I not allowed to ask?”
“Drusilla’s desires are simple. She feels you have wronged her and she seeks revenge. The rest of us want only to be sure you are stopped and so we have facilitated your capture.” Spike looked at her in surprise.
“The rest of you? How many of you are there?” He gazed at her, considering then said, “What is it you’re trying to stop me from doing?”
“We are legion. We come to stop the harbinger.” Spike stared at her unblinkingly.
“Yeah. That’s all very cryptic, but what the hell does it have to do with me?”
“You are the harbinger. It is you who will bring about the novus ordo seclorum; this cannot come to pass.”
“New order of the ages?” She nodded. “I’m going to bring about some new order? I doubt that,” he muttered in disbelief. “How am I going to bring about this ‘new order’?” he asked sarcastically.
“We know not how, only that it will be soon unless you are dealt with. Not one among us knows what will happen if you are allowed to succeed, but we have been assured that it won’t go well for any of us.” She smiled serenely. “So once Drusilla has had her fun we will end your existence. We hate to lose one of our own, but Dru assures me that you want nothing to do with us anyway. You have turned your back on your people.” Sorcha moved to stand in front of him.
“You’re not my people,” Spike spat in disgust.
“So be it. I only came to see if you were hungry; I could bring you someone to eat. No?” she said when he only stared at her balefully. “Oh yes, that’s right. Would you like me to bring you some thing to eat?”
“I want nothing from you.” Sorcha smiled and put her hands on his chest, leaning forward to whisper in his ear.
“I can see why she was so enamored with you. You are full of youthful rebellion and savage passion; it’s intoxicating.” She pulled back and looked at him resolutely. “Sad that you must die. We could have had fun, you and I.” She patted his cheek and turned to go.
“I doubt it; these days I prefer my women breathing and minus the pesky thirst for blood,” Spike said caustically.
“That’s right. So sorry about your little girlfriend. I hear she was actually rather sweet.” She gave him one last smile before leaving, and Spike began pulling at his chains again.
Willow and Tara tried to wait up for Spike, but the day’s events had been too much for them and they fell asleep before sunrise. Willow woke up slowly, rolling over to look at the clock. When she saw the time she sat up and grabbed the clock.
“Tara. Tara, wake up!”
“Hmm, what is it?” Willow put the clock down and got up to look around the apartment. “Willow? What are you doing?”
“I don’t think Spike ever came home,” she called from the other room.
“Are you sure?” she asked as Willow came back in.
“Not a hundred percent, but he isn’t here.”
“Where do you think he went?” Tara rubbed her eyes.
“Well, he wouldn’t have gone back to Dawn’s; Xander and Anya are there.”
“Oh! Maybe he waited till we left and went back to the hospital!” Tara exclaimed hopefully. Willow nodded in agreement.
“That’s a possibility. I’ll call Anya and see if she knows anything then we can head over to the hospital.”
“No, I don’t know where he went,” Anya whispered as she peeked out of the kitchen to make sure Xander wasn’t listening. “He never came home?”
“He could have come in and left again, but I doubt it. We’re going to check at the hospital,” Willow replied.
“What if he’s not there?”
“Well, the options are limited. He can’t be outside, and we don’t know the city very well.”
“Okay. I’ll meet you at the hospital, but he’s probably not there; I think he would have left before daybreak otherwise he’d be stuck there all day. I know he wants to be there for Dawn, but he wouldn’t want to trap himself somewhere.”
“Won’t Xander get upset if you leave to look for Spike?”
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Just let me know if you find him; if he’s not there…I don’t know what we’ll do.”
“Maybe he’ll come home when the sun goes down,” Willow said hopefully.
“I’m glad you guys believe him.”
“Giles does too. I guess we’ll just have to find a way to convince Xander,” Willow said sadly.
“Yeah, good luck,” Anya told her sarcastically. “I guess I better go.” They said good-bye and hung up. She turned around to find Xander standing right behind her and let out a yelp. “You startled me!”
“Who was that?” he asked suspiciously.
“Oh, that? That was Willow; she wanted to know if we were, uh, going to the hospital. I told her we’d probably head up later.”
“Really?” he queried. “Cause it sounded to me like you were talking about Spike.”
“What, were you eavesdropping?” she demanded indignantly. “So? What if I was talking about Spike; are you going to forbid that now?” Anya glared at him. “You’re the only one who doesn’t trust him, you know.”
“What are you talking about? They all agreed with me last night.”
“Apparently they’re not as stubborn and close-minded as you. Willow told me they all talked and came to the conclusion that Spike would never hurt Dawn. So I guess you’re all alone in your hatred and unfounded accusations,” Anya said heatedly as she stormed off.
“You’re all being naïve!” he shouted at her retreating back, but she just waved a dismissive hand at him without turning around.
Spike was still working on the chains when Drusilla came back. He looked up when she entered and realized in relief that she was alone.
“I guess you decided not to kill them after all,” Spike stated.
“Silly Spike, it’s daylight; have to wait for the stars to come out. What fun we’ll have! Just like old times, remember sweet William?” she asked, turning slowly with her head tipped back. “They bled while we made them scream! What times we had. You do remember, don't you? Remember when you were my beautiful, deadly boy? My wonderful savage?” She glided over towards him. Spike looked down at the floor.
“I remember, pet. Unfortunately. But that’s not who I am anymore.”
“No,” she agreed sadly. “Now you’re just their pet. Like a little whipped puppy dog. It saddens me to see you reduced to this…thing that you’ve become.”
“Yeah, I get it. You’re sad, you’re angry, you’re hurt and sickened; can we just cut all the bloody melodrama because, really Dru, I don’t give a damn about all your bleedin’ disappointment!” Drusilla looked at him with cold eyes.
“I don’t know who you are anymore. They whisper in my head about you, but all I hear is weeping.” She put her hands to her temples.
“You know, you make less sense every time I see you. Could we just get on with you killing me?”
“You know that’s not how it works. Patience, your time will come.” She turned to go. “The others say you bring death to us.”
“So I hear.”
“Naughty,” she whispered as she closed the door.
Anya and Xander didn’t talk much the rest of the day; they couldn’t seem to get past the argument. Xander couldn’t even admit the possibility that he might be wrong, and Anya was so disappointed in his behavior that she could barely look at him. Giles, Willow, and Tara were already at the hospital when the two of them arrived later. Anya headed straight for Willow as soon as they walked in the door.
“You never called; I was worried.”
“He wasn’t here and he never showed up at the apartment. I didn’t call because I thought he might show up here after sunset. No sign of him yet.” Willow peered over Anya’s shoulder. “Xander still on the warpath?” Anya sighed as they sat down.
“Unfortunately, yes. He got all upset because I was talking about Spike with you. We haven’t spoken to each other much today,” Anya said quietly as her eyes grew watery. Tara took her hand comfortingly.
“Hey, I’m sure he’ll come around.”
“What if he doesn’t?” Anya inquired bleakly. “What does that say about him? When I was a demon I caused every bit as much suffering as Spike did in his day and for many more years. I have to wonder if deep down Xander feels this way about me. If he was able to turn on Spike so quickly what’s to stop him from turning on me?”
“But Xander doesn’t think of you as a demon. You’re human now, and he loves you. He would never turn on you,” Willow assured her.
“I’m not so sure of that anymore. Seeing such deep-seated hatred after thinking he and Spike were finally friends…it’s all just a little too much for me.” Anya watched Xander somberly then shook herself slightly. “So do we know anything more about Dawn’s condition?”
“Giles went to see if he could find somebody who can fill us in,” Tara replied and almost immediately Giles appeared.
“The nurse says the doctor will be right out to speak with us,” he explained.
“Good; more waiting!” Xander said, pacing nervously. They all stood a few minutes later when the doctor came in. “How is she?”
“Is there any progress?” Giles demanded.
“Well, there was no permanent organ damage and she seems to be recovering nicely, but…” he hesitated.
“But what?” Anya questioned fearfully.
“But she still hasn’t regained consciousness, and frankly we’re baffled.”
“Baffled?” Xander repeated in surprise.
“Yes. There is absolutely no physical reason why she shouldn’t be awake and alert, and yet she remains…comatose.”
“So you don’t know when she’ll wake up?” Willow was puzzled.
“No, because she shouldn’t even be out in the first place. You can come in and see her if you like; it might help her to hear familiar voices.” They all glanced at each other then followed the doctor to her room. He opened the door for them, but then left so they could have a little privacy. They took turns talking to Dawn, telling her how much they missed her. When they were through they stood around for awhile talking to each other until they ran out of positive upbeat things to talk about and filed back out to the waiting room.
“I hear them; they want me to come back.”
“It isn’t time yet; things are…incomplete.”
“I know. I just wish I could reassure them”.
“They will know soon enough. The time is close at hand.”
“Yes. Soon it will begin.”
Anya and Xander drove to Dawn’s wordlessly; it was becoming a habit, the silence. Xander glanced at her as he drove.
“Are we not talking at all now?” he asked.
“I don’t know; do you have anything new to say?” Anya replied acerbically.
“I’m not going to just suddenly agree with you if that’s what you’re hoping,” he told her angrily. Anya turned away in disappointment.
“Then I guess there really isn’t much to say.” Xander sighed in frustration.
“Can’t we just agree to disagree and move on?”
“I don’t see how. This is a very fundamental issue for me. I don’t see how I can trust you when you have such open animosity towards anything to do with demons. If you can just set aside eight years of knowledge about a person in a split second and come to a conclusion about that person that is based solely on racism and bigotry then you aren’t the man I thought you were. I don’t know how I’m supposed to “move on” from that.” Anya looked at him sadly. “Do you?” Xander just turned to watch the road; he knew there was nothing he could say.
When they got home they watched television for awhile although nothing really held their interest. Anya had a craving for Chinese food and decided it was a good excuse to escape the silent house and the tension that now existed between her and Xander. She asked what he wanted to eat and then left quickly to pick it up. She shut the door and breathed a sigh of relief before heading slowly to the car. She was unlocking the door when an arm went around her throat and a hand covered her mouth. She struggled desperately, but her air supply was being cut off and she was fading rapidly towards unconsciousness. Just before she blacked out she heard a soft voice saying,
“Shh, little girl. What a lovely present you’ll be! Such a pretty flower screaming, but no one will hear you.” Anya whimpered in fear and then slid slowly into darkness as Drusilla giggled happily.