Chapter Fifteen: Out of Darkness
Cold. That was the first thing she noticed followed quickly by the realization that she couldn’t move. Her thoughts were fuzzy and she seemed unable to open her eyes; she wondered if she’d been drugged. She could hear someone speaking. They sounded far away and she couldn’t understand what they were saying. Where am I? she wondered, feeling the beginnings of hysteria. She couldn’t remember anything after leaving Dawn’s apartment; what had happened?
“Anya! Anya, you have to wake up!” Silence. “Wake up!” She could understand the words now, but she didn’t know where or who they came from. She struggled through the haze in her mind, trying to open her eyes. “Anya? Can you hear me? Anya!” She managed to pry her eyes open even though they felt like tiny lead weights. She lay there for a moment taking in her surroundings. Cold, dark, and vaguely resembling a dungeon; it raised her panic level even higher than before. Then she heard the voice again, calling her name. The effects of whatever she had been given seemed to be wearing off slightly; she turned her head very carefully, but everything still swam together alarmingly. As her vision cleared she could make out the shape of a man chained to the opposite wall.
“Spike?” she asked in confusion as she tried to sit up. She was pulled to a sudden stop and became aware that she was lain out on a concrete slab with her arms and legs tied to a post at each end. She jerked her head around in panic, causing the room to tilt and sway nauseatingly. “Spike, what’s going on?” she asked, her voice trembling with fear.
“Drusilla,” he spat in anger and disgust. “She and some friends grabbed me last night. She brought you in awhile ago; I’m not sure what they injected you with, but you’ve been out for hours. Are you alright?”
“I feel sick and dizzy and I’m filled with a terrible, mind numbing fear, but other than that everything is just peachy,” she responded sardonically. “This isn’t good is it? Drusilla holding us captive? That can’t be good.”
“I knew something was wrong. Willow said you didn’t come home and you weren’t at the hospital, but we didn’t know what to do.”
“Why did anybody care?”
“Oh, Spike. They all believe you; they just had to think it through.”
“Yeah? They all believe me?” Anya looked away, unable to meet his eyes. “Not Xander though, right? Course not!” Spike looked at the floor, not wanting to admit he was hurt. “Drusilla is the one who attacked Dawn. Is she…okay?”
“Yes, the doctor said she’ll be fine.” Not wanting to worry him Anya decided not to tell him about Dawn’s mysterious coma.
“Strange words from a vampire,” Sorcha said from the door. She walked slowly over to examine Anya, reaching out to stroke her cheek almost tenderly. Anya twisted her head away in disgust. “And our new guest is awake. I’ll inform Drusilla; she’ll be happy to know she can begin.” She smiled at Spike. “Of course she won’t be quite as happy to learn that the girl is still alive, but I suppose she can always remedy that situation.” Spike growled as she left the room without bothering to close the door.
“Who the hell was that?” Anya asked.
“Some vampire bitch helping Drusilla; I let her and Dru think Dawn was dead.” He dropped his head back in frustration. “Now they know the truth and I’m stuck here, unable to protect her.”
“What is it that Dru is going to be happy to begin?” Spike looked at her, sadness and pain in his eyes.
“She wants to punish me; that’s why she tried to kill Dawn.” Anya looked at him puzzled until realization dawned. Her eyes widened in fear.
“No! No,” she whimpered. “She’s going to use me to hurt you?” He nodded and she closed her eyes, beginning to cry. “Oh, god no.”
“I’m sorry, Anya. I’m so sorry.” Drusilla spoke suddenly, neither of them having noticed her entrance,
“How sweet! There was a time when he would have been delighting in your torment, now he offers comfort and apologies.” Drusilla came to stand over Anya. “You don’t think of him as a monster, but that’s only because you never saw the death and destruction he was capable of.” She turned and walked over to Spike. “You were a naughty boy, letting mummy think your girl was dead and gone! Sorcha says she lives.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t know. You didn’t see it?” Spike goaded her. Drusilla’s eyes were stormy.
“She shrouds herself in darkness; she knows how to keep me out. It’s terribly vexing. But I’ll take care of her later,” she said cheerfully. “Let’s begin on your friend. Should I start with knives?”
“Dru, don’t do this. I’ll do whatever you want just leave her and the rest of them alone.”
“What I want is for you to suffer.” She smiled, taking out a dagger. “This is how I get what I want.” Drusilla cut Anya’s shirt open in the front and drew the knife slowly across her stomach causing Anya to cry out in pain. Dru looked up at Spike and said, “Such a wonderful sound! This one shall be very, very fun! Don’t look so sad, my darling. I promise she won’t die for a long, long time.” Then she went back to her task causing Anya to cry out again and again while Spike pulled desperately at his restraints, tears falling from his eyes.
Xander didn’t mean to, but a few minutes after Anya left he dozed off on the couch. When he woke up and saw that it was morning he was upset that Anya hadn’t woken him to come to bed. She must still be angry, he thought. He made breakfast, hoping to make peace, but when he went to wake her up he saw that she hadn’t come home the night before. He paced the living room, at first concerned and then angry as he grabbed the phone and dialed Spike’s number hoping Willow answered so he wouldn’t have to deal with Spike. Luckily she did.
“Hey Will. Is Anya over there with you guys? She said she was going to get some food last night, but she didn’t come home and I started thinking maybe it had just been an excuse to get out of the house. I thought she might have come by to see you or, uh, Spike.”
“She’s not here Xander; neither is Spike. Nobody’s seen him since you guys had the fight at the hospital,” Willow said.
“Yeah, I’m not really all that concerned with the evil guy’s whereabouts, Will; I just want to find Anya.” Xander was upset that Willow seemed worried about Spike.
“Well, maybe that attitude is exactly why Anya left!” Willow replied.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” he demanded.
“Come on, Xander! You accuse Spike of doing this horrible thing to Dawn, and act like Anya is betraying you by disagreeing; I’m just saying that it’s been hard on her. She thinks you could turn on her the way you turned on Spike.”
“I didn’t turn on anyone! I came to a logical conclusion.”
“You’re the only one who thinks it’s logical. And Anya is concerned because of her former evildoer status.”
“So, what does that have to do with anything?”
“You think about it for awhile. Try to see things from her perspective; I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” Willow sighed. “I don’t know where she went Xander. Maybe she went back up to the hospital to wait for him to show up; she seemed worried earlier.”
“I don’t know why; he can take care of himself.”
“She probably figured he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to keep out of trouble. The woman he loves almost dies, and then the guy he probably thought was his best friend accuses him of doing it. I’m thinking his survival instincts are pretty low about now.”
“Give me a break, Will. I doubt he even considered me a friend, and it’s not like I accused him of something he hasn’t done in the past.”
“Whatever, I don’t feel like arguing about it,” Willow said in frustration.
“Okay, okay. I gotta go find her anyway,” Xander replied. Then he burst out, “Aw, dammit!”
“She’s got the car; I’ll have to call a cab.” Willow looked at the clock.
“I could come pick you up if you want.”
“That would be great,” Xander said in appreciation.
“I’ll be over in a little while,” Willow told him. “But I don’t want to listen to any Spike bashing alright?” Xander didn’t say anything. “Alright?”
“Fine. I’ll see you soon.” About twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door and Xander rushed to answer it. “Hey, Will.”
“Hey, I guess she decided to come home.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Anya. She came home, right?”
“Why would you think that?” Xander asked.
“The car is out front.” Willow’s eyes widened. “You mean, the car is here, but she isn’t?”
“The car is here?” Willow nodded and Xander followed her outside in disbelief. He saw the rental car sitting right where they had parked it when they got home the night before. He rushed over and as he got closer he noticed something on the ground beside it. “What is that?” Willow came up beside him and saw something shiny; she leaned down and picked it up and they both realized what it was.
“She didn’t go anywhere,” Xander said as he collapsed against the car. “She was taken.”
They all sat around Dawn’s living room in silence. They had called the police, but other than that no one knew what to do. Xander had been sprawled on the couch for quite awhile just staring at the ceiling. Suddenly he leaned forward and ran his hands over his face.
“How could I have let this happen? I should have gone with her,” he said guiltily.
“I don’t know; they probably would have just taken you too,” Tara said. “First the attack on Dawn, then Spike goes missing, and now Anya; it can’t be a coincidence.”
“You think Spike did something to Anya, too?” Xander asked. Willow looked over at him in disbelief.
“That’s not what she meant!” Tara gave Willow a calming smile then turned to Xander.
“I don’t think Spike hurt Anya or Dawn. I do think it’s all connected, but what I meant is that whoever hurt Dawn is probably the same person or…whatever who took Anya. And I think they may have done something to Spike as well.”
“I still think-” Xander started to say, but Willow interrupted,
“We all know what you think, Xander, but if you want to find Anya you’re going to have to try to keep an open mind.” Xander looked angrily at the floor.
“Fine; I’ll play along. For now.”
“Right then; here’s what we do,” Giles said, stepping forward and taking charge.
She didn’t know if she could take much more. Drusilla had grown bored of cutting her about an hour ago; she had moved on to a cattle prod. She would touch it to various parts of Anya’s body, delighting in the crackle of electricity and the agonized scream that followed. Anya blacked out often, but Dru would just wait until she woke up and begin again. At first Spike begged and pleaded with Drusilla to stop, but that only seemed to spur her on so he had stopped asking, knowing every word he spoke caused Anya more pain. Every time she cried out Drusilla would taunt Spike and remind him of when he used to enjoy this kind of thing; it made him sick to his stomach. No wonder Xander hated him so much; watching Dru was like looking at his past, the things he had done…he knew he didn’t deserve forgiveness. Dawn, Anya, none of them deserved to be hurt because of what he was, but he was powerless to protect any of them.
At the hospital a nurse came in to change Dawn’s bed and readjust her position. She had gotten Dawn tucked comfortably into nice clean sheets and was getting ready to go when she glanced down to find the girl silently watching her and gasped in surprise.
“You’re awake!” Dawn nodded and the nurse stood motionless for a moment, unsure of what to do, before saying, “I’ll get the doctor.”
“No.” The nurse turned to look at her. “Could you please remove all…this?” she asked, gesturing to the IV and the machines she was hooked up to.
“Oh. Oh, yes.” The nurse came over to do as she asked. When she was finished she smiled and said, “There, is that better?” Dawn nodded again and the nurse moved towards the door.
“I have to leave.”
“The doctor will need to check you over and then we’ll see.”
“No. I need to leave now.” The nurse turned to see Dawn throw back the covers.
“Be careful; you’re bound to be a little…weak,” her voice trailed off as Dawn climbed from the bed and rose, unfaltering, to her feet.
“I’m sorry, but I really have to leave. Now.” The nurse watched her nervously and then peered into the hall saying,
“I really should get the doctor.” She looked back towards the bed, but the girl was gone. “What the…? Oh my god!” She had completely disappeared; the startled nurse rushed to tell the doctor.
“Are you sure that’s what we should do?” Xander asked.
“It’s really the only thing I can think of. I mean we don’t have much to work with so it’s going to take some time.” Giles removed his glasses and rubbed his forehead wearily. “I really think this is the best place to begin.” The phone rang, startling them. They looked at each other and Willow said,
“I’ll get it; maybe it’s good news. Hello?” They were all quiet while she talked. “Yes?” A pause and then she smiled happily. “Really, that’s great! Oh.” Her expression grew puzzled. “What?” She looked at the others while she listened to someone on the other end. “Okay, yes, thank you for calling. Good-bye.” She turned and hung up, but stood motionless, staring at the wall.
“Will?” Xander said worriedly. “Who was it; is everything okay?”
“It’s Dawn. She woke up.” Giles put a hand on her shoulder.
“You don’t sound like this is good news. Is she alright?”
“What?” Xander exploded. Willow turned to face them.
“The nurse turned her back for a second and when she looked again she was just…gone. They don’t know how she left or where she went.”
“I’m here.” They all spun around and Xander let out a yelp as Dawn walked out of the bedroom. They all stared at her in shock.
Anya lay sobbing as Dru finally took a break from her constant torment. Her body was bruised and bloodied and she was hanging on the precipice of a complete mental breakdown. Her thoughts turned to Xander and she considered that she might never see him again, might never hold him again and she was filled with overwhelming despair. She glanced at Spike; he refused to feed on anything they brought him and, while Drusilla hadn’t inflicted any physical pain upon him, Anya knew she must consider his mental torment quite a success. She had never seen Spike look so…destroyed. He had been devastated when Dawn was attacked, but this, this was different; there was a sense of hopelessness about him that was beyond frightening.
“Spike? Are you okay?” Her voice was hoarse, barely louder than a whisper. He looked at her, his eyes bleak, and smiled bitterly.
“Listen to you, over there worrying about me when you’re the one in pain. Don’t bother; I’ll be fine. How are you?” Anya bit back a sob and the hysterical laughter that threatened to start at any moment.
“I don’t know how much more I can take. The pain…it’s excruciating. I’m still bleeding from most of the places she cut me, and I don’t think the electricity she’s shooting into me is doing me any kind of good; every nerve ending feels like it’s on fire. Why did she stop?” she asked curiously. Spike looked away.
“Are you sure you want to know?”
“Just tell me.”
“The human body is fragile. She doesn’t want to kill you; she wants to make sure you’ll be around for awhile. She’s letting you rest so you won’t die before she’s…done with you.” Anya closed her eyes as more tears fell and Spike whispered,
“I’m so sorry. If I could get free and kill her I would, but these chains show no sign of weakening. I don’t know what to do.”
“It’s okay,” Anya said her voice breaking. “At least I know I have some time before she starts again.”
In another part of the building that Spike and Anya were being kept in Sorcha sat with two other vampires. What they were telling her was impossible; they had planned everything down to the last detail; there was no way it could all be falling apart now.
“What you are saying makes no sense!” Sorcha raged. “We have him chained up down below; there is no way he could have done anything.”
“Perhaps it had already been done before we even took him,” said one.
“That is true; we were not told when it would occur,” responded the other.
“Then this has all been for nothing? All we have worked for, gone?” Sorcha demanded.
“I do not know what else to tell you; the prophets have spoken.” Sorcha stood and paced around the room as she spoke angrily,
“The prophets! They foresee our end, but know not how to stop it. Why do we bother with them?” The other two remained silent, knowing it was unwise to speak when she was in a rage. She said nothing for a long, long time as she continued to pace and then she sat down at the table calmly, saying, “So then, it has begun.”