Chapter Sixteen: The Light
Dawn watched them all uncertainly; their expressions were a mixture of awe and confusion. She hadn’t meant to frighten them. The only thing on her mind had been getting to them as fast as possible; she had forgotten that they didn’t know yet.
“Holy crap!” Xander blurted out.
“Oh…my god!” Willow whispered, shaking her head in confusion. “What…how…?” Tara stepped forward.
“How did you get here?” she asked quietly.
“There’s not a lot of time to explain, but I’m okay. I hated worrying you; I wanted to come back to you sooner but I needed the time to complete the metamorphosis.” She smiled serenely. “I’m not afraid of what I am anymore, and I got the answers I was searching for.” Giles looked surprised.
“Did you say metamorphosis?”
“I guess that’s what you would call it. I changed. Well, I finished changing; I’ve been in the process of changing for awhile. It’s the reason I knew all those things, and Anya was right; it is good.” She turned to look at Xander. “I know what you think about Spike, but you’re wrong. He would never hurt me or Anya; he’d never hurt any of us. It was Drusilla’s way of punishing him; she wanted it to look like he did it.” Xander stared at her as his eyes widened in understanding; he sat down hard on the arm of the couch. As he thought about the things he had said and done he felt sick to his stomach; Spike would never forgive him. He looked at Dawn, guilt and shame etched on his face.
“I am such an ass.” Willow smiled sadly and patted his shoulder comfortingly.
“Maybe you can talk to him, try to apologize.” Xander stared at the floor doubtfully and Giles said,
“I’d like to hear more about this change that occurred; what exactly does it mean? What happened?”
“I’ll explain everything later, but right now we have to get to Spike and Anya; she’s in great pain and Spike is growing weak; we’ve got to get them out of there.”
“You know where they are?” Tara queried.
“Drusilla and some others are holding them in a place across town.”
“How do you know all of this?” Xander asked in amazement.
“I know a lot of things now, old things, new things; it’s all just…there.” Dawn shrugged her shoulders and they looked at her in awe again. “Don’t start acting all freaky though; I’m not much different than before. I’m still me.” Xander stood and said,
“Alright, we can take the rental car; just tell me where we’re going.” They all looked at Dawn expectantly and she cleared her throat before responding.
“I, uh, I actually have a quicker way to get there; it’s how I got here from the hospital. I think I can take all of you with me, but it might be a little…disorienting for you, especially this first time. We’ll need to join hands, and make sure you hold on tight. I don’t want to lose anybody.” They looked at each other nervously and Dawn smiled weakly. “Sorry, just trying to lighten the mood.” They all joined hands in a circle, none of them sure of what was about to happen. Dawn closed her eyes and whispered, “Peragro.” There was a blinding flash of light melting into an eternity of nothingness in which time seemed suspended. Then everything moved faster and faster until they found themselves standing in a different room still facing each other in the circle. Dawn, clearly unaffected, turned quickly to search for Spike and Anya while the others stumbled to the ground feeling sick and dizzy.
She saw Spike first; he didn’t look like he’d been hurt but he was unconscious, maybe sleeping. In all the time she had known him he’d always been so full of life, even without breath or pulse but now, for the first time, he seemed truly dead. It frightened her.
“Spike,” she whispered. His eyelids fluttered and he slowly raised his head. He looked at her unblinkingly for a long time then let out a harsh laugh, muttering,
“Great. Now I’m bloody hallucinating.” As tears came to his eyes he closed them tightly trying to block out Dawn’s image.
“You’re not hallucinating.” She took his face in her hands and pressed her lips to his. “I’m here, I’m real, and I came for you. I would never leave you, not in a million lifetimes.” Spike opened his eyes and looked at her in astonishment. She reached up to the chains and suddenly his arms were free. He pulled her close, hugging her tightly, his voice unsteady.
“You’re alive! You’re here and you’re alive. You don’t know how scared I was when I found you like that; you were so still. I thought…I thought I would never hold you again. I thought…”
“Shh,” Dawn said pressing her hand against his mouth. “Everything is okay now.” They kissed again and then she pulled back. “We have to get out of here.” She kneeled down and freed his legs.
“Where did you get the key?” She stood and kissed him once more before saying quietly,
“I don’t have a key.” He looked puzzled, but before she could explain they heard Xander calling for Dawn. When he had started to recover from the trip he had seen Anya and crawled to her side. He stared at her abused body in horror before saying,
“God, Dawn, look at her! We have to get her to a hospital.”
Dawn turned to look at Anya; Xander had untied her, but she was in too much pain to move and she didn’t seem to be aware of what was going on. Xander moved aside as Dawn knelt down by her and put her palm to Anya’s cheek.
“Anya? I’m going to help you, okay?” Anya blinked and nodded almost imperceptibly. Dawn leaned down to kiss her forehead and then took her hand. The others watched as Dawn closed her eyes and bowed her head. A low hum could be heard throughout the room and a peculiar green light glowed underneath Dawn’s palm then slowly moved out over Anya’s body. They watched in amazement as cuts began to close and bruises disappeared; soon the light dissipated and Anya moved slightly, testing her muscles. When there was no sign of discomfort she sat up, gathering her tattered shirt around her as best she could, and turned to Dawn.
“What…What did you do?” she asked reverently.
“I can’t remove the memory; that’s part of you now, part of who you are, but I hope I was able to ease the physical pain.” Tears came to Anya’s eyes and she pulled Dawn into an embrace. Dawn clung to her, filled with sadness that her friend had gone through something so awful. They parted and Anya said,
“I don’t know how you did this, but the pain, it’s just…gone. Thank you, thank you so much.” It was then that Anya noticed Xander standing off to the side. As she rushed into his arms a sob broke free and he held her tightly while she cried.
“We really need to get out of here,” Dawn said as she eyed the door. Spike took her hand, asking,
“How did all of you get in?” Xander shrugged.
“We’re still not really sure; Dawn brought us…somehow; it was all very confusing.” He walked over to Spike, still holding Anya pressed tight to his side. “I know nothing I say can ever change what I did but, for what it’s worth, I am truly sorry.” Spike stared at him stonily for a long time before nodding, but he offered no words of forgiveness. Dawn started to gather them into a circle, but before they could leave the door banged open and Drusilla came in followed by two other vamps.
“Well, well, look who showed up for the party! And without their invitations; shame on you.” She smiled at them, her eyes flashing with deadly intent.
“You won’t stop us, you know. And I won’t let you hurt any of them,” Dawn stated as she stepped in front of the others. Spike put his hand on her shoulder.
“What are you doing?” he asked fearfully. She turned to smile at him and he saw her eyes flash green before she whispered,
“Don’t worry; everything will be okay.” Drusilla walked towards them, a smug expression on her face.
“I beat you once little girl. It shouldn’t be too hard to do again.” Dawn casually held her hand up and Dru jerked to a halt. She looked surprised at first, but as she struggled unsuccessfully to move her expression turned angry.
“What did you do little one?”
“You consider me a child, an unworthy opponent, but you are sadly mistaken. This body may be young, but I am older than time itself; I know things you couldn’t even begin to comprehend. You’re out of your league here, Drusilla, so back off.” She lowered her hand and Dru dropped to the floor like a puppet whose strings had suddenly been cut. Dawn held her other hand out as though reaching for something. “Accio!” One of the other vampires glided across the room, coming to rest with his throat in her grasp. Dawn looked at him knowingly. “You don’t work for her, do you? Tell your real mistress that I’ll be coming for her and the others working with her. Tell her she can’t hide from me, none of you can.” She smiled as she let him go and stepped back. “This is far from over.” She turned quickly gathering her friends together. There was another dizzying trip and they found themselves back in Dawn’s living room where they all collapsed onto the couch and chairs. As they began to feel slightly less sick everyone looked at Dawn. She dropped down next to Spike, who put his arm around her before saying,
“What the bleedin’ hell was that?!” Dawn glanced around at her loved ones and knew it was time for some explanations.
Sorcha paced the room watching as Drusilla huddled in the corner. She was so useless, babbling like an idiot, spouting nonsensical crap! What had ever made her think it was good idea to work with this nutcase? They should have just taken Spike on their own; it would have taken longer to find him, but Sorcha wouldn’t have had to listen to Drusilla’s insane ramblings every day.
“Everything spinning, twisting; she brings light from the darkness. Couldn’t move, couldn’t move!” Drusilla whined as she clutched her head. “It’s crawling inside my head like a tiny little bug.”
“What is wrong with her?” Sorcha demanded.
“We’re not sure; she’s been like this since it happened,” a male vampire named Brigham replied.
“And what exactly did happen? I’m still a little unclear on the matter; how is it Spike and his little friend were able to escape?”
“There was a girl, she was…unusual. Drusilla tried to stop them, but the girl did something to her. Amir flew right through the air at her bidding!” He said excitedly, his eyes shining with admiration, but one disapproving look from Sorcha and he quickly composed himself. “Before they disappeared she…told him to give you a message for her.”
“Well, Amir isn’t here at the moment so why don’t you pass it along yourself, hmm?”
“She said she’s coming back for you, that none of us can hide from her.” Sorcha spun on him.
“So this…girl, she’s going to destroy us? I thought Spike was going to do that. How are we supposed to do what is needed when we have faulty information? Are the prophets good for absolutely nothing?!” She shouted angrily.
“He changed her; they’re part of one now. He turned the key!” Drusilla giggled madly as she said in a silly singsong, “The mouse has married the bumblebee.” Her face filled with wonder and she reached out to swirl her hand through the air in front of her. “Ooh, so many pretty colors! They’re all around me, can’t you see them?” Sorcha shook her head in frustration.
“Could somebody please shut her up!”
They decided to save the explanations until after they took Anya to the hospital. Dawn was fairly certain that there wouldn’t be any complications, but since she had never healed anyone before she figured it was better to be safe than sorry. It wasn’t quite sunset yet so Dawn decided to wait at the house with Spike while the others went to the hospital.
“Are you sure you don’t mind if I stay here?” she asked. Anya hugged her tightly.
“Of course I don’t mind; I’m just glad we have you back and that you were able to get us out of there.” She glanced over to where Spike sat. “Besides I think Spike is going to need someone to talk to. This whole thing has been hard on both of us; he may not have been hurt physically, but I think Drusilla really got to him. He feels responsible for everything.” Xander came over and Anya leaned into him. “And I want to know all about this…change you went through when I get home; that was some amazing stuff you did today.” Tears came to their eyes as they looked at each other. “I’m just so glad you’re alright!” They embraced again, both crying. Dawn whispered,
“I’m sorry I couldn’t get to you sooner; I am so, so sorry.”
“That’s not your fault! You’re the reason I’m even able to move right now.” She smiled tearfully. “We’ll talk more when I get back. Come on Xander, let’s get this over with.” They all filed out to the car and Dawn and Spike were left alone. They faced each other across the living room for a long silent moment before rushing to meet in the middle. Spike pulled her into his arms and they kissed desperately, trying to touch each other everywhere at once.
“I feel like I haven’t seen you in so long,” Spike spoke in between kisses. “I’m sorry that she hurt you; I should have been here. I should have stopped her.”
“It’s not your fault; you couldn’t have known.” She ran her hands down his back.
“But if you hadn’t made it, if you had d-” She halted the words with a kiss.
“But I did make it. What she tried to do? It didn’t work. She failed and I came back to you. I’m not going anywhere.” She leaned her forehead against his. “Make love to me. Please.” He brushed her hair back from her face and gazed at her adoringly before leaning closer to take her mouth in a slow gentle kiss. It was long and lazy, seeming to last forever. Dawn clung to him, pouring all her love and desire into that one kiss. She pulled back breathlessly to look at him, and took his hand with a smile, leading him into the bedroom.
They undressed each other slowly enjoying the quiet intimacy. She climbed onto the bed pulling him after her, a seductive glint in her eye, and he went eagerly. He leaned over her tracing shapes onto her skin with his fingertips and she shivered with desire. She leaned up to touch his lips teasingly with her own, advancing and retreating as she slid her hands up his chest and around his shoulders. He caught her to him fiercely before trailing kisses down her body, worshipping her with his intimate caress, driving Dawn’s need higher and higher until she felt as though she were on fire. He moved back up and their mouths met again, their hands seeking, touching wherever they could.
The energy and passion between them seemed to take on a life of its own as they were both inundated with sensation, becoming desperate for release. Their eyes met as Spike moved inside her, slow at first and then faster as desire reached a fever pitch. Dawn cried out as everything inside her tightened briefly before flying apart. As Spike watched, her eyes began to glow that same incandescent green that he had seen earlier, then she leaned forward to kiss him. The sensation that pulsed suddenly through his body pushed him over the edge and into an intense release of his own, so intense that his features shifted and changed before he was even aware of it happening. Dawn continued to kiss him afterwards and soon his human visage slid back into place. He pulled back slightly and asked in confusion,
“What was that?” Dawn smiled and shrugged.
“An added bonus.”
“My change. Us. It’s just something that happens inside me when we’re together. It’s intense, huh?”
“You feel like that because of this change you went through?”
“I’ve always felt it, but now you can too. You can feel what you do to me.” Spike looked at her in wonder, love shining in his eyes.
“You are so amazing,” he said. “The way you make me feel, the way you’ve always made me feel; it’s so powerful. Every time I see you, every time we touch I’m just…overwhelmed by emotion. I didn’t think I would ever get to touch you again.” He closed his eyes in remembered anguish and when he spoke she could barely hear him, “If I had lost you, if you hadn’t…that would have been it for me. I don’t think I could have lived without you.” She kissed him fiercely before replying,
“Don’t talk like that! If anything ever happens to me…,” he looked away, unable to meet her eyes, but she turned his face back to hers. “You have to promise me that if anything ever happens to me you won’t give up. You have to stay alive and keep on fighting the fight. You may not have meant for it to happen, but you’re one of the good guys now. You are more than just ‘us’. You can’t define your existence by our relationship alone.” He looked at her for a moment and then he nodded reluctantly.
“I promise.” She kissed him gently.
“You’re very important to the world, you know.”
“Me?” She nodded and smiled.
“You have no idea.”
The drive to the hospital was fairly silent. There was a general feeling of confusion and shock among them all concerning the events that had transpired and no one really knew quite what to say. Xander kept glancing worriedly at Anya who seemed to be deep in thought; he hoped she would be able to recover psychologically from what she had been through. She turned to him suddenly and said quietly,
“So, obviously, I was right about Spike.” Xander had the grace to look ashamed.
“Yes, you were right.” Anya stared out the window unseeingly.
“She knew. She knew that some of us would turn on him; she counted on it.” Xander watched the road as he replied bitterly,
“And I played right into her trap. I didn’t even have a doubt in my mind that he was guilty.” He shook his head whispering, “I turned on him so easily.” Anya glanced at him as he became lost in his thoughts. He looked so distraught; maybe he had learned something from all of this. Maybe there was hope for him after all.