Prisms By Mad-Hamlet
I really must throw away this CD. Which is shame because it does hold one of my most favorite pieces of classical music on it. It's just that I am thoroughly convinced it is hellishly evil. Every tragedy that has come upon us, every challenge or great darkness, has usually been preceded by myself sitting down with a hot kettle of fine tea, a good book, and Pachebel's Cannon playing over the stereo; and a ham sandwich, never ever forget the sandwich.
One would think that either the sandwich or the tea suspect but such things did not occur when I listened too Beethoven, or Bach, Strauss or even Mozart; just Pachebel's Cannon. That night was no exception. I had not forgotten the sandwich and tragedy did come.
Being the eldest member of a team of primarily young people, led by one who is destined to face the forces of supernatural evil, I find myself more often than not being relegated to duties usually involving research. Said research usually lasts very late into the night and due to these circumstances I find myself having somewhat odd hours. This, by default, sometimes leads to insomnia so on that particular night I was battling it as usual with the aforementioned, book, sandwich, music habit of mine.
It also suited another purpose as my unwilling housemate, Spike, was out and about the neighborhood and I thought it a good idea to wait for his inevitable return. I was flipping through the few CD's I owned and decided to listen to Pachebel's Cannon as it had been a good long while since the last time. If I had bothered to recall, the last time I had listened to that particular piece of music was just before Angelus attacked me.
No sooner had I inserted the CD and settled in my chair when Spike came waltzing through. Without a word he simply strode around me and entered the kitchen. I could hear him rustling about as the first few notes of the music floated around the room. He seemed to like it as I heard him, belatedly, trying to whistle along. A few minutes later he came back into the living room carrying a large glass.
"Drinking it cold tonight?" I asked.
"It's mixed with bloody vodka, you can bloody well bet I'll drink the bleedin' concoction cold."
"Yes, well..." I began.
"Do you have any bleedin' idea how annoying that is?" Spike interrupted me.
"What on Earth is the matter with you?" I finally snapped.
"Better." And a smug smile was the only reply I got before he took a long pull on the tankard.
"What's wrong with me Mr. Watcher? You really want to know?" He finally asked wiping away the blood with his shirt cuff.
I put my book down. "Yes Spike, tell me what's the matter, tell me what's bothering you...did the puppy dog you toss in the street not get hit by a car? Did you see a particularly delicious pair of twins that you really wanted but just couldn't taste? How does that commercial go? No one can eat just one? You watch more TV than me. You should know!" By this time I was practically shouting.
To this day I don't know why he got to me so easily. Spike is a pretty unflappable person despite having a very short temper and maybe it was the fact that he was behaving ...not normally... that set me on edge. Of course 'normal' for Spike would have a leave a sane person.... not. Regardless I had lost it and allowed him to win the 'battle' as it were; not my proudest moment.
With exaggerated movements Spike set his tankard aside and gently clapped his hands together.
"Quite right 'old bean'." He said. "But no, it was nothing like that. In a way I'd rather have to deal minor difficulties such as that very entertaining list you offered. Yes, something is 'the matter' in fact several things are 'the matter'. Several large ugly things that, I'm sorry to say, do not simply go poof when embedded on a stick. What is even worse is I cannot take responsibility for 'the matter' though I seriously doubt even I would go to such lengths." He paused looked introspective for a moment before coming to a decision of some sort and resumed speaking.
"It's also not my place to discuss what is 'the matter' as it doesn't exactly involve me at least not willingly. I stumbled across it and unless you do so yourself or they allow you in, then fine. But for now...sit down you're blocking the telly."
And with that little speech said he reached down, grabbed the tankard and took another long pull.
I was shaking... I was livid...no I meant it I was quite honestly and truly annoyed!
Here I am former agent of a group that's job involved hunting down creatures of the night and here, in my very own home, now sits one of said creatures behaving like a..a....I don't know.
I was seriously tempted to slap the tankard out of his hand but I'm quite sure the most that would have gotten me is a false hurt look, some snide comment, and a permanent stain in my carpeting.
I was also suddenly very nervous. Something 'bad' had happened or as Spike had said something was 'the matter'. However he wouldn't say what it was other than that it bothered even him and he had also mentioned that even he would not have done whatever it was that was 'the matter'.
I took of my glasses to rub the bridge of my own and froze when he gave a snort. Putting them back on I tried to approach the situation in a calm rationale manner as befitting someone with my..background.
He ignored me.
Another pull on the tankard.
"I said 'no' Watcher. I know, I know what you're thinking. 'Spike? Respectful of privacy? He kills people as food, you can't invade a person's privacy more than that!' Well, bollocks that, you're bloody wrong and that is all I'm gonna say on the matter." He craned his neck to take a look at the clock. I glanced at it myself wondering the significance.
Keeping his eyes on the clock he held out his hand palm up with all five fingers out. Then began curling them one by one.
The phone rang.
"Oh goody." Spike suddenly was smiling. He rubbed his hands together gleefully. "Showtime!"
I walked over to the phone which was still ringing.
"One day you'll tell me how you did that." I said.
He shrugged. "Honestly? Lucky guess."
I picked up the phone.
"Giles." I wasn't sure because her voice sounded so different.. flat..but I thought it was Buffy.
"Giles what would happen if I killed someone?" She said.
"What? What on earth are you talking about?"
"Hypothetical question Giles." She said in that same flat voice. "Just answer. What would happen if The Slayer killed another person? Any magic curses? Lose my powers? Get damned for eternity? Anything?"
It took me a few seconds for the gears in my mind to start turning. "Er..um...no..nothing like that. Recall that Faith did kill the deputy Mayor and she's is still among the living." I winced. "In a manner of speaking."
The fact that Buffy had nearly killed her ...less restrained counterpart still haunted her and I was quite upset with myself for being so careless with words. For a minute I felt a bit like Xander and braced myself for the worst. I was not quite expecting the response I actually got.
"That doesn't matter right now. She wasn't...she wasn't really a Slayer at the time. So...that doesn't answer my question. Have any other Slayers in the past ever killed a human not involved in this...this dark vs. light war thing?"
Stretching the cord across the room I strained to reach one of the Watcher Journals I still had. Spike stretched his feet out as if to trip me then pulled them back at the last instant. Ignoring him I flipped through a few pages looking for a particular paragraph.
"Um..Buffy..the only case involving a full 'on duty' Slayer ever killing a human on purpose was…" I skimmed over the page. "The early eighteenth century. It seems a group of slavers and their 'cargo' and were attacked by a nest of vampires." I skimmed some more. "When she arrived she discovered that the Slavers, in a bid to buy more time for themselves had chained their slaves to a tree leaving them to be fed upon so they could escape. After saving those she could the Slayer then killed the slavers themselves."
"And?" Buffy said in that same quiet voice.
I sighed. "And the Council decided she was a rogue and had her hunted down." Setting the book down I took off my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose, not giving a damn what my 'houseguest' thought of my habits.
"That's fine." Buffy said.
"I said, 'That's fine.' I'm already outs with the Council so I don't need to worry about them."
"Buffy," I was becoming uncomfortable with the direction this conversation was going. "Buffy, what's going on? Are you alright?"
"I'm fine Giles." She said quickly.
"Then why are you asking me these questions? Why do you want to know about this sort of thing now?" I paused. "Who are you planning on killing?"
"I'm sorry Giles. I can't talk about it." She said.
"Buffy tell me what's happening. I can't help you if you won't talk to me." I shot a glance at Spike. He appeared to be trying very hard not to laugh. We would have words after I got off the phone.
"I can't talk about it Giles. I promised her I wouldn't."
I've always thought of myself as a smart man; good instincts and a willingness to listen to that little voice in the back of my mind. In my line of work maintaining such and not losing touch with your..erm..humanity over 'responsibilities' is a critical part of staying alive.
When Buffy said 'I promised her' I could feel the blood drain from my face. The 'little voice' grew to a loud choir and on some level I already knew what she was talking about though I could not..or would not..recognize it. Instead I waffled.
"Um..Buffy..is Willow there?"
"She's sleeping Giles."
The choir became a howling.
"I..I would like to speak to her. Could you wake her?"
"I have to go Giles. We'll talk later."
The howling became a storm.
The phone was silenced with a 'click'.
"Buffy? Buffy!" Having had already hung up the phone I doubt she heard me.
Gently setting the phone back in its cradle I sat down across from Spike. He was hunched forward on the sofa, his knees supporting his arms, which, in turn, were supporting his head with one fist. He looked somewhat like a modern version of that statue..um..'The Thinker" except for the huge smile splitting his features.
"You seem to know something of what this is all about Spike."
He nodded still grinning.
"And you refuse to tell me what this 'about' involves."
Again a nod.
"Buffy won't say anything either but asks about any potential penalties for a Slayer that kills a human being but she won't tell me what's going on either."
"You're on a roll Watcher. Keep up the good work." He said.
"And I guessing your 'matter' has something to do with why she called."
He went back to nodding.
"You said I had to stumble across it, well I believe I have so..will you tell me what you know?"
Spike pursed his lips and lay a finger over them making a mockery of someone deep in thought. He held this pose for a few seconds.
"No. Can I watch TV now?"
Well that was quite enough of that thank you.
I grabbed Spike by the collar and slammed him against the wall with all my weight behind it. I doubt it hurt him very much but the grunt he made was somewhat satisfying.
"I don't care Spike." I snarled. " I simply do not care about your place..or any place..or your idea of 'preserving privacy' you will tell me what you know and you will tell me right now." Our faces were barely inches apart.
He didn't look worried and indeed he had little reason too, as there wasn't a threatening wooden object anywhere nearby and I couldn't exactly beat him to death.
We stared into each others eyes for a few minutes, me breathing heavily and Spike..well..not looking concerned in the slightest and not breathing at all.
He gave a sigh of exasperation and rolled his eyes.
"I'm disappointed in you Watcher." He said calmly. "I always figured you for such a bright lad and to be let down like this." He shook his head. "Such a disappointment."
I slammed his against the wall a few more times; useless but in a visceral way, satisfying.
He just gave me a pitying look and we stood there for a few minutes locked together like that.
The realization that this wasn't working finally wheedled it's way into my mind and I reluctantly let him go.
"Thanks." He brushed his shirt a few times. "I hate it when the material gets all wrinkled. I look terrible that way and I'm not good with an iron…"
"Shut up Spike." I said wearily before collapsing in my seat. Pachobel's Cannon was still playing.
"Oh but if I do that Giles I can't tell you what you want to know." He shrugged. "But… it that's the way you want it…" he let the sentence drift off. I refused to rise to the bait and just sat there looking at him.
Throwing up his hands Spike sat down across from me again and stretched out the sofa. Leaning back in a reclining position he said, "Alright I've had my fun, fair is fair an' all." He looked at me from the corner of his eyes.
"It's really simple Giles. Willow…your little witch…was raped tonight."
It was a very good thing that I was already sitting down when he said that. Had I not been I probably would have hurt myself quite badly.
"Wh..what did you say?" I managed to get out.
Spike sat up, leaned in my direction and carefully enunciated each syllable..in a quiet whisper..in my ear.
"I said…Willow.. your..little..witch..was…raped..tonight." He paused. "You do know what that means don't you? Should I..maybe…get you a dictionary?"
I hit him. I really did, a nice clean left hook to his jaw that rocked his head back and while he was disorientated I leapt up to and pulled one of the swords off the wall. It took a few moments to get it down and that was enough for him to leap to his feet and clamber over the sofa. I advanced on him with the blade held in front of me, yes I know Vampires don't fear steel..well..unless you cut their heads off. In that case it will work fine which was my intention at the time.
"H-hey now Giles…you ..don't want to do that now do you? I mean this is awful Greek of you..trying to kill the messenger of bad news.."
Ah. Now I had made him nervous! How wonderful.
"How would you know this?!" I roared. "How would you know what had happened unless you were there!!" I swung at him but he ducked underneath it and darted across the room, keeping his head down.
"I wasn't there! I swear it..I ..I just got lucky an'.." I saw him wince. "Bloody hell..poor choice of words!" He held his hands out in placating gesture while shooting looks over his shoulder ..at the corner I was herding him into.
"You saw it didn't you?" I thundered. "You sat there, watching it happened and were probably laughing yourself silly!!" I charged. Had I been striking at a normal person I wouldn't have missed but even though he couldn't hurt me back he still had his vampric speed and managed to evade the blow.
"Are you out of your bloody mind?" He shouted. "You're food to me, would you get your jollies watching cattle shag?"
"That's an excellent point." I roared back, kicking the table out the way..I'd clean it up tomorrow. "But we also don't swear oaths of vengeance at our beefstock either!"
"Beef doesn't fight back!"
He tried to get past me again but this time I was ready and managed to land a kick in his gut and, while it didn't hurt him it gave me the opportunity to pin him to the wall, the swords edge at his throat.
"Talk." I commanded.
"Jesus Christ, why didn't you just ask?" He was stretching his neck in an effort to keep away from the sword.
"It was during my walk, minding my own business, looking for the odd demon to shred and I saw her walkin' home. I could smell it on her. I followed her home, watched her not tell The Slayer and then hung around outside the window until Summer's caught on and ran off to do her 'best friend thing' with Red in the shower. That's it. I swear."
I slowly relaxed the blade as the full impact of the revelation began to make itself felt. I could feel the strength began to drain away from my limbs. The sword clattered to the ground and I let it lay where it fell.
"Dear God." I muttered
"Oh I can assure you," Spike muttered rubbing his throat. "God had nothing to do with this, and I can take some satisfaction in the fact that Hell didn't either. This little escapade is all human."
I let his running commentary pass over me, not really listening.
It was, it is, the most neutral experience I have ever had. A complete nothing on the emotional spectrum. No pain or rage or hate, no worry or sympathy either like those parts of my mind had just..stopped. Run out petrol like.
I was left with just a smooth, icy machine like mind running and it just kept processing the same thought over and over.
Willow was raped.
Willow was raped.
Willow was raped…
"Willow.." I whispered to the air beside me.
"Mm?" Spike looked up. He had sat down on arm of the sofa closest to me and had been resting his head in his hands a moment before.
"She..was raped?" I whispered again.
"More than once." Spike said without emotion. "I got two different male scents."
"You smelled them?" I asked
"So you can track them." It wasn't a question.
And it all came rushing back, feelings, hating, sadness, pain, rage, need..all of it. I couldn't let Buffy do this. It just wouldn't be fair to her. I'd do it first.
I got to my feet.
"Stand up." I ordered.
"Eh? Where we going?" He said.
I slipped on my jacket and headed for the door. "Hunting."
Spike was scrambling into his trenchcoat hurrying to catch up. "Why Giles, I didn't know you had it in you."
I turned in the doorway.
"Not Giles, Spike." I took off my glasses and put them in my breast pocket. "Ripper."
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