The pulsing lights around her hurt her eyes. The music, loud and pounding against her ears, proved too much for her to handle. She collapsed to her knees, the dirty floor scuffing her jeans. A hand brushed through her hair, and a soothing voice followed, “Don’t be afraid. It’s all for the better. When you wake up, you’ll see. Just let go, sweetie.”
She knew people were looking for her. She knew there were people who needed her; who she needed. But the voice was so calming, she just needed to succumb to the darkness already crowding at her vision.
She no longer remembered where she was. Hell, she didn’t even know her own name. She nuzzled into the hand that held her head aloft and closed her eyes.
Ah, peace at last.
Xander and Willow were frantically searching through the great tide of people in the rave. Already, most of them had the dead-eyed look of someone just taken by a vampire.
They had planned out the mission well enough - Buffy would go in, take out the head honcho who was plotting this mess, and then the others would be around for backup.
They hadn’t expected this ‘head honcho’ to be more for the Slayer to handle. She called in a distress signal, but before she could specify where she was, her communicator went dead with a sharp screech in her friends’ ears. Immediately they took action, pushing aside throngs of people to find their Slayer. Even some of the younger ones came in to help, since the search was getting difficult.
One called in with shaky reception. “She’s — in the back.”
Xander, Willow and a few others ran towards where she had specified, knowing that but the quiver in her voice, nothing good was to come.
Buffy was prone on the ground, unconscious. The vampire who has orchestrated this disaster was smiling, serene, tipping the glass of blood to her bright pink lips. “Looks like your number one gal has decided to take a nap. When she wakes up, all her friends will die.” She sniffled. “Oh, so sad. Excuse me.”
This vampire looked nothing like the evil beast the Scoobies knew her to be. She had neon purple contact lenses on and a short skirt with yellows and greens splattered all over it. It more or less looked like a rainbow threw up all over her — so why was she so evil when she looked this vapid?
“Buffy will stop you!” Xander yelled. The vampire shrugged and laughed, her voice strangely deep for her pixie-like appearance.
“We’ll see.” She turned to a minion, and although she spoke to him, her words were clearly meant for the others to hear. “I want this place shut down, all humans and vampires out before the Slayer wakes.” Her smile widened. “As an act of good faith, I’ll let her little friends stick around to take care of her.”
The minion nodded and rushed off. In a few seconds, a blaring alarm sounded. There were shrieks of horror, some “Hide the molly!”, and a general panic as humans and vampires alike scrambled for the exits.
Faith, who had joined the efforts last-minute (she had actually come to the rave to have fun, but once she realized the Scoobies were infiltrating it she wanted in on the action), snorted. “What a bunch of newbies. No one screams ‘quick hide the drugs!’ because then the officers will know you have drugs.”
Willow looked at her in shock as she shrugged. “Someone’s got to provide comic relief. Xander’s not up to it today, methinks.”
The witch sighed and shook her head as her attentions returned to Buffy.
The once-filled factory had returned to what it was before the rave — and abandoned old factory. The only people in it were surrounding Buffy, hoping she would wake soon.
All exits were locked with an audible “slam-crash-bang”, and the group knew they were trapped. Maybe Faith and Buffy could rip open a door, but only if the both of them were awake and alive enough for that.
Willow was leaning over Buffy, her heart in her throat. She couldn’t go through this pain again.
Neither could Xander. If they lost Buffy, their world would fall apart.
And poor Dawnie… she hadn’t even been allowed to come on the mission. She was too young to even get into the rave and there was no way anyone in the gang was going to risk making her a fake I.D. The only person who would have offered was Spike, and he…
Buffy got angry whenever someone mentioned Spike. He hadn’t been discussed in a very long time.
Really, they should have made Buffy confront her problems about Spike a very long time ago.
But he was… dead, for lack of a better term, and Buffy was hurt and upset, so there hadn’t been any chance.
And now that she lay, probably dying, on the grungy floor of a factory-turned-rave place, there was never going to be a chance to bring him up again.
As Willow sat by her best friend, thinking of all the things they might not get to do with Buffy ever again, the Slayer’s eyes popped open.
The witch scrambled back and squeaked in surprise. Buffy had made no move to pick herself up, she merely continued to lie on the ground and stare ahead.
Without breathing once, she picked herself up from the ground and brushed at her legs. “Next time someone tells me to sleep on the ground, at least remind them to tell me to put on less expensive jeans first.”
The Scoobies stared at her in shock. Faith, of course, was the first to break the silence. “Buffy, man — what happened?”
She shrugged. “Oh, the usual. Big evil vampire gave me a drug and I passed out. Surprised she didn’t kill me. Glad to wake up with you guys here instead.” She rubbed at her throat and grimaced. “Is anyone else, like, incredibly thirsty?”
Xander raised his hand. “I had one sip of water before we drove here, so yeah, I’m kinda thirsty.”
She shook her head. “No, I mean… I can’t explain it. I don’t think I’ve felt this before.”
Willow tilted her head. “Well, it could be a side effect of the drug? What was it that she gave you?”
Buffy sighed. “I don’t know.” All she could remember was her head being tipped back, deadly fangs at her throat, while a thick liquid was poured into her mouth, forcing her to swallow. She couldn’t place the taste, there was too much fear in the air — her own fear — and it was too hard to pick out taste from smell and even harder to tell what was in her mouth. All she knew was that soon after, it felt like she was dying.
Faith stiffened. “There’s still a vampire in here with us.”
When everyone looked to her in surprise, she growled. “Hey, I’m a Slayer too. I got the vampy-sense. And I know there is one in here, right now. I didn’t pick it up earlier because I thought it was just leftover from this place being overrun with undead nasties. But it’s here.”
Buffy frowned. “I don’t feel anything… are you sure?”
Faith’s eyes widened with fear. “Buffy… listen for your heartbeat.”
There was a pause as the older Slayer placed her hand over her breast.
Everyone waited, horror coloring their faces as they watched.
Buffy’s own confused expression drained from her face as she continued to press her hand into her chest. “No…”
Even as she denied the truth, it slapped her in the face. She was paying attention to it now, she could hear each heartbeat of every Scoobie in the warehouse. Willow’s was rapid and quiet, like a hummingbird. Xander’s was booming yet quick, as though his world had been slammed down around his feet. Faith’s was a steady stream of beats, adrenaline rushing through her body as it usually is for Slayers.
Buffy looked down. Her own beat was missing. Her chest felt hollow, empty of feeling as she continually pressed harder and harder. “God, please…”
And yet no heavenly response came to her aid.
Buffy the vampire Slayer… was a vampire.