The girl was lost.
She did not know how she had come to be in this room, this warm soft room with strange yet somehow familiar pictures on the dresser and the walls.
Where was she?
She heard voices downstairs, but could not make out the words. Then one voice rose a bit above the others, and though the voice was soft and clear, almost musical, suddenly she was terrified. That voice belonged to someone who had hurt her, she remembered that much. She remembered the pain; she remembered being batted about like a mouse in a kitten’s claws, slammed into walls, her body broken by the one whose voice she heard.
Then, was she a prisoner here? She could not think why she would be a prisoner, or why the woman downstairs would have attacked her.
She rose from the bed and went to the window. She was aware that she should have been in more pain than she was; somehow she was healing at an accelerated rate. At the window, she gazed out into the night, and imagined that she heard it calling to her. It felt like the natural thing for her to do as she slipped out the window and into the first faint rays of dawn, not sparing a thought for the thin shift nightdress she was wearing.
Barefoot, she ran through the grass of the yard, and the next yard and the next, avoiding the sidewalk with its sharp stones that would cut her soft feet. She did not know where she was going, but some part of her seemed to be headed in a specific direction.
She found herself suddenly in a graveyard. She stopped short, looking around her. She thought that she should have been scared, to be here, alone at night, but it was just another thing that should not have felt natural, but somehow did – to be alone in a cemetery at night. She pondered why she would feel comfortable in a graveyard as she wandered among the tombs. She became aware all at once of the way in which she was moving – stealthy, predatory. Her feet did not make a sound as she moved quickly through the cemetery, watching for – what? What was she watching for? She couldn’t remember, but it seemed important.
All at once she found herself in front of a battered stone crypt. She stopped, that familiar feeling niggling at the corners of her mind. Why was this familiar to her? She felt as if she knew this place well. A word came to her mind as she gazed at its open doorway – “spike”. A random, meaningless word to her. Slowly she crept toward the open mausoleum door, and after only a moment’s pause, slipped into the darkness.
In the dim early morning haze, she could see that someone had been living there recently; she could tell by the scattered remnants of furniture and clothing lying about. But someone had also recently torn the place to pieces. Bits and pieces of broken chairs, ripped clothing, lay everywhere. In spite of the devastation, she still felt a sense of comfort here.
Her eyes fell on the sarcophagus at the room’s center, and somehow she knew that there was a ladder on its inside edge, and a large room at the bottom. She had the vague sense that she had at some point been very familiar with this place.
At the bottom, she found the same destruction she had seen on the upper level of the crypt. A massive bed had been hacked to pieces, which lay where they had been thrown in someone’s terrible fit of rage. Although she felt that she should know, she could not remember what had happened in this place, but she felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow and loss at the sight.
Without truly understanding why, she went and sat down against the wall, tears flowing unchecked down her face as she surveyed the wreckage that surrounded her.
So much pain in this place!
She was soon crying with abandon, as bits and pieces of memory, emotions and fleeting thoughts, began to come back to her. Names, faces, some linked together, and others unplaced, fluttered about the edges of her consciousness.
She did not even hear the stranger’s approach over the sound of her own desperate sobs. He was only a few feet away by the time she noticed him. Dark, dirty hair, old blue jeans, with a tattered t-shirt – he looked almost as bad as she felt.
“What’s this?” he asked softly, his voice laced with a hunger that seemed both foreign and familiar to her. “What’s a pretty little thing like you doing down here?”
She sat frozen with fear to the spot where she was sitting. Something was off about him; some sixth sense warned her that here was danger, death in a human disguise.
That’s what I am.
The thought flew unbidden into her mind, with a jolt of memory like electricity. She was not powerless against this thing. Rather, it was her destiny to destroy this vile creature. Snatching up a piece of a broken chair from near where she sat, she suddenly leapt to her feet, fire in her eyes.
She was the Slayer!
She flew into action, delivering blow after powerful blow, beating her opponent back with her fists and her feet. He managed to get in a couple of good blows, but eventually, she cornered him against the wall. In a moment her arm was against his throat and her make-shift stake was pulled back to strike.
In that moment she saw a flash of terror in those inhuman golden eyes…
And memory came flooding back.
Another face…deep blue eyes wide with fear…fear of her. A trembling, achingly familiar voice begging her to stop...
Please! Please, Buffy, don’t do this!
…a savage fist of iron slamming into that beautiful face, breaking, bruising -- her fist.
With a soft gasp she pulled back from her intended victim in shock, as her memory returned in its entirety. The knowledge of the things she had said and done was devastating to her. Her eyes widened in horror as specific memories assailed her mind.
Slapping her sister across the face and shaking her, screaming at her as she sobbed in fear and begged her to stop…
Oh, God! She dropped to her knees on the floor, stake clattering on the stone and rolling a few feet away. Her body shook with sobs as she remembered the things she had done to him. Countless beatings and humiliations, systematic abuse designed to break his will, his pride…his very heart. That night in his bathroom…
“Oh, Spike!” she whispered, shaking, her entire body racked with painful, heaving sobs. “S-so…so sorry! Oh, Spike I’m so, so sorry!”
The vampire watched her in wary disbelief for a few moments, as his fate dramatically changed, as the Slayer fell apart before his very eyes. He wondered briefly what was responsible for this tremendous stroke of luck. But very briefly.
Quickly and quietly he slipped up behind her and took the weak, sobbing, reeling Slayer in his arms, pinning her against him as he plunged his fangs into her throat.
She did not even resist, still sobbing in agony of spirit greater than any physical pain, welcoming her own death. But as she felt her body begin to weaken as its very life was drained from it, panic seized on her. She did not want to die! The last precious months of her life had been stolen from her by a force beyond her control, and she did not want it to end like that – before she had the chance to make any of it right. She struggled faintly, but she was too weakened to break the vampire’s hold on her.
The end was in sight; her vision was getting hazy, and her panicked mind saw only one way of avoiding it. With her last remaining strength she lifted the vampire’s arm from around her waist with both of her own. He was too lost in the heady rush of Slayer’s blood to even be aware of what she was doing. Bringing his wrist to her mouth, she bit down hard, breaking his pale skin with her blunt human teeth.
The creature writhed, howled in agony, tried to break her grip, but the dying Slayer would not release her desperate hold. Fighting against the rising bile in her throat, the Slayer swallowed back the lukewarm fluid that flowed into her mouth from his wrist until she thought it was enough.
Once released, the vampire yanked his ravaged arm away, turning his back on the collapsed girl, cradling his wounded wrist in his other hand and moaning as he knelt on the floor.
The Slayer knew enough of vampire lore to know the hold this foul creature would have on her as her sire. With an extreme effort she stretched out her hand to lift her abandoned stake from the floor, and shoved it upward through the unsuspecting creature’s back, into his heart.
Her sire’s dust slowly settled to the floor around her, over her, as all slowly faded to black.