Waking the Dead
Waking the Dead
AN: Sorry, everyone, that it’s been so long. I’m trying to get back into my writing. This is a crossover with Yu Yu Hakusho. For those of you who haven’t seen this anime, don’t worry, I’m not going to be extremely specific about the guest characters. I don’t own anything.
She heard the military hummers roaring out of the parking lot as she turned in Spike’s arms to go back to her vigil of the grave. A thought in the back of her head told her that at least no demons would be out tonight.
Every demon and vampire in Sunnydale remembered the Initiative and no one wanted them coming back, so the demons would stay out of sight tonight.
She sank to her knees beside the grave, looking into the dark hole that had yet to be filled. It was surrounded by flowers, every color and every smell. Their cloying scent made her want to throw up, but she held back the bile.
Dawn had managed to almost forget in the last few years, but she remembered that despite Buffy being a fashionplate she had actually loved flowers. At their old house Buffy had had a flower garden that she had cared for since Dawn was young.
When she had been called as a slayer Buffy said she didn’t have time for it anymore. The garden had slowly died despite Dawn’s efforts to save it. It had died, bereft of Buffy’s time or attention and Dawn wished that that would happen to her so that she could be with her beloved sister again.
Buffy had allowed none of her Sunnydale friends to know about her love of gardening so it was a secret that she shared only with Dawn. And Dawn had seen it every time she had caught Buffy pass a flower shop, or receive flowers from boys. The wish to be normal so she could go back to the world of boys, cheerleading, and gardening.
Dawn dug her fingers into the soil by the grave, but it was cold instead of warm with life. The soil would be saturated with holy water every Sunday by the funeral priest, on Giles’ orders.
Dawn gave her knees a break and sat her butt down on the grass, idly picking at the grass, and leaned back against Spike’s legs.
It seemed to her that throughout the nigh so far her body couldn’t help but reach out for him. The comfort of him. Wrapping herself in him. The rest of the world could spin by without her.
But instead of sinking down next to her, he leaned down and whispered in her ear, “We’ve got company, platelet.” Drawing attention to the two figures approaching.
If she thought she could find her voice she would scream in frustration. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? She was in pain, dammit. But she looked up anyway, if for nothing else than to glare at them.
If she had had the energy to move her face that much, she would have looked shocked. The girl was wearing a formal black kimono and had blue hair. Blue like cotton candy. And she was smiling. Cheerfully. Dawn hated her immediately.
The boy was different though. He looked pained. And he was staring straight at Buffy’s grave and nothing else. She could feel his power against her temples and should have been afraid. She felt Spike’s hand on her shoulder pulling her back into his embrace. She moved back into him. She could feel the tense set of his body. His muscles were tight and ready.
She turned to look at him, her mind trying to focus on him. She felt numb. Numb like a person who hadn’t slept long enough, but she wasn’t tired.
“You can’t take her!” Spikes’ words were clipped. She could detect the fear behind them though. She had heard the fear in his voice, the desperation. Spike feared the blue-haired girl. She didn’t look scary, but Dawn didn’t really care, she was scaring Spike, Dawn wanted her to leave.
“I haven’t come here to take her. I’ve come with a message.” The girls head tilted to the side and she stared at Dawn with a sweet smile. Dawn glared at her but she seemed not to mind.
Dawn could feel Spike’s muscles relax one by one. She felt him take a deep, unnecessary breath and then sigh it out. Then she felt his grief grip him again. She didn’t think it was anything physical, just that she knew his panic was gone and the overwhelming sadness had returned. A companion to match her own.
She glanced again at the grave. The boy was standing next to the marker staring intently at the headstone. She saved the world a lot.
Dawn began to sink into the words again. Remembering the many times her sister had saved the world. Sometimes alone, sometimes with her friends. But she had died alone. The thought was enough to have Dawn’s eyes watering again.
She felt the physical grief rising into her throat, choking her. A hard ball of grief in her throat making it impossible to breath. The tears in her eyes overflowed and trailed down her cheeks.
Spike rubbing his cheek against hers brought her back to the current physical situation. She took solace in his touch. He was warm. Willow had been buying him pigs blood at the butchers since he refused to leave her or the house. Willow put burber weed in it to entice him because otherwise he refused to eat at all. Only when, after four days of starving himself, had Dawn’s tears and Willow’s begging gotten him to eat.
In contrast, she felt cold, like she was the dead one and he was alive. She felt the warmth of him flowing into her, like she was sucking the life from him, kinda ironic.
She looked again at the boy, he looked like a punk, slicked back black hair, jeans and a red jacket. He was all tense muscle, but the look on his face was horror, like a man seeing the future and knowing it was awful. She wondered if he knew that in the end everyone died alone and that was why he looked like that.
He turned to look at her then, like he could feel her watching him. She knew the look on his face, could put a name to it. Everyone had the same look. Pity. She hated him in that moment. Se didn’t need pity, she needed solace – Spike. He was the only one who didn’t have that look. She glared t the boy. He could take his pity and shove it. All she needed was Spike and the dry soil of her sister’s grave.
She drove her fingers into the ground again, closer now, to where her sister lay, wishing still that she could melt into the earth, that her pain would choke in her throat and let her end.
The boy smirked, like he knew anything, then turned to the blue-haired girl. He spoke slowly, with an obvious Japanese accent, “Hurry up Botan, Keiko’s waiting.”
The girl gave him an understanding look before she turned to look at Dawn and clapped her hands together.
“Alright. Dawn, I have a message to you from your mother.”
For a moment Dawn couldn’t breath, couldn’t see. There was a rushing sound in her ears that was kinda like a waterfall. Her hands in the soil went slack and she felt her whole body kind of fall into itself.
A hand reached under one of her arms to stretch around her torso and hug her to a solid chest. The smell of cigarettes, blood, and graveyard soil. She breathed deep, trying to find equilibrium.
She sucked air in, unsure for a moment that it was the right way to do it. The air in her lungs felt like a lead weight, or a hammer, pounding away at her heart. Her whole body shook.
“Niblit, ‘Bit. Come back. Right now.” Spikes’ sharp words were like ice water, startling for long enough to wake her from the trance. She still trembled, but she was back in her mind instead of the pit. She idly wondered if this was what going mad was like. She could ask Spike, he would know.
She took another deep gulp of air and tried to hold it while her body worked thru the process of sending the oxygen to all her now numb limbs. She looked away from her fingers in the soil to Spike’s face. He looked like a person holding his breath. She worried him, because he loved her. That one, simple truth would get her thru this night and into the next.
He leaned his forehead against hers so that when she exhaled he breathed in, and unnecessary motion, but an intimate one, they had done this before, he breathed back and she inhaled the carbon dioxide. It was like using a paper bag, only more comforting.
When her breathing evened out he pulled back. “Ready for this Platelet?”
She closed her eyes and nodded. He sat down behind her and pulled her slight form onto his lap sideways, he legs dangling off one of his knees.
His eyes rose to the blue-haired girl and gave her a serious look. “She’s ready now.”
The girl, Botan, smiled widely. Dawn really wished she could rouse herself to feel the emotion of hate. She knew she was hate the girl for being so cheerful here of all places.
“Well this message I have here is more something you have to feel than something you hear. I’ll have to touch you both for this to work. May I?”
Spike’s eyes snapped to hers briefly, asking silently if she wanted this. She didn’t even blink. A message from her mother was too much to pass up. If Botan tried to hurt her she had all confidence that Spike would rip off her head and drink from her brainstem, chip or not.
Spike looked back to Botan, silently giving her permission to touch him and the treasure he cared for. He absently noted the boy had moved behind her in a defensive position.
Dawn felt the hand on her forehead before golden waves burst from behind her eyes and enveloped her entirely. Her whole body felt warm, like blankets just out of the dryer. She was drowning in the sensation of gold liquid, it overwhelmed her senses. She could smell the comforting aroma of hot chocolate, the taste of pumpkin pie was on her tongue, and the warm press of her mothers lips were on her cheek. She was surrounded by her mothers love.
Her whole world coalesced to a point, a beautiful warmth. She could exist here and never leave. Panes of color opened before her minds eye and she could see an eternity spent like this, safe in her mothers arms.
She breathed deep the scents that had been missing for so long, her mothers Cocovan perfume, the laundry detergent she had used on her special pink cashmere sweater that she only wore to special events, and the smell of the Covergirl foundation she lightly used. They came together in Dawn’s mind to spell mother.
But then the sensation started to fade. She tried to hold onto it, keep it in her mind for always, hold it close to her heart. She mentally cried out, fought, and screamed, but eventually it faded away, just like the person who had inspired it, until there was nothing left but jagged rocks and darkness.
Dawn felt hollow again, empty of breath. She could distantly feel Spike’s arms tightening around her, his fingernails digging into her sides, and briefly pondered if he had felt the same sensations she had, of if his experience had been different. She didn’t have to wonder if he felt the same desolation though, it was written all over his face when she turned to look at him.
The only time Dawn had seen Spike cry was when Buffy had fallen off that cursed tower, his face had been a crumpled mass of agony, not hidden by his usual mask, his pain freed by the enormous weight of it. Now his face was a mask of indifference, but Dawn could detect the nuances of pain once again. His eyes were tight and downcast, attempting to hide the tears that were silently streaming down his cheeks, his eyebrows were pressed together in pain, and his cheeks were losing what little color they had.
Dawn knew these were all signs of Spike’s instant grief reaction and extreme emotional pain. She had seen him like this a few times since Buffy’s death, mostly when he came across her favorite weapons or Mr. Gordo. He never allowed the other Scoobies to see him like that, but her he didn’t mind, not like she could tell on him.
She buried her own tear-stained face in the hollow of his throat while that pain tore its way up her throat only to stick in the back of her mouth when she found she couldn’t vocalize it. She desperately wanted to cry out, beg Botan to give her mother back and complete a piece of her she had forgotten was missing. But the words wouldn’t come, and she wished again that she could feel anything besides pain.
She could hate that stupid girl for doing this to them. For giving them the gift of almost complete joy only to have it ripped from them once more, with not even a warm glow to note that it had been there in the first place.
Spike’s hands moved to her back and the back of her head to keep her pressed tightly against him. She could hear the slight intake of breath that signaled he was pulling himself together. The hand a her back was stroking her hair and she knew that though it looked like a gesture of comfort to her, it also to calm his nerves. She felt the deep breath he took to prepare himself to tell these two monsters from hell to sod off and leave them alone to their grief.
She couldn’t agree more. People sucked. They kept trying to interrupt her depression and it was starting to annoy her. She wished Spike would bite that freaky Botan girl. But she remembered that ocean of power she had felt from the boy and decided she didn’t want Spike to be turned into ash. She would just be happy if he made them go away.
“Best be off now,” Spike growled out, “else I’ll be tempted to kill the messenger.”
The boy stepped away from the grave he had been memorizing and took a meaningful step towards Spike. Botan put her hand on his chest to halt his progress.
“It’s okay, Yusuke, this is a relatively normal reaction. We’ll depart now, after all, Keiko is waiting for us.” She gave him a wide smile and a slight leer and his face turned slightly red.
“I just wanted to say one thing.” His face suddenly turned serious and he zeroed in on Dawn. She could feel the weight of his stare on her and shifted self-consciously. He caught her eyes with his when she turned to face him. She could feel a weight in that stare, an understanding of pain, and there was also a wish in his eyes, although she didn’t know him at all so she couldn’t guess what it might mean.
He took a deep breathe, like to steady himself, and then looked her in the eyes again.
“Her name was Genkai. She died twice. I get it.”
Apparently, that was all. She kinda hated the assumption that he could understand her pain. Spike’s pain. She showed that in her face and he nodded again, maybe he accepted that part.
He and Botan both turned to leave and left a hollowness in the two people sitting by the grave.
Spike shuddered a bit and pulled her closer. Pulling her face back to his throat in a reverse parody, he rested his cheek against the top of her head. His arms tightened around her almost to the point of cutting off the bloodflow.
“One day,” he whispered. “I’m going to get stronger. Strong enough to beat that punk and this stupid chip. And then…” he paused. “And then, Dawn, I’m going to drain that bitch dry.”
She smiled. That made her feel better.