The Only Thing to Fear…
Disclaimer: Buffy is the property of Joss Whedon. Star Wars is the property of George Lucas. Christopher Nolan owns Batman Begins and the Dark Knight.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
A/N: Thanks to those few that reviewed. I greatly appreciated it. Zora’s character, not to give too much away again or anything, is also canon to Star Wars. Please read, enjoy, and be sure to review. With summer here, we might actually be getting some regular updates. Also, apologies for the shortness of the chapter.
Chapter 4: Infliction
Buffy’s eyes rolled back inside her skull once more and if she’d had the will power to laugh, she would have. It seemed like all she ever did these days was wake up from unconsciousness.
Zora’s favorite way of waking up her charges, at least in Buffy’s limited experience with the anything but psychotic jailer, was to lay her katana across the inmate’s bare stomach and release the shock wave the sword apparently could generate, much like Buffy’s old vibrosword could. The end result was a very rude awakening and tremendously frizzy hair, both of which the Slayer could have lived without.
Just as Buffy was deciding that she’d rather just fall into the blackness again than stare at Zora’s bloody red mop one more second, another wave of electricity ripped through the Slayer’s small body and she began to spasm uncontrollably. The induced seizure garnered Buffy a bloody split lip where her teeth had clenched it in pain, as well as renewed the ache in her wrists and ankles where the leather bindings that gripped her to the table burned further into her aggravated skin. Her nerve endings, spent and pulsing with residual agony, only served to vaguely remind Buffy that she was still very much alive.
“Can’t have you drifting off now,” Zora murmured, somewhere very near to Buffy’s ears, her voice low and sultry. “We’ve not even had the opportunity to be properly acquainted with each other. And I feel…”
She drifted off and Buffy tensed as she anticipated another zing of the vibro-kantana, but was surprised when she felt a soothing graze of the woman’s fingers as they pushed some of the Slayer’s sweaty hair off her forehead. Two of her fingertips stayed rooted to the Slayer’s temple for an indeterminable length of time, ghosting over the skin like the memory of a kiss.
Struggling to view the woman’s face through her blurry vision, Buffy saw that Zora had her eyes closed, a look of confusion and… pain? gracing her tattooed features.
“…a familiar presence,” she finally whispered, the bravado stripped away to reveal a haunted quality Buffy realized she hid with the utmost of expertise.
Instead of questioning her on it, leading to what Buffy was sure would be a swift- and probably painful for the Slayer’s part- cover-up, she chose instead to play the part of the delirious captive struggling to stay conscious. A part, she reconciled, she was born to play at the moment.
“Oh, come now, precious,” Zora cajoled, her mechanisms once more firmly in place. “You can do better than that. I know you’re awake.”
Buffy groaned. “How much longer do we have to play?”
Zora laughed her throaty laugh. “Boring you, are we?”
“You’re not the least curious what plans lie in your future?” She asked with a distinct lack of surprise, as she was the one truly bored with their arrangement. Until the ghost of that presence came through, she had even been considering following through with Krayn’s disgusting plans for the girl. There were simply too many others to contend with.
“Obviously, you’re going to lay it out for me in some long-winded spiel, so no, I’ll just sit back here in my comfy bed and enjoy the spa facial.”
Zora ran her hand gently down Buffy’s cheek, caressing the skin before giving it a sharp slap. “Enough of your glib, Buffy. If you want out, you’re going to have to keep those pithy thoughts to yourself.”
Buffy’s hazy vision cleared and her eyes widened. “Should I ask how you happen to know my name, or is it going to be one of those things where I’d wish I’d rather not have?”
“Let’s just say we have a mutual… friend,” Zora said, her husky voice back as she quickly moved about the Slayer, a small blade in her hand slicing shallow cuts along Buffy’s grimy arms and legs.
“So, very much with the latter of those then,” Buffy griped, wincing as the cuts were formed and her body stretched itself to heal them.
“Ugh!” Zora yelled and then threw the small blade so hard, it embedding itself in the earthen wall, “Your healing factor will be your death!”
“Umm…really not following you there.” Zora quirked a blonde eyebrow at the Slayer and suddenly, the truth of the situation hit the Slayer like a wave of peroxide. “You’re not really what you seem,” Buffy stated, somewhat stupidly, but mostly assured of her intuition. The spidey-sense just did not lie.
“No more than you are, precious.”
Zora tossed the limp girl back into the filthy cage they’d dragged her from before turning to Krayn with an apologetic grin. “Sorry, Sir. I couldn’t help myself. Went a little further than I should have with her.”
Krayn stooped beside Buffy’s inert form, her sweaty hair and blood stained skin now caking itself with dirt. He felt for her pulse, nodding to himself with whatever rhythm or lack thereof he found. “She wouldn’t break for you?” He asked quietly, his voice as smooth as the red silk he slept upon and his face its usual pattern of jagged shadows. His eyes flashed black when they turned on her.
“Little chit said she’d rather die first. It seemed rude to not oblige her.”
Krayn heaved a generous sigh and gracefully stood, his rail-lean body mirroring the crooked bars around the cage just as she knew he intended them to. “An awful shame. She would have fetched quite a price on Nar Shaddaa.”
Zora shifted slightly. “Is that where we’re taking the latest shipment?”
“No, my dear,” Krayn said softly before spinning to face her and expelling a thick yellow toxin from his mouth, directly into her face. “That’s where I am taking the latest shipment. You, unfortunately, will be among it.”
Zora gagged a bit and tried to focus as the visions assaulted her and the terror formed deep in her chest. She unlocked her katana with deft fingers, automatically finding their way around the familiar hilt, and drew it up in a swinging path that would have lobbed off Krayn’s head, aglow as it was with dark beauty and foul vengeance, but he anticipated her and lashed out with the heel of his hand, catching her in the throat and forcing her to drop the weapon and succumb to the winding and the prison her mind was quickly forming over her consciousness.
As she fell to her knees, madly clutching at her neck while her eyes rolled and foam began to froth on her ruby red lips, Krayn calmly slithered up to her and neatly plucked the kantana from the ground before which she was currently writhing. He then knelt directly in front of her and tucked one of his pale, skeletal hands inside the large pocket of her leather jacket. He pushed the jacket roughly against her ribs, his long fingers running along the grooves he found between them. For an infinite second, he dipped his lips to her forehead and pressed the faintest of kisses to her heated skin, the nightmares forming in her mind swirling like a hundred angry bees at his touch.
Then he pulled the two lightsabers from her pocket and withdrew from the cell, careful to lock it securely behind him. “An awful shame…” he repeated, his white teeth glowing in the darkness of the dungeon as he smiled.