In The Dark? Well, Turn On The Light!
Chapter 3: In The Dark? Well, Turn On The Light!
Buffy and Kate were sitting in the policewoman’s car, their tongues wrestling with each other like they’d get the Heavyweight Championship if they won.
“We should… Probably… Be keeping an… Eye out.” Kate said, in between breaths.
“Don’t worry… I can hear… Everything… Going on.” Buffy replied in kind. After another moment or two, she broke away. “Ah! He’s here!”
The two blondes quickly got out of the car, and ran into the nearby alley. Buffy’s latest client, a young woman named Rachel, was cowering beside a dumpster while her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Lenny, stood over her with a revolver in hand.
“… going to do? Pulverize me right here? Someone is going to hear me scream.”
Lenny laughed “In downtown LA at night? Nobody’s gonna hear. Nobody who cares. Besides, this will all be over fast.” He cocked the gun
Rachel was in tears “Lenny… please… no!”
“I’m sorry. I just can’t take this anymore.”
Buffy, who was now standing behind the thug, put him into a Nelson hold. “Poor Lenny. The burden of terrorizing your girlfriend too much for you? Lucky for you I can make it stop.” She turned him around, and tossed him to Kate.
Kate caught him easily, and cuffed him. “Leonard Burns, you’re under arrest for assault and attempted murder. You have the right to remain silent…”
Buffy smiled, and turned back to Rachel. “Rachel, are you alright?”
She nodded. “Is he…”
Buffy smirked. “Don’t worry. He won’t be around to bug you for a long, long time. You’ve got me as a witness, and the arresting officer is a good friend of mine.”
Rachel stood up. “I can’t believe you actually showed up.”
“Well, that was the deal, right?” Buffy led her down the alley to her car. “Come on, let’s get you home.”
Buffy sighed as she sat down in her study. She didn’t know why it was called that. It wasn’t as if she actually studied. Besides, she’d rather still be out playing tonsil hockey with Kate...
Unfortunately, arresting some idiot came with a lot of paperwork, so Kate wouldn’t be available until later.
Idly, she sniffed the air. Oz, Cordy, and Wes were all here. She’d spotted Doyle in the pool house earlier. Where was Willow?
She got up, and hunted Oz down. The werewolf was in his and Willow’s private wing. She’d given them a wing because the dingoes needed a place to crash sometimes, and it doubled as a practice area.
He shrugged. “Not since dinner.”
“Where’d she go?”
“A little. Can’t go out tonight, though.”
“Right. Full moon. How is it you’re not…?”
“Meditation, magic. Does wonders.”
“Cool. I’ll go look for her, then.”
Buffy left him to his practicing, and went to find Cordy. The former cheerleader was in the kitchen, apparently having just come off patrol. She had what could only be described as a ‘Dagwood’ sandwich. “Feeling a bit hungry, their?”
Cordy just smirked in response. “Not as if it goes to my hips anymore.”
“I know. The one advantage of being a Slayer. Listen, I’m going out to look for Willow. It’s probably nothing, but she’s usually in by now…”
“And two sets of eyes are better than one?” Cordy asked. Buffy nodded. “No problem. I can eat while I drive.”
~This is getting ridiculous…~ Buffy sighed. ~How many places are there to patrol in this damn city?!~
*The answer to that should be obvious, Lass. More than you’ve checked.*
~Hey, Liam. The other two sleeping again?~
*Oddly, no. Angelus is teasing our brother with ‘inside you’ jokes.*
*You know, like this: ‘Well, you’re inside her again. Better hope this time goes better than the last.*
*I happen to agree with ya, but I can’t get him to stop.*
~Can anyone? I don’t suppose you’ve got any useful advice?~
*Not much. Except, look to your left.*
*Best do it quick, otherwise you’ll miss somethin’ important.*
Buffy looked. Down a dark alley (where else?), she spotted Willow.
~How’d you know?~
*Heard her. Your ears are actually pretty useful, if you focus on ‘em.*
~I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks, Liam.~
Jumping out of her car, Buffy ran after the redhead. Willow seemed to be fighting something… Or a group of somethings… Vampires? Yep. Five of them.
Buffy growled, shifting into game face as she ran. No one ganged up on her friends!
The Slayer was in top form, dusting three of the vampires before any of them realized she was there. One of them tried to fight back. Even managed to land a couple punches before Buffy stuck her hand through his chest. The last vampire, however, was clearly the brains of the operation. When he spotted her, he grabbed Willow, and held his fangs just above her neck.
Buffy snarled at him. “Let her go.” She spoke in a low tone, exerting her Master level control.
He struggled with the command, but managed to hold against it. “You’re the Slayer, right? The new one we’ve been hearing about. My name is Marcus. I’ve been around for quite some time. Not as long as Kakistos, perhaps, but I’ve built up some resistance to a Master’s commands.”
Buffy kept her distance. Marcus’ fangs were grazing Willow’s skin. As fast as Buffy was, she wasn’t quite fast enough to stop him from piercing Willow’s jugular. “What do you want?”
He chuckled softly. “Strange. I’m usually the one asking that question.” His eyes darted between The Slayer and Willow. “Based on what I’ve heard, this human is your friend. Since you still think like a human, you’ll do almost anything to protect her. Here’s what I want. It’s simple. I let her go, and you let me go.”
Buffy didn’t respond right away. No way was it that easy. “If I say yes?”
“Then I turn her over to you, right now.”
She considered it. It sounded
good. There didn’t seem to be any way he could turn it around on her… “Fine. I accept.”
“Good.” He sank his fangs into Willow’s neck, pushed her toward Buffy, and ran for it.
Buffy caught her friend. “Bastard!” She ripped her shirt off, using it to apply pressure to the wound. “Willow, are you okay?”
Willow, who was a little out of it from the endorphins her brain was releasing, smiled up at Buffy. “Yeah… I feel really
~Shit!~ Buffy knew that wasn’t a good sign. “Alright, Wills. I’m gonna get you to a hospital, alright?”
“Yeah. Okay, Buff… Whatever you think is good.”
Buffy quickly pulled out her cell phone, and dialed 911. She could only hope that the EMS in LA was more effective than in Sunnydale.
Emergency Room, Downtown LA
Buffy sat in the waiting room of the ER. Naturally, there was an anti-coagulant in a vampire’s saliva, so Willow had lost even more blood on the way to the hospital. She had called Oz and Cordelia. They were on their way.
Buffy held her head between her knees. That one bite, which had lasted for less than a second, was enough to kill someone. If Buffy hadn’t been there, Willow would be dead now. Even now, she might not make it.
The Slayer looked up. “Kate?”
Kate ran over to her girlfriend. “Buffy, are you alright? I came as soon as I heard the call.”
Buffy fell into Kate’s arms. “It was a vampire. He… he bit Willow.”
“What? Did he… is she…?”
“No, it only lasted for a second. But… there’s something in his spit, or whatever. It’s keeping her from clotting. They’ve tried cleaning the wound, but it’s not helping.”
“They told you this?”
“No, I overheard. Kinda hard not to, in my case.” ~Except when Willow is practically right next to me!
“I didn’t know vampire bites were so effective.”
“They’re not, usually. I don’t know what happened…”
“Shh…” Kate stroked the Slayer’s blonde hair. “It’s okay. She’ll be okay, you’ll see.”
“But, what if she’s not? What do I do about it?”
Kate sighed, defeated. “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
The others, all of them, showed up not long after Kate did. Once Buffy explained what had happened, Wesley shook his head.
“I know what happened.” He told them.
Buffy looked at him like he was the second coming. “Really?”
He nodded. “Yes. You said he held his fangs against her neck?” She nodded. “For a vampire, that’s like ringing the dinner bell for a Pavlovian dog. His mouth was, quite literally, watering. The inordinate amount of saliva has no doubt caused her current condition.”
Although Oz’s face was in it’s usual unreadable position, his voice showed a great deal of emotion. “Will… Will she be alright?”
Wesley shrugged helplessly. “I have no idea. I’ve heard accounts like this, rarely, but more often than not the victim was turned.”
“Well, that does us a lotta good!” Doyle shouted, instantly being shushed by the others. “Sorry. But you gotta admit, this is pretty thin.”
“Thinner than Aura after her anorexia flares up.” Cordelia agreed. “There has to be something we can do.”
“Is there an expert you can call?” Kate asked. “I mean, no offense, but there has to be someone who knows more than you do.”
Wesley shook his head. “I’m sure there is, statistically speaking, but we don’t know them.”
“We could call Xander.” Oz suggested. “He might have an idea.”
Both Slayers nodded their agreement, while Doyle frowned. “You know, I’ve heard you talkin’ about this Xander guy a lot. What’s so special about him?”
Cordy turned to face the Irish demon, her eyebrow arched in such a way that it caused him to back away in fear.
“Just a question.”
Oz almost grinned. “Xander’s probably the most powerful person we know. He and his are defending the Hellmouth.”
Doyle scoffed. “Oh, come on. There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than Buffy! She’s unstoppable!”
Buffy shook her head, drying her tears as she spoke. “No. Xander’s strong enough to summon the one thing we know can kill me. Divine Light.”
“Well, sure. There are more than a few that could do that. None of ’em would survive, though.”
“And yet Xander’s still around.” Oz deadpanned.
Doyle blanched. “Care to repeat that?”
They explained what had happened with Chase. At the end of the story, Doyle decided it would be best if he just didn’t speak. Ever. For the rest of his existence.
Oz let out a breath. “I’ll make the call.” He pulled out his cell phone. “Yeah. Xander?”
Oz glanced at his watch. “Sorry, man. I didn’t realize.”
“Willow’s in the hospital.”
“Xander, you there man?”
“Vampire. His mouth was watering, apparently.”
“From what I can tell, yeah.”
“Dude, won’t that-”
“Alright, man. Talk to you later.” He hung up.
“What did he say?” Buffy asked.
Oz, for the first time since Buffy had known him, looked extremely shaken. “I’d… rather not say. Not until I know it’s necessary.”
“Okay…” That didn’t instill the Slayer with a lot of confidence. “But, he gave you a solution, right? Even if it’s a last resort kinda thing?”
Oz nodded. “Yeah. He said it came from a solid source.”
“Good enough for now.” Buffy let out a sigh. “Until we know one way or the other, I want to find the guy that did this. Doyle, start making calls. The guy’s name is Marcus. He had really angular features, wore glasses… And he gave off this… Creepy vibe. Like, ‘You should fear me just because I’m me.’”
Doyle nodded. “Sure thing, Slayer.” He left.
“The rest of you, start beating whoever you have to for information. Oz, this solution of Xander’s, does it need me?” The werewolf nodded. “Then I’ll stay here. I’ll call you if anything happens.”
“Right.” He stood, and left.
Wesley left as well, but Cordy stayed behind for a moment. “Do you think we’ll get him?” She asked.
Buffy’s face greatly resembled stone. Her demon was stirring. “I know we’ll get him. He’ll wish he had never been sired.”
Cordy nodded. “Good enough for me.” She left.
Buffy stared in the direction of the ICU. “Will she make it, Kate? In your heart of hearts, do you think she’ll make it?”
Kate kissed the crown of Buffy’s head. “I haven’t known you for very long, but I’ve learned something about you. If there’s a way, you’ll find it.”
Three Hours Later
Doyle sighed. None of his usual contacts were coming through. He’d made his way through the entire list, managing to stir up trouble for himself in the process, and had come up empty handed.
He was distracted from his thoughts by a ringing in his pants. Only one of the other AI members had the number. “Hello?”
*Doyle? It’s Wesley.*
“Oh, hey there, English. Found anythin’ useful? Cause I’m fresh out.”
*Actually, I have. I haven’t found the vampire quite yet, but I learned a little about him.*
“Did you now? Well, come on. What’s his yen?”
*Apparently, he enjoys pain. Inflicting it. Some of the demons I’ve talked to mentioned that he speaks about it as if it were his friend, or companion.*
“Well, that’s creepy. Doesn’t really help us find him.”
*No, unless he’s the kind to frequent fetish establishments.*
“You mean an S&M club? Hey, that’s not bad. Right, I’ll call Cordy and Oz, then get lookin’. There’s more than a few of the bloody places in town, so we’ll each hit a few.”
*Right. Here’s hoping.*
“Took the words outta me mouth.”
Most of the clubs they hit were a bust. Eventually, they came to the last one. All four of them went inside, keeping their eyes, ears, and any other useful sense open.
Doyle walked over to the bar. “Say there, man. I’m lookin’ for a vampire, goes by the name of Marcus. Heard of him?”
“Marcus?” The bartender was clearly confused. “Sure, I’ve heard of him. But… Why would you go looking
for him? That fucker’s out of his mind.”
“Let’s just say I have my reasons, alright? Is he here?”
Shrugging, and wearing a look that clearly said ‘it’s your funeral’, the bartender pointed across the room.
Doyle grinned as he saw the vampire. He fit Buffy’s description perfectly. “Excellent, excellent. Thanks.”
The bartender looked at Doyle as if he had just declared himself to be Elvis. “Seriously, man. Don’t mess with him. It won’t end well for you.”
“Won’t end well for one of us, I agree with you there.”
Doyle rejoined his friends. “He’s over there. Playin’ with the red hot pokers.”
Wesley took a deep breath. “How do we want to do this?”
“I could just stake him.” Cordy offered.
Oz shook his head. “Buffy only told us to find him. I get the distinct impression she wanted to kill him herself.”
“Well, that complicates things, doesn’t it?” Doyle sighed. “Right. Let’s take the bastard down, then. This should be easy.” He glanced at the others. “Any chance one of you has a plan?”
Cordy rolled her eyes. “You’re hopeless. I’ll fight him head on. The three of you try to knock him out. Simple, effective. I mean, come on, it’s four on one. How hard can- Ah… Not gonna say that. We can do this.”
“What were you going to say?” Wesley asked.
“And have her jinx us?” Doyle demanded. “I don’t think so. Let’s just get this over with.”
Nodding, Cordy rushed forward, catching the surprised vampire in the jaw. She followed up with a hard blow to his ribs, but the kick she aimed at his knee was blocked.
“Can I ask why you’re attacking me?” Marcus calmly asked as he threw several punches at her.
“Willow Rosenberg.” Cordy blocked every punch, and caught him on the side of the head with one of her own.
“The name doesn’t-” He was interrupted by the chair that hit the back of his head.
Oz stood over the vampire. “It should.” He stated. He nodded to Cordy. “Nice moves.”
“You too.” She grinned. “Come on, let’s get him back to the mansion. Buffy had one of the rooms outfitted with heavy chains, just in case.”
Buffy sighed as the time continued to tick by. Willow was on an almost constant transfusion of blood now. They had even tried stitching her neck back together, but the stitches had dissolved
, of all things.
Kate had fallen asleep. Buffy had laid down on the bench they were occupying, using the detective’s lap as a pillow. Finally, a doctor came out. “Buffy Summers?”
She sat up. “Yes? Is everything okay with Willow?”
The doctor shook her head. “I’m afraid not. Whatever is causing her to bleed out is killing her faster than we can get blood into her. She has a few hours, at most. We’ll keep her alive as long as possible, give you a chance to say good-bye.”
Buffy nodded. “Thank you.” The doctor left. Buffy pulled out her cell phone. “Oz. It’s time for that solution.”
“Are you sure?”
“Alright. I’ll meet you guys at the mansion. Once Willow is better.” She hung up, and took a deep breath. ~May Willow forgive me when this is over.~
The Mansion, Basement
When Marcus woke up, he found himself in a peculiar situation. Namely, chained to the ceiling.
“Well, this is strange.”
“Oh, it gets better.” A voice came from the shadows.
“Who’s there?” Marcus asked calmly.
Buffy came into the sparse light.
“Oh, it’s you. Can I ask why you’ve done this?”
“You hurt my friend.” She said simply.
“That may not have been your intention, but that small bite was enough to fatally injure her.”
Marcus considered that information. “I see. Are you going to kill me, then?”
Buffy shook her head. “No. Much as I’d like to, it’s not my place. See, she’s still alive. If she decides not to do it, I will, don’t get me wrong. She just gets first shot.”
“And when can I look forward to that?” Marcus asked. His voice was steady as ever. It was as if he honestly didn’t care.
“In a minute. I think Willow was a bit dissatisfied with her wardrobe. She and the Slayer went out to get something more appropriate for this.”
“I see. Any ideas about what I can expect?”
Buffy just shrugged. “Don’t know, really. She’s a quiet person, normally. So’s her best friend. Thing is, when either one of them taps into their darker side… It’s frightening. And I get the feeling she’ll have a much easier time tapping into it from now on.”
“Really? Why is that?”
Buffy smirked at him. “You’ll find out.” Her head cocked to one side, as if she was listening to something. “They’re back. I’ll leave you to your thoughts.” She left, still smirking.
Marcus tested the strength of the chains. Nope. He wasn’t getting out. Whoever installed these knew what they were doing.
“Well, look at that.” A voice came from the stairway. “The puppy’s trying to get loose.”
Marcus looked in the direction of the voice. “I assume you’re the one I almost killed?”
“Got it in one.”
“I see. I’d apologize, but I’m not really sorry. Unlike most of my kind, I don’t lie. I much prefer honesty.”
“Good policy.” Willow agreed, coming into the light. She wasn’t dressed as he remembered her. She was now wearing a tight leather outfit. If he had to guess, he’d say it came from a BDSM shop. Something for a Dominatrix.
Willow was holding two things. A pair of scissors, and a large box of matches. She saw his eyes linger on them. “You know what these are for, I take it?”
“I can guess.” Even now, he showed no emotion. Either he was an excellent actor, or he really didn’t care. “You’re going to punish me.”
Willow shrugged. “I don’t really think of it like that.” Slipping the scissors into the cleavage of her outfit, Willow lit a match. “You’re the puppy. I wanna make you bark.
Marcus looked into her eyes. She meant what she said. And he had a feeling, deep down, that she could do it.
Buffy lay on the couch in her study, letting Kate run her fingers through the Slayer’s hair. She wasn’t crying, though she thought she should. She felt slightly numb, honestly.
“Penny for your thoughts.” Kate broke the silence.
“You won’t get much.” Buffy replied softly.
“You did what you had to, Buffy. Xander, the one who told Oz what to do, he’s the closest thing she has to a real family member, right?”
Buffy nodded. “Considering her parents don’t even know Willow left town, yeah, I’d say so.”
“Well, then. I’d say you’re in the clear.” Kate smiled down at her. “In medicine, the law says that a family member makes all the calls if the patient is unable to. Xander said to do it.”
“Yeah. I guess.” Buffy sighed. “I still feel… Well, I don’t feel much at all.”
Kate nodded. “Yeah.” She yawned. “Come on. Let’s go to bed. It’s seven in the morning, and I have to work tonight.”
Buffy smiled. “Okay.”
Marcus set his jaw. He wasn’t going to scream, or whimper, or beg. No matter what she did. He had conditioned himself long ago to resist pain. It was what made him so good at doling it out. He had become an intimate friend with it. He knew it. It knew him.
He wasn’t going to ‘bark’.
Willow sighed. “Bored now. These don’t seem to work.” She tossed the matches aside. “Looks like I’ll have to use something else.” She pulled the scissors out.
Marcus eyed them. “Do you think you’ll have any more luck with those?”
She shrugged. “Don’t know.” She grinned. More than anything else, that sent a shiver down his spine. The look of sheer joy in it was… Unnatural, even by vampire standards. “Guess I’ll find out.”
She opened the scissors, holding them so that one blade came out each side of her fist. She sliced his shirt open, looking his chest over thoughtfully. “Where to start…”
“I find the pectorals are good for sharp objects.” Marcus offered.
Willow shrugged. “I don’t know… Oh! Well, I’ll take part of that suggestion.” With a wide grin, she sliced his right nipple in half.
~AHHHHHHRRRRRGGGGG!~ The only visible sign that he felt the pain was a slight widening of his eyes. It did, however, hurt like the devil.
Willow spotted his reaction. Her grin widened. “Looks like I found something that hurts you.” She repeated the action on his other nipple.
His mouth twitched.
Willow laughed softly. “Good boy. You’re feeling it.” She ripped his pants away. She raised an eyebrow. “No underwear? Well, aren’t you
a dirty boy?” She chuckled. “Let’s see what I can do to really get a reaction, shall we?” Willow shifted her grip on the scissors, letting one of the blades out in full. Taking careful aim, she SWIPED.
The resulting scream was heard for five blocks.
The Mansion, Next Day
Willow walked upstairs, her clothes covered in blood.
Buffy, who was sitting in the kitchen sipping a cup of coffee, looked at her friend sadly. “Hey, Willow.”
“Hey, Buff.” The redhead sat down. “Where’s Kate?”
“Upstairs. She’s sleeping.”
Willow nodded. “Yeah. I slept for a couple of hours down there. I’m… strangely refreshed, all things considered.”
Buffy nodded. “Yeah. One of the practical upshots, I guess.” She sighed. “How are you… dealing, I guess?”
“Fine. Actually, I feel pretty good.”
“Oh. That’s… That’s good, then.”
Willow smiled. “Don’t worry about me, Buffy. I’ll be fine.”
“But, Willow. I… I had to…” Buffy couldn’t bring herself to say it.
Willow shrugged. “No big deal. So my diet matches my hair now. I’ll survive.”
“You’re taking this a lot better than I am.” Buffy noted.
“Yeah, well, considering I feel more confident than I ever did before, I think I’m okay with having bigger eye teeth.”
Buffy chuckled. “Why do they call them ‘eye teeth’ anyway? I never got that.”
“Neither did I.” Willow laughed along with her friend.
Buffy’s tone grew serious again. “Are you sure, without a doubt, that you’re not upset with me?”
Willow nodded. “You’d think I would be, but I’m not. I feel… At peace. For the first time, I’m at peace. Like I finally know who and what I’m supposed to be. I’m Willow Rosenberg. And that’s enough.”
Buffy smiled. “Good.”
Willow smirked. “And, of course, having super strength and living forever are definite perks.”
Buffy laughed. “Yep. So, is Marcus dead?”
“Nah. Thought I’d leave him down there for a while. Let him sing a little soprano for us.”
Buffy’s eyes went wide. “You didn’t.”
Willow’s smirk turned evil.
The redhead nodded.
“Oh. My. Goddess. You are the queen of torture.”
Willow bowed her head. “Thank you, thank you.”
Wesley, Doyle, and Oz were all in the Dingoes’ practice area, tossing back a steady stream of beers.
Not much had been said, thus far. Neither Doyle or Wesley wanted to disturb Oz, and the werewolf wasn’t exactly talkative.
Finally, Doyle couldn’t help himself. “So, you’re datin’ a vampire. I know I sound like a head shrinker, but how d’you feel about that?”
Oz shrugged. “Not sure. It’s still sinking in.”
Wesley sighed. “There’ll be a marked change in personality. It wasn’t as apparent in either of the Slayers because they’re used to dealing with a darker side of themselves. Willow, however, is… Was… Is, a very sweet person. Her darker impulses weren’t very powerful.”
“You think that’s gonna change?” Doyle asked.
Wesley nodded. “Very likely. Eventually, she may find a balance. For now, however, I think she’ll be slightly erratic. Not so much that we should worry, of course. Just different.”
“You sure?” Oz’s face showed concern. He was obviously freaking out.
“As sure as I can be. This is unprecedented. The only instance, other than Cha’iso, Buffy, and Faith, of a vampire having a soul was Angelus. He became a recluse at first, then a Champion.” Wes took a long pull on his drink. “There’s no way to know what to expect.”
Oz was silent.
Doyle asked the obvious question. “What’re you gonna do if it becomes too much?”
“Don’t know.” Oz admitted. “I thought she might get killed, or turned someday. I didn’t think it’d be like this.” He shrugged. “Xander told me what to do. I did it.”
“Do you regret it?” Wesley asked.
Oz shook his head. “No time for regrets. Life, ours in particular, too short for them.”
Doyle clinked his bottle against the werewolf’s. “Truer words, my friend.”
AN: Now, some of you may disagree with what I've done here. That's your perogative. I would, however, like to explain why I turned Willow.
I was over at my sister's place the other day, and she was watching Dopplegangland. She and her girlfriend (No, I don't mean a friend who is a girl) were drooling over Vamp Willow. As I watched the episode, I realized something: There was no way I could, in good conscience let this little universe go without Vamp Willow. She's the hottest thing in BTVS since fire. I mean, the leather alone...
Since I'd already used the Wishverse option, I decided to go this way. If you don't like it, I understand.
Until next time, adieu.