I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, its characters or the episode 'Halloween'.Warnings:
Contains references to rape, violence and death.Pairings:
References to Buffy/Angel, but no pairings. Buffy/Xander friendship.Notes:
Once again a non-crossover 'Halloween' fic, but this focuses less on the transformation and more on the potential repercussions of that transformation. I haven't read anything that deals with this particular moment in 'Halloween' so I thought that it might be an interesting experiment to explore the potential results if Buffy *hadn't* been rescued in that moment. And yes, once again there's references to Buffy's noblewoman being less than vapid, but I think that's partially explained below.
This story is written in the present tense. I apologise if any of the immediate action is in the past tense, which is my usual style, but something about this story needed the immediacy of present tense. Let me know what you think.
Although this story is categorised as Buffy-centred, it is technically told from Xander's point of view. I've categorised it this way because the story's focus is on what happens to Buffy. It just worked better stylistically to tell it from Xander's POV.Shattering a Slayer
She stumbles out of the alleyway. A black wig sits lopsidedly on her head. Her elegant eighteenth-century ballgown is torn and stained with blood. The same blood that covers her knuckles, that has sprayed across her face and chest.
But it isn’t the blood that arrests his attention, it is the eyes, the gaze at something no one else could see. It is the awkwardness of her walk and the dark bruises forming around her wrists and mouth. It is the broken despair, the utter disbelief that catches him, and it is an expression he has never seen on her, even after she died.
She blinks, turns, frowns at him, looking through him as though she doesn’t know who he is. Her head tilts, the wig teetering precariously on her head.
“X-Xander?” she asks and the harsh, rasping voice worries him.
“Buffy, what happened?”
She shakes her head, turning only slightly towards the alleyway before she shakes it again. Her whole body begins to quiver and she grabs his arms, her fingers digging in to leave bruises.
“Xander?” she asks again, and he nods, opening his arms to allow her to approach him further. She’s cautious, uncertain in a way he has never seen her before, one hand rising, carefully tracing his face, his jaw. “It’s you? It’s not – not anyone else?”
“All me,” he assures her. “No one sharing headspace with me except me.”
She crumples in his arms, and he has to catch her before she falls. Dry sobs quickly become retching and he picks her up, making sure she understands why, before he pulls her from the street and onto a nearby bench. Her fingers clutch at his fatigue shirt, her nails digging into the skin below, but he cannot bring himself to complain.
There is something off with her, even wrong with her.
What happened after she left her house?
He doesn’t know how long she sits like that, sobbing in his arms, but the tears have come and he cannot let her stop them. She needs to cry, needs to scream and rage at the world, but he still doesn’t know why.
His mind considers the stumbling walk, the blood on her dress and the bruises on her delicate skin. Had she been attacked? But the blood isn’t hers, there are no wounds, so…
Had she been forced to hurt her attacker? A transformed human? But she can’t hurt humans, not as a Slayer – well, she can, his mind reminds him, she’s just not supposed to.
And of course she had been attacked as the helpless Lady Elizabeth, a woman without Slayer strength to protect herself. Had she been struggling when her transformation ended?
She whimpers something, the words on the breeze, fixing themselves in his head forever.
“I couldn’t stop him.”
Time freezes. Xander’s brain analyses her injuries, the awkwardness of her walk, her state of shock and comes to the horrifying conclusion.
“No…” he whispers. “Buffy, no, you couldn’t…”
“I couldn’t stop him…”
She shakes her head, incapable of speaking.
“Buffy, we gotta get you to a hospital, file a police report or something –”
“A-and tell them what?” she asks, her voice suddenly full of fire. “That – that I was raped by a – by a man possessed by his Ha-Halloween costume? A man that I –” she clamps her mouth shut, cutting off her words, refusing to speak further.
Xander slips off the bench, kneeling before her, taking her hands gently in his. “Hey, hey, Buff, it’s alright. You – you defended yourself is all. You – you’re gonna be okay.”
She shakes her head. “I just – I let him – I couldn’t – I screamed and screamed and he put his hand over my mouth… No one heard, no one helped, except…” She closes her eyes, and Xander feels her hands curl into fists. “Spike was there, Xander. He saw and he… he just laughed. Said it looked like I was finally doing all I was worth…”
“We’re gonna find Spike, Buffy, and we’ll kill him, and Drusilla, and everyone else, okay?” Xander ask her, one hand cupping her cheek soothingly. “He isn’t gonna get away with that. No decent vampire would’ve done it.”
Buffy snorts. “Angelus would have snapped La – his neck and pretended to rescue me, playing with my vulnerability before he subjected me to his whims as well.”
Xander freezes at the reference to Angelus – Angel
, her vampire boyfriend. “How did you –”
“When I – when she
, Lady Elizabeth, ran out of the house tonight,” Buffy explained. “It was because she – she recognised Angel’s demon face. I don’t understand how, but she knew him. She knew what he was, what he did… My only thought is that she must’ve run into him, or perhaps she was from a Watcher’s family.”
Xander blinks, then chuckles, remembering something.
“She was. She told us her name was Lady Elizabeth Giles.”
O-oh…” Buffy murmurs, then looks back down at her hands, which have begun to shake again.
Xander sits beside her once more as she sobs into his shoulder, his arms tight around her, and he wonders why she trusts him. Hadn’t he once – under a hyena’s influence – attempted to do what it seemed had been successful tonight? Then why does she trust him, let him hold her like this as she weeps? Had she simply clung onto the first familiar person she found?
“Buffy, hey, Buff, we – we’d better get you home,” Xander murmurs, pulling the wig from her head so he can stroke her hair soothingly. “Get you cleaned up.”
“No, I – I can’t go home. Mom’s not there, and – oh, God, Mom… What will she think? If she finds out that I – that I couldn’t – that I let him
“Hey, you didn’t let him do anything!” Xander retorted. “It’s not your fault, Buff. Don’t ever think that. You weren’t in your right mind.”
She lifts her head, shooting a look down the road, towards the alley she had stumbled out of. He wonders what he would find there. Had the Slayer asserted itself without Buffy Summers’ mind to temper it? The blood belonged to her attacker – but how much did he have left? Had she simply hurt her rapist – or had she killed him?
“C’mon, let me take you home.”
When Xander bars Angel from the house and calls Giles instead, Buffy is grateful. She is even more grateful when he calls Willow next. Willow enters her room and falls asleep with her, assuring her that it’s not her fault, that there was nothing she could have done.
“She can’t bear to see Angel,” Xander reports to Giles with something like a glimmer of grim satisfaction. “Her persona – Lady Elizabeth Giles
– recognised him in game face. Knew a little too much about how Angelus would have reacted if he’d interrupted the… incident.”
Incident. Already rape is euphemised and hidden, because none of them want to admit that it happened.
“What happened to her attacker?”
“Don’t know. I think he’s down an alley just off Winter. Buffy – she wouldn’t tell me, she couldn’t say it, but she was covered in blood.”
“She lashed out as soon as her mind reasserted itself.”
Giles sighs and removes his glasses, and Xander notices that his knuckles are bruised, as though he’s been punching something – or someone.
“Giles, the guy who performed the spell, he’s gone?”
“If he isn’t, I’ll find him,” Giles promises and there’s a glint of violence in his eyes that Xander can’t decide if he appreciates or not. “And then he’ll not be causing anymore trouble for anyone.”
By the time Xander and Giles arrive in the alleyway the next morning, there’s police tape up. They’re calling it a ‘mugging gone wrong’ and suggesting gangs on PCP as the culprits. Beneath the pirate costume, Xander recognises Larry Wood and feels sick.
Then he sees the teeth marks on his throat and feels only slightly better.
“Buffy didn’t kill him,” he murmurs as he sits back in Giles’ car. “A vampire did.”
“Just as well.”
Xander doesn’t need to enquire what that means.
Because he cannot say he wouldn’t do the same himself.
Please let me know what you think. Once again, no sequels, although if someone would like to continue the story I have no objections. Any constructive criticism is welcome.