Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners. I do not own any of them.
Buffy and Angel characters created by Joss Whedon
Dollhouse Characters created by Joss Whedon
Doctor Who characters created by Russell T. Davies
Sunlight flooded into the room through a small, bar covered, window set high on the outer wall. In one corner of the room sat a bed, a basic, steel-framed, affair covered by a thin mattress. On the bed lay a small rumpled form that looked as if it had seen better days. Its hair was lank and greasy and there was one too many bruises on its body for comfort.
“Geez!” Xander said, closing the tiny window set in the door. “I thought they said she was a Slayer?”
“She is,” Andrew said, somewhere behind him. “She’s crazy as a loon and dangerous as hell!”
He took a breath, a deep one. There were times when Andrew still drove him nuts and this was one of those times. He took another deep breath and mentally counted to ten. Once he was satisfied that he was not about to strangle their newest Watcher he turned around to face him.
“Andrew,” he said, softly. “She’s a young lady that’s seen a lot of hard times. We’re here to help her. Not make her worse.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one she threw through a wall.”
“Doesn’t matter. She needs our help.”
“She’s a psycho!” Andrew yelped, and then cringed back from Xander. “I’m just saying that maybe we should write this one off, you know.”
“You didn’t see what she’s capable of,” Andrew said. “You were here, playing at being Nick Fury, while she tortured Spike. While she cut off his hands! She’s worse than Faith ever dreamed of being! As far as I’m concerned she should be euthanized!”
“Good thing it’s not up to you, isn’t it?”
“What?” Andrew asked, confused.
“Giles assigned me to her,” Xander said. “He said that she needed someone with a ‘soft touch’.”
“B—but, you never take assignments,” Andrew stammered. “Not for specific girls.”
“You can leave now,” Xander said, then turned back toward the door.
He waited until he could not hear Andrew anymore. Until the only thing, he could hear was the low-pitched murmuring coming from the other side of the door. His hand hesitated for just a moment on the doorknob, and then he turned it, opened the door, and walked in.
The ragged bundle of clothes shifted as he came into the room and a dirty face peeked out from beneath the blankets. He swallowed his nervousness and closed the door, jumping a little at the faint click of the automatic lock.
“Hey,” he said. “I’m Xander.”
He kept his eye on hers, watching her as she watched him move away from the door and across the room.
“So, you’re new here, huh? How’s that working out?”
She blinked twice and shifted on the bed. The sound of jangling chains filled the room with their steel on steel melody. Her eyes cringed at the unexpected sound and she shied away from him like a whipped puppy.
“What did they do to you?” he whispered, stepping toward the bed.
She cringed as far away from him as she could get and began whimpering. Great, fat teardrops filled her eyes, and then overflowed, leaving trails through the grime on her face.
He stopped and took a step back. He had seen slayers cry before. It never gave him a happy, but this was tragic. Bruises covered what he could see of her body and nothing could hide the odor wafting in his direction. She looked like a beaten animal that had been left, in its cage, to die.
He walked back to the door and took out his cell phone. After a quick conversation, he snapped it shut and waited.
A few minutes later the door to the cell opened and he stepped out.
“Thanks for coming so quick,” he said, closing his eye and taking in a deep breath of air. “I didn’t know how long I could hold it together, in there…”
The two newcomers shared a worried glance. They had never seen the commander look quite so shaken before.
“Sir,” Alys said. “Is everything alright?”
Xander’s eye snapped open and a sickly smile appeared at one corner of his mouth.
“No,” he said. “But it’s gonna be.”
He took a few steps down the hall, and then turned back to them. “Alys, I want you and Vi to get Dana cleaned up and waiting in my quarters as soon as possible. Don’t leave her alone and don’t let anyone see her unless I’m with them. Clear?”
He watched as they glanced, nervously, at each other, then at the door. It seemed as if they wanted to follow orders, but were hesitant. In some places rumors spread, faster than wildfires and with Andrew at the helm they always seemed to travel at warp speed.
“Look, Alys, Vi,” he said, throwing his arms around them and drawing them into a huddle. “There’s a sick girl in there that’s been chained to her bed. She’s covered in stuff that I’d rather not think about; to top it all off it’s pretty clear that she’s been physically abused recently.
“Now, I need to go talk to some folks, and I need to know that Dana is going to be okay while I’m gone. This last part involves you. Can you do it for me?”
Alys and Vi nodded their heads.
“Good,” he said, breaking up the huddle. “She’s harmless as a kitten. I promise.”
He heard the sound of the cell door opening as he walked away and a moment later, he heard the sound of retching. The look on his face hardened into something resembling granite. Somebody had a lot to answer for. He figured he’d start with Andrew.