I Heard a Maid Sing
She drifted among the stars: remembering. The world flowed on unceasingly, never knowing how close it had all come to an end so long ago- or was it long ago? Time was cyclical; why else would clocks be round? Ticking... ticking... ticking...
She could feel her Kitten's anger like warm milk in her stomach. Rich, heavy, and oh so sinful. She could feel the Valkyrie's own rage as a distant echo; bound as she was through her own dark magics to her noble Kitten. Wrath. One of the deadly sins, yes? Oh, they were damned to this eternity and she had tried so hard to stop it, to sink them all into the pit where they belonged and save the rest from Her
, bad bad wicked woman with golden hair and immodest dress, but she had failed.
Demonic, devil-bourne creature that she was -is!- did not deserve the honor of saving the world and for her hubris they were cast adrift in the worlds.
But she had ridden it out. Rode the lightning where it found her, the sword of the sky that cut through time and space and all things connecting... severing... an endless cycle of life and unlife.
Scared, alone, so far back she didn't know what to do. Hunted by beast and man -could those early muck really be called man?- she had no dark prince to ride to her rescue. Pain, she understood and welcomed as penance for her being. Death... she was too weak to not fear death. She knew where it would take her if she succumbed.
Fire and brimstone. Devils with pitchforks and endless torment. No hope. No second chance. No reprieve of soft whispers and lies.
Drusilla rolled over in her sleep, delicate hands twitching as she dreamed. She had followed the advice of the stars, friends that would never abandon her, and built a small army to keep her safe. Childe and children alike, and her power had grown stronger and stronger and stronger until it was too much. Until she did not ride the power but it rode her.
Gasping in sleep, the vampiress shuddered and stilled as her mind once again left the present to fly on the strands of possibility. She watched as her Kitten raged in a thousand different ways. Felt the world shudder beneath her feet and heard the cries of a billion newborn children. Saw the seas run red with blood and grass grow over skull and street alike.
She smiled. Shadows danced. Stars twinkled.
Xander woke in a cold sweat. He could still see the after images of lightning strikes behind his eyelids and taste the ash on his tongue. Gods, how long had it been since he dreamed of that night? Driving on the road to Oxnard, listening to the engine clatter and cough, and that lightning storm rolled through setting the hairs at the back of his neck to stand at attention. The strikes had been fast, leaving behind all sorts of things and he had thought he was going to die, but when the engine stalled and he grabbed his duffel to run for it past demons and strange buildings one of those unnatural strikes hit him and filled his veins with liquid fire.
"Xander?" Anya's body was warm against his, her voice a low purring rumble. "Something wrong?"
"You could say that." And she could. He could still feel Dru, she was always there in the back of his mind dreaming her dreams, but it had been a while since he had gotten something so exact and fresh. He could still smell the stolen sex, the lust for pain... and it enraged him. It wasn't all his own, he knew that, it was pieces of Drusilla's own watered down blood lust, Oz's instinct to protect, and Anya's own desire for vengeance. But he saw it. Saw the Indian in white and his disgusting, spoiled, waste of flesh son as they tortured and raped like it was a family outing.
Drusilla was the one who dreamed, but he was the one who saw. Felt.
Xander curled up and held his head in his hands, shaking with the knowledge that there was some kind of creature that didn't even have the excuse of demon-hood going around committing such depravities on innocent girls. Women. He couldn't think of any time where it was acceptable to do that. "Xan?" He wanted to rip out throats. Wanted to hear the screams as he ended the pitiful excuses for beings. "Xander?"
He looked at her. His Anya. The Wicked Witch of the North. Xander smiled and reached out, stroking her face and running his fingers through long brown hair. What would he have done without her? Sure she wasn't the Anya he had taken to the dance; she was an Anya that had been engaged to him
of all people, but as she put it a Xander is a Xander is a Xander. And she was going to marry a Xander. No ifs, ands, or buts.
"You feel like reprising your old role?" He kissed her, lightly and then a second time with more passion. They fell back on the bed as he trailed kisses down her throat. "My beloved Saint."
Anya giggled happily and rolled, tangling them in the sheets as she straddled him, and she leered at him. "What did you see?"
"A woman. Wolf. Leopard. A Rat." He growled. "And calling that one a rat is an insult to all."
"I love it when you get homicidal." She breathed in his ear as she leaned down, the silk of her gown sliding pleasantly against his skin. He inhaled her scent as his mind filled with thoughts of blood and violence. Human nature. He had witnessed civilizations rise and fall. He had helped burn Rome, but for all that... some things didn't change. Some parts of him remained despite the constant run-off of insanity from Dru and cool acceptance of Oz. They were an incredible mix, really, and he was the rock in the center that enabled their joining. And yet it was Anya and all her centuries of experience that kept him sane, that held him in her loving gaze and brought him through the ages back to the time he was born.
He just didn't think about all the sacrifices she had done to do it. Human or otherwise. Most of them had been criminals, anyway.
"We're going on a mouse hunt."