Just as the Sun was Rising
Disclaimer: Anita Blake, Vampire 'Hunter' belongs to L.K. Hamilton. Buffy and affiliates belong to Joss Whedon.
She was watching a train wreck, only the train was flesh and fur instead of metal and fire. Padma grinned as he pinned Richard to the floor and Anita was torn, wanting to stop it, but she couldn't. This was the bargain she had made. Still, she was lupa... if they could play with words then so could she, but something cold filled the room as an intangible gust. It was liquid nitrogen, this power, and froze the very blood in her veins as the part of her that let her know how old a vampire was and raise zombies wound her tight and told her that whatever had arrived was older and stronger than anything she had ever faced.
Maybe even older than the Earthmover had been.
She had to remind herself to breath as Jean-Claude stepped closer to her, his blue eyes wide, and even Yvette was still and silent in frightened awe. In the corner something moved. Anita blinked and the hairs on her arms stood up as the very shadows rippled with that dead power and took shape as if made from a solid substance. From the mass of darkness taking form a voice flowed: smooth and mesmerizing, but with a touch of something broken. Sharp. "Bad, bad, child. Naughty boy."
The shadows held a vaguely feminine shape and Anita finally drug her gaze from the thing that oozed power to where Padma had stalled in his attack on Richard's beast. The were himself had frozen though his beast still panicked within him, nostrils flaring and eyes burning amber. The vampire looked shocked, and afraid. Plain, stark fear wafted off of him as he scrambled from the floor to stand warily watching the coalescing shadows.
The shadow woman glided across the floor and everyone held their breath. Whatever she was, she was a dead thing, like a vampire but... more. She stopped before Richard and reached out. Anita mentally applauded his control even as she feared for him, as he didn't flinch, didn't betray any weakness despite being nearly beaten by the Master of Beasts.
The shadowy hand hovered by his neck and the being tilted its head to the side as though curious and confused. It was a move that would not have looked out of place on a lycanthrope and on her it was simply surreal. "I can feel my Puppy on you." Her voice had taken a dreamy quality. "But there is no blood. No beautiful violence... did you have tea? I used to like tea..." Swiftly, faster than Anita could track, that hand of mist and shadow moved and gave two quick gentle pats to Richard's head.
Anita risked a glance to Jean-Claude. He was watching the proceedings with rapt attention, and as his gaze lingered on the dark woman it held something she didn't want to recognize. She had seen that look on others, long ago, at Communion. On Jean-Claude, it was frightening.
The shadows whirled around and the being vanished only to appear beside Fernando with a hysterical laugh. The rat backed up as the woman giggled and pointed at his crotch. "Oh!" She dragged the exclamation out and clapped her hands, though strangely enough they did not make a sound. "What have you done! Bad mousy! Bad, bad, awful mousy! How could you use a poor maiden so? My Kitten shall paint the room with you and make your spine into a stand and your skin a lampshade!"
Fernando scowled and made to retort but his father's power lanced out through the mire of magic filling the room to silence him. The wererat's eyes widened in betrayal.
The Traveler stepped forward and took a shadowy hand like a gentleman, leaving a soft kiss upon it. "To what do we owe the pleasure, Mother?"
Anita stifled a gasp. The Sweet Dark, Mother of all Monsters, was standing before them. She could feel Jean-Claude's wonder and fear loud and clear through the marks at this confirmation. The woman was supposed to be asleep, had been for a thousand years, why was she here, now?
"Good boy." The Mother crooned. "Almost as sweet as my Spike... he would have drowned the world for me. He did, once..."
"Hmm. My Puppy is here." She whirled, the shadows spinning out like a dress. "He is here, and yet he has not wrought destruction. Why? Why has he not brought sweet desolation to this city?" Flames of blue ignited within the shadows, twin eyes that burned with something less than logic, more than reason. "Can you tell me why, my Journey-man?"
The Traveler gave an elegant shrug. "I know not why this, puppy-" He was cut off as the shadows struck out in anger and clean line of blood leaked from the borrowed vampire's neck.
"No!" Marmee Noir hissed. "You may not, may not call him such! He is my puppy, mine alone! My Puppy, and my Kitten, and my Valkyrie. They are mine!" The shadows pulsed around her and Anita swallowed as the power in the room increased, becoming an almost crushing pressure. Were they going to die here; squashed beneath the strength of this monster?
"Forgive me, Mother, I meant no disrespect." The Traveler spoke smoothly. The shadows slowed in their thrashing and the blue eyes blinked. "I simply did not know you had anyone in this city."
"Nor did I." As ridiculous as it looked, the shadows collapsed until they were not much more than a small woman draped in darkness. "But if he has come here, and not laid waste, then they-" Sweet Dark giggled girlishly and gestured to Jean-Claude, "Have done nothing wrong."
"They have killed the Earthmover; the Council is unbalanced. His seat must be filled."
Marmee Noir hummed and spun around to face Padma. She grinned and darkness spilled from her mouth. "I don't think you need to worry, dear Journeyman. My Kitten sees what I see. Hears what I hear. I think you not need worry of the balance soon... no, you need not worry." She was only inches away from Padma. "I was never able to break my Kitten of his character. He is coming, Beastmaster, and he is not haaaaappy with your son. Not at all!" Curls that absorbed light bounced as she shook her head. "And where Kitten goes, Valkyrie is sure to follow. Angels of death and vengeance they are, and they will paint the walls!" With one last laugh the shadows exploded outward as the power drained away as suddenly as it had come.
The Sweet Dark had left. Padma was beyond pale, nearly translucent with fright. He swallowed and turned wide eyes to the Traveler, ignoring all others in the room. "Traveler?"
The Traveler ignored him in favor of Anita and Jean-Claude. "It seems our Mother has determined a different way to restore the Council's balance. With her endorsement, such as it is, I believe you are 'off the hook' my friend."
"Traveler!" Padma called again.
The Traveler frowned. "I suggest you start running, Master of Beasts, if what Marmee Noir said holds any truth to it... I had not realized she possessed a Human Servant, but if she does, then he would indeed be formidable. I wonder..." The Traveler trailed off, mouth quirking into a small smile.
A/N- So, I was checking all the little random notes in my Misc. fanfic folder, and I found this. Decided to polish it up a bit and post. And my muse keeps hi-jacking my brain wandering away from my textbooks and into photoshop.
Story and chapter titles taken from 'Early One Morning', the English folk song that the First used in his brainwashing of Spike. It really is a sad, but pretty, song and I think it describes Drusilla very well.