Rating: PG-13, for now
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy, I don't own Anita Blake, as evidenced by my being really poor. No copyright infringement intended, please don't sue.
Pairings: As yet undecided, except will be Anita/Jean-Claude, if we ever get that far. Main Buffyverse characters will be Dawn and Druscilla (not as a pairing).
Summary: Dawn's thoughts, eight years after the end of season 7.
Author's Notes: Please suspend all awareness of time, now. Assume the closing of the Hellmouth takes place approximately 4 years before Addison v. Clarke in the Anitaverse. Story takes up towards the end of 'Burnt Offerings'.
(And no, I have not given up on Anywhere You Go, there will be an update soon, promise . . just different characters are talking to me at the moment.)
Friday, April 27th -
I used to keep a diary, when I was little. Or at least, I remember keeping a diary. Every day, I'd write down what I ate, what I wore, what stupid things I said in front of Jason Halloway who was just the cutest thing to ever hit the third grade - none of that actually happened, not really, but that seems less important now. I've gotten a bit of perspective.
So, here I am, starting a diary again. Page one. Just look at all those empty pages. Kind of intimidating, really, all that blank paper. I have to fill all that. If I'd had to start with blank paper for the book, I think I would have run screaming at about page ten. Blank paper is just scary. Willow has her frog phobia - me, I'm petrified of blank books. Go figure.
And I'm rambling innanely. I am a deep and thoughtful person, really. I'm sure I have more meaningful things to write than this.
Okay, how about this one -
That's the thing about magic. There's always consequences. Always.
Spike said that, the day Buffy came back. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but Xander told me later, because I asked - not about what he'd said then in particular, because I didn't even know they'd talked that night, but about memorable things Spike said. After a whole lot of random sarcasm and general macho covering, he came up with that one. Spike said that, almost two years before he closed the Hellmouth. If that doesn't make you believe in Fate, I don't know what would.
Of course, to understand why that's so persuasive an argument in favor of a Higher Power, you'd have to understand about consequences. You'd have to understand how we changed the world. Odds are you don't - in your mind, vampires have probably always existed, if not openly, at least in acknowledged reality. Whatever you think of Addison v. Clarke, you probably saw it coming. If you don't know anyone with lycanthropy, you're probably from Montana, or some other backward place where it's still legal to hunt them. Point being, you probably think the world was always like this.
It was, of course.
And, it wasn't.
Two weeks after the closing of the Hellmouth, Sheila Rosenberg was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Munich; she'd actually been in the middle of a lecture when she'd suddenly recovered horrible, vivid memories of trying to burn her daughter alive, and collapsed screaming. She's better now, and she and Willow are starting to really talk, last I heard. So, yay for them, anyway, I'm getting off the point - point is, for four years before that, she didn't remember. All she remembered of that week was being concerned about her daughter dating an older boy who played in a band.
The whole world was like that. Vampires existed, werewolves existed, witches practiced, trolls roamed the hills and in St. Louis City hospital at the turn of the century, some crazy-assed doctor was trying to cure vampirism on the public dime. All happened. But unless you were directly and continuously involved in the paranormal, you just sort of .. forgot. Your mind rationalized. Your eye literally just took a little hop, skip and jump over anything you saw that didn't fit into a completely rationalist worldview.
There were exceptions, of course. Religious zealots, born psychics, Oz's aunt Maureen who so very calmly informed him that yes, his cousin Jordie is in fact a werewolf - which I tend to think is just freaky weird, I mean, who the hell is calm about that? - but for the most part, the supernatural might as well have been spinning along on another parallel globe.
Giles has theories about this, of course - that the Hellmouth actually absorbed the collective horror of the experiences and fed from it, literally ate the world's supernatural evil. I don't quite buy that - I mean, then why are there suddenly historical records of real unicorns? How freakin' evil are unicorns? Doesn't compute, in my book. It wasn't just the bad stuff, it was all the weird stuff. Maybe sometime in the next hundred years we'll figure it out - after that, it won't matter much, because anyone who knows any different will be dead. Well, not Angel, I suppose, but he's still caught up in his decade-long sulk over Buffy *really* dumping him, as in telling him it was never gonna happen. I don't think he cares.
Relevant point being, all that collective denial, all that delusional normalness - it was the Hellmouth causing it all. Blow up the Hellmouth and wham - no more world as we know it.
Of course, *don't* blow up the Hellmouth, and there'd have been no more world as anyone knew it. I don't think we were wrong, but we were clueless. We thought we'd seen weirdness? Weirdness is watching history books re-write themselves - and I do mean watching. I don't know if the actual words and ink and extra pages were just summoned out of the void, or if it was something in our perception that changed - I lean towards the 'perception' theory - but suddenly the oddness of our lives was, well, not so odd. I wouldn't say we were suddenly normal - but maybe as normal as anything else.
So in a way, Spike literally re-wrote history. He'd have loved that. Who's the biggest badass that ever existed, huh? Who's your daddy? I can hear it.
I can hear him when I go to sleep at night.
There's a lot of miles between sixteen and twenty-four, more than between this world and that one, and I'd give a lot for this version of me to be able to go back and talk to him. To let him know that I was a scared teenaged brat who didn't understand anything, and I loved him, and things just get fucked up between people sometimes and that's not a very good reason to tell them you're going to set them on fire in their sleep.
To say goodbye. Maybe then I could look at her, and not feel like apologizing. But then, maybe I wouldn't be writing the book, either, and I think the book needs to be written.
Billie Joyce Summers was born six months and thirteen days after the close of the Hellmouth; nearly three months premature. She spent the first half-year of her life hooked up to more monitors and subjected to more tests than a shuttle launch; I think if Buffy had been even remotely in her right mind at the time, she wouldn't have allowed it. I don't know if that would have been good or bad, because I don't know if Billie would have survived without it.
We needed Anya; I'm not sure if anyone's ever said that out loud, but it's the truth. We needed someone who could serve as a tour guide to the dark recesses of the human mind that most of us shy away from, or at least don't admit to visiting very often - someone to say what we were all thinking. Because what Billie needed was blood, human blood. I know I thought of it, though I don't know when. I'm positive Giles thought of it. But there's this little game you play in your head where you tell yourself that's silly, no, that can't be right, and I can't say that to Buffy if I'm not absolutely, completely positive that there's no other way.
Buffy spent so very much of her life wanting just to be normal, just to have choices, and for about two weeks after the Hellmouth closed she thought she did. Then she skipped a period. In a normal woman it might have been stress, the Powers know she'd been under enough of it. But Slayers don't stress - at least their bodies don't. They don't get sick. They don't skip periods unless there's a reason.
Here's a brief biology lesson - conception doesn't happen during sex. Ever read one of those cheesy romance novels that pretends to be fantasy, and the heroine just *knows* at the moment of orgasm that she's pregnant? Or, um, are those books just my personal freaky weakness? Anyway, point is, that's bullshit, unless you're screwing Superman. Those sperm would have to be on speed to get all the way up your fallopian tube in just about two seconds like that. Reality is, you concieve about twelve hours, maybe a day later, if you're gonna be having a boy. If you're working on a girl, you've got as much as a week.
'Round about the same time I was knocking Xander all unconscious and hightailing it back to the Hellmouth, Buffy and Spike were doing what Buffy and Spike did best, one last time. Three days later the Hellmouth was closed, the Hellmouth's world-altering mojo was dissipating, Buffy and I were 3,000 feet above the Atlantic, on our way to England - and little Billie was getting herself concieved.
That's right - she's Billie because Giles threw a fit at Buffy and told her in no uncertain terms that she just could *not* name a girl William. But she's Spike's, and she's half vampire, and she suffers from a mild case of what's called Vlad's Syndrome. We didn't find out about the sunlight issues until we brought her home, but she almost died for lack of blood, because none of us were willing to give voice to the thought. Maybe even Buffy was thinking it, I don't know. It was Giles' girlfriend Olivia who finally said it - I guess she could, Buffy's nobody to her, really.
I still wonder what Spike would have thought of naming a girl Billie. I've got the idea that parenthood might have made him very old-fashioned. I'll never know for sure, of course. He'd have liked the middle name, though. He liked Mom.
We weren't sure if Slayer blood or Key blood or witch's blood would be different from the ordinary sort, so it was Xander that fed her the first time. She gained a pound in two hours. It was amazing to watch. Buffy sat there and watched her tiny, tiny little baby claw her way back from the brink and decided out of the blue that, come hell or high water, she was going to have her father's name.
Which started Giles off on a tirade again about the inappropriateness of changing a five-month-old child's name, and the inappropriateness of William as a name for a female, and the general inappropriateness of Buffy's whole attitude, but that wasn't what she meant. Billie was close enough for a first name - what she wanted was a last name.
Parenthood made Buffy old-fashioned; who would have guessed? Consequences, see. There are always consequences.
And that's what started it. The book of Spike. It's currently 263 pages, and we still don't know his last name. That's 263 pages worth of vampire - we're not even back to human William yet, but I'll get there. I guess I'm old-fashioned too, or maybe just pissed off. You know what Hank - I won't call him Dad anymore - you know what Hank did when Billie was born? Sent a card. He knew she was premature and in bad shape, and he sent a fucking card, and that's all, and all it said was "Congrats! You're making me feel old, kid!" No phone number. The return address was somewhere in Oregon - we hadn't even known he'd moved.
Being undead never stopped Spike from doing anything; I don't see why being really dead should stop him being more involved in Billie's life than my father ever was in mine, or Buffy's. He just needs a little help now, is all.
So, here I am, helping. It's the best I can do.
TBC . .