Interlude - Bad Dreams Pt. 2
‘Bad Dreams Pt. 2’
AN: More stuff not originally planned. Which is usually the coolest, right? Anyway, the final interlude for this act. No interlude between the next two chapters. Promise!
Once again she was in that cold corridor, facing that plexi glass cell, next to her a television screen, its audio muted. On it she could see a TV evangelist ranting, waving his arms about, with behind him a choir dressed in robes that were absolute fashion crimes against humanity.
And to make things worse she was soaking wet.
In the cell before she couldn’t see anything as it was as dark as the night.
“Her name is Glory, Doctor,” she said.
There was no response.
“Look, I’m trying to protect the sister, Doctor, but I need more information.”
There was no movement in the darkened cell.
“Look, she almost got her, now there’s another version of me about and I still have no clue what I’m up against. And to top it all off now I’m soaking wet!”
Suddenly the food tray opened up on her side, a movement so unexpected she nearly jumped into the air. Inside the tray there was a clean folded white towel. Tentatively she reached for it and took it out.
“Thanks,” she said as she used it to dry her hair, then she sat down on the floor opposite the cell.
“Why do you refer to your sister in the third person?” the voice of Angelus, but as Hannibal Lecter spoke.
She could now see him, sitting opposite to her on the other side of the plexi glass, a deeper hunching darkness sitting in shadows, occasionally illuminated by the flickering TV.
“What do you mean?” Buffy asked.
“I find it very interesting that despite this Beast, Glory as you called her, who is chasing your sister, you never once told me her name, Elizabeth.”
“Are we up to that again, Doctor?” Buffy said sounding a little tired, “No more picking on poor Buffy’s peccadilloes, now you want to know about my little sister again?”
“I wouldn’t go as far to say that I have no interest whatsoever in your little sister, Elizabeth,” Angelus/Lecter spoke.
“Buffy,” Buffy interjected, “My name’s Buffy.”
“Your badge said otherwise,” Angelus/Lecter countered a little snide, “And as I was trying to say my only interest in your sister is relative to you.”
“And the creepiness factor goes up a notch,” Buffy said.
“If you just want to trade insults, I can do that with Doctor Chilton,” Angelus/Lecter said.
“Who is Glory, Doctor,” Buffy said matter of fact, “Last time I was here you said you weren’t allowed to tell me who she was.”
“But you know so much already,” Angelus/Lecter grinned in his shadowy cell, “What fun could there be in spoiling the surprise?
“Me not ramming my fist through this plexi glass?” Buffy suggested.
Angelus/Lecter chuckled briefly.
“I told you before,” he said calmly, “Outside you may be able to blow up planets, but inside here it matters not.”
“Always with the cryptic,” Buffy sighed dejected, “Why can’t you guys ever speak clearly for a change?”
“What can’t you ever listen?” Angelus/Lecter sighed equally dejected, “We try to give you relevant information, as far as we’re permitted and each time you put your fingers in your ears and shout lalala cryptic lalala.”
“If you’re not making sense, how can I listen?” Buffy said back.
Angelus/Lecter said nothing for a moment and looked away.
“Sometimes the sense comes at the right time, Elizabeth,” he said, “it may not make sense right now, but when the time is at hand you’ll understand.”
“That’s the kind of help that is not,” Buffy countered.
“Sometimes that’s all we’re permitted,” Angelus/Lecter shrugged inside his dark cell, “Now tell me again about your sister. Why do you refer to her only in the third person?”
“Why would I tell you?” Buffy asked suspicious, “If you can’t tell me anything, why waste my time fishing for personal information?”
“Because I am curious?” Angelus/Lecter said and gestured around him, “Because you created this reality and as long as I am part of it these four walls are all I have to amuse myself?”
Then Angelus/Lecter leaned forward and grinned maliciously.
“And maybe, just maybe, if you amuse me just enough I might give you something useful?”
“So you can
tell me something after all?” Buffy said angry.
Angelus/Lecter said nothing as he leaned back smirking into darkness.
“Your sister, Elizabeth, why the third person?”
“Because I didn’t want you to know?” Buffy said, “Because you’re a monster both in how you look and the way you act?”
“You wound me, Elizabeth,” Angelus/Lecter said pretending to be injured, “I wouldn’t say I have your best interests at heart, but they do concur with mine for now. Let’s just say I bear both you and your sisters no ill will. Besides, I already know that her name is Dawn and that her other sister is named Mayan.”
“Then why the cryptic?” Buffy asked.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” Angelus/Lecter said shaking his head, “You do not listen, Elizabeth. How many times do I have to tell you? It’s not your sister’s name I desire, it’s the reason why you never speak of her in the first place.”
“If you know so much already, why bother asking at all?” Buffy asked suspiciously, “shouldn’t you know the answer already?”
“I’m on the outside looking in,” Angelus/Lecter shrugged, “I know all the players, but my personal involvement is, shall we say, less?”
“Who is Glory, Doctor Lecter,” Buffy asked impatiently.
“You know the answer already, Elizabeth?” Angelus/Lecter replied, “She’s a Goddess from one of the Hell dimensions, and a particularly nasty one to boot. So uncivilized. She is trapped in human form now and needs to feed upon human neural energies to sustain her own.”
“You’re just telling me what I already know,” Buffy said as she closed her eyes in annoyance, “I need you to tell me something new. Why does she want my sister?”
“Tell me why you refuse to call your sister by her name?” Angelus/Lecter asked amiably.
Buffy opened her mouth to protest but Angelus/Lecter spoke again as he stood up and disappeared from view.
“Doesn't this all begin to suggest to you a kind of... negotiation? There's something you can give me, and I want to trade for it.”
Next thing the lights went on inside his cell. Unlike the previous time it was now stripped bare. Gone were his books, drawings, mattress, even his toilet seat.
“Punishment, you see. For Miggs,” Angelus/Lecter, “Just like that gospel program. When you leave, they'll turn the volume way up. Chilton does enjoy his petty torments.”
“This isn’t real,” Buffy said as she stood up, “Now you’re just following that movie script again.
“You gave this form,” Angelus/Lecter smiled, “I did not create this. But now that I’m in it I will follow the script to the letter. And you have seen the movie enough times to know what that means.”
“You suck,” Buffy said disheartened.
“Temper, temper, young lady,” Angelus/Lecter said chiding, “Mind your language please.”
“Go fuck yourself!” Buffy said flippant.
“I do, every night before I go to sleep,” Angelus/Lecter said deadpan, then he looked at her with piercing eyes, “Have we lowered the bar enough for you or do you feel the need to go on? Faith it down as it were?”
“I’m just fed up with all this cryptic crap and you playing games with me, Doctor,” Buffy sighed, “I’ve been having these stupid Slayer dreams for god knows how long and for once I wished they would give it to me straight.”
“Alright, I’ll bite,” Angelus/Lecter said and sat down on his bed, “Why do you think the universe never tells it to you straight? What makes you such a special snowflake that the universe itself has to come down to your level and speak in ways that you can comprehend?”
“Now you’re just turning it around and making it look ridiculous,” Buffy said.
“Is it?” Angelus/Lecter smiled, “You’re asking for meaning from something that is so vast and magnificent and wondrous, and so far beyond your comprehension that it gives pause to the mind that even thinks it can comprehend just a tiny portion of it. And you’re not even comprehending even a fraction of what the most brilliant minds can. Has it ever dawned upon you that maybe you’re too stupid to understand the universe? That you’re too stupid to even listen to what it is trying to shout to you? That it is so desperate to communicate with you that it will try anything to get you to listen, even though the most simple way it can communicate with you is still too advanced for you? Have you ever tried talking to an ant and wonder why it doesn’t respond even though it communicates chemically? Does the ant wonder why Elizabeth Summers Movekk continues to shout at it and does not speak in the only language that it knows?”
“So you’re saying I’m too stupid to understand these stupid dreams and the cryptic is the best the universe can do to speak to me?” Buffy said dejected.
“There might be hope for you after all,” Angelus/Lecter said approving.
“But if the universe only speaks to me in annoying cryptic, who are you then?” Buffy asked.
“There are more players then just the universe, Elizabeth,” Angelus/Lecter smirked, “I just happen to be in the position to talk a little more clearly. Unfortunately I am limited in what I can say.”
“Then say something!” Buffy said imploringly, “What does Glory want? Why does she want the Key, what does she want to do with it?”
Angelus/Lecter looked at her with that damn smirk on his face, making Buffy wish that she could smash her fist into his face.
“Talk to me, dammit!” she said as she pounded on the plexi glass walls.
“Why do you refuse to talk about your sister?” Angelus/Lecter asked again.
“Not that again!” Buffy sighed as she closed her eyes, her forehead placed against the plexi glass.
“How did you feel when you first heard of your mother’s death, Elizabeth?” Angelus/Lecter asked.
“Buffy,” Buffy said softly, “My name is Buffy.”
“How did you feel when you first heard of your mother’s death, Elizabeth?” Angelus/Lecter asked undeterred.
“What do you think?” Buffy said vexed, “How would you feel?”
“Not everybody reacts the same way,” Angelus/Lecter’s voice came from just behind the plexi glass. Through a hole in the glass she could feel his warm breath on her skin.
“People react differently,” Angelus/Lecter said, sounding almost tenderly now, “Some react angry, some break down. You have the capability to throw the biggest power tantrum of them all. How did you react?”
“I didn’t believe,” Buffy said, her eyes still closed as she felt the memories of that day come back to her, “When Xander told me my mother had died at first I refused to believe him. I thought he was joking. A really, really bad joke.”
“But Xander doesn’t tell such bad jokes. Not that kind of bad. Not even back then when he was just the guy telling bad jokes and getting donuts. And that’s when I looked into his eyes. And I saw that he was not only dead serious, he was also deeply saddened. That’s when it hit me. Really hit me.”
Somewhere back in time
Storming into the hospital Buffy pushed aside patients, visitors and doctors with no regards as she made for where her friends were. She couldn’t sense her mother, but had little problem zoning in on Giles and Willow.
She had flown in all the way across the world, going full force in a golden daze. Last thing she remembered was Xander telling her her mother had died, next thing was her arriving back in the skies over Sunnydale.
Bursting through a door Buffy ran into Xander and Belmovekk. They had probably just teleported in
“Buffy,” Belmovekk tried to say but she pushed him aside.
“Out of my way,” she said and went past him, “MOM!”
As Xander went after Buffy trounced through the hospital until she found Giles and Willow.
“Buffy,” Willow said as she came towards her to hug Buffy, “I’m so sorry.”
“What happened,” Buffy asked forlorn, Where’s mom?”
Things went blurry again for a while. Giles would later tell her again that her mother had been put the Twins to bed, he had gone to the kitchen to make some tea and when he entered the living room he had found her at the bottom of the stairs, seemingly collapsed. Checking on her first he then immediately called 911. All the while she had sobbed her heart out.
It was only after Belmo and Giles had helped to calm her down and catch some of her composure back a doctor came telling her what had happened.
“Okay, I've examined your mother's body,” he said.
“Can I see her?” she had asked.
“Perhaps later,” the doctor said a little hesitant, “after the nurses are finished with her.”
“Of course,” Belmovekk said as his hand squeezed Buffy’s shoulder for comfort.
“The on-site report seems more or less accurate,” the doctor had continued, “Your mother did have what looks like an aneurysm. A sudden hemorrhaging from a ruptured arterial vessel near where the, uh ... the tumor had previously been situated.”
“You think there’s a connection?” Giles asked.
“It, uh, could be,” the doctor replied, “too little is known about the sudden reversal of Missus Summers-Movekk’s original tumor. It is theoretically possible that there might have been some residual damage caused by the tumor that only manifested itself later. But then we would have to run a full autopsy.”
“Shouldn't we have known about that, that ... there was still a danger?” Buffy asked somewhat belligerent.
“Maybe if we had known more of the circumstances of Mrs. Summers-Movekk’s recovery it might have clued us in that there were some possible dangerous after effects. But no such information was given to us and all possible tests we ran pointed to a full and complete remission.”
He was covering his and the hospital’s legal ass. Even stricken with grief Buffy knew this.
“Anyway, I can tell you what happened. As she gave no warning to the other person present clearly this was very sudden. She, uh, may have felt a little nausea, and probably passed out as it happened.”
Buffy looked at Belmo’s face, he looked back at hers.
“I doubt there was much pain,” the doctor continued, “and ... even if someone had been by her side it wouldn’t have made much difference.”
“Thank you, doctor,” Belmo had said, “We would like to see Joyce now, Buffy and I.”
“Of course,” the doctor nodded, then he looked at the other doctor present, “Would you take them to the morgue please?”
“Yes, doctor,” Ben replied.
Next thing the door opened and Tara entered the room, together with Android #18 and the Twins. The kids looked like they had been crying non-stop.
“You look after your sisters,” Belmovekk said as he gave Buffy a gentle squeeze on her shoulder, “I will see your mother first, then come back for you.”
She didn’t want to stay behind, but she could see that right now her sisters needed her to be here, not go with Belmo. So she relented.
“BUFFY!” the Twins shouted as they came running towards her. She squatted down and picked up one of the twins.
“Mommie’s gone,” the child cried in her arms.
“I know, sweetie,” Buffy said trying to sound soothing as she fought back her own tears.
“I want mommie back,” the child cried.
“I know, sweetie,” Buffy said, “I want her back too.”
As she gently swayed Mayan in her arms Dawn was left standing next to her, looking up in tears at her big sister.
“Interesting,” Angelus/Lecter said with an amused smile, “What made you pick up Mayan and not Dawn? Or why not both? You have the strength to do so easily.”
“Just coincidence,” Buffy said to the psychopath behind his plexi glass wall, “She happened to be closer.”
“While I do firmly believe in the invisible hand of chance I think we we’re dealing with something else here,” Angelus/Lecter said smirking, “I don’t think you ignored Dawn out ‘sheer coincidence’.”
“Well, believe what you want,” Buffy said annoyed, “You had your fun, I gave you something personal, now it’s your turn, doctor. Quits pro clone, what does Glory want with my sister!”
Muttering something about the level of the Californian education system Angelus/Lecter briefly closed his eyes.
“A little parable,” Angelus/Lecter said as he folded his hands together, “A man gets shipwrecked on a deserted island. He knows that ships regularly ply the shipping routes nearby, but is unable to send out a signal for help. He can’t leave the island using a makeshift raft or boat because sharp reefs surround the island. What do you think this man needs, Elizabeth?”
“God!” Buffy sighed dejected, “More with the movie allegories? Now you’re pulling Castaway on me? Tom Hanks on his deserted island?”
“Well, if you want to use the Castaway analogy, what did Tom Hanks needed to get off his island, Elizabeth?” Angelus/Lecter asked.
“Uh, rope?” Buffy said unsure as she tried to remember the movie, the scene where he went back to get his makeshift rope from a piece of wood on top of the mountain coming to mind, where it was revealed that he had tested to see if a certain tree could hold his weight for an impending suicide. Revealing how desperate he had become. It was a poignant scene which was why it now immediately came to mind.
“Rope was only an issue in sofar that he didn’t have enough time to make more before the trade winds arrived, Elizabeth,” Angelus/Lecter corrected, “What did Tom Hanks need to get off that island? Let me rephrase that. Why was getting more rope before the arrival of the trade winds such an issue for him. What had changed?”
Buffy thought long and hard about that, not for the last time cursing her current subconscious’ obsession with movies in order to speak to her. And then it hit her.
“He had found that large piece of plastic!” she exclaimed, “The one he could use as a sail!”
“Exactly,” Angelus/Lecter grinned, “the sheet of plastic. The one that allowed him to use the trade winds to gain enough speed to get over the sharp reefs. Now do you see?”
Buffy looked at Angelus/Lecter forlorn.
“I don’t get it,” she said.
“Then I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for you now, Elizabeth,” Angelus/Lecter said and switched off the light in his cell, cloaking him in darkness.
“Goodbye, Elizabeth, ta ta. Until the next time. Also, don’t forget to protect the sister! And be the Hero!”