part one: head and heart
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series belong to Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt. More disclaimers at the bottom of chapters.
Warnings/Spoilers: Set Post-Series for both Angel and Buffy.
A/N: This is a Wishlist fic that came from a prompt provided by SongBirdie.
A/N 2: Reviews are Good. This has been a subtle hint from the author - Please return to your regularly scheduled reading.part one: head and heart
She isn’t crazy – she isn’t.
Dana hunches down near the corner of the closed door, eyes wide and darting for anyone who may come down this hallway and see her. She will get up if that happens, run off – pretend she was just wandering (when people think one is crazy, random meandering walks become an almost expected past time – at least when you are not caged. And in a place run by fellow Slayers, they allow her this freedom.
) But, for now she stays in place, tense and listening – because the whisperings in the next room are about her and Dana will hear these things (even if she must eaves drop - shhh, don’t’ tell
And their words are troubling to her, make her bite her lip and pull her arms around herself. They are trying to find a way to help her, to fix her. Dana isn’t sure she wants to be fixed. Doesn’t believe she is broken (head and heart – all intact, she’s just fine. Right?
It was all so confusing when she was in that psychiatric ward. The white walls would press in on her, and doctors in white coats came in to press even further: with questions that made no sense and needles that she would watch wide-eyed as they slid into her skin - and then everything would spin spin spin
. When Dana had gotten out, it was as if she was raw all over, just so much red meat without any skin. Feeling things everywhere, in all of her senses, both with her body and in her mind. How long had they been deadening everything with the drugs? (Why had they stopped then? That hadn't been when things changed. Dana remembers that moment clearly, remembers a voice asking if she wanted to be strong.
She did not know how to cope with all of this stimulus – no, it was too much, way too much.
(So, perhaps – just maybe – she went a little crazy then.
But they can’t blame her for that, can they? Were they mad about the people in the ward that she harmed? Dana tries to feel badly about that (flashes of blood on white walls and her hand wrapped tightly around the handle of a bone saw come to her sometimes
) but simply cannot – hates the way she would feel after they gave her medication, the way they used to strap her down, how she was kept locked in a cell at all times. She knows it is bad to kill people (has had that repeated to her slowly, by many people, as if she has the mental capacity of a very small child
) but can’t make herself feel sorry for their deaths.
Or is it the vampire? Spike – Dana can't help but know this name because she had heard it brought up so many times when they speak of her in those worried tones, far more than any other. She feels very frustrated by this – thinks perhaps she is missing something or they have forgotten they should tell her. Because why should it be so important that she hurt the vampire that killed two of their own?
Dana remembers so clearly experiencing the way Xin Rong had felt triumph blooming in her chest as she pinned him to the wall – only to have everything slip away from her. ("Tell my mother I'm sorry," she mouths along with the memory.
And Nikki (so brave and strong
) had only begun to fear William the Bloody when she could see her death fast approaching – knew she was not going to win this fight, would not be returning home today. The way a sense of impending harsh loss had rushed over her (oh God - Robin. I’m never going to see Robin again
This was all mixed up with her own story, playing on repeat and changing every time. She is not certain how much they know about her – and Dana does not like to think about it herself whenever she can help it. Everything tends to get so twisted up in knots anyway (twists her all up too, until she is hunched in a ball remembering what that man did – and then they stare again with those uncertain eyes. She does not like it when they stare
She understands being a Slayer – that term fits the rush of strength, the urge to hunt, the way she seems to move, perceive things, faster than the world around her. (Can't hurt me. Not weak anymore. Strong. Slayer.
It had never quite covered the rest though - but the word she heard spoken hesitantly today (almost as if the speaker was a doctor breaking the news of a terminal illness to a patient
) does: Seer.
Because it is what she does, See them when no one else seems to, not even the other girls who are strong like her.
Dana wishes that were not all, she wants to do ,more
- she wants to help them – but there seems to be nothing she can do but live these moments of their lives, experience it with them. And perhaps that is all that she is meant to be doing, bearing witness. (And sometimes Dana wonders if they can feel her right there with them, hopes her presences offers some comfort.
Talk turns to another topic (rising demon population in Singapore) and Dana stands, walking away - her bare feet barely making a sound on the carpeted floors. Still though, she holds her arms tight around her body because part of her understands their concerns. She has
been dangerous before - and though she does not ever wish to be considered a danger here (does not want to be thought of as a damaged thing to her fellow Slayers
) - she cannot say for certain she will never hurt anyone again.
Because there are certain moments still so peculiar to even her
; when she breathes in the air of one distant world and feels her own lungs expand with it, when her lips will speak someone else’s words – syllables tripping so very naturally off her tongue and startling her with that accent that makes it sound so odd (and then realizes it is her own
), when she looks in the mirror and does not recognize the person staring back.
Dana does wish she could keep track of what she looked like though. It would save a lot of broken mirrors – and she fears from the way the people frown that superstitions about mirrors might be true. Why else would he frown so much when she breaks mirrors?
But despite the others' down-turned lips she does not wish to give it up. There is nothing wrong with these Gifts that she has been given, nothing that needs fixing (Dana has never once wished they would go away
). And every day she is given so much through what she sees. Dana has loved and loss so many times, has seen places millions of miles away on worlds different from her own, outside her own time (outside her own dimension
Why would she ever wish to give up these experiences, give up her link to all of these people? And for what? A chance to be normal – or really, just a half step
closer to normal (for even the other Slayer bemoan their differences
No, she will not let them take this from her. She does not need fixing.
Her feet have automatically made their way to the kitchen and this makes her smile, Dana likes that she knows this large place well enough to have familiar haunts (it is almost like having a home
She touches the cool front of the freezer and finds herself saying, "Iorek, dear, I need a weapon.”Lyra looked up steadily at the bear, into those steady inhuman eyes she loved, waiting for an answer.
She was beautiful she had learned as she grew older – the rawness of her youth matured into a commanding, elegant, presence that made her parentage apparent to any who had ever met Lord Asriel or Ms. Coulter. It had never mattered before, before when she was first at Jordan when she was young or during that harsh adventure that would feel like a dream if every moment wasn’t so printed into her very being.
And with Will it had been about so much between them, they had been so young to have to make those sacrifices that she can still feel the cut of - never dulled the slightest by the knowledge that it was the right thing to do or the hope that they would be together again one day, because he wasn’t here now. And now was when it hurt. Now was when she felt it, sharp and raw. And now was perpetual, every single second, a festering wound, inside of her heart.
Once upon a time, they had fed each other food in the forest. Once upon a time, she had stroked his daemon’s fur and he Pans’. Once upon a time, she could just look up into his face and see him smile at her, see him frown at her, see him roll his eyes in exasperation.
Once upon a time, Will was close enough to touch.
But once upon a times served no purpose – she had never even been a child that cared much for fairy tales and she will not waste her life away crying over him. They made a promise to live and she will stand by it. For him. So, she will hold the memories tight, hold the pain as close and dear to her as the love – because it is him, the only thing she has to connect herself to him here – but she won’t stop moving forward.
But this new thing inside her was honing her differently. Taking that wildness that was always there and making it flare. She was an almost feral child at times in her youth but it is more now. She was unable to stay put in Jordan, felt trapped by the college that had felt like home for so long. Lyra had been glad to escape to the North, a place that can, if not match, echo this place inside of her - happy to live amongst the bears.
Here, Pan and her have room to run - fast and hard along the snow. And both will get the idea, the urge to hunt something - and they do, it is how they eat these days. This is strange, she does not quite understand, but it is fitting as well because she has the strength to match this new wildness - the speed and reflexes as well.
What she needs is a weapon - and only one made by Iorek, her best friend (other than Pan of course) will truly do. He is King of the Bears but she thinks if she had gone to anyone else he would have secretly been insulted.
"I will make one for you, Lyra Silvertongue" he says solemnly, after the long pause. "A sword."
She smiles, a thing as harsh as the icy tundra and as beautiful as the aurora, across her face. "Thank you, Iorek."
"Dana?" she doesn't turn, still breathing that sharp cold air in her lungs (still feeling that place in her heart where Will was
"Dana!" it is said louder this time, jars her a bit. That's right, that's her name. She isn't Lyra, she has no Pan or lost Will - there are no panserbjørn here.
"Are you back? the question is asked gently but there is a wariness to it, a distance - they all keep such distance from her. Don't want to get too close to crazy Dana after all, don't know what she'll do. (But she wishes they didn't. She misses it - touch.
It is the tall girl, the one with brown hair - Dana has seen her in the kitchen before, in the hallways sometimes too, she should know her name (but names are so hard to keep when you have a foot in so many worlds
"I'm here," she whispers and lets her hand drop from the freezer.
Additional Disclaimer: I do not own the His Dark Materials Series - that was written by Phillip Pullman.