Sting A Little
Title: Sting a Little
Disclaimer: Whedon owns BTVS, Hamilton owns AB.
Spoilers: Obsidian Butterfly for AB, up to S5 for BTVS.
Summary: It’s been three years since Willow accidentally pulled her vampire self out of another dimension, and she’s about to learn that sending pieces of yourself across the dimensional barrier can have horrific results. After all, punching through the fabric of reality isn‘t easy on anyone. So hold onto your hats kiddies, this might sting a little . . .
St. Louis is a large city that is always bustling with life. By day, there are scores of people on the street, clogging up the roads in their cars or flooding the sidewalks as they negotiated their way around town. By night, there were fewer people on the sidewalks and not so many on the roads, but the lights shone at night and you could tell that the bars, clubs, restaurants, and all other such places were probably full of people going about their lives, taking the few hours of freedom that the night afforded them and doing something they found pleasant. For some people that meant a night out with their friends or family at a nice restaurant. To others that meant filing into the dimly bars and clubs that filled the Blood District and actively searching for a good time. It was simple, it was normal, and it was relatively harmless, depending on what part of town you were frequenting.
Tammy Reynolds felt that she was a whole lot more safer than most people on this Friday night. For one thing, she was as far away from the Blood District as she could get and seated in a quaint little coffeehouse not far from her home. Secondly, she was with her friends in a nice public space that was filled with tons of decent looking folk. And thirdly, she had her gun on her. So even if something should arise that could spoil her night, Tammy still felt like she was relatively safe where she was.
That was until the clock struck eleven and everything went to Hell.
It was strange. One moment she had been talking amicably with her friends, and the next she was screaming in agony because of the sudden pain she felt in her head. For those brief seconds that she lay on the floor of the coffeehouse, she honestly felt like she was going to die. She thought her brain might explode and kill her right then and there, and in the pure agony of the moment, she thought that dying seemed like a much better option than her current condition.
And then, as quickly as it came, it was gone. She looked up from the coffeehouse floor to find a crowd had gathered around her and her friends. Tammy felt sheepish, until she realized that she was not the only one people were milling around. At least three other people were being pulled to their feet, the fear on their faces mirroring her own. She heard someone say something about phoning for an ambulance, but she interrupted and said it might be better if someone phoned the police.
Cradling her pounding head in her right hand, Tammy dared a look outside. She wasn’t surprised to find that the outside world had gone to Hell as well. The wind was blowing fiercely, bending the few trees lining the street almost in half. There was a frighteningly large amount of lightning outside, accentuated every so often by a thunderous boom. Her legs were shaking and she sank into a chair quickly. She wasn’t one to get scared by a simple thunderstorm, and yet here she was, shaking like a leaf.
Perhaps her fear was connected to the fact that this was not a simple thunderstorm. No, it was not simple in the least. For one thing, while the lightning and thunder raged on outside, Tammy looked up at the sky to see the cloudless night that had greeted her as she left her home at nine. There was not one cloud to be seen. There was only the crescent moon, hanging calmly in the turbulent night sky. The moon did not waver, not even once while the rest of the world seemed to fall apart in those precious few minutes after eleven.
Ten minutes past, and the chaos receded as quickly as it came. By now the police had arrived and Tammy had to gather her nerves before she approached her colleagues. With shaking fingers, she reached inside her jacket and pulled out her badge. She walked up to the nearest patrolman, holding her badge out for him to see.
“Detective Tammy Reynolds of the RPIT unit,” she introduced herself, very pleased with the fact that her voice was not shaking like the rest of her. “You need to get on your radio and call for St. Storr of the RPIT. We have a supernatural phenomena here.”
“But what is it?” the patrolman asked as he grabbed his radio to do just as she commanded. Tammy nervously folded up her badge and stuck in back in her jacket. She licked her dry lips and gazed out into the eerily calm night, a numbness in her bones that she just couldn’t shake.
“I don’t know,” she finally replied. The patrolman gave her a strange look, but she ignored him. The call to Dolph had been placed, and soon she’d have sufficient backup. But backup for what, she didn’t quite know.
Tammy made her way to the door, uncertain if she really wanted to go outside, but her feet kept moving anyway. There was something drawing her to the outside. She stepped out into the night, noting how strangely calm things were. In light of the Hell that had been brewing out here just moments before, the calm should have been a welcome change. But there was something about the dead of the night that was starting to creep her out.
She looked up at the crescent moon, trying to swallow her fear. The sky was dark, but the moon was so bright it could have lit up the entire street on its own. She stared at it, blinking when the view seemed to waver. Tammy rubbed her eyes and looked back up at the moon, and saw that all was normal. Perhaps she had imagined the whole thing. She shook her head and started to make her way to the nearest patrol car.
She was three steps away from the car when something fell out of the sky and landed on the hood.
Tammy screamed in shock as pieces of glass and metal went flying through the air. Whatever had hit the car had hit it hard and fast. Several shouts and screams accompanied Tammy’s and several of the officers who had been inside came rushing out. Tammy was shaking badly as she turned to get a better look at what had made impact with the car.
After a few seconds of staring, Tammy shook off her surprise and started barking orders. The officers in her immediate vicinity stood still in shock, and she had to shout at them to get them moving.
“Somebody call for an ambulance!” she commanded them. She forced herself to move the extra few steps to the car. She looked down at the bleeding and broken body that had been fallen out of the sky. Tammy swallowed her panic and began to look for signs of life. She found a pulse, a weak one, but still enough to indicate that the redheaded girl before her was alive.
“What is it?” a frightened officer asked her.
“’It’ isn’t an it,” Tammy snapped at the man. “It’s a girl, and she’s alive, so get that ambulance here now!”
He jumped quickly to do as she told him. The ambulance arrived not five minutes later, St. Storr and Det. Zerbrowski following mere minutes after. Tammy never felt so relieved to see her commander.
“What’s going on here, Reynolds?” he asked her immediately. Tammy rubbed her face tiredly and began to tell her boss about the strange girl who had fallen out of the clear night sky.
The mystery of young “Skye” was never really solved. Other than the very fluffy pink clothes she was wearing when Tammy first saw her, the girl had nothing on her that could indicate her name or where she came from. There were theories about her, most of which turned out to be untrue. Many people believed that the fall should have killed her, given the nature of the impact, and the fact that she survived led many people to believe that she was a shifter of some sort. But her healing process was too slow for a lycanthrope. Some suggested that she was a witch, in hopes of explaining the chaotic phenomena that had preceded her arrival. However, there was never any way of proving that.
The origin of her fall was also still a mystery. Several of the others on the scene swore to the fact that she fell out of the sky, which Det. Reynolds supported wholeheartedly. The girl didn’t fall off a building or a plane, like sometimes suggested. One second the sky had been clear, and the next second it spat her out onto that patrol car.
To make matters worse, the girl dubbed “Skye Storm” by the media was in no condition to provide any answers about her identity or how she came to be here in St. Louis. The doctors had done everything they could do for her, but young Skye could not be waken. She was officially diagnosed as suffering from a comatose state that had no end in sight. Privately, her doctors expressed sincere doubt to the police that she would ever recover. Her injuries, while bad, were not severe enough to warrant a coma. Sure she had fallen out of the sky, but she had sustained no head trauma. Sure both arms were broken, nearly all ribs were cracked, and her left leg was fractured, but what did people expect? She had fallen out of the sky and hit a car at an incredible speed. The doctors suggested that she had been in this state long before she arrived in St. Louis. But that explanation didn’t fly with the police. After all, if she had been comatose before, who would have bothered to dress her up and then drop her from wherever the hell she had been dropped?
No, there was another reason for this girl’s presence and her condition. The only problem was that no one knew what that reason was. Skye was all over the news from the moment of her arrival. There were swarms of press situated outside of the hospital where she was being treated, and for almost nine months she was the most talked about news topic in North America. Hordes of people came to the RPIT, demanding to have a look at her, and sometimes to even take custody of her. Psychics of all kinds descended upon St. Louis to examine the girl, though only a few ever made it to her bedside. St. Storr was being extra careful with this girl, and nobody without sufficient credentials was allowed at her bedside.
The top psychics in the country were allowed in to visit Skye, and quite a few from abroad as well. And all of them were useless in finding an answer to the conundrum that was Skye. None of them could get a fix on her mind, not because of her comatose state, but because they claimed that her consciousness wasn’t even there. It was a strange claim to make, one that the RPIT might have dismissed if it weren’t repeated so many times. The girl’s body was here, kept alive by the autonomic functions of her brain, but her consciousness, spirit, soul, essence-whatever you wanted to call it-it simply wasn’t here.
Of course, while intriguing, none of this could help the police in any way. Matters concerning Skye were made more difficult by the sheer number of people who wanted to sue the state for custody of the girl. There were hordes of parents, from the US, Canada, and all over Europe, who had lost redheaded daughters at a young age and were now convinced that Skye was theirs. It was difficult for the RPIT to keep up with the petitions for paternity tests, all of which came out negative. It took six months to clear up the mess with families searching for their missing daughters, and despite the heavy bills that were racked up due to the numerous DNA tests conducted, the secret of Skye’s true identity was no closer to being revealed. A general search for her fingerprints on all known police databases had revealed nothing, neither had the missing reports from across the country. Indeed, it seems like the girl simply didn’t exist, or worse, no one knew she existed and therefore no one knew that she was missing.
The mystery surrounding Skye garnered so much attention from the public that the media circus revolving around her refused to die out immediately. It was fuelled by the numerous “special-interest” groups that had come to claim Skye as their own. The worst by far was the Druid Underground, a group of Celtic-fanatics who claimed that Skye was one of their goddesses come to flesh. According to their sacred texts, which no one else was ever allowed to see, she was sent to Earth in order to help give birth to a race of superhuman Druid warriors who would drive the dark creatures and vampires back into the shadows where the DU believed they belonged. Their case never made it to the courts, but they put on a good show, holding “religious” ceremonies outside the hospital and always dressed in full Druid garb.
But nothing came of it. The months went by, and the mystery of Skye was no closer to being solved. Slowly, one by one, the media vans packed up and rolled away from Skye’s hospital. Her name soon faded from the newspaper, and the nightly news reports began to leave her out of their programs. The custodial claims soon petered out as well, and no one step forth to claim the strange redheaded girl. The DU stuck it out the longest, but even they gave up after a while. Skye’s file went from being of high priority within the RPIT to being filed under “unsolved”. Three years after she fell out of the night sky, young Skye Storm of St. Louis ceased to weigh even minimally on the minds of the public. It was a shame really. If they had stuck it out a little bit longer, they would have gotten all the answers they wanted.
For it was on June 16, 2001 that Skye woke up and found herself in a world to which she did not belong.