(fic) This isn't about hate
There's been lots of controversy over a certain revelation in the S8 comics. Rather than agonise over it, though, I've decided to write fic about it. This is a short story set in Season 6, giving two missing scenes - one from just after 'Doublemeat Palace', the other starting 3/4 of the way into 'Villains' - inspired by the new S8 storyline.
1,699 words, rated 15 for language and mild squickiness. But no pictures, so don't worry. :)
This isn't about hate
She was dreaming about her mother again.
Usually those were the bad ones; she'd wake up sweaty and trembling, unsure whether to cry or scream or break things. Sometimes she'd look at her own body, stupid awkward lump of mortal clay, and want to cut and tear and beat at it, punish it for what it made her into. But that scared even her; and then she'd hate herself more for thinking that way. So she'd unpeel the damp sheets, throw on the nearest clothes, and head on out.
Looking for him.
Looking for the fix that would make it all go away, just for a little while. The magical moment when she could still feel like she had power. That she was loved.
I love you, baby.
"No you don't. You never have."
I only wanted the best for you always.
"You wanted me. You wanted to possess me, make me into your – uh, I don’t know! But it was always about you. You, you, you."
You’re my daughter. I wanted to be proud of you.
"By turning me into you! But I’ve got my own thing now. I’m powerful now. I’m strong."
I bet your friends are really impressed, dear.
"Shut up! Shut up about that!"
What’s the matter, dear? You do have friends, don’t you? That nice red-headed girl –
"That bitch, you mean. Too busy screwing around with her wet blanket of a girlfriend to give a single thought about me. Except as an afterthought. An oh-so-condescending, "I’m-so-powerful-let-me-help-you" fucking afterthought. And Buffy’s no better. Big holier-than-thou protector, saviour of the helpless. And what did she do for me? Sweet fuck all. Well, I’m through being their pet. It’s my turn to play."
Aww. You sound just like me at your age.
"We’ve had this conversation, Mom. I’m not you. Never will be. Never want to be."
You want my power, though, don’t you?
"What, turning somersaults and cartwheels? Ooo, yes please. Or, wait... no!"
Don’t be stupid, child. I’m talking about the magic.
"I’ve got magic. I’m powerful."
As powerful as Willow?
It won’t help, you know, dear. What this... Rack person gives you, it’ll never make you as strong as her. It’ll just eat you away from inside. It’ll destroy you, my baby girl, and you’ll still never match her power.
"So that’s it? You want me to give up?"
No, dear. I want to teach you. Show you my power.
"So go on then..."
It’s not so easy, baby. There’ll be tests. Trials. Sacrifices. You’ll have to clean yourself up, purge that corruption, that taint that Rack gave you, if you want to tap into the true dark essence of magic.
"'Dark essence'? We’re talking about Evil here, aren’t we? Capital ‘E’?"
And if we are? Would that stop you?
"I – well – I’m not sure. I mean, I just want to have fun, Mom, without worrying about what Miss Righteous and her little Slayerette friends will think. I’m not wanting to get involved in some big, heavy Good and Evil thing..."
So I’m wasting my time? I should just go?
"No! Wait... it’s just, I don’t think I’m evil..."
It’s just a word, Amy dear. Good, evil, right, wrong – none of them matters. It’s not about them.
It’s about power.
Her hands still shook sometimes. All her crappy breathing exercises and meditation were supposed to stop that, but they never really worked. Only one thing could do that. So she sat cross-legged in the circle, and gripped the crystal tightly to stop it rattling around or slipping from trembling fingers.
Deep breaths. Unfocus her gaze. "Visualise the power coming up from beneath you", her mother’s – ghost? spirit? essence? - had instructed her, and she felt it fill her. Tingling through her hands, a cold touch in her stomach, a pain in her breasts, a cold wind on her neck. Her eyes filling with darkness, piercing the lucent shadows of the crystal’s heart.
...madness and horror... branches whipping her face, panting breath in her ears, heartbeat pounding... terror, desperation to reach safety, sullen anger and resentment that this was even happening... she winced in sympathetic agony as a tree root caught his foot and sent him tumbling, only to scramble upright again and plunge deeper into the forest...
But how? What?
"Back. Take me back."
... can we just skip it?... I love you guys! ... each get a whirl, as soon as I'm done.... you're a murderer ... I'm the guy that beat you... and it's not the muscles, baby... it's the brains. ... don’t get too used to them... I don't know what I'd do without you and Will ... you think you can just do that to me? ... your shirt... come back, baby... come back... how? how is this natural?... she's the new power, man - anybody with intuition can feel it... she's going to blow this town away - starting with you...she’s dead... and now he’s dead... I’m not coming back...
Not coming back.
Amy winced under the impact of images and emotions, gasping for air, trembling. She was filled with horror and vicarious sympathy... and under it all, just the tiniest smidgeon of glee. Oh, she’d never had anything against Tara – except for a certain residual dislike of people who owned cats, but that was a rat thing and she was totally over it. And she supposed she was sorry she was dead. But honestly! The look on Willow’s face! That’ll teach the arrogant cow! The bubble of joy was growing bigger, threatening to break into outright giggles, as she saw how badly Willow had overreacted. Girl was off the wagon but good, and Amy could taste the murder in her heart.
Oh, there was no way in Hell Buffy would let this go. That tight little clique would be broken asunder, and serves them right. She directed the crystal back to the present time, to see how the Slayer had taken the news. Would she kill Willow herself? Or would she...
...there are limits to what we can do... there should be... Willow doesn't want to believe it - and now she's messing with forces that want to hurt her... all of us....I won't let Willow destroy herself...
What? Unbelievable! A stone-cold killer fuelled by dark magic was rampaging through Sunnydale – Amy could taste the magic, even from here – with torture and murder on her mind, and Buffy’s only thought was to help her? Exactly how much help had she given Amy, all those years stuck in a cage? Stuck in a cage, she mentally added, because of Buffy and Willow’s mothers. It all came back to those two. If Buffy had spent one fraction of the emotional energy she was giving to Willow on finding a cure for Amy – a counter-spell, a transformational amulet, anything... but she hadn’t cared. Not like she cared about Willow.
It was too much. Her fists clenched in rage, the sharp edges of the crystal drawing out an unnoticed trail of blood. It was TOO MUCH! But what could she do? How could she punish them? Maybe if Buffy actually saw Willow kill Warren, saw her torture him...?
Why not save him?
"What? Mother, how can you be here? I’m not dreaming. I’m not even asleep!"
Concentrate, child. He’s clever, and powerful, and after all this he’ll really, really hate those girls. He’d make a strong ally.
"Yes, and he’s also a misogynist bastard. Why would he want to work with me? Why would I want him to?"
Because you’d be the one who saved his life. And who could un-save it with her magic, whenever you felt like it.
"Yeah, but...it’s much more funny if Buffy knows her best friend is a murderer..."
The figure of her mother just looked at her, cocking an eyebrow.
"Unless...unless I let them think she’s a murderer! If I teleport him away just as she strikes the killing blow, leave an illusion behind.. No, wait, that wouldn’t work..."
Amy love, I can feel her emotions from here. She’s planning to obliterate him, wipe him out of existence. There won’t be a body left when she’s finished with him... unless you step in. No need for illusions.
Great! So – wait. How come you can feel her emotions? Is that, like, a ghost thing?
What? It’s – look, never mind that. Focus, girl! You’ll need precise timing if this is to work. Now come on!
The fire flared up inside the summoning circle, glowed red, then imploded back on itself with a ‘pop’ – and something fell to the ground.
Or rather, slithered into a heap. A smell of blood and entrails filled her mouth, her nostrils, gagging her. Choking back nausea, forcing her unwilling eyes to look, she rushed over. He was dead. Had to be. The shock alone would kill him, the bloodloss, the sheer pain... But his brain functions would still be working: his memories, his intelligence. She had a few seconds before they shut down to bring him back, animate his body.
She couldn’t do anything about the skin. Grudgingly, she knew that was beyond her power for the moment. But on the other hand, if she thought he was repulsive, just imagine Willow’s reaction when she next saw him! The thought made her smile just a little, before her stomach heaved again and she forced herself to concentrate on her spell.
Hours later, she saw his eyes move, focus. He tried to speak, forcing himself to articulate without any lips to form the sounds. She shook her head impatiently, then chanted the words of her telepathy spell and made mind-to-mind contact with him.
"What - ?"
"Willow killed you. I brought you back."
"How - ?"
"My mo-" she choked back that thought. "My magic. I’m a powerful witch. Amy. My name’s Amy Madison."
"Why - ?"
"Why do you think? I’m going to help you kill both of them. Buffy and Willow."
A dreadful rictus grin spread across the front of Warren’s skull.
"Think – you – me – going – be – good – friends..."
Amy cocked her head appraisingly. She could bring herself to look at him for longer periods now, but still – yuk.
"Sure. But... not that good, mister..."