Spiegel Im Spiegel
Part Four: Moving
Maggie sat on a crate, legs folded under her gracefully. She was opening a
small box, her concentration obvious.
Buffy could see her through the human crowd. She had wanted to hide in the
abandoned, burned-out buildings in this town, and perhaps slip later into
the wilderness beyond it. Maggie was right though, that the best way to
hide was in this mass of people, trading and gathering here. They blended
in well enough not to attract much attention.
They'd had to run after their opponents took the upper hand. After Aylis
let them in, and died. The fire grew too strong and they'd had to fight
their way out before it consumed them. Foster didn't make it. There was
something right about that, somehow-- the pair left to burn in an abandoned
Now it was just Maggie and Buffy, a pair that would have seemed so unlikely
in the time before.
She'd worked with vampires in her previous life-- but it wasn't the same.
She simply didn't care anymore. The things she said in the past seemed
unbelievable, patently ludicrous. She could hardly believe the world had
ever been so clear and simple and easily understood.
But it was something that she found difficult to grasp now, and while she
could remember her life before perfectly, somehow she couldn't remember
what it was like to feel like she did living in it. Now, in the eternal
dark and cold of this place, she just fed and moved on, fought and moved
on, struggled with death and then moved on. In some ways, she was as much
a vampire, now, as this Maggie that sat on a crate, intently and carefully
laying out her violin strings on the wood at her feet.
The violin strings. It was ridiculous to Buffy, but she thought it was
worth her skin to say so to her companion. Maggie had actually turned back
as they ran from their attackers, blonde hair streaming, and hurled herself
through the smoke-filled doorway. She plunged into the bags they had
stolen, found what she needed. She had retrieved the strings, and then
broke what she could of the creatures who had kept her from them into
bloody, uneven pieces.
In the time before, it might have made Buffy uncomfortable.
Now, she just pushed her way through the crowd, having become certain no
one had recognized them here-- not yet. They were safe enough to rest a
while. And then they would move on.
Buildings-- burned out, brick shells, had been reconstructed into makeshift
shelters all around the marketplace. Crowds of travelers, moving from the
larger settlements to the north and south, clustered in small groups on all
sides. It hadn't been raided in several months, and people there were
somewhat calm. Narrow streets, covered in loose earth and rushes, filled
the air with a musty, indeterminate odor. She could hear voices, most in
English, chattering around her. Words jumped out from the general din at
times, but none of it captured her interest.
And Maggie was gently removing her violin from its case, preparing to
restring it in this rare and quiet moment that they had.
And through the crowd, a hand grabbed her arm.
"You!" a voice called, trembling. She wrenched free and spun to meet it
A boy. About seventeen years old. She felt a wave of sensation move
through her. He would have been about ten when it had happened.
"Can you see the light-- can you see the light--"
He was pointing up in the sky above them, fingernails stained and chipped
as they broke through the worn knitting of his gloves. He breathed in
ragged gasps. It seemed there was something wrong with his lungs.
"Can you see the light--canyouseethelightcanyouseethelight--"
He clung to her arm again, and she felt vaguely repelled. She glanced
around to see if anyone was watching them, and turned to breeze by him
"STOP!" he cried, shuffling after her, "Stopstopstop-- you can help it if
you can help. Slayers know it they do helping..." His voice trailed into
a wavering, shrill whine. He was crying. She clenched her fists tightly.
Blonde and strong, a leader in designer wear. Her words. If Dawn dies,
that's it. She remembered how it had sounded in her mind.
If Dawn dies, I'm quitting.
She pushed him off to arms length forcefully, and began again to shove
through the moving crowd towards her companion. Somewhere, through the
crowd, she could hear the sound of Maggie idly plucking her violin strings,
testing the tuning, enjoying the vibration of it against her fingertips.
"You can see-- you can see and you can come for us you can come for us now
because you're here and we're waiting--"
It was too much.
She threw him through the crowd with violent force, seizing him by the
shoulders and pushing him out. He landed against the far wall of a
building. He sat there dazed.
"HEY!" she heard the sound from behind her, "Get the hell away from my
A girl. About thirteen. She ran up to Buffy with foolhardy confidence,
jumping in front of her and stepping in to stare her down.
Maggie saw and had packed her instrument with care. She moved silently
through the crowd, eye contact on Buffy, stepping some ways away, but
behind, the children. She was nervous. They were just children, yes. But
this wasn't right. This girl wouldn't be alive now, behaving like this,
without some unknown and terrible power behind her.
"You should watch him more closely," Buffy replied, her words cold and
She turned to leave once more, but then paused. She spoke again, spitting
the words out bitterly.
"You aren't getting saved and there's no one coming for you."
"Come for us... it will come," the boy whispered. His voice sounded
wounded. And he looked up towards Buffy.
His eyes had gone pitch black. He was whispering.
"Simon," the girl said, rushing to her brother's side, placing a hand on
his forehead, "Come on Simon, stop it, it's ok. Let's just go..."
Buffy felt it more than she saw it. It was a dancing, light sensation on
her temples and then grew into a sort of vision. Painful, terrible fear.
The pulsating light. A little Cape house with a swing set in back. The
swings thrown back in forth in that horrific tumult of energy and motion.
Vampires. Reptilian claws. Feral, wild beasts from other worlds,
stalking. Three children and pain and blackness.
And she was thrown backwards, felt the sensation of air running past her
before she realized she'd left the ground. And she was thrown hard on her
side to the tightly-packed earth.
She sat up, brushing some blood from her temple. She stared at the boy
before her. He was himself again, looking at his sister, tears in his
"Mom said not to leave the light on except for when we're reading..." he
whispered to her.
"Shh, it's ok," she whispered, "We have to get going, come on."
"She scared me," he said, pointing to Buffy violently.
"Can... you see it..." he said as he cried.
The girl pulled him up. He was clinging to her hand like a child. Buffy
wondered what had happened that had driven him so deeply from reality. And
she remembered Willow's black eyes. She had met up with her, briefly, a
while after everything had happened. It wasn't something she wanted to
think about, now. She bit her lip.
The girl paused as she led her brother away.
"It's true though," she said to Buffy, her eyes soft, glowing gently, "Our
other brother, he went not twenty miles south to trade... and he saw a
slayer that saved him and everyone on the road there. He saw it, and it's
true... someone will come for us."
Buffy simply stared at the ground, and felt defeated all over again. And
Maggie placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Buffy we've got to move-- look over there." She gestured through the
crowd. Familiar, angry faces pushed through it, alerted by the commotion.
There would be confrontation. And there would be more violence and more
And it was time to move on.
Continued in Part Five: Slayer