All About Spike
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Spiegel Im Spiegel
By Fallowdoe

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 building.

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 face on.

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 quickly.

"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 brother!"

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 short.

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 eyes.

"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.

"I know."

"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 death.

And it was time to move on.

--


Continued in Part Five: Slayer

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