Gethsemane I - Knocking on Forbidden Doors
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy & Co. They belong to Joss and some other
people. All the crazy people in this story are mine though.
Author's Notes: I started this little series and hope people actually have some kind of interest in it. It's dark, very dark. And yeah it kinda seems like I've gotten my idea from the last couple of Angel eps, but I really haven't. If anything seems the same I'm sorry, I'm really trying to make it as different as possible. Oh, and in this story Joyce never died, Buffy never died and Dawn never happened.
All around her there were demons. They were practically pouring out of an opening in the rock, slashing and clawing at anything that got in their way. She tried her best to kill them, at least some of them but they all knew it was no use. Even if they stopped all of these demons, there was hundreds of thousands more arriving in various locations all over the world. It was Dooms Day and it was twenty times worse than any of them had imagined.
"Faith, you alright?"
She looked at the hazel eyes of her one time enemy and nodded slowly. What did it matter now, they were losing anyway. Buffy stood next to her, leaning on the blood-stained sword at her side and breathed heavily. The demons were still coming and they both knew that no matter how hard they tried there was no way to stop them. The Hellmouth had been opened and Faith knew they didn't stand a chance.
"Yeah, B. I'm five by five."
Buffy smiled sadly at her and then threw her a worried glance. With fingers that had managed to stay silky soft throughout perilous fights the blonde gently traced the outlines of the huge gash that ran across Faith's arm. Some demon had been a little harder to kill than thought and the brunette just gave a shrug. If she died of blood loss now it really wouldn't matter anymore.
Lost in their thoughts they suddenly heard a scream and both looked up, weapons ready to pounce on their copious enemies. But what they saw made both of them want to throw up and scream at once. One of the larger demons had Giles in his grip, the British man's neck bent at a very awkward angle, before he dropped him onto the sandy floor and continued on his journey. Willow knelt next to the fallen Watcher, crying and sobbing. Walking slowly, demons all but forgotten, the two slayers made their way to the man they both had learned to love like a father.
"Giles…" Buffy whispered, her voice quivering but the tears had run out a long time ago. They had dried out when Xander and Anya had died, their parents, their family. All wiped out by the masses of demons and evil unleashed onto the world.
Closing her eyes for a short second the blonde slayer dropped her sword onto the sand and sighed. She looked at Faith sadly and closed her Watcher's eyes for the last time. The two slayers and two witches sat silently together around their fallen friend as the demons stormed by towards their freedom.
It was the last time they saw each other, for only shortly afterwards the Ruler's Army came and took them away.
She sat up straight, with only a minimal amount of pain. Her hair was sticking to her head, as were her raggedy clothes. Heart beating more than a mile a minute she tried to calm herself but soft whimpers still escaped her lips. Shuddering, the girl drew her legs up to her chest and hugged them tightly, rocking back and forth slowly. But the tears still found their way down her face and only a few seconds later was her slim body shook by quiet sobs. Suddenly two arms reached around her and pulled her back into a warm body.
"Hey, it was just a dream…Come on baby, it'll be alright," came the soft, reassuring voice from behind her and for a second she allowed herself to believe. To believe that they were just two normal girls living in a nice place and she had awoken simply from a bad dream fabricated by her wild imagination. That everything really would be alright, because really nothing would be wrong.
"Nightmare?" came the voice and she sighed, nodded into the shoulder of the other person.
"Yeah," she whispered, trying out her voice as if she hadn't spoken in years, "I was dreaming about when…when Giles died. Right before they took us away."
Hands were stroking her hair softly, soothingly. She sighed and closed her eyes, feeling a tiny amount of safe in those arms.
She felt the person behind her shift slightly, then push her back to a sitting position. It was very dark in the small cell they shared, but their diminishing slayer powers still allowed them some form of night vision. Faith sat up and looked at the blonde's face.
"Do you know what time it is?"
The brunette shrugged and stood up slowly, a slight groan escaping from her lips. By the look on the blonde's face she knew Buffy had heard that groan and she bit her lip. No point in reliving the last torture session they had gone through. They only lasted for half an hour each time, and slayer healing helped some in getting them better sooner, but the pain from her various cuts, bruises and burns still wasn't gone. It had been worse though, and Faith bit down on the pain she felt in her limbs to look out the small, barred window of their cell.
It was just as dark outside, the market place below empty and peaceful in the night. But the rays of the rising sun were leaking through the leaves of the trees lining the horizon and she groaned again. This time for a different reason. Sitting back on the cold, hard stone-floor she looked at the other girl.
"Sun's about to rise. I'd say we got about an hour, maybe less."
Buffy sighed and rubbed a hand across tired eyes. Looking back at the younger girl she offered a small smile and held out her arms. Faith accepted without reluctance and they sunk back to the floor wrapped in each other's arms, hoping for a few more minutes of sleep before the guards would raise them.
This time there were no fake promises.
"Come on, get a move on! Lazy slave," the demon yelled and poked the tip of his sword into the thin girl's ribcage. She was kneeling on the sandy street, practically hyperventilating and blood was slowly dripping from an old cut on her abdomen. Shaking his head he wiped a white handkerchief across his sweaty, blue forehead and walked to the shaded area where his fellow guards sat.
He dropped into one of the chairs with a sigh and watched as the girl got up slowly, picked up her shovel and started working with the others again on the street. None of them failed to notice the worried looks the blonde girl a few feet away from them was throwing the injured slave, but every slave knew that interference resulted in either torture or a slow, painful death.
"Callas is going hard on the slayers these days, isn't he?" One of the guards next to him asked while watching the injured girl and the blonde one watching her.
"Well, from what I heard, he increased the torture sessions to almost twice their length. If them two weren't slayers they would've died a long time ago," he answered, taking one of the mugs standing on the table in front of him and let the cool water run down his throat.
A purplish demon wearing the Ruler's Army uniform like all of them shook his head in disbelief, "If he keeps that up they might die eventually. We don't want new slayers being called, no matter how strong the demon hold on the world is nowadays. Who knows where they'd appear and maybe take out Callas some way or another. He should know better than to let those two deteriorate like that."
Nodding in agreement the blue demon guard smoothed out the creases in his black uniform and watched the slaves without much interest. The sun was beating down on the city, it was early afternoon and barely anyone was outside at this time of day. No one would be stupid enough to be outside at this time, but of course the slaves didn't have a choice. Callas wanted the new street to Aviso being finished by tomorrow, even two years after the opening of the Hellmouth, or begin of the New Era as Callas liked to call it, work was still being done to rebuilt pretty much every city in the world that had been destroyed during the attack of the demons on mankind. The slaves were all primarily human, captives that had survived the day of the New Era.
The slayers were the cities most priced possession, most definitely still the most dangerous entity on the planet. Callas, who had declared himself the ruler, seeing as he had been the one to allow the Hellmouth to really open, had built his city right on top of the Hellmouth once the New Era had begun. The big, gray castle standing in the center of the demon city sure enough was a reminder that the Ruler was close by. Most of the demons lived in the Ruler's City, only some lived in far outskirts of the world, but still all of the living beings on the planet answered to Callas.
Callas was a vampire, to all the demons' dismay of course, and therefore had reserved the right for himself to torture the slayers almost every day since they had been captured. He treated them worse than any other slave currently locked in the dungeons of the castle, and that was pretty hard to do, the guard thought to himself.
"Hey! Slave!" another guard yelled and jumped up, grabbing a girl by her hair and dragging her close to the tent that had been set up for the guards. Only a few seconds later the guard was beating on the slave with some stick he'd found on the ground.
"Vannir," someone called his name and he turned to look at the purple face of his long-time friend and colleague Xenop, "did you see what she did?"
He shook his head, watching from the corner of the eye as the guard continued beating on the slave and uttered a sigh of relief as he realized the slave wasn't one of his charges. He hated when other guards beat up his charges.
"No, probably stopped a second to brush hair out of her face. You know how he treats his charges," Vannir replied and his friend nodded deep in thought.
It was a well-known fact that most of the Ruler's Army Guards were brutal and beat slaves for no reason at all. Every guard was given a number of charges that he had to make sure got their portion of food, clothes and did their work alright. Vannir had been an acquaintance of Callas's back before the New Era and therefore had received the highest job in the Army Guards, and allowed to be in charge of the slayers. He mused that if he hadn't been the two girls might have died a while ago from the brutal beatings, along with those torture sessions Callas loved.
Heaving another sigh he looked at the exhausted bodies of the slaves and the sun, figuring it was time to take the slaves back to the dungeons. A lot of guards didn't understand that slaves were raw material and to overwork and kill them was the stupidest thing to do. Treated right a 15-year-old slave could provide a good ten years worth of work; the amount of money to be saved from having a slave work for free was enough to provide three or more guards with their salary. Most of the slaves were owned by the Ruler and kept in the castle's many dungeons, but a few private persons had bought their own few slaves to help out with work. Vannir hoped to be able to buy a slave for himself as soon as he got his next paycheck to help out his wife at home.
Standing up he signaled for the other guards to get their charges ready and counted his quickly. They slowly made their way back to the dungeon, a picture of pathetic, dirty slaves and well-groomed guards. Vannir ordered the guards to lock up the slaves and took the two slayers through the confusing tunnels in the dungeon to Callas's torture chamber. He sighed as he locked the door behind them and hoped they'd survive another one of the Ruler's sick games.
Faith collapsed on the padded bench as soon as the guard locked the door behind them. She'd had trouble breathing and seeing straight ever since she fell during their march to the work-site this morning. As soon as she was sitting Buffy was kneeling in front of her, looking at her with that worried look in her gorgeous hazel eyes.
"B, don't worry. I'll be alright."
The blonde smiled sadly and nodded, knowing that it wouldn't help to argue. Looking around the medium-sized room they were in she sighed. The Ruler had created this "Prep-Room", that the slayers were brought in every time before another session with his torture chamber. The room had thick, red carpet and padded benches and chairs. There was a big, double bed standing against the wall with silk sheets and a heap of pillows just screaming their name. Off to the side was a bathroom, with a shower that they were expected to use before the session began. They had learned quickly that Callas hated to torture someone dirty, that was wearing rags on top of that. So there usually was a set of clean underwear and white, silk pants and shirts for each of them to wear after their shower. For some odd reason Callas always allowed them about an hour after they were brought to the room to get cleaned up, dressed and rest in a real bed. Buffy believed that it was part of his torture as well. After all, this room was practically paradise to them compared to the small, dingy cell they spent most of their time in, and to allow them that and then rip it away was just plain cruel as well.
"Faith?" she asked softly, seeing the faraway look on the other girl's face.
"Yeah?" the brunette asked softly and smiled at the older girl.
"You wanna shower? Get it over with?"
Faith nodded with a sigh and tried to get up on shaky legs. Shaking her head the blonde got up as well and lent a sturdy hand to the other girl.
"Want me to help you?" she asked softly and smiled as Faith nodded, then helped the brunette into the shower.
Thinking back two years, Buffy realized Faith never would've accepted her help and Buffy never would've even considered showering with another girl, let alone Faith. But now the thought of leaving Faith's side for more than a minute seemed absurd to her, she just couldn't imagine it.
Showering both of them quickly Buffy helped Faith get dressed and then took the other girl to the big, soft bed. Faith curled up into her arms out of instinct, they'd been sleeping in each other's arm practically since the first night they'd been captured. Buffy sighed in content, knowing that these few minutes of happiness were all they were going to taste before there would be more of the worst pain each had ever felt in her life.
Kissing the dozing brunette's forehead Buffy allowed herself to drift to a semi-conscious dream state.
She stretched lazily and yawned before opening her eyes to the warm sun shining through the bedroom window. Turning around in the large bed she found a warm body half draped over hers and she smiled. Shaking the other girl softly she found herself mesmerized by the deep, brown eyes that stared back at her.
"Hey sleepyhead," she mumbled and brushed some brunette hair out of the girl's eyes.
"Hey B," the girl answered and sat up with ease, swinging her legs over the side of the bed and yawned as well.
Buffy watched her for a few seconds and then got out of bed. They quickly got dressed and by the time the blonde set foot in the kitchen the smell of fresh brewed coffee reached her nose. Faith was sitting at the counter, reading a newspaper and eating some cereal. Smiling at the sight the blonde filled her cup with coffee and stood against the counter across from the younger girl.
"Thanks for the coffee, Faith," Buffy said before sitting on a chair and stealing Faith's newspaper.
Giving a shrug the brunette let the other slayer have the newspaper with a small smile and walked over to the couch, turning on the TV as she dropped into the soft cushions.
"How come there's nothing ever on TV?" Faith's voice sounded disappointed, like small child's realizing she'd just missed her favorite morning cartoon.
Buffy turned and looked at the brunette, sighing quietly. "Maybe our minds aren't that adapt. I mean, there's no more TV but there are newspapers in reality. Everything in here is stuff that we know already, it's all about the real world. Our minds might just not be able to fabricate that kind of fake reality."
The brunette nodded sadly and Buffy sighed again. As nice as these dreams were, they depressed both of them severely because they could still remember their real life. About half a year after their capture they had found themselves meeting in their dreams, at first it was very simple: Just the two of them in a sea of whiteness, eventually colors and after a while they had been able to fabricate a dream world for themselves. Most of the times they slept they met here, their own little apartment in a world before the New Era. Buffy was sure that if Giles were still alive he'd tell them it was an effect of their slayer bond.
Sighing she walked over to the brunette and sat down on the sofa. Taking the other girl's hand she looked at her softly, "Do you really want TV that badly?"
Faith shook her head and sat up, leaning against the blonde gently. "Nah, not really. I just hate knowing that any second we're gonna be woken up and have to go through that whole torture thing again. "
Wrapping her arms around the younger girl the blonde tried hard not to sigh. There was no need to agree, Faith knew she felt the same way. And she'd rather feel the brunette close to her the last few seconds they were asleep. She could already feel herself being woken up.
Shrugging off his black robe he turned and gave a stern look to the demon standing behind him. He was in a bad mood, probably worse than ever. There had been news of a terrorist group hiding out somewhere around the city limits, plotting to take him over. Callas was more than pissed, he had relied on his Army and Guards to find the traitors and execute them publicly, but so far no luck. Just today he had received a threat that if he did not hand them over 50 of his slaves they would attack the public. The group was formed mainly of human slaves that had escaped, but there also were some demon members who didn't think he was doing a good job of ruling.
Scoffing at that thought Callas walked down the hallway that was lined with burning torches to give off the feel of a chamber. Stepping into the big room that was all stone, along with torches mounted on the walls, he looked around and smiled to himself. There were two stone slabs in the middle of the room, with enough restraints to hold down even a slayer, and trays all along the walls with various torture instruments.
"The slayers will be ready in a second, majesty," one of the guards informed him and Callas nodded slowly. He had some time to kill, no need to rush this.
"Has my new toy been installed yet?" he asked, a glimmer in his eyes, and the guard thought it was still scary to see the Ruler gain such pleasure from torturing the slaves.
"Yes, majesty. We had the tub installed this morning. It works like promised, we tried it this morning, the results will be to your delight."
Callas nodded and smoothed out his black shirt. There was a knock on the heavy metal door to the side of the room and he grinned in anticipation; the knock was the sign that the slayers were ready.
The door opened and he watched as three guards pushed the girls inside, holding onto them tightly. Callas didn't risk allowing the slayers enough leeway to maybe stake him and overthrow the ruling. After all, he was a vampire and being in close proximity to two vampire slayers usually meant nothing good. He figured that was why he had taken a liking to torturing the two, not many a vampire had tortured two slayers and rendered them powerless.
The girls stood next to each other, both looking as weak and pathetic as human slaves and he cocked his head. Usually he switched which one to torture each session, making one of them watch. He had started doing this as soon as his guards had reported a strong bond forming between them, figuring it'd hurt each more in the long run. Remembering his bad mood he grinned evilly and pointed at the brunette one and turned around, walking towards the first stone slab.
He was just waiting for the protests of the blonde slayer at his choice and he wasn't disappointed.
"Hey, it's not her turn!" Buffy yelled and watched as one of the guards dragged the brunette over to the stone slab they both had come to hate.
"Buffy, don't worry. I'll be alright," Faith mumbled, trying to quiet her down. But the blonde just couldn't take this. For almost two years Callas had alternated between them and now he was using Faith the second time in a row. It just wasn't fair, the brunette wouldn't be able to survive, Buffy feared.
"No! Hey, Callas you asshole!" she yelled and everyone in the room but Callas himself and Buffy froze. No one was even allowed to call the Ruler by his name, let alone insult him. A guard slapped her quickly to silence her but Callas only laughed. Buffy watched him intently as he walked over to her slowly. He would've been good-looking had he not been a vampire and totally evil. He was tall, somewhere around six foot, with dark hair that he had spiked and a well-toned body that was visible through his dark shirt. He was powerful, now, but his green eyes betrayed his age well. Callas was less than 10 years old, nothing for a vampire and he'd been young when turned, probably not even twenty years. Just by some luck had he managed to open the Hellmouth and declared himself ruler.
As he stood before her now she wasn't the least bit scared. She really didn't care much anymore and if it hadn't been for Faith needing her she would've let him kill her a long time ago. Callas laughed again and bent down close to her face, knowing that the demon guards had a strong hold on Buffy's arms.
"Well my little slayer, I hope you know you just made things worse for your little friend here."
And with that he walked back over to the stone slab where the guards were tying down Faith. The two demons holding her dragged the blonde over to the chair resembling an electric chair to a T. She was strapped down tightly and told to not close her eyes in any case. They wanted her to see what they were going to do to Faith. Heaving a sigh and closing her eyes for just a second she watched as Callas approached the brunette, who had been stripped to her underwear and strapped to the stone slab, with an evil grin.
"Let the fun begin!" Callas laughed and picked up a surgical knife from the tray a demon was holding.
Callas watched with a grim face as the girl started spitting out water, water tinted red with her own blood. Sighing he got up and turned around. Not even torturing was as much fun as it used to be. One of the guards came over and with a worried face let him know that the slayer was near hypothermia and it was probably time to take her out of the freezing water.
Nodding slowly the Ruler waved his hand, the sign that the session was over. As he walked out of the chamber with a guard on his trail the shocked faces of some of the demons surprised even himself. Looking at a clock he realized he'd let the session run for almost an hour, longer than he'd promised himself to ever torture the slayers. Rubbing a tired hand across his forehead he pulled over one of the guards and gave him orders to take some blankets and food to the slayers' cell and walked into his office.
Those damn terrorists really were affecting his performance as a fair ruler.
It was cold. Her clothes were wet and the dungeons definitely weren't the place to be with wet clothes. Looking up at Faith, who was sitting on the small wooden bench in their cell shivering, she sighed. The session with Callas had lasted twice as long as usually and Faith was practically a wreck now. That half hour where they'd put her in a tub with ice water and repeatedly pushing her head under water had made Buffy want to cry. It was the first time Callas had used that torture, and while it might not seem as horrible as all the cutting and beating, Buffy knew that if the brunette got pneumonia or something she'd blame herself.
To their surprise, though, the guards had brought a heap of blankets and even some food for them, ordered by Callas. Wrapping one of the many blankets around Faith, the blonde spread a couple of the huge ones out on the floor and pulled the younger girl close to her. Using a couple more blankets she wrapped herself and Faith tightly, trying to get some warmth back into the brunette's body. Buffy's clothes were already soaked from helping the younger girl walk and she didn't care if they got any wetter.
Rubbing the girl's back as she started crying Buffy sighed to herself. It just couldn't go on like this. They were slayers, they were supposed to slay the vampires and demons that now ruled over them. Someone yelled an insult towards them from the opposing cell accusing them of being selfish and keeping all those blankets for themselves. Buffy ignored the other slave, her times of caring for any human but herself and Faith were long over.
Lying down on the blankets that made the stone ground a little bit easier to bear, the older slayer yawned softly. Making sure all of Faith was covered she wrapped her arms around the younger girl and hoped they'd be able to sleep a couple of hours. Buffy felt the brunette drift off to sleep and sighed in relief. She just didn't know how much longer they could hold out. There was no way out, no end in sight. Their lives had been reduced to this routine of beatings, working and being tortured. At times like these Buffy wondered if she wouldn't be doing both of them a favor if she got them killed. Or if she killed Faith and then took her own life.
Knowing that she could never harm the younger girl, Buffy closed her eyes at the situation. This just wasn't life anymore. Tightening her hold on the other girl Buffy cried herself into a restless sleep.
...continued in Gethsemane II – Persequi Cuius Rector...