Gethsemane III - The Evil that Men Do Lives After Them
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, they belong to Joss & Co. Callas is mine
though, and so are the terrorists.
Author's Notes: Yes, the title is from Antony's speech in William Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar'. This is the third part in my little series and I hope people are still reading; I'd hate for no one to actually care whether this gets finished or not. Hope you enjoy :)
Callas tightened his grip on the bamboo stick and let it sail downward onto the pale skin of the girl. His face was twisted into a cruel snarl, his eyes glowing green and he was seething with anger. Again. The slave, near unconsciousness, wasn't even able to scream anymore as the stick tore open more skin on her raw back.
Wiping the back of his hand across his sweaty forehead, the Ruler dropped the stick and walked over to one of the big, stainless steel sinks in which he washed his hands quickly. Nodding towards the guard next to the door in the wall another two guards joined him and the door quietly slid open. He wasn't going to waste time; he was going to talk to the slayers now. He'd hoped that a little torture would clear his mind, but it'd only made him angrier. Torturing normal humans just wasn't fun; they gave out so quickly.
Stopping in front of the large metal door that signaled the end of the hallway, he waited for the door to open and then stepped into the semi-dark room. He liked the way torches made rooms, especially dungeon, torture and bedrooms, look gothic and dark, so he'd had torches put up high on the walls of the prep-room as well.
He stepped inside, followed closely by his three guards. Even if he didn't particularly like having his guards so close by all the time, Callas wasn't going to risk being this close to the two slayers. The door slid shut behind them again and he eyed the interior. It was bland, boring in his eyes, but he knew that to any slave this room seemed a little way from paradise.
The two slayers were curled up around each other on the big bed, sleeping as soundly and peacefully as their situation could ever allow. Callas walked up to the bed with a distasteful look on his face and watched the two girls for a few seconds. After the first couple of months of being Ruler he'd developed a theory that a slave that had some attachment to another was less likely to have themselves killed. His advisors had declared him insane and stupid, just not in those words, when he'd put always two slaves together in cells, that would have to do work-detail together, eat together, sleep together. Human emotion was a wonderful thing to exploit, and to his advisors' dismay, the death rate from suicide and stupidity was a lot less than expected. But he'd never expected these two to develop such a much closer bond, it was getting too close for his comfort at times.
He growled and snatched the arm closest to him, yanking on it until one slayer was lying on the floor to his feet. She pushed herself up on her elbows, looking at him with big eyes that narrowed dangerously upon recognition. Eyes that held so much pain it made his stomach tingle; pain he knew he'd put there and he grinned.
"Slayer," he growled and pushed her away from him with his foot. He didn't like to be touched by slaves, it disgusted him. Looking up he saw that a guard had already grabbed the other slayer, holding her in a chokehold and Callas motioned for someone to take hold of the blonde at his feet. With both slayers subdued he walked into the middle of the room, an evil grin on his face. Physical torture wasn't the only thing he knew how to do, mind games and emotional torture were high up on his chart as well. The terrorists had him strung out, he hated not knowing what to do and he had to find some way to pay back some of the pain those damn people were causing him. It was evil, what he was thinking, but worth it nonetheless.
"What do you know about the…those freedom fighters?" Callas spat out the phrase as if it left a bad aftertaste in his mouth and watched as the two girls' faces changed from fear to utter confusion. He'd figured they didn't know anything, after all, they were only slaves.
"Wha…they're only a myth…right?" the brunette asked incredulously, looking into his eyes deeply. Maybe she was hoping they were real, maybe she was already creating an escape plan in her head. But he didn't care.
"No, they're not. That little attack you two witnessed on the marketplace, well that was courtesy of 'The Freedom Fighters'. And I want you two little worms to tell me everything you know about them."
The slayers looked at each other and then back at the Ruler. "We don't really know anything except for the stories the slaves tell. The fighters help slaves escape from the dungeons and the slaves in return help in the cause to fight for freedom. Really, we don't know much, we thought it was a myth until now," the blonde fell in, her words hurried, as if she were trying to please him and get rid off him as quickly as possible.
Callas sighed and shook his head; walking over to the brunette he leaned close to her face and bared his fangs to her, "I don't think that's all you know. I think you're keeping something from me." She leaned away, her neck clearly in his view; Callas could see her jugular pulsating under pale skin. Slayer blood, he had always wanted some. Of course, he'd have to watch it and not kill the slayers in the process. Making a mental note of having to get some of their blood during the next torture session, after all he really didn't want to touch the slaves, he walked back over to the blonde.
"No really! We don't know anything, I swear on my life. We don't know anything…," she practically begged him to reconsider her statement and figure out it was true. But Callas loved playing, he received pleasure from that fearful look in their little eyes.
"Take one of them away. A couple nights apart should clear up their memories, don't you think so, Vannir?" Callas smirked and turned to his old friend standing next to him, who could only shake his head.
But the guards holding the two girls nodded, they'd been given an order and were going to follow that. The guard holding the brunette snapped shackles around her wrists and gave her a quick slap for good measure as she started to beg.
"Don't. Please don't take me away…please…You can kill me, anything, just don't take me away," she pleaded, tears running down her cheeks and Callas laughed. This was better than expected.
"Faith, goddammit don't say that! Are you crazy? You can't just let them kill you!" the blonde yelled, her voice laced with fury and she pulled on the hold the guard had on her arms.
"Why…," the brunette slayer cried pathetically and dropped to the floor, only to be kicked and shoved by the guard that was trying to drag her out the door. She punched at him, managing to push the guard away long enough to crawl over to Callas, and he looked down at her with a grim look on his features.
"Please," she begged, her hands clasping around his black pants, although she must've known how much he hated contact from slaves, "please don't take me away."
Callas looked down at her and spat in her face, right before the back of the guard's large claw-like hand connected with her jaw and the sound rang loudly through the room. Opening his mouth to make another comment as the girl leaned over on her hands, spitting out blood and maybe some teeth, Callas felt a hand clench his shoulder tightly.
"Callas, I think that's enough."
The Ruler stared with open shock into his guard friend's face and thought of saying something else entirely. But for some reason he decided against it and shrugged off the hand angrily, before storming towards the door. He was angry, pissed, any word would've done, but he also knew that hurting the slayers wasn't the way to deal with those goddamn terrorists.
"Leave the fucking maggots! And bring 'em some food for god's sakes!" Callas yelled and walked out the room through the door he'd come in, but not without kicking over the blonde slayer that the guard had dropped to the floor as well.
As the door slid shut again the Ruler turned to Vannir and tried hard to fight the urge to hit the demon's head against the stone wall. Hard and repeatedly.
"What the hell is up with you?!" he screamed instead, but the demon didn't even wince once.
He'd had just about enough of Callas; it wasn't unusual for a ruler to torture slaves occasionally, but Vannir had found himself feeling sympathy for those two girls over the past few days more than ever. And he wasn't a coward or weakling, either; torture was fine by him.
"Callas, you've taken it as far as you can go with those girls. They are human, they can't survive this crap for much longer, Callas. You know, I wasn't worried when you became Ruler, you've always had a clear head and good ideas. But this…this thing has gotten to your goddamn head. Stop and think for a minute, you've got a real problem on your hands. Those terrorists aren't going to stop now, you should do something about them. I will take care of the slayers, they are not your problem for now."
His friend's voice was calm and Callas knew he was right. Scoffing he turned around, his sign of resignation at least this time and walked out of the tunnel into the torture chamber. Punching the wall as one final outlet of his rage, Callas roared with pain and anger.
Vannir shook his head and sighed with a small smile. Young people, always so impulsive. Heaving another sigh he figured he'd better go get some food for the slayers before someone let them starve to death.
"How do we reach them?"
She sighed and leaned back against the cool stone, closing her eyes. They'd gotten together some of the ringleaders of their group to figure out what to do about the newfound information. While the other guys marveled at the idea of having two Vampire Slayers fight for them to kill exactly a vampire; she was thinking about her best friend. The best friend she thought she'd lost two years ago when the Army had taken them away.
Smiling at Tara she listened only half-way to the conversation about breaking into the dungeons to free the slayers and maybe some other slaves. But Willow really wasn't with it, the news about Buffy and Faith being alive had been a little hard to stomach at first. She could still remember the Day of the New Era, the day Giles had died and they'd all seen each other for the last time. The Army had taken her and Tara to a different location than Buffy and Faith. Apparently they'd not seen it fit to restrain the other captives like they had the slayers and only thrown a bunch of them into cages. The two witches had escaped their wooden cage with little difficulty, thanks to their magic. But they'd both believed the two slayers to be long dead; they had even considered searching for the new slayers that would've been called and to train them.
And while Willow still wasn't too fond of Faith, she couldn't've been happier to hear that the brunette was still alive as well. At least it meant that the two didn't have to be alone in captivity. Buffy and Faith had had a pretty strong bond ever since that night they wanted to 'save' Faith at the Bronze, but all that crap that had happened took a toll on that connection. Faith had still been in prison when the first news about the opening of the Hellmouth reached their ears and to their dislike had escaped to help them fight off the evil. The battle of good and evil, for which Faith had been there every step of the way to their surprise, had lasted almost two weeks; two gruesome weeks in which their families had been slaughtered, then Xander, Anya and the LA gang. They'd staked Angel right in front of Buffy and Faith, a harsh hit for both slayers and it only went downhill after that. When the Day of the New Era had finally come all of them had been more than exhausted, but the bond between the two slayers was better than ever.
"Will, what do you think?" Jabe asked her and she shook off her thoughts, no time for that now.
"How do we find out where they are?" he asked again, his voice soft, tired.
"We ask them," the redhead smiled and received confused stares from all but one person.
"How?" another guy asked and gave the two witches a look.
"They have uh…slayer dreams right?" Tara asked; Willow had told her about the slayer connection a couple of times.
"Yeah, maybe we can cast a spell, I could enter the dreams of one of them, maybe even both. We just have to know their general location, and that's the castle, so we're good," Willow smiled and took Tara's hand; she was excited but also a little bit afraid of seeing her friend, her friends she corrected herself, again.
"Alright, what do we need?" Jabe asked, pushing himself up easily.
After listing the magical items needed, the blonde guy sent a couple of people to gather the stuff and looked at the witches with a triumphant smile.
"You gonna do this in the circle? It'll be better protection, and if people know what we're try to do, it'll give them some hope. What do you think?"
The redhead considered and looked at the circle. It was a big empty space in the middle of the large cave that hadn't been covered with blankets and other stuff. It was used for most of the harder spells; it offered protection all the way around if any guards should miraculously find them. She nodded slowly and looked at her girlfriend.
Taking a deep breath Willow walked out of the cave to watch the sun setting that was already glowing a bright orange and purple. She could see the towers of the castle loom in the distance and hoped more than anything that the two slayers were alive.
She stood, slowly, and ran a hand through her blonde hair. Her eyes wandered across the red carpet to the body rocking back on forth on the floor at the other end of the room. Buffy cocked her head and watched the brunette, the girl's knees drawn up to her chest, her arms hugging her legs, rocking back and forth.
She didn't know what to do anymore, what to say to provide a little comfort. So she stood there, watching the other girl sob on the floor. The sadness that had settled in her heart didn't threaten to overwhelm her; it was merely a presence that was choking her, just enough to still let her breathe. Buffy closed her eyes, wishing tears would overcome her, but there weren't any. She didn't know if there weren't any left or if she was too depressed to cry. But what did it matter, anyway? They were stuck here, probably until eternity if Callas didn't kill them sooner or later.
The blonde walked up next to Faith, standing there with a blank look on her face. It was as if all words had fled her mind, nothing wanted to escape her lips to provide some comfort for the younger girl. The brunette stopped rocking and looked up at Buffy with big, teary eyes that held only questions to which she didn't have any answers to. And she didn't have any words to say she didn't have any answers. The older slayer was at a complete loss, a lack of thought and comprehension.
But when she looked into the brown eyes she realized there were no words needed. Faith held out a shaky hand and the blonde took it slowly, lowering herself to the floor as well. A head gently leaned against her shoulder and Buffy wrapped her arm around slender shoulders.
The two slayers sat in each other's comfort. In silence.
He watched as the door slid open and entered the room, balancing a tray dangerously on his left hand, his right hand on his gun. Although he didn't think the slayers would attack him, it was better to be safe than sorry. The door slid shut behind him and Vannir turned his head to see the two girls still sitting on the floor, the blonde with her arms around the other girl. Shaking his head, he approached them cautiously and walked around the brunette's side to face them.
The blonde looked at him, her eyes holding no expression at all and Vannir had to admit it scared him a little. It was as if she was dead, maybe a robot. Setting the tray onto the floor, he looked at them. Seeing the brunette's hands still cuffed together by the shackles, Vannir pulled out his key and kneeled down in front of them. As he reached for the girl's hands she shrunk away from him, like a scared animal. And he realized that was all they had been reduced to. Animals locked in a cage.
Vannir held up the key, hoping the girl would figure it out and grabbed her wrist. But instead the brunette started screaming, trying to pull her wrist from him.
"Don't take me! Don't take me, please!" she begged and he shook his head, the thought of speaking didn't even enter his mind. But apparently it did for the blonde and she grabbed both the girl's shoulders, making the brunette look at her.
"Faith! Calm down, he won't take you; he just wants to unlock the shackles, okay?" her tone was calm and direct, but there was no harshness.
Turning back to him the younger girl held out her hands and he slowly unlocked the shackles. Vannir took the shackles and realized her hands were shaking as she pulled them back. He got up and grabbed the only chair that stood to the side in the room, sitting down on it in front of the girls. They both looked at him with curiosity, but he could see the underlying fear of a beating or some other cruel punishment.
"Your name's Buffy, right?" he asked the blonde and she nodded, her eyes becoming hard and uncaring. The guards never engaged in small-talk with slaves, the only times they had questions they had nothing good in mind.
"Yes, sir," she answered nevertheless and pulled the brunette closer to her.
"How old are you?" Vannir really didn't know what he was doing, but for some reason he held some interest in the slayers, in the girls that were his charges. Back in the days before the New Era the slayer had been feared by all demons, and Vannir had had his own share of horror-stories fed to him by his parents when he was little.
"21," the blonde slayer, Buffy, replied dryly and turned her head to look at the other girl to wipe her tears away.
He'd known the slayer was young, but she was practically still a kid, had been a kid before Callas had captured them. Looking at the other slayer he watched her tentatively touch the dark bruise that was forming on her jaw and then looked back to the blonde.
"She's 18, just in case you're wondering," Buffy answered his unasked question and there was no way she could've missed the way his eyebrows hit the top of his head at that.
The blonde grimaced and brushed some strands of hair out of her eyes, "Faith, tell him in how many days your birthday is."
The younger girl let out a small chuckle and looked into his purple eyes with deep brown ones, before answering, "Two."
Vannir swallowed and looked away. Maybe this was why guards didn't talk to slaves, after all demons did have emotions. They weren't supposed to see these slaves as living things with feelings and emotions, with families, friends and lovers that missed them or had been killed. He sighed and focused on them again, his eyes trained on the dark bruise.
"Umm, Faith…right?" he asked, his voice soft and almost gentle; a tone he reserved for his family and not for his slaves.
She nodded, looking up at him only fleetingly to again eye the food that was sitting on the tray in front of them. He'd managed to get quite a bit of various foods from the kitchen, from soup to apples and even some candy he'd found. Vannir had figured those two could use something to get a little of their strength back. He knew it was stupid to think it, but he had realized that if the slayers got strong enough to kill Callas, he wouldn't mind at all. Maybe someone better fit to govern the world would have power.
"Do you need a doctor to look at your jaw?" he asked, leaning forward in the chair to rest his elbows on his knees. Taking a quick glance at his watch, he realized it was getting late. His wife would've made dinner by now and his family was probably waiting.
She shook her head, mumbling something about healing fast and reached for an apple on the tray, all the while watching him. He smiled to encourage her and the young girl grabbed the apple and started eating it quickly. Buffy had been eyeing the food as well, but she was watching him instead.
"You have family?" she asked, her voice holding a tone of sadness.
He nodded, looking at her with a sigh, "Yeah, I've got a wife and two kids. My oldest daughter just turned 18…"
Vannir didn't know exactly why he was sharing his personal life with the slayers, but now he knew something about them that made them different from all other slaves. They had names, ages and feelings. And how would he look at his daughter tonight when she hugged him and kissed him and know that he helped torture a girl her age. How could he lie next to his wife and know that he had probably killed the mothers of two young girls back during the fight between good and evil. How could he look in the mirror in the morning and claim to be a loving dad.
"My…mom died a while ago. Some of the first demons escaping from the Hellmouth killed her. My father, well he was like a father to me, he was killed on the Day of the New Era. All our friends died in between then," the blonde spoke quietly, avoiding his eyes and picked up a piece of bread from the tray.
"I'm…sorry to hear that," he answered softly and winced as her cold eyes met his.
"Are you really?"
The guard opened his mouth to respond, hesitating, but she cut him off, "You just have to say that, right? I mean, how else are you gonna go home tonight and look your kids into their eyes; how else are you gonna kiss your wife goodnight?"
Vannir swallowed and looked to the ground; it was as if she'd read his thoughts exactly. He didn't remember hearing or reading anything about slayers having mind-reading abilities, so he attributed it to pure coincidence. Wondering if he should respond, lie to them, he stood up. It was better to just not say anything at all.
"I'll be back in the morning. Enjoy the food, girls," he spoke, his voice back to the tone he used with his slaves, but this time it held none of the harshness from before.
The blonde nodded at him and gave him a small smile that made him feel just that little bit better. Leaving the room quietly Vannir walked down the corridor as the door slid shut and couldn't wait to get home and see his family.
The brunette laughed, a laugh that came from deep in her throat and rolled over Buffy in waves, taking her with it. She thought she'd never heard a more beautiful sound in the whole world.
"You bet'cha, Buff," Faith finally replied and eyed the blonde as she picked up the food-laden tray.
"Well then, come on we'll eat in bed and tell bad stories."
The younger girl smiled, got up and followed Buffy to the bed, where she immediately dropped into the soft pillows. The blonde followed suit, handing the tray to Faith, who she figured was really only after the candy.
"No candy until you eat some real food," the older girl reprimanded her counter-part with a grin and received only a whine.
"But mooom…" Faith looked at her with puppy dog eyes, earning a soft swat on the arm from the blonde.
Buffy leaned back against the pillows, taking a deep breath. There'd always been good air around them, for some odd reason Faith and her had always been able to get each other to smile no matter how grave the situation.
Maybe there was some light left in them after all.
She took a deep breath and situated herself in the circle. This was by no means going to be easy, and to be truthful, she was even a little worried. Of course it was dangerous, everyone had been telling her so, but she couldn't just not do it.
Willow sighed and turned to look at her girlfriend. Tara was standing outside the circle, a small smile playing on her lips and the redhead couldn't help but smile herself. She knew that Tara understood the necessity of this, the dire need for Willow to find out if Buffy and Faith really were alive. No matter how dangerous it was.
While the other people sitting around the circle, waiting in anticipation, believed that she was doing this for the greater good of the people, the redhead really had different reasons. As selfish as she felt, she just wanted her best friend back. There really was no greater good to it, but if in the process of getting Buffy back the two slayers killed Callas, well there was nothing wrong with that, was there?
Reaching out her hand, Willow pulled her girlfriend close to her one last time before the spell would begin and the circle was not to be broken. Pressing her lips to Tara's soft ones, Willow couldn't've felt more loved and secure; no matter what was to happen.
Offering a smile to the blonde, Willow started the spell as Jabe created the magical circle around her.
Now all there was left was hope. And some wicked strong magic.
"Hmmm," she murmured into the soft neck in front of her and wrapped her arms tighter around the body that was covering hers, "you smell good."
A soft chuckle reached her ears and as she opened her eyes she was already looking into deep brown eyes, that held a twinkle in them. The brunette propped her head up on her hand and grinned at Buffy.
"Well I know I wasn't cold; with my little heat-blanket named Faith covering me," Buffy mocked the brunette and pushed her off gently, before getting out of bed.
They'd both wondered a while ago why they were always just waking up in bed when arriving in their dream-world, but they hadn't cared enough to explore. She got dressed quickly and went into the kitchen to start the coffee machine. Buffy had never much liked coffee, and neither had Faith, but just the smell of it reminded them of mornings; it reminded Buffy especially of mornings with her mom.
The blonde stood at the counter, her back to the bedroom door and leafed through the newspaper without much interest, as two strong arms wrapped around her waist from behind. Faith rested her chin on Buffy's shoulder, pulling their bodies closer together and sighed.
"You know, this might sound really stupid, but…there's no one I'd rather be enslaved and locked up with than you."
The blonde smiled at the sound of the weird statement, but also recognized the serious tone in the younger girl's voice and turned around in Faith's arms to look at her.
"I think that was the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me," she whispered after a long silence. She smiled and laughed as Faith started cracking up.
"Wow…then you've been missing out all your life, B," the younger slayer laughed and Buffy fell into the laughter as well.
"But seriously, I feel the same way Faith," Buffy whispered and placed a gentle kiss on the brunette's forehead, before wrapping her arms tightly around the taller girl.
They stood in silence in each other's arms until the doorbell rang. Both pulled away slightly and looked at the other incredulously.
"Is it just me or did our door just make a weird sound?"
The blonde laughed and nodded, "Yeah, baby. What do you think we should do about it, huh?"
Faith grinned back and slipped out of the embrace to walk to the door. "We open it?"
"Good girl," Buffy smiled, but she was cautious. No one had ever been at their door in two years; it was actually impossible. Their minds weren't capable of creating other people, it had always been just them. She followed Faith to the door as the brunette pushed down the door handle and opened the door.
But what they saw made their eyes just about pop out of their sockets. The two slayers stared at the person standing in their doorway in disbelief.
...continued in Gethsemane IV - The Writings on the Wall...