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Rise

by s.a.

Date: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:48 AM

     Title: Rise
     Author: s.a.
     Rating: R, slash
     Pairing: Faith/Glory. Sort of.
     Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
     Disclaimer: I don't make up the 'verses, I just fuck with them.
     Spoilers: Season Four/Season One on Buffy and Angel, and
     Season Five on Buffy.
     Feedback: Always appreciated. email: sa@bluezfire.org
     Distribution: HiTG, http://hole.adamao.org as well as list
     archives. Everyone else, just ask.
     Summary: Spiderbites and portents.

Author's Notes: For the Remix...Redux challenge. This story is a retake on Kyra Cunningham's "Little Miss Muffet," which can be found at her website, http://www.narrowstreets.net. Kyra's one of my favorite writers, and I really lucked out because our writing styles match well. I (very literally) could not have done this without Minim, who basically did everything but type the words for me. I love the concept of the original story, and I hope I did it justice. This is pretty AU.


You're dreaming again.

You stand stock-still in a room that is soft to the touch, when you're suddenly lying down and spiders are crawling all over your body. You can feel each individual leg as they creep upwards, and your mouth opens to scream, but your voice is swallowed by the creatures. You try to move, but your body is immobile; you blink before that too is taken by this wiggling blackness.

When you wake up, you reach for a reminder of reality. Cement meets your fingers, and you shudder and shake until the gravelly touch overwhelms the sense memory. You've never been afraid of spiders, but you think you're going to start.

You wonder about reality, though. What the dream is, if you can really expect this world to consist of a five by five cell and bland gang rivalries and salty food. Maybe, you think, the dream is what's real and you made up the imprisonment to give you a small stretch of sanity.

Hey, it could be true.

There's another flash from your dream, of one bigass spider that reeks of the familiar scent called "evil." You'd know it anywhere. It's your birthright, or some shit like that. This brand of evil, though--different from taking-over-the-world evil, or kill-innocent-virgins evil. More like consuming, possessive malevolence that for some goddamn reason is focused in on you. Man, you hate your freaking life, because even you being the crazy bitch you are can distinguish the dreams where you're Abe Lincoln's momma from the dreams that indicate some kind of apocalypse. This is resonant of the latter.

Your first instinct is to call B, like it always is. More than anything in this hole you relive every moment you had with her, every second close to her, every time she smiled at you and you shared something no one in the fucking world can take away from you. Even when things were shitty you two were tighter than anything. You got to her, and you know not many people have that privilege.

But you don't, because you've used up your one phone call a long time ago and you didn't dial her. B's probably got her own message system going, though it really makes a girl wonder why the fuck she's still on the phone tree if she's effectively decommissioned. Guess the fuckers that make up the Powers That Be didn't get the memo.

You blink, and see the dream again, and you think "old," you think "powerful," you think "beast," and then you remember what it felt like to be pinned down like a bug under a glass. You hate that feeling, and start humming "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" madly to get rid of it. Maybe you prefer the mundane reality to the shit that waits for you when you close your eyes.

Of course, you open 'em and you're just as pinned down, just as confined. Stuck in a box for all the world to see and no one to look. There are days you wanna break out. You know you could; you had the patterns and rotations memorized long ago. Hell, you could break out in five minutes and they wouldn't know you're gone for five hours. But you don't. You stay. You don't even really have a reason anymore. You're just...here. Doing your damnedest to make other people happy, if it's the last thing you do.

You shudder again, and your eyes slip shut.

You're trapped again, only this time it feels like the dreamworld has come crashing into reality 'cause you feel a hand over your mouth and you tense at the viselike grip and you can smell some froufy hand lotion and if you just squint a little in the dark you can almost see--

--a blonde chick, and you blanche 'cause you're so sick of blondes, but this isn't Buffy, it's someone way the fuck different, with hours-to-fix curls and thin, evil eyebrows and a big red mouth that curves in a smile you can feel deep inside of you.

And then your metaphors take a more literal turn and you buck backwards under a terrifying grip as a tongue pushes inside of you with no pretense of pleasure. You're trapped again, in a new way, under this devouring, and your own words ring in your head and wanting, taking, having, and this thing, this whatever seems to be taking that idea to heart. Or whatever it has. And then any chance of thought is blasted away as you're torn open, raw and bare to the world, and you can feel something running down your thigh and you have to wonder if it's blood but then you don't because even the dream fades into something else entirely and--

You wake up, shuddering again, and you wonder if maybe you can get some kind of anti-sleeping pill because it seems more often than not you're shocked awake by some fucking dream and you're sick of it. Your hand is shaking as you reach under your prison-issued shorts and feel all-too-familiar sticky wetness waiting. You know, suddenly, that whatever this beastie is, it's coming sooner rather than later.

You can't seem to keep your eyelids up, they're too heavy, and you realize that there's gotta be some kind of mojo going on here because you see a cat and a knife--that knife, with your blood, and you can feel it ripping into you all over again and you think there's some significance here you're missing, dammit. Something about the way you're cut and your blood being spilled and missing your fucking moment, your reason for all this shit in the first place.

And even as you're falling, going over the scene again as you've done a thousand times, you hear a brush of voices in a language you don't understand, but you do in that weird magic-y way shit happens to you. The words are double-layered, in English and something that sounds like the little Russian you've heard, and you wish you didn't have such shitty luck with Watchers 'cause one would be damn helpful right about now.

As you come closer to the world with Matilda the prison guard, you're dragged back to the dream. You writhe as you feel those red, agile lips suck on your clit, and possession reverberates through your body till you cry out in pain when lips part to reveal teeth, and you're disintegrating again.

Maybe floating's a better word, because you're seeing weirdoes in brown cloaks talking about failure and Slayers and second chances that don't belong to you, and you think you might want to rewind to the part where you're getting your groove on because you've heard this litany before and it wasn't pretty the first ten times.

You still want a second chance, because you know you messed it up somehow.

The brown guys start chanting and you hear your name, and there's a flash of a girl with brown hair and full lips and your eyes and you think it must be you. You're in a room with a mirror, and you turn around when you hear your name and see that girl looking at you, looking at herself, and you hear that insistent voice in your ears over the chanting saying that what you did wasn't good enough, wasn't near enough to Buffy, and you know things are gonna change, heads are gonna roll.

You feel like spiders are all over you again but instead of covering you up they're pulling you apart, and you hear the word "dear," and grasp desperately for the mirror, but all you can see is bright green light and all you can hear is Buffy's name, over and over in your mind.

You're being unmade. You can feel it in your bones until they are no more, and you can feel it in the core of your being until that dissipates too, and the world goes white and new as you wake up in your bed with the comforter covering your eyes, and when you sit up you see a startled, wide-eyed face in the mirror before you.


If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to s.a.

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