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The Queen (BtVS - Chapter twenty-one)

There once was a girl

I've changed the background again. The previous didn't show the red line at the center, I guess that this one is much more good for my LJ style. Here's another chapter of TQ.


21. Uniform Grey





Buffy ran into the bedroom. She bent down trying to find the boots she’d kicked under the bed the previous night.

“Where did I leave them?” she asked herself clenching her teeth.

“Stop running away!” Spike exclaimed right behind her. “We need to talk.”

“You need to talk!” she replied. “I have to go and I don’t have time for this!”

“Oh, don’t push me, woman.”

“Willow is calling me. I have go to her!”

“As if I don’t know you! When things get messy there’s always a sudden emergency or a big apocalypse. Congratulations on your courage, Slayer. I’m still amazed that I –”

“We’ve been fighting for hours now. We stopped just for breakfast – to spare Annie our big drama – and now we’re starting again. You started!”

Spike’s eyes glittered with an alarming yellow light.

“You lied to me.”

“What?”

“You knew you could end up pregnant and you didn’t say anything. I surprised you in the bathroom with a Cohi stick!”

Buffy frowned.

“I didn’t lie and … excuse me, how do you know about the stick?”

“Master vampire, remember? I’ve seen things you can’t even imagine, pet.”

“That wasn’t the point.”

“Soddin’ right!” Spike said. “The point is that you used me!”

Buffy’s eyes widened in shock.

“You’re don’t mean that …” she sighed breathless.

“You wanted a son and you just used the first sperm bank you had available!”

“You’re not serious. You’re too mad …”

“Bloody right, I am!”

Buffy stepped back and accidentally struck a bedside lamp that shattered into pieces upon the sheets. She cursed under her breath.

“I got it,” Spike muttered.

She walked away.

“Don’t come any closer,” she warned. “How can you say that I’ve used you? How can you … we’re a couple now and you’re …”

“You should have told me that it was possible to have a child! Did you think of me at all? How I would feel?”

“So it would be a problem if I get pregnant.”

“I didn’t say that, dammit! Will you listen?”

“I’ve heard enough,” she hissed, disappointed. “I’m going to Willow.”








The parking lot was full of corpses. Nineteen women bled to death and arranged in a circle were displayed a few meters from the warehouse Andy Brendon had used to hide.

Buffy looked at the bodies with scrupulous attention. The victims were displayed to make a frame for a new representation of the archer and the dark monster; this time the monster was killing the archer by slashing her throat.

“I really don’t know what all this means,” Willow murmured thoughtfully. “It’s probably some sort of escalation, but I don’t know what—”

“There will be an apocalypse,” Buffy said bluntly.

“What?”

“There always is one, right? And I’m thinking that all these murders are just the appetizer. A war will start soon and we’re going to be dealing with a shadowy organization. Otherwise why all these cryptic bloody messages?”

“Buffy …”

“We’ll make it, don’t worry.”

Willow smiled and stroked her friend’s shoulders.

“I’ll check on Xander. He went on the main road.”

“Go on,” the Slayer replied, turning to look at the deadly representation.

Suddenly she seemed to see some subtle movements of the limbs and the mouths of the dead women. She leaned forward to watch more closely and she was overwhelmed by an unbearable nausea. She put a hand on her mouth and tried to breathe slowly. Her hands were trembling. Dazed, she tried to call Willow.

She couldn’t make a sound.

She fainted.






The Slayer woke up in an anonymous hospital room.


Xander and Willow were watching her – their expressions visibly worried. Xander was holding her hand.

“Hey, what happened? Did I just pass out like some fragile damsel?”

Willow shook her head.

“The blood samples show that the venom of the demon you killed last night was able to penetrate your tissues and internal organs. A few hours later and you would have ended up in a coma.”

Buffy swallowed.

“I never thought … I didn’t know it was so dangerous.”

“You couldn’t know,” Xander said. “Rest now. I’m glad you woke up. I love you.”

“I love you too, Xan.”

The Slayer closed her eyes and felt a fatherly kiss. Xander stroked her hand and walked away. Willow stayed for a few seconds more.


“It’s just a legend,” she said, sorrowfully. “That the poison of a Kjij allows vampires to procreate … it’s just a legend. It was spread by the same demons around the end of the eighteenth century, to avoid the risk of their extinction. It didn’t help very much, though. Vampires aren’t the kind of creatures that want to start a real family …”

Buffy nodded. She expected to be alone to release the tears that were choking her throat. She turned over in pain and hugged the pillow. She sobbed harder when she felt Spike’s presence in the room.

“Did you come for a second round? I don’t have any strength left for a fight. I almost ended up in a coma.”

“I know,” he said sitting on a chair. “Do you want to turn around and look at me?”

“No …”

“Please, pet.”

The Slayer rolled her eyes and turned slowly.

Spike was watching her, his anxiety plain to see.

“Don’t look at me like that, please,” she murmured fighting back the tears.

Her lover leaned forward and kissed her – wiping her face with his fingers.

Thoughtfully he also helped to rearrange the blankets.

“I feel so ashamed!” she exclaimed.

“It doesn’t matter now. What matters is that you’re okay. When I heard that you fainted I feared the worst. You never go into a hospital until it’s really serious.”

“I’m sorry!” she stammered, unable to hold back her emotional outburst. “I didn’t want to use you … I just thought … for a moment I thought …”

“That you were able to have a baby.”

“I’m pathetic!”

“No, you aren’t,”

“Yes, I am! I’m like one of those women … I wake up one morning and suddenly I feel the urge to procreate because it could be too late, because I feel incomplete. It’s stupid.”

“It’s human.”

Buffy took a deep breath and touched softly Spike’s angular cheek, then closed her eyes.

“We have Annie,” he said.

“I know. She’s our little girl. It’s so embarrassing … for a moment I imagined how it would feel to give life instead of death.”

“Buffy …”

“Just for once I wanted to know how it feels to create rather than destroy. But I want you to know that it wasn’t because you were the first sperm provider available …”

“Forget it. I was angry when I said it.”

“I want to say it out loud; it wasn’t a random choice. I know better that anyone what it means to have a bad father! I would never ever have tried to have children with any other man … it’s because of you. Because I knew that you’d be the father.”

Spike smiled, touched. He lay down next to Buffy and kissed her lips.

“My dream lasted this long,” she sighed. “I feel stupid.”

“I feel that I love you more than ever, pet.”







Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
red_satin_doll
Feb. 28th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
ETA: Apologies, but I'm reading the chapters backward, and in chapter 18, Buffy faints and ends up in the hospital after having slept for a really long time. So not only is it a repeat but then Spike's in this chapter You never go into a hospital until it’s really serious. makes less sense in context. (Whereas within the canon of the show it's entirely correct.)

I like you new background btw, and the asymmetry of the "decoration" (which is really nifty on it's own) balanced against the symmetry of the overall composition. And the black really keeps the focus on the text in the center.

I have to apologize for not keeping up with reading this - my "reading" and to-do list are so long I think I'm drowning. Not that drowning in words and ideas is a bad thing, but it's like trying to doggy-paddle in a tar pit. Anyhoo...

I like the SG dialogue and interaction here, even if it's minimal. I don't think that you mention Willow leaving the hospital room before or as Spike comes in (I can imagine Willow excusing herself then), so I have to presume after Buffy and Spike are talking that she has left.

My favorite part here is Willow and Buffy looking over the bodies, for some reason. There's a genuine sense of something awful having occured. (Sandwiched between the two dialogue-heavy B/S angst-fests, which is all about conversation, the "break" feels rather bracing, and it's appropriate that it happens out of doors, because it serves as a breather.)

I have a suggestion, if it's not inappropriate, regarding dialogue and action. Continuous action and dialogue by a single character, uninterrupted by another character is less confusing to the reader as a single paragraph. An example:

Willow smiled and stroked her friend's shoulders.

“I’ll check on Xander. He went on the main road.”


As written I wonder who the "I'll check on Xander" line belongs to, Buffy or Willow, and I have to keep reading to figure it out. If you write it this way:

Willow smiled and stroked her friend’s shoulders. “I’ll check on Xander. He went on the main road.”

It's clear that action and the line of dialogue all belong to Willow, framed by Buffy's words before and after. The exception of course is if you are trying to be "experimental" or break the rules deliberately (and I'm sure there are other exceptions), but I don't think that's what you're going for here.


Edited at 2013-02-28 04:20 pm (UTC)
kikimay
Feb. 28th, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for your suggestion! Of course it's appropriate. I need to remember your comment when I translate the next chapters. (And I'm planning to translate and post some more because I want you to know the Big Bads)

I like the background, and the asymmetry of the "decoration" (which is really nifty on it's own) balanced against the symmetry of the overall composition. And the black really keeps the focus on the text in the center.

Thanks! I really like minimalistic style - I think it's much more relaxing for the eyes.



EDIT: I think that Spike's concern still works because the first time it's about poisoning and now ... about poisoning, as well!
Buffy still can handle well injuries.


Edited at 2013-02-28 04:24 pm (UTC)
red_satin_doll
Feb. 28th, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I could help a little! And I agree minimalism is to the good especially when it comes to trying to read text on the computer! My DW account is also minimalist - without the cool decoration - and I've been wondering if I should change my LJ format; I think I'm already getting bored with it.

I think that Spike's concern still works because the first time it's about poisoning and now ... about poisoning, as well! Buffy still can handle well injuries.

I understand the intention, but with nearly two identical scenes so close-together (Buffy blacks out when she is outside, wakes up in a hospital room), it blunts the impact of his words, and seems somewhat repetitious, if that makes sense? If the first time she didn't black out but was clearly hurt or exhausted and ended up being carried home, it would make a difference - there would be an escalation of harm, so to speak. For instance I quite like the little bit in between where she goes home and washes the poison off her skin. She doesn't ask for help, she doesn't make a fuss about it; she's practical and matter-of-fact (just another day on the job) and that is very in-character for her.

But it's your story, ma'am, so I bow to you as writer.
kikimay
Feb. 28th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, I make her a little weak for the sake of the drama. I think she stays IC because she doesn't ask for help, I just wanted the big Spuffy ending. But I'm really concerned about the characters and I want to make them as IC as I can, so I'm open to suggestions.

I'm glad I could help a little! And I agree minimalism is to the good especially when it comes to trying to read text on the computer! My DW account is also minimalist - without the cool decoration - and I've been wondering if I should change my LJ format; I think I'm already getting bored with it.

Can I give you an advice? You can do as I do. Basically, you choose the structure of LJ - for example, I choose expressive. Then you can go here: http://www.livejournal.com/customize/options.bml?group=customcss
To customize your stylesheet - the background. You need to modify the space with "custom stylesheet" on it. For example:

body {
background-color: #333333;
background-image:url(http://listography.com/static/img/backgrounds/23.jpg);
background-repeat: repeat;
background-attachment:fixed;
}

And this changes just the background.
I'm sucky in explanations. I hope it's clear.
red_satin_doll
Feb. 28th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
I make her a little weak for the sake of the drama

And that's tricky. Now I know Spike suffers a lot (on the show and in fanfic) because it's one way to create drama that is both physical and emotional. But it's a fine line esp with female characters, or male characters who are "sensitive"/slightly feminized (as we define it culturally). But then my one btvs fanfic has Buffy in a hospital bed post the Gift (and ok it was a rewrite of Brutti_ma_buoni's story but still - mea culpa. the fandom I was in before, Moulin Rouge, has a dying prostitute as the female lead. And I wrote fanfiction in it - not in which she died, but she was sick. Now I can get inside the head of someone who is sick or infirm because I've been there, but that's no excuse. So it's troubling to me that I can "catch" the tendency in other people's work but miss it in my own. Mea culpa again.

Thank you for the suggestios on the stylesheets! But here's where I demonstrate what a dope I am:

body {
background-color: #333333;
background-image:url(http://listography.com/static/img/backgrounds/23.jpg);
background-repeat: repeat;
background-attachment:fixed;


I have no idea what any of the above is or means. is this html? It's greek to me as the saying goes. I wish I understood it. I enjoy learning how to do things on the computer, even if I'm not very advanced.
kikimay
Feb. 28th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Okay, don't worry. First you need to go here: http://www.livejournal.com/customize/options.bml?group=customcss

If you go down you'll see CUSTOM CSS section.

Use layout's "Base Weblog" stylesheet
Custom external stylesheet URL
Custom stylesheet ---> in this space you have to copy the text above.

In my example I used a background from listography. You can choose another background by taking the picture you like and going to Photobucket or Tinypic. Here you need to have the URL adress for layouts that you can use instead of THIS ----->(http://listography.com/static/img/backgrounds/23.jpg)

You have to copy in that particular space all I wrote above from BODY ... plus the url adress for layout of your favourite background.

Is it more clear?
red_satin_doll
Feb. 28th, 2013 11:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks hon! I think I'm getting there. So you have to have your background image all set to go first - any requirements on size/number of pixels?

in this space you have to copy the text above.

By which you mean what you typed in your previous post?
kikimay
Feb. 28th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
You know, if you want you just can link me a background here and I'll do the text for you to copy. But, yes, you absolutely can do it alone. It's just that I explain badly, it's not that difficult.

By which you mean what you typed in your previous post?

THIS ONE:
body {
background-color: #333333;
background-image:url(http://listography.com/static/img/backgrounds/23.jpg);
background-repeat: repeat;
background-attachment:fixed;

Except that you can choose another background image. (For example, here you have a grey stylesheet. You can go with a pink one!)
Usually you just need to find background images - because they are large enough - but I personally think you should pick 2 or 3 and see the differences and how they work with your LJ style.


Edited at 2013-02-28 11:52 pm (UTC)
red_satin_doll
Mar. 1st, 2013 01:11 am (UTC)
Oh ok, this makes a good deal more sense now, thank you! I'll have to think of a background (I can think of some very pretty buffy things but if it's someone else's fanart that probably wouldn't be polite, unless I asked first of course.) If not Buffy, then some original art nouveau patterns, which I adore.

Thanks muchly for your patience, sweetie!

A little surprise for you - I finally posted that fanfic for The Hours I wrote ten years ago that you expressed interest in reading! I hope you like it.
http://red-satin-doll.livejournal.com/11729.html
kikimay
Mar. 1st, 2013 11:30 am (UTC)
Anytime! If you need something, if you don't understand how it works the background thingy just ask.
red_satin_doll
Mar. 1st, 2013 04:29 pm (UTC)
Grazie!
batheart83
Mar. 23rd, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
I loved the first part, even if it hurts me a little, but I love it because I think it is IC, and I love the final part too, and that in between, I love whole chapter as you can see.

Sincerely yours Batheart83.
kikimay
Mar. 23rd, 2013 10:02 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, sometimes Spike and Buffy fight ... I guess that's IC.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )