Anyway - my delicious Willa has gifted me with my very own little pre-series Series, called In the Beginning. It's Spike, Dru, and Buffy... sort of. I'm so in love with it that I have to share. Clickety click and read the goodness:
In the Beginning
Buffy sits on the waterfall's edge, kicking her legs back and forth. Her powder-puff-pink legwarmers have sparkles that glitter. Pretty. Mommy bought them for a birthday present. She likes birthdays.
She likes malls, too. All these cool stores with toys and bottles of pretty-smelling stuff and the fountain where she can throw a penny in and make a wish.
She hasn't made her wish yet.
Mommy's lost. At least, she went one way and Buffy went another. That was hours ago.
Maybe she'll wish to find Mommy. She's not sure. The penny grows warm in her fist, and she thinks.
Buffy smells the lady before she sees her. Sweet, like lilacs. Bitter, like her penny. Dusty, like Grandma's attic.
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star," the lady murmurs, voice sweet as a lullaby. "How I wonder, wonder what you are." She sits down next to Buffy, folding up gracefully on the hard fountain edge.
Buffy looks up at her, face wreathed in smiles. Pretty, pretty lady! Dressed like a fairy-tale princess, her long dress all ruffles and lace. Her hair's glossy black, curly and shiny. She has lips red as apples.
She smiles, and touches Buffy's cheek with one finger.
The lady cups Buffy's cheeks in both chilly hands. She's gentle, but her nails are sharp. Buffy's a little afraid to move. This is a stranger. She's not supposed to talk to strangers. But she hasn't said anything yet, so it's OK, isn't it?
"What do I spy, with my little eye?" the pretty lady says, laughter in her voice. She draws back with a little gasp. "Ooh, kitten! I see what you're going to be. You'll be a big, bad tiger. Grrrah!" Her hand tilts Buffy's head up sharply.
"Do you know what they do with tigers?" she whispers. "They lock them all up in cages."
Buffy begins to tremble. She doesn’t want to go in a cage. She wants her Mommy.
One of those sharp nails dabs away a tear. Two fingers rest on her face, one beneath each eye. "Night-night," the lady says sweetly. "Night-night, little Buffy…"
"Here, now." A man's big hand lands on the lady's shoulder as she starts pushing up with her nails. "Hold on, Dru. What morsel did you get?"
Buffy twists in the lady's grip, trying to look up. She's too scared to speak, but she hopes it's a policeman come to rescue her. Maybe he knows where Mommy is.
But no. He's young, and scary. Dressed in all black. His hair is white. and his lips are sort of red, too, as he smiles down at them.
He drops to one knee before Buffy. "You're just a mouthful," he says, chuckling.
"Spike," the lady croons, leaning back against him. She takes her scary nails and runs them down his cheek, leaving little scratches. "Princess found a big bad monster. I was going to eat her up."
"Now, now, Dru," Spike says, nuzzling her. "You've eaten once."
"But, Spike," Dru pouts. "She's a…" She leans back and whispers in Spike's ear. Buffy watches, so scared she thinks she might wet herself. Are they going to hurt her?
Spike turns from Dru and looks down at Buffy with a new light in his eyes. "Well, now," he says. "That changes everything, doesn't it?"
Spike picks Buffy's small hand up in his, and turns it over. He starts tracing the lines on her palm with one long finger. "You have a funny lifeline, you do," he says. "Start, stop, start, stop, start. Dru taught me all about reading hands. What they mean. Taught me a few other things, too. Did you know that?"
Buffy shakes her head no. Tears are spilling down her cheeks in earnest, now. She wants her Mommy.
"Hush now, pet." Spike brushes hair back out of her face. "Lost, are you? Looking for your mum?"
Mum? Mommy? Buffy nods fearfully.
Dru laughs, clapping her hands. "Run and catch, run and catch," she sings softly.
"Drusilla," Spike says, like she's doing something bad. He turns back to Buffy. "We could help you find her," he says. "Or if you wanted, you could come and play with us. What would you like?"
Spike fishes in one pocket, and pulls out a long white hanky, like a magician. It's clean. "Go on, then," he says kindly. "Wipe away those tears, little one. We won't hurt you."
Drusilla's giggle peals out.
Spike ignores her. He pushes the hanky at Buffy. "Go on, take it." He nudges her knee, playful. "Dry up, sunshine. You'll make me think it's raining."
Despite herself, Buffy smiles. She takes the hanky very carefully, and mops at her cheeks. "There," Spike says. "Much better. You were all salty."
Buffy finds herself giggling.
"Now then," Spike says. "Want to come play?"
Buffy hesitates. The lady is scary, and this man looks scary, but he's nice. But he's still a stranger. She's not supposed to. Mommy says.
"Come on," Spike urges. "We'll give you… lollipops. And ice cream. And a new dolly, how about that?"
Drusilla whimpers. "Me too, Spike?" A finger drifts up to caress her lips. She smiles, her eyes sparkling eagerly. "I like dollies, too."
"I'm workin' on it, pet." Spike pokes Buffy's tummy. "Come play with us, pet."
Lollipops. Ice cream. Buffy's torn. She's not supposed to. But Spike is so nice, and she thinks he'll protect her…
"Buffy?" she hears a voice call. "Buffy, where are you?"
"Mommy!" she whispered. She sits up straight, looking around hard as she can. "That's my Mommy. I'll ask her if I can play."
"No," Spike says, standing roughly. "That's all right, pet. Another time. Dru, come on." Dru whimpers when he takes her arm, but she lets him pull her away. Buffy stares after them -- and then, suddenly, Mommy's arms are around her, holding her tight, rocking her back and forth.
"Oh, baby," Mommy shakes her gently. "Don't you ever scare me like that again! I didn't know where you were."
Buffy watches Spike and Dru disappear into the crowd. Two pretty people in black, riding off into the bright lights. She bets they're going somewhere to play.
But she doesn't say anything. Not one word. She just lets Mommy hug her, and lets out a deep, heavy sigh.
That night, Buffy lies awake for a little while after Mommy's tucked her into bed. She gazes at her night-light, cuddles her stuffed piggy, and thinks hard. Really, really hard.
What if she had gone to play with Spike and Dru? Where would she be now? Maybe on a playground. She bets Spike would know how to push her on the swings just right. Dru would have laughed and applauded and danced. She bets Dru would have taught her how to whirl and spin just like a fairy.
They might have given her a doll. A huggy little china baby with curly hair.
They were so pretty. Cold and scary, but pretty.
She hugs her piggy closer and sighs. Mommy came, and they left. She guesses she won't see them again.
Still, she can't help thinking about them until she drifts off to sleep, still thinking of black lace and silver-golden hair.
She doesn't hear the rustle of someone perching just outside her window.
Deciding, in the end, to save her for later…