"The last act is bloody, however fine the rest of the play. They throw earth over your head and it is finished forever." - Blaise Pascal
Even though Hank was home and well on the mend and Claire had gone back to the Hamptons, Baileigh lingered for a bit longer in Nevada; the crisis wasn’t over, her extended family needed her, and there was an incubus that needed his ass beat. She knew, despite her protests to the contrary, that she wasn’t going to be able to directly deliver the beating, but it was shockingly easy to slip back into the roll of the captain, to sit in the library with the witches, the Watchers and Spike and formulate a game plan.
“I still don’t see why we can’t head up a direct assault,” she was arguing with Terry when the front doorbell rang. “Yes, I know there are human beings involved, and they’re under Nahuel’s thrall, but my God, they’re still human, we can find some non-lethal ways of getting them out of the way.”
“It’s not that simple, Baileigh,,” Terry sighed. “Kill him and you break the thrall. Break the thrall, and there is no telling how it’ll affect whoever he has under his control. Including Amelia. We can’t risk it.”
Baileigh winced and shot a quick glance at Spike before tightening her jaw. “He needs to die.”
“Ain’t nobody fucking arguing with that, Bee,” Cain grumbled, somewhat calmer now that he knew his daughter wasn‘t fighting for her life, but still plenty murderous. “I also ain’t saying I disagree. For fuck’s sake, Tati--”
“I’m working on it.” The little blonde witch was too tired to inject anymore venom in her tone, but she did manage to glare at Cain from over the top of her book.
“Back off, big bro,” Juliana drawled in warning, a little fed up with the constant snarls tossed in their direction as well. “Magic ain’t easy or simple. You rush a complex spell, you get disaster--will somebody answer the goddamned door?!”
“I’ll get it. God knows we’re not getting anywhere in here.” Petty of her, probably, but they were all on edge, and she was cranky.
She was retired, for Christ’s sake. The Powers needed to give her a break.
The kitchen smelled of some sort of potion and chocolate chip cookies; separately, pleasant scents, but in combination, fairly revolting, and the assault on her hypersensitive nose did nothing to improve her mood as she passed through to answer the door. The person waiting on the other side was a boy, dark haired and young and thoroughly unfamiliar. “Can I help you?” she asked, unable to muster up much of a smile but refraining from open hostility, at least.
“Hi.” He smiled, boyish and charming. “I’m a friend of Hank’s--we went to school together, before she moved--I heard she was home from the hospital, can I come in?”
“No.” She raised an eyebrow as he blinked at her tactlessness--invitations weren’t something they were free with in this house, and she didn’t feel like dancing around it. “Hank was tight with all of three people at that crappy high school, and you are so not one of them, so who the hell are you and what do you--”
“Who is it?”
It was a stupid mistake. She turned her head a fraction of an inch to answer Madison. She never should’ve taken her eyes off of him. If she’d looked away completely, if she’d been even a little less cautious, she never would’ve seen the knife.
Deeply ingrained instinct took over completely, compensating for the extra weight she carried around her middle and her lack of balance--someone was attacking her, and she had to stop them. She moved out of the way of the switchblade’s thrust, and her fingers closed tightly around the wrist of the arm holding the weapon. Her palm smashed against his elbow, and she felt the bone snap. She didn’t hear the knife drop, or the boy cry out, or Madison scream, over the roar in her ears. She jerked his arm and brought her elbow up, smashing his nose. She didn’t hear the crunch or realize that something wasn’t right when he dropped to the floor. She kicked the switchblade away and backed up out of the reach of his arms in case he tried to trip her and stared at Madison as if she’d grown a second head when she rushed forward and dropped to the boy’s side.
“Oh God,” she was shrieking. “Oh God oh God--TERRY? Oh God oh God oh God--”
“Christ, Madison, back up--”
“Baileigh what did you do?”
She blinked without comprehending why Madison was looking at her like that, wide-eyed, panicked and accusing, terrified. It wasn’t until she looked down at the body that it sunk in.
It--he--was human. Very human. Vampires didn’t break like that, and what was sprawled across the linoleum was so very broken. It was very real blood seeping onto the floor, and there was no life in the ruined mess that, until a few seconds before, had been a youthful, handsome face.
The roar went away. Everything went away. Like watching a muted television program, she saw the scene and the color and the faces and the blur of the furniture and walls as Spike pulled her into the living room. I didn’t meant to, she kept thinking, and she couldn’t tell if she was actually speaking. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to.
The volume came back up, too loud. Too many people yelling. She sat on the couch and stared down at the blood spots on her arm and wished she could find the mute button again. Wished she could cover her ears, but her hands were bloody and she didn’t know how to hold them. It was like they weren’t hers anymore.
She jumped when Cain sat down on the couch next to her. “Did I--” Kill him. She couldn’t make herself say it. “I did, didn’t I?”
“It’s fine. I called Claire. She…fixed it. He was Nahuel‘s. The trauma broke the thrall, he don‘t remember shit.”
“Oh--good.” She swallowed and nodded at the blood stains as though they were the one addressing her. It was fixed. It was all fixed. All neat and tidy and no one would ever know. They’d mop the kitchen floor, wash their hands, wash their clothes. No one would ever know.
“You’re going home right fucking now, with Hiro an‘ Claire. Don‘t argue with me.”
He said it like he was expecting one, but she didn‘t have a fight left in her. And she realized he was touching her, just a hand on her back that moved up to her shoulder and squeezed. She squirmed away from it and struggled to get to her feet. She didn’t want to be touched. “Okay.”
“Oh God, please don’t,” she protested in a whisper, shaking her head desperately. “Please don’t pull that ‘It’s not your fault’ routine, please. I don’t want to hear it. I just want to go home.” She shook her head, almost comically, trying to shake away the thoughts and the words and the noise and kept talking as he tried to speak over her. “I’m gonna go clean up. I’m gonna go get my things. I just want to go home. Tell everyone I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I‘m so sorry.”
“Hey, hi.” She clasped her hands behind her back, hiding the bright red stains. “I’ll just be a minute.” A breath. “Thank you. For coming. I’ll just be a minute.”
Claire bit her lip, and Baileigh used the moment of hesitation to flee.
[ooc: in relation to this and this. Terry (if_she_could ), Cain (fear_noevil ), Spike (follow_my_blood ), Juliana (love_inchains ), & Claire (girl_ofsecrets ) are all used with love and permission. Hiro referenced is powered_otaku , who I hope doesn't mind being referenced. Tatiana and Madison are mine to use and abuse.]