She smiled at him again, and climbed down off her Arbitrator’s bench. “William. You certainly have changed. Have a seat.” She motioned behind him.
To his surprise, there was suddenly a chair, where there hadn’t been one before. He gave a small shrug. No accounting for where things come from in dreams. And sat down. “Thank you.”
She made another chair appear and sat opposite him. “No need for being polite, William. This is a place where you can voice your true feelings. Do not feel shy.”
He gave a small growl. “I’m not ‘shy’, pet. I prefer to be cautious, though. Whatever caused all that carnage outside might be in here.”
“I take it you wish to know what caused that, then?”
He gave a small shrug. “You’re supposed to answer questions. That seems like a good place to start.”
She sighed. “Well, it isn’t a simple answer, William. And yet… I suppose it is.”
He growled again, moving to stand up. “I don’t need cryptic answers, pet. And I don’t feel like wasting my time here with them. I have a friend out there somewhere, and I need to find him.”
“You mean Rupert. He is fine. He is resting comfortably in another room. You will be reunited with him at the next level.”
Spike slowly sat back down. “Next level?”
“Are you familiar with the theories of one Dr. Kubler Ross? Mostly the ones on the stages a terminal patient goes through on the way to their own death?”
Spike cocked his head. “The name sounds familiar, pet, but… can’t say I place it. No.”
Cecily sighed. “Well then. This is going to take a bit longer than I thought. That first place you found yourself, after the park-”
“How did you know about that?!”
She gave a small smile. “I am the Arbitrator. I am supposed to know things. Besides, all of this is in YOUR mind, so if you remember it, I can also.”
He blinked. “Okay.”
“I may continue, then? Or am I confusing you?”
Small growl. “Not confusin’ in the least, pet. Please continue…” Part of him wanted to just get up and tear her head off for even suggesting that he was unable to comprehend.
“Good. Well, that first place was the first level. When you jumped from the train, you exited that level, and moved on to here. Once you face this level’s trial, you may move onto the next one, and so on, until you reach the end.”
He blinked hard and fought down another growl. She was treating him like he couldn’t understand a word she was saying, speaking slowly like he was some sort of retard. Still, he forced himself to speak. “And the levels represent the stages you mentioned earlier, correct?”
“Yes. The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Despair, and Acceptance. Your body is dying, William. And your mind is desperately trying to come to grips with all the aspects of your past. This dream is the only way to do so.”
“Wait a minute… I’m not DYING!! I can’t die! I’m already DEAD!!”
Cecily sighed again. “William, please listen to me. You’ve lost almost all the blood in your body. You already were weak physically. Unless a miracle happens, your body will turn to dust within the next day. This dream is also a distraction from the pain that is causing you. You’ve already beaten one level: Denial. Please don’t start with it again. I’ll have to send you back to the train if you do.”
He took deep breaths, trying to steady himself, still growling softly.
“That’s much better. Good. Now. On each level, you will encounter a.. specter from your past. So far, the representatives have been Angelus, and myself. Angelus appeared on the Denial level simply because you always denied that you were afraid of him. But you faced that fear to save those people in the cars, as well as Rupert. You admitted to yourself that you were terrified, and yet still acted. I am appearing here, on the Anger level, because you still harbor resentment toward me.” She looked him in the eyes. “Tell me honestly what you are considering doing right now.”
He blinked, then growled. “Killing you.”
“Why? Was what I did to you really that horrible?”
“YES!” He snarled, leaping from his seat and pacing in-between them. “You… if it weren’t for you, I never woulda run into Dru! I wouldn’t have died that night!! I would be HUMAN, if it weren’t for YOU!” He turned to her, full game face in place, fangs gleaming, eyes glowing. “See what you did?? This is YOUR fault!!”
“Have you ever seen it that way before?” She seemed the picture of cool, while he was sweating and shaking with rage.
How could she be so bloody CALM!!? He snarled, started pacing again. “No! But I see it NOW!!”
“I thought you liked what you are.”
He paused for a moment, then looked at her, still growling low in his throat. “Well, big surprise, I don’t. If it weren’t for you, Cecily Addams, I wouldn’t be a monster.”
“If it weren’t for me, you would never have met Buffy.”
That gave him pause. It was true. If he’d never run out of that party and into Dru, if he’d never been a vampire, then he would never have met Buffy. A small snort. “Yeah, cause that’s turned out so well… She’s not even looking for me.” He had quieted a bit, and slowly sank back into his chair.
Cecily shook her head. “Yes she is. You know that. She believes in you, William. She told you that herself. Who knows? Maybe she’ll find you before it’s too late. But, for now, congratulations.”
He blinked, looking at her, not even realizing that he no longer had fangs. “For what?”
She smiled. “You didn’t kill me. You wanted to, though. But you didn’t. And you very well could’ve. That’s what this level was about, you facing an unresolved Anger within you. Apparently, that was at me. But you didn’t give in to Anger. You asked what caused all that destruction outside, and the answer is simple. You won. They did not. They gave into their Anger and it destroyed them. I think you’re ready to move on.”
Before Spike could say anything, the floor seemed to drop out from under him, and he fell into darkness.