Where Is the Blood

Chapter Three

There were tears in Buffy's eyes as she stared out of the window of the train. Leaving her mother was painful, but not as painful as the thought that she might never go home. She thought again, certainly not for the last time, that she didn't want to die. She couldn't help sobbing slightly, despite all her attempts to look stronger in front of her fellow tribute. She looked over at Liam then. He had found some whisky and was gulping it down. As disgusted as she was, Buffy couldn't blame him. They were being led like cattle to their deaths; he deserved numbness.

"So. We not speaking then?"

Buffy turned abruptly at the sudden voice. William leaned against the door frame, a smirk on his face. It felt so strange to look at him. Was he still the same boy he had been so many years ago? Or was he so different now that he was only a monster wearing the young man as a disguise?

"Not really," Buffy replied to him, wiping the tears from her cheeks, not that it was much use. Her red eyes gave her away. "What do you think we should be talking about? You think we should be talking about how we're going to die? Because I think that's really all we've got left to think about, isn't it? We already know we will die. It's just how we're going to die that we need to discuss." The tears were returning to Buffy's eyes. They might have been tears of rage, of desperation, of fear or even of sorrow. There were too many emotions going haywire inside her for her to know.

To her surprise, William's smile grew wider. "You know, I like you, Buffy. I don't want to watch you die. Him, on the other hand, I couldn't care less about," Liam glared daggers at him, but William continued. "I don't want you to talk about how you'll die. I want you to talk about how you're going to make sure you live."

"And how do you expect me to do that? In case you haven't noticed, I'm hardly that big and strong." Buffy said.

William chuckled. "Who said anything about strength? You remember how I was when I was seventeen. I was a skinny little boy then, just like all the other kids around here. I still won, didn't I? Don't try to use brute force, Buffy. That's how you'll get yourself killed. And that's not really want we want, is it now?"

Buffy made no reply. She heard Liam drop his bottle and swear loudly. She drew back in fright at his anger, inwardly admonishing herself for her cowardice.

"You've gotta be smart in those Games. Resourceful like,"

"Why do you care?" Buffy suddenly asked, immediately regretting her words.

William looked hurt when she said that, as if he didn't know why she was asking such a stupid question. Perhaps he didn't. Perhaps he remembered her better than she thought he did. "Of course I care," He said, his brow crinkled in confusion. Buffy took a deep breath and stood up. "Where are you going?" William asked.

"Nowhere," Buffy replied. She sat down beside Liam. He gave her a single glance and returned to his whisky. Buffy had never felt so alone in her life.

Buffy was sitting on her bed in the train with her arms crossed over her knees when she heard a knocking at the door. She sniffed and wiped tears from her eyes.

"Come in," she croaked, not even giving a thought to who it might be. William opened the door, letting in light from the hall that nearly blinded Buffy. "William." She said, vaguely surprised.

"Spike now, actually," he corrected. He closed the door enough so that only a sliver of light shone in to illuminate their faces. He'd been crying as well. She knew it was selfish, but that made Buffy feel slightly better. At least she wasn't the only one. "Just came to tell you we've got dinner ready in the… er… dining room,"

"Okay," Buffy said, stepping off her bed and walking over to the door. She was about to leave and smelled something on Spike's breath as she passed him. It was a familiar scent, but one that took a moment for her to identify. Whisky. "You've been drinking," she stated.

Spike smiled at her, only with his lips, eyes staying as miserable as they had been. It was a strange, disturbing smile that made Buffy feel sick, scared and sympathetic all at once. "Well, I guess Liam's not the only one who finds solace in poison," He flashed her that terrible smile again and walked away from her. Buffy tasted salt and discovered she'd been crying the whole time without realising. Biting her lip, she followed after Spike, as he now wanted to be known. She preferred William to Spike, that was for sure, but really either him or Liam had to change their name. They were so similar.

Buffy arrived in the dining room and sat next to Liam. She didn't like this room at all. She disliked the windows especially. They were going too fast, way too fast. 250 miles an hour, she'd heard. The only good thing about that speed was that they'd only have to be there for the shortest time possible. It was better not to postpone their imminent death, she supposed. This was the first time she got a real look at their escort. It was a woman with pink hair all curled up, far too much make-up and strange clothes that looked like they would fetch enough to feed the entire district for a month at least. Just like every other Capitol citizen. Buffy hated them all. She looked to Liam beside her, who was drinking a lot of water and holding his head. He looked as if he was going to be sick.

The first course of their dinner came very soon, saving them all the necessity of having to speak to each other. Buffy was amazed at the food, so completely different to what they could eat back home. She was almost full when she'd finished the starter, but they served the main course right away. It was clear that Spike and the pink haired woman were much more used to this volume of food than either she or Liam. Buffy was only able to eat a small amount of her food, but it was perfectly enough and tasted better than anything she'd eaten in her life. After that, she only managed a further three spoonfuls of ice cream from her pudding and then she felt sick. Liam and Spike had both demolished their food and although their escort had eaten everything, she seemed to have taken it for granted much more than any of them. After dinner was finished, they stayed and talked, although it mainly their escort speaking, with neither the mentor nor the tributes contributing to the conversation very much at all. Spike seemed very frustrated the entire time and eventually he left the room, slamming the door behind him. Buffy flinched at the loud sound, turning around and leaning forward. Their escort shook her head in quiet disapproval and Liam merely carried on staring down into the empty glass of wine he held in his hand. Buffy decided that she couldn't stand this any more and got up to go to her own room. Liam followed her, but of course went to his own room, which, she noticed, was directly beside hers. Buffy took a shower in the en-suite, quite pleased with herself when she managed to make it turn on despite having never taken a shower in her life. She cried quietly, her tears indistinguishable from the warm water than rained down upon her.