AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yep, it's true -- I own nothing Buffy-related except some really great comics, and even less of Dune. I was inspired by a recent viewing of the Dune movie, and Sting's winged Speedo ... mmm. Speedo. Sting. There are worse things to inspire one's first fanfic, yes? All idiotic errors are mine alone, and feedback will always be welcome. (And feel free to snicker at the title. I was just havin' some fun!)
Features elements of BtVS "The Gift," the "Dune" movie, and of course the novels -- including Brian Herbert's prequels. Super-AU, with a darker Buffy and a slightly more sane Feyd, who's about to get a wake-up call from the Slayer ...
And finally, many thanks to the very kind KaylaShay for her thoughtful beta, and for making this wonderful fanart!
The first time I saw her, I knew she would make me bleed.
Rabban—that fat, vulgar fool—did not see the threat in her predatory eyes. He told our honored uncle soon after she arrived in our midst that he would take care of her, meaning no doubt that he would torture her, rape her corpse, and make himself a shirt of her gorgeous, smooth hide.
Rabban is dead now.
The Baron learned the lesson of caution from Rabban’s death, and turned to intrigue to rid himself of the Slayer. He welcomed her to our dark court with one hand—and held the poisoned blade to her neck with the other. But it never touched her.
She smiled and simpered prettily at the Baron, showed no hint of disgust at some of our baser entertainments—and left numerous Harkonnen assassins dead in the corridors of the keep.
She is too good to be caught. We cannot openly rid ourselves of her because we do not know why she is here, or whether something more powerful than Harkonnen sent her. She appeared one day, a guest of a visiting merchant lordling whom she had wrapped around her pretty, tiny fingers, and simply never left Giedi Prime. No one knows why.
The rumors began soon after her arrival: The Slayer was here. Slayer of what? Of Harkonnens? Was she an assassin? A spy, sent from any number of factions—Shaddam, the Spacing Guild, the Bene Gesserit witches, the Atreides—to bring us down? My uncle exhausted all avenues to discover her plans, and to rid us of the unknown threat she presented.
I waited and watched, knowing he would eventually turn to me to discover her secrets.
I thought long on how to approach her. Brute force would not work; if she did not fear my brother Rabban, she was impervious to terror. She was cleverer than my uncle’s spies, and deadlier than his deadliest assassins.
I saw how she manipulated the court with her sunny smile. How even in her rooms, which she surely knew were watched, she was composed. Even my uncle found her lovely, in the way one might find a serpent to be beautiful—with appreciation, but also with fear.
When brave, flirtatious courtiers gathered the courage to ask why she remained behind when the useful merchant lordling departed, she shrugged delicately and said, “Giedi Prime reminds me of my home.”
She smiled, but behind her eyes was a watchful, predatory light. She was perfectly charming to everyone.
Everyone except me. She never smiled at me. Her eyes, when they met mine, turned cold and empty—and I thought perhaps I was the only one to see her true nature.
She hunts us.
I was intrigued. So I watched. I had my spies watch. And when it was my turn to deal with the lady, I believed I had found her weakness.
Slipping up behind her in the great hall one evening, I put my idea to the test.
“Slayer,” I breathed in her ear.
She did not jump, did not turn, did not acknowledge my presence in any way. She simply stared ahead at the writhing, drugged Face Dancers, clapping politely with the rest of the crowd as my uncle cackled madly from his throne.
“I wish to speak with you, Slayer,” I said from behind her right shoulder. I slipped a finger down the back of her slender, golden neck, barely touching her skin, and watched with satisfaction as the smooth flesh prickled above the bodice of her elaborate gown. My plan would work. “You will indulge me, please.”
At this she smiled with just a touch of mockery. “You say ‘please’ so prettily, my lord. Surely I cannot resist.”
“That is not an answer,” I said, watching the side of her lovely face carefully, willing her to look at me.
“I am sorry—were you requesting my presence? I thought it was a demand,” she said, slanting her eyes at me and smiling wider, showing her teeth and reminding me of some of my dead brother’s more feral pets.
I smiled back at her, showing an equal amount of teeth. “You toy with me,” I said, delighted. She shrugged one elegant shoulder and remained silent.
“No matter. Meet me in my lord Baron’s private garden after the festivities, and I shall forgive you,” I said, leaning closer.
She inclined her head regally, her temple a mere breath from my lips, and then returned her attention to the Face Dancers—a dismissal. Something most people would never consider doing to the House of Harkonnen’s sole surviving heir.
I laughed out loud. The nearby courtiers froze. A plump, sweaty woman dropped her glass. My huntress continued to watch the Face Dancers, a polite smile on her face.
Delightful. I made a mocking bow to those nearest us in the crowd and left to prepare for our meeting.
Months ago I would have cornered the lady and taken what I wanted, whether by knife or fists. But her soulless eyes have come to haunt my dreams.
I was an innocent child once. But the Baron took me from my father’s house and honed me into a knife he could use at his pleasure—beautiful and venomous. I became accustomed to the horrors of House Harkonnen quickly, and learned to appreciate them before I reached manhood. My power over the Baron, who watched me dispatch his enemies with lust in his eyes, was limitless. He would deny me nothing.
The screams of the torture chambers and the terror of everyone at court no longer sing to me. Instead I watch her ignore us—me, the blood, the frightened courtiers, even my mad uncle—and I am fascinated. Her fearlessness satisfies me far more than the blind, terrified obedience of all Giedi Prime ever did.
Like me, she is a honed blade. Her innocence is equally lost. She is comfortable enough with her nature that nothing discomposes her; she is the consummate actress.
I have only ever seen her unguarded once.
For my uncle’s pleasure, my brother and I fought several of his guard one evening. It was hot in the chamber, and as I knew how to stay in my uncle’s good graces, I wore only a loincloth as I fought the soldiers. They of course could not kill us, but the battle was brutal nonetheless.
I caught a flash of green gown and golden flesh out of the corner of my eye, and turned to see my lady standing no more than ten paces from me. A guard, seeing my distraction, picked me up—and tossed me directly toward her.
She dodged me. I rolled and landed in a crouch staring up at her, an arm’s length from her full skirts. Blood lust from the fight pounded in my head. I wanted to reach out and grab her gown in both fists, throw her to the floor beneath me, bite her gorgeous mouth, bruise her neck with my fingers … I felt my body react.
I saw her nostrils flare in a deep breath, and her fingers twitched. I thought she would attack me, but then she leaned imperceptibly toward me, a promise of violence and lust in her eyes.
She wanted me.
The heat in her gaze was gone an instant after it appeared. But I knew. I dashed past her and broke the guard’s neck, then whirled and slit the last guard’s throat just as my brother prepared his own killing blow. I turned slowly, panting and covered in blood, and met her eyes again as my brother bellowed in rage and the court applauded.
I crossed to her as the court fell silent, and kissed her hand. She did not wipe away the blood.
I leaned against a tree in my uncle’s glass garden, waiting for the Slayer. His plants were poison and his trees were like great weeping skeletons, but there was an ethereal beauty to the garden nonetheless.
I heard nothing, but knew suddenly that she had come.
“Feyyyd …” she sang my name mockingly, her whisper coming from behind me.
I smiled in the dim light. “My lady,” I said mildly, not turning around.
“Feyd,” she repeated. Then she chuckled.
I turned my head to find her standing inches from my side, and my breath stopped as I saw her. She was encased in black, a blade strapped to her back, her hair cascading around her shoulders and an unholy light in her eyes. All thought of why I was there left me.
I stepped toward her, my hands reaching, and found myself on the ground a moment later with her boot on my chest.
“Feyd,” she said my name again. “Feyd-Rautha. Only surviving nephew of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.” She smirked down at me, and any lingering doubt as to who killed Rabban was gone.
“No, Feyd,” she told me as I reached to pull her down. Her foot increased its pressure on my chest and I gasped. “Feyd-Rautha. Feyd the tool. How does it feel, Feyd, to be a pawn to those greater than yourself?”
Later I would appreciate how excellently she played me. “I am no tool,” I hissed. “I am heir to the House Harkonnen, and if you are not careful I will have your tongue.”
She smiled at me again. “You may at that, young Feyd. But first, we should talk.”
The Slayer lifted her foot and swung me upright with alarming ease. I frowned at her and tried to regain control, but she simply cocked her head to the side and spoke over me.
“Will you marry the Princess Irulan, Feyd?” she asked me. I laughed at her.
“You need not fear, pretty one,” I said. “’Tis only a political match.”
She laughed in my face, and shook her head.
“Oh, Feyd … how little you know. Content little Feyd, wallowing in the blood and tears of his future subjects while his uncle and the Bene Gesserit arrange his future to suit their own ends. Oh, you did not know?” she asked coyly. “Yes, Feyd—you are the fruition of eons of plotting. The unthinking tool of a diseased madman’s dynastic fantasies, and the dumb product of a band of witches’ genetic manipulation.”
She told me everything. Told me of Arrakeen prophecies, the Kwisatz Haderach, of Margot Fenring’s child—my daughter, bred to salvage the line and the Bene Gesserit’s age-old plan if I were to die in my uncle’s savage court.
I listened to her litany without speaking. When she was done, I met her eyes and was surprised to see something warm in them.
“You did not know,” she said. It was not a question. “I had thought you might, but you did not.”
“No,” I said. Then, “Who are you?”
She watched me consideringly for a moment, then smiled. A slow smile. A savage smile. But real.
“I am the Chosen One,” she said. “The blood of my sister brought me to you. And if you wish it, I will help you crush those who make you their unthinking tool.”
My heart beat hard in my chest, and my ears roared with the rage I felt at her revelation. But what did she want?
I asked her.
Her eyes turned cold again, and suddenly a dagger was in her hand. “The witches helped to tear me from all I knew and bring me here. I owe them a debt of pain, and I will pay it in full,” she said. She drew her dagger along her palm and held her hand up, fingers spread, palm facing toward me. Her blood looked black in the dark garden.
“Will you join me?” she asked.
I looked at her unguarded huntress’ eyes and saw nothing but the truth. I would hear the rest of her story someday, but for now I wanted her. Her lust. Her furious soul. Her vengeance.
I reached out and grasped her naked blade in my hand, welcoming its sting, and used it to pull her into my embrace.
I clasped my bloody palm to hers.
“I will, Slayer.”