We Will Remember Them….
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Buffy Summers sheltered behind a large tree and peered round it at the French chateau in front of her. The dark bulk of the vast building shut out the sky, its turrets reaching upwards, the walls smooth, hard to climb. A light flickered in a window in one of highest windows.
She felt distinctly odd. It seemed like only minutes ago she’d been in her own time, on a continent thousands of miles away and now – hey, it was only minutes ago!
Now she was in the middle of a war zone, trying to rescue a Slayer with Spike – an evil, brown-haired, unchipped, deadly Spike, at her side. And there wasn’t time to work out exactly what was going on. She had the very strong feeling that this rescue mission was just the icing on the cake, that there was something else important that she didn’t know about.
“So – reckon the Slayer’s up in that room?” Spike’s mouth was close to her ear and she fought to keep her skin from tingling – with vampire warnings and that dreadful buzz of anticipation and longing she felt these days when he was close to her.
Buffy took a deep breath. “No – too many stairs for those in charge to bother with. You keep prisoners underground – somewhere easy for you to get to and hard for them to escape.”
Spike frowned. This Slayer with the odd accent was making sense but she was one weird girl. There was no mistaking the scent coming from her body. She was aroused – in some weird, perverted way, the American Slayer was up for – well, well! He got turned on by blood and mayhem, but he didn’t realise Slayers did as well. That was really interesting. It would make his hunt for them in the future even more enjoyable.
“So we head for the cellars.”
Buffy caught his arm as he strode forward and hissed, “Slow down, Bleach Boy! We don’t want to run into more guards.”
The raised eyebrow gave her a jolt in her stomach. The silly name had slipped out so easily but, of course, it would be years before this Spike bleached his hair.
“It’s a…an American name for – for – for someone who is in too much of a hurry. Too long to explain it now. Just do what I say and slow down.”
“Who made you the boss?” Spike snarled.
“No one. It just – jeez, I’ve had a lot of experience fighting. I’m the Slayer.”
Spike stared at her for a long moment. God, she was an irritating bitch. He was so tempted to just reach out and bite her. But he could see her fingers hovering over the stake in her belt and guessed it wouldn’t take much provocation on his part for her to try and use it. No, there was no point in fighting with her now; she might come in useful, even if was as bait. All that mattered was getting the Joy girl away from the Germans and back to England so he could negotiate Dru’s release.
He bowed and swept his hand in a low, sweeping gesture, allowing the American girl to go first and followed closely on her heels as she stepped cautiously out onto the gravel driveway that led to the main door.
“There must be at least one more guard,” he breathed in her ear, enjoying the twitch of her body close to his. She was obviously scared of him, regardless of her apparent confidence.
Buffy struggled to control her wayward response to the vampire. Every time he came close, her body betrayed her. She hated herself because this guy had nothing to do with her. He wasn’t her Spike. Except – it was!
“The one you got rid of was covering the main door – I guess there’ll be one patrolling the grounds and several inside.”
“So – we need some sort of diversion to get them out here. You do that – being the better fighter, as you say – and I’ll find Joy.”
Buffy looked at him suspiciously. “No way am I letting you wander around on your own. For all I know, you’ll try and kill her just to annoy me.”
Spike sighed in exasperation. “What is it about you Yanks? Why can’t you ever cooperate? Look, Miss Stars and Stripes, the woman I love is being held ransom against the girl the Germans have got as their prisoner. Why the sodding hell should I put her at risk, just to have a go at you?”
The woman I love! The words hit Buffy with the force of an express train. So he was doing all this for Dru. That was the reason he was putting himself in such danger. Heart and mind belonged to that mad serial killer who would do so much damage in the future. ‘But if Spike fails and Dru is executed, then she won’t be there in Sunnydale to kill Kendra.’
She could almost feel her brain hurting. If Spike failed - the desire to have Dru gone was overwhelming and she would be saving Kendra’s life! But – Buffy ruthlessly squashed the little voice inside her head that whispered not only did she hate Dru, but she was blackly jealous of her as well!
And, sanity swept over her, rescuing Joy was the mission – whoever achieved it, her or William the Bloody.
“OK, look, this is what we’ll do - !” She stopped, the breath taken from her as Spike vamped out and flung himself at her, forcing her back into a narrow stone embrasure in the great chateau wall. His body covered hers, his arms and legs holding her fast against the stones. His head was bent over hers and for a dreadful second she felt the graze of fangs against her neck.
Oh God, he was going to kill her! She had done what she had once sworn she would never do – let down her guard with a vamp at her back. But she was not going without a fight – she tensed every muscle, she knew she was as strong as he was – this was going to end now! Then a whisper, no more than a thread of sound said in her ear, “Bloody hell, will you keep still, Blondie.” And she heard footsteps on the gravel.
It sounded like several people were walking past, only twenty yards away. She could hear the shouts in German and the shuffling of many feet.
Then they were gone and Spike lifted his weight from her and had the cheek to grin. “Sorry about that, Slayer! But your blonde hair stands out like some bloody great torch.”
Buffy hesitated, then, “I didn’t hear them,” she admitted. “Thanks!”
“Think nothing of it.” His voice sounded odd and Buffy glanced at his face, frowning. He looked – she would have said upset, shaken, except this was William the Bloody and he didn’t do upset.
“Who were they? Could you see?”
“Prisoners – a whole bunch of – “ He turned away, feeling in his pocket for cigarettes, then realising he couldn’t risk lighting one. “Vamps, Slayer. They were vamp prisoners.”
“Oh!” Buffy bit her lip. “That’s – I suppose they get rounded up and put in prison or – ”
Spike shoved his hands in the pockets of his flying jacket. “The ‘or’ is the key word there. You must have heard the rumours, even over in Yankee Doodle Land. Camps for vamps, that’s what I hear on the grapevine. God knows what happens in them. No one’s ever got out.”
Buffy realised she was about to reach out to touch his shoulder then pulled herself together. Sympathy was no use to Spike and if a whole load of vamps got dusted, why should she worry? They were a plague wherever and whenever they lived. People had been trying to get rid of them for centuries.
“Spike – concentrate - we need to find Joy. We can’t get sidetracked. And look, the sky’s getting lighter. Dawn’s coming. You’ve got to get indoors.”
He nodded: she was right, what other choice did he have? “We should follow those vamps. I reckon wherever they’re being held, that’s where we’ll find the Slayer girl.”
Five minutes later, the two of them were inside the chateau. They’d followed the guards with their prisoners, slipping silently along in the shadows that were getting lighter as the rain eased off and a weak sun struggled to break through the clouds. A small door in the thick stone wall had been opened and they’d watched as the small group of vamps were pushed and kicked through it and down a flight of steps into the dark below.
Buffy and Spike watched the last guard slam the door behind him, but the wood was swollen by the rain and even as they looked, they realised it wasn’t shut tight and it only took Spike seconds to force it open and for them to prowl down the steps, listening to the sounds of the vamps being escorted somewhere ahead of them. A scream rang out and Buffy realised a cloud of dust was drifting back along the narrow passageway to settle on her face.
“One less for them to torture,” Spike muttered viciously, vamping out, his eyes glowing amber and gold.
Buffy wiped the dust from her face. “Joy must be down here somewhere. We’ve got to find her fast, before they find us. Can you sense another Slayer?’”
Spike’s lip curled. “The stink of one Slayer is enough, believe me! But yes, she’s here. But lower down – there must be steps to another level. Yes, look, over there.”
Buffy stared down the spiral stairway. A faint light at the bottom glowed up through the darkness. She hesitated – they’d been lucky, so far, but it wouldn’t, couldn’t last. And even as she thought it, a door opened and a young soldier stood there – his uniform jacket was missing, his shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbow, his dark hair falling over his forehead, his eyes wide with surprise.
Buffy swung her leg up and out, her foot connecting with his chin before he could shout, catching him as he dropped to the floor.
“Kill him!” Spike snapped.
“What? No. He’s out cold. We don’t need to kill him.”
“What the sodding hell is wrong with you, Slayer. Kill the bastard. Here – get out of my way.” He lunged forward and Buffy flung out an arm to stop him.
“No! I don’t kill people. I’m a Slayer, not a murderer.”
Spike stared at her, anger and puzzlement fighting together on his face. “What planet are you from? We’re at War with Germany. Remember? They kill us, we kill them. It isn’t murder. It’s war.”
Buffy felt sick. She shook her head and dragged the young man back into the small office he’d come from. She knew he would be unconscious for ages yet. She couldn’t kill him in cold blood. This wasn’t her war. She had a mission but no right to slaughter humans. If they got in her way, tried to prevent her taking Joy away, well, that would be different. Even then, she couldn’t kill out of hand.
Spike leant against the wall, watching as she tied the soldier’s hands behind his back, ripping a towel she’d found into strips with ease. He stared down at the small, slender figure: a small gold locket. shaped like a heart, gleamed against the odd material of the black top she was wearing. After all that had happened it wasn’t creased. Even her trousers – a dark green that clung to her slender hips, seemed foreign to his eyes. Obviously the Yanks had access to stuff they couldn’t get in England.
And what was with the not killing? She was going to ruin the whole rescue mission. He wished violently he could just kill her and be done with it, but he had a nasty feeling that she could still be useful. She was a bloody good fighter, he’d say that for her.
“Come on. Get your arse moving, Slayer.”
Buffy shot him a murderous look, finished tying up the soldier and pushed past Spike without a word. The treads of the spiral stairway were slippery under foot, polished almost to a shine by hundreds of years of moving feet.
At the bottom of the stairs, a dark passage led further into the depths of the chateau cellars. Barred cells were set into the damp rocks and from their dark depths Buffy could hear moaning. Spike strode in front of her, his head tilted, seeking for just one particular cell.
He stopped suddenly and beckoned to Buffy. A second passage ran at right angles, crossing their path. Cautiously, they peered round the corner and saw where an area had been hollowed out of the hillside. A German soldier sat at a wooden desk, reading. Behind him was a heavy, nail-studded door, a small grille set at eye height.
“She’s in there,” Spike muttered. “Right, what do we do now, Slayer?”
Buffy fingered the stake in her belt. If only she was fighting vampires, she wouldn’t hesitate. Even demons could be killed without a qualm. But another human being? This time, she had no choice.
Just then voices sounded, someone was shouting further down the passage. The soldier shut his book with a snap, called a reply, picked up his rifle and ambled away.
“Breakfast,” Spike said. “His lucky day.”
“You speak German?”
The vampire shrugged. “The longer you live, the more you pick up, sweetheart. Perhaps I’ll even get to understand what you are saying one day. But that would mean continuing to have you around, so I won’t bother!”
Buffy glared at him, then hurried forward and peered through the grille in the prison door. It was almost black inside the cell; only one small candle flickered on the floor.
“Hello! Hi! Joy – are you there? Can you talk?”
Something stirred in the dark and then a new noise cut through the damp, airless cellars. From inside the cell came the sound of a baby crying!
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