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We Will Remember Them by Lilachigh
Chp 8 Not Cricket
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We Will Remember Them….

By Lilachigh

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.
Laurence Binyon

Chapter Eight

Not Cricket

As the stuttering machine gun fire ripped through the trees, sending showers of leaves spiralling to the ground, Buffy and Spike flung themselves flat, then rolled desperately towards the bushes that surrounded the glade, seeking cover.

“What the bloody hell - ?”

“Are they shooting at us?” Buffy pulled a stake from her waistband and then pushed it back with a moan of disgust. Oh yes, Buffy, great idea. Let’s tackle a gun with a piece of wood!

Spike could still feel the power of her filthy kiss in his mouth and hoped to God they were and that the bullets would take out this Slayer once and for all. “Who the hell knows, Slayer? We’re at war, remember? People shoot at each other all day long.”

Another stutter of guns came from the woods on their right.

“I reckon they’re trying to make us give away our position. Come on, we’ve got to get out of here.”

“But what about Joy? We can’t go without her.” Buffy lifted her head enough to peer down the track into the village. It was deserted: the children and old men had disappeared. Not even a dog moved as somewhere the gun spoke again.

“Reckon she’s playing you for a fool, Slayer. And if we have any chance of finding her again, we need to be alive.” She turned to look at him and, to her great annoyance, found he was grinning at her, his eyes sparkling. “Well, you need to be alive. I just need to be no deader than I am at present.”

“You’re enjoying this!”

“A fight’s a fight, pet. Nothing better for a vamp. You can’t tell me a Slayer doesn’t feel the same way. What we’re born to do.”

“Don’t call me pet,” she replied automatically. “And I’m nothing like you. Never have been, never will be!” She glared at him as he pursed his lips and made kissing sounds, knowing that these were sarcastic and nothing like the sounds he made when he really –

She ducked her head as more bullets flew overhead.

“I’m getting out of here, Slayer. Come or stay. Up to you!” And with a lithe twist, he wriggled backwards through the bushes and, bending low, ran deeper into the woods.

Buffy bit her lip. But getting all dead was not going to help with the mission to rescue Joy and so she took a deep breath and followed him.

* * * * * *

London – 2001

Dorcas Twigg, Witch in Residence for the Watcher’s Council, poured out a mug of liquid from the glass jar bubbling on top of a Bunsen Burner in her underground laboratory.

“Ahh, hot milk! Nothing beats it for relaxing mind and body, especially when you add brandy to it,” she muttered to herself and sipped appreciatively as she studied a large book whose pages had been stained over the centuries with far more exotic mixtures. “Really, Rupert Giles, it’s all very well you coming down here, all tweed jacket and apologetic smiles, asking for the impossible. You know Wednesday should be my half day off and I can just imagine the Accounts Depart giving me extra pay just because I have to make you a spell!”

Absentmindedly, she tickled the toad who’d crept into her lap as she read. “I must admit it’s a very intriguing situation, Flanagan. I do wish these records were clearer. I know there was a war on, but that was no excuse for bad handwriting. Right, it’s obvious that they want Joy Slayer back in England – but they don’t say why. They’re happy to sacrifice future Buffy Slayer because she has already died once and so has a back-up in place. But that means – ” she closed the book with a thud and leant back in her chair, tilting it onto its back legs at a perilous angle.

“So why not dispatch the back-up to France? From what I know of Faith Lehane, she would be far more suitable for the type of cold-blooded killing needed in 1943. Rupert mentioned something about Buffy Summers having feelings for the vampire. Was that why they didn’t send Faith? Because she would have staked him without a second thought? And why send William the Bloody to France? Why send a vampire at all and if you had to, why that one?”

The chair crashed down onto all four legs and the toad leapt for safety. Dorcas mopped some spilt milk off the book’s leather cover and frowned. She was missing something but for now that would have to wait. She needed to concoct a spell to give Buffy Summers a chance of getting back to her own time.

* * * * * *

France – 1943

The inside of the cave was dark and damp. Buffy had been startled when Spike had apparently vanished into a rocky outcrop surrounded by a tangle of brambles and thorny bushes.
Wincing, she’d pushed her way through and found the cave entrance. Crawling inside, she exclaimed in disgust as her hands sunk into something revolting.

“Ewwwh, what’s that?”

Spike was sitting with his back to the cave wall, enjoying the dark. “Could you make any more noise, Slayer? We’re supposed to be hiding from the German army, remember? And it’s the remains of a rabbit. I reckon foxes use this or perhaps wolves.”

Buffy crawled faster until she reached the part where the tunnel widened into a proper cave. She collapsed next to Spike, fingering the stake in her belt, glad of the damp rock at her back. “There aren’t any wolves in France. And how did you know this cave was here?”

In the little light seeping in from the entrance, she could see William the Bloody raise one dark eyebrow. “Oh right. You being a Yank would know all about French wild life, of course. And I found the cave when you and Miss High and Mighty Slayer vanished earlier. Thought we’d all need somewhere to kip tonight, somewhere the squaling of that baby wouldn’t be heard by the entire Third Reich. And must you sit so close? You’re giving me the creeps. I’m going to stink of Slayer for weeks.”

Buffy inched away, angry with herself, knowing that automatically she had leant against the shoulder that was usually always there for her to do just that. She felt a wave of depression sweep over her. She was failing her mission; that was obvious. OK, she’d rescued Joy from prison, but jeez, surely that wasn’t enough? Spike’s task was to get Joy back to England; that was what was important to the Council and there was no way she could help him do that. The other part of her task – to kill the vampire involved – was not an option, of course, so she might as well drink the charm and go home.

But – she gazed into the darkness – she knew her depression was caused by something more than a sense of failure. She could hide from the Germans, but not from the truth - she was out of her depth.

Vampires, demons, apocalypse, end of the world stuff - she could cope with all of them and more. But this was a different type of war, one fought with guns and bombs and suffering on a vast scale. She knew from history books what evil was happening in Europe at this very minute and that nothing she could do was going to stop it.

But what would happen when she swallowed the charm Quentin had given her and returned to her own time in Sunnydale? Would she remember that this Spike hated her, couldn’t bear to have her touch him? And that was odd – she frowned. Why hadn’t they recognised each other when they’d met all those years ago at the Bronze? Just as important, would she remember that she had failed? That sometimes, one Slayer, no matter how good she was, could make no impact on world events.

“Why the long face, Slayer? You look as if someone has just killed your pet puppy. And talking of puppies, blimey, I could eat one now. Anything with blood in its veins. I’m starving.”

“You make me sick!”

“Likewise, I’m sure. Look, Slayer, why the hell don’t you just shove off back to where you came from? I’ve got work to do and babysitting you wasn’t in my brief. By the way, how are you getting out of France? Nice little boat waiting to pick you up on the coast somewhere? Good luck, mate. We’re a bloody long way from the Channel.”

Buffy didn’t reply. She fingered the little glass vial in her pocket, the charm that would return her to 2001. She wondered briefly what William the Bloody would say if she told him she was from the future; that in that time they were – she desperately tried to think of a word – friends, colleagues? – not lovers, of course.

“I’ll be leaving tonight,” she said suddenly. He had to know so that when she disappeared he wouldn’t think she’d been captured. “What will you do?”

There was a long silence. Buffy turned to look at him and in the gloom his face appeared stern, the curly brown hair looking so odd to her eyes.

“It’s getting dark; I’m going back to the village. I have to find Joy and take her to London, whether she wants to go or not. I have to, otherwise my princess dies – but – ”

“But what?”

Spike shrugged. “I’d love to have a go at taking out the poxy wankers who are experimenting on my kind. Straight forward staking, ok, that’s fair and square, part of the game. But you saw what they’d done to that poor sod in the woods. Bastards!”

“Not cricket,” Buffy murmured, remembering words Giles had used many times.

Spike stared at her, puzzled, then laughed. “Well, I’d never say that, not being the poncy sort of git who runs around in white, defending my wicket with a bat, but you’re right, pet. As the chaps at Lords would say, Definitely not Cricket!”

Buffy pushed her hair back from her face and tightened the ribbon holding it. “I’ve got a nasty feeling worse things are happening to humans than are happening to vamps, Spike. OK, listen, I’ll let you go first. Be safer than the two of us trying to get through the woods together.”

The vampire nodded. “Right. Well then – “ He hesitated: he’d been about to say ‘Take care’ which was stupid because he’d be overjoyed if the Slayer walked out of here and straight into a hail of machine gun fire. But then perhaps it would be better if she stayed alive for a bit longer. She’d draw the Germans away from him, especially the noise she made walking through the woods!

“Safe journey. Good luck,” he managed, then turned and crawled away up the tunnel towards the darkening entrance to the cave system.

“Bye,” Buffy whispered. “Take care of yourself, stupid vamp.” She took the little bottle out of her pocket and stared down at the greeny-blue mixture swirling inside. One sip and she’d be back in Sunnydale – back with all her worries and problems; looking after Dawn, trying to earn some money, worrying about Willow and totally freaking about her relationship with Spike.

Suddenly she realised something that had been hovering at the edge of her mind for hours. Since she’d arrived in France, she’d experienced more emotions, felt more genuine feelings than she had since the gang had brought her back from the dead. It was as if here she was alive again, really alive, not just going through the motions of life.

She twisted the cap off the bottle and tilted it slowly to one side. Why, she could sneeze and the charm would pour out onto the floor and that wouldn’t be her fault, would it? She would have to stay here, safe in France.

Then the cold rush of truth swept over her. Dawn – there was always Dawn to think about. She’d promised her mom that she would look after her. Dawn needed her; she couldn’t vanish again from her sister’s life, as much as she wanted to.

Steeling herself, Buffy lifted the bottle and gulped the minty liquid down in two swallows. She shut her eyes and waited. Now the cave would vanish and she’d be back in Sunnydale, back in 2001.

Sighing, she opened her eyes. The cold, dark cave welcomed her.


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