Chp 10 : Following Orders
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.
Chp 10 Following Orders
“Over your dead body? Well, Slayer, that can certainly be arranged.” Spike dug his hands into the pockets of his pilot’s jacket, rocked on his heels and grinned at her. This was more like it! A fight with a Slayer. He could stop poncing around, being a good little vampire and not killing her. One fight and oh, it would feel so good to sink his fangs into that slender little neck.
He felt the roar inside his brain as he vamped out, then yelled in pain as her hand shot out and punched him on the nose. Before he could move, a foot had somehow come flying up from the ground, kicking him hard in the ribs. He spun, dodged and cracked a slap across her face, but even as he spun away from the blow that would have felled any other human, a fist was catching him and he was down on the floor with the Slayer kneeling across his body, her hands holding down his arms.
Spike relaxed. He knew damn well he could throw her off, but she wasn’t waving a stake around and his nose hurt too much. “Wod did you do thad for?” he muttered, sniffing blood back into his throat and swallowing happily. “Did I hurd you, Yankee girl?”
“Because you’re an idiot, that’s why! Honest to God, Spike, I should just stake you and be done with it.”
“Temper, temper, Slayer. Something’s got your knickers in a right old twist tonight, but there’s no need to take it out on me. I’m only following orders.”
Buffy shut her eyes briefly, remembering exactly what was going on at this very moment in Europe that people would justify by those words.
“Releasing an army of vamps and demons to ravage across the countryside is no way in any orders you received.” She was suddenly aware that she was sitting astride his body, her thighs close against his and rolled away quickly because it was all too familiar. “And you know I couldn’t stand by and let you do that.”
Spike stood up, cursing under his breath as blood dripped on his leather jacket. “They’re being experimented on; that’s obvious. They must hate the Nazis, Slayer. Surely that’s all that matters.”
Buffy shivered; the night breeze was chilly against her skin. The moon had vanished behind heavy clouds and the forest closed in around her, dark and impenetrable.
She fingered the gold locket round her neck. Her one memento from home. That was another stupid thing she’d done, of course; set off from California without suitable clothing. She felt her hatred of Quentin Travers swell up inside her. Jeez, couldn’t he even have warned her to take a sweater if he’d known she was going to be stuck here forever?
“What if I get them to promise only to kill German soldiers? Would that make it better?” Spike was beginning to run out of patience. She’d taken him by surprise when she hit him earlier; he wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Nice Slayer, and a good fighter – but – he shrugged mentally, he didn’t need her, he worked better alone. A Lone Wolf, that was what he was, a vampire hero, killing and destroying and –
Buffy hesitated. Her moral compass was getting spun round like a spinning top. “Could you do that? Why would they listen to you?”
The vampire smirked. “Well, I don’t like to boast, but – hey, yes, I do like to boast! I have a reputation in Europe, you know. William the Bloody – and I’m an Aurelian and that makes me pretty high up on the command chain. They’ll do what I say – ”
“ – otherwise you’ll kill them,” Buffy broke in.
Spike shrugged. “Then you’ll have got what you want, won’t you, Slayer, so don’t go all Sunday School on me.”
Buffy hesitated. More than anything, she wanted to get back to England, to find the Watcher’s Council headquarters and discover what the heck she was supposed to be doing here in France - because she had already worked out that it had nothing to do with Joy. She was fairly sure that had just been Travers’ ploy to persuade her to time travel back to 1940s France.
And she had to admit, she’d been flattered; OK there had been the whole “Faith is still alive so you are semi redundant and you’ve just got back from being dead anyway” thing, but she’d still felt a flicker of pride that she was the one chosen to rescue the captured Slayer.
Jeez, as if that was likely. If she’d been thinking at all, she’d have wondered why if that was possible, no one had ever been sent backwards or forwards in time to help her out during all the apocalypses, apocalypii, whatever the plural was! that she’d had to cope with.
No, she was here for another reason and if she was going to have to live and die in this age, she was damn well going to find out why.
Spike’s plane was her one way of escaping and if it meant Spike had to fly it, well, OK, she could live with that. But releasing vampires and demons – this was some messed up mission.
“Look – we’ll head back to where you left the plane and check it’s still there. The Germans might have moved it. If it’s there – ”
“You’ll agree to my plan?”
“I’ll think about it some more. No, don’t try and persuade me, Spike. That’s my decision. Let’s move. I’m getting cold. Jeez, it would be nice to argue with you some night when it’s warm!”
Spike smiled. “Well, that’s never going to happen, Slayer.” He stared at her white face; she did look cold and he could see she was shivering. Whatever sodding material the Yanks were using to make clothes, they certainly didn’t keep you warm.
With a sigh, he pulled off his leather flying jacket and tossed it to her. “Here, put this on. There’s no point in having you so cold you’ll mess up in a fight if we run across some soldier boys.”
Buffy hesitated, then accepting the sense of what he was saying, shrugged on the jacket, pulling a face at the spatters of his blood on the leather. There was, of course, no warmth from his body in the fur lining, but within seconds she felt the shivering fade. “Thanks.”
Spike shrugged. “Not as if I need it. Hot, cold, all the same to me. I could walk around in my birthday suit and not bother.” He leered at Buffy. “Mind you, be a bit of a treat for you, that, wouldn’t it, Slayer?”
“If I wanted to make myself violently sick, yes, the sight of your naked body might well do the trick.”
Spike wagged a finger at her and in the dark, she could just see his eyes sparkling. “You’ll never know what you’re missing, Buffy Summers.”
“Oh yeah?” she muttered under her breath then changed the subject. “OK, hero boy, which way is the plane? And for heaven’s sake, keep an eye open for the Germans.”
Spike frowned and turning, head away along a narrow path through the undergrowth. He was angry with himself. Why the bloody hell was he flirting with the Slayer? Dru would tie him up from the rafters and stick hot pokers into every part of his body she could reach if she ever found out.
If she’s still alive, a voice echoed inside his head and he felt a wave of apprehension sweep over him. Would they have killed her as soon as he left England? He didn’t trust the wankers as far as he could throw them. And he knew Dru wouldn’t have been a good prisoner. She’d have annoyed the hell out of her guards. Hell, she annoyed the hell out of everyone she met!
* * * * * *
London – 2001
Rupert Giles made his way through the twisting corridors deep beneath the offices of the Watchers’ Council to the small, extremely smelly room where Dorcas Twigg, the Witch in Residence spent her working hours.
The old lady looked up from her desk, a sandwich oozing bright blue, wriggling goo halfway to her mouth. “Ah Rupert, I wondered when you’d be back. Can I offer you some luncheon? I’ve been experimenting with tuna – trying to make it more interesting, but I’m not sure bright blue works for fish.”
Giles felt his stomach heave and resolutely turned his eyes away. “Yes, well, perhaps not at the moment, thank you all the same. Dorcas, I was wondering…I know you’re busy…but the charm for Buffy Summers…any chance of it being, well, you know, finished?”
Dorcas swallowed hastily – yes, perhaps that last spell on the tuna had been one too many. She rustled through the piles of papers, jars and bottles on her desk, moved a large, over caffeinated toad from inside her coffee cup and with a cry of glee held up a small plate. On top sat a piece of toffee, striped in purple and black.
“This should do the trick – I think.” She frowned. “There are really so many variables, Rupert, dear boy. The notes from the War days are so disjointed. Why was that particular Slayer called back? Why did they send the vampire, William the Bloody to France? And, most important of all – ” She peered at him over her half-rimmed glasses – “Why did Quentin ask you to make the original returning potion and not me? I have a high opinion of your capabilities – although perhaps not as high as you do yourself! – but that sort of magic is way above your head, Rupert. You must have known the mixture wouldn’t have enough power to return Miss Summers to our own time – why she could have ended up anywhere in the time line!”
Giles peered over the desk to inspect the witch’s work. Her words rang in his head and he knew she was right. But that was the reason he’d made a fake potion. He knew his skills weren’t great enough to make a successful one and there simply hadn’t been time to involve Dorcas; he’d known how vital it was that Buffy be sent to France immediately, that their whole world depended on it. But he’d also decided his Slayer would be better off there with a mission to live out, rather than stuck somewhere in the sixty years between if his return potion wasn’t strong enough. And Quentin Travers had agreed.
“It’s – complicated – political,” he muttered. “All that matters is getting Buffy back. But how – I mean, does she have to eat this? Which, let’s face it, begs the question of how as she is still in 1943!”
Dorcas sighed. “Really magic isn’t that complicated, Rupert. And for all that the Watchers of that time made a complete nonsense of their notes – half of which, I may tell you, are missing – thank goodness the office staff of that time had a little more sense.”
“Yes, Rupert, those girls who ran the offices – secretaries, clerks, typists, the people without whom no Watchers’ Council can function. There are at least thirty such people in this building now, although we do have boys as well as girls, and I doubt if you know the name of one of them!”
“Dorcas, just tell me – ”
“I looked in their files, not the Council members’ records, of course. And there it was. A note by a young post girl listing the sudden arrival ‘by magical means’ of an item thought to be a recall charm.”
“You mean, you send this – sweet - back and what – Buffy somehow discovers it and knows she has to eat it? My Slayer has many excellent qualities, but somehow I can’t see her doing that!”
Dorcas sighed. “No, Rupert, of course I wouldn’t leave it to the judgement of a young girl. The Witch in Residence will receive this and know what it’s for. Her name was Valerie.”
Giles felt a wave of relief rush over him. He took off his glasses, massaging the bridge of his nose, wondering when his head would stop aching. “That’s good, that’s wonderful. Dorcas, you are a marvel. So, you’re sending it back right away?”
The elderly witch nodded and looked at him with pity in her eyes. “Oh yes, that part’s no problem. Well, it calls for a lot of concentration, some radishes and three separate spells but eventually the recall device will be in Valerie’s possession, ready for Buffy Summers to eat. But, Rupert, there’s one part of the plan over which I have no control, don’t forget.”
Giles looked at her, his eyes suddenly wary again.
“To eat it, Buffy has to be back in London and back here at the Watchers Council. Yes, I’m sorry, Rupert, but your Slayer has to escape from France before she can be returned to her own time. And, from what I can gather, the only help she has is a vampire called William the Bloody who would most likely kill her rather than lift a finger to assist her in any way.”
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