Chp 12 Lies and more Lies
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.
Lies and more Lies
The jolting and swaying that had rocked Buffy to sleep, suddenly stopped as the German jeep slowed and stopped. With a cold shock, similar to being doused in icy water, she realised her head was pillowed on Spike’s shoulder, a lock of her hair fluttering against his lips. She flung herself sideways, trying to make more space between them.
“Nice snooze, Slayer?”
Buffy glared at him, pushing her hair behind her ears. The band holding it had vanished sometime during their drive. “Where are we? Have we reached the plane?” She gazed into the darkness, slashed through by the jeep’s headlights that faded away as Spike turned off the engine.
“Not yet. I know what you said about no vamp army, but there’s something I want to check first.” He swung himself out and vanished into the gloom, Buffy scrambling after him.
“Spike!” she hissed. “Come back. Where the hell are you going?” Jeez, could he be more infuriating? They needed to find the plane, disable the guards and get the hell out of France. Why the heck was he still thinking about a vampire army? She pushed aside the thought that this Spike seemed far less inclined to follow her lead than the one back in Sunnydale.
The jeep had stopped at the side of a narrow track cut through the woods where the ground rose sharply on both sides. Spike was striding up the steep slope without a backward glance.
Buffy looked at the sky and frowned: dawn was approaching fast. To the east were tinges of pink and mauve and the stars were vanishing from view. Spike could do what he liked, but there was no way she wanted to be in full view of any German patrol that happened along this road in daylight. And she was sure someone would be searching for the jeep soon, and the American civilian whom William the Bloody had killed earlier!
She fingered the papers that Spike had taken from the body. Who the hell was he, this man who’d obviously been quite at home with the German military? She started to pull his passport out of her pocket, then stopped. Spike had reached the top of the slope, threw himself flat and then beckoned urgently to her. The dew laden grass slid beneath her feet as she climbed the slope through the trees and she was about to complain bitterly about her jeans being soaked right up to her knees when he caught her hand and pulled her flat onto the ground next to him.
“What - ! ”
“Look, Slayer. Down there.”
Buffy wriggled forward and cautiously parted the damp grass in front of her face. She realised they were on the top of a ridge that ran along the hillside forming one side of the valley where the chateau stood. She could just make out its dark bulk against the paler sky, the beautiful, soaring turrets and steep, copper-tiled roofs, the small square yellow lights of windows cutting through the gloom. Even as she watched, a door was flung open and four soldiers appeared. They were half-carrying, half dragging two bodies between them, heading towards a wire fenced compound that had been built around a long, brick, windowless hut.
As Buffy watched, one of the soldiers unlocked the door and the others flung one prisoner inside. The other tried to break free and with a careless, backhand stabbing, one of the guards staked him and he exploded into dust. In the cold, clear air, she could hear the guards laughing as they made their way back to the chateau.
“Vamp prison,” Spike muttered, rolling over onto his back and gazing up at the ever-lightening sky. “Knew it must be there somewhere. I reckon they’re experimenting on them inside the chateau and that hut is where they keep them during the day. Did you notice, Slayer, no windows?”
Buffy eased herself back from the ridge and sat, hugging her knees, gazing down at the vampire beside her. She hesitated; what could she say? They were vampires – why should she care what happened to them as long as they got staked in the end? Terrible things were happening to living, breathing human beings at this very moment in camps all over Europe; things that Spike wouldn’t probably even believe if she told him.
“I’m sorry. I suppose it’s upsetting for you.”
Spike raised an eyebrow. “Upsetting? Who me? Bloody hell, no, not particularly. Was just curious, that’s all. Load of vamps I don’t know – foreigners, more than likely - ” He sat up. “Nothing worse than a poncy French vamp, believe me. They’re all so particular about whom they eat and where. You wouldn’t believe it. They won’t bite anyone too old or too young and watch out if they offer you blood, it’s sure to have had garlic added to it!”
Buffy mentally pushed his remarks aside, as she always did when Spike talked about vampire customs. She realised she did, but had never worked out why. Over the years she’d discovered so much that would have made Giles the happiest Watcher ever. But somehow she’d never told him everything she’d learnt from Spike. “So why did you want to see where they’re being held prisoner?”
Spike stood up, jamming his fists in his pockets. He shrugged. “Never know when information like that will come in handy. I mean, I reckon we could let them out and we’d have ourselves a great little army. But you’ve already made your views about that plan clear!”
She shook her head. “It’s too risky. How can we trust them to just kill Germans? I can’t leave hundreds of vamps roaming free in France and I can’t stay here to watch them. I have to reach England. I – I had a mission – to rescue Joy from the Germans. Now, well now I need to talk to the people in charge, those who know why I was sent to France in the first place. There must be some way of getting me back to – ” She’d been about to say “my own time” and stopped. “America,” she finished lamely.
Spike looked as if he was about to reply, then shrugged again and strode away down the hillside, back to the jeep. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, didn’t like these feelings that the imprisoned vamps sent through his body. He wasn’t some poxy do-gooder. He was the Big Bad, Scourge of Europe, William the Bloody! He had no right to be so angry and upset – and that was what these feelings meant.
He quickened his pace. He reckoned it was being close to a sodding Slayer that was making him have all these weird emotions. It was something catching! Like measles. She was quite right, blast her, whatever he said, he did feel upset. How the hell had she known? And why should it matter to him that vamps were being tortured? They weren’t his friends or family, just Froggie bastards, couldn’t even speak the King’s English.
He flung himself into the jeep and started the engine, not looking up as the American girl climbed into the seat next to him. The sooner he was away from her influence the better. He should have bitten and drained her as soon as they’d met! God knows what he was doing, flogging round France, acting as her bloody chauffeur. And all the time Dru was in danger of being topped by the army. And once they discovered that Joy wasn’t coming back to England, they would finish the job on his Princess without a qualm. He would have failed in his task, as far as the authorities were concerned.
“We need to find shelter again,” Buffy said suddenly as the jeep bucketed down the track, back into the woods. “Get off the road, into the trees.”
“Sun’s not up yet.”
Buffy sighed. “If you look behind you, there’s a large yellow object just coming out from behind a cloud. I really don’t care if you vanish in a puff of dust, but not while you’re driving.”
Spike braked so hard they both jolted forward. “You sodding well drive, then!”
Buffy rubbed her ribs where she’d hit something hard. “I’m sitting on the wrong side! And you know I hate driving.”
Spike frowned. “Listen, Slayer, I know you can fight, you’ve got stupid hair that keeps falling down and you’re too thin. Apart from that, no, I do not know you hate to drive!”
Buffy bit her lip. Jeez, it was so easy to forget where and, more importantly, when she was. “I thought I’d mentioned it,” she muttered, trying not to catch his gaze. The Spike in her own time always knew when she was lying. Why did she reckon that this one would find it just as easy?
Spike swore violently, started the engine again and swung the wheel, forcing the jeep off the road into the trees. They jolted down a slope, crashing through bushes until the jeep buried its nose deep under the thick, trailing branches of an ancient holly tree and stalled.
He gestured out of the window. “The plane’s somewhere behind those trees, Slayer! Help yourself. Fly away. Get the hell out of my life. Why don’t you just bugger off back to bloody America? Bloody Yanks! You wouldn’t catch me living over there if you paid me!”
He vamped out and Buffy’s hand moved instinctively to the stake in her waistband – then stopped. It didn’t take a genius to realise that she wouldn’t, couldn’t, kill him, otherwise he wouldn’t be in Sunnydale in sixty years time! Suddenly, she realised something else. Dru survived the war, too! So, that meant Spike returned to England, his mission a success. But how the heck could that be? There’d been no sign of Joy, the English Slayer, since she left Buffy outside her village and vanished with Aurora, her baby daughter. The chances of them finding her and persuading her to return to England were less than zero.
Buffy refused to break her gaze away from the golden eyes that glared at her and, as she watched, his face shimmered back to human. For a second, the man who played such an important part in her life was there in front of her; angry, upset, rocked by some emotion he couldn’t put into words. Then, as if a curtain dropped, his expression changed again and the cocky, arrogant, couldn’t-care-less vampire was back.
He pulled a packet of cigarettes from his pocket and lit one with the silver lighter he’d stolen from the American he’d killed. They sat in silence, the only sound the ticking of the engine as it cooled.
Spike dragged smoke deep into his lungs, enjoying the bite and taste, ignoring the way the Slayer’s nose wrinkled at the smell. At least she was quiet. He had to admit that, surprising as it was. Most women yakked away all the time. Dru never shut up, bless her, although he hardly had any idea what she was on about.
Dru! His Dark Princess, the love of his unlife, the woman who had saved him from mediocrity. He wondered what she was doing and pushed away the appalling, treacherous thought that in these circumstances he was happier having the Slayer at his side. But he still should be trying to get back to Dru, to save her. The vamps in the chateau prison would just have to fend for themselves.
A breeze was beginning to move the branches of the holly tree, the pointed leaves scratching against the jeep’s roof. But Spike was safe enough from the sun; no light pierced through the tightly-woven, dark green mesh that surrounded them.
“We stay here today and try for the Tiger Moth tonight – if it’s still there,” he said at last. “We’ll need to take out the guards fast - so there won’t be time for you to be squeamish, Slayer!”
Buffy glared at him. “That’s exactly what I am, remember - the Slayer, not a murderer.”
Spike threw the stub of his cigarette out of the window and shrugged. “Is it murder to kill during a war?” The vampire sounded amused.
“I suppose you’ve enjoyed all the death and destruction and pain that’s been happening!”
“Been a bit of a laugh, must admit. Bloody hell, Slayer, until the Army captured Dru and me, I reckoned it was some of the best times we’d had. You see, in a war no one notices the extra bodies lying around.”
Buffy tried not to react to Drusilla’s name. Making her voice as non-committal as possible, she said, “She’s your partner, this Dru?”
Spike turned his head, eyes sparkling. “You’ve hit the nail right on the head, Slayer. She’s my girl. My reason for being. She helped me when – well, when I stopped being a bloody fool and became the real me.”
A dull pain seemed to hang in Buffy’s chest. She knew she should change the subject, but it was like having a tooth that ached – you had to keep prodding at it to make sure it still hurt.
“Does she feel the same way about you?”
Spike looked puzzled. Did Dru love him as much as he loved her? He wanted to say yes, but – he wasn’t truly worthy of her and there, in the background, was always the brooding memory of Liam who only had to snap his fingers and Dru would -
“She’s there when I need her,” he said tersely. “And I’ll always be there when she needs me.” He peered at Buffy – the shadows from the dark green holly leaves had given her face a strange colour. She looked pale and sick. “Is there anyone in your little Slayer life you feel that way about? How about your Watcher? Aren’t the two of you supposed to be all lovey-dovey? That’s what the rumours say.”
Buffy rolled down her window and let the cool morning air flood into the stuffy jeep. She felt tears pricking at her eyes and blinked them away. What the heck was wrong with her? She’d always known that Dru meant the world to Spike.
“There is one person – recently I came back from….from a long journey. I’d – I’d been away and didn’t want to be home, didn’t know how to pick up my life and just carry on. He – this person – well, I wouldn’t have got through those weeks without him.”
Spike yawned. He was tired and as thrilling as Love life of Slayer probably was, the thought of sleeping was even more tempting. “Does he know where you are now?” he muttered.
Buffy looked at him sharply, but he’d wriggled down in the hard bucket seat, his back at some impossible angle, his boots propped up on the dashboard. “Yes,” she murmured softly. “He knows exactly where I am.”
An hour passed and Buffy moaned as she woke from an uneasy sleep. She sighed and rubbed her forehead, trying to ease the headache that was beginning to throb under her skull. Her dreams hadn’t been pleasant. She’d been killing German soldiers, knowing all the time that what she was doing was wrong for her. She’d fought wars with demons and vampires, but that was different, a battle between her and them. The outcome of an Apocalypse would be even more devastating than what was going to happen in Japan in a couple of years from now. She’d saved the world and died doing it. But that was her job! This was not her War. She’d been sent to accomplish one thing and technically she’d succeeded. Joy was free.
Now if she could just get to the Watcher’s Council in London, surely someone there would know of a way to return her to her own time.
“Can you hear water running?” she asked suddenly.
Spike, a picture of indolent grace, opened his eyes. “That was the best dream I’ve had for ages and you ruined it, Slayer! Yes, there’s a stream somewhere nearby. Why? – ” He sat up and stretched. “Thirsty?”
Buffy nodded. She was thirsty, hungry and ached all over. She was also disgustingly dirty and if a demon had appeared and offered her a hot shower in exchange for her soul she might have been tempted.
Spike peered out of his window. The sun seemed to have gone in; the day was dark and cloudy. Perfect. He sighed. “Stay here. I don’t want you blundering around so any patrolling Huns can hear you.”
“How are you going to – ?” She stopped as he pulled a silver spirit flask from his back pocket, unscrewed the top, gulped down the contents and grinned at her. “Never was a boy scout, but killed plenty in my time, pet. Knew this would come in handy one day.”
And before she could speak, he’d slid out of the jeep and vanished into the gloom of the forest.
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