Chp 13 "I will fight!"
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.
Chapter 13: “I will fight!”
Buffy sat with her eyes shut, savouring the quiet of the woods, waiting for Spike to return with water. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been able to just sit and do nothing. There was always something that needed doing, someone who needed slaying, someone to help or kill – all snipping away at her, piece by piece until she was all gone.
She was so thirsty! She wondered which she wanted more – a drink or a shower. Grimly, she was well aware that days without washing properly had left her feeling gross and probably smelling the same way. But then she imagined bottles of cold, cold soda, icy milk, juice with ice cubes rattling the sides of the glass –
Opening her eyes, she sat up. Had she been asleep? No, just – just relaxing. But she was also aware that Spike had had enough time to bring her a whole lake of water. Where the heck was he? Stupid vamp!
Buffy slid out of the jeep and stared apprehensively into the dark green undergrowth that surrounded her, listening for the sound of someone approaching. But she could hear nothing, just the faint rustling of leaves in the breeze.
She opened her mouth to yell Spike’s name – then stopped. She had no idea who was wandering around in these woods. Spike had told her they weren’t far from the plane – unless he’d been lying again!; there would be German guards, soldiers on patrol, the last thing she needed was to end up a prisoner with no passport or identification on her.
Suddenly a trickle of doubt wormed its way into her mind. Why had she relied on Spike returning? Why should he? She didn’t mean anything to him, just another Slayer, someone to be avoided or killed, depending on how he felt at the time. All he wanted to do was get back to England to rescue Dru – the woman he loved.
And everyone leaves you in the end, a little voice whispered in her head. Your Dad, Angel, Parker, Riley – they all go. Why should Spike be any different?
OK, the Spike from her own time, chipped, professing to love her, she knew without a doubt that he would move heaven and earth to bring her water. But this Spike - ?
Grimly she forced her way through the holly bushes, trying not to wince as their sharp edges scratched her face, glad that she was still wearing the heavy leather flying-jacket Spike had given her.
She almost felt a click in her brain. He’d given her his jacket when she was cold! He hadn’t needed to. If her reasoning was right, he should just have looked at her shivering, shrugged and forgotten about it. But he hadn’t! So there was one tiny part of him that was identical to her Spike. Which meant –
Buffy struggled to force the answer away, not look at it, think about it, even acknowledge that it existed, but she couldn’t. That meant that the chip had nothing to do with Spike’s behaviour towards humans! Oh, it stopped him feeding, but it didn’t make him kinder or more considerate or more able to fall in love –
Buffy shut her thoughts into a tiny box, buried it deep in her head and threw away the key.
Suddenly she stopped – she could hear voices. Cautiously she eased herself out of the dense holly bushes and found she was looking through some spindly trees to a small clearing.
Her stomach roiled with tension as she took in what she was seeing. There were several people in the glade – men in dark clothing, their swarthy faces hard and determined. Joy, the English Slayer, was standing talking to one of the men, her baby propped on one hip.
Behind her in the shade, was a farm cart drawn by a weary looking piebald horse. And slumped on the ground, his arms tied above his head to the top of one of the wagon wheels, was Spike! Even from this distance she could see the bruises on his face and as far as she could tell he was unconscious. What the hell was going on?
Pure, unadulterated anger surged through her body and she reacted before she could think, covering the ground between her and Joy before anyone could move. But as she skidded to a halt next to the English girl, Buffy caught the unmistakable glitter of steel as knives were drawn.
“Joy! What are you doing? Jeez, Spike’s on our side. Let him go!”
The other Slayer spun round, relief washing across her face. “Buffy! You’re alive! We thought the vampire had killed you. Pierre, my husband, has been trying to make him talk. Now I can get rid of him.”
She drew a stake from her belt and whirled to face Spike, her hand drawing back over her shoulder, the baby jostled on her hip bursting into tears.
Buffy had never moved so fast before – somehow she got between Joy and Spike and her hands fastened over he girl’s wrist, deflecting the stake to one side. “No!”
The two girls stood, glaring at each other.
“He’s a vamp! Why are you always protecting him? It sickens me!”
A torrent of French broke from the taller of the men. He strode forward, eyes gleaming and Buffy could see a wicked looking knife, held low by his side.
“Look – Joy – tell your husband that Spike’s on our side. I know he’s a vampire. I know you don’t understand why I’m protecting him. I hope you’ll trust me on this, but listen to me – I will fight all of you if I have to. He’s only here to help you get back to England.”
Joy gazed at the slimmer girl’s face. She made a swift gesture towards her husband who stopped, but didn’t put his knife away. Two other men moved slowly towards them and Buffy realised in sick horror that to save Spike she would have to fight humans, not demons or vamps, but real, live people who were doing what they thought was right.
Could she do that? Then Spike groaned behind her and she clenched her fists. Yes, she could. She would!
Then, suddenly, Aurora, the baby, chuckled, her tears vanishing as she reached out a chubby hand towards Buffy. She’d seen the gold locket swinging from the Slayer’s neck and tried to grab it.
The tension broke and Joy gently handed the child to her husband. “OK, Buffy. We won’t fight you over this. But you have to go. The Germans are hunting for Pierre and his resistance fighters. They’re confused about you and the vampire; you’ve done so much damage, they believe the British have sent in special troops to help us. That is good. We plan to launch an attack on the chateau while they believe we have more fighters than we do.”
Buffy reached down to touch Spike’s face. “He can’t fly the plane like this.”
Joy hesitated, then said, “Tonight we intend to take out the soldiers guarding the plane. He must be ready by then. It’ll be your only chance. If that fails, then you’re on your own. We can be of no further assistance. We have plans that do not involve you.”
Buffy bit her lip. “And you still refuse to return to England?”
Joy smiled and glanced across at the tall Frenchman holding their daughter. “I am with the man I love. I will always be a Slayer. I will do my duty, but I will not leave Pierre. I must fight at his side, even if that means I die at his side.” She gave Buffy a strange, sharp look. “When you fall in love, you’ll understand what I mean. But then, perhaps you already do.”
Buffy felt hot colour flood her cheeks; she couldn’t reply, she didn’t dare. “He’ll need shelter until dark,” she said at last.
Joy nodded and gestured to one of the men. He approached, knife at the ready and Buffy tensed. But all he did was cut the ropes holding Spike’s arms upright. Picking him up, he slung him roughly in the back of the cart then gestured to Buffy and snapped out something in French.
Wishing she’d paid more attention – well any attention come to that – in French class, she vaulted up into the cart. The man gestured again and she lay down next to Spike as a smelly old tarpaulin was pulled over them, plunging them into complete darkness.
She could hear the chink of harness and someone talking to the horse. She realised it had been taken out of the shafts and was being led away.
Joy’s voice sounded close to her ear. “This is the best we can do to hide you, Buffy Slayer. The cart is often left here unattended; be silent; the Nazis may come but hopefully will see nothing out of the ordinary. Tonight we will return and attack the plane.”
“What if Spike isn’t conscious by then?”
Even buried in the dark, Buffy could almost see the other girl shrug.
“Then you will both die. Vive la France!”
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