Chp 25 The Big Secret
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 25 The big secret
Buffy stood at the window of the little cottage and looked out over an English village where dawn was rising, the gentle sun bathing everything in a calm, dove grey light. The village reminded her of a picture she’d seen once in a book of nursery rhymes Dawn had loved – although she knew she hadn’t really, of course – but memory could obviously be manipulated in many ways -
– a duck pond, thatched cottages, a church buried amongst great trees, the square tower just visible through the leaves. She wondered what that graveyard was like. Was it infested with vampires at times? Perhaps she should write a book “Graveyards I Have Known,” by A. Slayer. She was sure it would be popular with future Slayers.
It was difficult to realise that only a few miles away, towns and cities were being bombed, that people were dying. Even harder to remember that across the Channel, in Europe, dreadful, atrocious things were being done – not by vampires or demons, but by humans to other humans.
The calm of the outside was in stark contrast to the stormy atmosphere inside the cottage bedroom. Colonel Monroe and Valerie Figgs had been arguing for the past fifteen minutes about the morality of a Slayer having sex with a vampire for her own benefit. Because according to Valerie, the Witch in Residence to the Watcher’s Council, it was the only way to make the charm work if it was to return Buffy to her own time and wipe her memories and those Spike had of all they’d done together in France.
Neither the Colonel nor Valerie had ever contemplated a situation where William the Bloody would still be on the earth nearly sixty years in the future. They had never believed he would live more than a few months more and had been certain that what he knew now would vanish into the dust he became.
“I appreciate that it’s an extremely difficult situation,” the Colonel had said forcefully, pacing up and down, “but he’s a vampire! It doesn’t matter if he’s been helping us or not. If he was, it was under duress, not of his own volition. And he failed: he came back without our Slayer, without Joy and with the added inconvenience of her child.” He stopped pacing and muttered under his breath, “And I was so certain that Joy had to be rescued from France. Why should the signs be so definite about that if it wasn’t true? I don’t understand.”
He ran his hands through his dark hair; the strain showing in every inch of his body and returned to the problem in hand. “I’ve rescued him from the Council - I’ll lose my job over this! I’ve even promised to let him go and I’m prepared to keep my word, but that’s as far as I will go. For a Slayer to have a relationship with a vampire – no! I’m sorry, that breaks all precedent. I know I do not see eye to eye with the Council on many things, but this – it’s – it’s just unacceptable. I can’t sanction it under any circumstances.”
“But Miss Summers will be unable to return to her own world if this doesn’t happen,” Valerie said. “I can find no way of sending her there, except to use the charm. But her memory must be wiped and so must the vampire’s. Surely – I mean, I can’t imagine anything worse – but after all, she just has to, well, lie there while he – well, does it! She doesn’t have to – take part,” she finished in a loud whisper.
“Sitting right here,” Spike broke in, sounding bored, but his eyes were gleaming through the dried blood his face. He shifted on his chair, trying to ease his arms that were tied behind him. “Look, I’m all for getting my leg over whenever possible, but shagging a Slayer! You couldn’t pay me to do that. So, unless she wants to take me by force…forget it. And what’s so difficult about getting to the USA anyway. Why can’t she just get on a sodding boat like the rest of us have to do? With any luck a U-boat will take care of her once and for all and we can forget about everything that’s happened.”
He glared at them, firmly putting out of his mind a night not so long ago, the dark heat of the French farm-cart, the smell of vegetables under the heavy tarpaulin cover, and what he and the Slayer had done. Or had they? Perhaps he’d dreamt it all. She’d been putting a mojo on him from the moment they met.
The Colonel and Valerie Figgs ignored him; only Henry, the toad, peered out of the witch’s pocket and stared impassively. Spike glared back then glanced at the Slayer’s back. What the bloody hell was so interesting out of the window? Any second now the sun would be up and he was more concerned with the fact that there were no curtains to shut it out.
“So, there’s an end to the matter,” the Colonel said at last, sounding exhausted. “Miss Summers – we’ve come to a decision. I know it will be difficult for you, being separated from your family – I take it you do have a family – oh yes, you mentioned a sister, I believe – but as a Slayer, you must have always expected the worst to happen. Living in England won’t be nearly as bad as that! Of course, there will have to be a few rules and regulations regarding you mentioning, well, anything, really. But you know all that. And perhaps when the War is over – ? In the meantime, Valerie will do her best to come up with some other charm to return you to your own world as soon as possible. Miss Summers – Miss Summers?”
Buffy sighed, squared her shoulders and turned round to face him. “You just don’t get it, do you? You seem like a nice enough guy, Colonel, and you’ve saved our lives, but here you are, just like all the members of the Council I’ve met before, trying to tell me what to do. But you can’t. You couldn’t in my world and you can’t here. I’m the Slayer: I don’t need your permission to do anything; Joy doesn’t need your permission, either. I know that’s hard for you to understand, but get over it.”
The Colonel looked stunned and Valerie gave a little squeak and sat down heavily on the edge of the bed. Henry gulped.
“That’s telling them, Slayer! Poncy gits, all of ’em.”
“Shut up, Spike! You’re the problem, don’t forget.”
“What, just because you don’t want to shag me? Your loss, pet. Or are you scared once you’ve done a vampire, you’ll never want to do anyone else? Poor little Slayer! I’d be ever so gentle with you. Oh, is that the problem? You like it rough? Why, you’ve only got to ask. Obliging, that’s my middle name!”
Buffy took a quick step towards him, her cheeks flaring red, her fist clenched. He stared up at her, the sneer fading from his lips as their gaze caught and held. There was a roaring inside her head – she was smashing through the floors of the abandoned house, holding him effortlessly between her thighs, riding him till he moaned and groaned and spun her round to punish her in a way that left her weak and gasping for more and more…
She turned away, but not before she’d seen the flash of puzzlement and desire cross Spike’s face – and she felt a surge of pleasure. Whatever he said, whatever he felt for that mad mass murderer, Dru, he didn’t hate her as much as he said he did!
The Colonel had got his breath back and was trying again to make his point. “You can’t honestly be telling us that you intend sleeping with that – with William the Bloody? Where’s your self-respect? Your pride as a Slayer?”
“My what? Pride? Hey, I’m proud of what I do – proud of saving lives, making the world a safer place. I came from America when I was called in order to help. I’m sorry I couldn’t rescue Joy, but I’m glad that at least we got Aurora out of France. I’m the Slayer; I’m trained to do that, to risk my life every day. Now, ordinary people are doing exactly the same thing. They have no choice, but they still do it. But there’s always a cost. Always! Hundreds of thousands of them are dying. Jeez, if all I have to do is sleep with a vampire in order to get home to continue with my mission, well, then, so be it.”
“Still sitting right here! What the sodding hell do you people think I am? Some sort of sex toy?”
Buffy turned round to him, her expression stopping his words in mid snark. “I know it’s a lot to ask, but trust me, OK? I’ll explain everything.”
Valerie Figgs looked interested. “You intend telling him the truth? Is that wise, my dear?”
Buffy shrugged. “I’ve trusted him in the past and will do again in the future. So I may as well trust him in the present, especially if that charm works, as you say it will. Then neither of us will remember what happened to us.”
“The future - ? Yes, it’s fascinating that William the Bloody has survived until – “
“Valerie!” The Colonel held up a warning hand. “We must be careful what we talk about. So Miss Summers, if you will not heed my advice, what do you intend to do next.”
Buffy glanced at the witch. She had the oddest feeling that the large, cheerful woman had more than a touch of sympathy for her situation. “You say I need to be in France for this to be successful?”
“I’m not certain; it isn’t an exact science.” Valerie pulled the large purple and black lozenge out of her pocket and wiped the fluff from its sticky surface. Buffy hoped with all her heart that Henry hadn’t been licking it. “This was sent from your colleagues. Whoever made it was very clever, obviously an extremely talented witch. I would love to meet her. But I can’t be sure that if you use it here, away from where you first arrived in France, that it will work properly. And once you’ve eaten it, if nothing happens, then there’s no second chance, of course.”
“So Spike and I need to get back to France.” She turned to the Colonel. “Is that possible? We crashed the plane.”
Colonel Monroe sighed. “If you’re determined, then I’ll find a way.”
Buffy nodded and turned to Spike. “If they untie you, will you promise me not to feed on anyone?”
“You expect me to starve to death, Slayer? I’m fading away even now.”
“I’ll find you some blood. I just need your word that you won’t make any trouble on our way to France.”
Spike hesitated. He was hungry, he wanted to feed, he wanted to kill the Slayer. She would be his second; that would be one up on Liam. The thought of giving his word not to feed and meaning it – well, that was a concept he hadn’t thought about for a very long time. It was odd that this Slayer seemed to believe implicitly that once he promised, he would stick to it. That she trusted him. A small flicker of something he would once have called pride swept through him.
“And the shagging, Slayer? Are you ready to dance? Is that still on the agenda?”
Buffy stared down into the face that was so familiar and yet so different - brown curls, still soaked in blood and sticking to his forehead, the odd clothes, the smell of the French cigarettes he’d been smoking still clinging to his body. But the eyes were the same and unchipped or not, they seemed to laugh up at her. She wondered how he would react when she told him that they knew each other in the future, knew each other very well! That there was no need for them to make love now because they already had – in the present and in the future. The bond was there; it burnt between them like a flame that could never be extinguished. But at the moment she had to persuade him to behave.
“If you want to get back to France, to start looking for your girlfriend, then you’ll do as I say.”
A shadow crossed Spike’s face – bloody hell, he’d done it again! Dru, Dru, Dru! He had to keep thinking of her, to blot out whatever this insane feeling he had for the Yankee bint.
“OK, Slayer, don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’ll come with you to France. Poxy place! Still, it’ll get me on my way east. I bet that’s where my Dru’s headed. A lot of death out there. Death and destruction.”
Buffy winced. She knew better than anyone else in the room exactly how much horror Dru would find when she reached Eastern Europe. It seemed absurd that she had come all this way through time and could do nothing to make the slightest difference. Obviously being a Slayer was fine during an apocalypse, but not a world war.
Colonel Monroe left to make arrangements and Valerie announced she would cook breakfast and did Spike think raw black pudding, made locally with pig’s blood, would help his hunger.
“With fried onions?” he asked hopefully, giving her a smile that sent the colour up into her cheeks.
“I’ll see what I can do.” And she whisked out of the room, leaving Henry squatting under the bed, eyeing Spike’s bootlaces with a hungry stare.
“Are you going to untie me, Slayer?”
Buffy shook her head. “Not yet. It wouldn’t be fair on them. Monroe would throw a fit if I did and I’m pushing him to the edge as it is. We need his help to get to France.”
Spike leaned back to ease the tightness of the ropes that were cutting into his wrists. He didn’t mind the pain, but he hated being tied down. He supposed he could break free if he wanted to – the wooden slats of the chair seemed a bit flimsy when he tested them – but he knew it would upset Buffy. Stupid name for a girl!
“So, pet, what’s the big secret everyone knows but me? All this sodding flapping around in order to get you back to the States. It must be something special to get the Watcher’s Council jumping through hoops. And I’m not getting involved in any magic charm until I know what’s involved.”
Buffy sat down on the edge of the bed, stroking Henry’s head as he jumped into her lap. She couldn’t blame Spike: she would probably feel the same in his position.
“Before you begin, light me a cigarette, will you. I’m dying for a fag. And don’t tell me it’s bad for me, again. I’m dead! Remember?”
Buffy sighed and reached across him to fish a squashed packet of cigarettes out of his back pants pocket. Her hair brushed his lips and he fought to control the shudder that ran through his body.
She pushed a cigarette between his lips and forced herself to plunge her hand into another pocket to pull out the metal lighter he’d stolen in France. She was too close! She could feel the chill of his body through the thin material, almost count his eyelashes as their heads met.
She clicked the lighter, wrinkling her nose as the smell from the French tobacco filled the little room. He nodded his thanks, his gaze never leaving her face as she sat back on the bed, fondling the lighter, not looking at him directly. He could still smell the carbolic soap she’d washed with and under that a scent that was just – her! He drew in a deep breath, imprinting it on his nerve endings, knowing that from now on, he would never forget it, would always know whenever she was around.
“The secret’s very simple, Spike. I’m the Slayer; I live in a town called Sunnydale in California on top of the Hellmouth and the year is 2001. And we – well, we know each other. Know each other very well. I want to go home, Spike, and apparently, you’re the only person who can help me.”
And raising her head, she found herself smiling at the look of astonishment on his face.
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