Chp 26 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.
Chapter 26 Lies!
Spike still couldn’t believe it. “Tell me again.”
Buffy sighed – this was the third time she’d related how they’d met. “Your hair’s sort of platinum blond.”
“Why would it be blond?”
“Jeez, Spike – the colour of your hair doesn’t matter! That isn’t the most important part of the problem.”
“And I wear a long leather coat? OK, that I can believe. Wonder where I got it from?”
Buffy shut her eyes and swore under her breath! An hour ago Colonel Monroe had left the cottage as she began her explanations to Spike, saying he would try and make arrangements to transport them both to France. She’d insisted that Spike be untied, giving her word that he would behave.
She’d helped him to the bathroom and watched as he’d plunged his head into a basin of cold water, scrubbing the blood from his hair as she told him of Sunnydale and a world he would one day inhabit.
He’d towelled his hair dry without saying a word, but his eyes were watchful. Her explanations dried up as he pulled on the disreputable old linen shirt that Valerie Figgs had found him. Dark blue and collar-less, it had apparently belonged to her father and now shut from Buffy’s sight the bruises and cuts that criss-crossed his skin. Now Spike was sitting in the kitchen where the curtains were shut against the morning sun, devouring the huge breakfast Valerie had placed in front of him – raw black pudding, a piece of uncooked steak and fried onions all washed down with a vast mug of very strong tea.
Buffy refused to turn away as he bit into the steak, blood trickling down his chin, his eyes glowing golden for a couple of seconds. He had to regain his strength: she had the feeling that was going to be important. The blood she could accept, but she had never been able to understand why Spike seemed capable of eating ordinary food and enjoying it.
When the witch left the room – Valerie admitted she found being close to a vampire who was free to move around very unsettling - Spike sat, feeding toast crumbs to Henry the toad. His silence was unnerving: Buffy couldn’t remember the last time in this year or in the future when Spike had been silent for longer than five minutes.
Eventually, exasperated, she said, “Have you understood anything I’ve just told you?”
Spike raised an eyebrow. “Might not be the brainiest vamp around, pet, but yes, have a sort of idea that you’ve travelled back in time from the next millennium where apparently I’m still alive and we know each other.”
He shrugged. “It explains you being weird. Explains your clothes, even the way you talk. It’s magic, isn’t it? There’s a lot of it around if you know where to look. I don’t like the stuff myself; I’m more a bite and drink kind of guy. My Dru loves it all, though. She’s always seeing weird portents in the stars and swears her dolls talk to her when no one else is listening. Once she spent nights dancing round Stonehenge, calling up all sorts of spooks and spirits. Waste of bloody time because Liam just killed them as soon as they appeared. He’s not keen on mojo is old Angel. Hey, do you know him, too? Is he still hanging around in America like a big wet week?”
Buffy bit her lip. She was trying her hardest to tell Spike just enough to convince him that they would share a connection in the future, but there was no way she was going into all the details of her love life and she certainly didn’t want to sit here listening to him showing his affection for Dru so openly.
“So who won the War?” he went on when she didn’t reply. “No, don’t tell me. I want it to be a surprise. I’ve no idea why I’d be in America, although they’ve got some great cars I’d like to drive. And why are we both still alive in the same place? I’d have thought I would have bloody well taken you out – killed my second Slayer.” He speared the last piece of fried onion and offered it to Henry who burped loudly and shut his emerald eyes in disdain. “Or you could have staked me, to be fair. Got to admit you’re not bad in a fight.”
“We fought when we first met,” Buffy admitted. “You nearly killed me but – ”
“I let you go?” Spike sounded amazed.
“No, my mom hit you over the head with an axe!”
Spike’s eyes gleamed with amusement. “Bully for Mrs Summers. Sounds as if she’d make a better Slayer than you, pet.”
“Don’t call me pet and – ” she hesitated, then blurted out, “Mom’s dead. She – she liked you.”
There was a silence. Spike found he had reached out to clasp the Slayer’s hand and silently swore at himself. “Sorry about that. I remember my mum dying too.”
Buffy blinked away the tears that still burnt her eyes when the raw memories still burnt her mind. “I never thought of you having a mom!”
Spike tipped his chair back at a perilous angle and Henry leapt under the table to have a friendly chat with a spider. “Well, I didn’t come out of a blooming egg! ’Course I had a mum. And a dad, though he popped his clogs when I was a nipper so I don’t recall much about him.”
Buffy thought fleetingly of her own father. She could remember the good times spent with him when she was small and the place deep inside her that knew her being the Slayer was the reason he’d left home, whatever her mom had told her.
Her hand went to her neck to touch the locket her parents had given her for her thirteenth birthday and found bare skin. “Oh great - I gave my necklace to Aurora to play with, didn’t I? I bet someone is wearing it by now. Probably that farmer’s wife at the airstrip.”
Spike’s chair thudded back down. “Forget your sodding jewellery and that bloody kid, Slayer. What do we do next?” His mouth curled into a wide smile. “Well, I know what we’re supposed to do, of course, but somehow I don’t think the witch will be that impressed if she finds us shagging on the kitchen table.”
“Sticks and stones, Slayer. Sticks and stones. If the witch is right, I’m your passport out of 1943, so you have to be nice to me.” As he curled his tongue behind his teeth and leered, Buffy resisted the urge to punch him on the nose. Because he was right. Being nice to Spike was apparently her only way home. And the worst thing of all was that she so desperately wanted to “be nice” to him. She wanted his mouth on her body, his tongue tangling with hers, the feel of those hard, cold fingers on her breasts.
Spike shot her a look. He knew that scent, knew when a woman wanted – but the Slayer? God, she was a weird girl. He was convinced she had witch in her blood. How else could she have made him imagine that they'd had sex together when she was having that nightmare out in France? Yes, seriously weird girl. He might stake a Slayer, but shag her? No way. He fervently hoped he didn’t have too much to do with her in the future she spoke about: Dru would kill him if he did. Dru! “Is Dru with me in the future? Dark haired girl, small, big eyes.”
Buffy fought to control her feelings and her voice. “Yes. You were with her when you arrived in Sunnydale.”
Spike gave a sigh of relief. That was all right then. Whatever connection he and the Slayer had, it couldn’t be that deep if Dru was still around. He would never feel for anyone the way he did for her, he told himself. “So, we’re what – enemies, friends, pen-pals?”
“Working colleagues,” Buffy replied, crossing her fingers under the table as she used to do when lying to her mom when she was small.
Under the table, Henry, who was good at lies too, ate the spider.
“You – help out sometimes, you know with demon problems, information, that sort of thing. You get paid!”
Spike nodded. That sounded okay; he would do a lot for cash, even shag a Slayer if he had to.
“So, we go to France, do some naughties, chew the charm and then you vanish in a puff of smoke and I get on with enjoying myself. Of course, what will probably happen is we swallow that toffee thing and die screaming in agony. Do you really trust the Council?”
Buffy yawned. She was so tired; all she wanted to do was sleep. Did she trust the Council? No, of course she didn’t. But Colonel Monroe and Valerie seemed okay people. She didn’t think they would betray her. The Colonel had risked a lot to rescue them and the witch was the type of woman who seemed oblivious to power struggles and conflicts.
“Not so much, but I think the Colonel and Valerie are all right. And I haven’t got much option, have I? Not if I want to get home again, although I imagine some people, namely a certain Quentin Travers, will be surprised to see me.”
Spike glanced up sharply, his senses alerted by a tone he could hear in her voice. “If he was the bloke who sent you, why didn’t he give you some sort of return ticket?”
Buffy shrugged. The betrayal still burnt inside her, a dull flame that she knew would never go out. “I suppose he imagined I wouldn’t survive long enough to use it. And there are two Slayers in my world – losing one wouldn’t harm anything. I’ve died twice already!”
There was that note in her voice again. Spike frowned: not that it was any of his business and, of course, he couldn’t care less if the Slayer’s feelings were hurt, but it made him strangely uncomfortable listening to her talk about betrayal and death.
“I take it I wasn’t responsible or either of them, otherwise I doubt we’d be sitting here, all domestic and cosy, having a nice chat over the toast and marmalade.”
“I didn’t know you when I first died. And the second time – that was, well, it was necessary to save the world. You – you saw me die.”
“Good!” That was good, wasn’t it? Watching a Slayer die must have been the highlight of his year, even if he wasn’t the one who killed her. He frowned. “But you came back?”
Buffy shut her eyes for a second then gave a little shrug. “I was – called back by my friends. It was a difficult time – is still. I felt – you said - Jeez, it isn’t important what I felt, Spike. I’m back.” She laughed but it wasn’t a happy sound. “I saved the world and still couldn’t rest!”
“So, if you’ve already averted some poxy apocalypse, why were you sent here to rescue Joy?”
Buffy found herself smiling. “That’s just it! Did I come back to save her or is it ‘not’ saving her that counts? I don’t know. I do know that I saved the world but perhaps the next time I won’t be around and it’s something Joy has done or will do that’s important.”
Spike drained his cup and stared down at the tea-leaves scattered over the inside. Dru liked to read his fortune when they drank tea: she would see danger all the time; strangers coming into their lives – and blood, always blood. Sometimes she lost control, seeing fires and smoke and mobs of people trying to kill them. He’d tended not to listen because people trying to kill them wasn’t really a prediction, more a certainty. But sometimes she said things that were just daft – that some demon with antlers was going to change his life forever. Yeah, how likely was that? But even all Dru’s weird and wonderful predictions had never been as odd as the story this girl was telling him. OK, it was great to know he wasn’t going to be dusted any time soon. Sixty more years of mayhem ahead. A bloke could live with that. But he still felt the Slayer was keeping something from him. What the bloody hell was he doing working for her? Even for money. Had he lost all his self-respect in those sixty long years?
He looked across the table at the American girl. She was fondling the toad who’d jumped into her lap, her strong, slender fingers massaging the skin round its neck. Spike had a sudden shameful desire to know what it would feel like if those same fingers fondled the skin on his –
“Right!” He dropped his cup back into the saucer so hard it cracked and lit a cigarette. “So what do we do about the shagging?” He smiled sweetly and fluttered his eyelashes at her, determined that she would never guess what he was really thinking. “I mean, I’m game, but I’ll need cajoling. I’m a sensitive soul and doing a Slayer will give me the heebie-jeebies.”
“You haven’t got a soul, sensitive or otherwise.”
“Why the hell would I want one of those? I was eternally grateful to Dru for helping me get rid of the one I was born with. All it did was stop me enjoying myself.”
Buffy’s fingers stopped stroking and Henry chirruped crossly for her to start again. “You’ll never have one again, so we don’t have to worry about it. Can we just concentrate on getting back to France? Then – well – things might be clearer by then.”
Spike looked puzzled. “Clearer how? ”
Buffy looked away: she still couldn’t decide how much to tell him. He seemed to have accepted that they knew each other well, even the time travelling hadn’t freaked him out, but to tell William the Bloody that they were having sex on a regular basis – she didn’t think he would believe her. Jeez, she didn’t believe it herself most of the time – except when they were – well, not having sex when all she could think about was doing it again. Because when they were, everything else went away – the continuing grief for her mom, worries about Dawn and money, being a Slayer with no future, being pulled out of Heaven to face a world that seemed harsh and uncaring. When she was in Spike’s arms, she was warm and happy and content.
The vampire sitting across the table from her, sucking the last of the raw black pudding from its rind in a disgusting fashion, was not the same guy. But, of course, he was.
So, OK, she would tell him and trust she could reach that part of Spike that in years to come would care for Joyce and Dawn – and even profess to love her. Show him that they didn’t need to have sex now because the physical connection between them already existed.
Her time in 1943 had to end, she had to return to her own world and cope with all the problems she faced there. One thing she had learnt, she thought grimly, was that when compared to things that had happened to ordinary people in the past, she really had very little to freak about.
Just then the kitchen door opened and Valerie came in. “Ah, Miss Summers. I have your own clothes here. I’m sure you’ll feel happier wearing them.”
Buffy thanked her, looking in astonishment at the clean, dry jacket and jeans. Valerie saw her expression and went pink. “Yes, don’t tell the Colonel! I know I am not supposed to use magic for domestic purposes, but I had no way of getting them dry overnight.”
Buffy grinned. “I won’t tell if you don’t! I’ve a friend who uses magic all the time but I don’t think she’s ever used it to do the washing. Jeez, that would save me a fortune in electricity!”
Valerie edged her way nervously round Spike and began clearing the table, obviously startled when he carried his plates over to the sink. Buffy left them to it, running upstairs to the bedroom to change out of her overalls. The door burst open as she was pulling her top over her head and as her head came free, she found herself looking straight at the vampire, who was leaning against the door, whistling silently.
“Like the lacy – er – underthingies, Slayer. The ones the girls wear today are much more substantial. That little bit of gauze doesn’t leave much to the imagination!”
Buffy refused to let him get to her. She picked up her jacket and was just swinging it round her shoulders when something flew out of a pocket and skidded across the floor to his feet. He picked it up, frowning. “Your passport, Slayer? Surely you don’t need one when you’re time travelling?”
He held it out and Buffy took it, puzzled. Then a flash of memory showed her the French woods, the soldiers with the jeep, Spike killing their civilian passenger, stealing his lighter, telling her he was an American, handing her the passport.
She opened it, reluctant to know whom their victim had been.
“Doctor Chester Baxter,” she muttered, staring down at the man’s face. Like so many passport photographs, it made him look like a criminal. She would never have recognised their victim from that. Well, whoever he had been, and whatever he’d been doing in France, he now lay mouldering in a muddy ditch.
As she flipped the pages of the little book, a folded sheet of paper slid out. There was a typed list of numbers and letters, none of which made any sense. But at the bottom of the page someone had written a note in pencil.
Buffy read it, refusing at first to take in the words. But they didn’t change when she looked at them again.
“Check vampire figures with Professor Walsh at the Chateau.”
And with a sudden surge of elation, she realised that now there was no way she could just tamely swallow the charm and go home.
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