Chp 28 Spies....
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 Twenty-Eight Spies?
The sun was fighting to cut through the clouds as Buffy made her way through the woods towards the Chateau. She was glad it was going to be a sunny day – it would keep Spike inside the cattle shed until she was long gone. If it had been dark, she wouldn’t have trusted him not to follow her, just out of curiosity. But now he would eat the charm and forget all about her.
Back in England, Colonel Monroe and Valerie Figgs had assured her that all Spike would remember was that Dru had escaped from captivity and that he had to find her again. His time in France with the Slayer would be wiped from his mind.
“And the same thing will happen to you when you swallow the charm,” Valerie had said firmly. “You’ll go forward into your own future and just – well, carry on as normal, I suppose.”
“But I won’t remember any of this? Joy, Aurora, Spike, even Henry?” Buffy had joked, looking at the toad who gazed back with a disdainful expression.
“That’s right. Everything will have gone.”
Buffy had nodded her acceptance of this, wondering why the truth left her feeling sad. This time had nothing to do with her life in Sunnydale in 2001. She had failed in her mission to return Joy to England – it wasn’t her finest hour!
Buffy slowed to a halt as she crested a rise and realised the trees were thinning and the great grey shape of the Chateau was beginning to appear. Sheltering behind the trunk of a vast beech tree, she peered round it cautiously. The woods she’d just hurried through had been oddly empty – no German soldiers on patrol and no sign of anyone local. In the back of her mind she’d hoped that Joy would appear, would have survived the last battle and be willing now to go home to England, to be reunited with her little daughter.
Was she still alive or had another Slayer been called already. “Let’s hope she isn’t French if she has,” Buffy muttered to herself. “Two’s too many, three would be impossible. Spike would freak!”
She glanced over her shoulder, expecting to see the vampire lounging against another tree, lighting one of those foul French cigarettes, glaring at her. A cold shiver ran up her back. Of course he wasn’t there. Hours had passed since she’d left the cattle shed: he’d have swallowed his half of the charm and be on his way across Europe to find his lover by now.
Buffy pushed her hand past the bulk of Henry, who was sleeping in her jacket pocket, and fingered her half of the purple and black striped candy. She knew, of course, that she had to eat it and go home, she didn’t belong in this time, but she was determined to check out this Professor Walsh before she went. The thought sickened her that an American was involved in the horrors the Nazis were unleashing on the vampires and demons they had captured. Killing vampires was her mission in life and she was good at it. She had no idea of the numbers she’d staked over the years, but you did it quickly and cleanly. She could still remember the cages in the Initiative. The torture, pain and suffering imposed on things that couldn’t fight back – jeez, it just hadn’t been – well, it hadn’t been American!
She stared at the brooding bulk of the Chateau. From where she was standing she could see the long, windowless building in the grounds, surrounded by barbed wire. Spike had called it a vampire prison. What the hell was going on in there? Buffy shuddered: she knew only too well that it wasn’t just vampires and demons that were being experimented on in camps all over Europe. People – men, girls, even children were being used as guinea pigs in sick experiments.
She shook her head to dispel the pictures: there was nothing she could do about that, but if there was any way she could stop this Professor Walsh from whatever he was doing, then that would mean this whole time travel thingy hadn’t been for nothing.
Buffy pulled the American passport out of her pocket and flicked it open. Dr Chester Barnes had been a man in his late forties. The picture was as hideous as most passport photos but he seemed to have fairish hair and glasses. She wondered if anyone had found his body or if the Resistance had dealt with it in some way? She remembered the young soldier she’d left unconscious at the side of the track and shuddered. She didn’t think his life would have lasted long if the French freedom fighters had found him.
All she needed was a few hours inside the Chateau; time to discover what was happening.
“And the best form of defence is attack,” she muttered. “Or should that be the best form of attack is defence? Sometimes I reckon I should have listened more carefully to Giles! OK, Henry, hunker down and don’t croak too loudly.”
Buffy tied her hair tightly behind her neck and taking a deep breath, walked calmly and confidently out of the woods and along the driveway that lead to the main door of the Chateau.
* * * * * *
Buffy hid her jump of surprise and turned to see a tall, fair-haired man wearing an immaculate grey uniform standing in the doorway.
A couple of hours had passed since the guards at the Chateau door had led her inside and escorted her at gunpoint to this room. On the wall above the fireplace hung a huge painting of Adolf Hitler. An elaborate, carved stone ceiling soared above her head and somewhere a draught caused one of the tapestries hanging on the wall to flutter and bang against the grey stones.
“Yes, I’m Buffy Summers and hey, I do not appreciate being treated like a prisoner. I’ve been waiting here for ages. What’s your problem?”
The man walked forward and sat behind a desk inlaid with ivory and mother of pearl. He gestured to a chair and Buffy sat, her every movement showing her impatience and irritation at being kept waiting.
“I am Oberst Visser. I am in charge of this facility. I trust you can understand my English?”
Buffy nodded. “Perfectly.”
“That is good.” He paused. “Can you explain, Fraulein Summers, why an American young lady should suddenly appear at our gates, demanding entrance to speak to one of our employees? Perhaps you are a spy? Perhaps I should throw you in a cell.”
Buffy raised her chin and pretended to be Cordelia Chase at her most supercilious. “Do I look like a spy? I am Personal Assistant to Doctor Chester Baxter. I believe you know his name? We have come from the States to help with – well – with the project!”
Oberst Visser frowned. “Indeed. We have been waiting for Dr Baxter to arrive. Has he been delayed?”
Buffy felt a surge of relief. They hadn’t found the bodies! Or the jeep. This man had no idea that Dr Baxter was dead. “Yes, for a few days. I was sent ahead to – to – check out – things with Professor Walsh!”
The Oberst tapped his fingers on the desktop then picked up his letter opener, feeling the needle sharp point with his thumb. There was something very odd about this young woman’s sudden arrival. “And where is your transport, Fraulein?”
“My jeep broke down – several miles away. The driver is trying to mend it. A local farmer in his cart gave me a lift. Now I would be grateful if you would escort me to Professor Walsh. I have some figures for him from Dr Baxter.”
Buffy pulled out the paper with the list of numbers and letters on it that she’d found inside the Doctor’s passport. She wasn’t quite certain what she would do if the German refused – but the window looked easily broken and she had already discovered that they were only on the second floor of the Chateau. She reckoned she could jump quite easily and be away before the alarm was raised.
Oberst Visser stared at the paper. He felt complete disgust for what the scientists were trying to achieve here at the Chateau, but his orders were quite clear, the American Walsh and this Doctor Baxter were to be given every assistance. He glanced up at the picture hanging above the fireplace. And those instructions came direct from the Fuhrer’s office!
He stood up. “You have had a long journey, Fraulein Summers. Allow me to arrange for a room to be put at your disposal. Although this is a military establishment, we are like a family. We do not stand on too much ceremony. I am sure you will wish to, how do you say, ‘wash and brush up’ before meeting Professor Walsh. And perhaps some coffee, although I am afraid we have difficulty in obtaining the best.” He laughed. “There is a war on, you know!”
Buffy smiled politely. “And I will meet Professor Walsh – ?”
Oberst Visser nodded. “I will inform him that you have arrived. When you are ready, perhaps you will make your way down to the main hall. I will arrange for a guard to escort you to the Professor’s laboratory.”
“Jeez, I’m sure I can find my own way – ”
“No, no, I insist. You are our guest, Fraulein Summers. The work your good Doctor and the Professor are undertaking is extremely important to the Third Reich.” His top lip curled for a moment in what, to Buffy’s surprise looked like disgust, then he went on “Yes, extremely important.”
* * * * * *
Spike paced moodily around the dark shed, tossing the purple and black sweet from hand to hand. Two hours had passed since the Slayer had left and he guessed she was back in the future by now. Could you say back in the future? he thought angrily. Didn’t make sense, even in Yankee talk. Well, she’d gone, anyway, and good riddance! It wasn’t fair to a self-respecting vamp to change the rules and have two Slayers around at the same time. Wankers changing the rules! And she’d been such a slip of a thing.
“Taken her with one hand tied behind my back,” he muttered. “Can’t believe that I end up working for her in the future. She must have got that all wrong. I bet I have a plan to kill her – probably a good plan and I need to be close to her to make it work!”
He paced faster; he loathed being trapped indoors. “So, I just eat the charm and everything inside my head that’s to do with the American Slayer just vanishes. Huh! How do I know this thing won’t wipe my brain completely, turn me into a raving lunatic? How do I know this isn’t a Council scheme to get rid of me?”
For one ridiculous moment he found himself thinking “I’ll ask Buffy,” then could have kicked himself where it hurt for being so stupid. The Slayer had gone: just like that. One kiss and off she’d hurried. “Can’t think what’s so wonderful about 2001 that she wants to get back to it!”
He opened the shed door and stared out. The sun had vanished behind a thick bank of cloud. There was only a short stretch of grass to cover before he would be inside the shelter of the woods.
He put the sweet to his lips, then hesitated. For some reason, the witch back in England had been quite certain that both he and the Slayer had to eat the charm. But if Buffy had already gone, then there was nothing to stop him from just carrying on as usual. He would find Dru, make plans, cause havoc and enjoy himself. And if he did remember the Slayer, well, that would give him an edge when they met again in the future. She wouldn’t know him, but he’d know her. And now he’d been told that her Mum hit him on the head with an axe, well, perhaps he could duck faster now he knew what was going to happen. Mother and daughter – he could take them both. He didn’t think another vamp had ever killed a Slayer and her mother on the same day. Liam would be green with envy. He’d pout and sulk and Spike would enjoy telling him the story every time they met.
Spike pulled his flying jacket over his head and before he could change his mind, covered the ground into the woods. He was beginning to smoulder as the deep green shade swallowed him up and he turned his face to the East. Somehow he knew that was where he would find Dru.
But he’d only walked a couple of miles when he stopped. Sod it! What if him not eating his half of the charm meant the Slayer was stuck in 1943? What if she hadn’t gone? A flare of pleasure ran through his body, puzzling him until he realised it was because it gave him the upper hand over the American girl. If it needed both of them to work the charm, then he’d insist on being paid for his help and just another sodding kiss wasn’t going to be enough! No, a man had needs and even if she was the Slayer, he reckoned she might be glad of a lesson or two he could give her! Then he’d eat the charm!
He grinned and began to retrace his steps, back towards the Chateau. If she was anywhere around, he’d sense her and then - he moved faster, his mind picturing her mouth, her skin, the warmth of her body close to his. He’d strip her clothes off, one by one and then - All this being colleagues in the future was a load of bollocks. He knew what she really wanted, because it was the same as -
“Big Bad’s on his way, baby!” he was saying in a dreadful American accent, when the net fell from the trees above him!
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