You can beathe now as we return to our normal programing. This story is far from finished, and will probably get stranger, but I do actually have it plotted out finally, and know where it is going and why.
The test was over Buffy realized. Finally over at last´ she sighed in relief as new awareness crept into her mind that her surroundings had changed again. Except this time she knew with certainty it was not another journey, but the end of it at last. The blood ceremony was over. She had made it. She had survived all her challenges. Maybe too, she was back home, back in her own time, her own body, back to her life. But doubts of that began creeping in as she struggled towards full consciousness.
Her eyelids felt heavy as she tried to make them open, focus on where she was. But she couldn´t yet. It was just too much effort on top of all the pains, and all her aching body parts she was beginning to feel. And she did ache all over, and felt numb in others. Involuntarily, she shivered in cold, feeling ice cold stone under her body, and became aware that she was still underground. She could now feel the cool dampness of the ritual chamber that the Watcher had initially brought her to. She was still in the vast cavern underneath his home. Which meant she was still back in 1879, and still stuck in Elizabeth Wellington´s body. She felt like crying because it was so unfair. After all she had endured she was still being held here, lost in the past unable to get back to the ones she loved, and needed to protect.
She felt someone put a blanket around her, and she was grateful as she felt the cold began to dissipate a little. Buffy opened her eyes, and looked around. Yeph, same place as before," she thought grimly seeing the ritual cavern again. The Watcher, John Hyde, in his robes hovered nearby anxiously.
"How are you feeling? Is it still, Miss Summers?" he asked coming nearer, and squatting down next to her.
"Yeph, still me. I´m still stuck in your time. As to feeling-I´m just peachy, or will be in a couple of days. How long have I been out of things?" she managed to ask as she tried to sit up, and made herself do it anyway.
"Four days. Most slayer journeys do not last quite this long. I was beginning to worry if you would ever wake on your own. It appeared you had a rather intense journey," he remarked.
"You could say that. I went through a lot of things, I think, that weren´t on the normal program," she said sitting up and wrapping the blanket around herself. She looked over where Markus the vampire had been chained, and saw nothing but empty shackles. "And Markus?" she asked as she took a mug of something hot, and steaming that he handed her. Buffy took a cautious sip, then recognized that it was hot tea. She drank it gratefully realizing how thirsty she was.
The dark haired Watcher seemed surprised at her concern. "The vampire, you mean? When you killed him in spirit, his body here disintegrated as if you had killed him normally. Just as if he had been victor you would have died in this reality as well."
"But would I have died, or would have Elizabeth?" Buffy asked worriedly.
"You would have as it is your spirit that took the journey, not hers. And if you died on your journey, you would also be dead in your time as well, and she would stay permanently in your body because that is where she is now," he explained.
"Does that also mean if I get killed, say slaying, while I´m stuck here, the same thing is true?" Buffy asked.
"Possibily, I don´t know yet. Though I had hoped, as you most surely did, that somehow you two would switch during your ordeal, since that has not happened we must seek other means to achieve that end. You have no idea how any of this came about? There wasn´t a spell, a charm, or anything odd in your possession or about you?" he asked concerned.
"My friends, and Watcher were preparing the chamber while I was sent to another room to mediate. Giles handed me some smelly incense, and this big crystal to use to focus on. I hadn´t seen it before, and he said it was a special crystal used for ceremonies of this sort," she explained trying to recall the details of what had happened.
"A crystal? I am not familiar with a crystal in conjunction with this ritual. That is not a common thing. Can you describe this crystal, Miss Summers?" Hyde asked.
"Please, just Buffy, please, okay?" she asked, trying not to get irritated at his English formality. "It was quartz of some kind, pretty good size, and heavy, maybe about eight inches long, three or four inches around, smoky goldish looking, and shot with lots of little gold strands in odd patterns. I remember that it began to tingle as I held it, then I felt dizzy, and felt like I was being pulled somewhere, the next thing was I was in the workout room of the shop coming out of a meditation there and Spike was calling me. I got up, and went to him, but he looked different, not like he usually looked, his hair was dark and he was wearing glasses. Then he took my hand and we walked across through the door to go into the shop and then I was standing on the street in Elizabeth´s body and instead of Spike, I was seeing him as he had been when he was human.," she explained.
"I take it this Spike you mention is one of the vampires you are friendly with in your time, but currently he is not?" the Watcher asked surprised.
"Right. At this point in time he´s still human. Like I tried to explain when I met you, that he is Elizabeth´s fiancee, William Giles. He will be turned later this year if I remember the correct dates," Buffy told him, worried if somehow she might be altering history by telling him this.
"And how do you know this?"
"Some of this I know from reading Elizabeth´s slayer diary, and then Spike told me quite a lot about his past."
"You got him to talk about his life? I still find it hard that anyone could be friends with vampires especially with you being a slayer," he said shaking his head still having a hard time believing her.
"Yes, I told you that that we´ve been friends for a while. Him and Angel both. Angel is his grandsire. I met him soon after I moved to Sunnydale after I lost my first watcher. Angel the one with the soul because of a gypsy curse though that has happened to him yet, not for another ten or so years. While Spike has a chip, so he can´t hurt people. Neither of them are normal vampires," Buffy tried to explain, and saw that the Watcher still wasn´t buying any of this.
"This is still most distressing, and disturbing. You say your Watcher allows this fraternization?"
"He really hasn´t had that much say in it. And for a while I didn´t even know Angel was a vampire, because he didn´t set off the usual vampire alarms when he was around. I just though he was a really strange guy who seemed to know lots of things about slaying and what was going on in the demon world and helped me out on the slaying. And Spike was the same way, that I didn´t know he was a vamp right off the bat until he announced it. But in the beginning he and I were enemies, fighting all the time, but neither of us could even win against the other, it always came to a draw or our fight would get interrupted. Then later Angel lost his soul and turned super evil, and wanted to open the gates to Hell on earth. Anyway, Spike didn´t like that idea so we had a truce to stop Angel. I ended up sending Angel to hell just as he got his soul back and let Spike leave with Dru on the understanding that they both stay out of town. She dumped him after they got to Brazil, so he came back to bug me off and on for the next year. Then this secret government group called the Initative got him and put this device in his head that´s about this small," Buffy tried explain showing him by holding her fingers together.
"This chip thing?" he asked, fascinated with her tale despite her friendliness to the enemy.
"Yeah, it´s called a microchip, it´s like a real tiny electronic thingy, anyway it was designed to control demon behavior by this group. It made it so Spike couldn´t harm humans or any living thing without getting a super headache that would knock him to his knees if he tried. Sometimes even thinking about it would do it. I could pound on him and he couldn´t fight back or bite anyone. Couldn´t even feed like a normal vampire. He escaped from the Initative and came to us for help. Since we knew´ him, and felt sorry for him, once we found out the chip was for real, we protected him and in exchange for shelter and blood he helped us kill demons and vampires."
"I still don´t understand why you didn´t stake him." Hyde asked exasperated with this girl who would not do her duty.
"I get asked that a lot. It was tempting a few times, and everyone threatened to numerous times because he was so annoying, and obnoxious to us. But he was helpless, and harmless, and since he could kill demons he became useful in a way, and we got used to having him around." Buffy explained, carefully leaving out recent events.
"Helpful vampires that kill their own kind. The Council will not believe this, you know that?" Hyde said shaking his head, and helping her to stand up.
Buffy was feeling dizzy but she did manage to stand, though she did have to lean on Mr. Hyde for support. "They don´t in my day. Mr. Travers, the head of the current Council, and I do not get along, in fact I don´t work for the Council. I quit after they fired Mr. Giles for caring too much about me, after I survived my slayer test when I was eighteen. That was two years ago."
"You don´t work for the Council? But you still slay don´t you?" he asked appalled at her confession.
"Yes, I still slayevery day. I live on a Hellmouth, and I do take my slaying duties seriously as does Mr. Giles. You guys are in England, I´m in America. Giles is still my Watcher, but he is more than that to me, he´s like my dad, well everyone´s sort of Dad to all my friends too, and we all love, and respect him. But even with no Council looking over our shoulders we keep the demons down, and Angel does his bit with his group in LA."
"I thought you said Angel was in Hell?" he asked confused now as they exited the big chamber and began walking down the passageways back to his house.
"He was, but he came back about six months later, but like hundreds of years went by for him in that dimension, but he still had his soul. Then he left after I graduated from High School, and moved to Los Angeles, and has a detective agency that specializes in demon hunting, and helping people. He´s got Cordella, who I used to go to school with, who gets visions from the Powers That Be, and that´s how he knows who to help. Then there´s Wesley, who was my Watcher for a while, but got fired from the Council, and some other guy called Gunn. They do their thing, and we do ours," she told him, knowing she was confusing him a lot. She hadn´t planned on saying so much, but she couldn´t seem to shut up as leaned heavily on his arm, more exhausted than she thought she could be.
"The future as you describe it is very strange indeed, MissBuffy. We will get you settled in your room, and you can get some rest. When you wake then we will decide what to do about getting you, and Miss Wellington switched back to your own bodies. Do you think she is all right among your friends?" he asked.
"She should be. My friends, and family will make her feel safe. My friends are pretty on top of things, and are probably trying to figure all this out on their end. She will have to make a lot of adjustments. I know I am. Things are real primitive here from my viewpoint. I can see why Spike said he really doesn´t miss the good old days as he calls this," Buffy told him bluntly.
"But I assure you this house has all the latest in modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing, and gas lights," he said slightly offended.
"Yeah, but no TV´s, radios, CD players, video games, microwaves, dishwashers, and a bunch of other stuff I´m used to. And these clothes. How am I supposed to slay, if I get stuck here, in these dresses, and corset thingies? I can barely walk in these things let alone try to slay in them. No wonder the other slayers got knocked off easily if they had to fight in these dresses."
"What? You wish to dress like a boy to fight in? Is that what you are suggesting? That is positively outrageous. You are a young lady and you will dress as a proper young lady and not a ruffian. We unfortunately do have neighbors, and I can´t have you leaving the house in such an unwomanly fashion," he told her indignantly.
"Well, Elizabeth did dress that way eventually to slay in, and it kept her alive because she could move and fight without getting tangled up in her petticoats. The question you need to ask yourself is if it is better to have an effective slayer that dresses funny, or one that dresses okay, and is dead real quickly?" Buffy asked him pointedly as they came to her room.
"I will consider it, but it does go against my principles, and beliefs on proper womanhood." He told her stiffly. She might be used to having her own way in her time, and in barbarous America, but if she was going to living in his house she was going to go by his rules, and the Council´s or she would be severely punished.
"Well, just think on it. Right now I´m tired, and I´m going to go crash for a while. If you do talk to the Council, which I know you´re aching to do, the first thing to find out is about this crystal that Giles had me use, and see if it´s around somewhere, or anyone knows what it is. That´s what my group would be checking out first. The longer I´m here the more chance there is of me screwing up the timeline which I don´t think anyone wants. Already by me telling you stuff I could have done itI hope not. All I want to do is go home," she said tiredly.
"I understand, Miss Summers. I will see what we can find out. Do you need me to send up any food, or anything?"
"No, not yet. I know I should be hungry, but all I want to do is sleep right now. I guess I´ll see you when I get up," she told him opening her door, and he nodded good bye, then she went inside.
Buffy was too tired to change into the nightgown that was laid out on the bed. All she took off was the outer robe she was wearing since she was wearing what to her looked like a nightgown anyway. Lifting up the heavy bedcovers she slipped inside the covers of the huge bed, and sunk down in the comfortable mattress. Within minutes she was asleep.
It was late afternoon, almost evening of the next day when Buffy finally awoke, mainly because she had to go pee. She found another robe laid out for her, a regular bathrobe she supposed, and put in on and found some slippers next to the bed. She opened the door and went in search of the supposed indoor plumbing that Mr. Hyde had boasted he had. At the end of the hall she did find the huge tiled bathroom. The john itself was an odd looking contraption with the tank part mounted high on the wall and a long chain to pull to flush. What she did like was the huge claw foot bathtub. She really needed a bath after having now been here for almost a week. Grateful that there was both hot, and cold water she ran her bath while she located the towels and soap in the cabinets on one side of the room.
It felt good to get finally clean again even with the old fashioned Ivory´ like soap which had a bit of a rose petal scent to it. Since she hadn´t found anything that looked like shampoo she had had to use it to wash her hair too. Nor had she seen anything that might be used as conditioner. She wasn´t even sure if they had such things. She dressed in the large fluffy robe and wrapped her long, waist length hair in a towel. She was still not used to wearing Elizabeth´s body that was so similar to her own. There were differences like her eyes being more gray than green, and her hair was a light golden brown. She wasn´t as busty, and she thought she might be an inch or two taller than she was normally, but other than that they could have been sisters.
Just as she was getting ready to leave the bathroom there was a knock on the door. "Miss Buffy, are you in there?" came the housekeeper´s voice.
"Yeah, just finishing up. I took a bath. I really needed one," she said opening the door.
"Good, Mr. Hyde was worried where you had gone to. Do you need help dressing?" she asked politely.
Buffy blushed. "I don´t know. Do I have to wear one of those corset things? I don´t know whether Mr. Hyde has explained about me, or not, has he?" Buffy asked, the pleasant looking woman.
"A little. He said that your were American, and had slightly different customs from us," she smiled.
"That´s putting it mildly, Mrs ," Buffy couldn´t remember her name.
"Mrs. Edwards, I know your first night here you were in sort of a daze, but I will try to help you any way I can," she told Buffy.
"Thanks, I´m really going to need all the help I can," Buffy told her gratefully as they went back down the hall to Buffy´s room. "I´m Buffy, by the way."
"I thought your name was Elizabeth?" Mrs. Edwards asked puzzled as they entered the room.
"It is, but everyone has always called me Buffy. Have you worked for Mr. Hyde long?" Buffy asked feeling her out.
"From fifteen years now, and yes, I do know about all the strange beasties, and weird things that he, and you will be involved with. My family has always worked for the Watcher´s Council, so nothing really fazes me any more," she reassured the nervous girl.
"Good, that´s a relief. Because I´m not only from America, I´m from another time-the future actually, like over a hundred plus years. The real Elizabeth, and I somehow got switched, and she´s in my time and I´m in hers. This isn´t freaking you out is it?" Buffy asked worriedly, trying to gauge the older woman´s reaction.
"But by freaking, you mean alarm me, no. Mr. Hyde did explain that part. Though it does sound rather fantastic, but I do believe him, and you because it´s clear you don´t seem to fit´ if that´s the right word in this time. I take it young ladies don´t dress like we do in your time?" she smiled.
"No, lots less clothes. But where I live is like real warm too. I notice it´s kind of cold here. But since I am stuck here, and have to fit in can you explain what all I got to wear. I´ve seen pictures of this time, but doing it is something different," Buffy told her, suddenly embarrassed.
An hour later Buffy stepped out of her room fully dressed as a young woman of the eighteen-eighties wearing a high necked dark blue shirtwaist style dress with a full skirt, a corset, and stiff petticoats, and her long hair braided, and put up in an elaborate style. She still felt like she was in some weird play, but Mrs. Edwards assured her that she looked quite nice. She followed the housekeeper down the huge staircase to the dining room where she met Mr. Hyde.
"Good evening, Buffy. You look well. All recovered from your ordeal?" he asked politely as he helped her to her chair at the large formal dining room table.
"Pretty much. I take I´ve slept over a day?" she asked.
"It was too be expected. You seem to be adjusting to everything," he noted, seeing that she was properly dressed.
"I´m trying to, Mr. Hyde. History was not one of my best subjects, but I did study about this period a little since it had so much to do with Angel, and Spike. Just living it is a lot different from reading about it. Have you talked to the Council yet?" she asked, as a servant brought in the first course of their dinner, a vegetable soup of some sort and Buffy realized how hungry she was.
"Yes, I have been consulting with them, and they wish to meet with you to have you tell them what you have told me. They are inquiring about the crystal you described, and hopefully something will show up about it."
"I hope so too as I´m sure that´s the key to getting me back. I´m still worried that I might not get back, and what to do about living in this time, knowing what the future is supposed to be, and afraid of messing everything up. Unfortunately, I am still a slayer. The slayer´ for now because that was why Elizabeth was called, and I 'do' know my duty as far as slaying goes. It´s just my problem with who´ I have to fight so I don´t mess up the future for everyone, including myself."
"Yes, you said that you can´t kill Angelus, or any of his family that are currently terrorizing our town because they have to exist in your time. The Council was not happy to hear that part," he told her truthfully as they finished their soup and were each given a plate of roast beef, potatoes, and something green.
"It´s not only the future part, it´s fighting any of Angelus group. I have before and if it hadn´t been for my friends coming to my rescue I wouldn´t still be sitting here. Angelus fights dirty, and so do Darla and Drusilla. Drusilla killed another slayer, Kendra, who had been called after I died for a minute or so because of the Master. But I did kill him and then broke his bones up so he couldn´t come back."
"You killed, the Master´, Darla´s sire?" he asked incredulously.
"Yeah, but he drowned me first, but Xander brought me back with CPR, and I was able to take him down because I caught him by surprise since he thought I was dead," Buffy explained.
"Amazing, so you died, and then another slayer was called even though you were still living?"
"I was dead long enough for her to be called, and after Dru killed Kendra, then Faith was called, so now there are two slayers, except Faith went all evil, and is now in jail for killing a guy. So it´s still just me out doing the slaying thing," Buffy told him seeing that she was really shaking him up with her life story.
"Extraordinary. There have been a few times when two slayers have been active at the same time, but it has only been when events were soon to be reaching a critical mass and both were needed."
"Giles, said something along that line too. Supposedly there´s going to be this big end of days thing coming up in my future where all of us Angel, Spike, me, Faith, and I don´t know who all else is going have a show down with all the big evils. I thought it might be because of this Glory goddess I´m having to fight, but it´s too soon for the big battle with everyone," she told him.
"The End Of Days Prophecy? Is that what you are talking about? I have read it. You think you´re one of the warriors it is talking about?"
"I think so, at least both Giles and Wesley think it´s all about us. And if it is then you have to understand why I really don´t want to go up against Angelus even if I could actually fight him and win. He is very dangerous as is Darla, while Dru is just plain crazy, and vicious."
"So you have fought these vampires in your time?"
"Yeah, up close and personal, but I knew them then, not as they are now, and what I know of them now is mainly from the Watcher´s journals, and a little from what little I got from listening to Angel, and Spike about this period. But then I am back to my original problem of I can´t dust them, or I alter history," Buffy patiently explained. "However, any other vamps I run across are fair game, and if I can keep the minion population down that will at least keep a lot of the danger to people down. Any demons I come across are also fair game."
"But would it be so wrong to alter history, Miss Summers, when if by killing these dangerous vampires you would be saving untold numbers of people?"
"But at which point in time, Mr. Hyde? Yours, or Mine? What if we´re all not there for that final battle, and because we´re not, the bad guys win, and the whole planet is sucked into Hell, and billions lose their lives because of I destroyed Angelus, Drusilla, Darla, and Spike now? Or I somehow keep Drusilla from turning William, which hasn´t happened yet. Can you understand what I am saying?´ she asked. "I mean I really hate to see William get turned by Dru, he´s a great guy, but I feel like I don´t have a choice because if he doesn´t get turned then there´s no Spike and I do need him in my life," Buffy said, rather more emotionally than she had planned to.
"I see," Hyde said frowning, and trying to figure the under current of her statement.
"Has anyone contacted William by the way? In Elizabeth´s diary she said that she sent him a letter explaining that their engagement was off and that she had to leave his life forever. Since I haven´t written anything, I was wondering whether that had been done?" Buffy asked worriedly.
"No, until you told me I had been unaware of her and Mr. Giles´ engagement. Then when I met you instead of Elizabeth we immediately came here, and proceeded with the ritual. No notes or letters that I know of have been sent," he told her patiently.
"Great! Already time is beginning to unravel. Elizabeth sent her letter to William before she left her house so that he got it the next day and that starts the chain of events that ends with Drusilla. It´s been what five days, or so since I came back in time? And as far as he knows I just vanished without a word which is slightly different from Elizabeth breaking things off before vanishing. How about her parents, did she know she was coming here? Would they tell him where you live?" Buffy asked him, getting alarmed at the minor changes starting to happen.
"I swore them to secrecy, though there is always the chance that one of the servants might say something since this was arranged over a period of months once we determined she was a slayer candidate, and might be called soon. Though I do wish her parents had informed me sooner of her involvement with Mr. Giles, though at the time due to her age it seemed unlikely she would be called. So you are afraid history has been already altered by the absence of this letter?" he asked.
"Maybe, I don´t know. Maybe I ought to try writing him, and hope it´s not too late," Buffy offered.
"It might work. Do you know what she said to him?"
"Not exactly, she didn´t put that many details in on it, but I can give it a shot if you have anything to write with?" she asked.
"Yes, in my study I have paper, and pens. Come with me. When you are done, I can have one of the servants deliver it to his home, and hope that this does the trick," Mr. Hyde told her, helping her up from her chair, and they headed for his study so Buffy could write the Dear William´ letter.
End Part 34
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