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Usual disclaimers in part 1. **No, I have not forgotten Spike and the gang. I hope this won´t be too confusing switching back, and forth. Needless to say, the actual timeline that Buffy came from will be remaining unaltered except for the addition of Elizabeth in it in Buffy´s body, even though Buffy, herself, is seeing an altered future one with the Eye of the Oracles at the Council headquarters in 1879. Keep in mind the old saying ‘time is fluid´ when you read this story. Also this is all taking place before the 5th seasons shows "Shadow", "Triangle", "Checkpoint" or "Bloodties". But Dawn and the Scoobies have been told that she is the 'Key' and Glory is still looking for her. Riley had been turned by Dru, and is off in LA with her and Darla.**

Part 37

        "Look, Lizzy, if you want to rest or whatever, Buffy´s room is upstairs and to the right," Spike told her not sure what to do with the woman from his past.

        "Are you trying to get rid of me, William?" she asked a little hurt, feeling just as awkward with him as he was with her.

        "No, I just don´t know what to do until evening comes, and we can leave. I´ve also got to figure out how to break this to Buffy´s Mom, and sis too. Which means you and I have to go to the hospital tonight, and see her. I hope she still has a sense of humor," he said grimly trying to imagine Joyce´s reaction to this. She was going to kill them all—he just knew it.

        "Ohh. I do see the problem. She is going to be rather upset, isn´t she? What if she hates me, what then? What will I do?" Lizzy asked worriedly as the reality of her situation began to dawn on her.

        "Joyce is a good woman. If she can put up with me, and all the stuff Buffy goes through being a slayer, then I think she can handle this. I remember that you were afraid that my Mum wasn´t going to like you and she did. Joyce is a lot like her in a lot of ways. And Dawn, she´s a great kid. She´s not afraid to tease and joke with me just like Joyce does. Unfortunately, the rest of Buffy´s friends don´t treat me quite as friendly, but they are starting to since Buffy, and I got together," Spike explained.

        "Together? As in you´re seeing her, engaged, what? I think I need to know, so I know how to act so that I can attempt to blend in here," Lizzy said, curious now about the life she was taking over.

        Spike looked down at the floor embarrassed, not able to meet her questioning eyes, and really not sure how to tell her he was sleeping with Buffy. "It´s rather complicated, luv. Things are a bit looser between people than what you are used to. To put it bluntly she, and I were sleeping together, but not married. In this time period that´s okay. Lots of people do it, and no one thinks a thing about it. That doesn´t make her a loose, or bad woman in this time. It´s just the way things are now," he said in a rush, knowing how bad this sounded. "But we were in love, and people make love all the time and no one looks down on them. That´s just the way people do things nowadays. If things work out between us, I was thinking of asking her to marry me," he added, waiting for her reaction.

        "You made love to her before marriage?" Lizzy asked stunned, looking at him in shock, and horror. You, who were afraid to even kiss me, or hold my hand before our engagement!"

        "That was over a hundred years ago, luv, and that was you and I, not me, and Buffy. The world has changed a whole bunch since we both were alive."

        "Evidently, when people who merely love one another can make love without consequences, and it´s acceptable to everyone. And do her family and friends know this?" she asked, holding her temper, and pride in check.

        "Yeah, we told them, and they are cool with it. And Buffy´s mom doesn´t have a problem with it. In fact she had me move in here, so that when she came home from the hospital I could be here to keep an eye on her, and Dawn if Buffy was off somewhere doing stuff. Also because there is this Hell Goddess looking for Buffy, and Dawn, and I´m the only one besides Buffy who is strong enough to fight her," he carefully explained.

        "Hell Goddess, you have to be joking right?" she asked, crossing her arms skeptically, looking at him in sheer disbelief as she shook her head at even the idea of such a mythical entity being real.

        "I´m afraid not," he smiled knowing what must be going through her head. "Though this is the first goddess that Buffy has had to fight. And she´s trying to find the "Key" that will supposedly open the door back to where she came from. Unfortunately, the key is Buffy´s sister, Dawn, who really isn´t her sister. This group of monks took the energy of the ‘key´ and made it in to human form, which is Dawn, so that Buffy would protect her. But these monks told Buffy not to let Glory, that´s the goddess, get the key or real bad things would happen to the world, but didn´t give her more details than that. So far we don´t know that much about Glory, the key, or any of this. But you got to swear to me to protect Dawn, and Joyce no matter what, and not to talk about this to anyone outside the Scoobies, and Giles—do you promise?" Spike asked her seriously.

        "I do promise, but I don´t know how to fight, or protect anyone? You know I´ve never raised a hand to anyone in my life, William," she replied frightened.

        "We´ll start training you to defend yourself, both me, and Giles. You already have Buffy´s body, and reflexes, just have to get your brain caught up to using what it knows."

        "I take it I fight for a living. I´m stronger than I was, and can do other things?" she asked, her mind flashing back to her conversation with the Watcher.

        "You´re very strong, and fast. I´d show you, but there´s not enough room in here to demonstrate, and I don´t want us to be breaking any of their things. When we go to the Magic Box there´s a workout room in the back of the store. I can show you what you can do, what we both can do. Lizzy, think of yourself as being this special, super woman, all your senses are magnified, enhanced. If you get hurt you heal up real quick, even the serious ones. You never get sick, and you have all this tremendous energy, and stamina. You´ll be amazed at what you can do," he told, knowing that all of this had to be hard to believe, and accept.

        "If you say so, William," she said still shaking her head. "I think I will take your suggestion of laying down. I feel quite tired," she said standing up. "You said upstairs and to the right?" she asked.

        "Yeah, it the one with the iron bed, and all the stuffed toys. The one next to it is Dawn´s, and down the hall is Joyce´s. The bathroom is at the end," he explained.

        "And where is your room? In Buffy´s?´ she asked with a raised eyebrow, feeling a twinge of jealousy.

        "No, down in the basement. We all thought it better, especially during the day for me to have my own space. Got it all fixed up with a refrigerator too so I don´t have to going, and sticking my food in the family one, and grossing people out," he explained as he stood up too..

        "Food? As in blood?" she asked remembering.

        "Yeah, Lizzy, blood. I am a vampire. But it´s animal in bags, or containers most of the time. I can´t go out, and hunt, or even bite anyone. I can´t even push anyone without the soddin´ chip going off. If I do I get a really nasty headache."

        "Then what about these?" she asked pointing to the two neat little holes in her neck that she had noticed while dressing at the mansion, and had wondered about as well as the nasty scar below it.

        Spike looked embarrassed, if he could have blushed he would have. "Those were love bites. I guess I can still bite, but only under special circumstances. Got a bit carried away. But Buffy bit me back." And saw her frown, he knew that look, and he knew he also had to deal with something else before she got any ideas of starting up their relationship where it left off. "Lizzy, I think I´ve got to be up front, and honest with you before you start thinking of picking up where we left off. I can´t. What you, and I had was back then, even though it´s just like the same day for you---it isn´t for me. I´ve changed in ways you may not even be able to understand. I´m in love with Buffy now, deeply, and for forever, or until she, and I are both dead. She is my world now. You may be wearing Buffy´s body, but you´re not her, and I know it. And I am no longer William. He died over a hundred years ago in an alley in London. I can´t be that man that you knew any more. You, and I can be friends, but we can never be lovers again. Buffy will be coming back, I know it, so I hope you can understand when I say that there can´t be anything between us except just friendship," he told her as gently as he could, and already he was feeling like a heel, but it was better for her to know than to assume they could just start up again where they had left off.

        Elizabeth stood there in shock at his words, fighting to keep her emotions in check. Her bottom lip was trembling, and she forced herself to say, "I appreciate your candor, William. I wouldn´t wish to make things more awkward for both of us. At least you have the decency to be honest with me. I will endeavor to keep my feelings in check around you, and behave according. Now, I really need to be alone," she said harshly, turning on her heels, and going quickly up the stairs away from him as fast as she could.

        Spike watched her go, his heart almost breaking because he had had to say what he did. But he was in love with Buffy, and there was no way he was going to encourage a relationship with his past love even if she was in his present love´s body. This was his and Buffy time, not his as William, and Elizabeth´s time. Besides, this mess would all be over soon, and the girls would get switched back to their rightful bodies. Any relationship with Lizzy would be like cheating on Buffy, and there was no way he was going to do that. With a painful sigh he headed for the basement, and to see if he had any Jack Daniels still left in his stash he had brought from his crypt.

        It was almost evening before Giles knocked on the front door of the house. Besides getting Willow started on researching the crystal from the information Spike had given him, he had stopped by the hospital to talk to Joyce. He felt she needed to know what had happened as soon as possible. He knew Spike would want to, but as Buffy´s Watcher he felt such distressing news about her daughter should come from him first. Considering everything, Joyce had taken the news better than he had hoped. Yes, she was upset that her daughter was somehow in the past, and that Spike´s ex-fiancée was in Buffy´s body. But she assured them that she would try to accept the girl, and treat her as if she were her own, and help her to adjust to the modern world while she was here which hopefully wouldn´t be too long.

        Not getting an immediate answer he let himself in with his key. Seeing no sign of either Spike or Elizabeth, he called out," Anyone home?"

        Then he heard sounds from the basement, and about a half minute later Spike popped up from the basement. "Ohh, it´s you, Watcher. Gave me a fright. Is it dark yet?´ he asked running a hand through his already tosseled hair. "I dozed off."
        
        "Where´s Elizabeth?" Giles asked.

        "Probably up in Buffy´s room. She went up there, a bit upset at me. Guess she still is. Thought I´d leave her alone to adjust to everything," Spike told him simply.

        "What might she be upset about?" Giles asked cautiously, not wanting to jump to any conclusions.

        "I had to have a heart to heart to her about her, and I. That I´m not the William she knew, and there wasn´t anyway that she and I could start up where she, and I left off because I was in love with Buffy. And to do so would be like cheating on Buffy, and that´s something I will not do. I do have some bloody ethics. Just because she´s wearing her body it doesn´t mean I think she´s Buffy. Hell, I knew something was up when I ran into that Faith bird when they body switched. I told Lizzy that as far as her, and me was concerned, we could only be friends, nothing more to one another. I felt real bad saying it to her, but we will get Buffy back, and Lizzy is just visiting until then," Spike explained.

        "I must say, I´m pleased that you did have a talk with her. I had wondered how you were going to resolve that particular problem," Giles commented, pleased that Spike had done what needed to be done. "I did stop by the hospital and informed Buffy´s mother what was going on. She took it rather well considering."

        Spike looked surprised. "She did. Good. I still want to drop by, and see her, and talk to her myself before I have her meet Lizzy. You did tell Joyce that we´re going to do everything we can to get Buffy back?" he asked.

        "Yes, I told her we were working on the problem. I have Willow looking on the Internet and I´ve put in some calls to the Council too. See if they have any additional information on this situation. Just the sheer fact of the girls being switched would not go unnoticed. Buffy has only limited information about your life, Elizabeth´s, and that era. Unless she is in total stasis, she would be interacting with Elizabeth´s Watcher, and possibily the Council. There may be hidden diaries, or accounts of Buffy´s time there. I am getting a theory that since things are continuing relatively unchanged here in the present as far we can determine, that the switching caused a fracture in time, a splitting so to speak where Buffy might be moving in a timeline different from our own which would result in a different future for all of us. But it is a contained bubble so far and if we find the missing ring, and she does the same where she is somehow the two realities will come back together, and things will hopefully be as they were one way or the other," Giles explained.

        "I think I am following you. All of this time stuff is messing with my head. So you are saying since we are not seeing any signs, that we know of, of this break, that Buffy is somehow in some sort of alternate timeline, or reality from our own? She´s living fully in the past, my past, but it doesn´t seem to be effecting our own? How is that bloody possible?" Spike asked stumped.

        "I´m not sure, but it seems to be a passable explaination for what is occurring. If there are records of Buffy´s visit in the past then that would be support to that theory. The trick will be in getting the past to match up to what we knew it to be. Somehow Elizabeth will need to be returned to the exact point in time when she left for our future to still exist. She will also have to have no memories of her visit here too, so that your history also remains unchanged."

        "Like her disappearing from my life because she was called as a slayer, and my meeting Dru, and so on," Spike said grimly.

        "Exactly. Though I am also feeling that there might be purpose behind the girls switching. Maybe Buffy is there to learn something important, or Elizabeth is here too to learn something. In any event I am canceling the Blood Ceremony at least for the time being. Buffy survived this long as a slayer without it, and I am sure Elizabeth can too. However, I do wish to start her training, have you said anything to her about that?" Giles asked him.

        "Yeah, I mentioned it. Also ran down the thing with Glory, and Dawn too since she needs to know what is going on if she is going to survive here," Spike said still thinking about what Giles had said about the timelines, and purposes behind all this. "One question though, what if we can´t unswitch them, then what?"

        "I don´t know, Spike. We´ll just have to see what happens." he told him truthfully, wishing he could be more reassuring, but he couldn´t. "So she is still up there?" Giles asked.

        "Yeah. I just hope she will forgive me in time, but I couldn´t let her get her hopes up,. I hope you understand that."

        "I do. You did do the right thing. Not that I am that overly enthusiastic about you and Buffy together. I will go up and see if she is okay. Then we need to stop by the hospital, then the shop to see how Willow has progressed on finding out about the ring," Giles told him, heading towards the stairs.

        "Got it. Hope red has some good news. I´ll go put myself together, and get a spot to eat before we go," Spike said, and went back to the basement.

        Giles went up and knocked on Buffy´s door. There was a muffled yes, and an inquiry as to who was there from inside. "It´s me, Miss Wellington, Rupert Giles. Can I come in?" he asked.

        "Just a minute," Lizzy said, getting up groggily after falling asleep crying. It had took her a moment after coming awake to realize that it all hadn´t been a dream and she was really in the future in another girl´s body rather than in her own. "Come in," she called.

        Giles opened the door, and stood nervously on the threshold. "It´s almost evening. We were planning on going to see Buffy´s mother so you could meet her then to the shop to see if Willow has been able to find out anything. Spike told me you came up here after your talk with him," he ventured carefully.

        "Yes, I need to be alone for a while. The events of the day have been somewhat overwhelming. I think I will be all right now. At least William was honest with me. I appreciate that so I won´t make a fool of myself. At least him appearing different makes it easier to accept the reality of my situation. That and all these strange things I see about. I will endeavor to try and fit into this world. No doubt Buffy must be having similar problems with mine," she smiled.

        "I actually cringe at the idea of what Buffy might be going through. She is very much a girl of this period and American to boot. I really feel for her poor Watcher. She tends to be very strong minded, and do things her way," he told her with a sad smile.

        "I will try not to give you a hard time, Mr. Giles. You have been most kind, and solicitous of me since I came here, if that is even the right word. I am very grateful for everything. I will admit I am a bit nervous about meeting Buffy´s family,. Have you spoken to her mother yet?" Lizzy asked.

        "Yes, before I came here. She understands the situation and will help us in any way she can. She did wish to apologize to you that you won´t be seeing her at her best since she will be recovering for a while from her surgery," he told her.

        "She shouldn´t. My own mother has been ill recently too, and I have had to help her so, I do understand<" she reassured him. "Before I go I want to change clothes. I realize this is quite acceptable for present day girls but I am feeling decidedly uncomfortable in these clothes. Hopefully, I can find something more ‘covering´ in Buffy´s wardrobe," she added looking down at her jeans.

        "I am sure she does have a few long skirts in her outfits as I have seen her wear some on occasion. But where they might be in here I have no clue. I try to stay out of that part of Buffy´s life. Whenever you are dressed come down. We will be somewhere about," he told her, leaving her alone to dress.

        After Giles left Lizzy looked around feeling very much the intruder in this other girl´s life. The large collection of toys, and stuffed animals scattered around the cheerful room amused her. She had had a number of dolls and toys herself, but most were put away now since she had started teaching, and her engagement. Most of them were packed away to be given to her own children when she had them. But there weren´t going to be any in her life even if she returned to her time. She was the awful creature called a slayer and she wouldn´t ever see her William or her family again. That much was clear now. The man who wore William face wasn´t him any longer, but a creature of nightmares. There was no future possible with him because he was no longer even human. His truthful words were still ringing in her head—‘we can never be more than friends, luv´. How could fate be so cruel, she wondered, to make her fall in love with a man she could never have either in her own life, or in this one? It wasn´t fair at all!

        She was hurt, angry, and depressed over everything. For now she would go along with things, there really wasn´t too much of a choice anyway that she could see. The hardest was going to be living as this girl, Buffy, at least to the outside world. She was going to refuse to be this girl to her friends, and family. She was still Elizabeth Wellington, despite who she may look like, and she did have her own feelings, needs and wants which may not be in any way like this girl´s. That was what they were going to have to accept.

        Lizzy did find several long skirts eventually in Buffy´s closet, and long petticoats to match too. Though she had the feeling that most likely Buffy never wore the petticoats since they still had tags on them. As to a top she found a black button up long sleeve shirt to go with the tan and black skirt she had found. In one of the drawers she found black tights, and put them on, rather than the flesh tones ones she kept finding. For shoes she found a pair of closed toed sandals. She still felt under dressed, but compared to her earlier attire anything was an improvement. Her hair was shorter than she was used to, but she managed to put it up as best as she could. The only jewelry she would allow herself to wear was a large cross she saw hanging on the side of the mirror frame. She knew it might bother William, but she didn´t care. Lizzy also hoped that wearing it would send a message that she understood she was off limits.

        Dressed to her satisfaction she went downstairs. She heard people talking, and laughter, and wondered where all the people had come from that she was hearing. In the parlor, she assumed, both men were sitting staring at a large box on the other side of the room from where all the noise was coming. She was shocked to see people in the box, talking, moving around. Then suddenly the scene changed and there was terribly loud, obnoxious music, and weird creatures doing dances across it while a beautiful woman wearing almost nothing at all was inviting them to join her in drinking something called a cola? Lizzy gasped in shocked surprise at what she was seeing and both the men turned, looking at her in puzzlement. Spike caught on quickly what was wrong, and grabbed the remote and turned the television off.

        "What was that?" Lizzy asked still shocked.

        "Modern entertainment, luv. That is called a television. It´s moving pictures with sound, and color. Almost everyone has a telly nowadays. It´s a good thing, really it is," Spike reassured her.

        "But that woman, those creatures, and that awful noise?" she questioned, shaking her head from the disturbing images she was still seeing.

        "That was a commercial. They can be a bit on the annoying side. The noise was what passes for music now. I see you found something to wear. You look good," he told her.

        "It wasn´t easy to find suitable clothes. Her mother allows her out of the house in some of the things I saw up there?" Lizzy questioned.

        "Only if she doesn´t know what Buff has on. Yes, she does dress a bit on the risqué side even for most girls her age," Spike said toning down his smile in remembrance of some outfits Buffy had been almost wearing on occasion, especially the short skirts on patrol. And she had wondered why he followed her around? Never had a clue.

        "Yes, she has," Giles said agreement, with a cough. "But if you need to get more clothing that you are comfortable with I am sure that Willow and Tara could take you shopping one day," Giles offered.

        "That might be nice," she replied, calmed down from her fright from the television.

        "I forgot to tell you that Dawn will be there at the shop. Anya brought her into work with her because Xander had to run some errands," Giles told them as they headed for the door to leave.

        "So she knows what´s going on?" Spike asked, grabbing his duster, and a jacket for Elizabeth which she took as he put on his..

        "Sort of I think. Willow was going to fill her in on what happened," he replied, opening the door seeing that the sun had dipped below the houses across the street finally.

        "Right," Spike said, letting Lizzy walk ahead of him while he closed the door behind him, and they all walked to Giles waiting car in front of the house.

End Part 37

 

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