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Part 38




Part 38

         This time Lizzy rode up front with Giles. She was getting increasing nervous with ‘Spike’ as she could tell he was trying to put distance between them, and he was brooding at lot. William had brooded too, but there was an air of dark danger to the man sitting quietly behind her. To take her mind off her problems she concentrated on the world she could see speeding past her as they drove to hospital. From what little she had seen so far this town was very different from London. It was much cleaner, as was the air too. The people seemed happier, though as the darkness increased so did the number of people walking decrease. Everywhere were cars though, and not once did she see a horse, or beast of any kind except dogs, and one cat. The hospital was a large and busy place, all brightly lit up. So far she had seen no gaslights, and had no clue what manner of lights these were that seemed so common everywhere. Even the cars had their own magical lights that people could turn off, and on at will as she noticed Mr. Giles doing.

         They parked the car in a place that had many other empty cars, and got out. She noticed that both men kept at least one hand near their pockets which had similar bulges to them and they both scanned their surroundings carefully as they walked keeping her between them as if they might be in danger at any time. She was started when the doors opened by themselves and jumped back into William.

         "It’s okay, luv. It’s just an electric door. It sees you coming and opens for you. It won’t hurt you, I swear," he reassured her demonstrating how it worked.

         Feeling like a fool, Lizzy gathered her dignity and walked in following Giles who had gone on ahead.

         Just walking through Lizzy was impressed at the place. It was friendly feeling, and the patients seemed to be in good hands. It was a clear reminder of how much things had changed from the break, dark places she had been to when her mother had been ill. Giles was waiting at a door that suddenly opened and people came out of what appeared to be a small brightly lit room with no exit on the other side.

         "This is an elevator, Lizzy. You have to get in, and it will take us to the floor we need to go to," Spike explained as Giles kept the doors from closing on them.

         She looked back at him doubtfully, but did as he had asked, and was frightened when the doors closed, and the room began moving upward. She closed her eyes to control her panic, and claustrophobia. Mercifully the ride was short, and she practically ran out of the elevator before it could take her some place else. Both men were trying very hard to hide their smiles, and failing, and she glared at both of them indignantly. "It’s not funny. It was very scary for me. What other strange things am I going to have to deal with?" she asked.

                  "Lots, luv. I guess I do take things for granted now because I’ve lived through all of it coming into being. I have to think back of what was, and wasn’t around when we were," Spike told her by way of apology seeing how badly she was shaking from her experience.

         "William, you really don’t realize how much it has—everything. This world is both beautiful, and terrifying to me. I am trying to be brave, and keep up a stiff upper lip, but it is very hard. All I want to do is find a nice quiet corner, and hide until I can get back to my time," she told him truthfully, looking up at him with frightened eyes.

         "Lizzy, I wish you could too, but you can’t. I will try to help you to adjust, and explain whatever you want to know about. I will also try to be more understanding, okay?" he asked, and she nodded. "Good. Giles has gone on to see Joyce. Just be you, okay, and everything will be all right," he reassured her, taking her hand, and leading her down the hall to Joyce’s room.

         Joyce looked up, and smiled at both of them as they entered. "Hi, Spike, you’re looking good."

         "You are too, Joyce. Getting anxious to get out of this joint?" he asking flashing her a smile and coming over to her bedside leaving Lizzy standing by the door.

         "Yeah, real anxious. The first thing I want is a real meal, and if I ever see Jell-O again…," she grinned.

         "Aww, don’t like the wiggly stuff? Thought that was your favorite food," he teased and she shook her head and smiled. "So Giles filled you in on what happened?" he asked, getting serious.

          She nodded, watching the nervous young woman who was looking wide eyed around the room, especially at the TV over Joyce’s bed in undisguised awe. Yeah, it was her daughter’s body, but the spirit inhabiting was definitely not her child. And Buffy rarely dressed that modishly, or wore her hair that way. Joyce turned her attention back to Spike whom she knew was worried about how she was going to take this. Since this was not the first time this type of situation had happened Joyce wasn’t too upset. Hopefully, this girl was not a total psychotic determined to kill everyone like the other slayer, Faith, had been. Watching her though, Joyce was sure that was not the case as the girl was looking very lost, and scared, her heart immediately went out to her, and hoped that somehow her daughter would find someone kind, and sympathetic to help her where ever she
was.

         "Will you introduce us, Spike?" Joyce asked, and he smiled, and went over to bring Lizzy close to the bed.

          "Joyce, this is Elizabeth Wellington, and Lizzy, this is Buffy’s Mum, Joyce Summer’s," he told them both.

          "Do you wish to be called Elizabeth or Lizzy?’ Joyce asked, giving her a warm smile.

          "Either will be fine, mam. William, here, is the one who used to call me Lizzy. My family just used to call me Beth, or Elizabeth, and when he started calling me Lizzy, it kind of stuck. We’ve known each other for two years now, or did. I’ll get the then, now sorted out eventually," she said, glancing at Spike who was looking downward embarrassed.

         "How old are you in your time?" Joyce asked curious now.

         "Almost eighteen, in two months. My birthday is January 21st," Lizzy replied.

         "The same as Buffy’s, but she’ll be twenty on hers. So you’ve known William since you were sixteen?" Joyce asked, looking at Spike with a smile.

          Lizzy looked at him too, and he nodded to her to go on. "We met at a social that our older sisters went to. I guess it was sort of love at first sight for both of us. But then we didn’t see each other until a couple of months later when we ran into each other at a bookstore to get books for our studies. He had just got a position at Saint John’s University teaching literature, and history. But he offered to help tutor me in math, and science, so I could get into teaching college. Over the next year we saw each other off on, and he helped me get a position at Miss Covington’s Academy for Girls. We both loved to teach, and learn. We also knew we had to be together. He asked my father for my hand in marriage, and then he proposed to me, and I accepted. We had just announced our engagement, and were planning on marrying in the Spring during the Spring break for both our schools because we didn’t want to wait until school was out. Coming here to this time I now find that that wasn’t going to happen. Instead I'm going to be called as a slayer, and I never see him again once he drops me off at my parents after we visit his family to tell them about our engagement," she finished, her voice sad.

         Joyce looked to Spike shocked, and he and Giles both nodded in confirmation of Lizzy’s story. "Wow," Joyce said stunned. "And now you’re suddenly here, many years later, and so is William—sort of," she smiled.

          "That’s about it, Mrs. Summers. Then I’m in someone else’s body, and hundred and twenty years in the future. It has been very distressing day."

         "Yes, I can believe that, Elizabeth. I doubt if Buffy would have taken this as calmly as you seem to be doing. So you two were engaged to be married?" Joyce asked, as Spike had never talked about Elizabeth at all to her or very little about his human past except for bits and pieces.

          "Yes, he had just given me my engagement ring when I suddenly got dizzy, felt this weird pull, and woke up in this time a different person. But before that we were very happy. Now he’s someone different, and not the same man I knew. William has explained to me about him, and your daughter as well as my being here as only a temporary thing until someone can figure out how to switch us back. I will try to not to be any trouble as long as I am here. I realize that this is a difficult, and awkward situation for all of us, and I will endeavor to not make it more so," Lizzy said sincerely.

         Spike couldn’t handle it any longer, and made to leave. "Joyce, I need to step out for a moment, and grab a smoke. You all continue to visit. I’ll be downstairs when you’re ready to leave," he said hastily, his voice tight and pain filled, and he left before any of them could say a word to stop him.

         He fled down the corridors of the hospital, pushing past people in his haste, not bothering to use the elevator as he ran down the back stairwell and out the emergency room doors to emerge outside into the cool evening air. Standing in the smoking area, he lit a cigarette with shaking hands, and tried to smoke it to calm his nerves.

          Right now he needed to be alone, to compose his turbulent feelings before he faced Lizzy again. The conversation, and the memories that Lizzy were bringing back were bringing fresh pain to long buried deep wounds he had thought healed, and forgotten. His life before as a mortal he had carefully hid away even from himself. He had hated the weak, and simpering man he had become after Lizzy had vanished from his life. Her disappearance had shattered him completely on every level, and he had lost all confidence in himself, and hope for any kind of future. He had just begun to pull himself back together when Cecily had caught his attention. He had known what kind of heartless society woman she was, but he had been determined to win her to prove to himself he was still worthy of being loved. Her brutal rejection had been the final nail in his coffin, and he had fled into the night in tears determined never to fall in love again. Then had come his dark goddess seeing into his very soul and secret heart it had seemed, knowing things about him that no other had dared to, and he was lost completely to her even before her fatal kiss that took his mortal life away.

         Every word that Lizzy had spoke to Joyce had been true. They had been blissfully happy. He had fallen in love with the girl the moment he had laid eyes on her. The world had seemed to dropped away, and time had stood still as she returned his look with one of her own. In that moment they knew one another. It was two souls being reunited after being lost. Each part of the other, together making a whole. Everything about her had been perfect. And she had felt the same way about him. He had never felt such total acceptance from anyone before, or since.

         It had been torture to wait until she grew up to where she was old enough that he could in good conscience ask for her hand because he was almost seven years older than she. He had been a nervous wreck when he had approached her father who was a successful lawyer, and protectivre of his youngest favorite daughter. William had only been teaching at the university for a year after completing his studies. But his family’s name, position in society, and the fact that he was taking care of his widowed mother, and three younger sisters had proved to make him a suitable candidate for Lizzy’s hand after all. After he had gotten the go ahead from her father he had wanted to marry her as soon as possible, but she convinced him to wait until after she turned eighteen, and had been teaching a year herself. Reluctantly, he had agreed, and they held off announcing their engagement to his family until she had been teaching a couple of months, and they had decided on a Spring wedding.

         In the meantime he had taken the stones that his father had brought back from India and had the jeweler create a special ring for her. He remembered the look of joy and surprise on her face when he had had her open his present and she saw it. She had hugged him and they had kissed really kissed not caring who saw them because they were so happy and in love. Then he had slipped it on her hand and knew something was wrong. But how wrong he wouldn’t know until this time and place many years later.

         But for those two blessed years they had been almost inseparable. They had studied together, debated and discussed points of history and literature, people customs--everything. They had laughed, shared jokes, dreams, fantasies, told each other things no one else knew. There were no secrets between them because none were needed. They had had picnics in the park, gone on long walks, carriage rides visited museums, and art galleries, read stories, and poetry together, ice skated, gone to dances, and socials with their sisters, trying to find any excuse to be together they could. They both wanted to continue teaching, maybe travel, and see the world to see the places and things that they had only read about. Then there would have been children, all properly educated, and credits to both of them. at least five, or six they hoped.

         But always they had been totally proper with one another, afraid to let lose their feelings in physical displays. Though in written words, and soft spoken ones they were unafraid to speak their hearts. If they had married it would have been heaven on earth for both of them, feeling the way they did about each other. They would have come together both virgins, and learned the ways of love together. All of this he had suppressed until now when all the memories had come flooding back as Lizzy talked to Joyce.

          But he couldn’t allow himself to fall back in love with Lizzy. He realized with a guilty start it would be so very easy to do because she was still as she was that day he gave her the ring. For her time had not moved forward. Her love for him was just as it had been then. But he was not the same man as he had been that day. Therein lay the problem. He had been forcibly changed by ever changing circumstances, and the passage of time from the William she knew, and had loved. Only a pale shadow of that man still remained.

         And that man loved Buffy as much as he had loved Lizzy back then. He loved Buffy with every fiber of his undead being, and she had finally admitted that she felt the same way, and returned his love. He had found with Buffy the love he had been seeking ever since he lost Lizzy. He had fallen in love with Buffy the moment he had seen her at the Bronze dancing with her friends. He had known she was attracted to him too, but they had spent years fighting their feelings, and each other before they had each given in, and admitted to what they did feel. Now his Buffy was lost to him, though he had gotten Lizzy back in exchange. This was just one hell of a mess all the way around.

          He could only wonder, and worry where Buffy was. 'What was she doing?' he wondered. Was she safe, scared out of her mind? Fighting for her life? Dying? What was happening to her? He had been asking himself these questions all day since he had realized what had happened while at the same time trying to keep his fears, and worries to himself. But it was driving him up the wall worrying about what was happening to her trapped in the past. He had never felt so helpless. He couldn’t feel her like he usually did. Whatever connection they had was silent, dead. Had she kept silent about who she was? Had she told someone hoping they could help her get back? Could Buffy figure out the connection between the ring and the crystal she had used on her own? Could she even find the crystal since it was still at the jewelers, he supposed. Did the Council of Watchers have her? If they did, would they believe her story, or would think her quite mad instead? There were so many possibilities to think about.

          Elizabeth's diaries had never mentioned any of this so maybe none of this ever happened, or somewhere there was an alternate timeline going on from which they may, or may not be able to get Buffy back from. What if she ended up in a reality for her where he never got turned, and she did destroy Angelus, Darla, and Drusilla so that they didn't exist in the future? What if she believed she couldn't get back? What then? What would she do? What if she altered events with the belief that she was stuck in the past, would that eventually change this future that he, and all her friends were living in? Would they even know? He was hoping that somehow they could find a way to contact her, or at least find out what was happening to her.

         His thoughts were interupted when he heard footsteps approaching and felt both Giles and Lizzy. He turned to face them plastering on an indifferent face to hide what he had been thinking and feeling.

         "The nurses ran us out so they could give Joyce her medications and take her vitals. We thought it best just to leave," Giles told him, while Elizabeth hung back, quiet and thoughtful to let the two men talk.

         "Right," Spike replied. "So we're off to the shop then?" he asked.

         "Yes. I called, and Xander is bringing pizza, no garlic for you of course. Willow says that the Council called, and they have found some very interesting information about Buffy, and this situation in the hidden archives that are usually for inner Council eyes only. They will be faxing it to us as they do not want to send the original journals and reports," Giles told him, and waited for the vampire's reactions.

         "They did find evidence of Buffy being in the past? Buffy, not Lizzy, you're sure?" he asked shocked.

         "Yes, it's Buffy not Elizabeth. Quenton Travers, the current head of the Council was quite shocked himself to find out about these hidden journals from one of the archivists. Though he was not overly surprised that our Buffy was involved, Willow said. He said something to the effect that, 'that girl can get herself in strangest messes'," Giles smiled.

         "Then let's get going. How soon is this supposed to be coming through?" Spike asked excited now.

         "Willow said some of it had already started arriving. She was warned that there was going to be a lot of material to read over, and that we all needed to see it, especially you, Spike," he told him as they headed for the parking lot and the car.

         "Me? Why Me?" Spike asked worriedly.

         "It seems that one of the journals that are being sent belonged to a certain William Giles, who was brought in after Buffy arrived to be a Watcher, and later became her husband," Giles told him.

         Spike almost tripped over his feet at Giles' news. "Ohh bloody hell!" Spike exclaimed.

End Part 38
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