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Part 41

All disclaimers in Part 1. recent recap in Part 39.**You´re either going to hate, or love me for the parts that follow.--V**

 

Part 41

     MacAlastair saw Buffy, and smiled at her frown knowing full well why she was upset, but he wasn´t going to let her deter
him from the plans he was making for her life. She was only a woman, a Slayer, and in the end she would do her duties as the
Council instructed her to. Obtaining William was just part of what he planned on doing to insure that she would give up her
ideas of returning to her future, and would stay willingly, and hopefully rid them all of the menace of Angelus. Of the total
Council members voting on his proposals earlier in the day, only two had had strenuous objections to it, and mainly over the
alteration of the future timelines that would be occurring. The rest had agreed with him, and the matter had been settled. Now
all that was left was for the execution of his plans.

     William had been located by John Hyde, through Elizabeth Wellington´s parents. He had also made sure that both her
family, and the servants had stuck to the story of her being abducted which was how it had been originally arranged with them
when he had left with Miss Summers that night. The Council after an appropriate length of time would have had a body
substituted for her, and her death would be ruled death by misadventure. The advent of Miss Summers had changed all these
plans, and an alternate one devised.

     Hyde had then called upon the young man at his home. He was still distraught over his fiancee´s disappearance a week ago,
and told Hyde that he had been using every means to find her including the police with no luck. When Hyde had explained that
he knew where the young lady was, and she was safe, and sound, but suffering from an odd form of amnesia where she
thought herself to be someone else from the future. Mr. Giles was both relieved that she was all right, and concerned as to how
such a thing could have happened, and asked to see her immediately. Hyde had known he would ask, and this played into Mr.
MacAlastair´s plans of the young man being willing to be brought to headquarters. It was explained to Mr. Giles that ruffians
had broke in her home after he had left her the evening she disappeared. They had knocked her out then abducted her. She had
been found three days ago wandering rather dazed outside of their private school. The young lady had been brought in hopes
that she could tell them what had happened to her, and who to contact. She was rather confused as to the details of her assault,
but with some rest she was able to give them his name, but no address, hence the delay in finding him MacAlastair had told him.

     The young man had arrived earlier in the day after Buffy´s demonstration in the gym and escorted directly to him. Most of
the day had been taken up in interviewing the young teacher, and allaying his fears about his fiancee. MacAlastair had
determined through their talks after explaining the situation in guarded tones what the young lady believed about herself, and the
future she came from that the young man was still very much in love with his fiancee, and that despite the wildness of the tale
that was spun for him the young man accepted it all very well. He was deemed to be suitable for Watcher training after all.
Even if he hadn´t been there still would have been an effort made to make him so.

     The man exhibited imagination, good intuitive abilities, a level head under pressure, a quick mind to grasp facts, good
research skills, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. His flaws were a quick temper, a tendency to get sidetracked
into flights of fancy, and a low self esteem which made him try to project a persona(s) to compensate for the flaws he saw
within himself. The young man did seem to have a good store of courage, intense loyalty to those he cared about along with
being very protective of them. MacAlastair noted that Miss Summers had similar tendencies to the young Mr. Giles. They
would make a formidable team if the young man could master the physical skills he would need to survive as a Watcher out in
the field.

     Initially, the man had scoffed at the ideas of vampires, demons, and things that go bump in the night as being real, until he
had been taken on a tour of the lower levels of the mansion, and shown live examples. That thoroughly convinced him that
MacAlastair was indeed on the level. The older man explained what both Watchers and Slayers did, and the function of the
Council through the ages. MacAlastair was truthful to him in that his Elizabeth had been called as a slayer, and was the current
Chosen One. He just hadn´t been truthful about the switch of the two slayers. He convinced William that his Lizzy believed
herself to be a girl called Buffy Summers who was from hundred years in the future, and she had somehow switched with his
Elizabeth. Somehow he was there as well, but as a vampire called Spike in that future time, and was in love with him. His sire,
Drusilla, and other members of his vampire family Angelus, and Darla also existed. Except somehow both he, and the vampire
Angelus, now called Angel, were good vampires, and helped her fight other demons. She had friends from outside the Council
that also helped her. And she was convinced that she was needed there, and must get back to the future to fight in some huge
battle called ‘The End Of Days´.

     Mr. Giles' job as both Watcher in training, and as her fiancée was to insure that his Lizzy gave up these delusions, and do
her duties as the Chosen One which meant that she needed to face the vampires that she was convinced were also in her future
dream world, and kill them. This would also prevent her visions of him becoming this Spike in her future. Once these vampires
were dealt with was believed by the doctors that she would once again be herself again. Since she believed herself to be this
Buffy Summers he was to treat her as such, and gain her confidence. Since this was a special case they were also going to allow
their relationship to continue, and if they wished to go ahead with their marriage plans they could since this would reinforce her
ties to realty it was hoped. At that the young man had looked very pleased, and happy.

     They would begin his training as soon as he was able to make arrangements for his mother, and sisters at home, and tender
his resignation at St. John´s. His very generous salary from his Watcher duties would more than take care of his family and help
him with his future new one. For the time being he would be given room, and board at the mansion in the bachelor quarters. If
he and Lizzy decided to go ahead, and marry then they would be given quarters together. Since there were other married
couples here this would present no problem. In all William was very pleased with these sudden turn of events, and he hoped his
love would be too.

     Having set all these things into motion, MacAlastair smiled when Miss Summers arrived with his assistant. He would
definitely have to send a note of thanks to Mrs. Bennett for selecting such an enchanting outfit for the young lady. He wished
that he himself was twenty years younger, and the young lady was not already spoken for. She was a vision in deep blue dress
that fit her slim, petite form to perfection. Not all slayers were this pretty to look at.

     Malana, four slayers ago had been a dark skinned girl from Egypt and hopelessly plain, and flat as a board. As a slayer she
had lasted a year until Angelus had come to town. Within weeks of the vampire´s arrival she had been killed. Then Sabrina
lasted two weeks, Okara, four, and finally Willimenia a week before it was clear that Elizabeth had been called. This stroke of
luck in Miss Summers being pulled back in time had convinced him that the Powers That Be had heard their prayers, and had
sent her to deal with this threat. For only an experienced slayer could deal with this dangerous trio, and Miss Summers was
certainty that.

     Now to see if his plans would play out.

     MacAlastair interrupted William talking about his mother by telling him, "here she comes now."

     That was all it took for William to turn around, and see his missing love. His face lit up with relief, and unbridled happiness at
her looking so well, and unharmed. "Elizabeth," he gasped, drinking in the sight of her as well as appreciating how beautiful she
looked in her evening gown.

     "Go to her man, but remember what we talked about," he warned William, putting a hand on his shoulder so stop him from
rushing to Buffy´s side, so he could reinforce their earlier talk. "She thinks of herself as this Buffy Summers, not as your
Elizabeth, so she will act, and talk strange as part of her delusions. It will be best if you indulge her these beliefs for the time
being. Pretend that you are almost strangers to each other. Let her get to know you all over, and you her. I know this will be
difficult at first, but I am sure she will soon be comfortable with you since she believes she knows you in the future."

     "I understand, sir. I will try my best to remember all that we talked about today. But she seems so normal, and is looking
like she knows me already," he asked confused, looking back at the older man.

     "That too is part of her delusion. She is convinced that she appeared out of time when you two were on your way to your
parents house for, I guess, your engagement party. That part of her memories are quite clear. She has blanked out the attack all
together, and any of her real life as Elizabeth prior to the party. All her memories of you as yourself are from that day forward.
It has our doctors quite perplexed," MacAlastair told him, weaving a believable tale. "I am sorry this has happened to her, but I
have faith that somehow it will all work out for the both of you."

     "I do too, sir. Somehow our love will find a way to survive this. I, too, have faith," William replied, watching as Buffy was
escorted over to them.

     "Hello, William, Mr. MacAlastair. I see they found you," Buffy said carefully, not sure yet what William had, or hadn´t been
told yet that she wasn't whom she appeared to be.

     William was a bit shocked at her cool manner, but it was clear that Mr. MacAlastair had spoken truthfully that she believed
herself to be someone else. "Yes, this morning. Mr. Hyde came to my home, and told us that you had been found Liz…Buffy,"
he finished nervously, unused to having to play elaborate games with her.

     Buffy blinked, surprised at her being called Buffy by William. She looked sharply at MacAlastair for an explaination.

     The head of the Council coughed into his hand, clearing his throat before he replied. "I did explain your circumstances to
your young man, Miss Summers. I did tell him how you, and Miss Wellington had been switched. Also about you being a
slayer, the watchers, everything as I had agreed to do. I left no stone unturned," he assured her.

     "I see," Buffy replied a bit stunned. "Everything?"

     "Everything," he reassured her, and smiled, and let her assume what she might from his statements. "As soon as his affairs
are in order, William will begin training here. It has all been arranged," he added and saw her frown.

     "You really are trying to push things, aren´t you?" she asked angrily. Her eyes flashing fire at the man, who pretended to
look innocent when she knew there was much more going on.

     "I do what I feel is necessary for the good of the world. I am sure you can understand that, my dear," he smiled, daring her
to challenge him further.

     "Ohh, I do. I really do, sir," she said through gritted teeth holding her temper in check.

     William was staring at Buffy following the exchange more than slightly bewildered. To his ears her voice no longer sounded
like his Lizzy´s either now. It sounded American, and very strange. It was disheartening to see that her delusions had
progressed that far. On one hand she still looked like the woman he had known for almost two years, yet she appeared to be
older somehow, harder, angrier, and more self contained. He had read of such things happening, but this was the first time he
had witnessed such a strange transformation. His heart went out to her and he knew there was no way he could abandon her. It
was clear she did need him to bring her back to her rightful mind.

     Speaking up before it got too difficult between them all, William assured her in a gentle voice, "it will be all right, Buffy. Mr.
MacAlastair is only looking out for you. I missed you terribly. I was going out of my mind with worry, fearing the worst. The
police didn´t have a clue what had happened to you, and it was so fortunate that you ended up here with people that know
about your specialness," William told her, speaking his heart.

     Buffy looked at him, and saw that he did really mean it. She had been worried about his reactions to her disappearing, but
she had also planned on never seeing him again too. She had Hyde, and MacAlastair to thank for this difficult situation. But he
was there, and now she had to deal with him. Though she didn´t what to do next. "Yes, it is," she agreed. "I didn´t mean to
worry you, William. I wrote a letter, but somehow it was never sent, and I´m not sure what happened to it," she told him,
glaring up briefly at both Hyde and MacAlastair for their parts in this.

     He nodded, puzzled about a letter and why she would write one if she was attacked before disappearing. He would find out
later what that was about. He looked at her and smiled,"I´m just glad that you are all right, and that I didn´t lose you forever,"
he said, taking her hands in his, planting a quick, sweet kiss on them before meeting her eyes with his startling blue eyes ones
letting her know he loved her not matter what was to happen, and that it really would be okay. He would make sure of it.

     Buffy gulped nervously. ‘God, he was doing a ‘Spike´ on her´ she realized. Or maybe it had been Spike doing a ‘William´
on her all along. Despite the glasses, which he looked so cute in, the intensity of his gaze was melting her, just like it had always
done when Spike had looked at her that way. ‘I am so lost without a paddle´, she thought. "I am too," she managed to say
back to him.

     "I think dinner is being served. If you two will join us?" Mr. MacAlastair suggested breaking the spell, and they broke apart
embarrassed.

     "May I have the honor of escorting you to the table, my lady?" William asked with a shy smile, bowing a little, and offering
her his arm.

     "Yes, thank you, my knight," she smiled back, taking his arm, and they walked to the table together.

     MacAlastair, and Foxworth followed behind, and looked at each other, and nodded in satifaction at a job well done. This
was working out better than they though it would. Even if she was from the future there was a definite attraction between the
two. Normally they discouraged romantic involvements between Slayers, and Watchers nowadays, in this case they would do
the most they could to encourage it.

     Buffy, and William were seated together near the end of the long table where MacAlastair was seated. Foxworth sat across
from them, and Buffy recognized most of the Council members scattered in among people she hadn´t met yet. Though a number
of them she had seen in passing in the halls and in the Grand Hall.

     Dinner was quite good. If nothing else the food here was excellent, better than any restaurant she had been in. Some it she
had no clue what it was, only that it tasted good. She was glad that they had coffee. She passed on all the wine offered her,
knowing that alcohol, and her never mixed. Dessert was some sort of layered chocolate pie that melted in her mouth with real
whipped cream. By the end of it all she was stuffed.

     During Dinner Buffy let William talk about what he, and MacAlastair had talked about as far as his training. He was very
eager to begin his studies as he viewed them as a real challenge, and something worthwhile to do. She listened, and only
questioned when she needed to. He had a frank openness very much like Spike did, but without the sarcasm, and cynical
attitudes. As she had done at the party she enjoyed their conversation because he was so enthusiastic, and optimistic about
everything. It was fascinating watching him, and she found herself becoming very attracted to him despite her head telling her it
was wrong because he wasn´t Spike after all—yet he was. She was getting more, and more confused, and feeling guilty as well
the longer they spent time together.

     As to her other dinner companions, Buffy was pleasant yet, kept her conversation to a bare mininum. She was still angry at
MacAlastair, but she knew better than to explode in a public place like this. So she smiled, and played at enjoying herself.

     After dinner it was suggested that Buffy, and William go find somewhere private to talk. The young couple gladly took the
offer up, and went out on the sheltered balcony over looking the gardens, and sat down on a bench they found. Buffy was
grateful for her shawl as the night was turning cool. She wrapped it around her shoulders as she sat down beside him, noticing
that he kept a shy, respectful distance between them.

     "I notice that you´re not calling me, Lizzy, William, why?" she asked wanting to know what he had been told to him so she´d
know whether to kill MacAlastair, or not when she saw him.

     "Because you aren´t. Though it is difficult for me to call you Buffy because when I look at you , you are my Lizzy still," he
said looking at her worriedly before continuing. "Mr. Hyde, and Mr. MacAlastair, both explained what has happened to you. I
admit I am still a bit befuddled at their interpretation of your current state. It is quite clear that you are not my Elizabeth, yet you
seem to know me, just like you did the other day, though there are odd gaps in your knowledge about me, and everything
around you. It is like you are working from a knowledge that has been given to you, and not from actual experiences," he told
her carefully, and saw her startle, surprised at how perceptive he was.

     "Wow, that really did hit it on the head," Buffy said a little frightened that William could see through her as easily as Spike
had been able to. "William, I really am not Elizabeth. I really am Buffy Summers from the future. That´s where she is right now
while I am here with you. I do know your future self, and he is very different from you. But he had talked about himself as you,
and I had read Elizabeth´s diary before I was thrown back in time. You have to believe me when I say this not my time, and my
being here is seriously screwing up the everyone´s future, including your own," she told him seriously.

     He sighed heavily, trying to find the right words. "I believe that you believe all of this is so, ‘Buffy´. Just know that whether
you are Elizabeth, or Buffy I will continue to love you, and somehow we will see our way through this."

     Buffy shook her head, and groaned inwardly. She loved his sentiments, but he really wasn´t getting the point that she really
wasn´t Elizabeth, not ever. And was only wearing the girl´s body. The girl he was in love with was trapped in the future with his
future self. Which she really didn´t want to think about Spike and Elizabeth, and what was happening with them too hard. She
saw that somehow MacAlastair had convinced William that she was crazy through some trauma, and that she believed she was
this fictional person from the future when she really wasn´t. But in her deranged state of mind she did. It was a very clever move
on the Watcher´s part.

     "William, I wish I could convince you that I am telling the truth, but I see that Mr. MacAlastair has done a real number on
you so that you believe him, and not me. They´re using you to make me want to stay in this time. They want me to kill a group
of vampires that need to still be alive in my time to fight on the side of good. I didn´t want you dragged into this mess, but they
did and I´m not sure now how to put any of this back the way it should be," she told him, hoping somehow she could get
through to him.

     "Your alternative time? The one where I am supposedly made into one of these horrid vampires by a Drusilla? Yes, he did
tell me about that too. And to prevent such a thing from happening they sought me out. It does disturb me that you could even
conceive of such a fate for me. Don´t you still care for me?" he asked bewildered, and hurt.

     ‘Oh boy!´ she thought to herself. ‘How do I field this question? Do I lie, or do I tell him the truth? But I do care about him,
but not in the way he expects me to care. I am not in love with him. I´m in love with Spike.

     Making herself do this she told him, "yes, I do care about, William, but not in the way Elizabeth did. If you believe that I am
Buffy, then you have to know that I am in love with your future self. I really don´t know you as you that well. I know you, but I
don´t, and it´s very confusing to me too," she said in a rush embarrassed.

     "Then let us be confused together. When I thought you were lost to me it was the most horrible time of my life. I can´t bear
to lose you again. I will do whatever it takes to win back your love. I will not give up on us," he told her, taking his hand and
making her look at him when she tried to look away. "I love you no matter who you are. All that matters is what we feel for one
another. I know you do love me because I can feel it, see it in your eyes, my precious girl," William told her his voice low and
soft, brimming with passion, as his thumb stroked her lower lip seductively, melting her fears and her resolve.

     Then he bent forward, and kissed her gently on the lips, and Buffy was lost, ignoring the voices in her head telling her this
was wrong, very wrong and this wasn´t Spike she was kissing. He deepened it, and she kissed him back, and her hands went
up around his neck while his encircled her waist drawing them closer together. She molded her body to his, and let herself go as
he did too, the intensity between them growing until they both had to come up for air. They were both breathing hard, and
flushed when they broke apart stunned at what had happened.

     William took off his very steamed glasses, and ran a long fingered hand through his very tousled hair in puzzlement as he
looked at the girl next to him trying to sort out what he was feeling. "You really aren´t Lizzy are you?" he said finally looking her
over curiously his head cocked to one side.

     Buffy smiled, "no, I´m really not. I really am Buffy Summers. I take it the kiss was a dead give away?´ she asked amused at
the effect they had had on one another.

     He flushed redly in the light filtering outside from the dining room embarrassed as he answered her, "yes, it was. My Lizzy
never kissed me that way. Nor have I ever been kissed liked that. It was…very enjoyable, though quite intense." he told her
trying to calm his body down. "Though this now presents a problem because you are evidently whom you claim to be, and you
were right in Mr. MacAlastair trying to use me by making me believe you were ….,"

     "Crazy?" Buffy finished for him. "It´s okay, you can say it. I take it that they left out the part where they saw me in the
future, and my life as a slayer in full color, and sound in some big seeing crystal they have? Then later they looked, and saw
everything changing because I was stuck in time, and my being here is changing everything. They know I am telling the truth.
They just didn´t want you to know so they could use you to make me want to stay here," Buffy told him and he nodded sadly in
understanding.

     "It is a very fine mess, isn´t it?" he laughed with a bitter tinge. "I think I have my Lizzy restored to me, only to find that she
really isn´t. And you are having problems because I am not quite the man I will be when you know me. Yet we seem to have all
this fire and passion between us, and can´t act upon it as then in our hearts and minds we are being unfaithful to those that we
do love," he said truthfully.

     "Yeah, that exactly. You are blowing me away, William because you sound just like Spike. I can hear him say the same
thing, except he would have thrown in a lot of ‘bloodys´, and other colorful words to make his point. I´m afraid your future self
is a lot cruder, and ruder than you are," Buffy told him.

     "Ohh, I see," William replied surprised. "So I am quite different in your time?" he asked curious now. he sat back and folded
his arms across his chest waiting, just like Spike would have done, it was hard for Buffy not to giggle.

     "Yeah, bunches. There the whole vampire thing, but he can´t bite anyone, or even hit a person because he has this
mechanical thing in his head that keeps him from doing anything, or else he gets a real bad headache. He´s also arrogant,
annoying, mouthy, insulting, drinks, and smokes, dresses all in black, and has his hair bleached white, no glasses either. But
even when he was still evil before the chip he could be helpful. He´s a fantastic fighter, not afraid of anyone, or anything. He´s
very loyal to those he cares about, and can be kind when he wants to, and very loving too. He knows me like no one else does.
He can see through me. Tells me the truth when no one else can whether I want to hear it or not. I can´t bullshit him, and he
never lies to me. When he first came to town with Dru he, and I were mortal enemies, and tried to kill one another for years.
Then they left, and he came back alone. Finally we gave up fighting after he got the chip, and became sort of friends, and now
it´s progressed to more than friends. He´d do anything to protect me, my family, my friends, and now he´s caring about other
people which is a real change. And he loves me, and I love him even though it´s wrong because he´s a vampire, and I´m a
slayer, but unlike my other boyfriends I know he´s not going leave me, and will be with me no matter what," she told him.

     He looked at her quietly digesting everything she had said, reading between the lines as necessary. "Sounds as if I am a bit
of a scoundrel, a ruffian of sorts, not very pleasant to be around. Altogether the opposite of myself, am I understanding you
correctly?" he asked, frowning in thought finding himself having a tinge of jealousy with his future self.

     "Yes, and no. He isn´t all bad, and I having been seeing bits of you now in him. Somehow you are still you, but tougher in a
lot ways. Though hanging out with Angelus and Dru for years would do that I guess," Buffy said.

     "And you like this sort of person I will become?" he asked with odd note to his voice.

     "I didn´t at first. I hated him with a passion. And we fought physically, and verbally whenever we ran into each other. Then
over the years I got used to him, and it went to just trading insults back and forth. He began to mellow too and tone down the
insults and acting like a jerk and I guess I did too and we began to actually talk without fighting all the time. Finally we figured
out we did have feelings for one another. We had just been together, really together for not even a week when this time
traveling thing happened and I ended up here," Buffy explained.

     "Together, as in intimate… together?" William asked his cheeks coloring scarlet at her scandelous words, and the thoughts
they invoked in him.

     "Yeah, real together. People don´t have to be married to be together. Things are a bit more open and relaxed in the future. It
wasn´t like either of us were virgins," she said and saw him really turn red, and begin to have a coughing spell, he recovered
before she could come over and help him.

     He looked shocked at her from behind his glasses, still blushing a little. "I will say you are very frank, and honest with me,
Buffy. Though I am not sure where all of this leaves us."

     "Friends, maybe? Outside of some of the girls here that I´ve met, you are the only other person I really know, or have talked
to. But if it will be too uncomfortable seeing me because I look like Elizabeth but I´m not, I´ll understand," Buffy said.

     "I thought it might be, but no. I would like to get to know you, and be your friend," William said sincerely, keeping his
thoughts about her, and his future self to himself.

     "Great, I´d like that. So what are you going to tell Mr. MacAlastair? Are you going to tell him that you know he´s lying?
What about all this Watcher training? You don´t have to now unless you want to," Buffy told him.

     "Actually, it sounds rather exciting to be a Watcher. It sounds very challenging, and invigorating. More so than just being a
school teacher. Then this way we can still see one another. Mother, and the girls will be taken care of, and I will still be able to
see them without having to live at home. As to Mr. MacAlastair it might be better if we just played along, and not let him know
that I know the truth. That way I may be able to find out more of his plans," William suggested to her.

     "It might work, I don´t know. One thing I wanted to ask was where you got this ring? I think it has something to do with
how I got here, that and a big piece of crystal that I was holding in my time. I was mediating and there was this weird dream
sequence then bam I´m here in Elizabeth´s body," Buffy explained.

     "Crystal? I had the ring made from some stones my Father had brought back from the East. I took them to a jeweler, and
had him cut, and finish a piece off for the center stone. I let him have the rest of it in exchange for the work he did. Do you
believe there is a connection between the two?" he asked alarmed.

     "It´s the only thing I can figure out besides you being in both the past and future and Elizabeth and I both being slayers. Do
you think the jeweler might still have the leftover pieces?" she asked hopefully.

     "I don´t know, but we can hope. I will go to him in the morning and see. After you get it do you think you and Lizzy will get
switched back?"

     "I hope so. But do me a favor don´t tell MacAlastair about trying to find it. He´s dead set on my staying here. He doesn´t
want Elizabeth, and I to switch back because he´s afraid that the original time lines will be restored. Though I am not really
liking the idea either myself because it won´t be good for you, or her," Buffy said sadly, afraid she had already said too much.

     "Because we will never get together if things return to the way they were? We will both die, except I will go on to become
this Spike, and she will just stay dead, you mean?" he asked, as MacAlastair had already explained the ‘alternate time line´
Buffy had come from.

     "Yeah, it sucks real bad for you guys. Not that it´s really going to be that great for me when I get back. I still have a Hell
Goddess to fight, and who knows what else before someone finally takes me out," she said with a heavy sigh.

      He took her hand, and held it. "It´s all just a bit unfair, don´t you think? Doesn´t seem like anyway it happens that any of us
past, or future have long happy lives."

     "Nope, it doesn´t. All I ever wanted was to find a nice guy, get married, have some kids, a home, maybe a career. I´ve tried
to interject normal into my life since I got called. I did get to keep my family, my friends, go to school, and a have a social life.
But I really do get tired of saving the world over and over when my personal life is a wreck, never knowing if I´m going to
come back from a fight at all. I was told that I was one of a handful of slayers that made it this long. That ought to make me feel
good, but it doesn´t. It just says that my time is getting shorter and shorter and it scares me because there was so much I
wanted to see and do. Nope, it´s ‘not´ fair," she agreed, trying not cry in front of him.

     "Then all we can do is live each day the best we can to the fullest because tomorrow may never come," he told her, feeling
her shiver, not knowing how much those words were burned into her soul. "Are you cold?´ he asked.

     Buffy nodded, and wrapped her shawl more tightly around her. "A little. Not used to the climate yet. Maybe we ought to go
in," she suggested.

     "Probably. It is getting late. And I will have a lot to do tomorrow," he said getting up, and helping Buffy to her feet.

     "You´re going home tonight?" Buffy asked as they made their way slowly to the door unconsciously still holding hands as
they walked.

     "It seemed the logical thing to do seeing that I need to discuss this with Mother and with Reggie. Then there is the matter of
tending my resignation, and stopping by the jewelers. With luck I should return by nightfall, or by the next morning in case things
get delayed." He told her, his mind already organizing what he needed to do.

     "I still don´t know if this is a good idea or a bad of you becoming a Watcher. But this is an interesting variation on things. My
watcher at home was Rupert Giles, he´s your great grand nephew, descended from your brother Reggie," she smiled and saw
his delighted surprise.

     "Well, that is a kicker. I take it I never have a chance to have offspring then?" he asked, stopping before the doors of the
balcony, looking down at her wanting to know.

     She shook her head sadly, wishing she could lie but she couldn't. "Not that anyone knows of. Not in the traditional sense at
least," Buffy replied, understanding his pain. "And I know I won´t have kids either. The only normal guy I knew, just became a
vampire and went off with Spike´s ex. So I´ve given up on normal. It just isn´t going to happen," she said sadly, looking down,
missing the look of speculation and longing that flashed through William´s thoughtful eyes.

     "Well, we best be getting in before you get chilled to the bone," he said opening the door for her, and letting her walk in
before him.

     Everyone seemed to have gone, and the lights were turned down low.

     "I guess we are the last to leave," William smiled. "Would you like me to escort you back to your room?" he asked.

     "No, I´ll be okay. I´m surprised not to see Foxworth lurking around," Buffy said as they walked across the room to the hall
doors.

     As on cue one of the doors opened, and Foxworth stuck his head in more relieved to see them, than they were him. "Ahh,
there you are Miss Summers, Mr. Giles. Mr. MacAlastair wasn´t sure where you had vanished to. He did want me to pass on
that tonight´s hunt has been canceled, seeing you gave such a splendid demonstration this afternoon. But in the morning you will
be finishing your session with Miss Penrose, and the others." he told her.

     "Swell!" Buffy pouted unhappily, and glared at him.

     Foxworth was not fazed by her response. MacAlastair had been ready to call it off when Foxworth had reminded him of
how she hated it, and that it might be suitable punishment for going out with the other girls, and getting one of them killed.
Seeing that her reaction was as he had anticipated, Foxworth then turned to William who was amused by her expression. "Mr.
Giles, we have a carriage waiting for whenever you wish to leave. When you have things sorted out just return at your
convenience. When you arrive we will have your room ready, and begin with you," he explained.

     "I guess that is my clue to leave then. Buffy, I have had a marvelous time talking with you, and I guess I will see you when I
return," he said bowing at her.

     "I assume you can find your way back to your room, Miss Summers?" Foxworth asked.

     "Yeah, I can manage it. I´m starting to find my way around," Buffy replied, and saw that that idea didn´t set too well with
him, and she knew it. "Goodnight, William. See you when you get back," she told him, and gave him a peck on the cheek while
surprised himand his face lit up with a contemplative smile.The display stunned Foxworth and he had thought she would surely
reject Mr. Giles and he frowned confused. With a light smile on her lips to William Buffy turned and dashed off down the hall to
find the stairs up to her room.

     Both men just stared after her appreciatively for several moments each lost in their own thoughts about the bold girl before
they realized what they both had been doing. William looked at Foxworth surprised, and decided that Buffy may not have been
his Lizzy, but they did indeed have something between them, and he wasn't going to let this wanker even think he had a chance
with Buffy.

     "You do know that she, and I are engaged to be married," William told Foxworth as they made their way back to the front
entrance.

     "Yes, I had heard it mentioned. Is that still on?" the red head asked, giving the slightly shorter sandy haired man a sideways
look.

     "What do you think? She was still wearing my ring, and she did kiss me," William told him smugly still kind of euphoric from
it, and the earlier ones. "She may be calling herself Buffy, but she is still my Lizzy, and we will be getting married as planned--if
not sooner," he added trying squish the hopes of Foxworth as a possible potential suitor.

     "I see. Mr. MacAlastair will be pleased to hear that," Foxworth said his tone brittle as they came into the entry hall. He
opened the door and saw that the coah was waiting outside. The driver jumped down to open the door for his passenger.
"Your carriage awaits. Should we expect you tomorrow?" he inquired.

     William put on his outer coat and his hat that the silent butler had brought him then turned, and faced the man with a raised
dark eyebrow. "Most probably. I look forward to working with you, and with 'my' lady," he told him emphasizing the
possessive.

     Foxworth had caught the emphasis as well, and backed back a space, but he kept his expression neutral as he replied.
"Very good. We shall see you then. Good Evening, Mr. Giles."

     "Good Evening, Mr. Foxworth," William replied, pleased that his message had gotten across without further words needing
to be said as he went out the door, and got into his coach.

     Foxworth closed the door, and then looked thoughtfully upwards before heading back to the Grand Hall to see if
MacAlastair was still up.

End part 41

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